Author Archives: OH&S News

Winter Slips, Trips and Falls: Avoiding Injury and Incidents in the Workplace

Winter Slips, Trips and Falls: Avoiding Injury and Incidents in the Workplace Employers have a responsibility to take the right precautions and prepare their employees for any weather conditions. By David PerecmanJan 27, 2021 Ensuring a safe work environment is an important action an employer must take to protect the safety of staff, management and consumers from injury and accidents. Winter months pose a unique challenge for employers, as inclement weather conditions can be unpredictable and swiftly create unsafe surroundings. According to SFM, the average winter slip and fall lost-time claim is between $40,000 and $45,000. Proactive employer preparedness is essential to prevent costs related to accidents, lost time from work and harmful legal actions. Preventing Common Winter Workplace Hazards Knowing the common winter weather-related hazards in the workplace can help an employer identify where an injury could potentially take place and prevent it from occurring. Sidewalks, Streets and Floors. Un-shoveled sidewalks and streets can pose a serious threat to workers and others who enter the building or facility site. Sidewalks and streets should be salted after snowstorms and ice storms in order to improve walking traction and prevent falls. All snow, ice and debris should be removed from walkways or common areas before workers return to the workplace following any weather events. Employers should encourage their workers to walk slowly and pay attention while walking in order to maintain safety in slippery areas. Gutters should also be checked regularly and drained away from walkways in order to prevent slips. Lastly, mats should be placed in entryways to help reduce water being tracked indoors. Stairs and Ladders. Even without winter weather, a fall from a stair step or a ladder is likely to cause injury. Factors like broken or nonexistent handrails or deteriorating steps can increase the risk of a slip or fall. Running, not using a handrail or walking on a wet ladder or stairs can also increase the risks of hazards. Elevated Heights. Falls from elevated heights, such as snow-covered rooftops, can bring serious or fatal injuries. Employers in industries like construction should ensure that rooftops are cleared of snow, as they may conceal fall-through hazards like skylights, powerlines and snow removal equipment. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Contact Tracing: The Cogency and the Controversy

Contact Tracing: The Cogency and the Controversy While contact tracing can be performed manually, there are a number of worker-safety apps available that will save you time and money. By Gen HandleyJan 26, 2021 Chances are very high that your working situation has changed in some since the pandemic hit. That might mean you are now working remotely from a home office—or whatever that may look like for you—or you are working alone and in isolation because of quarantine and social-distancing guidelines. Because of this new work landscape, employers are utilizing new tools to keep their team members safe and connected through automated lone worker-safety tools and technology. Used for Centuries One technology that has emerged during this time is contact tracing—which identifies those who have been in contact with an infected person, tests them for the virus, then treats them if needed—finding and isolating cases before it spreads within the organization. While contact tracing can be performed manually, there are a number of worker-safety apps available that will save you time and money. Contact tracing may be new to some of us, but it has actually been employed for centuries, going back to northern Italy in 1576 where Andrea Gratiolo used it to track those infected by the bubonic plague. This tool has been instrumental in helping contain outbreaks of the deadly virus and prevent it from spreading. Privacy Controversy In spite of the many, major benefits of contact tracing, there is some controversy surrounding the technology. When a system or app traces the people who could have possibly been infected by COVID-19, it also documents data like the worker’s location, who they interacted with and personal health information. In an article from peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, it was discovered that “most of the [contact tracing] applications in use or under consideration have an impact on individual privacy that democratic societies would normally consider to be unacceptably high.” The article goes on to say that the people being monitored “must express consent for all collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.” Let's block ads! (Why?)

