Safety & Health


Examples of Permissible Occupational Drug Testing

  • Random drug testing
  • Drug testing unrelated to reporting of work-related injury or illness
  • Drug testing under state workers’ compensation law
  • Drug testing under other federal law, such as US DOT regulation
  • Drug testing to evaluate root cause of workplace incident that harmed, or could have harmed, employees
  • Note: If the employer chooses to use drug testing to investigate an incident, the employer should test all employees whose conduct could have contributed to the incident, not just the employee(s) who reported injuries.

Source: OSHA


Quick Safety Observation Card – Free Template


OHShub.com Quick Safety Observation Card (front)

Performing safety observations are one of the easiest and most effective methods of checking the pulse of the safety culture in your organization. Through safety observations, you are able to observe and understand actual safety-related conditions and behaviors in your facility, and more importantly, do something about it. The results of your safety observations should lead to:

  • a ‘Thank You’ (observing a safe behavior),
  • a ‘Conversation’ (observing an unsafe behavior), or
  • an ‘Action’ (observing an unsafe condition).
OHShub.com Quick Safety Observation Card (back)

The OSHhub.com Quick Safety Observation template (.pdf format) provides a quick method to document a safety observation for entry into your facility’s safety tracking system. Note: The cards are pocket sized (approximately 3″x5″) and should be printed front and back. 4 cards are on each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Download the Word format HERE.

Basis for Conducting Safety Observations

Carnegie Mellon recently did a study where they reviewed 112 Million Safety Observations from 15,000 worksites.  From the review of the data, they were able to develop predictive models that were between 90-97% effective in predicting injuries.  And it boiled down to 4 factors of influence.  The 4 Safety Truths.

4 Safety Truths

  1. More inspections predict a safer worksite.
    • More eyes increases safety.
  2. More inspectors, specifically outside of the safety function, predict a safer worksite.
    • Getting everyone involved, increases safety.
  3. Too many 100% safe inspections predicts an unsafe worksite. 
    • You are flying blind.
    • Encourage finding of “unsafes” to increase safety.
  4. Too many unsafe inspections predicts an unsafe worksite. 
    • Self-explanatory.

What Kind of Observer are You?

  1. Balanced – documents safe/unsafe behaviors & unsafe conditions, equally
  2. Pencil Whipper – documents only safe behaviors or conditions
  3. Non-Confronter – does not document behaviors, only conditions
  4. Fault Finder – does not document safe behaviors, only unsafe
  5. Non-Participant – does not document , i.e. “I’m too busy”

Incorporating KPIs into your Safety Management System

Assume for a moment that your facility has the basis for a Safety Management System (SMS).  Are you measuring its effectiveness?  Are you looking at the trends to see what’s behind and what’s ahead?  Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, “what gets measured gets managed.”  Measuring the performance of your SMS is conducted through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  KPIs will help you to demonstrate to all levels in your organization where your SMS stands.  Simplified, it’s based on the Deming Wheel, or Plan – Do – Check – Act (PDCA) model. 

PLAN

  • Gather Support
    • Support from top management is an absolute.  Safety should not be considered the sole responsibility of the site Safety Lead/Team.
    • Do you have the support of leadership?  Have they committed to UAS (Understand – Accept – Support) the process?  Do you have members from other areas of the organization developing and supporting the framework around the KPIs? 
  • Identify Metrics
    • Identify the existing metrics that your organization uses. 
    • Is your organization solely meeting compliance (i.e. are you only tracking lagging indicators based on injury rate)?  Have you incorporated leading indicators into your metrics?  Have you established criteria around what is acceptable performance?  .
  • Communicate the Plan
    • Communication is a key factor in Safety.  Communicate early and often.
    • Do you have an effective plan to communicate established KPIs to all levels of your organization?

DO

  • Start Small
    • If you are just beginning to establish KPIs or are looking to expand what you are measuring, start small, but just start.  Use the KISS (Keep it Simply Simple) method. 
    • You are tracking lagging indicators (e.g. total case incident rate), can you add one to two leading indicators to your KPIs?
  • Involve Others (outside of the Safety Team)
    • Involve other areas and multiple levels within the organization (front line employees and supervisors, Engineering, etc.). 
    • Do others in the organization have actionable and measureable “skin in the game”?  Is their input valued?
  • Establish Expectations
    • In your very busy work environment, starting small is vitally important if you are adding new expectations for employees, however establishing (and tracking adherence to) expectations is a must. 
    • What are the expectations around the established KPIs?

CHECK

  • Measure Success
    • The information gathered from the KPIs must translate into success.  Use your lagging indicators as a basis for cross-checking your tracked leading indicators.
    • Are the KPIs that you are tracking resulting in a decrease in severity or incident rate?  Are risks being reduced?
  • Ensure Outputs Add Value
    • KPIs that you are tracking, must provide meaningful information.  P-D-C-A this individual component. 
    • Can I act on the information that the KPIs are providing?  What is the path forward?
  • Solicit Feedback
    • Don’t live in a “safety bubble”.  Get feedback from people in the organization and prepare to act on it.  Soft feedback is often just as important as hard data. 

ACT

  • Refine or Redefine
    • Take the information learned in the “Check” phase to refine your KPIs.  Don’t be afraid to change it up. 
    • Metric X isn’t providing insightful or actionable information, what are you missing?
  • Take Action
    • If it’s not working, do something different, but just do something.  If it is working, identify ways to make it better.
    • How can you continuously improve your organizations safety results?  What KPIs have you identified that you are not tracking?  How can you incorporate those KPIs into your SMS?
  • Achieve Sustainability
    • If you don’t put the systems in place to make capturing and reviewing your KPIs maintainable, you are expending unnecessary effort. 
    • Are these KPIs providing real value to your organization?

