Author Archives: EHS Today - The Leaders in Environmental, Health and Safety

Five Strategies to Develop Your Team for Today and Beyond

In the past, employee training mostly took place during the onboarding process. New hires were showered with information and expected to retain it well enough to apply it correctly on the floor. Not surprisingly, this “spray and pray” method has proven less effective with time, as today’s learners experience the world visually and digitally, with one topic rapidly moving to the next. These days, learning programs that focus on reinforcement for continuous improvement are becoming the industry standard because of higher success rates. It makes sense. Safety is never “one and done,” and it’s often when we get too comfortable that accidents happen. Unfortunately, in our industry, mishaps can be much worse than a simple slip and fall. Incidents can lead to accidents, injuries, amputations, and even death.  The most effective training programs rely on systematic processes of validation and reinforcement to ensure important concepts are understood, retained and practiced consistently. First comes understanding, and then comes correct action on the floor. While more training that focuses on engagement might seem a strain on already lean workforces and resources, there are effective methods that you can easily incorporate into our health and safety programs, starting now.  It is also important to look beyond the present and create sustainable programs that will help you develop future leaders who can continue to improve health and safety performance for years to come.Following are five ways to elevate your training program. 1. Develop learning plans to streamline training and use central reporting for easier audits. Automating training is one way to standardize learning processes and content, especially when scaling for larger operations. Developing learning plans—essentially playlists of required courses that supervisors may “plug and play”—makes training more efficient. Learning plans can be tailored according to roles or departments, then assigned consistently for each new hire and used for ongoing reinforcement. Learning plans can empower workers by allowing them to “own” their training and development programs. One area of training that’s challenging to manage is compliance documentation. It’s critical to develop a central reporting system to track progress for each employee and to measure and document the effectiveness of training processes. Between changing operations, evolving regulations, high turnover, and often analog documentation methods, tracking training can be a chore. A computerized modular system can simplify documentation of training and evaluation of effectiveness by capturing and storing data in the cloud for easy retrieval. This can make things easier for you, for example during an audit or an OSHA inspection. 2. Use shift huddle guides for more efficient meetings. Shift huddles led by supervisors are an effective way to reiterate important training concepts and get everyone on the same page. It’s also a valuable opportunity for face time and allows supervisors to address the group and answer questions at once. However, shift huddles may vary depending on the supervisor. Not every supervisor is skilled at leading meetings or managing time. Many leading companies have found success using pre-determined shift huddle “guides.” Not only do they save time by providing supervisors with a blueprint, they help meetings stay on track and keep messaging consistent. For more mileage, multilingual guides can be used to reach everyone on diverse teams. Remember that communications processes need to account for differences in language, culture and literacy. 3. Reinforce—and repeat—for best results. Studies show that up to 80% of training material can be forgotten within the first 30 days—unless that material is reinforced. Workers are more likely to retain information that’s delivered continuously, and in a quick, efficient manner. The best way to deliver information quickly is in short learning “bursts” or mini-lessons that reinforce major concepts introduced in training. Shorter lessons are not only easier to digest and remember, they can be conducted quickly, often on the line. Because in manufacturing every minute matters, using “down time” to deliver mini-trainings can maximize your training program’s efficiency. Another successful method for reinforcing training is behavior-based programs where workers observe and coach each other on the job, documenting instances of proper behavior and opportunities for correction. 4. Elevate training with one-on-one coaching. The most effective training involves some level of one-on-one coaching, ideally performed on the floor. Many regulations require formal observations; however, finding the time and keeping good records can be a challenge. Some companies have seen success using mobile apps that capture and document verification of correct practices, and track and manage corrective actions in the cloud. Record as you coach for measurement of effectiveness and 24-hour audit readiness. 5. Create a system to transform frontline workers into leaders. While improving training programs for new and existing employees is essential, management should also create programs that prepare frontline workers for leadership. Always keep succession plans in mind, and make sure that your senior people are transferring their hard-won knowledge to the new guard who will eventually take their places. Oftentimes we promote our best frontline workers to supervisor and management positions, yet after weeks on the new job, juggling unfamiliar tasks such as managing former peers and dealing with compliance paperwork, they become overwhelmed. When frustration rises, they underperform or throw in the towel, leaving management scrambling to find a replacement. Be sure to invest in formal, high-quality leadership training for your new leaders. As older generations retire and the next generation of workers is left to fill the empty roles, it’s essential to get new leadership prepared in advance. What many of these new supervisors soon discover is while they may be well-versed in executing day-to-day operations on the floor, they don’t possess the skills necessary to lead successful teams.  Strong supervisors must know how to communicate and exude confidence that instills trust in their teams. Communication requirements range from motivating more reticent employees, to encouraging effective teamwork, to dealing with day-to-day personal issues that may pop up. When working on your development plans, be mindful of the difference between management and leadership. We manage things, and lead people. Two great books to help you develop a leadership training program are The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader by James C Hunter, and Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. How to Fit in Effective Training while Meeting Production Goals By focusing adequate resources on developing the next generation of leaders, companies can avoid the subsequent problems that may arise from high turnover rates. A course program that teaches the soft skills supervisors and managers need to lead successful teams, like effective communication strategies, can make a tangible difference on the floor. Strict production goals and tight timelines make it difficult to set aside time for leadership development training. The real challenge is devising a way to fit in effective leadership training while still supporting production goals. Success will not only depend on the content that’s delivered, but also on the way in which it’s delivered, including when and how often. Short online training modules that can be delivered quickly, without pauses in production, are the best option out there. E-courses allow supervisors to complete training in downtime, without travel, and offer the most flexibility across different departments and schedules.Effective training content must also work to avoid distractions and incorporate interactive exercises. Studies show when learners anticipate answering questions, they’re more likely to focus and retain knowledge. Finally, training should aim to utilize the latest technology available, such as mobile coaching apps, to guide future leaders one-on-one. While many leadership programs are already on the market, they’ve typically been designed for office workers in corporate settings, not frontline workers on the manufacturing floor, or they are delivered as weekend seminars, requiring budget and travel. There are now online leadership training programs designed specifically for developing supervisors in the unique world of manufacturing. These programs are available as part of a library of training and audit-readiness solutions, including eLearning for workers to take on their own. There are many ways to strengthen overall safety training and leadership development and they all depend on resources, budget and culture. These five methods may be implemented at most facilities right away for an immediate improvement in employee engagement that sets the stage for future success.  Rick Gehrke is senior EH&S consultant with Intertek Alchemy (, a provider of solutions that help food and manufacturing companies engage with their workforces to drive productivity and safety.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

