I remember the near hysteria and the lack of clear workplace and public health guidance when I began receiving questions about responding to AIDS in the workplace in 1984. If you have forgotten how people reacted, watch the excellent Dallas Buyers Club.
On July 15, 2014, Thomas Galassi, OSHA’s Director of Enforcement Programs, released a memorandum addressed to all OSHA regional administrators regarding OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative—a program developed to increase the agency’s focus on the safety of temporary workers. The purpose of the memo was to clarify the responsibilities of staffing agencies and host employees and to remind OSHA field staff of the enforcement policy with respect to temporary workers.
Howard Mavity will host three nationally regarded safety professionals to discuss concerns and lessons gleaned from the July 16 through 18 AGC National Safety Committee Meeting in Portland. Nationally regarded safety professionals, Bob Emmerich, P.E., and Jim Goss, will join Kevin Cannon, Director of Safety and Health Services of the AGC of America. We will discuss trends in OSHA enforcement, new technology for safety efforts, and challenges and solutions raised by construction attendees.
I saw some really good posts on forklift safety last week and want to share them below. Much like fall-protection and struck-bys in construction, the distribution and manufacturing employer cannot focus too much on forklift and pallet jack safety and compliance. Although related, strict compliance with the OSHA standards will not guarantee no accidents and well trained operators will not protect one from citations for missing a daily inspection, inadequate evaluation of an operator for a particular machine, or for failure to retrain an operator after an accident. The wise employer always thinks about both parallel tracks ... "safety" and "compliance."
Those of you who follow the FP Workplace safety blog or the howardmavity.com site know that I try to generate new product every few days but have of late been conspicuously silent. Part of the reason is that I have been on the road to speak at various safety-related conferences. I was impressed by the groups’ efforts and I learned from the attendees and presenters. Please support such groups’ efforts.
Recently, at the SE Mine Safety and Health Conference, Sam Pierce, the new District Manager for the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) Southeast District, provided the mine industry with a two-page handout titled "ABC's of Inspecting." (Attached below). Mr. Pierce indicated that he has distributed this to the field offices in the SE District and expects his inspectors to live up to the principles outlined in the handout. Mr. Pierce should be applauded for his efforts to improve MSHA's inspection process by setting out common sense guidance for MSHA Inspectors. Beyond its undoubted usefulness for Inspectors, however, mine operators should take time to review the handout and ensure that these tools are being incorporated into day-to-day operations at their facilities. While most mine safety professionals I have met are already doing the things I discuss below, your committment to health and safety is a daily task and there is always room for improvement.
Going into 2014, OSHA is continuing its focus of inspecting and, when alleged violations found, citing employers under its recordkeeping standard. Proper recordkeeping has become more critical to employers since OSHA recently issued a proposed rule to publish, in certain cases, the injury and illness data provided by employers.
The recent “Polar Vortex” has stunned even snow-hardened Minnesotans. I became concerned about worker safety in this brutal cold when I stopped late one night to pump gas on my way back to Atlanta from out of state trial prep. Thermometers showed it as seven degrees but with the substantial wind, it was well below zero. I nearly froze pumping gas. When I arrived the next morning at a rental car garage, it was obvious that despite the attendants wearing more winter clothes than Ralhie’s brother in the Christmas Story, they were suffering in the shade and wind. Imagine the injury potential for a construction worker, lineman or any employee working in the cold.
I have been sharing materials from the EHS Today "America's Safest Companies" conference which we co-sponsored the last week. I experienced one of those epiphany experiences while listening to Dr John Howard and representatives of GE and Georgia Pacific explain that surprisingly, safety professionals have been left out of corporate efforts to champion sustainability. We have left the environmental folks to lead the way, and that makes no sense. It is sensible that the safety professionals work hand-in-hand with the environmental proponents in making the myriad of small to large decisions to improve corporate sustainability
Last week, I hosted the first edition of Fisher Phillips’ new monthly webinar series – “Workplace Safety Wednesdays.” I discussed recent decisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, MSHA's new Miners' Rights Guide, updates to the HazCom standard, and other topics of interest. I hope you were able to attend and enjoyed the webinar as much as I did.