An effective SMS is vital in today’s lean work environments.  Establishing value-added KPIs help your organization evaluate the effectiveness of the SMS and can serve as a basis for continuously improving safety within your organization.

Source: Paper360 May/June 2019 – George Bower


Complying with the OSHA Silica Standards

Looking for resources on interpreting the crystalline silica standard?

When guarding against exposure to silica, the protection of our employees must remain the primary focus. However, protection of the “bottom line” should also play a part as OSHA has ramped up it’s enforcement of the standard (read: VA contractor faces $300K in fines over silica violations).

How do you effectively comply with the standard? ASSP recently released a resource entitled “Silica Resource Guide for Contractors” that provides a FAQ for the questions contractors are asking, including:

  • when air sampling is required
  • how to use “objective data”
  • medical surveillance requirements
  • respiratory protection requirements, etc.

Additionally, OSHA has released a 64- question FAQ for general industry on it’s Respirable Crystalline Silica standard (29 CFR 1910.1053) and a FAQ for the construction industry (29 CFR 1926.1153).


BCSP Offers Free Quizzes for Recertification

The BCSP (Board of Certified Safety Professionals) is offering free quizzes for recertification.  The quizzes provide a great opportunity for CE credits and is available the web or through mobile apps (Google or Apple).  Every online quiz is worth 0.1 CM points and there are currently 58 quizzes available as of this writing.  The quizzes are broken into two general categories based on publication (Professional Safety or Safety & Health), are open book, and may be taken repeatedly until passed (80% correct to pass).

Source: BCSP


Work Related Fatalities on the Rise – NSC Webinar

The number of fatalities in the US work environment have increased over the past 9 years, and the rate per 100,000 workers has remained flat.  With all of the focus on workplace safety, why is this the case?  

Join the National Safety Council’s Statistics Manager, Ken Kolosh, as he explains the data and trends.  You can sign up for the webinar HERE.

Source: NSC Injury Facts 2017


Safety Walk-Arounds: OSHA Factsheet

Safety Inspections, Safety Walk-Around, Safety Walk-About, GEMBA Walk, Safety Walk… the process goes by many different names.  However, the basis and benefit for conducting these routine safety walks are the same.

OSHA recently released a guidance document, , on conducting effective safety walks that improves hazard recognition and communication about identified hazards with employees.

Why conduct a safety walk?  Two reasons:

  1. Demonstrate management’s commitment to improving safety and health in your facility by identifying and mitigating hazards, and
  2. Allow management the opportunity to see for themselves how the safety and health program is working and it’s effectiveness in identifying and eliminating hazards.

The document provides a brief overview on pre-inspection, inspection, and post-inspection practices that can be applied in virtually every working environment.


Risk Assessment Tool – Video & Infographic

 

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work recently produced a video detailing the risk assessment process found in it’s .  The video details the importance of the proper risk assessment procedures and the difficulties often faced by businesses.  4 simple steps are outlined to aid in the risk assessment process and follow a typical PDCA / Deming Wheel process analysis approach:

  1. Prepare
  2. Identify & Evaluate
  3. Set up an Action Plan
  4. Report

Source: EU-OSHA


Training Requirements per the OSHA Standards

Training Requirements in OSHA Standards

Have questions on what training is required for a particular OSHA standard? Look no further.  OSHA has published a resource for all of the OSHA standards.  In this booklet, the training requirements contained in OSHA’s standards are organized into five categories of OSHA standards: General Industry, Maritime, Construction, Agriculture, and Federal Employee Programs. This booklet identifies the training requirements in specific OSHA standards. For information on training techniques and resources for developing training programs, please see Resource for Development and Delivery of Training to Workers. (more…)


Free Safety Toolbox Talks and Resources

Toolbox Safety Talk Resources

 

Racking your brain trying to think of a topic for tomorrow’s toolbox talk?  Look no further than Gempler’s Safety Training Sheets and you’ll be well on your way.  With a wide range of topics pre-canned, pick the most relevant one, and modify, as needed, to fit your workplace.  Topics include:

  • Ergonomics
  • Respirators
  • Heat Stress
  • Hazard Communication
  • Forklift Safety
  • Confined Spaces
  • PPE
  • Portable Power Tools
  • LOTO
  • Hot Work
  • General Safety
  • …and much more

Source: Gempler’s


Effective Safety Committees – How to get yours up to speed

MEMIC recently put together an excellent guide on effective Safety Committees.

What is a Safety Committee?  A Safety Committee is a group of concerned individuals who have the overall safety and well-being of the employees and the success of the company in mind. Forming safety committees is an easy and effective way to improve the safety and health of the workplace. From an employer’s perspective, safety committees are great because they get employees involved and focused on keeping their workplace safe, on reducing accidents, and on increasing productivity. From an employee’s perspective, safety committees provide a safe venue where individuals can express their safety concerns, ask safety-related questions, or offer suggestions for improvement.

The purpose of the Safety Committee is to get more employees actively involved in safety, to eliminate accidents, and to help create a corporate culture that embraces safety. A Safety Committee consists of individuals gathered together to:

  • complete self-inspections
  • review workplace accidents and complete accident investigations
  • recommend corrective actions
  • express their safety concerns
  • review and improve safety policies and programs
  • suggest and coordinate safety training

(more…)


Preventing Serious Injuries & Fatalities (SIFs)

  • Over the past decade non-serious workplace injuries have decreased, but fatalities have decreased at a much slower rate.
  • The present study findings call into question decades-long-held assumptions in the safety community.
  • Research results show that contributing factors are different between less-serious events and SIF events.
  • Precursors to SIFs exist in most organizations and can be identified and measured.
  • New paradigms are required to influence step changes in improving serious injury and fatality (SIF).

(more…)