Understanding Your Environmental Responsibilities

Management of environmental program elements has increasingly become a major focus for safety professionals over the past few decades. Many companies once had separate environmental departments; however, as companies streamline and re-engineer their professional support staff, there has been a marked trend towards an increase in consolidation of the safety, health and environmental functions. The traditional safety professional has found that knowledge of environmental affairs is critical to their well-being. For companies involved in global business, the ISO 14000 standards represent a revolution in corporate environmental management. The safety professional must become familiar with the ISO approach to environmental affairs.  There are approximately 30 Federal Acts pertaining to environmental regulations based on air, water and land. Some of the most important laws are as follows: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). One of the first environmental laws written, NEPA established a national framework to ensure all branches of government consider the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that significantly affects the environment. This included projects such as building airports, military complexes, highways, parkland purchases and other similar activities covered by NEPA.Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Provides a “Superfund” to cleanup uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, accidents, spills and other emergency releases of pollutants or contaminants into the environment. Through CERCLA the EPA imposes liability on owners/operators of a facility from which there is a release of hazardous substances. Transfer of a property does not relieve the owner/operator of liability and in addition the current owner may be held strictly liable. The last reauthorization of CERCLA was the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (1986). These amendments covered emergency planning, community right to know and toxic release reporting. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Regulates the generation, transportation, treatment storage and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA requires the owner/operator of a facility to undertake corrective actions to clean up a facility used for the treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA went through its latest revision in May 2017. Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1990. A complex, multifaceted statute designed to regulate air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. The act is composed of eleven different titles such as the national ambient air quality standards (Title I), hazardous air pollutants (Title III), acid deposition control (Title IV), operating permits (Title V), and ozone protection (Title VI). Another important topic under the CAA is the Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Recovery Relief Act, an amendment to Section 112(r) of the CAA which addresses reporting and disseminating information on flammable fuels and public access to off-site consequences. This includes the Risk Management Plan (RMP). Clean Water Act (CWA). Prohibits the discharge of pollutants from point sources and storm water into the navigable waters of the United States without a permit. The act imposes liability on any person who is responsible for the operation and/or equipment that results in a discharge. The basic requirement of the act is to force compliance with both uniform technology-based effluent limitations, regardless of the receiving waters, and with more stringent limitations necessary to meet state-imposed water quality standards. Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Imposes federal drinking water standards on virtually all public water systems. The act requires the establishment of drinking water standards for maximum concentration levels for organic and inorganic chemicals, turbidity, coliform bacteria and various measures of radioactivity. Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). Governs the manufacture and use of chemical products. The import and export of chemicals are regulated under the act; in addition, specific regulations control the use, management, storage and disposal of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) materials. Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Imposes strict liability on responsible parties for removal costs and damages resulting from discharges of oil into navigable waters of the United States. An owner/operator of an onshore facility that resulted in discharge would be considered a responsible party. Organizing an Environmental Management Program For years, industries claimed they didn’t realize what they were emitting into the air, waterways and ground, and the potential effects it would have on the environment. Since the advent of the environmental disciplines (mid-1960s), our society soon realized what a mistake that approach was. Even today, abandoned industrial sites and misused landfills are still being cleaned up through the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) “Superfund” program. Industry was not the only culprits, however; mom-and-pop shops, farmers, dry cleaning operations and other types of small businesses had just as much effect on polluting the environment. In the early 1970s, the story of Love Canal, a housing development built over a capped industrial dump site in suburban Niagara Falls, N.Y., ran rampart in the media and took the public by surprise. Concern for this type of event happening in “our backyard” led to public demand for our legislative body to develop regulations which would ensure the proper management of industrial wastes.  Establishing an environmental compliance program can be overwhelming. Any company who is regulated by the EPA, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), among others, cannot afford to be without an environmental management process. Whether a company is large or small, senior management must communicate a strong commitment to responsible environmental practices through the ranks down to the line worker and platform loader. Unfortunately, a sincere environmental management commitment that alters old practices often occurs only after a major disaster or stringent penalty. This does not have to be the case.Deciding where to begin can be a big obstacle to organizing an environmental management process. The ways to comply with governmental regulations can seem endless. Environmental leaders should recommend realistic compliance schedules and discharge limitations to environmental regulators. Often in the spirit of cooperation a leader will offer overly ambitious schedules and limits that ultimately cannot be met. Do not overcommit. Once limits are set in discharge permits and orders, it is difficult to get them changed. When reporting a release that exceeds set limits always include the reason and attempt to solve the problem. Companies who have reported pollutant releases above limits received no response from the regulatory agency and, over time, assumed the increased rate is acceptable. The company’s own reports then establish its lack of compliance, which can prompt an enforcement action or serve as evidence in a citizen suit against the company. Prevent Common Violations Mislabeling of chemicals and hazardous waste is probably the most commonly cited violation and can most easily result in environmental problems. It is also the easiest violation to avoid. Companies should attach proper labels to all chemical containers. In the case of hazardous waste, labels must meet both RCRA regulations and DOT requirements prior to shipping.Storage containers must be in good condition. Leaking containers are a common source of environmental fines. Inspect tanks daily and check drums and similar containers weekly. Ensure aisle space is adequate to allow inspectors easy access to the facility. When waste is stored in tanks, regulations require secondary containment to prevent leaks or spills.Other common violations include the following:• Improper waste disposal,• Oil spills,• Destruction of wetlands,• Dumping into oceans, streams, lakes, or rivers,• Improperly hauling pesticides or other toxic chemicals,• Improperly removing and disposing of asbestos,• Falsifying lab data pertaining to environmental regulations,• Committing fraud related to environmental crime. These violations are considered white-collar crimes which can result in criminal fines, probation, jail time, injunctions, or any combination of these punishments. Regular audits can identify areas where potential violations exist. Recordkeeping Environmental regulations mandate organizations to document their environmental practices during the operations, storage, transportation and disposal of environmental waste streams. During a regulatory agency inspection, records are usually the first target for an inspector. Often the existence of accurate and easily accessible records may be all an inspector needs. It is also very important to document all environmental decisions. For example, whenever a facility has its waste streams analyzed and found to be non-hazardous, records of the information supporting that determination should be maintained and made readily available to an inspector. Relying on a sketchy explanation from a compliance manager can lead to an inspection report listing possible violations. Accurate, available and complete records save companies time, money and legal headaches. It is also important to give the inspector only what is requested. Often it is a good idea to take copies of the records to the inspector at a location away from where the records are kept. Create a Spill-Reporting Plan Under numerous statutes and regulations (notably Superfund), companies must notify the U.S. National Response Center immediately following the release of a reportable quantity of any hazardous substance or pollutant. As regulators decrease the time allowed between an incident and the reporting time, environmental authorities strictly enforce existing laws. In some cases, such as air pollution discharges, the permitted lag for reporting may be only minutes. An unintentional release or spill of a hazardous material can occur during a facility emergency where personnel are literally putting out fires or responding to other emergencies. For this reason, every facility must have written procedures for employees to follow whenever a release or spill occurs. The reporting plan must detail the facility’s emergency response procedures, telephone numbers of all agencies to be notified and who has the authority to report spills. Employees should be aware of these procedures and where they are readily accessible.  Not only do spill-reporting plans permit companies to respond immediately to emergencies but their existence is also evidence of a firm’s environmental responsibility to regulatory agencies that may question the company’s ability to respond to an emergency. It is important to conduct regular training sessions and practice incident responses so internal personnel and local response agencies are comfortable dealing with emergency scenarios.  Competitive Advantages Efforts to reduce and minimize waste can save companies money, reduce potential environmental liabilities, protect public health and worker health and safety, and protect the environment. Waste can be minimized through source reduction and recycling. Source reduction generally is more cost-effective and has less impact on the environment than reuse/recycling. Competitive advantages can be realized through the alignment of critical EHS factors along with a company’s value chain: the process by which products (or services) are conceived, produced, marketed, distributed, used and recycled or disposed of. Steps in an environmental management program include preventing common violations, maintaining accurate records, creating a spill-reporting plan, setting realistic limits and schedules for meeting the environmental regulations, and training employees in your program objectives and procedures. Companies must also establish a relationship with an attorney skilled in environmental law. The safety professional must be familiar with the most current environmental regulations covering such areas as the release and recovery of hazardous substances, air, water, soil pollution and toxic substance control.   ReferencesCaccavale, Salvatore. 2012. A Basic Guide to RCRA: Understanding Solid and Hazardous Waste Management. Des Plaines, IL: ASSP.Hagan, Philip. 2009. Administration and Programs. Itasca, IL: National Safety Council.Keegan, Robert. 2018-2019. Hazardous Materials, Substances, and Waste Compliance Guide. Kutztown, PA: Hazardous Materials Publishing Company Inc.USEPA. 2015. Waste Analysis at Facilities that Generate, Treat, Store, and Dispose of Hazardous Waste–A Guidance Manual. Washington, D.C. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.USEPA. 2015. Title V Policy and Guidance–Basic Information about Operating Permits. Washington, D.C. USEPA.USEPA. 2015. Guidance to Identify Waters protected by Clean Water Act. Washington, D.C. USEPA/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Salvatore Caccavale, CPEA, is president of IHN Environmental, Health and Safety Services. He has worked in corporate environmental, health, safety and security leadership roles for more than 30 years with companies such as BASF, Superior Bulk Logistics, A.M. Castle & Co., and Air Liquide Advanced Materials.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

