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“Excellent Toolbox Talk – Safety Meeting! Kudos to Truebeck Construction for doing it right!” #Safety #EverbodyGoesHome @TruebeckConst

Excellent Toolbox Talk – Safety Meeting! Kudos to Truebeck Construction for doing it right! #Safety #EverbodyGoesHome

Truebeck Construction was founded with a game-changing spirit and an ambitious vision: disrupt the traditional and ordinary, and rigorously raise the bar to do our best work. Period. We’re driven by the belief that we can improve construction practices and elevate standards while creating remarkable places in our community.

Lots of things are built. Few things are crafted smart and well. We have an entrepreneurial nature – thinking big, but not acting big – and perform as true builders with boots on the ground. We absolutely love construction, and you’ll see that in everything we do. It’s never business as usual on our job sites or in the office; in fact, it’s more like a championship game. We strive for greatness in the details, the dirty work, and in the victory of helping you achieve your vision.

We believe that what we do today contributes to a better-built environment tomorrow. This inspires us – making permanence of places for living, working, healing and learning. Our legacy is more than a name, it’s improving the community around us with a recognizable passion, determination, and excellence. Our hallmark and promise is this: we work relentlessly to give the best possible service, quality, and value while making it exciting and memorable.

For more information, see http://www.truebeck.com/

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Employee Injuries Cost US Companies In Excess Of A Billion Dollars A Week

In Washington State they have a subsidized RTW program. Light-duty jobs for injured workers help keep valued employees and control employer costs. Hear how from the Eagle Group in Spokane, WA.

According to the 2013 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2011 amounted to $55.4 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs. This translates into more than a billion dollars spent by businesses each week on the most disabling injuries.

The top cause of disabling injuries was once again overexertion. This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing and cost businesses $14.2 billion in direct costs and accounted for 25.7% of the national burden. The other top 3 were: Falls on same level, struck by object or equipment, and falls to lower level.

Using OSHA’s Safety Pays calculator, we can get an idea of how much an injury costs and the amount of sales needed to cover that cost. For example, one strain can cost a company more than $67,000. If your company has a profit margin of 5%, that means you need sales of more than $1.3 million to pay for that single injury.

Given the magnitude of these costs, why does safety fall by the wayside? Why are injuries, such as back strain and falls still a common occurrence in the workplace?

The sooner employers realize the benefits of an effective safety and health system, the sooner:

  • injury and illness rates decline
  • medical expenses are cut
  • OSHA penalties are avoided
  • productivity is increased
  • profitability is improved

In California, the Hayward Lumber Company provides an excellent example of how a company can promote safety and health. In an interview, Bill Hayward, CEO, told the American Society of Safety Engineers: “Our basic safety training is ongoing and intense. Employees are trained in ergonomics, equipment, proper lifting, handling and personal protective equipment, and they know that we take their safety and health very seriously.”

A proper safety culture is only going to thrive if it is completely fluid throughout the facility – from the CEO to the line worker. The safety and health professional must be able to effectively interact with senior management and vice versa. Safety professionals must be able to use return-on-investment analyses and speak the language of senior executives. Similarly, senior management must understand the safety professional’s perspective and contributions to the organization’s overall well-being and prosperity.

How does a company know if it has instilled a proper safety culture?

Management and employees:

  • believe in a safe and healthy workplace
  • take responsibility for protecting the safety and health of others as well as themselves
  • train constantly at all levels within the organization
  • have meaningful and measurable safety and health improvement goals
  • have positive attitudes – continuously

Learn how PureSafety, the workplace safety industry’s first learning and safety management system, helps employee safety professionals proactively manage training, safety and compliance.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Langdon Dement

Langdon Dement, MS, AEP (Associate Ergonomics Professional), GSP (Graduate Safety Practitioner), is an EHS Advisor with UL Workplace Health and Safety, focusing on industrial hygiene, ergonomics, patient handling and Job Hazard Analysis. He holds a degree in Occupational Safety and Health (M.S.) with a specialization in Industrial Hygiene from Murray State University and a degree in Biology from Harding University (B.S.).

