After studying 19,000 young Canadian workers for self-reporting workplace injuries, three authors have come to some concerning conclusions about work environments and safety attitudes for Canada’s youth.
Nick Turner, Sean Turner, and Kevin Kelloway’s study has revealed that — between the ages of 15 and 25 — workers are both less likely to report injuries and more likely to ignore safety rules and standards. Pinpointing what causes this fear of speaking out isn’t so black and white, but Turner, Turner, and Kelloway have found that certain age groups lend themselves to less organized work environments, which may lead to less reporting and more neglect of regulations.
Consider the part-time, post-school jobs that young workers can attain during their teenage years. Teenagers often work on the outskirts of industry in environments like homes and yards, doing work like babysitting or landscaping. These activities can seem relatively harmless by industrial standards. After all: where is the hazardous material? What about the large machinery with hundreds of moving parts? It’s not as easy to worry about getting hurt in someone else’s home as it is about getting hurt while navigating scaffolds.
That “small-job” environment induces more lenient attitudes toward the myriad hazards that exist in any line of work. Because there is no standardization or managerial organization, these jobs tend to produce what the authors call “micro-accidents,” which are injuries like bruises and burns.
But we can’t look at micro-accidents as just micro-accidents. The gap between a micro-accident and a hospital-visit is not much, as they can “derive from the same event or set of conditions,” according to Turner.
This fringe work can be just as dangerous as industrial work. Therefore, inspiring an emphasis on strong safety support in young workers is imperative to their adoption of and enthusiasm towards safety standards as they mature in the workplace.
For young workers it all seems to trace back to the supervisor or person in charge. A supervisor’s attitude toward safety affects the group dynamic. This includes a worker’s willingness to speak up not just about their own injuries, but about dangerous conditions that can be avoided and corrected.
Though the study will continue and follow young workers for a year (to get a better idea of all that can happen within that time frame), it still acts as a good indicator of where our priorities should lie. Educating and protecting the working youth by breeding a more involved safety culture in our workplaces will build better industries for us all.
A 19-year study conducted by the Institute for Work & Health has reached a conclusive end. After a long range of follow-up studies, the IWH has found that people with permanent work-related injuries are at a higher risk of premature death.
The IWH’s Associate Scientist, Dr. Heather Scott Marshall, has coined this phenomenon ‘work disability’ — which stems from these permanent injuries and refers to “ the difficulty they face staying in the labor market.” This doesn’t only relate to serious injuries which may hamper a worker’s performance. Instead, this disability is a combination of the physical and psychological difficulties of copying with these permanent injuries at work and at home.
On top of that, these physical disabilities may make workers more susceptible to discriminatory hiring practices. The chance of re-entering and staying in the labor market plummets in certain instances of recalcitrant discrimination by these potential employers.
For nearly two decades, the IWH has been gathering data on 19,000 Ontarians with permanent injuries they suffered while on the job. The IWH compared people without work injuries but similar enough in characteristics like gender and income to those with permanent work injuries. They found that the death-rates in the injured groups were 30 percent or higher than those of the comparable non-injured people and a whopping 50 percent higher in groups with less rigorous similarities.
Women with permanent work injuries who earned 75 percent of what they made pre-injury saw a 27 percent decrease in death rate compared to those only earning 25 percent of what they made before the injury. Those who received these injuries earlier on (from about 25 to 39 years of age) were more likely to die prematurely.
According to Scott-Marshall, this could be a direct tie to younger labourer’s lack of an established place in the labour market. Either that, or the work might have been too physically demanding to return to after the injury. There is no conclusive evidence for this yet, though Scott-Marshall is continuing research with the IWH on this matter.
Most of us dread what we have no control over, and some people shy away from safety issues for that very reason. Between inspections, auditing, and keeping up with standards, there’s a lot of daunting responsibilities if you’re not quite sure how to handle them.
Some in the industrial sector just walk through safety, unaware of the impact or importance of their training and inspections. Others have the process down to a science. The big question is how? How can some people be good at moderating safety efforts while many struggle? The trick, like every other trade or skill in life, is practice.
So how do you get to a “practiced” level? Safety issues are dynamic and constantly changing, making it difficult to routinely tackle them. However, here are a few steps to getting a more habitual sense of safety.
- Learn – The most important part of the safety process is to understand what you’re doing and what is expected of you. Exploring OSHA standards — whether you learn directly from the source, through blogs (like this one), or even infographics — is the answer. The habit comes after you’ve learned common fall protection standards, LO/TO procedures, and other common workplace dangers. OSHA creates new rules to make a difference in the safety of your workplace, and your goal when following their standards should be the same. When you learn and implement OSHA standards, you should not solely aim to protect yourself from fines or bad audits; emphasis on using these standards to better the health and safety of employees is the key.
- Practice – Every work site is an opportunity for one or more safety standard to be broken. Practice comes from fixing anything and everything you might see in the workplace. Saying “it’s no big deal” to improperly locked out machinery or poorly set scaffolding is not an acceptable practice. Make it your mission to adhere to standards, no matter how small or how much of a “hassle” they might seem.
- Use software solutions to help you organize – Software holds a widespread presence in both our homes and workplaces, so why wouldn’t we utilize it to help us with our safety efforts? By using software, everything is at your fingertips, updated, and connected, so you’re never in the dark with workplace safety. This will let you do more in less time, increasing the attention that can be paid to every safety issue. A vital part of workplace safety is consistent information. If this information is not easily available for all stakeholders in safety, the lack of communication could end in an injury or worse. With cloud and server-based software, you can stay connected to everyone, no matter the worksite, so that the information is always fully available across the chain of command.
Interested in a software safety solution? Field iD can help you build your safety habits with less effort. From digital Lockout/Tagout processes to one-click inspections, Field iD is a powerful safety tool for browsers and mobile devices that digitizes the safety process. The simple user-interface is easy to navigate and use, so whether you’re at the office or in the field, you can always keep things organized and accessible.
If you’d like to learn more about how Field iD can take your workplace from “safe” to “safest,” head over to the Field iD website.
Fall prevention remains to be the most common fatal injury in the workplace. It’s no surprise, then, that poor fall prevention standards are the most commonly OSHA cited incidents. Can you blame OSHA for being so iron-clad about their policies? According to a 2013 report, the construction industry saw over 890 deaths and a whopping 18,310 injuries from 2008-2010 due to falls alone.
It’s no wonder that over the years OSHA standards have become more detail-oriented. From positioning ladders to proper guard-rails on scaffolding, there are measures set in place to save lives. Aside from the strict standards we must follow to keep workers safe, there have been events and resources popping up recently – ones especially focused on helping us build a safer workplace.
The “Fall Safety Stand-Down” is a great example of what we can do when we all work together. The two-week program focuses on fall prevention standards, training, and demonstrations, and it’s already proven to be quite a success. In 2014, over 1 million workers and employers got together to learn, interact, and create a safer workplace. That’s over 5,000 companies (from massive operations to small businesses) involved in one safety event.
OSHA plans to have an even more successful year in 2015, and from May 4-15, they’re hoping to reach a whopping 3 million worker participants (or 20,000 companies) to make an even bigger impact. According to their brief report, OSHA claims that 3 million would be enough to reach nearly 4 out of 10 workers.
The safety stand-down is a DIY event in which employers dedicate a block of time — whether it’s over a lunch break or better part of a workday — to talk about safety and demonstrate techniques for a safer workplace. Some employers opt for a direct approach with safety inspection demonstrations while others have found success with a “water-cooler” safety conversation. It doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” your effort is; a simple hour-long discussion can save lives, believe it or not.
If you’d rather leave the education in the hands of safety professionals, OSHA is also holding regional events that anyone can attend. The events are free and – if a company is so inclined – they can even host their own event in their region. Last year, some regional events (like the NASCAR speedway renovation) gathered over 500 workers in the same area to talk about fall safety. That’s 500 workers further educated on fall safety in one afternoon.
While maintaining the existing health and safety culture of a workplace is extremely important, it is only through pursuing improvement in those safety attitudes, processes, and practices that your organization can be viewed as an innovator within its industry. The Safety Stand-Down is just one example of the proactive measures an EHS leader can take to create a safer work environment. For more ways to positively impact the environmental, health, and safety culture of your workplace, visit the Field iD website.