Personal Protective Equipment Market Grows with Demand for Female Gear Options

Workplace hazards from contact with mechanical, physical, chemical, electrical or radiological components can lead to significant injuries. In fact, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), nearly 2.3 million workers worldwide, succumb to workplace accidents annually, amounting to nearly 6000 deaths per day. Furthermore, over 340 million work accidents & diseases claim nearly 160 million victims each year across the globe. The risk of these hazards can be considerably mitigated by promoting the usage of personal protective equipment or PPE. PPEs create a barrier between workers and their environment, thus shielding them from potential health or safety risks. While personal protective equipment is not the primary factor in the hazard control hierarchy, it still presents significant advantages when used appropriately. Personal protective equipment includes safety gear that shields workers from occupational injury or illness hazards. PPE includes a vast array of safety products designed to safeguard different parts of the human body, according to the exposure risk posed by the workplace. With awareness regarding workplace safety increasing, employers are proactively ensuring the availability of efficient PPE gear for employees. This allows them to not just safeguard their workers but also to mitigate costs usually lost on medical expenses, worker compensation and added production time. Companies are taking stock of the increasing demand for protective equipment and taking steps to cater to worker safety requirements. For instance, construction firm Skanska USA has recently revealed plans to provide safety gear designed especially for female workers. This move is characterized by the growing number of female workers in the construction industry, and lack of properly fitting female-oriented safety equipment. Rising awareness While immense developments have been made in the improvement of OSH over the past years, nearly 317 million non-fatal & 321,000 fatal occupational accidents occur worldwide each year. This means that every 15 seconds, almost 151 workers experience a work-related hazard. One of the primary factors contributing to OSH is the use of personal protective equipment. In fact, PPE was the largest segment at the A+A event, the world’s biggest safety, security and health trade fair. The Dusseldorf-based event saw over 1,100 exhibitors this year in the PPE segment. The German PPE market volume also witnessed a profound increase from €1.92 billion in 2016 to nearly €2.23 billion in 2018. This massive development is largely attributable to employers’ rising propensity towards safeguarding and educating their workers regarding workplace safety. The manufacturing sector, in general, requires a vast array of protective gear as the industry comprises myriad application areas that may pose diverse risks. For example, face and eye protection gear like helmets, goggles and hand shields are required in the welding industry. This is due to the high risk of exposure to radiation, irritation, chemical burns and intense light in the sector. Emergence of stringent regulatory standards  The provision of personal protective equipment to workers is mandatory for employers in order to comply with stringent regulatory policies. Authorities like OSHA have enlisted certain mandates which require employers to safeguard their workers against any hazard they may encounter in the workplace. Furthermore, the ANSI and EU have issued updated safety standards urging PPE manufacturers to produce comfortable, ergonomic products. Following numerous PPE safety revisions since 2016, there has also been a profound change in the production of work gloves. Safety managers across several industries follow standards set by the National Electrical Safety Code or NESC. It outlines various rules for the protection of workers and the public during operation, installation, maintenance and other such activities.  Likewise, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA 70E, also enables firms to avoid workplace accidents and deaths caused by electrocution, shock, arc flash, etc. Rising demand for efficient hand safety equipment Employee hand injuries comprised over one million medical emergencies in the U.S. per year, of which around 70% are a result of lack of effective safety gear. These statistics are a testament to the importance of using personal protective equipment in the workplace, particularly gloves. The primary application of safety gloves is to protect the hands against greasy or oily substances in the workplace. These products are used across myriad industries including construction, chemical, automobile, mining, metal fabrication and more. The gloves are used extensively for their oil and water-resistant properties, better grip and anti-impact characteristics. Safety gloves are usually multipurpose and can be used to safeguard workers against various workplace risks. OSHA has introduced numerous safety gear guidelines to be employed under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. PPE manufacturers have been upgrading and redesigning products accordingly in order to maintain optimum compliance with safety standards. Global Market Insights Inc. has a market report dedicated to global personal protective equipment. Saloni Walimbe is a content writing professional for Global Market Insights.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

