November 2013 IVES Update Newsletter

We'll be covering: Should workers be subject to OSHA fines for safety violations? New video! What’s your trainer IQ? A question on certification vs. competency. What’s Wrong With This? photo and answer. OSHA fines company for unreported accident.

 Here’s what we’ve put together to share with you in this November 2013 IVES Update Newsletter…

  • Should workers be subject to OSHA fines for safety violations?
  • New video! Introduction to Skid Steer Loaders.
  • What’s your trainer IQ?
  • A question on certification vs. competency.
  • What’s Wrong With This? photo and answer.
  • Interesting article links.
  • 2014 trade show & events schedule.
  • OSHA fines company for unreported accident.
  • But first, check out all the places we delivered training in November…

Here’s an interesting article from the NSC’s Safety + Health Magazine…

Should workers be subject to OSHA fines for safety violations?

When a government inspector observes an employee working unsafely – failing to wear a hard hat, for example, or not using machine guards – should that worker receive a citation or fine instead of the employer?

Although this type of policy is unheard of in the United States, some Canadian provinces have instituted the practice.

“All Nova Scotians have a role to play in keeping our workplaces safe. That includes employers, employees, government and safety partners. Employees have an important role to play in workplace safety, as their actions can impact the safety of others around them,” Lora MacEachern, associate deputy minister for the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, said in an email to Safety+Health.

Nova Scotia established an administrative penalty system in 2010 under which employers, supervisors and employees can be cited for occupational safety and health violations, with fines ranging from $100 to $500. Ontario has a similar system. And Alberta recently instituted an employer and employee penalty system issuing on-the-spot tickets of up to $500 and administrative penalties up to $10,000. The administrative penalties went into effect in October; ticketing is set to begin in 2014.

Proponents of the policy consider it another tool to help ensure a safe workplace and spread the responsibility of occupational safety to everyone involved.

However, individuals opposed to the practice claim it could drive injuries underground and place employees in the awkward position of choosing to follow the law or their employers’ demands.

A tool, a message

OSHA does not fine workers for workplace safety violations. The closest the agency comes to approaching the idea is in Section 5 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, commonly known as the General Duty Clause.

Much of the focus of the clause is spent on Sections 5(a)(1) and (2), which outline an employer’s duty to provide a safe working environment and comply with safety and health regulations. However, Section 5(b) details the employee’s obligation to comply with OSHA regulations:

“Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.”

An OSHA spokesperson did not directly respond to a question implying this section of the OSH Act could be linked to fining workers. Instead, the spokesperson said the OSH Act “places the responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace on employers, who are required to comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under the act.” The spokesperson added that OSHA had no comment on Canada’s penalty policies.

However, holding employees accountable for their actions through the threat of government fines appeals to Stephen Wilson, corporate director of safety, health and environmental affairs at Dayton, OH-based Flowserve Corp.

Wilson believes it is an employer’s duty to teach workers the safe and correct way to do their job. However, despite the best efforts of well-meaning employers, some people “only understand the stick and not the carrot,” he said.

Fining employees would be “an additional tool that would be useful in that small minority of people who just don’t get it,” Wilson said.

This is the line of thinking of Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, which believes fining workers is another tool to promote safe work practices and offer an incentive for workers, according to ministry spokesperson Matt Blajer.

“We believe tickets are an effective financial deterrent that can promote safe work practices,” Blajer said. “For an individual, a guy working on a construction job, $300 is a lot. It sends a message.”

Read the rest of the Safety + Health article here…

New! Introduction to Skid Steer Loaders

Introduction to Skid Steer Loaders is our newest safety training video. It features an experienced trainer taking the viewer through a detailed inspection of a skid steer loader while explaining the main parts, safety features and operational controls. No special effects, no actors, no nonsense just solid, real world information that every operator can use. Only $89.95 each.

What’s Your Trainer IQ?

