Tag: compliance

Tragic Worksite Blast Injures Five: Could it have Been Prevented?

According to Global News, an industrial facility in Sarnia, Ontario has seen a dangerous explosion and fire.  Four workers were injured and one was taken to a hospital in critical condition.  He passed away soon after.

The explosion started a fire which seriously burned several workers.  The explosion itself caused a partial collapse of the roof, which could have resulted in more fatalities had any workers been near the collapse.  In this case, there is no good news.  Whenever workers are injured, their lives are at stake.  Whether it’s from faulty machinery or improper work site procedures, it’s imperative to be cautious around machinery and hazardous materials.

No reports as of yet have found the cause of this accident, though they have ruled out any chemicals or gas explosions.  Though speculation points to faulty machinery being the origin of the explosion, an important question remains: could this tragedy have been prevented?

Innocent lives are lost every year to fatal workplace accidents.  This is just an isolated case out of hundreds reported by OSHA annually.  These tragedies, in this day and age, could be avoided with the proper tools and procedures. That’s exactly why Master Lock introduced Field iD.

Field iD is a customizable application that makes auditing and inspecting easier than ever.  With this invaluable tool, you can keep your workers safer than ever before and prevent the most common workplace risks.  With Field iD, supervisors and workers can manage and stay tuned to all the changes and inspections at the work site and beyond. Here are just a few ways Field iD can help you keep your workers safe and machinery running smoothly:

Scheduling tools: Keep track of your inspection and audit due-dates.  Stay ahead and prepared for your inspections so you can pass on-time with flying colors.

Paperless Audits and Inspections: Field iD will keep your inspections organized with checklists and one-click audits.  The paperless model allows for seamless knowledge at your fingertips so you can always stay ahead of faulty machinery, parts, and assets.  With more detailed and efficient audits and inspections, you can expect a much safer and more informed work place.

Organize your assets: Whether it’s machinery or equipment, stay on top of all of your assets with Field iD.  Assign assets to specific work sites and even workers and keep updated with the check-in/check-out functionality.  Make sure that your workers have the right tools for the job.

Safety Scoring: Go above and beyond pass-fail with safety scoring. Keeping your operation in top shape with our automated sliders and scoring query is as easy as filling out a checklist.  Customize your scoring to your work site needs and keep your jobs running smoothly.

Lockout/Tagout: Our software is an incredible lockout/tagout tool that reinforces safety procedures by giving you the power to author and assign tasks to staff.  Keeping organized can be the biggest issue with lockout/tagout procedures, but our networked software makes it easier and safer.  From assignment to review, our system is built robustly for those who want a safer workplace for their employees.

Remember that the workplace is as dangerous as the procedures are. Preventing risk while you are ahead is the best way to keep your employees safe at work.  To learn more about Field iD from Master Lock, click here.

Hidden costs of cloud computing and how to avoid them

Four out of five small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are now discussing or implementing cloud computing to gain access to benefits such as “outright savings in their purchasing costs and operational expenses to improved business agility and greater preparedness for disaster,” according to a new study.

It’s more proof of what we’ve known for quite some time: the advantages of the cloud are far too great to ignore when it comes to doing smart business. However, the report goes beyond praising cloud-based solutions and offers insight into what hidden costs are involved.

The report, “Avoiding the Hidden Costs of the Cloud,” includes data from a survey of business and IT executives at 3,236 organizations in 29 countries. Commissioned by Symantec, the research spanned companies with a range of five to 5,000 employees, although this report focuses on the 1,358 small to medium sized businesses that participated.

So what exactly are the hidden costs? And what can you do about them? Here are some of the issues, with a few ideas of our own on how to get past them. Read More

What could machine-to-machine (M2M) tech mean for safety?

It’s fascinating to consider how ideas around the “Internet of Things” or “machine-to-machine” technology or a “smart-grid” of connected devices could affect safety and compliance in the future. According to one recent study, the potential is absolutely huge when it comes to harnessing machine-to-machine (M2M) tech for environmental compliance, but what if safety is your primary concern?

