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Posts in safety programs.

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.

We are again running a Biggest Loser Contest among our 31 offices and will award prizes, beginning at $1,000, to individuals who lose the most weight. I do not watch reality shows and am generally cynical about such programs. However, I am happily eating my own words. Employees are having fun with the contest and the competition has generated a lot of camaraderie and playful competition. When I visit one office, someone will only half-jokingly ask me to leave Donuts on the desk of one of their “weight loss foes” in the next office I visit. Folks have regaled me with their elaborate preparation and routine for winning the contest. Their approach reminded me of my pre-race and pre-fight preparation of a few years ago.

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 ...

Let’s be honest. Many of us object to any expansion of OSHA workplace injury recordkeeping because it’s burdensome, doesn’t help develop a safety culture, and we expect the Administration to misuse the data. That said, there are some good aspects of OSHA’s proposed Final Rule, and some of the worry is unfounded.

Auto Dealers Should Relax.

Our first client back in the 1940s was an auto dealer, so we at Fisher Phillips are fond of and track the ...

Location and price generally control office-space decisions. Even if you construct a new building or do extensive build-out, you probably have not devoted much consideration to whether your new space meets OSHA requirements.

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 ...

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."

Laura Stack posted an excellent INC. article, “You Can’t Stop A Polar Vortex, But You Can Be Ready For The Next One.” While I travel constantly, I live in Atlanta, so this is a visceral subject to me both as a “Catastrophe Manager” and as an Atlanta employer. When Atlanta businesses, government, and schools all decided to release everybody at the same time, I had a first hand seat to witness poor planning and decisions. My secretary got home at 2:00 a.m., my best friend at 5:00 a.m., and others slept in their cars or at Publix, Kroger and CVS stores who graciously let people sleep in the store. I was out to the wee hours rescuing people because I had a good vehicle and outdoor skills, which does not alter the fact that all of us were caught with our proverbial pants down. For a fascinating hour by hour description of Atlanta’s misfortune, complete with images of weather forecasts and communications, read “How To Prevent the Next Atlanta Snow Apocalypse” by the seasoned weather hands of Minnesota Public Radio.

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.

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.

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