Employers continue to make worker safety a priority in extreme heat

“Employers across the country are taking steps to protect their employees from the risk of heat exposure by gradually increasing shift lengths so they can adapt to hot environments, providing frequent water breaks, allowing ample time to rest, and providing shade. In the June 15 issue of QuickTakes, we shared specific measures employers are taking to keep their workers safe from extreme heat. Below are more examples. For others, and to submit your own, visit our heat campaign webpage.”

Active Threats in the Workplace: What Are Some Keys to Success?

“Any ordinary day can turn extraordinary. Just ask the growing number of victims who started a day that promised to be like every other; yet instead, they ended up smack in the middle of a violent incident. Active threat incidents can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time—in a store, an office building, in shopping malls, on campus, in open parking lots, in movie theaters and even on military bases. The time to think about what you would do in an emergency should not be as the events unravel before you, but rather well before the incident occurs.

First responders (law enforcement, fire, EMTs) take, on average, 8 to 10 minutes to arrive on an active threat scene. Those 8 to 10 minutes are an eternity if you are in the pathway of an individual on a rampage. Those crucial first minutes of the attack may well determine who survives and who does not. Often, by the time the first responders arrive at the scene, the assailant will have already achieved his objective and committed suicide, or staged himself for the final gun battle with law enforcement. What this means is that the average citizen is now the new first responder; that our survivability from a violent attack will depend on the preparedness, confidence and capabilities of our coworkers, our employees, our neighbors and our friends. Security is not only personal, but it also makes common sense.”
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A Complete Electrical Safety Checklist for Office Workers

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently disclosed in a nationwide survey that about 76,000 workers are disabled due to serious shock and burn injuries every year. Almost every process in any office today relies on equipment that runs on power and is potentially hazardous if improperly used or not maintained regularly. Does your office culture ensure electrical safety from hazards that expose workers to shocks, fires, and burns caused by faulty electrical wiring, unsafe installations, frayed cords, substandard power trips, and defective equipment? Print this checklist, pin it to your bulletin board and follow it to keep your office safe from electrical hazards:

1. Ensure that every single piece of equipment, machine, and device is double insulated and appropriately grounded.

2. Make sure that no outlet is overloaded at any time.

3. Do not plug bars with multiple outlets to other multi-outlet bars.

4. Do not use any equipment with wet hands.

5. Check all the power strips to ensure they are not overloaded and place them in well-ventilated areas for adequate heat dispersion.

6. Never plug grounded cords into ungrounded outlets.

7. Do not bind or knot electrical cords and do not hide them under carpets where chairs can roll over them.

8. Unplug every device and gadget when it is not in use to save more energy and eliminate the risk of fire and shocks….”

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Everyone is Out of the Building. Now What?

“Imagine: emergency response drills have happened once a quarter for the past five years. Everyone knows exactly what actions to take, how to evacuate, and where to report afterward. From time to time, different scenarios have been presented, lessons were learned, and plans were updated to reduce risk and increase safety. If something bad happens, everything will be okay, right?

It really doesn’t matter what the emergency is: fire, chemical spill, natural or manmade disaster. When the disaster is real, no matter how well-trained employees are or how quickly they are able to get out of harm’s way, there can still be some uncertainty about what happens next. Being able to clearly communicate plans and expectations will minimize some of that chaos.

The primary goals of traditional emergency response plans and trainings are to get people out of harm’s way and/or initiate a response. But after those objectives are met, facilities need to have a plan for what will happen tomorrow and next week. Unlike emergency action plans, contingency or other similar plans that are required by OSHA, EPA, or other governing agencies, most facilities do not have a regulatory obligation to create a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) or disaster recovery plan. But facilities that do have these plans are more likely to recover from a disaster and to do it more quickly than facilities without a plan.”
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What Should You Stop Doing to Improve Safety Performance and Culture?

“What should you not do or stop doing that will improve safety performance and culture? These are difficult questions for most leadership teams to answer and agree on. There tends to be a common belief we should always do more in safety. We want to improve, so we need to do more. We had an injury or incident, so we need to do more. We want to be top-tier, so we need to do more.

Rather than always trying to do more, the goal should be to do better. More isn’t always better. Better is better.

When reviewing current safety efforts with clients to determine whether they should continue, be modified, or ceased (or when pressure is felt to have a knee-jerk reaction to change direction), the following considerations and questions have been helpful to many leadership teams.”
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2017 Workers’ Compensation Reform

Date: April 25, 2017
“The 2017-2018 executive budget (Part NNN of Chapter 59, Laws of 2017), enacted effective April 10, 2017, includes meaningful workers’ compensation reforms that generate cost savings for employers while providing better protections for injured workers. The reform legislation also requires updates to medical guidelines that reflect advances in modern medicine and requires the Board to adopt a prescription drug formulary by the end of the year. Below is an overview of the key pieces of the reform legislation.”
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Why Are Corporations and Municipalities Moving to Zero Waste?

“There is a general movement among much of the public that zero waste is a benefit. For many, this is driven by its association with global warming. Even for those who don’t believe in global warming, there is an understanding that zero waste is better for us individually (and by implication, better for the environment).

Stakeholders in corporations want to know that the company they invest in, work for, or do business with, is friendly to the environment. A corporation that claims zero waste is viewed as one that is better than one that is not, and a company that claims it is carbon neutral is even better. In the EU, large corporations must report their carbon footprint on their annual reports, just as they report profit and loss and a balance sheet. This awareness is spreading around the globe.

While the movement toward being greener is driving the movement towards zero waste, the public are getting closer to landfills. What used to be “over the hill” or “miles away” is now closer to home as the population grows and suburbia spreads. A landfill that was 50 miles away from houses a decade ago is closer than ever. Landfills smell, and people don’t like them.”
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Safe Access to Any Space

“As the environmental health and safety technician at the St. Gabriel, La., plant of Olin Chlor Alkali Products, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chlorine, caustic soda, and related chemicals, Mark Hudson is all too familiar with the trips, slips, and falls associated with ladders. That’s why he was immediately attracted to a picture and accompanying description of a personal portable lift as he reviewed the fall protection pages of his safety vendor’s website.

Hudson is like many in his position who are taking a closer look at low-level access lifts and other aerial work platforms as a safer alternative to ladders, scaffolding, and other forms of access. After talking to his rep about the product, he purchased two. Happy at the time, Hudson is even more pleased with his purchases almost five years later.

He said it “addresses many of the issues associated with ladder safety, and that’s huge. And it’s so much more convenient than a traditional ladder.” Workers who are using ladders must tie off when they do any work above 4 feet and must work one-handed, but with the portable lift they are tied to the machine and have a platform to work from with both hands free, he explained.”
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When an Employee Says No

“You are a supervisor at a large assembly plant. Paul, your afternoon maintenance technician, smashes his right index finger between a part and an impact wrench and suffers a bloody wound to the fingertip. Paul reports to the Plant Medical Department and asks for a Band-Aid. The occupational health nurse quickly assesses the bleeding open wound and summons the plant physician, who advises Paul that he needs to be sent to the hospital emergency room for more advanced treatment and possible x-rays and sutures. Paul states that he doesn’t want to go to the emergency room and leaves Medical. Three months later, Paul notifies your company that he has to have a distal fingertip amputation and is suing your company and the Medical Department staff because his finger tip developed an infection that was not treated properly.

A review by your organization’s legal department found little or no documentation of Paul’s injury and, worse yet, there was no documentation of Paul’s refusal of medical care against medical advice! Now OSHA wants to get into the act because your plant didn’t record the case within seven days of the injury.”
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