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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in common sense and safety.

My weekly Round Up of OSHA and relevant legal developments, practical insights and news and observations relevant to Risk Managers, Safety and HR professionals, and executives interested n reducing risk and instilling leadership in the workplace. Special emphasis this week on handling OSHA witness statement demands.

Third edition of my effort to summarize certain important employment law, OSHA, and labor developments, news and practical insight. I also include references to books and podcasts that you may find useful in becoming a better manager and addressing labor and employment challenges, as well as personal development. This week's edition has three pages of comments from readers and interviews in Part 2.

A few practical observations from this week's AGC-National Winter Safety Committee Meetings, and a bit of personal philosophizing about safety and character and the people making a difference in workplace safety. I mention some of the key topics covered, greatest concerns, and details on complying with the new Silica standard.

Last week I was honored to be named a Top Author in J.D. Supra Readers’ Choice Awards. I write a great deal when I should probably be billing, but you guys seem to enjoy my stuff, so thanks! However, I often read an article or have an experience which merits discussion, but I don’t have the time to prepare my preferred detailed analysis.

First, hats off to our hosts, Master Builders and Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania, who took the attendees to a Pirates-Padres game and better introduced us to the vibrant city of Pittsburgh. The content of the last two Committee meetings has also been outstanding. I’ll try to later post more information.

A. OSHA’s New Construction Confined Space Entry Standard

Jim Goss, the Government Affairs Committee, and a Pane of contractors ...

I thoroughly enjoyed my seven years as a Scoutmaster in an inner city housing project. The boys were poor and few of them had a dad at home, but they were good kids. Given decent examples, assistance, and a bit of luck, they could escape what had become a multigenerational cycle of poverty. However, despite being poor, these boys had been raised by their moms as little princes with no requirements placed on them. In other words, they were pretty much the same as overly entitled kids.

Most people acknowledge that they are not getting enough sleep and that this lack of sleep affects everything from their work to their marital life. Groups such as the National Sleep Foundation regularly announce that at least one-fifth of Americans sleep fewer than 6 hours a night and are sleep deprived. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2008 “Sleep in America Poll,” found that 29% of Americans fall asleep or become very sleepy at work. Phillips Consumer Lifestyle 2010 “Workplace Power Outage Sleep Study” found that nearly one-fourth of 1,000 U.S. office workers admitted to stealing a nap at work. We know better, but we skip sleep anyway. Likewise, management’s response ranges from disinterest to actively encouraging employees to skip sleep and get in more hours.

I’m writing this post while a band does a nice job with Beach Boys songs while my buddies here at the AGC National Convention in San Juan, are, to use the vernacular at the time, cutting a rug. And I’m typing. Not sure what that says about me, and yes, that was rhetorical, so spare me the responses. Now they’ve switched to Sweet Home Alabama. These guys are good and clearly know the group’s tastes. Good stuff.

As I finally flew home last week, I sat beside Jeff Smagacz, the owner of an engineering firm, RMG. Jeff explained that RMG spends 75% of its time analyzing manufacturing and distribution processes to make them faster, more efficient, require less employees … and to lessen employee exposure to ergonomic injuries. About 25% of their time is spent in more traditional “ergonomic work” like designing ergonomically efficient devices such as curved keyboards. I was struck by RMG’s approach to first address the overall manufacturing or distribution process, and do so to improve performance, rather than myopically focusing on one worker or task and addressing ergonomic issues.

I’m a conservative free market, individual rights oriented, gun owning, evangelical leaning person who grew up in the hills of North Georgia. I deal with the Federal and State government every day and I believe that private organizations can better handle many government tasks. Have I established my credentials so that I can make the following statement?

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