When we think of criminal activity, we think of people aiming to hurt others on purpose; those who go out of their way to do wrong. What about those people taking the path of inaction? Could not doing something be as dangerous as doing something bad?
Over the last 11 years, a Maine Roofing contractor with extremely hazardous practices has answered that question, all while illustrating the price of negligence.
Since 2000, Stephen Lessard has been under the OSHA radar for 11 serious violations in 11 locations over an 11 year span. By ignoring OSHA standards time and time again, Lessard has put hundreds of lives in danger over the years — workers on the job were subjected to extremely poor fall protection standards, exposing them to potentially serious or fatal injuries.
Lessard’s contemptuous behavior — including ignoring fines and constant requests for him to correct his actions — has landed him with over $400,000 in penalties and possible jail time. OSHA has finally decided to leverage the law and has charged Lessard with contempt, though it’s taken much longer than he deserved.
After all of the fines and impending litigation, one might assume that Lessard has learned his lesson. If only that were the case.
In the face of all of those accruing charges, Lessard has managed to shirk his responsibilities yet again. Just this January, Lessard was slapped with another $287,000 fine — a new charge that’s been piled atop the previous $400,000 backlog. He may have ridden on relative lenience all these years, but now the time has come to appear before the law, and the judicial system might not be quite as lenient as OSHA has been.
The question remains as to why Lessard would let this happen at all. Why not take the chance to correct his mistakes in the first place and avoid OSHA fines altogether? We’re far from understanding how someone could so easily put the lives of his employees in danger, even less so how he could do it with consistency.
With all of the tools and technology available to us today — things like Field iD and cloud technology — it’s a wonder how someone could neglect safety when it’s easier than ever to ensure it. If you want to know how to be a better business-owner or supervisor, doing the opposite of what Stephen Lessard has been up to is a step in the right direction. To go one step further in your safety efforts, visit the Field iD main page and see how easy effective safety management can be.
It looks like 2015 is a big year for negligent construction companies, as yet another large OSHA fine has surfaced. K&F Construction, a construction company working out of West Virginia, has been penalized for several violations of OSHA standards. The inspection of the Morgantown work site was conducted September last year, with the violations coming to a head earlier this month.
Among the violations were improper fall protection, improper eye protection during operation of a nail gun, and (the most serious and costly violation) using a forklift to support scaffolding. No news has surfaced yet as to the company’s plan to accept or fight the findings, but the $109k fine looms regardless.
It’s quite obvious that equipment (i.e. the forklift) should never, ever be used for anything besides its intended purpose; some of the other violations may seem innocuous in comparison. When we take the time to isolate these instances, however, it becomes clear that each individual violation is just as serious as the last, and all pose a threat to the safety and health of those workers involved:
– Protecting your eyes is just as important as protecting the rest of your body, especially when using tools like nail guns and saws. Tools that are used to cut and pierce may cause fragmentation of materials or can injure workers directly; protecting your eyes from wood and metal shrapnel can be the difference between going home and going to the hospital.
– Fall protection is something OSHA pushes a lot, and that’s because falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Workers exposed to heights without proper protection like railings, stable structures, and well-placed ladders can be seriously or fatally injured. Overlooking protection techniques, no matter how small they might seem, could lead to fatalities in the workplace. Employees put their safety on the line to work on projects, and keeping them as safe as possible is our most important responsibility.
– The reckless use of the forklift is the biggest culprit in the K&F fine, and illustrates something that many companies do all too frequently. When the right tool for the job isn’t available, or there isn’t time to fix something due to deadlines, companies often go the route of “ingenuity,” trading safety for convenience and efficiency in the process. They might stuff something under the leg of a ladder if the foot is broken or use boxes to hold up platforms. Though these things may seem like good substitutes, equipment poses an immediate threat when it’s being used for something outside of its main function. When it comes to safety, don’t think exclusively about customer deadlines. Get the right tools for the job and do right by your employees. Doing a job safely is more important than doing it quickly.