Mezzanine Safety Comes at Different Heights

Mezzanines are a great way to increase the storage capacity and amount of usable floor space of any office, warehouse, manufacturing or retail facility. With these benefits come new risks, in the form of working at heights. Worker safety needs to be at the forefront of every business owners’ mind, especially when it comes to their physical working environment. Why Think About Mezzanine Safety? The UK government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published research pertaining to height-related accidents at work in Great Britain in 2018-19. The evidence showed that deaths caused by falling from a height at work have actually increased from the previous year, to 40 fatalities. Estimates show that around 44,400 injuries at work occurred during the same period happened as a result of falling from a height. This works out to 121 every day. The United States Department of Labor has published findings that reveal work-related fatal falls to a lower level actually increased by 26% between 2011 and 2016. In 2016 there were 697 fatal falls, and over the six-year period, there were a staggering 3,723 deaths. The evidence demonstrates why it’s important to prioritize safety at work, especially when there are risks of falling – such as from a mezzanine. In addition to taking care of your employees, achieving safety will also help take care of your business. Employees who suffer injuries at work will need to take time out of work to recover from their injuries. Depending on their role, it might be necessary to find cover for this work, which could then lead to extra costs. It’s no secret that when injuries happen at work, employers are often liable. Today’s television and radio is saturated with ‘no-win-no-fee’ style adverts for lawyers ‘ specializing’ in workplace injuries, which means the likelihood of a lawsuit against you is fairly high. Tips for Achieving a Safe Mezzanine Work environments of all kinds that have a mezzanine need to adhere to safety precautions in order to protect their staff. Here are some considerations to make; Make sure there is sufficient edge protection on the mezzanine. Handrails and kickboards should be installed on all outer edges of the mezzanine, as well as the stairs and walkways used to access it. Proper edge protection will lower the chances of human accidents which could result in a fall, as well as stop items from falling off the platform. Install quality pallet gates. Any openings on the side of the mezzanine, such as for pallet and/or lift access, should be properly protected with adequate gates. Keep the mezzanine well-organized and clear of clutter. All open spaces on the mezzanine where people could walk should be kept entirely clear of objects. Likewise, any boxes, equipment, or machinery should be made secure to avoid their being moved and potentially tripped on. Provide adequate lighting in the whole mezzanine area. It’s important that the entire mezzanine space is well-lit so that anyone using it can easily see where they are walking and moving around. Dark spaces will increase the chance of people tripping and possibly even falling. Pay attention to the weight capacity of the structure. At the time of the installation, those who have constructed the mezzanine will advise the maximum weight capacity of the platform. This information must be adhered to and considered when it comes to deciding on what machinery and/or equipment is stored on the mezzanine, and also how many people will be using it at any one time. Give your employees thorough, and regular safety training. Safety Check After you have carried out these actions and determined that the mezzanine is as safe as possible, it’s important to maintain this. To make sure the space remains safe, carry out regular checks to see if the above tips are being adhered to. Consider appointing health and safety champions to work through a checklist like this one: Are all the light bulbs working properly? Are the stairs and walkways clear of clutter? Is there sufficient edge protection on all the outer sides? Are pallet gates working and in good condition? Have all new staff members been given safety training? Have long-term employees been given safety training refreshers? Aside from the duty of care to look after your employees, it’s important to look after your business by implementing adequate protection policies. Avoid workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities by considering the various ways to protect your staff while they are working from the height of your mezzanine floor. Kirstin Monk is a marketing manager at Hi-Level Mezzanines, a European mezzanine floor manufacturer. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Webinar: Safety Leadership Conference – Day of Learning