“But We’ve Always Done it This Way: Top Ten List”

We've Always Done It This WayWhat does that really mean?

Perhaps you just asked a question at a committee meeting. The room went silent and at least one person pointedly explained to you that “We’ve always done it this way”. The rest of the group either chimed in or nodded their heads in arrogant approval. Some might even have glanced at you with that dismissive look of lost causes.

For many people change is painful. It doesn’t matter how silly their current path or how promising the opportunity of other possibilities. Change hurts. It is also painful to admit that what you have been doing needs to be changed. Accepting change means accepting the possibility that you are not currently doing things the best way.

While you bite your tongue or fume at that response consider this Top Ten List of the Real Meanings of “But we’ve always done it this way”.

What might people be thinking as they state that lame defense?

10. I haven’t got a clue why we do it this way and I never thought about it before. But I’m not going to admit that to you.

9. Your question is a good one. But I never asked it and wish that I had. As much as your question disturbs me I won’t admit that out loud.

8. You’re new aren’t you? You new people just want to change our perfect little world. We like it the way it is. We can outlast you.

7. How dare you question the wisdom of your predecessors? It was good enough for them why isn’t it good enough for you? Have you no blind respect and subservience to those who were here before you?

6. You clearly don’t know how we do things around here. It has nothing to do with logic, fairness and openness.

5. If you are a team player you will go along with us without asking embarrassing questions like that.

4. We don’t like questions like that. And right now I don’t like you for asking it.

3. Perhaps you believe that you have the right to ask questions… but you’re wrong. Shut up and go with the flow.

2. It’s working the way it is. Leave it alone. Can we go now?

1. Despite what you were told, this is not a democracy. We don’t care about your ideas. Just do what you are told to do. And do it the way that you are told to do it.

When you try to change things you will hear the response “But we’ve always done it this way.” Don’t hate people for that response. Consider the list above to understand what they might be feeling. Recognize that your questions might be disturbing them and they might not be ready to give you an honest and thoughtful answer.

“But we’ve always done it this way” is likely the response of a person who feels threatened.

When faced with this challenge you will need to find a less threatening way to make change. The other alternative is to expose the status quo as the bigger threat.

“But We’ve Always Done it This Way: Top Ten List”

We've Always Done It This WayWhat does that really mean?

Perhaps you just asked a question at a committee meeting. The room went silent and at least one person pointedly explained to you that “We’ve always done it this way”. The rest of the group either chimed in or nodded their heads in arrogant approval. Some might even have glanced at you with that dismissive look of lost causes.

For many people change is painful. It doesn’t matter how silly their current path or how promising the opportunity of other possibilities. Change hurts. It is also painful to admit that what you have been doing needs to be changed. Accepting change means accepting the possibility that you are not currently doing things the best way.

While you bite your tongue or fume at that response consider this Top Ten List of the Real Meanings of “But we’ve always done it this way”.

What might people be thinking as they state that lame defense?

10. I haven’t got a clue why we do it this way and I never thought about it before. But I’m not going to admit that to you.

9. Your question is a good one. But I never asked it and wish that I had. As much as your question disturbs me I won’t admit that out loud.

8. You’re new aren’t you? You new people just want to change our perfect little world. We like it the way it is. We can outlast you.

7. How dare you question the wisdom of your predecessors? It was good enough for them why isn’t it good enough for you? Have you no blind respect and subservience to those who were here before you?

6. You clearly don’t know how we do things around here. It has nothing to do with logic, fairness and openness.

5. If you are a team player you will go along with us without asking embarrassing questions like that.

4. We don’t like questions like that. And right now I don’t like you for asking it.

3. Perhaps you believe that you have the right to ask questions… but you’re wrong. Shut up and go with the flow.

2. It’s working the way it is. Leave it alone. Can we go now?

1. Despite what you were told, this is not a democracy. We don’t care about your ideas. Just do what you are told to do. And do it the way that you are told to do it.