BCSP Announces Award of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

BCSP Announces Award of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of the organization's most prestigious awards. Jan 25, 2021 The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of the organization's most prestigious awards. Thomas Cecich, CSP received the BCSP Lifetime Achievement Award. Tricia Kragerer, CSP received the CSP Award of Excellence; Umair Shahab Shahid, CSP, ASP the ASP Award of Excellence; Steven Mercer, CSP, ASP, OHST the OHST Award of Excellence; Jordan Hollingsworth, CSP, CHST the CHST Award of Excellence; and Sondra Lavoie, CHST, STS the STS Award of Excellence. There were many submissions sent to the BCSP Awards Committee from a multitude of exceptional safety practitioners. After deliberating, these six outstanding recipients received their awards today, January 21, 2021, as part of a virtual awards ceremony. BCSP is proud of the work of these certificants and enjoys joining with colleagues in sharing appreciation of excellence in safety professionalism by honoring these certificants' leadership, knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the advancement of safety, health, and environmental (SH&E) practice. Upon receiving his award, Cecich thanked BCSP, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), those whose safety he has ensured throughout his career, his colleagues in the safety profession, and his wife, Erica Cecich. "There are times when it is very difficult being a safety professional; however, throughout my career, I've always been able to be refreshed by our network of like-minded professionals. I can't personally thank everyone who has helped me achieve this honor, but I can thank you for being a part of a professional body that has helped me achieve much more than I could have individually." BCSP is proud to recognize these award recipients who contributed a great amount to the SH&E profession. We thank those who submitted nominations, encourage future submissions, and appreciate all efforts to advance safety practice. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Embrace Technology to Get the Most Out of Remote Audits and Management Systems

Embrace Technology to Get the Most Out of Remote Audits and Management Systems Technology has been an audit enabler for businesses to effectively manage risk and remain compliant with ISO management system standards. By Bill BarnesJan 25, 2021 While COVID-19 brought disruptions to on-site certification audits around the world, remote audit capabilities have ensured that many businesses are able to continue with their compliance schedules despite challenging circumstances. Remote auditing services allow technical experts to review documentation and conduct interviews and site tours using technology while maintaining the high standards of onsite audits and offering flexibility for businesses. In March 2020, the pandemic halted plans to travel to Johnstown, Pennsylvania to conduct a ten-day, on-site renewal visit at North American Hoganas (NA Hoganas) for the company’s certified ISO 14001 standard and OHSAS 18001 transition to ISO 45001. NA Hoganas is the world leader on the market for iron and metal powders with a yearly capacity of 500,000 tons. The organization was founded in 1797 and develops solutions for automotive components, brazing, electrical motors, additive manufacturing and water treatment. As travel concerns spread around the country, emergency orders issued by Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, confirmed that all non-essential work activities must cease. A subsequent risk assessment led by Dave Johnson, EHS Manager at NA Hoganas, confirmed that while the company’s operations were deemed essential, an assessment visit was not. In response, NA Hoganas agreed to conduct a partial remote assessment to confirm the effectiveness of the company’s integrated management system by reviewing core management elements online. This enabled the extension of the May certificate expiration date to November 2020, in accordance with IAF MD4, ISO 17021 and IAF MD3 requirements. Through bi-weekly team training web meetings since the start of stay-at-home orders, the team of managers and assessors collaborated on developing and sharing best practices and tackling challenges in the remote “field” so that audits could be adapted to the conditions, retain quality and independence and get back on track. Some of the insights shared included: Let's block ads! (Why?)

Biden Chooses Steel Worker Safety Official for OSHA Leadership Position

Biden Chooses Steel Worker Safety Official for OSHA Leadership Position Former United Steelworkers safety official Jim Frederick will act as OSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor. By Nikki Johnson-BoldenJan 22, 2021 Jim Frederick, a former safety official at United Steelworkers, has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA as part of President Biden’s transition team, according to Bloomberg Law. Frederick began serving in this interim position on Jan. 20. He previously served as the assistant health and safety director at United Steelworkers for 24 years. It is reported that Frederick will help steer OSHA into a new direction that prioritizes worker protection. “There is no stronger advocate for worker safety in this country than Jim Frederick,” said Tom Conway, International President of United Steelworkers. “He brings to OSHA not just a deep commitment to safer workplaces for all Americans, but the expertise and experience to get the job done right.” The United Steelworkers voiced its approval of Frederick’s appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, as well as the appointment of Joseph T. Hughes Jr. to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pandemic and Emergency Response position at OSHA. Hughes’ position could be heavily involved with matters concerning President Biden’s coronavirus relief package, which includes the passing of a COVID-19 protection standard from OSHA. About the Author Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety. Let's block ads! (Why?)

