In this edition, we'll be covering the following topics:
- Workplace Safety: Why and How to Make It a Priority.
- ANSI New Release: ASME B30.9 - Slings Standard.
- Cargo Handler Cited in Fatal Forklift Accident.
- Ask Bob: Our tech guru addresses a question on equipment pre-use inspections.
- Ten Most-Asked Questions about the OSHA Inspection Process.
- Preventing Trench Collapses.
- Last chance to register!
- What's Wrong With This? Photo and answer.
- A selection of interesting articles.
- New testimonials from our wonderful clients.
But first, check out all the places we are delivering training this month...
Workplace Safety: Why and How to Make It a Priority.
Workplace safety is the cornerstone of success in any company. Unfortunately, many companies lose sight of this which results in great human suffering and lost profits. One troubling example of this is the growing number of workplace fatalities —from 4,551 to 5,190 over eight years—as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses,” reports OSHA, “expenditures that come straight out of company profits.” The safety administration adds, “These costs can be the difference between operating in the black and running in the red.”
Poor Safety Compliance: The True Costs
Injuries are expensive, more so than many companies take into account. For example, OSHA states that a single laceration costs a company, on average, $41,000.
Measurable costs include insurance claims and raised premiums, paid time off, hospital bills, worker’s compensation, and ongoing rehabilitation. If legal action is taken, add in lawyer fees, potential fines and settlements, and time and effort spent handling the case.
Indirect costs, while more difficult to calculate, can have long-lasting effects. Poor compliance commonly results in loss of productivity, lowered morale, decreases in worker retention, retraining, hiring temporary workers, possibly defective products, damaged equipment or facilities, and poor public image.
This last item has many costly tendrils. It can lead to customer boycotts and PR costs to turn the tide on poor perception, even after safety has improved. The public memory is long and high-quality workers are likely to look elsewhere for jobs. Valuable workers want to be valued.
Excellent Safety Compliance: The Many Benefits
The good news: there are many upsides to creating a strong safety culture and compliance! To start, fewer accidents, most of which are preventable. The most common causes of injuries are not a mystery. By addressing this low-hanging fruit, you’ll be off to a great start.
The top ten causes include fatigue, stress, collisions, trips and falls, and lifting. Simply getting workers to be mindful and providing them with adequate break time can help eliminate these.
Coming up with effective safety solutions will eliminate the costs mentioned above. Think about how much you could do to improve safety with all of those $41,000 laceration cases you’re preventing.
In addition to reducing your financial burden, your safe environment will be home to a workforce that is more productive, loyal, and satisfied, and turning out a quality product more consistently. Your good reputation will attract better workers. And, employees who experience a strong safety culture tend to return to work more quickly after an illness or injury.
Get Specific, Go Beyond Regulations
To create an excellent safety program and attain your zero-injury goal, you need to address unique hazards in your environment. Meeting regulations is a great start, but they are general, and your work space is specific. Think of regulations as capping out at a C grade; you’re aiming for an A+.
Walk the floor regularly to determine which hazards your employees face. Seek creative solutions to reduce or eliminate these potential injuries. Recognize where your workforce has the greatest number of issues and dedicate your first efforts there.
Electric car giant Tesla recently strengthened its focus on safety and discovered that many injuries in its Fremont, CA, car manufacturing plant were caused by poor ergonomics—another top common cause of workplace injuries.
The company addressed ergonomic shortcomings and reduced employee overtime. Laurie Shelby, VP of EHS at Tesla, recognizes these efforts as a key reason the factory’s 2017 total recordable incident rate improved by 25 percent, compared to 2016. Tesla got specific about the causes of injuries in their factory and how to fix them.
Many safety rules come about in response to an accident. This is a natural and reasonable reaction. But the goal should be to prevent accidents before they happen. This requires being proactive.
Get creative! Imagine the ways that employees could get hurt. Pay close attention to situations where things are beginning to go sideways and halt them in their tracks. Little issues today become bigger issues tomorrow: sweat the small stuff.
How to Create a Strong Safety Culture
You may be anticipating injuries and have an excellent safety plan ready. But to make it work, your staff must be involved. You need to educate them about safety effectively. You also need to listen to feedback to improve safety protocols and get compliance. People don’t like being commanded to behave; in order to thrive, they need to be empowered.
Communicate the Importance of Safety and Repeat Often
From the moment an employee is hired, you need to clearly communicate that safety is the company’s top priority. No new hire should start work until all safety protocols have been thoroughly addressed and all PPE assigned.
Employees also need to understand that there is a no-tolerance policy when it comes to noncompliance. Make sure they understand the consequences of foregoing safety measures and that you will accept no excuses.
Beyond that, give workers contact information about who to address with questions, how to report safety violations, and how to suggest safety improvements.
Follow initial safety training with regular reviews and safety meetings for all employees. Distribute safety reminders on a weekly or even daily basis. Repetition is the key to making protocols second nature and to keeping safety in the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Because different people respond to different kinds of messages, spread your safety messaging in a variety of ways: posters, videos, or hands-on demonstrations. Get creative with workforce education. Keep it fun, interesting, and fresh for yourself and your workers.
Involve Your Workforce
Involving your workforce in creating, improving, and implementing safety protocols is critical to attaining compliance. Solicit feedback. Designate safety captains or small safety groups that serve as a conduit between workers and management.
Workers are intimately familiar with the equipment and situations that pose safety threats. Let them be your eyes and ears.
Let them know you’re listening. Acknowledge input and tell workers what you’re doing in response. Publicly reward those who make the extra effort; be specific about how that person’s contributions are helping. Celebrate no-injury days, weeks, and months with the entire staff.
There is No “I” in Safety
Workplace safety requires a constant team effort. Emphasize that one person’s lapse could result not only in them getting hurt but also someone else getting hurt. Encourage workers to be mindful of what goes on around them, and to offer help or suggestions when warranted. Employees should also feel comfortable asking for help.
Going back to common causes of injury, look at lifting. Employees need to be taught how to lift properly, yes, but they also need to know that asking for assistance is welcome. Similarly, if someone sees a co-worker lifting improperly or struggling, they need to understand that it is their duty to help.
Prioritize Safety and Everyone Wins
It’s often said, If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. This applies as much to individuals as it does to companies. If your workforce is safe and healthy, your company can thrive. If not, the company will suffer. It’s that simple.
ANSI New Release: ASME B30.9 - Slings Standard.
We would like to inform you about the release of the new ASME B30.9-2018 Slings standard, intended for manufacturers, owners, employers, users, and others concerned with the specification, buying, maintenance, training, and safe use of slings and hooks with B30 equipment. ASME B30.9-2018 includes provisions that apply to the fabrication, attachment, use, inspection, testing, and maintenance of slings used for load handling purposes, used in conjunction with equipment described in other volumes of the B30 Standard, except as restricted in ASME B30.12 and ASME B30.23. Slings fabricated from alloy steel chain, wire rope, metal mesh, synthetic fiber rope, synthetic webbing, and polyester fiber yarns in a protective cover(s) are addressed.
The following standards packages contain the new release of the ASME B30.9-2018 standard:
Read more about this standard and the changes that were made in the new edition of this standard on the ANSI blog.
Cargo Handler Cited in Fatal Forklift Accident.
San Diego - Cal/OSHA has issued citations to marine cargo handler SSA Pacific Inc. for willful and serious safety violations following the investigation of a fatal forklift accident at the Port of San Diego.
On January 3, a longshoreman was driving a forklift into a transit shed when he collided with a concrete support column and suffered fatal injuries after being thrown from the forklift. Cal/OSHA’s investigation found that the employee was not wearing a seatbelt and that the forklift had multiple safety devices disabled, including a seatbelt warning buzzer and mast interlock system designed to disconnect power from the hydraulic lift when the operator is unseated.
Cal/OSHA issued six citations totaling $205,235 in proposed penalties to SSA Pacific Inc., a division of Seattle-based international marine cargo handler SSA Marine.
The citations issued included four serious violations for the employer’s failure to ensure that forklift operators use seatbelts, properly maintain and inspect forklifts, ensure operators were effectively trained and for improperly altering forklift safety features. A general violation was cited for the employer’s failure to establish and maintain an effective heat illness prevention plan.