Effective safety practices are vital for the successful safety management of your business. Of course it’s nice to avoid a $100k fine that could put your business in the red, but your first duty is assuring that everything is in place for proper inspections and your employees end their workday injury-free.
Learn more about how you can keep your workplace injury (and violation) free at Field iD’s website.
Nation-wide changes are hitting workers compensation where it hurts, and injured workers are paying the price more than ever before. A recent OSHA report shows a decade-long trend in dwindling coverage for workplace accidents, leading to identifiable income drops in cases of injured workers. Less coverage for workplace injuries means more out of pocket expenses for workers who are already balancing on the line between poverty and living income.
OSHA has stated that these more finicky coverage plans are exacerbating the lines of inequality and helping contribute to the poverty of workers. The worse news is that low-wage workers are getting the shortest end of the stick, as they are purportedly injured on a more frequent basis.
Could it be that wage can dictate the injury rate of workers? OSHA thinks so. Their report states that the temporary and independent workers are less likely to get proper safety training and are more likely to be injured on the job. The inequality gap, according to OSHA, is now statistically influencing injury rates.
Between industries doing less for their injured workers and insurance companies taking a stricter approach to allowances, it’s more important than ever for all of us, as a collective industry, to focus on safety and prevention. In this economic period where the lowest-wage workers get snubbed most often, particular focus on preventing injury in the first place is vital. Unless we are willing to completely take responsibility for overlooking OSHA’s standards and important safety measures, we should do everything in our power to preclude injuries, not fix them when it’s too late.
Proper inspections, auditing, and training can help prevent worker injuries, ensuring that their funds will be secured for their home lives. The key is staying ahead of the curve with organization and preparation. Using software like Field iD can help you get there. Cloud integration and one-click inspections can make the job a whole lot easier, but whatever method you use (whether paper or digital), ensure that it’s comprehensive and up-to date. Missing out on an inspection can have dire consequences, even if it’s just pushed back a few days, so be sure to keep organized and prepared to keep your workers safe.
To learn more about improving the effectiveness of your safety practices, visit Field iD’s website.
A fabric manufacturer out of Maine has been using non-compliant techniques for months, and OSHA finally dropped the hammer on their operation with a massive fine. Amounting to over $108,000, this fine not only resulted from the amount of safety issues they found, but also the risk of injury they presented to employees.
Water jets — laser-precise and extremely powerful tools used to cut metal — were the first culprit OSHA had spotted. These large, dangerous machines were not being properly shut down or locked during scheduled cleanings, exposing employees to possible lacerations, fractures, and amputations. If, during operation, an employee were to have their hand near the jet, and the machine activated, they could be amputated in seconds.
A “trimming robot,” one of the manufacturer’s most important tools, was also a big concern to OSHA inspectors. The machine was moving well outside of its safety perimeter, exposing workers near the machinery to serious or possibly fatal injuries.
Although the hazards identified and the resulting fine both serve as an example of why compliance is important, the shame in this whole situation is the nonchalance about workers’ lives. These people were working in an environment that was inherently dangerous, presenting them with a high risk of injury every day that they punched in.
Some companies might think that way, that compliance is about avoiding fines and keeping OSHA happy, but OSHA is in place for one thing only: the safety of those out in the field. We understand that and completely agree, and that’s why Field iD exists in the first place.
This was a case of clear-cut negligence and ignorance, one that luckily didn’t result in any fatalities. Even for the best of us, though, keeping track of all the small things can be a hassle. The most safety-conscious overseer can make mistakes, and Field iD was made for people like them, individuals who want to stay ahead of the curve and organized to prevent accidents, not deal with them after the fact.
If you work in the industrial sector and have been searching for a better path to compliance, you might like what Field iD has to offer. With one-click inspections and scheduled audits, you can stay on top of important dates. Built-in LO/TO tools makes it easier than ever to ensure that machinery is properly processed before, during, and after repair. Our server-wide network means that everyone will always stay connected, in the know, and ready for the next challenge.
Nobody wants to run a business like that fabric manufacturer, but we may fall into disrepair if we feel overwhelmed by the necessary steps and endless paperwork. We made Field iD because we understand why it was needed in the first place: a simple platform to help people manage safety compliance with just a few clicks.
If you want to go paperless and have a safer, more efficient year, head over to Field iD’s website to learn more.
The UAE has achieved global recognition for their outstanding safety compliance with a 98.8% safety rating from the International Civil Aviation Organization. The operation of UAE’s aviation sector is a complex and extremely detailed process. A 98.8% score is an incredible achievement, but let’s look at it for what it truly means: a safer world. This score represents passengers traveling and coming home safely and the rigorous standards the UAE enforces in order to run at maximum efficiency.
The big question on everyone’s mind is “how”? How do you get to the top of the safety world? How could an operation so large run so well? Surely there’s an exhaustive amount of work to be done to ensure that the operation is safe from top to bottom, and the UAE’s infrastructure is near-perfect from local to national to international. Their aviation infrastructure must have a system in place that helps them methodically enforce compliance.
If you’re looking for a recipe to greater compliance, there are some steps you can take to make your company an industry example. What the UAE has done has taken years of hard work, and they’ve earned their keep in the world of safety. Whether you work in the food industry, construction, or (of course) aviation, Field iD might be just what you’ve been looking for to bolster your safety efforts.
Safety Made Simpler with Field iD
It doesn’t matter whether your operation is local, national, or international; if you work in an industry full of hazards, safety should be your main concern. We’ve built Field iD, our mobile and PC safety platform, from the ground up to help you run things more efficiently and safely out in the field.
The UAE’s aviation sector, just like all other businesses, has to perform inspections and audits; it’s how they keep their planes air-ready and their operations consistent. With Field iD, health, pre-flight, and asset inspections could be performed with a tap or a click. Our up-to-date, industry-standard checklists are built from the ground up to give you the most detailed inspections with an intuitive and simple one-click system.
With our GPS-connected network, workers, supervisors, and management can stay in the know about their business activity; data on where work is being done, whether inspections have been completed, and where assets are is available at any given time.
98.8% is quite the goal when it comes to safety standards, but software like Field iD can help you get there. When you streamline the process, you can start seeing the big picture. When you see the big picture, you can change the way you run things.
Learn more about Field iD and see for yourself how it can help you run a safer, more efficient business.
Safety and compliance managers never forget the first time they are dinged with an OSHA citation. Depending on its severity, that violation or violations could change the whole trajectory of a company. Whether the violation is “serious” or not, odds are the company will be paying in some shape or form because of it.
Once that OSHA citation passes, the time comes to take stock of your safety procedures and figure out how to prevent such a thing from happening again. If you’re a safety or compliance manager, expect some tough discussions with employees throughout the company — and especially with executives. You’ll have to communicate to them how important safety is to the health of the whole company.
It can be an uncomfortable process to objectively evaluate where your company stands when it comes to the safety of its employees. However, is there really anything more important to your company than the safety of employees?
Put simply, the best way to avoid more violations is to adjust your procedures and implement an automated solution that ensures you don’t miss any steps. The worst thing you can do is stand back and hope nothing happens.
Review your current procedures and identify what gaps exist. This may seem like an inconvenience at first, but people’s lives could literally be at stake. Look at all your processes and focus on the weak points. Then, get the new procedures in place and change your mentality that it can’t happen to you.
Field iD’s technology can help you automate processes so that you don’t forget any critical steps in safeguarding your employees and your equipment. In addition, all the data gathered by Field iD is kept in an easily accessible archive to ensure that when and if OSHA comes on site, you can produce the exact documentation they need. With the press of a button you can prove you followed the correct procedures.
Having the correct procedures in place before something happens is always the goal. After an accident occurs or an OSHA violation stings a company, it’s important to change the mentality that it couldn’t happen to you, your coworker or your company. Remember, the effects of a violation don’t just impact one person — they can be felt across the company and within the surrounding community.
If you waited until after an OSHA violation to make safety changes, the time is now to get started. People are likely to be resistant to the change, but at the same time, there is no better time to stress the importance of safety in your business. Your employees will thank you for it.