Category: Safety Compliance

Can You Practice Workplace Safety?

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Repeat Offender Sets a Perfect (Bad) Example

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.

 

 

Workers Compensation Changes are Propagating Poverty

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.

OSHA Fines Fabric Manufacturer $108K for Reckless Noncompliance

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.

UAE Takes Record for Aviation Safety Compliance

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.

Your company has been cited by OHSA. Here’s how to prevent it from happening again.

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.

A Budget Boost for Safety

President Obama has put together a budgetary plan for the 2016 fiscal year that includes, in large part, a whopping budgetary boost for the department of labor. All of this funding — specifically for OSHA — points to a more responsive and involved administration.

Our workers’ safety and fair treatment is an important part of running a great business, and that’s why administrations like OSHA and the WHD are so crucial to our success. From injury and health to standardized pay, these associations are there to protect our workers and assure their fair treatment. It’s no wonder, then, that the Obama administration sees fit to give the Labor Department a much-needed boost to help focus on the safety of our workers.

The fiscal 2016 budget would inject an extra $1.3 billion into the Labor Department to be divided among various safety administrations. OSHA, for one, would see more than $3 million  to bolster its response efforts and protection plans.

The extra funding would assist OSHA with a higher level of employer education, allowing them more funds for inspections and training. Whistleblower protection laws would be bolstered by the funding, ensuring that those who report health and safety violations remain protected.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration is also up for a helpful boost, and this new found well of resources would help them focus on more efficient inspections and rigorous enforcement of safety policies. There is also an important new rule being proposed to further protect workers from black lung disease.

The most crucial part of this budgetary proposal — especially for employers — is the plan to raise civil penalties for non-compliance. A higher charge for penalties against OSHA standards would act as an extra incentive for employers to fall in line with safety regulations. This, coupled with OSHA’s dedication to reaching more employers and addressing safety issues, would lead to a statistically safer 2016.

Those who work within the realm of safety can only keep their fingers crossed for this budgetary change, as Obama’s overall budget has very slim chances of making its way through a fiscally conservative congress.

 

 

The Compliance Caveat: Managing Compliance for a Better Workplace

Imagine a world where compliance was a one-time process. There’d be less workplace injuries, more efficient jobsites, and better protected workers. Let’s bring you back down to where we are now. The fact is that compliance is a workplace constant that demands attention to detail and great care. It’s not something you can finish and forget. To stay ahead of disaster, we have to be on our best watch at all times to make sure we’re covering all the obvious hazards our workers face every day.

The first thing we should understand about compliance is that it isn’t the enemy. Regulations are not there to make us do extra work or waste time auditing and reporting. Sometimes all the clerical work can blind us to why it’s there. If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that Compliance rules exist to ensure a safer and more efficient workplace. It’s that simple. The reason it can feel like a slog is that our work sites are sometimes sprawling, full of all kinds of hazards that we have to protect our workers from.

To manage all the ways things can go wrong, we have to have a system in place that helps us report and audit efficiently. Here are some tips and tricks you can use around the workplace to make sure that your compliance stays consistent and simplified.

Train, Train, Train

A workforce is only as well-informed as the individuals within it. Since your workers are the ones out in the field, dealing with all the hazards and regulations every day, they are your most important piece of the compliance puzzle. Training your workers and supervisors on every regulation and compliance issue they’ll face is the best way to ensure maximum safety.

Since OSHA standards require that employees be trained for all workplace hazards like chemicals and electrical equipment, you’ll be doing taking two important steps for safety compliance in one. It’s also important that your employees feel respected and held to high standards in the workplace. If they’re to spot something on the work site that presents a hazard (no matter how large or small)  they’re more likely to let you know to correct it if they feel your open-door policies are focused on their well-being.

Signage and Labeling

Since management starts far before the paperwork might begin, it’s important that every jobsite is properly labeled before the work begins. Having signage placed near hazards is the best way to prevent those early workplace accidents. Though trained workers ought to be informed enough to take extra care around hazardous areas, signage helps reinforce safety standards and remind out-of-place workers of an areas hazards.

In part two of this blog series, we’ll discuss more about compliance management in the office and some intuitive solutions for cutting your auditing time in half.

Workplace Hearing Loss and Prevention – Pt. 1

When we think of injuries, we usually think of the obvious cuts and bruises, or more serious injuries like broken bones. Many times, we forget about other forces like light and sound that can seriously affect our workers’ safety and lives. Hearing loss happens to be one of the most common and epidemic workplace injuries in the industrial sector. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a whopping 125,000 (permanent) hearing loss cases since 2004.