COVID-19 Response Services

COVID-19 Response Services Health and safety companies have developed unique solutions to assist organizations in their desire to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19. By Shannon HunterJan 21, 2021 Health and safety companies have developed unique solutions to assist organizations in their desire to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19. As the novel coronavirus continues to impact business and government operations across the world, both the public and private sectors are seeking solutions to mitigate the risk of exposure to this pathogen to help safeguard the health of their employees and visitors as well as minimize potential impacts on their operations. All organizations are being faced with the challenge of how to protect employees and visitors from disease transmission while striving to welcome people back into a safe environment. As EHS professionals, we have a unique ability to help others to assess this unique situation from health, human behavior and engineering perspectives so that facilities can re-open or remain open with confidence. To meet the challenge posed by COVID-19, health and safety companies have developed unique solutions to assist organizations in their desire to overcome the challenges presented. Jobsite Safety Accountability Supervisor (JSAS) A team of experts has been providing COVID-19 safety services in the Bay Area of Northern California to help large construction projects move forward and provide work environments that minimize the risk of virus transmission among workers in the construction trades. The City of Berkeley and multiple other counties have implemented specific protocols for large sites that require a written plan to address risks of COVID-19 exposure to employees and steps taken to minimize these risks. As a third-party jobsite, JSAS personnel audits these plans for compliance with local health orders and verifies the proper execution of mitigation measures on site through frequent site visits. These visits provide reassurance to contractors and employers that they are implementing proper controls to limit the spread of the virus while on site. Facility OSHA and Health Order Compliance Review Let's block ads! (Why?)

Safety Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implementing A Digital JHA Tool

Safety Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implementing A Digital JHA Tool The Job Hazard Analysis process focuses on job tasks to identify hazards before they occur. By Chris MillerJan 20, 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the need for streamlined, accessible safety analysis tools across the construction industry. This especially includes safety risk management tools that site supervisors and line employees can easily and consistently use to ensure tasks are conducted according to approved procedures and plans. Too often, conditions on site can result in silos between functions, team members and even systems and components. Sadly, COVID-19 has once again demonstrated the need for a holistic, integrated approach to consistently maintaining safe site conditions for everyone involved in construction, as well as those impacted beyond the work site in the case of the virus. William Mueller, an HSE manager at a PM/CM/PgM firm, described the firm’s success in developing and implementing a tool to consistently support site safety even under pandemic conditions. Mueller says that the key to the company’s detection and prevention efforts was the development of a user-friendly digital Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) process. The JHA focuses on job tasks to identify hazards before they occur, stressing the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools and the work environment. After identifying uncontrolled hazards with a JHA, the team then takes steps to eliminate or reduce hazards to an acceptable risk level. A Team Effort Mueller notes that creating the digital JHA process required close collaboration with the company’s IT Department. In an industry sometimes slow to adapt to new technologies, Mueller notes that working with IT was critical to developing a seamless and easy-to-implement JHA process and creating a central repository for JHA data available across the company for future reference. “This was a truly collaborative effort between the safety department and our IT experts,” says Mueller. “It definitely was not a top-down process where our construction professionals simply laid out some requirements and expected IT to deliver. IT’s contributions, beyond designing and building the inputs, outputs and structures needed for the process, included help on achieving a user experience that field employees could embrace with a minimal learning curve. A tool no one uses is not a useful tool, no matter how well intentioned or designed.” Let's block ads! (Why?)

