“How Six Sigma Can Improve Your Safety Performance”

Six Sigma is the evolution of statistical quality improvement processes that have been used extensively to improve manufacturing and other process-related industries. How good is Six Sigma? It is a statistical measure of variability or standard deviation. The Six Sigma process calculates to 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Needless to say, that is near perfect execution of a process. Although not often used in the safety arena to full potential, Six Sigma tools can help produce significant and sustainable improvements in safety performance, injury reduction and associated pain.

Total Quality Management
To gain an understanding of Six Sigma, it is helpful to have some historical knowledge of the original statistical improvement tools or the Total Quality Management (TQM) concept. Original quality pioneers such as Walter A. Shewhart, W. Edwards Deming and Kaoru Ishikawa worked with Japanese manufacturing companies in the 1950s to significantly improve the quality of products. The original concept, TQM, has been defined as a management philosophy that produces continuous improvement of products and processes.

One of the most powerful tools that came out of TQM is the Plan/Do/Check/Act (PDCA) continuous improvement wheel. In this concept, plan to do something, do it, check for the effectiveness and, if it’s not performing as planned, act upon that by making changes. Then, on an ongoing basis, “turn the wheel” or plan, do, check and act again. This produces continuous improvement. The concept of PDCA is still just as powerful today as it was when first proposed.

A safety application of PDCA at both a strategic and an operational level is shown in the following diagram.

Six Sigma – Quality on Steroids
Although TQM provided significant quality improvement for users, there were still opportunities to improve the concept. That is why Six Sigma came to be. The Six Sigma management concept was originally developed by Motorola USA in 1986. In 1995, Six Sigma became more visible when Jack Welch made it a focus of business strategy at General Electric. Today, the Six Sigma concept has become the standard process for quality improvement in many industries. The objective of Six Sigma is to improve the quality of processes by identifying and removing the causes of defects. In safety, these process defects can be unsafe behaviors, incorrect procedures or equipment failures, all of which can result in injury.

A Formal Improvement Process
The original TQM used a number of statistical tools, but there was no formal process for integrating all of these tools and developing a complete process improvement solution. Six Sigma uses DMAIC, a clearly defined five-step improvement process that consists of the following:

Define
• Identify the process and define the scope of the project.
• Clearly identify the inputs and outputs of the process.
Measure
• Evaluate the measurement systems and resulting data.
Analyze
• Determine cause-and-effect relationships.
• Identify the root cause of the defects.
Improve
• Develop and implement improvements.
• Test effectiveness of improvements.
Control
• Implement a system to sustain the improvements.

Define Stage – What Are We Working On?
In the Define Stage, clearly identify the scope of the project or what it is that needs work. Also determine what the target performance should be. It will be necessary to understand what process is failing and resulting in what kinds of injuries.

One of the Six Sigma tools that is typically used in the Define Stage of the DMAIC method is the SIPOC. This tool is typically used in the manufacturing process where it is important to identify the suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs and customers. The diagram below shows the use of this tool in a very simplified version of the line construction work process.

By applying this tool to safety, one can see how some of the suppliers and inputs – which are normally not considered to have an impact on safety – can indeed have impact. For example, the SIPOC tool helps demonstrate that the people who design the project, design the standards or determine the specifications of the materials should consider safety implications when doing design work.

Measure Stage – Is the Data Correct and What is it Telling You?
In this stage, the data being used is extensively assessed and interpreted. First, ensure that the data is valid and accurately measuring the desired subject. This can often be an issue when analyzing behavior observations. Behaviors such as use of safety glasses are easy to document and address. More controversial items, such as adequate cover-up, are not always documented and addressed. As a result, when combining all of the observation data, since some of it is not valid, the overall observation results may not reflect actual performance.

Often in this phase, charts and graphs will provide directional information stating that performance has improved or degraded, but this may be misleading. Many charts and graphs reflect averages, and important information can be lost in averages. There are a number of tools used in this stage to identify whether it is truly statistically improving or if it just looks better on a chart. Tools that are used in the Measure Stage include histograms, Paretos and process capability.

Analyze Stage – Identifying the Root Cause
In the Analyze Stage, use the data collected and validated in the Measure Stage to determine the root causes of the process defects or injuries. A few of the tools that are used in the Analyze Stage include Cause & Effect Fishbone Diagram, Five Whys and Correlation Testing. The fishbone diagram is familiar to most people because of its extensive use in identifying the root cause of accidents. The importance of this stage cannot be understated because if the root cause is not validated, the corrective measures – tied to that root cause – will not provide the desired results.

Improve Stage – The Corrective Measures
After completing the Analyze Stage, potential corrective measures often become evident. During the Improve Stage, it is most important to test the potential corrective measures to see if they will address the root cause. In the safety arena, that does not mean to wait and see if another injury occurs. The root cause needs to be prevented, not the injury. In the case of eye injuries, the identified root cause may be the employees not wearing safety glasses or employees wearing improperly fitting safety glasses. In this case, the Improve Stage would include a process for fitting glasses and providing them to employees. In this stage, pilot trials or other forms of testing effectiveness can be used.

Control Stage – Make it Sustainable
The primary objective of the Control Stage is to monitor results and ensure that the expected improvements are being achieved and sustained. One of the biggest challenges, especially when implementing safety improvements, is ensuring that those improvements will be sustained. Far too often, events or injuries occur and upon analysis, corrective measures were recommended and implemented several years ago for a previous event, but are not working or are not in place for various reasons.

One reason for this could be that a good process was not in place to sustain corrective measures. Actual examples include:
• A safety improvement memo was sent out, but there was no follow-up to ensure that people implemented it.
• A new, safer tool was specified and purchased, but the older, unsafe tool is still found throughout the system. In the case of safety glasses, the employees are no longer using the ones they were fitted with.

Another reason may be that the original corrective measure did not correct the original root cause. This should have been identified when testing the effectiveness of the corrective measure in the Improve Stage.

Of all of the stages in the DMAIC process, I feel the Control Stage is the most important and most overlooked.

Conclusion
This represents only a small example of the tools and methods that are typically used in the DMAIC process. There is no question that use of Six Sigma and the DMAIC process requires trained facilitators to assist in providing desired results. The results, though, can be substantial if the process is properly followed. If an organization has access to someone with these skills, they can be very helpful in identifying the root causes of injuries and developing sustainable corrective measures. Appropriately utilized, Six Sigma can be an important component in creating an injury-free workplace.

About the Author: Ted Granger, CSSBB, CUSP, is an independent safety consultant affiliated with the Institute for Safety in Powerline Construction. He provides training, lectures and safety consulting services. Prior to his current role, Granger served in various managerial positions during his 37-year career at Florida Power & Light Company. These included T&D operations, human resources, logistics and safety, where he utilized his Six Sigma Black Belt certification. He can be contacted at tedjgranger.

Advertisements

“How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report” #Safety #Accident #Report

image

An accident or incident report needs to include all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. The report-writing process begins with fact finding and ends with recommendations for preventing future accidents.

You may use a special incident reporting form, and it might be quite extensive. But writing any incident report involves four basic steps, and those are the focus of today’s post.

1. Find the Facts

To prepare for writing an accident report, you have to gather and record all the facts. For example:

· Date, time, and specific location of incident

· Names, job titles, and department of employees involved and immediate supervisor(s)

· Names and accounts of witnesses

· Events leading up to incident

· Exactly what employee was doing at the moment of the accident

· Environmental conditions (e.g. slippery floor, inadequate lighting, noise, etc.)

· Circumstances (including tasks, equipment, tools, materials, PPE, etc.)

· Specific injuries (including part(s) of body injured and nature and extent of injuries)

· Type of treatment for injuries

· Damage to equipment, materials, etc.

2. Determine the Sequence

Based on the facts, you should be able to determine the sequence of events. In your report, describe this sequence in detail, including:

· Events leading up to the incident. Was the employee walking, running, bending over, squatting, climbing, lifting operating machinery, pushing a broom, turning a valve, using a tool, handling hazardous materials, etc.?

· Events involved in the incident. Was the employee struck by an object or caught in/on/between objects? Did the worker fall on the same level or from a height? Did the employee inhale hazardous vapors or get splashed with a hazardous chemical?

· Events immediately following the incident. What did the employee do: Grab a knee? Start limping? Hold his/her arm? Complain about back pain? Put a hand over a bleeding wound? Also, describe how other co-workers responded. Did they call for help, administer first aid, shut down equipment, move the victim, etc.?

