By Jason Chan on August 22nd, 2014 @ 10:59 am
Canada’s Transport Safety Board (TSB) released its final report on last summer’s deadly Lac-Mégantic rail tragedy. Forty-seven people were killed and dozens of buildings destroyed after a train was left unattended and jumped the tracks spilling burning oil on the small town of Quebec in Canada. The accident, which occurred on July 6, 2013, has been described as the worst of its kind in modern Canadian history. The town and its residents are still trying to rebuild more than one year later.
The report was some 200 pages long and the transportation safety agency had harsh words for Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MM&A), the railway responsible for the catastrophe, which has since been driven into bankruptcy as a result. The report made clear there was no single cause that led to the events of that night, in fact a confluence of 18 different factors were to blame, and it attributes several but not all to MM&A. The report states MM&A:
- Cut corners on engine repair and maintenance;
- Did not make safety a priority;
- Was reactive not proactive;
- Had issues around training and monitoring;
- Operator had no emergency management training.
But the report also called government regulators to task, stating the accident was a failure of regulatory process. Transport Canada knew about the problems but the auditing process was not happening often or thoroughly enough.
As a result, the TSB made two new recommendations: the first calls on Transport Canada to require additional physical means to prevent trains from moving when left unattended. The second calls for more frequent and detailed audits of railways’ safety management systems.
It is clear that this tragedy could have been prevented. If audits and inspections of equipment and safety systems had been carried out both by the railway and by Transport Canada, the brakes would have functioned properly and the operator would have been better trained and known what to do.
The best way to prioritize safety is to live it. Technology such as Field iD that clearly defines and automates the inspection and audit process, provides step by step instructions on what needs to be executed and when. There are no short cuts.
By Jason Chan on August 13th, 2014 @ 12:57 pm
Almost two decades after it was first introduced, about two-thirds of companies across the U.S. still struggle to meet the standard. In fact, lockout/tagout is the number one most cited regulation in the manufacturing industry and top five across all industries. The reason: the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s requirement is both demanding and time consuming.
For those that don’t know, OSHA created the Lockout/Tagout regulation to protect employees servicing machines and equipment from injury due to unexpected start-up. The standard requires companies to adopt and implement practices and procedures to shut down equipment, isolate it from all its energy sources and prevent the release of hazardous energy when workers are performing maintenance.
In a nutshell, the foundation of a responsible lockout/tagout program starts with understanding your machinery and knowing where the dangers are and what has to be done to contain them when you work on equipment. Complicated machinery with multiple energy sources require written procedures that outline all the necessary steps to ensure the machine is off and no hazardous energy is flowing to it. Once it is determined the machinery is in a zero energy state, a personal lock must be attached to every point that controls the flow of energy preventing others from inadvertently turning it back on. Then the machine must be tested to ensure it cannot be re-energized.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of OSHA’s standard is the requirement for written procedures for each and every piece of machinery that must be maintained. Unsurprisingly, it is also the most time-consuming and as a result presents the greatest challenge to businesses. Our cloud-based solution simplifies the procedure writing process.
Master Lock’s Field iD is a critical tool to facilitate the behaviors necessary to be compliant with OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout standard.
By Jason Chan on August 1st, 2014 @ 10:00 am
It’s a question more and more people are asking after two recent food scandals hit the media. Husi Food Co., a Shanghai-based food processing plant made headlines around the world this week after local broadcaster Dragon TV revealed the plant was repackaging and selling expired beef and chicken to McDonalds, Starbucks and Burger King locations in China and Japan. The China Food and Drug Administration wasted no time in shutting down the facility but that has done little to allay the fears of consumers who have endured a string of food safety scares in China in the past decade.
Just as Dragon TV was breaking its story, across the world in the UK, the Guardian newspaper published an exposé of the widespread lack of hygiene in that country’s chicken processing business. Last year the same paper reported that in some UK supermarkets horsemeat was being substituted for beef.
It’s no surprise that food safety has become a hot button issue and consumers are worried. Of course these incidents are far from isolated and far from new. Over the past several years, people around the world have pushed governments to update and enforce safety legislation. And for the most part they have.