A citation was also issued for a willful-serious violation, as the employer failed to ensure workers perform a forklift safety check at the beginning of each shift and report unsafe conditions, a violation the company was cited for in 2016 following an accident inspection at the Port of Long Beach.
The incident in 2016 occurred when two workers improperly attempted to lift a 15-ton forklift from the hatch of a ship with a crane. One worker was hospitalized overnight for injuries to his ribs and lungs when he was pinned by the mast of the running forklift.
A citation is classified as willful when evidence indicates that the employer committed an intentional and knowing violation, or was aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to eliminate it. A citation is classified as serious when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation.
Forklift safety requirements are summarized on page 65 of Cal/OSHA’s Pocket Guide for the Construction Industry.
Q. We have a forklift that is used exclusively for dumping trash at the end of the day. This operation takes about 10 min, sometimes less than that.
Some other days, if the dump bin isn't full, the trash doesn't need to be taken out, we wouldn't even use the forklift.
In cases like this, do we still need to do a daily inspection? Can we reduce the inspections to maybe twice or once per week, since the usage is so minimum? How about the periodic inspections? We are doing them every 90 days, but we feel this is an overkill, because as stated before, the usage of the lift is really minimum.
A. The pre-use inspection only needs to be done on the days it gets used. If it’s not used on Wednesday, then a pre-use won’t be necessary. However, it must be done if it is to be used, even if it's for only for 10 minutes or 10 seconds. The frustrating part is that it may take longer to do the inspection than it will to do the task—doesn’t matter when it comes to making sure it is safe to use. In regard to the periodic, 90-day inspections you mentioned you’re doing, there are no requirements that I know of mandating these be done at all but I applaud your thoroughness and encourage you to continue – it’s sound safety practice!
Ten Most-Asked Questions about the OSHA Inspection Process.
How exactly does OSHA work? Is the government really out to get every company and to cite every workplace safety violation? What happens when an OSHA inspector shows up at your door? And can you actually beat an OSHA citation?
Who better to know—and reveal—the secrets of what prompts and occurs during an OSHA inspection than former OSHA officers? At the ASSP 2018 show in San Antonio, Texas, two retired OSHA officers who now work for consulting firm Safety Controls Technology—Nick Walters, formerly regional administrator for Region V (Chicago) and Tom Bielema, formerly Area Director for the Peoria, Ill, OSHA office—shared their field experiences. Walters and Bielema have a combined 47 years of OSHA experience.
1. Why did OSHA pick my company for an inspection?
OSHA follows a number of priorities when determining which facilities to inspect. Those priorities include:
- imminent danger
- fatalities and catastrophes
- severe injuries (i.e., hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye)
- employee complaints
- referrals, whether from law enforcement, other government agencies or the media
- programmed inspections, such as National Emphasis Programs (NEP) or Local Emphasis Programs (LEP)
2. Can I ask for a copy of the OSHA complaint?
3. Can I ask OSHA to get a warrant?
Again, yes, but you should seriously consider whether you really want to raise the idea in OSHA’s mind that you might have something to hide. All OSHA personnel will present their credentials if you have any reason to question the legitimacy of the inspection or the personnel.
4. What documents am I required to provide to the Compliance Officer?
Typical documents requested include the organization’s Federal Employer ID number, OSHA injury and illness logs, written programs, and training records.
5. Can I limit the scope of the inspection?
Yes, particularly to manage and limit the risk of providing OSHA more information than you necessarily ought to. For instance, resist the temptation to offer OSHA a full tour of your facility or campus. You should definitely require the Compliance Officer to follow all workplace safety procedures. Also, let them know about any trade secret areas in your facility. You should know the scope of the inspection and limit areas of access and travel routes (where appropriate) to only the areas within that scope.
6. How does OSHA decide whether or not I get a citation and what the penalty amount will be?
Penalties are calculated based on severity as well as probability, with mitigating factors including history and good faith. There are four violation types:
- Willful: a violation that the employer intentionally and knowingly commits or a violation that the employer commits with plain indifference to the law. OSHA may propose penalties of up to $129,336 for each willful violation.
