Assemblyman Proposes New Limits On Cellphone Use While Driving

Assemblyman Bill Quirk has proposed new limits on cellphone use while driving and in CBS’s report on this proposal, they included an interview with Safety Center’s own Gail Kelly, Senior Vice President of Community Programs.

Gail: “Doing anything that takes your eyes off the road, it creates a situation where you get inattention blindness. That means that 50% of what’s going around you, you’re not even seeing.”

The most recent bill related to cellphone use while driving was passed in 2008, the Wireless Communications Device Law (effective January 2009) stating that NO DRIVER in California may write, send, or read text messages while behind the wheel. The Handheld Wireless Telphone Laws (effective July 2008) also state that 1) California drivers may NOT use a wireless telephone while driving at any time unless to make an emergency call to 911, law enforcement, or similar services and 2) drivers MAY utilize a “hands-free device” UNLESS they are under 18 years old.

The new assembly bill AB 1785 would not allow drivers to do anything with their smartphones while driving, unless the phone is out of their hands, mounted on the car dashboard or console.

Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries & Illnesses

From the United States Department of Labor: Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Provisions call for employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they already record

Why is OSHA issuing this rule?
This simple change in OSHA’s rule-making requirements will improve safety for workers across the country. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will “nudge” employers to focus on safety. And, as we have seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.

What does the rule require?
The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. The amount of data submitted will vary depending on the size of company and type of industry.

Anti-retaliation protections
The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation; clarifies the existing implicit requirement that any employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illness must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illness. These provisions become effective August 10, 2016.

Compliance schedule
The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:

Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

OSHA State Plan states must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this final rule within six months after publication of this final rule.

For more information from OSHA, visit their website at www.osha.gov.

Incentive Programs

A Safety Management Approach

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

I believe the main reason the labor unions and OSHA are against the use of result-oriented incentive programs, such as giving a reward for not having any injuries, is because such programs can be an inducement not to report an actual injury. In some cases, the award is so terrific employees hide their injuries to get the award. In other cases, the peer pressure from other employees is so strong, employees refuse to take the hassle given by their fellow employees so everyone can receive the positive prize.

This reasoning makes sense. Yet I have seen result-oriented incentives do an excellent job of reducing fraudulent injuries that are being reported and causing workers’ compensation losses go sky high. At one of my client’s operations, they had their own air conditioned health clinic. The work was strenuous and most of it was conducted outside in hot and humid surroundings. To get out of the hot environment, employees claimed a variety of ailments and injuries just to go to the cool health clinic. Not having injuries and incorporating family involvement in the reward program was a significant incentive not to report problems that were not really problems.

On the other hand, this organization’s tremendous reduction in workers’ compensation of over $500,000 in one year was also a result of a variety of activity-oriented incentives. Management used behavior reinforcement. They knew that negative consequences built negative attitudes and behaviors whereby positive consequences built positive attitudes and behaviors. For example, the assistant human resources director would walk around the site catching employees working in a safe manner and giving out safety-related gifts in recognition for such positive activities.

A colleague of mine would catch people doing something right, take their picture, post the picture on the safety bulletin board, and then monthly conduct a drawing where winning employees would receive the actual camera.

Other similar activity-related incentive programs included getting safety recognition for knowing the weekly slogan, developing safe procedures, creating safe work environments, and making positive safety suggestions.

We learned that the major obstacle for incentive programs to work was and still is uncorrected actual or perceived safety problems in the work environment. Where employees knew management was not providing a safe work environment, the implementation of incentive programs actually hurt the safety program because employees felt that management was covering up safety problems.

Implementing positive activity-based incentive programs in an organization where a strong safety program already exists can enhance the overall safety effort and make employees feel good about their work and what they do.

For More Information:
To become part of discussions on topics like the one above, go to www.safetycenter.org to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition. Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.