It is also clear that inspections, audits and compliance are absolutely necessary to ensure no one is cutting corners and skipping critical steps and protocols. These tools are the checks and balances of the food supply system. They are also proactive and go far beyond tracking and recalling contaminated products when it comes to restoring consumer confidence and protecting brand equity.
In many ways audits and inspections pack a one-two punch. An audit is an evaluation of a food facility’s programs, documentation and processes with an eye to ensuring the facility has set expectations and are meeting them. An inspection is a thorough in-person walk-through and assessment of a facility to see up-close what is actually happening on site and to ensure standards are being followed. It’s up to every link in the food supply chain to have solid safety programs in place that comply with, and ideally exceed, government standards.
No easy feat but one that technology is making easier. In fact, the power of mobile and cloud computing is changing and helping improve compliance. Wired and wireless solutions are now available to help monitor, record and report data across an entire organization. Perhaps most important, these safety solutions are helping change behaviors by ensuring accountability and compliance—one way to keep our food safe.
By Jason Chan on July 28th, 2014 @ 5:06 pm
General Motors is paying the reputation cost for a “pattern of incompetence and neglect” (term used by its CEO Mary Barra) that led to at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths. If anyone needs reminding that safety has to be a priority, consider this a wakeup call.
Safety compliance is not a new focus. Safety is at the core of building a sustainable business, regardless of industry and it always has been. A hyper-competitive marketplace and increased regulation from diverse jurisdictions with different standards and requirements have made managing safety more complex and difficult than ever.
So how do you navigate the compliance management maze and keep your workers and customers safe while keeping costs in check? You invest in industry-leading compliance software! As the Cloud and Mobile computing begin to drive inspections and audits, they are also transforming how organizations comply with laws and legislations like the ones outlined in OSHA, OHS and other associations across North America. This builds efficiencies that pave the way for unique, customizable solutions that ensure accountability and ROI.
According to the 2013 Conference Board CEO Challenge, government regulations was cited as the #1 concern among CEOs. Master Lock’s Field iD takes the complexity out.
It is not easy to be compliant. As a manager, you know that your most valuable asset is your employees. Preventing accidents and ensuring that processes and procedures are followed should be a priority for everyone.
Some say that no press is bad press, but do you really want to be in the shoes of that General Motors senior official that needs to address the media?
By Jesse Kohl on March 4th, 2014 @ 9:23 am
Field ID safety solutions expert Alex Lea, ready for the show!
TechAdvantage 2014 is underway this week, and Field ID is extremely excited to be part of it!
TechAdvantage is at the forefront of innovation, delivering critical technologies that are transforming the world of engineering, information technology, energy services, operations, supply management and business. The largest event of its kind for electric and energy cooperative professionals, it’s four days of leading-edge strategies and best practices created to share and demonstrate advantages in science, technology and other industry areas that will benefit Co-op Nation well into the 21st century.
We’re at booth #760, and we’ll be handing out Field ID branded smartphone cases and hosting a random giveaway for a Google Nexus 7 tablet. If you or someone you know is in the Nashville, Tennessee area, drop by the Field ID booth and we’ll hook you up with a pretty sweet smartphone case!
By Jesse Kohl on December 31st, 2013 @ 12:06 pm
What a ride. This was a year of change for all of us here at Field ID and Modern Safety. Looking back, it’s hard to believe how much we’ve accomplished and all that our team has been through together in the last 12 months. And reading over our most popular blog posts is a humbling yet rewarding experience for us, so we just had to pull a list and close out the year with a bit of a Modern Safety review.
If you take a glance at last year’s most-read Modern Safety blog posts, you’ll notice this year we’ve tried to keep a steady stream of helpful blog posts and how to’s mixed in with interesting news from the safety and technology spaces. We have always heard many questions from safety professionals who need simple advice on things like devices, safety best practices and other challenges that come with effective safety management. In 2013, we truly wanted to step up and provide some answers through Modern Safety. From the list below, it seems this approach was appreciated… or at least well-read.
By Alina Libkind on December 19th, 2013 @ 12:22 pm
It’s that time of the year when we all stock up with gifts and treats for the important people in our lives. Finding that perfect gift for everyone on the list can be tricky. However if it’s a safety professional, we’re here to help!
Here’s a handful of ideas for you to consider: