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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in safety leadership.

Many schools and employers' understandable response to the #METOO revelations and horrific workplace shootings has been to implement inflexible Zero Tolerance rules whose violation - no matter how trivial - triggers discharge or other heavy response - often without any opportunity for due process or appeal based on mitigating factors. The justification is that some behaviors are so bad that they must be nipped in the bud at an early stage. These processes do not require managers to use judgment. In the safety realm, zero tolerance processes are often in the form of Safety Absolutes - certain safety rules whose violations trigger automatic discharge. This post discusses the use and potential problems of Zero Tolerance processes.

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.

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?

One of my recurrent themes is that an employer should never assume that its managers and employees will not act foolishly and exercise bad judgment. Poor judgment results in experienced craft workers skipping a step and getting killed. Poor judgment results in employees or managers engaging in sex harassment. Poor judgment results in coworkers teasing an employee so much that he blames the hostile environment on his race, national origin, age or sex. Sometimes poor judgment results in a manger doing something stupid, rude and inappropriate that isn’t unlawful but gets the company sued.

A consistent theme of this year’s EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference, and at every safety conference at which I’ve spoken this year, is everyone’s frustration with relying on recordable injuries to evaluate a contractor’s safety program and culture. When we focus on injuries, we’re chasing a lagging indicator … we’re not focusing on the things the site does to prevent workplace injuries. Unfortunately, owner/customers and OSHA ...

You may access this recorded webinar from last Thursday where industry experts thoughtfully discussed staffing and recruitment challenges, training, cranes, and a host of other safety and labor issues. Not as good as being at the AGC meetings (hint), but a more candid and nuanced discussion than generally available from a webinar or audio presentation.

Managing construction safety risks requires more than recognizing the most frequently cited OSHA standards or focusing on reducing the experience modification rate (EMR) and injury and illness rates.
As a starting point, risk professionals should divide their efforts into two separate (and not always related) categories:

•risk as a direct safety issue; and
•risk as a monetary issue.
Frustratingly, efforts to comply with OSHA standards may not ...

Allen Smith, J.D., the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. ( @SHRMlegaleditor) recently asked three attorneys, including me, to set out our wishes and cautions for OSHA in 2014, and then wrote a good (and short!) article. My responses are below, along with some comments from some construction safety experts, but please read Allen’s complete article. Allen generates good content.

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