General Recordkeeping Criteria in the Age of COVID-19

General Recordkeeping Criteria in the Age of COVID-19 Jan 20, 2021 By Lisa Neuberger, EHS Editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we do business in this country. Workers who are able to are now working from home, and workers who are in construction or manufacturing are practicing social distancing on the job. Healthcare workers, social workers, and others who have contact with the public must take extra precautions to protect themselves from exposures to the coronavirus. With these changes come questions about how to record work-related cases of COVID-19 and whether to report to OSHA deaths or hospitalizations related to the illness. Read on to learn what OSHA has to say about the recordability of COVID-19 in the workplace along with the agency’s injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting regulations in 29 CFR Part 1904. ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL CRITERIA TO MEET FOR A CASE OF COVID-19 TO BE RECORDABLE? Yes. OSHA says that for it to be recordable, a new case of COVID-19 must be work-related, confirmed by a laboratory test, and meet one or more of the recording criteria. WHAT DOES OSHA MEAN BY “CONFIRMED”? A confirmed case of COVID-19 means an individual with at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. IS AN EXPOSURE AUTOMATICALLY RECORDABLE? No. An employee exposure to the illness in the workplace is not automatically recordable. The exposure must result in signs or symptoms of the disease and be confirmed by a laboratory test. In addition, it must meet one or more of the general recording criteria. WHAT ARE THE GENERAL RECORDKEEPING CRITERIA? The general recordkeeping criteria are listed in order of seriousness in §1904.7 and include: Death Days away from work Restricted work activity or job transfer Medical treatment beyond first aid Loss of consciousness Significant injury diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional Let's block ads! (Why?)

Keeping Injury Records for Every Establishment

Keeping Injury Records for Every Establishment Jan 20, 2021 By Lisa Neuberger, EHS Editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.Employers covered by the injury and illness recordkeeping provisions of Part 1904 must create and maintain a 300 Log for each establishment. Understanding how OSHA defines an “establishment” is critical to complying with those requirements. Normally, an establishment is a single physical location. In some cases, one location could be two or more establishments, but only if the location has two or more distinct businesses with different NAICS codes. For example, if a construction company operates from the same location as a lumber yard, the employer may consider each business to be a separate establishment. On the other side of that coin, several locations could be considered one establishment, but only if they are in close proximity, operate as a single location, and share one set of business records. For example, a manufacturing establishment might include the main plant, a warehouse a few blocks away, and an administrative building across the street. For industries such as construction or transportation, employees might not work at a fixed location. In those cases, their establishment is the branch or main office from which they are supervised or carry out their work. Similarly, employees who work from home must be linked to one establishment. Again, this should be the location from which they are supervised or receive job assignments. Temporary Locations You must keep a separate 300 Log for each establishment expected to be in operation for one year or longer. You do not need a separate 300 Log for establishments that exist for less than one year, but you do need to capture any recordable cases to employees at temporary locations. You could keep one 300 Log that covers all short-term establishments or create 300 Logs covering short-term establishments based on company divisions or geographic regions. You may not, however, lump the temporary establishment employees on the 300 Log for a fixed or long-term establishment. Let's block ads! (Why?)

2021 Freight and Shipping Employee Safety Trends

2021 Freight and Shipping Employee Safety Trends 2020 highlighted how much health and safety oversight there was in the industry, emphasizing the need for better insights. By Devin PartidaJan 19, 2021 Every industry has encountered hardships amid the pandemic, but freight and shipping has faced more than most. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in 2021, most shippers have recuperated to some degree, but challenges remain. The sector has found it needs to adjust its approach to many areas, including employee safety. In 2021, the freight and shipping sector faces many of the same health hazards it did in 2020. However, it is now coming at these hazards with experience, leading to new trends in employee safety. Wearable Proximity Sensors Social distancing in a warehouse isn’t always easy, but some have found a way to enable it. Companies like Amazon implemented wearable proximity sensors that alert workers when they get close to one another. As the pandemic’s spread persists this year, this trend will likely continue, but it won’t end when COVID-19 does. These wearables can help workers avoid collisions with other employees or machinery. As forklifts and automated pallet jacks become quieter, these devices will be more crucial. Wearable proximity sensors keep employees alert, which is essential for preventing many accidents. AI Safety Data Analytics Many freight and shipping companies already use AI analytics to be more efficient. In 2021, more companies will start applying the same strategy to workplace safety. 2020 highlighted how much health and safety oversight there was in the industry, emphasizing the need for better insights. Data analytics can reveal safety weaknesses that companies may not have realized before. With more advanced AI, these programs could even suggest novel ways to improve. Now that employee health and safety issues are more prominent, it’s hard for companies to ignore the AI advantage. Increased Automation One of the most significant challenges facing the sector in 2021 is balancing efficiency with safety. In many areas, demand has outpaced capacity as companies adapt to new safety measures. Automation could provide an answer to both problems. Let's block ads! (Why?)