Workplace Safety News Roundup

February 26, 2015 by

News

Keeping track of new OSHA regulations and taking advantage of supplemental safety training and reading materials makes a big difference in the success of the programs you implement in your workplace. Seeing what others are doing both for the better and worse help mold an all encompassing safety initiative. Here is a sampling of some of the news buzzing around workplace safety this month.

Lack of safety training, experience blamed for rise in work fatalities

A younger and newer workforce in manufacturing and construction have led to a rise in deadly industrial work accidents in Ohio, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, could this be an emerging trend across America?

Job cuts as well as baby boomer retirements could be leading to a lack of experience in the field. Now that activity is bouncing back from the 2007-09 economic recession, companies are complaining about the lack of skilled workers to be found, and it could be hurting safety.

Many fatal accidents could be prevented with the right equipment, but still there have been six deaths on the job so far this year in the region overseen just by Cincinnati area OSHA Director Bill Wilkerson. He estimates 17 total workers have died across Ohio so far in 2015.

For more information about this article click here.

OSHA, EPA, and Fertilizer Safety and Health Partners sign alliance to protect workers and first responders from hazardous chemicals

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today entered into an alliance with the Fertilizer Safety and Health Partners and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide safety and health information and training resources to workers, emergency responders and communities surrounding establishments in the agricultural retail and supply industry. The alliance will focus on the safe storage and handling of fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia.

To read more about this alliance click here.

Finger amputations lead to OSHA inspection: $1.76M in fines, finds more than 1,000 worker injuries at Wisconsin site in past 36 months

In a three-and-a-half year period, 4,500 employees at a Wisconsin Furniture company in Arcadia, experienced more than 1,000 work-related injuries. One worker became another terrible statistic when he lost three fingers in July 2014 while operating a dangerous woodworking machine without required safety mechanisms in place. Of the injuries recorded, more than 100 were caused by similar machinery.

To learn more about this citation click here.

Don’t Fall Out Of Compliance: What You Need To Know About Fall Protection

February 24, 2015 by

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Falls don’t have to happen from 30 feet in the air to have dangerous implication. In fact most falls happen at floor level. Same-level slips, trips, and falls are occupational hazards that can be found in almost every type of work setting. In fact, according to the BLS, falls on the same level increased in 2013 for general industry and construction. Circumstances associated with falls in the work environment often include slippery, cluttered, or unstable walking/working surfaces. Remaining in the forefront of injuries and violations issued by OSHA, it seems even something as intuitive as making sure you are avoiding cracks in the floor or boxes on the ground takes a back seat, when rushing around during a hectic workday.

Slick surfaces are one of the most obvious hazards when it comes to slips, trips and falls in the workplace. With this time of year more attention is given to slick and icy parking lots and sidewalks but all year round wetness from the outside can be tracked inside and cause harmful injuries if not taken care of. Snow and ice are not the only types of wetness that create risk. Rain, a spill, even a recent clean up can cause problems.

Provide additional matting if tracking becomes a problem. During the winter months, have a prompt snow and ice removal plan with ice melt on hand and signage to help indicate to workers and visitors of areas that might be slick. If you need help deciding we have additional help here

Hidden obstacles both in and around your facility can also cause harm. Drains and curbs are often less visible in the winter due to snow buildup and less visibility during the shorter days. Inside when walking we aren’t always looking down or up leaving chords on the floor, uneven surfaces and unorganized clutter looming as easy tripping hazards.

Help cut down on these problems with adequate outdoor lighting, keeping your workplace organized with all chords and surfaces properly stored or made aware of.

In addition to the physical workplace hazards, workers may create their own same-level fall hazards by carrying large bundles. As a reminder, let workers know it is ok to make multiple trips, provide dollies or other material handling aids.

Creating a more aware workplace will create a safer work place. The bigger picture makes workers lose sight of small everyday occurrences that can have the same dangers as larger scale projects. Remind them of the daily safety practices, it may be surprising the type of impact one small change could have on your business.

Once you have your same level falls under control, then begin to see how working at heights affects your workers safety. As they begin to climb make sure your injury numbers don’t as well. To help workers stay safe NIOSH has created a ladder safety app to help prevent injuries. If you think this could help your workplace visit NIOSH Ladder Safety App for more information.

Losing Your Way? Tips for Directing Traffic around Your Facility

February 20, 2015 by

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One of the top 10 most frequent workplace injuries, vehicle accidents should be on every employer’s radar. Take the steps necessary to make sure that you are doing your part in getting workers off to a safe start to the work day all the way through to their drive home. Provide the proper safety and navigational elements around your facility.

A cohesive well organized plan for your grounds may involve wayfinding visual cues including:

  • Use landmarks to provide orientation cues and memorable locations.
  • Create well-structured paths.
  • Create regions of differing visual character.
  • Don’t give the user too many choices in navigation.
  • Provide signs at decision points to help wayfinding decisions.

If your facility frequently has visitors this should also come into consideration when determining the wayfinding options for your grounds. Visitors will not know their way around the premises like regular employees. Having maps and other helpful informational cues can help to cut down on the confusion of travel.

As you begin to plan out your flow of traffic around your facility or contemplate an update here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • What is the current circulation system around your grounds, what would you like it to look like?
  • What is the desired path of travel on the roadway system for visitors and staff?
  • How are visitors currently instructed to drive around and through the parking lot?
  • Where do you want visitors to park? Where do you want staff to park? Where is disabled access parking?
  • What is the desired path of pedestrian travel from parking to building entrances?
  • Where are the locations of building entrances in relation to parking?
  • Is there a placement of signs in locations where people expect signage?
  • Are Signs placed in a manner that are clearly visible to drivers at all times of the year? For example, make sure that snow removal doesn’t burry signs.
  • In case of an emergency situation, are there multiple exits from your grounds, is there a clearly marked evacuation route? Are there designated fire lanes?