The operator of a counterbalanced lift truck picks up a load from the top of a high stack that is a bit too heavy. The operator tilts the load back, checks the rear clearance and slowly begins to back straight out from the stack. When the load is clear of the stack, the operator stops the truck and begins to lower the mast. As the mast comes down, the operator notices the truck seems to be getting less stable. As the mast continues down, the truck begins to teeter on its drive axle. The operator stops lowering the load and carefully returns it to its original position.

Why did the truck remain reasonably stable with the load elevated and become unstable as the load was lowered?

Stay tuned, the answer will be posted in the next IVES Update Newsletter!

Ask Bob

Q: I’m looking to get some clarification on the term “certification”. At the end of an operators program successful participants get an IVES certificate that certifies them as being a “Certified Operator”. My question would be, how does IVES classify a certified operator? To me, it would be more or less like a driver’s license. You have met the following criteria for your driver’s test; therefore you are awarded your license. However, that does not mean you are a good (competent) driver. I would classify competency as coming after much more practice and experience on the equipment, under a supervision of a competent operator. Really any information or clarification you can give me regarding “Certified Operator” versus “Competency” would be excellent.

A: I agree whole heartedly with your assessment of a certified operator versus a competent operator. When an operator becomes certified all it signifies is that he/she has met the minimum level of competence required to pass an evaluation. From that point onward, the operator would then need very job specific instruction and practice before being considered competent to do an actual job using the forklift. The certification issued is absolutely not portable but is very specific to the equipment being used and the job being performed.

What’s Wrong With This?

Can you tell what’s wrong with this photo? We’ll share our answer in next month’s newsletter.

Answer to Last Month’s WWWT?

Last month we showed you a photo of an operator standing outside the forklift while using the controls to operate the mast.

The correct place to operate a machine is from the operator’s position in the cab, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. In fact, most new machines won’t even work unless the operator is in the seat. The reason for this is because the awkwardness of reaching in to operate the controls lends itself to error as the operator may accidentally hit/activate other controls. In addition, since he is not in a position to move the machine should something go awry it could also lead to trouble.

Crossword Puzzle Answer

Last month we shared this crossword puzzle with you. We’re sure you got all the answers, but just in case you want to double check here they are…

Interesting News Articles

  • IOSHA investigates unreported forklift accident…more
  • Forklift operator survives propane tank explosion (video)…more
  • How to recognize, categorize and document workplace incidents…more
  • OSHA cites TX employers for two people struck and killed by forklift…more

Incident Report

Holliston, MA – The federal agency that oversees workplace safety has fined a local manufacturing company $9,100 after a Sept. 10 accident that trapped a man under a forklift and sent him to the hospital, records show.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration found the company committed five workplace safety violations, including keeping a forklift too close to a ramp and failing to inspect it, records show.

After an informal conference on Sept. 11, inspectors from OSHA reduced the number of violations to three, according to OSHA’s online database of violations and inspections.

Two violations carried penalties of $2,100. Those were for failing to check for workplace hazards and for not maintaining a safe distance between the forklift and the edge of ramps, platforms or other elevated docks, records show.

The largest penalty, for $4,900, is for failing to inspect the forklift as often as needed. Regulations say industrial trucks should be inspected at least once a day.

OSHA dropped two additional violations, a second for failing to check for hazards and another for using flexible power cords instead of fixed wiring, records show.

A company’s failure to document inspections is considered the same as if the inspection never occurred, OSHA spokesman Andre Bowser said Thursday.

The company had until Nov. 15 to correct the violations, records show. There is no firm deadline to repay the fines, Bowser said Thursday.


Upcoming Events

We’ll be exhibiting at the following trade shows and conferences in 2014:

  • NDSC Annual Safety & Health Conference. February 4-6
  • Pacific Rim Safety & Health Conference. May 7-9
  • ASSE Professional Development Conference & Expo. June 8-11
  • National Safety Council Congress & Expo. September 14-19

Client Testimonials

“Trainer was excellent and far exceeded my expectations set by previous trainer certifications through other companies.” Zachariah, CCI Industrial Services.

“Great job! I like everything about it. Perfect.” Joseph, IKEA North America.

“Loved the layout and time management. This is some of the best training I have received to be an instructor. I will be back for more!” Jodi, Safety Works LLC.

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