When you try to change things you will hear the response “But we’ve always done it this way.” Don’t hate people for that response. Consider the list above to understand what they might be feeling. Recognize that your questions might be disturbing them and they might not be ready to give you an honest and thoughtful answer.

“But we’ve always done it this way” is likely the response of a person who feels threatened.

When faced with this challenge you will need to find a less threatening way to make change. The other alternative is to expose the status quo as the bigger threat.

Fatal Temporary Worker Injuries Drawing OSHA’s Attention

On April 15, 2013, 26-year-old Marine and Iraq War veteran David Eleidjian was assigned as a temporary worker to a Henkel Corporation manufacturing plant in Bay Point, Calif. Eleidjian was tasked with scraping adhesive from mixing equipment just 12 inches from an unguarded shaft spinning at up to 350 rotations per minute.

The coveralls provided to Eleidjian were too big and one of his sleeves got tangled in the shaft. Unable to free himself, Eleidjian was pulled into the mixer. Although taken to a hospital, he died later that day from his injuries.

Eleidjian’s accident represents just one example put forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to demonstrate the importance of safety for temporary workers.

A series of accidents involving temporary workers prompted the agency to put a special focus on the industry last year. And it has dedicated a portion of its website, http://www.osha.gov, to temporary worker safety, including who has responsibility for safety and who needs to track injuries when incidents occur.

Among OSHA’s concerns are that some companies may use temps to avoid meeting compliance obligations and that temps can get placed in the most hazardous jobs. The agency is also worried temps may not get adequate safety training or explanations of their duties.

Certainly, there’s no arguing that keeping temporary workers safe is as important as ever.

In addition to OSHA’s scrutiny, workers’ comp carriers are becoming more cautious about business. It’s a hard market, and premiums are increasing. Firms with poor safety experience can see their premiums rise even further.

What can staffing firms do? There are some best practices that firms can follow.

Kevin P. Kilcoyne, director of staffing insurance, at the Barrow Group LLC, an insurance brokerage specializing in the temporary staffing industry, advises taking a three-pronged approach, in how a staffing firm:

  • selects clients.
  • selects temporary employees.
  • reacts when an injury happens.

When looking into prospective clients, a staffing firm may research them via an establishment search on the OSHA website to uncover any citations, if those citations were corrected and whether the company faced fines, Kilcoyne says.

Staffing firms also need to communicate with existing clients to make sure environments are safe, and he advises conducting walk-throughs of client sites on a quarterly basis.

“If there is an accident, we encourage our clients to do immediate walkthroughs,” Kilcoyne says. “Re-enact the events that took place. Cite the issues because the injury probably came from one of two things — an unsafe work practice or an unsafe work condition.” Then firms can point out to the client where corrections can be made or, if need be, sever the relationship with the clients.

Documentation is important as well, he says.

Staffing firms should document walkthroughs and formal training. Written job descriptions are also important, especially if the need arises to show OSHA that a staffing firm had a legitimate reason to believe an employee was safe. Sometimes a client will reassign an employee to a different position than what was agreed to without notifying the staffing firm.

Kilcoyne also suggests getting a copy of the training or certification that client provides. “Don’t rely on the host employer to provide that on a moment’s notice because you may not get the cooperation you think you are going to get.”

The Specifics

“As an advocate of loss control, paying attention to details and making sure that your employees are in a safe environment, that may mean walking away from a client if necessary,” says Robert Thompson, vice president of insurance provider World Wide Specialty Programs. “That may be difficult to do, but being hard on a client and making sure they have safety protocols in place are an imperative. Of course, that may be difficult because sometimes safety costs more.”

Prudent staffing firms do site inspections of clients before they bring an account on, and they have a checklist and a professional walk-through to evaluate a site, Thompson says. But not all staffing firms take these precautions when bringing in new clients.

“There are some that really pay attention, and there are some that just do not,” Thompson says. “We try to help the staffing firms that do not have a risk engineering culture within their company, because without it people get hurt.”