Discover What These Subtle Safety Metrics Tell You About Your Workplace

February 18, 2015 by

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Safety is far reaching beyond the injuries and unaccounted for hazards within your workplace. While these two areas are very important there are also many other factors that go into painting a complete landscape of your workplace that often go unaccounted for. Here a list of the top 8 under appreciated metrics that help in explaining the reasoning behind your facilities safety performance.

Communication could be one of the telling indicators of how your workplace is operating. Take into account the methods in which you relay information to your employees. Also consider if you have proper training in place and if these resources are offered in the workers native language to make sure they are fully understanding what you are trying to tell them. Track the percentage of employees who are up to date on their training and the frequency and attendance of safety meetings. It’s not only about whether you are providing the information but also are your workers taking an active role in receiving it.

Do we say something about type of communications like proper signage to reinforce the communication message?

Empowerment of your employees and making their role clear to them can go a long way in your safety process. Making sure that each employee is provided a clear documented account of their role and responsibilities will ensure that there is no confusion in what they are supposed to be doing. Letting your workers know – but more importantly showing them how their presence and involvement in the improvement of your safety initiatives can make a great impact – helps boost moral and make workers want to get involved. One way to help foster involvement would be to try establishing a safety committee, grouping workers from around your facility together, to talk about safety issues and concerns and relay feedback from their teams to upper management for consideration.

Problem Identification. Are there rules for all jobs when it comes to practices and policies? Reporting unsafe working conditions should not include employees having to jump through hoops only to end up back where they started. Streamline the process. Try and prevent these problems before they begin with operational safety checklists before during and after work, and conduct safety audits throughout the year within your facility.

Feedback. If it is difficult in the beginning to collect feedback from your workforce try a different tactic by creating an anonymous suggestion box, Workers won’t have to worry about embarrassment or retaliation when sharing their concerns. It is also important to consider the process in which you are providing employees to voice their concerns and opinions. Is the process worth the hassle and does it make workers feel like their input isn’t being heard? Establish a plan for responsive problem resolution. Know that feedback isn’t a one way street either. It is important for your workers to know how they are doing and what they could be improving upon. Have yearly reviews in place for all employees.

Promotion of Safety is present within your workplace. Are you showing workers that you are actively investing in their safety through the presence of a safety budget? Are there goals and objectives for the year that outline where the budget is being allocated in detail? Make sure that your safety goals are being addressed and that there is sufficient backing behind them. Seeing the presence of senior management at safety meeting sends a clear message that safety is being taken seriously.

Collecting the numbers of near misses, injuries, and lost time when trying to gain an understanding of your workplace is not a bad place to start. Once you have laid the groundwork dive deeper into the often overlooked metrics that are going on right in front of your eyes. Every aspect of you workplace can provide you insight on why and how your facility is operating, what is and isn’t working, and perhaps how you can turn things around. A solution comes easier when everyone is on board. Include your workers and listen to their suggestions, a resolution may be easier than you originally thought.

Back to Basics: The Types of Injury Reporting Forms 300, 300A, 301

February 12, 2015 by

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While the forms themselves have not changed, this year many companies are finding themselves in the situation of having to now track the injuries and illnesses in a way they never have before. Since January 1, 2015 the update on the Injury and Illness Record keeping and Reporting Requirements has gone into effect. With the update businesses that used to be exempt are now being held liable for having these forms on record regardless of it an incident occurs within the year. To aid in the process of getting familiarizes with the forms and overall process here is a rundown of each form and their purpose.

300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

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This form is an organized log of injuries and illnesses that occur on your worksite throughout the calendar year. It not only serves to comply with OSHA recording regulations, but also gives employers a compact, visual narrative of workplace accidents that may end up becoming a crucial element in finding patterns and implementing new or adjusted safety programs. Can we show the visual?

While it may appear to be a lot of lines to fill out and boxes to check may seem confusing, it is perhaps the easiest of the three forms to fill out. The form has been designed as a series of rows and columns, each row pertaining to a single injury or illness case. Where descriptive information is required (columns A-F), you may need to occupy more than one line per case if there isn’t enough room.

300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

OSHA300Aform

OSHA requires that every employer complete a 300A form at the end of each calendar year, regardless of whether or not a work-related injury or illness has occurred. This form requires an adding and filling in the yearly total of the totals you documented at the bottom of Form 300. On the right side of the form, you will be required to enter your vital company information, including employment information, number of employees, types of employees, pay periods, holiday figuring’s etc.

301: Injury and Illness Incident Report

OSHA301form

This is the first form you fill out during the recording process. It must be completed and filed within seven calendar days after an accident has been identified or announced. OSHA requires companies to keep 301 forms on file for at least five years following the year the accident occurred.

The 301 form is straight forward and asks for general information about the employee involved in the incident. More complicated information occurs further down the form at question 10 asking for a case number. Refer back to the 300 injury form and generate a new case number following the numerical order established for the year, best practices suggests using 2 or 3 digits(01 or 001). Answer all of the questions on this form as thoroughly as possible.

Now that you know what each form means make sure you double check the other requirements of this update for other changes and new responsibilities.

You can find some additional information here:

http://blog.emedco.com/2015/01/02/new-year-new-osha-regulations/

http://blog.emedco.com/2014/09/22/breaking-news-how-the-new-osha-reporting-requirements-affect-you/

 


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