- Serious: a violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. There is a mandatory penalty for serious violations which may be up to $12,934.
- Other-than-serious: a violation that has a direct relationship to safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA may propose a penalty of up to $12,934 for each other-than-serious violation.
- Repeated: a violation that is the same or similar to a previous violation. OSHA may propose penalties of up to $129,336 for each repeated violation.
7. Does OSHA have a quota system?
In a word, no.
8. What are my options after I receive a citation?
Companies have three options:
- Accept the citations, correct the conditions and pay the penalty.
- Participate in an informal conference.
- Contest the citations, which must be done in writing within 15 working days of the final order.
9. Should I schedule an informal conference and what should I expect when I go to the OSHA office?
They suggest you should always take the informal conference option, where you should be able to get a better explanation of the violation, the standards cited, what is needed to correct the violation, and other issues.
10. Can we beat an OSHA citation?
Yes, particularly if the violation is due to employee misconduct. You must be able to prove all four of these:
- A work rule was violated.
- The work rule had been properly communicated.
- Your organization needs to prove it actively monitors compliance to the rules.
- Disciplinary actions were taken.
Preventing Trench Collapses.
Workers caught in trench collapses rarely survive because soil can be extremely heavy. A cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds – roughly the weight of a small motor vehicle, according to OSHA.
In 2016, 23 workers died and 12 others were injured in trench collapses, the agency notes. However, trench deaths and injuries are preventable.
Not worth the risk
Entering an unprotected or insufficiently protected trench means putting your life at risk, NIOSH warns, as trenches give no warning that they’re going to collapse.
Why do trench collapses occur? NIOSH cites numerous potential factors, including soil type and water content, environmental conditions, proximity to previously backfilled excavations, weight of heavy equipment or tools, and vibrations from machines and motor vehicles that can affect soil stability.
Before trench work
An abundance of safety preparation should go into planning a trenching job, NIOSH states. Employers should call 811 before digging to have utility lines marked. A competent person should be on hand to ensure all safety measures are in place and followed, and he or she should evaluate the soil to ensure it’s stable enough for a trench. (Go to osha.gov/SLTC/competentperson for more information on what constitutes a “competent person.”)
The competent person also should determine the specific type of protective system that will be needed. The job plan should be laid out in a way to identify safe spots away from the trench for spoil piles and heavy machinery routes.
During trench work
Once planning is complete and the work on the trenched jobsite begins, safety must remain the No. 1 priority. NIOSH states that the competent person must continue to inspect the excavation site, all adjacent areas and protective systems every day before work begins, throughout the shift and after every rainstorm. Vehicles must be kept at a safe distance from the excavation, and ladders and other means of exit from the trench must be no more than 25 feet away from workers at all times.
Learn more about preventing trench collapses at sh-m.ag/2AJcAdl.
What's Wrong With This? Photo
Can you tell what's going wrong in this photo?
Have a photo you'd like to share? Send it to us!
Answer to Last Month's WWWT? Photo
Here's what our Director of Training, Rob Vetter had to say about it:
- Right off the bat, the “work platform” being used is not a work platform at all but a scissor lift that is definitely not approved for use as a forklift mounted elevating work platform. Normally, that would be the end of the discussion right there but let’s go on.
- It is unknown if the RT forklift being used here is approved for use as a personnel elevating device by the manufacturer.
- It is known that the RT forklift being used is NOT equipped with the proper capacity/load chart information for the specific “work platform” being used.
- The work platform is not attached to the forks, fork carriage or anything at all.
- The RT forklift has engaged the scissor lift improperly in that its forks are not using the fork pockets provided by the scissor lift manufacturer for this purpose.
- Since a scissor lift is being elevated here, we can safely conclude that the forklift operator has not been trained in the safe use of the equipment as a personnel elevating device.
- For the same reason mentioned above, we can also safely conclude that the platform occupant has not been trained.
- Since the scissor lift is technically boom-supported by the RT forklift here, the platform occupant should be using a personal fall protection system.
- Probably dozens more design and construction requirements of ANSI B56.6 not being met – too many to list here.
Have a photo you'd like to share? Send it to us!
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