Date: Thursday, December 12, 2019Time: 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m and 3:00 p.m. EST (GMT -5, New York)Duration: 3 - 1 Hour SessionsEvent Type: Live WebinarsCost: Free Register Today for One, Two or all Three of these Sessions!  Session 1 – 11:00 a.m. EST | Issues Facing Women in Construction Learn more about this session with Kathleen Dobson Session 2 – 1:00 p.m. EST | How EnTrans Uses Error Reduction Tools to Improve Incident Investigations: An America’s Safest Company Success StoryLearn more about this session with Karen Czor Session 3 – 3:00 p.m. EST | Building a Safety Culture in the Compliance-Driven Construction IndustryLearn more about this session with Sarah Currie Description Session 1 – 11:00 a.m. EST | Issues Facing Women in ConstructionRegister Women comprise about 9% of the workforce in construction, and the challenges they face begin when they choose a career in construction and when companies and trades recruit women into the industry. Perceptions are not always accurate about what women can and should do, and they continue once a woman enters the industry. Even in the age of #metoo, many women in construction are bullied, harassed and face lack of inclusion and opportunities to advance. Other concerns women face include the lack of properly-fitting PPE, poor sanitation conditions, and ergonomic problems related to tools and material handling. Learning Objectives The barriers to recruiting women in construction, and how to overcome them. To identify methods to help retain women in the construction industry and how to combat negative situations that women may face in their own companies. How to help colleagues evaluate and address these issues and adopt these solutions within their own companies and projects. Kathleen Dobson, Safety Director, Alberici ConstructorsKathi Dobson is a 20+ year veteran of the construction industry and of Alberici Constructors, Inc. Prior to her work in construction, she was a hospital-based critical care nurse. She works throughout the country supporting safe work efforts. Her missions: to enhance the success of women in construction, and to support the industry through efforts advancing safety through diversity & inclusion. Session 2 – 1:00 p.m. EST | How EnTrans Uses Error Reduction Tools to Improve Incident Investigations: An America’s Safest Company Success StoryRegister Error reduction tools have been used in many organizations to address quality and performance issues, but until recently these tools have not been implemented to improve corrective actions from safety incidents. EnTrans, a winner of the 2018 America’s Safest Companies Award, has used the error reduction tools of error traps and triggers as part of the incident investigation process for two years, resulting in increased corrective actions that are based on system and organizational issues. Learning Objectives Training on basic error reduction theory, the error traps and triggers tool, and implementation of this tool in incident investigation. How to use error traps and triggers data to develop safety programs to reduce injury risk. Hands-on activities for understanding the tool and using it to perform an incident investigation in small groups. Karen Czor, Corporate Director of Risk Management, EnTrans InternationalKaren Czor is the Director of Risk Management for EnTrans International. In this role, she leads the corporate risk management efforts including environmental, health and safety functions. During her time with EnTrans the company TRIR has reduced by more than 50%. EnTrans International and has won numerous industry safety awards, as well as EHS Today’s Americas Safety Company 2018 Award. Session 3 – 3:00 p.m. EST | Building a Safety Culture in the Compliance-Driven Construction IndustryRegister One of the biggest challenges in the construction industry is complying with all of the rules and regulations while still trying to run a profitable operation – and sometimes that challenge hinders the safety culture of your company. This session will offer tangible ways to improve safety culture from the top down. It will help you create forms that include everything you need for compliance, but that are also helpful to your employees doing the work. Learn how to lessen the compliance burden and grow a culture where management and employees work together as a team. Learning Objectives How to replace your old compliance reports with more impactful, less time-consuming ones. How to quit thinking in terms of compliance and start thinking about how to build up your safety culture. Tricks and tools to get a real picture of your safety culture and replace compliance-driven metrics. Sara Currie, Safety & Compliance, Tice Electric Co.Sara is a licensed electrician in the states of Oregon and Washington. She took on the role of Safety and Compliance at Tice Electric Company in 2016. Sara sits on many industry committees in an effort to understand and address challenges regarding safety in construction. Register .uuid-a929e719-3d18-4c2f-8ad0-040651217c77 {height:1000px; width:100%; } Sponsored by Technical Details This webinar will be conducted using a slides-and-audio format.  After you complete your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the webinar. System test (opens in a new window) Let's block ads! (Why?)

Asbestos Continues to Pose Health and Safety Issues

Another week, another slate of asbestos-related stories. Despite having been banned for 20 years now, asbestos seems to be cropping up in the news more than ever. From cases of sudden and debilitating illness to asbestos being improperly disposed of, it doesn’t seem like this deadly substance is going away anytime soon. The latest cases relate to a variety of products that apparently contain (or contained) asbestos. Given that asbestos is still legal to produce or use in over 100 countries, can we be sure that the substance isn’t making it into goods we use every day, and are worries about the effects of asbestos in products justified? Drink ‘til You Drop The concept of asbestos polluting consumer goods is far from alien. Back when asbestos was considered a ‘miracle material’ - due largely to its heat and electrical resistance - hundreds of products advertised themselves as containing asbestos. Asbestos toothpaste was supposed to give you a whiter smile, asbestos insoles would help support your feet, and asbestos cigarette filters would give you a smoother taste. There was even asbestos snow, which purported to be more realistic than the alternatives, and wouldn’t catch light around Christmas candles. While most of these unusual uses for asbestos fell out of fashion by the 1960s, asbestos continued to be used in many popular products. Asbestos was commonly found in hairdryers, ironing boards and other appliances which heated up, as well as car brake pads, lab equipment, ashtrays and more. The legacy of these products continues to make itself known, with one case recently of a man who contracted mesothelioma as a hairdresser, due to cleaning and repairing hair dryers over the decades. Even when the dangers of asbestos were better publicized, however, the substance still made its way into popular products. While brown and blue asbestos were banned at a fairly early stage, it was believed for many decades that white asbestos was relatively harmless. The substance was still used to filter beer right up until the 1980s, and some bar owners would reportedly throw handfuls of asbestos into leftover beer to ‘clean’ it for the following day. While there is no conclusive evidence, some believe that the use of asbestos in beer production is directly linked to a spike in esophageal cancer cases. Poisonous Powder The presence of asbestos in modern consumer products has perhaps been a more visible issue in the United States than the UK. The most high profile case is that of Johnson & Johnson, who were recently embroiled in a lengthy case over the safety of their best-selling baby powder. The company was sued by numerous people who claimed that asbestos-contaminated talc was used in the powder for decades, and that it had contributed to many cases of cancer, chiefly the development of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson have so far paid almost $4.7 billion in settlements over these lawsuits, with tests and written evidence proving that the products not only did contain harmful levels of asbestos, but that the company was aware of the issue. While J&J have contested both the presence of asbestos and its role in causing those instances of cancer, the FDA has subsequently found asbestos in a brand new batch of the product, which the company has voluntarily recalled. This is far from the only case of asbestos appearing in modern consumer products, however. Cosmetics frequently use talc too, and depending on where it’s sourced from and the rigorousness of the testing, they are also prone to contamination. Kids’ store Claire’s opted to recall a number of products due to asbestos contamination, though not until some months after US authorities flagged up issues with several of their products. Fellow tween chain Justice also recalled seven of its products after a newspaper investigation paid for private testing. Product Safety So what is the present danger of asbestos in our products today? The use or production of asbestos has been banned in the UK for 20 years; by law, no products should be allowed to contain asbestos, regardless of where they have been produced. Many alternatives to asbestos for fire resistance and electrical insulation have been produced, and accidental contamination with asbestos is rare. However, this does not mean that there is no reason to be vigilant about the substance. As recent cases in the United States prove, asbestos remains an issue where testing and regulation are not in step with companies and demand. Asbestos continues to be used legally in the U.S. in an industrial capacity, simply because the viable alternatives are slightly more expensive. Its presence in makeup and talcum powder meanwhile point to insufficient testing on the part of companies, poor practices in terms of mining or processing, and the relative powerlessness of the authorities to enforce their own standards and recalls. Just as many products make their way into the UK via eBay or Amazon that break EU safety standards, so products contaminated with asbestos can slip through the cracks. And none of this is to mention the continuing legacy of asbestos products in the UK, which linger in attics, landfill, charity shops, old brownfield sites and more. If nothing else, the stories about asbestos contaminated products reflect the need for vigilance over this age-old problem - and the continuing need for regulation to punish unscrupulous traders. Lee Sadd is an operations and training director at health & safety consultancy SAMS Ltd. SAMS is a provider of online asbestos courses, and offers a range of classroom courses, business advisory services and event management solutions. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Protecting Your Workers from Contaminated Drinking Water