Choose Life

A Safety Management Approach

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Ever since I was a child, I believed that safety belts were life-saving devices to be worn when riding in a vehicle. I even asked my dad to install them in our 1958 Chevrolet, a car that did not require seat belts. He did.

Years later, as a safety professional, I put a license plate holder around my vehicle’s rear license plate that stated:

Buckle Up

Life’s Precious

I would watch people drive up behind me and put their seatbelts on. That made me feel real good.

I then began to see Budget Rent-A-Car vehicles with the same license plate holder with Life’s Precious put in quotes. Someone must have seen my holder and thought it was a good message. That also made me feel good.

Life’s Precious. Within the safety profession, it ought to be the mission of everything we do. Sure, we have to comply with governmental safety regulations, but even those standards have at their core, the purpose to prevent accidents, mitigate loss, and save lives.

Going beyond the minimum regulations brings us to the point of establishing good safety practices that offer our managers, supervisors and employees the opportunity to do everything in their power to work safely, wear the needed personal protective equipment, use the right equipment, and implement the policies, procedures, and training that have been given to them.

If all of us believe that life is truly precious, we would not take shortcuts. We would follow the directions for using the various pieces of equipment on the job. We would seek to maintain our focus on the work we are doing and try to avoid being distracted.

Can you take this slogan, this mission, and use it in your work? Can you transmit to your people the life’s precious message? Can you convey the importance of making sure that correct safety performance matters on a moment to moment basis? In a split second, an error, a distraction, the failure to do what is right, can lead to a severe injury, even a death.

Embedding life’s precious into the psyche of each and every one of your people will enhance morale and raise your safety efforts from a have to effort to a want to effort. Putting the health and safety of everyone up front, both on- and off-the-job would do wonders for your safety efforts. It would show everyone that you choose life for them.

For More Information:
To become part of discussions on topics like the one above, go to www.safetycenter.org to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition. Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.

On Board with Technology: Drones

Special Report from United Contractors Magazine

Construction companies large and small that are not already on the technology bandwagon need to climb aboard as the future brings more work, longer backlogs and a continued shortage of skilled labor.

Read on to find out what Construction Executive’s panel of experts identified as key technologies to keep contractors working smarter and efficiently this year, and beyond.

DRONES
Just as drones are gaining popularity among consumers, Dan Conery, Newforma’s vice president of business development, predicts, “Drones will be used in construction for visual inspections of dangerous or difficult places for humans to reach, such as bridge undersides and curtain walls.”

Other experts agree. However, recent developments suggest that you might want to rethink a new strategy involving Drones, as the FAA has strict guidelines.

Operation of drones in densely populated areas (Class B airspace for example) is forbidden by the FAA without their prior approval. This rules-out most of the anticipated Drone use for construction projects.

“Future” Contractors’ Options

  • FAA has issued a “notice of proposed rulemaking”
    • Final Rules will come out in next 12-18 months. (These rules could either broaden or narrow current status.)

“Current Contractors’ Options (for projects “not near populated areas”)

  • Contractor can hire a 3rd Party to operate a drone on the Contractor’s behalf
    • 3rd Party must have a licensed pilot operating drone and be FAA authorized
    • Obtain General Liability and Aircraft Liability Insurance from 3rd Party
  • If the Contractor does not want to go outside of company, they must:
    • Obtain an Operational Authority Exemption under Section 333 of the FAA (approximately 2,100 exemptions granted to date)
    • Contractor must use an employee who is a licensed pilot to operate the drone

FAA Section 333 Exemption Application Process
1. Contractor is required to apply for exemption 120 days in advance of when the Exemption is requested.
2. Currently takes 6-8 weeks for application to load into FAA application system
3. Therefore it could be a 6 month wait for exemption

Useful Links

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY AND ROBOTICS
“To ensure the health and safety of workers, wearable technologies will become more popular,” notes Conery. “Wearables can relay vital signs for people on remote or dangerous jobsites, alert supervisors if a diabetic’s blood sugar drops or heart rate accelerates, and enable injured workers in remote locations to signal for help.” Conery also predicts robotics will gain a foothold. “By robotics, think 3-D printing, with people or other machines feeding the bricks and mortar while a robot erects the wall.”