One of the most hazardous timeframes for injuries are within the first 30 days of hiring. “Staffing firms have to be able to have a conversation with their client companies and the topic is risk engineering is an asset and has to be important to them,” Thompson says.

Bringing in a client with problems may bring in immediate revenue, but the problems may hurt the bottom line in the future as workers’ compensation premiums rise.

Right Measures

Screening applicants thoroughly is also important, says Barrow Group’s Kilcoyne. And it’s something insurance carriers are looking at more closely, including drug and alcohol testing and other types of screening such as integrity testing.

Correct training of workers also plays a part, according to Jeff Nugent, managing director at Contingent Workforce Solutions, a firm that provides independent contractor compliance and payrolling solutions and has extensive experience in the oil and gas sector.

“A proper health and safety program consists of both a proactive and a reactive approach,” Nugent says. “Proactive to help prevent workplace injuries from happening and a reactive approach to make sure you do everything you can to help minimize the injury and potential damages if a workplace incident was to occur.”

Workers should be educated on workplace hazards and how they can do their job safely with both site-specific and job-specific training.

A site-specific orientation for workers includes such things as letting workers know who the safety coordinator is for the site, where safety equipment and information are located and where proper exits are, Nugent says. It includes training on any hazards specific to the location.

Job-specific training is also a must. “If they are heavy equipment operators or they are dealing with confined space or working with height using scaffolding or ladders, make sure that they’ve received the proper training before they go and work on site,” he says. “And have proof that the training took place.”

While being proactive is the best medicine, third parties — like payrolling firms or staffing agencies — must have a plan for when something goes wrong.

“When an incident happens you need to have a very clear incident response in terms of policies, procedures, who does what, who gets communicated to when an injury happens,” he says. That includes notifying regulators.

Measures for getting injured workers rehabilitated are important as well. “Having clear procedures on documenting the incident, and then having clearly defined and documented steps on treatments and rehabilitation taken in getting the worker back to work in a normal setting is kind of the optimal situation,” Nugent says.

Rising Tide

Safety is always important, but right now it’s also a hard market for workers’ compensation coverage. Rates are up and carriers are careful about what exposures they will cover.

Chris Ottesen, vice president of finance and risk at People 2.0, says some carriers are not renewing workers’ comp coverage for staffing firms or are raising premiums even when there are decent risks. Insurers are also auditing payroll more frequently to ensure the proper workers’ comp classification codes are being used.

“They’re auditing twice a year,” Ottesen says. “It used to be a once-a-year kind of thing, and they are requiring much greater scrutiny and compliance.”

World Wide’s Thompson says premiums are up 30 percent to 40 percent from two years ago. And that’s a serious concern for staffing firms because workers’ comp usually represents the biggest expense for staffing firms, after payroll.

“It’s such a tight marketplace out there it’s hard to find a very safety-oriented client company; they’re out there but they’re not everywhere,” Thompson says. “At the end of the day, client selection is incredibly important, loss control is incredibly important, managing your [experience modification factor] is incredibly important. And of course [making sure] the temps that you hire …are capable of doing the job that they’re hired for and that they perform the job they are hired for and no other.”

Keeping workers safe should be paramount no matter what.

Cal/OSHA cited Henkel $200,825 for the accident that cost Eleidjian his life. Two staffing firms were cited as well.

“This tragedy was completely preventable and underscores what can go wrong when employers do not take the necessary measures to correct workplace safety hazards,” Christine Baker, director of the California Department of Industrial Relations, said in a press release when the citations were issued.

– See more at: http://www.staffingindustry.com/eng/Research-Publications/Publications/Staffing-Industry-Review/June-2014/Safety-First-Fatal-temp-injuries-draw-OSHA-s-attention?cookies=disabled#sthash.uJOlp5on.dpuf

OSHA Site Specific Targeting (SST) Priorities For 2014

 

osha-logo

 

On February 26, OSHA released its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting Program (SST). Will your establishment be the target of one of these inspections? Keep reading to find out.

Intended to focus enforcement resources on high-hazard industries, the SST plan targets high-hazard, non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers and is based on data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments in high-hazard industries.

Nursing and personal care facilities are excluded from the 2014 SST plan because they are currently the target of a National Emphasis Program, which includes a separate programmed inspection plan.

So where will OSHA focus its resources this year? First, area offices will inspect facilities on the Primary Inspection List, which includes establishments that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Manufacturing establishments with a Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rate at or above 7.0;
  • Manufacturing establishments with a Days Away from Work Injury and Illness (DAFWII) case rate at or above 5.0;
  • Non-manufacturing establishments with a DART rate at or above 15.0; or
  • Non-manufacturing establishments with a DAFWII case rate at or above 14.0.

If an area office completes all inspections on the Primary Inspection List, it can proceed to the Secondary Inspection List, which includes establishments meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • Manufacturing establishments with DART rates of 5.0 or higher;
  • Manufacturing establishments with DAFWII case rates of 4.0 or higher;
  • Non-manufacturing establishments with DART rates of 7.0 or higher; or
  • Non-manufacturing establishments with DAFWII case rates of 5.0 or higher.

Finally, if all inspections on the Secondary Inspection List are completed, the area office can obtain a regional list of additional establishments to inspect. None of these establishments will have a DART rate of 3.6 or lower or a DAFWII case rate of 2.2 or lower.

Inspections conducted under the most recent SST plan will be comprehensive safety inspections. Health inspections will be limited to referrals from Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) or inspections expanded by the Area Director based on an employer’s prior inspection history.

In states such as California and Washington that administer their own occupational safety and health agencies, state officials can choose whether to follow federal OSHA’s SST plan, use a high-hazard inspection targeting system based OSHA’s Scheduling System for Programmed Inspections, or use a state-developed high-hazard inspection targeting system based on state data.

 

Employee Injuries Cost US Companies In Excess Of A Billion Dollars A Week

In Washington State they have a subsidized RTW program. Light-duty jobs for injured workers help keep valued employees and control employer costs. Hear how from the Eagle Group in Spokane, WA.

According to the 2013 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2011 amounted to $55.4 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs. This translates into more than a billion dollars spent by businesses each week on the most disabling injuries.

The top cause of disabling injuries was once again overexertion. This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing and cost businesses $14.2 billion in direct costs and accounted for 25.7% of the national burden. The other top 3 were: Falls on same level, struck by object or equipment, and falls to lower level.

Using OSHA’s Safety Pays calculator, we can get an idea of how much an injury costs and the amount of sales needed to cover that cost. For example, one strain can cost a company more than $67,000. If your company has a profit margin of 5%, that means you need sales of more than $1.3 million to pay for that single injury.

Given the magnitude of these costs, why does safety fall by the wayside? Why are injuries, such as back strain and falls still a common occurrence in the workplace?

The sooner employers realize the benefits of an effective safety and health system, the sooner:

  • injury and illness rates decline
  • medical expenses are cut
  • OSHA penalties are avoided
  • productivity is increased
  • profitability is improved

In California, the Hayward Lumber Company provides an excellent example of how a company can promote safety and health. In an interview, Bill Hayward, CEO, told the American Society of Safety Engineers: “Our basic safety training is ongoing and intense. Employees are trained in ergonomics, equipment, proper lifting, handling and personal protective equipment, and they know that we take their safety and health very seriously.”

A proper safety culture is only going to thrive if it is completely fluid throughout the facility – from the CEO to the line worker. The safety and health professional must be able to effectively interact with senior management and vice versa. Safety professionals must be able to use return-on-investment analyses and speak the language of senior executives. Similarly, senior management must understand the safety professional’s perspective and contributions to the organization’s overall well-being and prosperity.

How does a company know if it has instilled a proper safety culture?

Management and employees:

  • believe in a safe and healthy workplace
  • take responsibility for protecting the safety and health of others as well as themselves
  • train constantly at all levels within the organization
  • have meaningful and measurable safety and health improvement goals
  • have positive attitudes – continuously

Learn how PureSafety, the workplace safety industry’s first learning and safety management system, helps employee safety professionals proactively manage training, safety and compliance.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Langdon Dement

Langdon Dement, MS, AEP (Associate Ergonomics Professional), GSP (Graduate Safety Practitioner), is an EHS Advisor with UL Workplace Health and Safety, focusing on industrial hygiene, ergonomics, patient handling and Job Hazard Analysis. He holds a degree in Occupational Safety and Health (M.S.) with a specialization in Industrial Hygiene from Murray State University and a degree in Biology from Harding University (B.S.).

Testimony of CSB at Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing – Chevron Fire, West Texas Explosion & West Va. Water Crisis

CSB

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso at March 6, 2014, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing Entitled “Preventing Potential Chemical Threats and Improving Safety: Oversight of the President’s Executive Order on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security”

CLICK HERE to view the written statement

Chairman Boxer, Senator Vitter, and distinguished Committee members – thank you for inviting me today. I am Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The Chevron refinery fire in California in 2012the West Texas explosion last year – the West Virginia water crisis in January:

All of these were preventable accidents. 

The United States is facing an industrial chemical safety crisis.

After all of these accidents, we hear frustration and heartbreak.  Workers, emergency responders, and the public continue to die and suffer injuries.

Estus Powell, a father who lost his daughter in the 2010 fire at the Tesoro refinery in Washington, recently told us, “My life was forever changed. All I want to know is, does anybody care?  It seems we can get nobody to have any teeth in anything, to get anything done.” 

Our investigations have concluded that certain fundamental changes are needed.  We have a regulatory system that sometimes encourages paper compliance over real risk reduction.

As an interim measure, I advocate that the EPA use its existing authority under the Clean Air Act to encourage chemical facilities to make their operations inherently safer where it is feasible to do so.

Then the EPA should follow up by adopting specific regulations with clear requirements.

The goal should be to drive chemical process risks “as low as reasonably practicable.”  In Europe, this is a cornerstone of the regulatory system.  Insurance statistics tell us European chemical sites have an accident rate at least three times lower than the U.S.

Time and again, as our reports show, we find examples where companies could have used available, feasible, safer technologies to prevent disastrous accidents, but chose not to do so.

I realize inherently safer technology, or IST, is a term that has drawn some controversy.  But it is really just a well-established concept, developed by industry and used by industry. 

It focuses on eliminating or minimizing hazards, instead of just trying to control hazards that already exist. Many accidents could be prevented using off-the-shelf technologies such as corrosion resistant materials, or reducing the storage of hazardous materials to the minimum necessary. 

In West Virginia, applying these principles could have prevented or reduced the consequences of the recent spill.  For example, the chemical storage tank could have been sited away from drinking water supplies and constructed of resistant materials.

I commend Senators Boxer, Manchin, and Rockefeller for promptly introducing legislation on this and encourage you to pass a strong bill.

I am also encouraged by the leadership of the White House on these issues – especially the executive order on chemical safety – and I hope that regulatory agencies respond in kind.  

The EPA has the authority today to require companies to apply IST in design, equipment, and processes. I call on industry to join in supporting this reform, which companies know will go a long way to stopping these catastrophes.

I must add that no regulatory system will work unless regulatory agencies like the EPA and OSHA receive more resources for more highly specialized, technical inspectors.

Madam Chairman, your own state of California has been leading the way in this.  Following the Chevron fire in 2012, the legislature has moved to triple the number of process safety inspectors, using fees collected from the refining industry.  And California is going to mandate using safer technologies and is looking at what’s called the “safety case” model.  Under the safety case, the burden is on companies to prove they can operate safely by following the most up to date safety standards.  It’s a condition of operating.

In conclusion, these major accidents don’t have to happen.  They kill and injure workers, harm communities, and destroy productive businesses.  The best companies in the U.S. and overseas know how to prevent these disasters – but we need a regulatory system here that ensures all companies are operating to the same high standards.

That concludes my testimony. Thank you. 

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