The incident should be described on the report in sufficient detail that any reader can clearly picture what happened. You might consider creating a diagram to show, in a simple and visually effective manner, the sequence of events related to the incident and include this in your incident report. You might also wish to include photos of the accident scene, which may help readers follow the sequence of events.

3. Analyze

Your report should include an in-depth analysis of the causes of the accident. Causes include:

· Primary cause (e.g., a spill on the floor that caused a slip and fall)

· Secondary causes (e.g., employee not wearing appropriate work shoes or carrying a stack of material that blocked vision)

· Other contributing factors (e.g., burned out light bulb in the area).

4. Recommend

Recommendations for corrective action might include immediate corrective action as well as long-term corrective actions such as:

· Employee training on safe work practices

· Preventive maintenance activities that keep equipment in good operating condition

· Evaluation of job procedures with a recommendation for changes

· Conducting a job hazard analysis to evaluate the task for any other hazards and then train employees on these hazards

· Engineering changes that make the task safer or administrative changes that might include changing the way the task is performed

“Behavior-Based Safety: Myth or Magic?”

Behavior-Based Safety: Myth or Magic?

Behavior-based safety is a broad term used to describe everything from basic employee behavior audits and feedback to a comprehensive safety management system designed to change a company’s safety culture.

When it was introduced, behavior-based safety (BBS) was seen as a magic panacea for everything that ailed safety programs. “It was the Swiss Army Knife of safety programs. It could take care of everything,” says Ron Bowles, director of operations for Portland, Ore.-based Strategic Safety Associates. “Now people realize that it is just one tool and more are needed.”

Decades after the initial launch of BBS programs, the process has lost favor with many safety managers, who claim the cost – such programs can be expensive – and the long-term results are not what they expected.

Some experts argue that expectations for BBS were unrealistic from the start, while others believe the process has been corrupted at some companies, transformed into an auditing program that assumes a “blame the employee” attitude about safety failures. “Behavior-based safety makes the assumption you know what behaviors you should be doing,” says Robert Pater, managing director of Strategic Safety Associates. “It assumes you know what to do and need to be reminded to do it.”

Not surprisingly, that approach failed at many companies, says Larry Hansen, CSP, ARM, author and principal of L2H Speaking of Safety Inc.

“My intro to behavior-based safety was being asked by my employer at the time to go to an Indiana food distribution company to analyze the safety program,” remembers Hansen. “At 9 a.m., I walked in the door and the general manager said, ‘Stop right there. I just bought a gun, and the next SOB who mentions behavioral safety…’”

Hansen said the company had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a behavior-based safety program and it had failed miserably. “It never had a chance,” he says. “There was a poor manager and a sick organization. They bought into it because they thought it said what they wanted to hear about the cause of incidents, what I call PDDT: people doing dumb things. In other words, employees are the problem and a BBS program can ‘fix’ them. It’s a core misconception that leads to failure.”

The Myth

Jim Spigener, vice president of BST Inc., a global safety consulting and solutions firm that was one of the pioneers in the concept of BBS, says BBS caught fire because “for years and years and years, there wasn’t much new in safety. Then someone seized on the fact that management might want to pay attention to employees. But very few companies were ready to embrace the whole movement.”

Even without a total commitment to changing the safety culture with BBS as a part of that process, BBS caught on “because it was getting results and it seemed to make sense,” says Spigener.

BBS was meant to be part of a bigger safety system, he adds, mentioning what he calls the “fatal error” of assuming that BBS in some form or another works as the only approach necessary to improve safety and reduce incidents.

“BBS, the way people talk about it now, is really a myth,” says Spigener. “A lot of companies jumped on the bandwagon, grabbed a BBS program off the shelf and now are disappointed with the results. And unions have a very good case for going after traditional BBS programs [that ‘blame’ the worker]. Traditional BBS programs don’t examine what drives employees to be in a hazardous situation.”

Hansen offers a perfect example to illustrate Spigener’s point. Hansen says he visited a facility that incurred repetitive losses from injuries employees suffered running up the lunchroom stairwell. Finally, an employee fell and broke his leg, at which point management adopted a BBS program, installing monitors in the hallway leading to the stairwell to remind employees to walk up the steps and to reiterate the company policy, which called for no running. Despite the focus on employee behavior, employees continued running up the stairs until a second major incident occurred, leaving an employee paralyzed. Finally, someone got smart and began to examine systemic causes for employee behavior that ran contrary to company policy and, even, common sense.

“They weren’t asking the most basic question of employees: ‘Why are you running up the stairs?’” says Hansen. “The answer was, ‘There aren’t enough chairs in the lunchroom.’” Employees knew, says Hansen, that if they were late entering the lunchroom, they had to stand to eat their lunches.

“Behavior-based safety done right can be very effective at helping you discover what’s wrong with an organization, find the core organizational causes of risk,” Hansen adds. “Done wrong, it can be used to mask organizational and management failures.”

It’s the Culture, Stupid

E. Scott Geller, Ph.D., talks of attending a session at a safety conference where the presenter asked audience members if they had been injured in a workplace incident and then asked, “How many [incidents] were caused by another person? An equipment failure? Your behavior?”

“When the majority raised their hands when he asked if their behavior caused the incident, he said, ‘I rest my case,’” Geller, alumni distinguished professor at Virginia Tech and director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology, remembers. “But he didn’t go to the next step and ask the next question: ‘What influences behavior?’ It all happens as part of the culture.”

BBS has its virtues, says Donald Eckenfelder, CSP, P.E., the principal consultant with Profit Protection Consultants and a past president of the American Society of Safety Engineers, but it also has its faults, one of which is the lack of focus on the overall safety culture and environment at a facility. To its credit, Eckenfelder says BBS:

  • Focuses on the human side of safety;
  • Defines safe and unsafe behaviors;
  • Encourages safe behavior and discourages unsafe or destructive behaviors;
  • Involves employees in safety;
  • Requires management to put its money where its mouth is; and
  • Engenders commitment and passion, especially in the early phases.

“There are clearly good things about behavior-based safety,” says Eckenfelder. “But there is more negative than positive” in many of the BBS programs companies have adopted, he adds.

For example, many BBS programs, as packaged by the provider or used by the customer, don’t deal with the causes of safety failures; they deal with the symptoms. “Behaviors of employees are a long way from the root cause,” says Eckenfelder.

If corporate management supports and encourages safe behavior by eliminating root causes – such as engineering, process, communication or training failures – then employees are more likely to want to adopt safe behaviors. Employers, managers and supervisors who actively and vocally support safe production and put money and resources behind that support are less likely to get pushback from employees regarding safe behavior.

“Safety isn’t primarily a technical problem or a behavioral problem,” Eckenfelder points out. “It’s a cultural problem. If the culture’s wrong, nothing else works.”

He notes that when we walk into clothing stores or restaurants, we know if the culture is good or bad. “Can’t you feel the culture?” Eckenfelder asks. “If they’ve got the culture ‘right,’ you say to yourself, ‘Wow! I’d really like to come back here.’”
And the quickest way to ensure safety culture failure, experts agree, is to try to “force” safe behavior on employees.

Experts equate such pressure to a parent telling a teenager how to behave … and say it gets about the same response. As Robert Pater, managing director of Strategic Safety Associates, says, “You can’t mandate people to monitor themselves. You can invite them to do it. Forcing change creates pushback.”

If you really want behavioral change, says Pater, “employees have to see the value of change. They have to believe they can change. They have to know how to change. They have to practice, because behavioral change doesn’t happen from one exposure. And the new actions have to be reinforced through acknowledgment, celebration and external monitoring.”

The key to true, positive behavior change, adds Bowles, “is to create an environment where, rather than have safety as something that is being done to me or for me, it’s something that’s being done with me or by me. Once I begin to own it, I can have incredible success.”

“Real change happens inside out,” Eckenfelder adds. “People get better because they change their attitudes, not because there is pressure placed on them from the outside.

Read the remainder of the story here: http://ehstoday.com/safety/ehs_imp_75429

Source EHS Today®

 

“How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report” #Safety #Accident #Report

image

An accident or  incident report needs to include all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. The report-writing process begins with fact finding and ends with recommendations for preventing future accidents.

You may use a special incident reporting form, and it might be quite extensive. But writing any incident report involves four basic steps, and those are the focus of today’s post.