Steve Cowan, president of Jonas Construction Software, thinks using behavioral technology with wearable devices that track historical activities will increase productivity. “We expect more intelligence from technology and guidance in showing how to best perform work. People will expect their activities to be tracked and leveraged to work better and smarter.”

By Marla McIntyre for Construction Executive and
Tyler Kannon of Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers of California, Inc./Gallagher Construction Services, a UCON Member since 1977, www.ajg.com

Latest Safety Forum (5/5/16): Heat Illness Prevention

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Presenter: Michael Miller, Cal/OSHA Consulting

On Thursday May 5 at 8:30am, Safety Center hosted its monthly Safety Forum on the topic of “Heat Illness Prevention” to address the legal obligations of employers to maintain proper work environments during hot weather conditions. During this month’s forum, Michael Miller of Cal/OSHA Consulting discussed this topic and provided insight into Cal/OSHA inspection procedures. Twenty five safety professionals participated in a lively discussion regarding the obligations of employers to prevent heat illness among their employees.

The presentation summary is as follows:

Training Goals:

  • Review the regulatory language and heat illness preventive measures
  • Increase awareness and commitment to safety and health at the worksite

Heat Illness Prevention Elements Include:

  • Access to water
  • Access to shade
  • Weather monitoring and acclimatization
  • High heat procedures
  • Employee and supervisory training
  • Written procedures including emergency response

Access to Water

  • Potable drinking water must be made available at no cost to the employee
  • Maintain, at all times, sufficient quantities of pure and cool potable drinking water, i.e. enough to provide at least one quart per employee per hour for the entire shift
  • Water must be fit to drink. Water containers CANNOT be refilled from non-potable water sources, e.g. irrigation wells, sprinkler or firefighting systems
  • Care must be taken to prevent contamination of the drinking water supplied to the workers
  • Implement and maintain effective replenishment procedures when beginning the shift with smaller quantities
  • Locate the water containers as close as practicable given the working conditions and layout of the worksite
  • Keep it readily accessible, move it with the workers!
  • Encourage the frequent drinking of water

Remind workers not to wait until they are thirsty!

Shade Up: when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees F

  • Have and maintain one or more areas of shade at all times, when employees are present
  • Locate the shade as close as practical to the area where employees are working
  • Provide enough shade to accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods
  • Provide enough shade to accommodate the number of employees on meal period who remain on site
  • Remember: Access to shade must be permitted at all times
  • Encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade
    • Monitor employees on cool down rests
    • Ask them if they’re experiencing symptoms of heat illness
    • Don’t order back to work until symptoms abated allow at least a five minute rest
    • Take appropriate first aid steps or emergency response as necessary
  • Shaded area must not cause exposure to another health or safety hazard. Areas underneath mobile equipment, e.g. tractor, or areas that require crouching in order to sit fully in the shade are not acceptable

If temperature is below 80 degrees F

  • When the temperature does not exceed 80 degrees F, provide timely access to shade upon request

When Infeasible or Unsafe:

  • In situations where the employer can demonstrate that it is not safe or feasible to provide shade, an employer can utilize established procedures for providing shade upon request or, for non-agricultural employers, alternative cooling measures that provide equivalent protection

Monitor the Weather
www.nws.noaa.gov

  • Instruct supervisors to track the weather of the jobsite (by monitoring predicted temperature highs and periodically using a thermometer)
  • Determine, and instruct supervisors, on how weather information will be used to modify work schedule, increase number of water and rest breaks or cease work early if necessary

High Heat Procedures:

  • Industries covered by this subsection:
    • Agriculture
    • Construction
    • Landscaping
    • Oil & Gas Extraction
    • Transportation or delivery of agricultural, construction materials or other heavy materials