We blogged about the Internet of Things in the past. Many people associate RFID, Near Field Communications (NFC), or even barcodes as having paved the way for it to happen. Others say a world where technology has connected physical objects to the digital world is already here. Perhaps it depends on your perspective, and what you expect from such concepts.

But the idea of connecting machines to machines within a safety system, and enabling smart communications between them, presents interesting possibilities. Could M2M technologies one day lead to lower lockout/tagout, fall protection, or industrial machinery violations? Read More

Three compliance lessons learned from the EuroCup

The official mascots of Euro 2012: Slavek & Slavko.

We’ve got a number of teams represented in Euro 2012 here at Field ID headquarters – and a healthy sense of internal competition. A number of our team members have brought in flags. All told, we’ve got Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, England, Poland and Germany covered for fans. As we cheer on our teams and challenge each other’s preferences with good nature, we’ve also been thinking about what the Euro 2012 has in common with safety and compliance.

After some discussion, we’ve agreed on three compliance lessons you can take away from this year’s EuroCup… Read More

Safety and compliance – a detailed infographic overview

Every so often, we receive submissions to Modern Safety from other websites and friends in the safety and compliance space. This week, our friends at ComplianceAndSafety.com sent us an infographic detailing statistics and facts around “The Companies & Government Entities Responsible for Our Safety.” There are some really great facts in this infographic. It’s the kind of thing we’re tempted to print and hang in the office! Read More

What do asbestos inspectors look for during an industrial compliance check?

Asbestos is a known carcinogen that if swallowed or inhaled can lead to serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer or even a prognosis of mesothelioma. In response to the threat of asbestos exposure in buildings, the Canadian government passed the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation 278/05 Designated Substance – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations.

These regulations apply to anyone who is involved in the repair, maintenance or alteration of a building that may contain asbestos. In order to ensure that these rules and regulations are followed, certified asbestos inspectors are often called in to inspect a building for possible asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Read More

Construction industry growth must align with safety

As the construction industry grows, so does the need for effective safety management and jobsite auditing practices. And for the most part, the outlook for construction equipment, jobs and projects looks pretty good lately.

This month, the Construction Sector Council (CSC) released details from its latest forecast of workforce supply and demand, called “Construction Looking Forward.” If you’re not familiar with P.E.I, it’s one of the smallest provinces here in Canada. But even though they’re smaller than other provinces, they’re expecting a local boom in the construction labour force. The CSC predicts that about 1,500 workers will be needed to close gaps by retiring workers and fill new jobs. And another 1,500 will be needed for New Brunswick, 6,000 for Nova Scotia, 2,200 for Newfoundland and Labrador – all Atlantic provinces.

In Ontario, the CSC predicts that the construction labour force will rise by 43,000 over the next nine years, and with 77,000 retiring workers needing to be replaced, the total new recruit count will be closer to 120,000. The council predicts record high employment levels for Manitoba, where 16,000 new recruits will be needed, and British Columbia, where meeting industry demand will require 44,000 new construction workers. Other provinces like Saskatchewan also celebrated growth in the industry. While we haven’t covered them all, we’re sure you get the picture: Canada’s construction industry looks like it has a bright near future.

On the global scale, growth in the construction equipment industry is also signaling a rise in demand. Occupational Health & Safety magazine reported on that growth today, focusing on positive results from companies like Volvo Group and Caterpillar. According to OH&S, Volvo Construction Equipment’s deliveries rose by 30%, and the company is expanding with new plants planned for manufacturing excavators and articulated haulers, and of course providing jobs for the regions where these new plants appear. Similarly, Caterpillar reported a 41% rise in sales and 83% rise in profits from 2010 to 2011.

