“Adding Inequality To Injury: The Costs Of Failing To Protect Workers On The Job”

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“Employers must do more to prevent injuries”

A new report released by OSHA explores the substantial impact of workplace injuries and illnesses on income inequality Despite the decades-old legal requirement that employers provide workplaces free of serious hazards, every year, more than three million workers are seriously injured, and thousands more are killed on the job. The report states these injuries can force working families out of the middle class and into poverty, and prevents families of lower-wage workers from attaining greater economic opportunity. “For many, a workplace injury or illness means the end of the American dream, and the beginning of a nightmare,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Employers must do more to prevent these injuries from happening in the first place and insure that when they do, workers receive the benefits to which they are entitled.”

OSHA is asking workers who have been affected by the cost of a workplace injury to share their story. For more about this report (PDF) and read Dr. Michaels’ recent blog post.

How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report

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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

“Infographic: “Is It Recordable?”

Is It Recordable?

Is It Recordable? by Safety.BLR.com

“OSHA Responds to Manufacturers’ Lawsuit on New Workplace Injury and Illness Reporting Rule”

OSHAupdate

 

By James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: OSHA asserts that its new injury illness reporting rule is fully within OSHA’s mandate.

This is in follow-up to our earlier blog on OSHA’s new rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (Rule), 81 Fed. Reg. 29624 (May 12, 2016). The new rule concerned drug-testing, retaliation claims, and accident reporting.

The National Association of Manufacturers filed a lawsuit seeking to enjoin the new rule. TEXO ABC/AGC, et al. v. Thomas, et al., No. 3:16-CV-1998 (N.D. TX July 8, 2016). Thereafter OSHA announced that it was delaying the effective date for enforcement of the rule until November 1, 2016.

In TEXO ABC/AGC the Plaintiffs alleged that OSHA is “putting a target on nearly every manufacturer in this country by moving this regulation forward. Not only does OSHA lack statutory authority to enforce this rule, but the agency has also failed to recognize the infeasibility, costs and real-world impacts of what it preposterously suggests is just a mere tweak to a major regulation.” The lawsuit sought a declaratory judgment finding that the rule was unlawful to the extent that it prohibited or otherwise limited incident-based employer safety incentive programs and routine mandatory post-accident drug testing programs.

On August 19, 2016 OSHA responded to the request for a preliminary injunction, filing its opposition. OSHA argues that as the “Plaintiffs have not established a likelihood of success or irreparable harm, the Court need not consider the balance of equities or public interest. Even if it did, though, they tip sharply against injunctive relief in this case. Plaintiffs have established no harm at all, much less irreparable harm. OSHA, by contrast, has determined that the anti-retaliation provision is necessary for the viability of its broader recordkeeping Rule, which takes effect January 1, 2017.”

We anticipate that the Plaintiffs will file a reply brief shortly, followed by oral arguments before the Court. We will keep you updated as this fast moving issue develops.

For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the OSHA Compliance, Enforcement & Litigation Team.

 Source: Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Contractors: “Who Is Responsible For Their Safety?”

If you hire contractors, perform contract work, or work at a multi-employer work site, it can be difficult to determine what your safety responsibilities are. Use this infographic to gain a better understanding of how multi-employer rules apply in common situations and what you should look for when hiring a contractor.

Contractors: Who's Responsible for Safety?

Contractors: Who’s Responsible for Safety? by Safety.BLR.com

“Infographic: How Does Your Safety Culture Stack Up?”

Both OSHA observations and independent research confirm that developing a strong safety culture has the potential to have the greatest impact on incident reduction of any process. Check out the infographic to find out what we learned about the state of safety culture from a recent BLR survey of over 500 EHS professionals, HR professionals, and other individuals involved in safety at their organizations.

Learn more about the survey results by attending BLR’s Safety Culture 2016 conference September 15–16 in Austin, Texas. Register here.

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