When the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees F

  • You must implement additional preventive measures:
    • Ensure effective communication (by voice, observation or electronic means)
    • Observe employees for alertness and signs and symptoms of heat illness:
      • Supervisory or designee observation of 20 or fewer employees
      • Mandatory buddy system
      • Regular communication
      • Other effective means
    • Designate one or more employees to call for emergency services
    • Give more frequent reminders to drink plenty of water
    • Hold pre-shift meetings on prevention
    • For agricultural employers
      • Temps 95 or above, ensure employees take a minimum ten minute net prevent cool-down rest every two hours
      • Additional ten minute cool-down rest at end of 8th and 10th hour of work

Emergency Response Procedures

  • Ensure effective communication
  • Respond to signs and symptoms of possible heat illness
    • Supervisor to take immediate, appropriate action
    • If indicators of serious heat illness, implement emergency response procedures
    • Employees exhibiting or reporting signs or symptoms of heat illness shall be monitored and not left alone. Onsite first aid or appropriate emergency medical services shall be offered
    • Contact emergency medical services and ensure that clear and precise directions to the site can be provided

Address Lack of Acclimatization

  • As an employer, you are responsible for the working conditions of your employees, so you must act effectively when conditions result in sudden exposure to heat that your workers are not used to
  • All employees shall be closely observed by a supervisor or designee during heat waves
  • Employees newly assigned to high heat areas shall be closely observed by a supervisor or designee for the first 14 days of employment
  • Thus, determine how your company will:
    • lessen the intensity and/or shift length of newly-hired employee’s work during a two or more week break-in period
    • modify the work schedule or reschedule non-essential duties, during the hot summer months
    • be extra-vigilant with your employees to recognize immediately symptoms of possible heat illness

Employee & Supervisor Training

    • Ensure all employees and supervisors:
      • Are trained before beginning work that should reasonably be anticipated to result in a heat illness
    • The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as the added burden of heat load on the body
    • Your company’s heat illness prevention procedures
      • Including, but not limited to, the employer’s responsibility to provide water, shade, cool-down rests, and access to first aid as well as the employees’ right to exercise their rights under this standard without retaliation
    • Importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water
    • Different types of heat illness, common signs and symptoms; and appropriate first aid or emergency response
    • Knowledge that heat illness may progress rapidly
    • The concept, importance, and methods of acclimatization
    • Training must include the importance of acclimatization, how it is developed, and how your procedures address it.
    • Importance of immediately reporting signs or symptoms of heat illness to a supervisor
    • Procedures for responding to possible heat illness

Procedures to follow when contacting emergency medical services, providing first aid, and if necessary transporting employees

  • Procedures that ensure clear and precise directions to the work site, including designating a person to be available to ensure that emergency procedures are invoked when appropriate

 

Supervisor Training

 

  • The heat standard requirements
  • The procedures they must follow to implement the requirements
  • Procedures to follow when a worker exhibits or reports symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, includnig emergency response procedures and first aid
  • How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot weather advisories

 

Written Procedures

 

  • As long as they are effective, your Heat Illness Procedures can be integrated into your IIPP
  • Maintain the procedures onsite or close to the site, so that it can be made available to employees and representatives of Cal/OSHA upon request
  • Plan in English and the language understood by the majority of the employees
  • Detail how your company will:
    • Provide access to water & shade
    • Monitor the weather
    • Institute high heat procedures
    • Address acclimatization methods and procedures
    • Train all employees and supervisors
    • Respond to heat illnesses without delay, provide first aid and emergency services
    • Provide clear and precise directions to the worksite

 

Serious Hazard
You risk a serious citation if the outdoor temperature in the work area exceeds 80 degrees F and any of these required elements are not present at the site:

  • Drinking water
  • Shade
  • Trained employees or supervisor
  • Emergency response procedures

Imminent Hazard: Don’t Risk an OPU!
You may also risk an Order Prohibiting Use (OPU) and a Serious Citation if the heat and lack of facilities create an imminent hazard.
An OPU may be issued if:

