Safety Photo February 2014

Makes me wonder what is in that Janitor’s Closet to warrant such a sign. I do not see the housekeeping staff completing confined space permits every time they have to get a clean rag.

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When it comes to signage, are you signing the areas appropriate and identifying the hazard? Do you over or under sign? Have you performed some type of hazard assessment to correctly identify the risk factors and work practices?

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Accident Investigations and Root Cause Simplified

I am stealing this concept from a fellow co-worker, but I just had to share it. When conducting an accident investigation, performing a root cause analysis can be challenging. Let me simplify it for you. Ask yourself these few simple questions to determine where the breakdown occurred.

1. Did they know?
-Did they know the right way to perform the task?
-Did they know the correct process or procedure?
-if not, you might have a training issue.
2. Do they care?
-Do they care about doing the job right?
-Is the company culture such that it’s okay to disregard safety protocol?
-do they understand why they need to perform the task that way?
-If not, you may have a communication or behavioral issue.
3. Do they have the right resources?
-Do they have the proper tools or equipment to do the job correctly and safe?
-Do they have management support and financial backing to safely do the job?
-If not you might have a management issue.
4. Is there an incentive to take shortcuts?
-Are they pressured to just get the job done?
-Are you incentivizing outcomes rather than behaviors?
-Is there any accountability or recourse for not following protocol and safe work practices?
-If so, you might have a management, cultural, or behavioral issue.

Ask yourself these questions next time you conduct an accident investigation to see where you can improve and prevent future incidents from happening.

Safety Photo October 2012

Exits and doorways: we all understand the need to keep exits and doorways free of obstacles in the event of an emergency. However, I wanted to bring this photo to attention given that I have started to see snow in my state. When the snow and ice build up on walkways and stairs what do we do to control the slip/trip/fall hazards? Often times companies will salt or put sand down to help, but are we just trading one problem for another? What is the process to clean up the sand or salt once the snow is gone or melts? Once the walkways or stairs are dry and free of ice/snow the debris left from the salt/sand can cause a slip/trip/fall just as easily. Keep this in mind when you are looking to correct a hazard; will the solution cause another hazard once the immediate one is corrected?

The Consumate Safety Professional

What is a safety professional? Do we have a code of honor or professional conduct we abide by?

How many of you would stop and talk to a complete stranger because he was standing on the top two steps of a ladder? I did (see photo below). I did not yell, I did not raise my voice, I did not talk down to him, I simply stated that I was a safety professional and I noticed he was putting himself at risk and I did not want to see him get hurt. I asked him if he knew what he was doing wrong and he responded with a five minute conversation about OSHA and safety. He knew he was putting himself at risk, but he was just trying to get the job done. I then proceeded to ask him if he had a bigger ladder he could use and he said he did have one on his truck and that he would go and get it. He in fact did have one available for use and he got it and continued his work. Now he is safe and able to perform his duties without fear of harm (or at least less chance of injury). He even thanked me for pointing out his mistake and appreciated the fact that I said something.

The thing is if I had not intervened and something happened, would I be at fault? Would I have violated my oath as a safety professional involved and active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)? I know I would not be able to look at myself and say I am a safety professional if that happened. Sometimes people are not trained in the proper way to work safely, other times they are just focused on their job and not paying attention. I believe that it is our job as safety professionals to step up and make a difference where we can and help to educate those who are not being given the opportunity to succeed and stay safe by their employers.

What would you do?

OSHA Can Read!

Let me tell you a quick story…

While conducting a training session on OSHA inspections and what to expect, a coworker of mine pointed out that OSHA will often watch the news and read the paper to see what is going on around town. If they see something not quite right they can and will show up on your job for an inspection. Well since this training class was out of town, I went back to my hotel room to put my feet up and grabbed the local paper. Guess what I saw on the front page?

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Now I don’t know about you but, I see a few OSHA violations in this front page photo. If I were an OSHA compliance officer I would be pretty psyched about making a visit to this contractor. Hey front page news is prime pickings.

Something to think about as you work on projects or put out advertisements and mailings. Is the photo doing your company justice or could it cause harm? OSHA can read and they will follow up on something that appears to be hazardous or puts employee in harms way.

Safety Photo July 2012

Ok, so I found these workers putting up a sign next to the restaurant I was having lunch at. As it is in my DNA, I had to stop and say something about their ladder placement. When I first pulled up they had the ladder about two feet from the bottom of the roof parapet and were accessing the roof from there. They obviously had more room on the ladder for extension but did not know or failed to follow the requirements. This is how I found them after my lunch and after I had talked to them about the 3′ rule.

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Safety Photo for May 2012

OK, perhaps I don’t fully understand the process. I have never seen a rock crusher/mill on top of the dirt/rock pile before. Typically they have this piece of equipment on the ground and the loader/excavator will bring the material to it. My concern is the fact that the excavator is digging out the material beneath the crusher…just my thought, but don’t you think  that might be a bad idea?

On another note, Caterpillar has a great web based resource on safety with construction equipment. If your looking for videos, toolbox talks, or other training material check it out.