Besides the fact that long-term exposure to loud noises can have serious permanent ramifications like irreversible hearing loss, many don’t consider the short term issues that noise-exposure can cause. Noise is a stressor and can actually exhaust workers physically and psychologically. The more noise there is, the harder it is to concentrate on the task at hand, and that means there’s a possibility it’s reducing overall productivity. If environmental noises are too loud, it’s harder to communicate with other workers or hear life-saving warnings. Because communication is such an integral part of the work site, having loud noises come between important messages and warnings can lead to serious issues as work progresses.

If you’ve ever left the workplace with a ringing or hum in your ear or stuffed up hearing, it’s a sign that noise could be a serious problem in your work environment.

 

Exposure Levels and Prevention

            Sound is measured in decibels. On the high end of the spectrum are the pain threshold sounds, which sit at about 140db. The lowest end (the hearing threshold) sits at 0. To put it into perspective, a Jackhammer sits at about 95db from a distance of 15 meters, just above a heavy truck from the same distance away.

Because sound is a very real and very common hazard, OSHA takes it very seriously and has come up with a ratio to safely determine a worker’s time-exposure set against certain decibel levels.

  • For a standard 8 hour day, the highest decibel count  workers should be exposed to is 90db.
  • For every 5db above 90db, OSHA cuts the exposure time in half.
  • Assuming exposure levels were 95db (a jackhammer running at 15 meters away), workers would have a maximum exposure allotment of 4 hours instead of 8 (half the time allotment for every 5 extra db).

Though this ratio helps keep workers from being over-exposed to these sound hazards, it doesn’t necessarily solve the issue of sound itself. If there happens to be high decibel counts and a worker has an 8-hour shift, there have to be other ways in which the sound sources are mitigated.

To find out the best ways to prevent sound hazards in the work place, check out part 2 of this blog series. In part 2, you’ll find some of the most common ways to control or reduce the impact of sound in the workplace.

How to make Inspections, Lock Out Tag Out, and Audits Easier than Ever

If your workplace is drowning in paperwork, constantly at odds with OSHA standards, and difficult to manage: we hear you! It can be a mire out there. Messages get lost along the way, we miss small details during inspections, and suddenly things go very wrong very fast. With all that’s going on at the job site, (Lock Out Tag Out, asset assignment, improper use of equipment) it can be  difficult to keep operations running safely.

The paperwork alone can be time-consuming and difficult to organize. With all that’s constantly happening on the job, keeping track of everything on paper can be a massive time-waster and mistakes are bound to happen if you accidentally overlook something. So when we got together to create a better way to for keep the workplace safe, we wanted something that was easy, paper-free, and all-inclusive.

 

Field iD Will Change the Way you Run Your Worksite

Field iD is a software application that connects you to a powerful safety solution for all types of industrial work. With Field iD, you can manage assets like safety equipment, conduct one-click  inspections and audits, and even have full control of Lockout/Tagout procedures on a connected network.

In order to be compliant with OSHA standards, inspections and audits of machinery and equipment must be conducted once yearly. Consistency with these standards helps you ensure that your equipment will be in working condition and safe for usage. However, keeping up with scheduled inspections and conducting them properly can be difficult when there are more pressing deadlines to worry about.

With Field iD, you can schedule your inspections from top to bottom, including the where, when, and how. With the built-in email notification system, you’ll always be on schedule with time-sensitive reminders.

 

Field iD is an Invaluable LOTO Tool

With Field iD, you can author complete LOTO procedures and keep all the documentation recorded and prepared for any inspections or audits. The Field iD Lock Out Tag Out feature is a deep and simple software solution for managing proper LOTO procedures.

From details about the machinery to the locks and procedures needed for the locking method, you can keep every part of the process in your Field iD network and have workers update directly from the Field iD mobile platform. With Field iD, you and your employees will never be in the dark about LOTO again.

The biggest questions we face as supervisors, workers, and management is how we can stay safer and more efficient. That’s exactly what Field iD helps you do. With its robust features and connected architecture, everyone involved has a way to stay on top of the latest inspections, audits and lockouts. That leads to a safer and more organized workplace.

For more information on Field iD compliance management software or to try it for yourself, head to the fieldid website today.