Lead exposure is not a new risk to those who work in the manufacturing, construction and service sectors. However, one of the most common sources of lead poisoning—contaminated drinking water—is often an overlooked area of concern on job sites and in the workplace. Although the United States government has been working to reduce lead exposure within its communities for decades, concern among citizens has continued to grow because of incidents like the water crisis in Flint, Mich. and ongoing lead contamination issues in Newark, N.J.  According to the book “Happiness at Work” by Jessica Pryce-Jones, the average American spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. With this much of our time spent at the office, on the road, or on job sites, it’s equally important to be aware of the quality of your drinking water and vigilant about potential sources of water contamination both at home and work.  Lines to Exposure In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated there were approximately 10 million lead water service lines in the United States. Despite efforts to remove these lines and reduce exposure to lead, about 6.1 million lead lines remain today and continue to contaminate tap water of communities throughout the country. Even buildings without lead service lines are at risk for contamination, as many brass and iron pipes are soldered with lead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports some public drinking water fountains use lead-lined tanks in offices and schools.  Water passing through these fixtures wears down the metal through a process known as corrosion, and trace amounts of lead are deposited in water. Most consumers are unable to detect the presence of lead in drinking water by sight, taste, or smell—so, it’s imperative to find out what’s in your drinking water. Health Effects The current U.S. legal limit on the amount of lead in water is 15-parts-per-billion. By comparison, the legal lead limit in Canada is 5-parts-per-billion. U.S. communities face health risks as a result of these increased limits and the effects have been well documented.Children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning, with negative health impacts such as developmental delay, learning difficulties, hearing loss, digestive issues, and abdominal pain. More than 500,000 U.S. kids aged one to five have elevated amounts of lead in their blood, at levels in which health actions are recommended, according to CDC data.Pregnant women also face increased risk from lead exposure, and negative effects include an increased chance of miscarriage and damage to the baby’s brain, kidney, and nervous system.   Adults with prolonged exposure to lead may deal with health effects such as:•  Joint and muscle pain•  High blood pressure•  Heart disease•  Difficulties with memory or concentration•  Headache•  Abdominal pain•  Kidney disease•  Reduced fertility•  Mood disorders. Many people aren’t aware of their exposure to lead until it’s too late, which is why prevention is the best method for combating these negative health effects. Read the water quality report in your city and determine what actions to take at home and in the workplace to minimize your exposure to lead in drinking water. Common Myths As mentioned earlier, many people mistakenly believe “flushing” reduces exposure to lead in drinking water—but that’s not the only misconception.Other common myths about lead in drinking water include:1. There’s a safe level of lead exposure for drinking and cookingFalse: Although the U.S. legal limit for the amount of lead is 15-parts-per-billion, the World Health Organization and water experts agree there is no safe amount of lead exposure.2. Only older buildings and homes are affectedFalse: The CDC reports that most buildings constructed before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint and the EPA notes any building less than five years old likely has lead-contaminated water. This is because of the use of lead to solder pipes in modern facilities.3. If my city’s annual water report is clean, my water is safeFalse: Even if a city’s water passes lead testing, lead can still contaminate water in your home and workplace through interior pipes or the pipes connecting the building to the main water line.4. Boiling your water helpsFalse: Boiling water containing lead increases the toxic metal’s concentration. Hot water is more corrosive than cold water and causes lead to dissolve faster, which is why it’s important to avoid cooking with lead-contaminated water.5. All water filters remove leadFalse: Many common filters are only designed to remove chlorine in order to improve taste, which means lead can still be present in filtered water. When purchasing a filter, choose one that has been certified to remove lead. Specifically, look for NSF/ANSI 53 and 58 certified filters, which are tested by NSF International—an independent, not-for-profit organization that aims to prevent adverse health effects and protect the environment. Reducing Exposure The first step toward reducing your exposure to lead is to address the drinking water in both the home and workplace. Many people believe running cold water through a tap before drinking (a process known as “flushing”) reduces the presence of lead—but researchers found this practice may actually increase exposure. One effective way to reduce exposure would be to replace the 6.1 million lead water service lines. Lead lines are continuously being removed throughout the U.S., but at an average rate of 0.5% per year, it will take nearly two centuries to replace the whole system. As a result, water experts recommend installing independently tested and certified water filters in homes, workplaces, schools and more to reduce lead exposure. The two most effective filtration methods for addressing lead are reverse osmosis and ion exchange. • Reverse Osmosis: This filtration process pushes a solvent or micron through a porous membrane which removes nearly everything larger than a water molecule. Basically, this process removes lead in addition to other particles such as fluoride, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and asbestos.• Ion Exchange: Ion exchange works like a magnet. Basically, the filter uses a potassium ion to bond to and grab heavy metal contaminants, such as lead from water sources. Some of these filters are capable of removing 99% of lead along with other contaminants. Filtration systems utilizing these methods provide clean, healthy water that’s safe to drink and tastes great. If having a certified water filter installed in the workplace is not an option, the most effective way to reduce your exposure to lead-contaminated water outside of the home is to bring your own bottle of water to the office and on job sites. Bring a reusable bottle with clean, filtered water from home, or consider using a bottle with a built-in filter that removes lead and other contaminants on the spot.  On the Path to Lead-Free Water  Although communities across the U.S. are taking steps to phase out aging pipes and water infrastructure that have the potential of leaching lead, it is an expensive and slow-moving process. In the meantime, individuals and private sector businesses can take their own action by educating themselves and their workforce about the negative effects of being exposed to this toxic metal through drinking water and employing independently tested and certified filtration options as a first line of defense against lead-contaminated water.  EHSDerek Mellencamp is the general manager and CMO of Aquasana (, maker of water treatment products including whole house, under sink, countertop and shower filtration solutions.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Navy Way: How to Ratchet Up Your Organization’s Safety Culture

What is your focus? Is it safety? Operations? Can it be both? Most organizations demand absolute safety across the entire range of operations. That devolves into easy slogans: “Safety First,” “Safety is our Number One Priority,” or “No Safety, Know Pain.” If you shift your collective aimpoint toward precision in your daily operations, not only will you achieve and retain the level of safety we all desire, you will also improve the performance of your team. A Navy aircraft squadron contains many moving parts. We often operate out of a fixed location, but can just as easily find ourselves working over vast expanses far from each other. Additionally, the requirements to safely operate and maintain aircraft increasingly are technical and the operating environment changes all the time. Within these challenges, squadrons succeed. We launch and recover aircraft, change large engines, repair electronic equipment, and fix extremely complicated fuel and hydraulic systems. All safely. In fact, we treat safety as the by-product of precision operations. Every day, small incremental improvements to every aspect of the operation enhance safety. The process we use to ensure this success can be collated into three key areas:  1. Ensure every member of the team knows where we’re headed.2. Operators hold key positions within the safety department.3. Leaders stay engaged.  These three key elements lead to continued precision operations—all while keeping a safety focus on everything we do. ALIGNMENT Let’s start with alignment. Knowing the end goal, or alignment, in an organization should become your first priority. Without it, your team is a gaggle of arrows all with their own agendas. You need to back up and develop a cohesive strategy of where you are headed.  Picture it as a lighthouse drawing everyone toward a common objective. Each member of the team may not follow the exact same path to get there, but you can be sure the path they do take is at least heading toward a common goal and is less likely to be in conflict with the path the rest of your team is taking.  You could develop that strategy by yourself or with a handful of your closest supervisors. However, a better process brings in key leaders from every level of your organization and develops the strategy together. This open planning model will achieve faster buy-in from the team and garner more personal support because a larger leadership team helped define what that future picture (or lighthouse) actually looks like. ROTATING ORGANIZATION Next, become a “Rotating Organization.” Today’s EHS regulations really require a group of professionals in order to ensure compliance. EHS professionals typically spend a few short years in a specific operational aspect of an industry before moving into the EHS field. This provides a great base of operational knowledge, but as these professionals grow and advance to more senior positions within the EHS department, the distance between where they started and their position as EHS leaders can introduce potential conflict areas with the operations team.  Without direct responsibility for operations, their operational knowledge can atrophy. So what drives what? Does safety drive operations, or is it the other way around? Too often, leaders and managers will preach safety, but when operational pressures mount, safety gets pushed aside.  This typical and current path of developing EHS leaders means we create exceptional knowledge of the EHS regulations, but lose the sense of the challenges faced by operations. The opposite also is true. Operators with no direct EHS background often lose, or simply don’t care about the challenges of the EHS team.  Navy squadrons battle this serious challenge by ensuring a regular rotation of operators in and out of the EHS department. This very conscious decision builds a more robust understanding of how safety integrates across the organization and aids tremendously with all operations as the operational processes are built from the ground up with EHS principles in place at the foundational level. This serves to greatly reduce the possibility that when faced with the competing priorities of safety and operations, neither loses as safety is simply a by-product of those operations, not an actual competing priority. Within your organization, rotate operational leaders into the EHS department at key leadership positions. Time on the EHS team should be sufficient to expand the operational leader’s knowledge of the EHS challenge and infuse the current EHS team with a renewed sense of those operational challenges. Every day should be used to look for ways to improve and combine EHS and operational principles together into a harmonious relationship. TARGET YOUR FOCUS Finally, target your focus as a leader. Too often a leader’s focus aims at the current fires of the day. This reactionary approach keeps an organization mired in the average. Every day, fires do certainly exist that require a leader’s time, but it is imperative to get out in front of the fires to make an impact to the daily operation. So handle the fires efficiently, and then begin to focus on refining every part of your operation into a precision operation.  Through targeted leadership, you will commit the precious resources of time, energy and money to the proper areas within your organization. Leaders at every level need to move well beyond catchy slogans at the beginning of the work shift, and focus on where the operation is failing to be precise. Precision operations lead to predictable results.  As leaders in a Navy squadron, every day presented areas that needed refinement. We constantly looked at our processes for that incremental improvement. And since we had often spent time within the EHS department, we looked at every process with an eye toward incorporating those EHS principles and regulations. The result became a learning organization that purposely sought to get better with each hour, each minute, each second of time.  We were never satisfied with our current success. We wanted to improve everywhere, always. We debriefed everything. The result was a phenomenal safety record, especially considering the nature of our operations—flying high-performance aircraft all over the world, regardless of weather, and often from a small ship or foreign airfield that we have never been to before.  Begin to be specific about your leadership focus. Distance yourself from simply saying “be safe out there,” and apply your expertise to continuous improvement of every process with an eye for precision.Implementing these three key strategic decisions will drive your organization to a direct improvement of every measured parameter along the way. This effort takes time and focus, but through a dedicated decision to apply your precious resources differently, you will see a change to your safety culture. You will become a learning organization. You will become more precise in your operation and a more high-performing team. Mission accomplishment by luck is not success. You want to know that success is deliberate.... and no slogan can you get there. Shawn Grenier is an authority on organizational safety and performance for The Corps Group (, a company dedicated to building high-performing teams. As a Naval Aviator for over 25 years, he has over 400 arrested landings and 3,300 hours in tactical fighters. After leaving the US Navy, he supported the offshore oil and gas industry evaluating and training precision teams, and today is a pilot for a major airline as well as leading corporations in development of their strategic goals.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Golden Zone: Reducing Stresses While Increasing Profits