1. Find the Facts

To prepare for writing an accident report, you have to gather and record all the facts. For example:

· Date, time, and specific location of incident

· Names, job titles, and department of employees involved and immediate supervisor(s)

· Names and accounts of witnesses

· Events leading up to incident

· Exactly what employee was doing at the moment of the accident

· Environmental conditions (e.g. slippery floor, inadequate lighting, noise, etc.)

· Circumstances (including tasks, equipment, tools, materials, PPE, etc.)

· Specific injuries (including part(s) of body injured and nature and extent of injuries)

· Type of treatment for injuries

· Damage to equipment, materials, etc.

2. Determine the Sequence

Based on the facts, you should be able to determine the sequence of events. In your report, describe this sequence in detail, including:

· Events leading up to the incident. Was the employee walking, running, bending over, squatting, climbing, lifting operating machinery, pushing a broom, turning a valve, using a tool, handling hazardous materials, etc.?

· Events involved in the incident. Was the employee struck by an object or caught in/on/between objects? Did the worker fall on the same level or from a height? Did the employee inhale hazardous vapors or get splashed with a hazardous chemical?

· Events immediately following the incident. What did the employee do: Grab a knee? Start limping? Hold his/her arm? Complain about back pain? Put a hand over a bleeding wound? Also describe how other co-workers responded. Did they call for help, administer first aid, shut down equipment, move the victim, etc.?

The incident should be described on the report in sufficient detail that any reader can clearly picture what happened. You might consider creating a diagram to show, in a simple and visually effective manner, the sequence of events related to the incident and include this in your incident report. You might also wish to include photos of the accident scene, which may help readers follow the sequence of events.

3. Analyze

Your report should include an in-depth analysis of the causes of the accident. Causes include:

· Primary cause (e.g., a spill on the floor that caused a slip and fall)

· Secondary causes (e.g., employee not wearing appropriate work shoes or carrying a stack of material that blocked vision)

· Other contributing factors (e.g., burned out light bulb in the area).

4. Recommend

Recommendations for corrective action might include immediate corrective action as well as long-term corrective actions such as:

· Employee training on safe work practices

· Preventive maintenance activities that keep equipment in good operating condition

· Evaluation of job procedures with a recommendation for changes

· Conducting a job hazard analysis to evaluate the task for any other hazards and then train employees on these hazards

· Engineering changes that make the task safer or administrative changes that might include changing the way the task is performed

How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report

image

An incident report needs to include all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. The report-writing process begins with fact finding and ends with recommendations for preventing future accidents.

You may use a special incident reporting form, and it might be quite extensive. But writing any incident report involves four basic steps, and those are the focus of today’s post.

1. Find the Facts

To prepare for writing an accident report, you have to gather and record all the facts. For example:

· Date, time, and specific location of incident

· Names, job titles, and department of employees involved and immediate supervisor(s)

· Names and accounts of witnesses

· Events leading up to incident

· Exactly what employee was doing at the moment of the accident

· Environmental conditions (e.g. slippery floor, inadequate lighting, noise, etc.)

· Circumstances (including tasks, equipment, tools, materials, PPE, etc.)

· Specific injuries (including part(s) of body injured and nature and extent of injuries)

· Type of treatment for injuries

· Damage to equipment, materials, etc.

2. Determine the Sequence

Based on the facts, you should be able to determine the sequence of events. In your report, describe this sequence in detail, including:

· Events leading up to the incident. Was the employee walking, running, bending over, squatting, climbing, lifting operating machinery, pushing a broom, turning a valve, using a tool, handling hazardous materials, etc.?

· Events involved in the incident. Was the employee struck by an object or caught in/on/between objects? Did the worker fall on the same level or from a height? Did the employee inhale hazardous vapors or get splashed with a hazardous chemical?

· Events immediately following the incident. What did the employee do: Grab a knee? Start limping? Hold his/her arm? Complain about back pain? Put a hand over a bleeding wound? Also describe how other co-workers responded. Did they call for help, administer first aid, shut down equipment, move the victim, etc.?

The incident should be described on the report in sufficient detail that any reader can clearly picture what happened. You might consider creating a diagram to show, in a simple and visually effective manner, the sequence of events related to the incident and include this in your incident report. You might also wish to include photos of the accident scene, which may help readers follow the sequence of events.

