On November 7th, 2013 OSHA issued a proposed rule that would change the way injuries and illnesses are reported. They proposed making a change to current record keeping regulations by adding a requirement that employers electronically submit the injury and illness information they are already required to keep. OSHA hopes that the electronic submission of this information will produce timely data and will help them effectively identify hazardous workplaces. This data will also be eventually posted online allowing employers to compare data with other establishments in their industry.
On November 14th, 2013 Phase One of the 2013 National Voluntary Stand Down of US Onshore E&P took place in Humble, TX. The stand down is an event that OSHA and the National STEPS (Service, Transportation, Exploration and Production Safety) have urged all oil and gas exploration companies in Texas , Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico to participate in. Phase Two asks participants to spend at least 1 hour total in intervals of at least 15 minutes talking with their employees and contractors about the safety information provided at www.oshastanddown.org.
Can poor management be blamed for poor safety? An article by Terry L. Mathis examines the correlation between poor safety results and poor quality/products/management within companies. In general poor safety results can put up a red flag of further, deeper seeded issues within companies. Failures in safety, performance or quality of products are a result of a process that has gone wrong. The article states that process failures are management failures.
Does your company have a safety committee? Loss prevention in the work place is critical and a safety committee can actively help keep workers compensation cost down by seeking out hazards and helping to provide a safe environment. A group of people committed to reducing the number of unsafe acts within a workplace is essential for loss prevention.
Last week the FDA banned the use of trans fats in all foods. They have been phasing them out for the past decade but are going to allow companies a certain amount of time to get rid of them completely. According to an article on www.foodmanufacturing.com, the FDA commissioner said that this ban could help prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths. Food manufacturers have been gradually getting rid of these type of dangerous fats for years and American have gone from eating 4.6 grams a day in 2003 to about 1 gram in 2012. The article mentions that the FDA has not yet determined the timeline for this ban as they do not want to greatly disrupt the markets.
Truck beds, utility van flooring, truck platforms and semi box flooring all have the possibility of becoming dangerous work environments. Whether workers are dealing with exterior elements such as rain or slippery liquids such as oil and lubricants loading and unloading trucks and vans can be hazardous.
In an interesting blog entry on the EHSToday website, called “Should OSHA Fine for Unsafe Actions?” the Occupational Health and Safety department of Alberta, Canada recently approved legislation to authorize safety and health inspectors the ability to fine employees up to $500 for unsafe actions. A worker can be fined on the spot for blatantly disobeying safety measure’s the company has set in place. The blog says this law puts Alberta in line with several other Canadian provinces who have the same sort legislation in place.
The 2013 National Safety Congress and Expo wrapped up last week in Chicago, IL. According to EHS Today, Kyle Morrison, the senior editor for Safety and Health Magazine, had a brief presentation revealing the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards for the fiscal year 2013. For the last five years an OSHA official has been at the NSC Expo in order to explain these standards and how they relate to work place safety, however this year because of the government shut down, an OSHA official was not able to be there to speak. Unfortunately the shut down also forces OSHA to temporarily reduce its full time work force from 2300 employees to 236 employees. Fatalities, catastrophes and life threatening work place complaints are the areas that OSHA will be responding too during this time as the agency will cease most other enforcement activities.
Over the last century, the percentage of U.S. families involved in food production and packaging has dropped from around 70 percent to only 3 percent, making life on the farm completely foreign. Industrial production and mechanization has allowed Americans to enjoy an unprecedented variety of food year-round, despite the large drop-off in the amount of people actually employed throughout the food industry. The ability to do more work with fewer employees may create hazardous situations. The work is fast paced and any lapse of alertness can lead to a catastrophic accident. Also, repetitive motions on a daily basis may be stressful on the body. Since the profit margins are slim in the food industry, businesses demand high volume, which means line speeds are often set to the highest allowed by federal sanitation laws, rather than the speeds determined best for worker safety.