A busy warehouse filled with thousands of items, buzzing with equipment and lift trucks can pose many safety risks for the employees responsible for fulfilling the orders. Keeping workers safer while maintaining a competitive operation is no easy task.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:• Musculoskeletal disorders account for 34% of the days away from work (DAFW) cases in manufacturing, with sprains, strains and tears the leading types of injuries that occur.• Overexertion and bodily reaction rose 1,350 cases to 8310 in 2017 in warehousing and storage operations.• Slips, trips and falls in warehousing rose 480 cases to 3030.• Four minor level occupation groups accounted for 67% of DAFW cases in 2017, including other production workers (30,210 cases); metal and plastic workers (19,610 cases); and material moving workers (15,260 cases). The fourth group among these—assemblers and fabricators—was the only one with a decrease, down 900 DAFW cases in 2017 to 12,140.A more recent study by Liberty Mutual reveals that workplace injuries cost U.S. companies over $1 billion per week. According to the Liberty Mutual 2019 Safety Index, the most costly causes of workplace injuries and illnesses are:• Overexertion costs $13.11 billion• Falls on the same level cost $10.38 billion• Struck by object or equipment costs $5.22 billion• Slip or trip costs $2.18 billion• Repetitive motion injuries cost $1.59 billion.The total cost of the most disabling workplace injuries is $55.43 billion annually. When it comes to material handling, back injuries are one of the most common issues. Lifting and moving equipment, pallets and boxes in the warehouse can lead to fatigue and injury, primarily when the worker performs the task repeatedly for long periods. AN ERGONOMIC STRATEGY FOR ORDER PICKINGThe “golden zone” represents the pick window that corresponds to the waist level of a material handler. Typically, the range of the window begins at knee height and closes just below shoulder elevation. The belief is that this window minimizes lifting, reaching and bending motions, especially away from the recommended carry position, with the item close to the body, at waist level. This reduction in movement minimizes strain, which helps reduce the potential for injury.While the golden zone helps workers pick items safely, it primarily is designed around improving efficiency, helping workers pick the fastest-moving items more quickly and with less effort. To optimize the benefit of the golden zone, analyze SKUs in your operation, and set the fastest moving items on shelves or carton flow lanes that reside within that window.A typical analysis might look like the following:Pallets: Items with a throughput of 40 cubic feet or more would stay on a pallet. The amount of handling needed negates the benefit of depalletizing to load into another system.Shelving: Store items with a throughput of less than four cubic feet on shelves or wire decks. These are very slow-moving products that don’t require many inventory requirements but are necessary for customer satisfaction.Dynamic Storage: These items fall between the fast movers and the slow movers and typically represent about 20% of a facility’s throughput but perhaps 80% of the effort. Store these items in a medium that increases retrieval efficiency. Examples of solutions include automated storage & retrieval systems ($$$), carousels ($$) and carton flow ($).These throughputs are just a starting point and will vary by facility depending on things such as employee count, average replenishment time, overall throughput, etc.After assigning all the items to a bucket, it’s time to begin slotting them into locations. Here’s where we start to see the power of the golden zone. By assigning the fastest moving items to locations within the golden zone, we ensure that the items that see the most action are the items that are the most optimized. There are some exceptions to the golden zone that we’ll need to address on a case by case basis, namely large items and heavy items.Reserve the bottom levels of shelves and carton flow systems for heavy items. Heavier items need to be lifted correctly using the worker’s legs, not their back or shoulders, so the back is not strained or injured. Test the weight of the item before lifting. If you are raising a box or tote, make sure that the items inside are stable and don’t shift suddenly, throwing the worker off guard, which could lead to an injury. The recommended weight limit for safely lifting items is:• Standing straight up, workers can lift 50 lbs. keeping it right in front of their stomach area or power zone, at about 40” above ground.• If the worker reaches out 10 inches, the worker can safely lift between 41 and 47 lbs. before straining their backs.• If the worker reaches out 15 inches, he/she can safely lift 35 lbs.; if they reach out 20 inches, the worker can safely lift 26 lbs., If they reach out 25”, they can safely lift 20 lbs.It’s clear from the above guidelines that the bottom level is the best location for heavyweight items.Large (but not heavy) items pose their challenges. Consider storing bulky items outside of a system, but if it’s necessary to include it, the top-level is usually the best spot for it. The reason is that the top-level has the most clearance. Placing a tall item on the bottom level of a storage system might require the levels above to be higher, reducing the effectiveness of the golden zone. Putting light but bulky up top is a best practice.  Brian C. Neuwirth is president of UNEX Manufacturing Inc. (, a provider of order picking solutions designed to maximize space usage, increase pick rates and improve ergonomics. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Test Your Knowledge of ISO 45001

How well do you know ISO 45001? Take Avetta’s quiz to test your knowledge! Winner will take home one of two $50 Amazon gift cards! Best of luck to all participants! Sponsored By:  Please enable javascript!.uuid-79a98fdf-dac8-4308-bc93-8367a530c6e3 {position:relative; } .uuid-e413210f-a408-49af-8d9e-ca02065a09f0 {position:relative; } Let's block ads! (Why?)