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workplace safety

  • Completing the Cycle

    It seems that there continues to be a lot of discussion about Safety everywhere, about the cost of safety and training, the providing of it, and government oversight. I am concerned that there is a lot of cheerleading, but not much play on the field. Does this remind you of the current state of our political system?

    You have to question yourself as safety coordinators and managers: Is this an exercise just to satisfy OSHA Government Regulations for compliance or for the betterment of humankind? If you are conducting training classes and doing all the paperwork, your work isn’t quite done. The T’s need to be crossed and the I’s dotted. If you’re conducting Lock Out, Tag Out and not visiting an application in the plant, is the cycle complete? If conducting Slips Trips, and Falls or Machine Guarding and not auditing and correcting deficiencies, is the cycle complete? Or is the cycle ever complete?

    Eventually the numbers will catch up to you. All you need to do is take a look at the citations issued for non-compliance. You’ll find them listed by district under OSHA News releases . A quick look reveals the results of incomplete or broken cycles. It’s almost overwhelming.

    As managers and Safety Advocates we must constantly evaluate the effectiveness of not just the program but of ourselves, are you in a rut? Remember the difference between a rut and a grave is about 3 feet. If we find that we are being crushed by the weight of the program, or the lack of one, then we need to find a way to involve more interactivity among the management, “safety starts at the top,” and employees. We all need to be held responsible for the safety of all at least within the confines of the space we work. safety committeeHow? Establish a safety committee. Train managers in safety auditing procedures. Ask for suggestions, or corrective actions for problem areas from employees, and please tell them not to worry about “Whistle Blowing” the law has them covered. We did discuss that in a previous blog. Lastly one very large part of all of this is to create incentive for individuals to maintain this safety environment.

    Like a computer we all need to re-boot occasionally, just make sure you’re wearing your safety footwear. Ok, so I might be the only one who sees the humor in that joke. Seriously take care of yourself as well. It’s important for not just your health but for the health of those who rely on you for their safety. It’s not just about compliance.

    If you have any questions about establishing a safety committee or safety auditing procedures, feel free to contact our safety experts at www.safetyinstruction.com

  • Safety as a Vocation

    A Vocation is a calling, a calling to something higher. It becomes your life’s work, your mission, your purpose, your passion.

    Daily I work with safety advocates who exercise that purpose, their passion. Thesafety is a must job they perform ensures that millions of workers get home to their families at the end of the day. For those of you who are in school and considering a career and vocation in health and safety, it’s a noble vocation and a great career choice; take it serious, because unfortunately not all will make it home. It’s a brutal reality; nobody wants to hear about it, it means something went horribly wrong. Safety professionals deal with it and will work tirelessly to find out what went wrong and correct conditions, attitudes and environment where necessary. Now you will face the family who suffered the loss and or injury. This family also includes co-workers. Additionally they must answer to OSHA on behalf of the employer.

    A vocation follows you home. You sometimes lay awake at night figuring out how to make safety relevant in the lives of those who you serve. Safety is not just another job. As a safety provider we furnish tools for training, power point presentations, safety videos, “on line training”, entire programs. In the hands of a professional with a purpose they are wonderful; otherwise these become lifeless as well.

    So you see, it takes a special person to answer the call to this vocation. The good news is there are far more successes than failures. Enjoy the rest of your summer. If you are a safety professional thank you for making it your vocation. If you are an employee working for a company with a safety professional then find time to thank them, and be a part of their commitment and mission to get you home to your family safely.

  • How Did You Know

    Late one night I was returning home on a narrow, winding, two lane road through farm country. It was rainy and the fog was thick, making it hard to see. Abruptly, there in my headlights, was what I believed to be a very large pig. Unable to avoid him I felt a sickening thud. I immediately pulled over, but couldn’t see anything. There was nobody else around and the weather was nasty, so I continued home. Shortly after getting on my slippers, there was a knock on the door. Who could it be this late at night? I opened the door and there stood two uniformed state Police Officers. They questioned me and wanted to know if I had traveled on state highway 21 tonight, and did I drive a red SUV. I had to admit that I did. “Sir” he said “we’re going to have to cite you for leaving the scene.” Curiosity got the best of me; I just had to know how they knew. The officer looked me in the eye “Well” he said “the pig squealed.”whistleblower

    So if you are an employee and you see and unsafe situation or something you feel crosses the line in violation of OSHA requirements, or general safety, do you know the correct protocol for reporting it? Of course if there is imminent danger to life etc., then you need to get help immediately! If not, then your company should have a line of progression or protocol for reporting issues whether it be machine guarding, environmental, trenching, confined space, and on and on. Talk to your HHS Person and volunteer to help. Take a course in “Process Safety Management.”