3. Analyze

Your report should include an in-depth analysis of the causes of the accident. Causes include:

· Primary cause (e.g., a spill on the floor that caused a slip and fall)

· Secondary causes (e.g., employee not wearing appropriate work shoes or carrying a stack of material that blocked vision)

· Other contributing factors (e.g., burned out light bulb in the area).

4. Recommend

Recommendations for corrective action might include immediate corrective action as well as long-term corrective actions such as:

· Employee training on safe work practices

· Preventive maintenance activities that keep equipment in good operating condition

· Evaluation of job procedures with a recommendation for changes

· Conducting a job hazard analysis to evaluate the task for any other hazards and then train employees on these hazards

· Engineering changes that make the task safer or administrative changes that might include changing the way the task is performed

“Transforming EHS Performance Measurement Through Leading Indicators”

CI_Leading Indications_Wht Ppr

The National Safety Council, Campbell Institute performed a survey and study called “Transforming EHS Performance Measurement Through Leading Indicators” The information for the report was obtained from EHS & Safety Managers from across the country.

The report is an excellent compilation of the survey and the findings are intriguing. You can download a copy of the report here: http://goo.gl/KYAIxi

“OSHA Electronic Recordkeeping Final Rule Places New Requirements On Employers”

On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a long-awaited final rule requiring certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data, providing for such data to be made publicly available, and updating employee notification and antiretaliation provisions.

Background

OSHA is charged with enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), which applies to virtually all private employers. OSHA, either directly or through states with parallel agencies to which OSHA defers rulemaking and enforcement, requires almost all employers to prepare and maintain routine records of certain work injuries and illnesses (“recordable” incidents). These records include a report for each recordable incident (Form 301), a log of such incidents (Form 300), and an annual summary (Form 300A) that must be completed and posted even if no recordable incidents occurred during the year.

Previously, OSHA could obtain the establishment-specific injury and illness data contained in these routine records only in three limited ways: (1) workplace inspections, (2) surveys to employers under the OSHA Data Initiative, and (3) mandatory employer reporting of certain workplace illnesses and injuries, including fatalities.

The final rule greatly expands OSHA’s access to this information by requiring certain employers to regularly and electronically submit data from their routine records. Specifically, the rule requires the following:

  • Establishments with 250 or more employees that are required to keep routine records must electronically submit required information from all three records annually (no later than March 2 of the year after the calendar year covered by the form).
  • Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries must electronically submit required information from Form 300A annually (no later than March 2 of the year after the calendar year covered by the form).
  • Establishments must electronically submit requested information from their routine records upon notification from OSHA

OSHA plans to phase in implementation of the data collection system beginning July 2017. By March 2019, all establishments covered under the final rule must submit all required information.

OSHA hopes the electronic submission requirements will help it use resources more effectively and encourage employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses by allowing the agency to obtain a much larger and more timely database of the information that most employers are already required to record.

Publication of illness and injury data

Notably, OSHA will make the collected information publicly available in a searchable online database. The agency hopes that researchers and the public will also be able to use the data to identify work-related hazards and particularly hazardous industries and processes.

OSHA insists that it doesn’t intend to release personally identifiable information from reported records and that it will use “software that will search for and de-identify personally identifiable information before OSHA posts the data.” Given the frequency of media reports on the fallibility of even the most sophisticated data security systems and companies, many are understandably skeptical about the agency’s ability to safeguard employee information under this new electronic reporting system.

Employee notification and retaliation

The final rule also amends OSHA’s record-keeping regulation with respect to how employers inform employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses. This part of the rule:

  • (1)  Requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation;
  • (2)  Clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses be reasonable and that a procedure that would deter or discourage reporting isn’t reasonable; and
  • (3)  Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses, consistent with the existing “whistleblower” provisions in Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.

The third aspect of this part of the new rule is significant because it provides OSHA with an additional enforcement tool with respect to employee retaliation. Whereas OSHA could always take action against an employer in response to an employee complaint under Section 11(c), OSHA will now be able to issue citations to employers for retaliating against employees even absent an employee complaint. The agency anticipates that feasible abatement methods will mirror the remedies under Section 11(c), which include but aren’t limited to rehiring or reinstatement with back pay. Employers can contest citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA explains that the final rule prohibits retaliatory adverse action against an employee “simply because” she reported a work-related injury or illness. To that end, the final rule states that nothing in it “prohibits employers from disciplining employees for violating legitimate safety rules, even if the same employee . . . was injured as a result of that violation and reported that injury or illness.” Importantly, employees who violate the same work rule must be treated similarly regardless of whether they also reported a work-related illness or injury. The final rule notes that postinjury drug-testing policies and employee safety incentive programs will be scrutinized under this provision.

States with their own occupational safety and health plans will be required to adopt identical requirements in their record-keeping and reporting regulations.

The employee notification and retaliation provisions become effective August 10, 2016. The remainder of the final rule becomes effective January 1, 2017.

Bottom line

OSHA continues to push through initiatives intended to raise the bar on workplace safety and health standards, including with respect to employer record keeping and reporting. In light of the 80 percent penalty increases in effect this summer, you should consult with counsel to ensure you comply with any new obligations that may apply under this new rule.

Arielle Sepulveda is an attorney with Day Pitney LLP in Parsippany, New Jersey. She can be reached at 973-966-8063 or asepulveda@daypitney.com.

Source:BLR® and Conn Maciel, Carey PLLC

“Roofing Contractor Sentenced To Prison For Lying To OSHA About Worker Death”

US-Dpt-of-Justice

A Pennsylvania-based roofing contractor who lied to OSHA in the aftermath of an employee death was sentenced March 29 to 10 months in prison.

James J. McCullagh, 60, pleaded guilty in December to four counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of willfully violating an OSHA rule that caused a worker’s death.

In June 2013, one of McCullagh’s employees fell 45 feet from a roof bracket scaffold and died. During an investigation, OSHA determined McCullagh did not provide fall protection equipment to his employees. However, McCullagh lied to investigators about this fact on four occasions, and he directed other employees to tell investigators that they had been provided with fall protection gear.

Prosecutions of OSHA violators are rare, but they are growing in number. Recently, the Departments of Labor and Justice entered into an agreement to increase cooperation in the prosecution of individuals who disregard labor and environmental statutes.

Washington – A recent agreement between the Departments of Labor and Justice will launch a “new world of worker safety” by holding managers and supervisors criminally accountable for violations of the law, agency officials announced Dec. 17, 2015

The two departments signed a memorandum of understanding that pools their resources toward the prosecution of individuals who willfully disregard labor and environmental statutes, according to John Cruden, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, who spoke at a press conference moments after the memo was signed.

For the past several years, OSHA and DOJ have worked with each other on certain cases, but the new agreement formalizes that relationship.

This cooperation could lead to hefty fines and prison terms for employers and individuals convicted of violating a number of related laws. For example, a roofing contractor recently pleaded guilty to violating an OSHA law, lying to inspectors and attempting to cover up his crime; he could be sentenced up to 25 years in prison.

“Strong criminal sanctions are a powerful tool to ensure employers comply with the law and protect the lives, limbs and lungs of our nation’s workers,” OSHA administrator David Michaels told reporters at the press conference.

Deborah Harris, DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Section chief, said prosecutions would be open to “the ones making the decisions that lead to the deaths of others,” which could include people in the corporate office, as well as managers and supervisors.

DOL & DOJ Memorandum of Understanding: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/file/800431/download

Source: OSHA Quick Takes & NSC Safety & Health Magazine

“How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report”

image

An incident report needs to include all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. The report-writing process begins with fact finding and ends with recommendations for preventing future accidents.

You may use a special incident reporting form, and it might be quite extensive. But writing any incident report involves four basic steps, and those are the focus of today’s post.

1. Find the Facts

To prepare for writing an accident report, you have to gather and record all the facts. For example:

· Date, time, and specific location of incident

· Names, job titles, and department of employees involved and immediate supervisor(s)

· Names and accounts of witnesses

· Events leading up to incident

· Exactly what employee was doing at the moment of the accident

· Environmental conditions (e.g. slippery floor, inadequate lighting, noise, etc.)

· Circumstances (including tasks, equipment, tools, materials, PPE, etc.)

· Specific injuries (including part(s) of body injured and nature and extent of injuries)

· Type of treatment for injuries

· Damage to equipment, materials, etc.

2. Determine the Sequence

Based on the facts, you should be able to determine the sequence of events. In your report, describe this sequence in detail, including:

· Events leading up to the incident. Was the employee walking, running, bending over, squatting, climbing, lifting operating machinery, pushing a broom, turning a valve, using a tool, handling hazardous materials, etc.?

· Events involved in the incident. Was the employee struck by an object or caught in/on/between objects? Did the worker fall on the same level or from a height? Did the employee inhale hazardous vapors or get splashed with a hazardous chemical?

· Events immediately following the incident. What did the employee do: Grab a knee? Start limping? Hold his/her arm? Complain about back pain? Put a hand over a bleeding wound? Also describe how other co-workers responded. Did they call for help, administer first aid, shut down equipment, move the victim, etc.?

The incident should be described on the report in sufficient detail that any reader can clearly picture what happened. You might consider creating a diagram to show, in a simple and visually effective manner, the sequence of events related to the incident and include this in your incident report. You might also wish to include photos of the accident scene, which may help readers follow the sequence of events.

3. Analyze

Your report should include an in-depth analysis of the causes of the accident. Causes include:

· Primary cause (e.g., a spill on the floor that caused a slip and fall)

· Secondary causes (e.g., employee not wearing appropriate work shoes or carrying a stack of material that blocked vision)

· Other contributing factors (e.g., burned out light bulb in the area).

4. Recommend

Recommendations for corrective action might include immediate corrective action as well as long-term corrective actions such as:

· Employee training on safe work practices

· Preventive maintenance activities that keep equipment in good operating condition

· Evaluation of job procedures with a recommendation for changes

· Conducting a job hazard analysis to evaluate the task for any other hazards and then train employees on these hazards

· Engineering changes that make the task safer or administrative changes that might include changing the way the task is performed

“How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report”

Wrong Safety Message

An incident report needs to include all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. The report-writing process begins with fact finding and ends with recommendations for preventing future accidents.

You may use a special incident reporting form, and it might be quite extensive. But writing any incident report involves four basic steps, and those are the focus of today’s post.

1. Find the Facts

To prepare for writing an accident report, you have to gather and record all the facts. For example:

· Date, time, and specific location of incident

· Names, job titles, and department of employees involved and immediate supervisor(s)

· Names and accounts of witnesses

· Events leading up to incident

· Exactly what employee was doing at the moment of the accident

· Environmental conditions (e.g. slippery floor, inadequate lighting, noise, etc.)

· Circumstances (including tasks, equipment, tools, materials, PPE, etc.)

· Specific injuries (including part(s) of body injured and nature and extent of injuries)

· Type of treatment for injuries

· Damage to equipment, materials, etc.

2. Determine the Sequence

Based on the facts, you should be able to determine the sequence of events. In your report, describe this sequence in detail, including:

· Events leading up to the incident. Was the employee walking, running, bending over, squatting, climbing, lifting operating machinery, pushing a broom, turning a valve, using a tool, handling hazardous materials, etc.?

· Events involved in the incident. Was the employee struck by an object or caught in/on/between objects? Did the worker fall on the same level or from a height? Did the employee inhale hazardous vapors or get splashed with a hazardous chemical?

· Events immediately following the incident. What did the employee do: Grab a knee? Start limping? Hold his/her arm? Complain about back pain? Put a hand over a bleeding wound? Also describe how other co-workers responded. Did they call for help, administer first aid, shut down equipment, move the victim, etc.?

The incident should be described on the report in sufficient detail that any reader can clearly picture what happened. You might consider creating a diagram to show, in a simple and visually effective manner, the sequence of events related to the incident and include this in your incident report. You might also wish to include photos of the accident scene, which may help readers follow the sequence of events.

3. Analyze

Your report should include an in-depth analysis of the causes of the accident. Causes include:

· Primary cause (e.g., a spill on the floor that caused a slip and fall)

· Secondary causes (e.g., employee not wearing appropriate work shoes or carrying a stack of material that blocked vision)

· Other contributing factors (e.g., burned out light bulb in the area).

4. Recommend

Recommendations for corrective action might include immediate corrective action as well as long-term corrective actions such as:

· Employee training on safe work practices

· Preventive maintenance activities that keep equipment in good operating condition

· Evaluation of job procedures with a recommendation for changes

· Conducting a job hazard analysis to evaluate the task for any other hazards and then train employees on these hazards

· Engineering changes that make the task safer or administrative changes that might include changing the way the task is performed

%d bloggers like this: