Unfortunately injuries happen, it’s a fact. Even though we all do our best to train employees on safe work procedures, try to encourage a healthy safety culture and use high quality safety products, on occasion mistakes still happen and people get hurt. Sometimes injuries are severe enough to warrant the employee time off from work and physical therapy among other recover practices. When an injury like this happens it is important to start planning towards a successful re-entry for that employee into the workplace (if the situation allows). An article on www.safety.blr.com suggests 7 steps for getting injured employees ready to get back to work:
Have you planned your 2014 Safety Calendar? If you are working on what topics to cover with your employees this year be sure to take advantage of the excellent resources the National Safety Council provides during their annual National Safety Month. Every June the NSC focuses their attention on specific safety topics and key safety issues.
This year’s them is “Safety: It Takes All of Us.” It is based on the idea of continuous risk reduction. This theme is one of the key pillars in a successful safety program called Journey to Safety Excellence. By taking the time to reduce safety risks now, serious injuries can be prevented in the future.
The National Safety Council has assigned each week in June a specific topic:
Week 1: Prevent prescription drug abuse
Week 2: Stop slips, trips and falls
Week 3: Be aware of your surroundings
Week 4: Put an end to distracted driving
Bonus week: Summer safety
The NSC also provides materials and promotional items to it’s members. For more information on National Safety Month please visit the NSC website. SlipNOT® Metal Safety Flooring can provide information on how to prevent slip and fall accidents and samples of their high traction non slip flooring to companies that want to take action now to prevent slip and falls in the future. If you would like to add some hands on learning into your safety calendar, a Lunch and Learn provided by SlipNOT® might be the perfect opportunity for you and your employees. The continuing education program is AIA/CES Registered for 1 LU.
The use of ladders, fixed and portable, produces safety concerns for every industry. When should fall equipment be used? How and when are ladders cited as unsafe? How high should fixed ladders extend beyond the landing? At what point are back guards needed? The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a fixed and portable ladder safety guide for metal and nonmetal industries. This guide, which is available in PowerPoint and PDF versions, is a well organized descriptive resource with helpful pictures and necessary information for anyone using a ladder in any industry.
Warehouse and storage jobs are physically demanding jobs that if not performed wisely can produce up to double the amount of certain injury rates than other industries. Jobs that involve bending, lifting, pushing with exertion, moving bulky objects and awkward body positions can cause sprains, strains and breaks in workers bodies. According to an article on ehstoday.com many of these warehouse induced injuries can be prevented using correct ergonomics.
The FSMA, Food Safety Modernization Act, has been in the work for years. Right now you can give your opinion on the Proposed Rule about Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration. This proposed rule is out for comment by the public until the end of March 2014.
Is there one leading indicator when it comes to predicting workplace injuries and preventing hazards from happening? An article by Griffin Schultz discuses a study that was performed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University on how the information that is obtained from safety inspections and observations can be used to improve safety and to predict future safety problems.
The study was conducted when safety-incident data was matched with the information from safety inspections and observations from several companies over a 4 year period. The team then put this matching information in to a high powered computer. After the computer had time to “learn” about the millions of incidents, observations and inspections it predicted safety incidents for the next 30 days. A new data set was then put in and tested for accuracy against the computers prediction. The computer was extremely accurate and could predict safety problems within an 80-97% accuracy rate!
Now what? Not every company has the resources to engage extremely advanced systems. The article suggests that basic data and reports can be utilized using programs like Microsoft Excel. These sorts of reports can answer questions such as:
-How many, how often, where?
-What actions are needed?
More advanced systems are needed in order to answer harder more detailed questions such as:
-Why is this happening?
-What if the trend continues?
-What will happen next?
-How do we achieve the best outcome?
Simply by performing regular safety inspections and observations can yield very important data and can give a company a good start on preventing future incidents. The article also suggests that getting employees (not specifically safety experts) involved in the inspections can help in catching everyday problems and can provide answers to safety problems.
While one single answer/safety indicator may not exist, it’s clear to see that the information derived from regular safety inspections and observations is extremely important and should not be ignored.
Schultz, Griffin. ”The Holy Grail of Safety: A Single, All-Encompasing Safety Leading Indicator.” www.ehstoday.com. February 6, 2014. February 21, 2014.
We have all read how the safety culture of a company is an extremely important component in employee safety. An excellent safety culture takes lots of time and the efforts of management and engaged employees. What happens when the group of people working together is temporary, not permanent? When long time periods of employee bonding and training can’t happen as the group is project based and may change in a few weeks or months? An article entitled “Shaping the Safety Culture of Project-Based Workforces” talks about some common assumptions that happen in a long living safety culture that must be changed in short term team of employees in order to create the most effective safety culture possible.
Working overtime can sometimes be a privilege and can sometimes be an inconvenience, but did you know that it can also increase the number of injuries that happen within a workplace? A study published by the Occupational and Environmental Medicine provides evidence that “working in jobs with overtime schedules is associated with a 61% higher injury hazard rate compared to jobs without overtime. Working at least 12 hours per day is associated with a 37% increased hazard rate and working at least 60 hours per week is associated with a 23% increased hazard rate.” The study was based on a 13 year observation period where 10,793 American individuals participated.
Can worker personality affect plant safety, productivity and quality? Yes it can, says a research company in Canada; despite extensive training, proper tools and a good safety program 90% of workplace safety accidents are caused by human error. A blog on ehsworks1.blogspot.com discusses how this company has found five personality traits that an individual can and should be tested on. If that individual’s score is within the “high risk” range they could possibly be a threat to their own safety and others safety in a work place environment. These five personality traits are: anxiousness, resistance, irritability, impulsiveness and distractibility.