    So what if no one is paying attention? Or just doesn’t care. We see that in the OSHA News and fines every month. Now what? Call your OSHA Representative 800-321-OSHA. You are not the pig that squealed. You could be saving a life!! This is your responsibility! Further “Whistle Blowers” are protected not just in our industry but in our country in general. Don’t be afraid to get involved. You are also protected from retaliation. Know what your rights are under the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”. Recently OSHA Trade News announced the final rule on procedures for handling retaliation complaints.

    Remember OSHA’s General Duty clause: Each Employer must furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

  • Safety, It's Not a Spectator Sport

    Over the last couple of years, we’ve discussed a lot of safety topics relevant to work and play, employer and family, occupation and hobbies. Still the one quote that stands out in my mind is from a safety director in Florida named Jim. Jim was also in charge of news releases, and making arrangements for unsafe acts that went horribly wrong. In 2013, The United States Department of Labor reported 4,405 workers died on the job. Jim said these sobering words:

    “Safety is no joke when you have to stand in front of a widow.”safety is everyones responsibility

    In my personal life I’m a Father of six, and a Grandfather. I’ve also been in the United States Army Reserve USAR, and finished a short career there as a recruiter along with a close friend. Jack and I would visit schools and families looking for warm bodies to join us. This was during the Vietnam era, so we didn’t have a very welcoming crowd. We did however, find that the younger the audience, the more impressed they were with our uniforms, message and story.

    In our Church I’ve been a volunteer instructor for a long time, nobody is keeping score so I don’t know for how many years. I know my hair wasn’t the grey color I’m sporting today. These young minds are like sponges, they are full of life and anxious to learn. Last night my 6th graders arm wrestled with the pastor. As a father, it seemed when the kids were younger they were more ready to listen and learn, of course they had to wait till they were 16 to learn to drive a car, although there was a blurred line there.

    My experience tells me that skills need to be taught early and often. I would urgently request that as safety advocates, instructors, and providers, we need to continue to search for ways to convey the message, or preach the gospel, and make it stick. Safety is not a spectator sport!

    The safety industry offers so many more alternatives today for organizing and training, starting with behavioral training both online and in the classroom and up to date videos including gory stories. Safety training now reaches into our schools and hospitality industry. We need to remind and encourage our learners to take their skills from the classroom not just into the plant, school or place of employment, but home to their families where you are your children’s first and most important teacher. Don’t allow yourself or a member of your family to become a 2015 statistic.

    If you looking to revamp your safety program in 2015, let the safety experts at SafetyInstruction.com help. Contact us and we can help you make 2015 a safer year!

  • New Bill Aims to Protect Social Workers’ Safety

    Good news for social and human service workers: Massachusetts’ governor is expected to sign a bill that aims to improve workplace safety for social workers. These workers face both physical and mental health issues every day they are on the job. And since these issues are beyond their control, it has been a challenge to create workplace safety programs that can effectively address these risks. Here’s the full news story from Madeleine Rivera of Hudson Valley.

  • Safety Spotlight: Noise Hazards in Sports Venues

    The sports industry is one of the industries that receive less discussions when it comes to workers’ safety and health issues. It may be because of intentional negligence or ignorance of the hazards sports arenas have. Either way, the industry’s workforce is still at risk. Laura Walter of EHS Today discusses two new studies that focused on noise hazards in sporting venues. Read more on “There’s No Sport in Exposing Workers to Noise Hazards.”

  • Benefits of Workplace Safety Are Still Being Ignored

    In recent years, the benefits of workplace safety have been proven and emphasized. The sad thing is, only a few companies are taking the time and effort to shape the most effective safety policies and guidelines. The same is happening in Australia. Read more on “Evidence Exists of Productivity Benefits of OHS but No One is Using It” by Kevin Jones of Safety at Work Blog.

  • Six Sigma and Workplace Safety: Is There a Relationship?

    The principle of Six Sigma, a business philosophy formulated in 1980s by Toyota Corporation, is to create excellence in the company by focusing on main processes and getting rid of non-essential processes or business elements. The question here is whether or not workplace safety is considered a mere supportive business element or one of the major processes. Mike Wilson gives a detailed answer here.

  • Workplace Safety is a ‘Three-Way Intersection’

    There are two ways to bring workplace safety into employers’ attention: tell them the negative consequences or inform them of the benefit. In fact, do both for a more effective conviction. But, why are we only focusing on the employers’ responsibility, when workplace safety is a job for the government and employees, too? Check out this interesting article by Omar Mouallem of Edmonton Journal.

  • A Workplace Safety Program in Ohio is Free!

    Mark your calendars, folks! March 19 will change your thoughts on workplace safety. You think it isn’t important? Think again. A working man will share a real-life experience on a near-death accident. Learning how to be safe is definitely not a waste of time. No worries on your wallet because the special program (organized by the West Central Ohio Safety Council) is free. For more details, read on “Biz Beat: Safety Council Brings Special Program on Workplace Safety” by Heather Rutz.

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