The news isn’t all positive, though. We also found recent figures from the Association General Contractors of America (AGC) highlighting employment declines and job losses. According to the AGC, U.S. construction jobs declined in 111 out of 337 metropolitan areas. But about 169 areas saw increases.

“The mixed construction employment results reflect the conflict between slowly rebounding private sector demand for construction and declining public sector investments,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “For every metro area that is adding construction jobs, there is another one where construction employment continues to fall or is stagnant.”

Here’s a breakdown on the job losses and increases for certain areas, from the AGC:

The largest job losses were in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-7,100 jobs, -14 percent), followed by Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-5,200 jobs, -5 percent); Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla. (-3,400 jobs, -11 percent) and New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. (-3,300 jobs, -11 percent). Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-23 percent, -1,800 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Anniston-Oxford, Ala. (-20 percent, -200 jobs) and Oshkosh-Neenah, Wis. (-19 percent, -600 jobs).

Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45 percent, 1,700 jobs) followed by Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. (31 percent, 4,000 jobs). Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. added the most jobs (5,300 jobs, 13 percent). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. (5,000 jobs, 8 percent); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (5,000 jobs, 6 percent); Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. (4,600 jobs, 14 percent) and Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.

As job numbers fluctuate, safety should be part of filling any gaps. On any scale, it will affect the bottom line. If you’re in charge of filling safety roles for any organization, remember that retiring workers can signal the opportunity for positive change. Is it time to take another look at how you manage safety? If you’re hiring for a safety position, do you look for new approaches and new thinking from your candidates? Bringing in new blood is a great way to inspire change and improve performance with new safety solutions.

When elevator safety goes wrong

As someone with a fear of heights, I probably think about elevator safety compliance and inspections more than the average person. I live on the third floor of an apartment building, and I use the stairs whenever possible. I’ve worked in office buildings and can’t count the number of times I’ve traveled higher than I’d like to remember in an elevator. When there’s any type of inspection record posted in an elevator, I’m the guy who notices it.

So, when I read about a woman who was killed due to an elevator malfunction in New York City in December, it struck a chord. Not only was it an extremely sad story, it was one of those scary nightmare scenarios that only fuel the discomfort for someone like me.

This week, investigators revealed details about the safety violations that contributed to the accident, and the company responsible for purposely disabling the safety system for repair work has had its license revoked. Criminal prosecutions are also a possibility, according to some reports. An elevator mechanic disabled the safety system that would have prevented this accident, in order do repairs.

What went wrong? Here are the allegations from the city’s building department:

– Crews allegedly failed to re-enable the safety device when they allowed the elevator to resume service, according to The Times.

– Crews allegedly failed to post warnings that elevator repairs were underway, which violated city code.

– Crews allegedly failed to call the Buildings Department for a required inspection before allowing the elevator to resume service.

According to the New York Post, the company behind the elevator repairs “failed to follow the most basic safety procedures” and faces 23 violations carrying a minimum fine of $117,000. Another website reports details about the two-month investigation itself, which also noted violations for operating without a certificate of compliance.

I’ve blogged about elevator safety inspections in the past, and I also notice stories about how areas like Hawaii and Manitoba are lacking inspections in this area. As difficult as it is to read stories like the one from New York, I hope this case gets the attention it deserves from the safety community and beyond.

Santa expands use of Field ID for fall protection

We are excited to announce that after last years initial deployment of Field ID for Santa’s sleigh compliance, the his North Pole operations will be renewing and expanding their use of Field ID into 2012. Initially, Santa started using Field ID for sleigh maintenance and manufacturing safety compliance. The next phase of the roll out started shortly after OSHA made changes to the rules around residential fall protection. Although Santa runs a global operation on Christmas Eve, the fact that he goes house to house and from country to country actually means he must comply with several residential and fall protection regulations, across many different jurisdictions. Santa’s expanded safety management program will ensure he’s compliant throughout the year and around the world.

It’s not all magic

Many people might assume that because Santa can harness magic he is exempt from OSHA rules and other safety compliance regulations around the globe. This is not true.

“Yes, magic plays a role in our operation,” noted Santa, “but magic only gets us from house to house.”

The truth is that once Santa gets to any house, he still has to take the same fall protection precautions that any person working at heights would. If anything, Santa is under even more pressure to meet regulatory requirements than the average safety manager – whether working at home or on location at sites around the globe. Away from home, he’s under the microscope because enforcement agencies don’t want him to set a bad example. After all, the average person simply can’t rely on magic to prevent injury. Up north, Santa must comply with NPSHA (North Pole Safety and Health Administration). As we discovered last year, the NPSHA is even more strict than OSHA when it comes to safety managment.

The safety of the elf team

HSE Manager Yukon

After being promoted to North Pole Health and Safety manager years ago, Yukon Cornelius needed a way to track all of the Christmas team’s fall protection. Many people don’t know this, but the work fo Santa’s Elves doesn’t stop when all of the toys are made. They travel with him on Christmas Eve as well to assist in delivering presents to all the good girls and boys.

Hundreds of elves assist in this magical night. Each elf has a harness and self-retracting lifeline that needs to be inspected for safety before they leave the North Pole on Christmas Eve. And throughout the journey that night, the elf safety team must quickly and efficiently conduct onsite inspections at regular intervals (usually performed when Santa has stopped to deliver a notably large load, such as those present shipments destined for children living in apartment buildings).

Yukon uses Field ID, RFID tags and mobile devices to inspect each piece of fall arrest equipment and assign them to each unique elf.  Not only does Yukon ensure the safety of his team with Field ID, he ensures that he keeps track of the equipment and enforces loss protection.

“Christmas should be a happy time for everyone, including the elves that are on duty that night,” said Yukon. “When my team goes out, I need the peace of mind that comes with electronic inspection and safety management. I know my guys and girls will be safe out there, regardless of the weather. And the fact that Field ID lets me manage safety in the cloud, in real time, lets me tap into that peace of mind from anywhere, anytime.”

We at Field ID are extremely excited that Santa has chosen to expand his Field ID deployment. We’re also very excited to include Yukon on the beta testing for our iPad app in early 2012.

Happy Holidays from our entire team at Field ID!

Ontario to Conduct Mine Safety Inspection Blitz

The Government of Ontario will be targeting mine ventilation hazards with a safety inspection blitz in the months of October and November.  You can read the official announcement made this week on the Ontario Ministry of Labour website here.  This Initiative is all part of a strategy that Ontario launched back in 2008 called “Safe at Work Ontario”.

These safety blitz’s are very important to workplace safety.  From 2005 to 2009 there were 176 work deaths related to respiratory illnesses in the mining industry.  Clearly the Government of Ontario put the Safe at Work Ontario program in place to help get this number down to zero.

What are They Looking For?

(Taken directly from the Ontario website)
Inspectors will target underground mines that use diesel equipment. This includes:
  • – Mines with large fleets of diesel equipment operating in the underground environment
  • – Recently reopened or new mines operating diesel equipment
  • – Mines where previous ventilation concerns were observed, and
  • – Mines with a poor health and safety compliance history.
Inspectors will check on two types of equipment:
  • – Ventilation systems used to deliver fresh air to underground mines, and
  • – Diesel equipment used for underground transportation of workers and materials and blasting of rock.

Preparing for a Blitz

Organizations can prepare for a blitz by implementing modern safety techniques and performing their own inspections on a regular basis before OSHA or the Ministry of Labour comes on site.  It is easy to draw comparisons to accounting practices and preparing for an accounting audit by the government.  Knowing that there may be an audit at any time forces organizations to have their financial information in tip top shape at all times.  Safety data should be treated in the exact same way.  The current blitz focuses on ventilation systems for mines that run a lot of diesel equipment.  Having monthly safety inspections done internally with a dashboard that rolls up to the CEO or Director of Safety showing missed inspections for instance can make the preparation for an external audit a breeze.