  • The temperature is > 95 degrees F and water, shade, training or emergency procedures are not in place
  • The temperature is > 80 degrees F, and there is a heat wave, heavy workload or other critical factor putting employees in danger

An OPU:

  • Will shut down the operation
  • Work will not be allowed to resume until the employer demonstrates that the imminent hazard has been corrected

Additional Heat Illness information links:

Multilingual educational materials can be downloaded free from the www.99calor.org website

Before We Begin

A Safety Management Approach

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Oftentimes, accidents happen because we do not plan what we are going to do. We do not think about what hazards pose a threat to us on the particular job that needs to be done.

There are different names of analytical systems that help employers and their employees prepare to do a task safely. Three such systems are Job Safety Analysis (JSA), Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), and Pre-Job Briefings. The latter system is sometimes the implementation of the first two.

We have a job that needs to be completed. If the task has been evaluated previously, we might have a document that carefully lists the steps we need to take, what hazards are involved, and what actions we can initiate to reduce or even eliminate those hazards. If we do not have such a document, something like it truly needs to be created prior to beginning the task.

We need to think through:

1. The various tasks we are going to do
2. The people involved
3. The equipment we are using
4. The environment in which we are working
5. The hazards built into the task, the people and the equipment
6. What personal protective equipment will help us most to eliminate or at least reduce getting hurt
7. Who will work together and how will employees assist each other
8. What changes do we have to make to how we normally do our work to ensure a safe working experience in this case
9. What steps do we take in the event of an accident

There may be times during the job that work needs to be stopped to adjust what is going on due to changes out of our control or things we find that are different from our original assessments. Better to stop than to let someone get hurt.

Accidents happen in a split second. The optimum scenario is prevention, not letting an accident happen. What we do to prevent the accident is all part of the planning process.

For More Information:
To become part of discussions on topics like the one above, go to www.safetycenter.org to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition. Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.

Understanding the Final GHS Deadline

From Safety+Health magazine:

QUESTION: The next and final GHS deadline is June 1, 2016. What does that mean for me as an employer?

Responding is Brad Montgomery, marketing and communications director, Accuform, Brooksville, FL.

ANSWER: After many years, the final effective completion date for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) nears. As we know, OSHA adopted new hazardous chemical labeling requirements as a part of its revision of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, bringing it into alignment with the United Nations’ GHS. These changes will help ensure improved quality and consistency in the classification and labeling of chemicals, and will also enhance worker comprehension. As a result, workers will have better information available on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals, thereby allowing them to avoid injuries and illnesses related to exposures to hazardous chemicals.

Let’s look at how OSHA’s June 1, 2016, requirements actually reads. In short, OSHA says, “Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.” This final timeline requirement applies to employers, but what does it mean? Essentially it means that employers must have workplace labeling and hazard communication programs up to date as necessary (this includes having all Material Safety Data Sheet-formatted documents replaced with the newer Safety Data Sheet-formatted documents). It also states that additional training must be conducted for newly identified physical or health hazards.

On June 1, 2016, the three-year transition period ends. This transition period allowed compliance with HCS 2012, HCS 1994 or both.

The GHS label format provides detailed yet easy-to-understand guidance for application of the hazard communication elements on a label. It specifies for each hazard, and for each class within the hazard, what signal word, pictogram and hazard statement should be used. The GHS hazard pictograms, signal words and hazard statements should be located together on the label. I would encourage you to view Annex 7 of the UNECE Rev. 3 (2009) Purple Book (available at http://sh-m.ag/1p4vDJO), which explains how the GHS pictograms are expected to be proportional to the size of the label text so that generally, the GHS pictograms would be smaller than the transport pictograms.

Employers must ensure the SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. This may be done in many ways. For example, employers may keep the SDSs in a binder or on computers – as long as the employees have ready access to the information without leaving their work area when needed, and a backup is available for immediate access to the SDS in the case of a power outage or other emergency situations. Furthermore, it’s a good time to remember that employers should designate a person(s) responsible for obtaining and maintaining the SDSs. If the employer does not have an SDS, the employer or designated person(s) should contact the manufacturer to obtain one.

For more information, visit OSHA’s comprehensive hazard communication website at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom.

Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program

USDOL_Seal_circa_2015.svg
Article from the U.S. Department of Labor on March 17, 2016

Over 10K severe worker injuries were reported in the first of year of the OSHA requirement. Most employers cooperated with OSHA to fix hazards, but some tried to hide them.

In the first year of a new reporting requirement, employers notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration of more than 10,000 severe work-related injuries, creating the opportunity for the agency to work with employers to eliminate hazards and protect other workers.

Since Jan. 1, 2015, employers have been required to report any severe work-related injury – defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye – within 24 hours. The requirement that an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force.

In the first full year of the program, employers reported 10,388 severe injuries, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. In a majority of those cases, OSHA responded by working with the employer to identify and eliminate hazards, rather than conducting a worksite inspection.

“In case after case, the prompt reporting of worker injuries has created opportunities for us to work with employers we wouldn’t have had contact with otherwise,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, who authored the report. “The result is safer workplaces for thousands of workers.”

OSHA found some employers exceeded the agency’s requirements to protect workers from future incidents. Unfortunately, a few responded with callous disregard. One manufacturer tried to hide an entire room full of machinery from OSHA inspectors.

The evaluation of 2015 results, which breaks out the top 25 reporting industries, notes that by instituting the requirement, the agency can better target resources where needed, and engage employers in high-hazard industries to identify and eliminate hazards. The evaluation finds the reporting requirement is meeting both goals.

“OSHA will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness,” Dr. Michaels wrote in the report. “We are also seeking new ways to make sure that small employers know about their reporting obligations and the resources available to them.”

The full report is available here.

Media contacts:
Brian Hawthorne
Mandy McClure

A Heart for Safety

A Safety Management Approach

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Over the years, I’ve told my students in Safety Center safety management classes that managers either have a heart for safety or they do not. I have also admitted that if a manager does not have a heart for safety, I (as a safety advisor) have never been able to change his or her closed heart.

The only thing I have ever seen change a manager’s heart from turning away from safety to turning toward safety is a fatality or severe injury to an employee who the manager cares about. Did you get that?

That is an awful thing to say, but that is my real life experience.

Why do some managers and first-line supervisors not have a heart for safety?

I believe it is because they have never worked in an environment where safety was important, where ensuring that all tasks are performed efficiently, productively, and safely is integral to performing all work.

In many organizations, employees are expected to do their tasks without benefit of initial and ongoing training, without continual observation of their behavior, without any follow up to ensure their performance is right and good.

That is an awful thing to say too, but it’s the truth.

What does a work environment look like that is filled with a heart for safety?

It begins with top management’s commitment and follow through to ensure everything is done right, the first time. To achieve that level of perfection, all employees throughout the organization are carefully hired to fit the job they are going to fulfill. They receive initial and continuing training on how to do their work correctly, efficiently, productively, and safely. Their work is observed and reviewed. When they do what is wanted, they are recognized. When they fail to work as is desired, they are corrected.

The right equipment is purchased and maintained. Good housekeeping is sustained. Order is the daily state of how things are done.

Management writes policies and procedures to reflect what is wanted and such documents are regularly enhanced to improve the quality of the work performed.

High employee morale is sought. Management seeks to make the work environment a positive atmosphere. No negative concern is left to fester. All issues are dealt with and improved upon.

To create such a great work environment, all employees are involved. Their thoughts and suggestions are an important part of building a successful organization, an enterprise that is well managed and has a heart for doing what is proper and worthy.

For More Information
To become part of discussion on topics like the one above, go to www.safetycenter.org to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation.  Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition.  Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.