Ten of the Most Common Safety Violations

Ten of the Most Common Safety Violations

Although OSHA releases their top 10 most mentioned workplace safety incidents yearly, they don’t change significantly with each new list. If you take note of the workplace statistics, you may feel a little overwhelmed at the information.

Taking a firm but simple approach to workplace safety is best and recommended by the deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs.

He recommends leveraging the top 10 list as a way to compare against your workplace environment. Would these hazards be present in your work environment? Using this list to get started is a good way to determine if you have hazards in the office.

1. Fall Protection

The total violations for this in 2016 was 6,906. This means that employees who are on surfaces either horizontal or vertical and were not provided with the appropriate protections against falls. Examples of these violations include unprotected sides or edges. steep roofs, holes, and skylights. All of these areas can cause injury if proper precautions are not in place.

2. Hazard Communication

This safety concern deals with chemical hazards. Either chemicals that are produced in the workplace or ones that are brought into the workplace. Citations in this area include not having a hazard program in place and training in the workplace on how to handle chemical materials that could be hazardous to health.

3. Scaffolding

Scaffolding has to be designed by qualified individuals and constructed according to those designs. Employers are required to protect workers from falls and falling objects while working on scaffolding. This means having a guardrail system in place or other protections to keep workers from falling through scaffolding. This caused a total of 3,900 violations in 2016.

4. Respiratory Protection

This violation deals with ensuring employers have a respiratory protection program in place. This means ensuring that the workplace has appropriate respiratory protection standards in place as needed. Fit testing for respirators and medical evaluations for respiratory health are some of the key areas to maintaining adequate protection.

5. Lockout/Tagout

Electricity can be hazardous if not handled properly and lockout/tag out procedures for the servicing and maintenance of equipment are important to have and maintain in the workplace. Having general procedures and a general control program were two of the most common violations in this category.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks

Surprisingly, this standard in the workplace is actually 6th on the list and deals with the maintenance and operation of industrial trucks. Workplaces that have forklifts and hand trucks need to ensure safety standards in this area. This means having safe operation and certification standards for employees. Training is also essential in this area as well as ensuring that trucks are repaired and maintained on a regular basis.

7. Ladders

Just like its name suggests, this standard has to do with any safety concern involving ladders and caused 2,665 violations in 2016. Portable ladder access was one of the top areas cited. Ladders are often not used for the purpose that they were designed for and ladders are frequently used with structural defects. Keeping ladder safety as a priority in the workplace is a key to avoiding this hazard.

8. Machine Guarding

This standard involves guarding of machinery to protect its operators as well as any other employees from hazards including rotating parts, sparks, and any other dangers possible during its operation. Machine guarding should be in place during its operation. Other primary concerns for machine guarding include anchoring any fixed machinery and guarding any blades, especially ones that are close to the ground.

9. Electrical-Wiring Methods

This standard means any violations related to improper electrical or wiring methods including grounding electrical equipment, ensuring appropriate wiring and insulation are in place. Protecting wiring from exposure is a key violation to avoid and can be a fire hazard as well as an employee hazard.

10. Electrical-General Requirements

This area is also designed for electrical hazards but is focused on the general safety requirements involved with designing electrical systems. Installation and use of systems are the top violations in this category. Guarding any live parts and keeping the space around electrical equipment free of potential hazards are also components of this category.

As you evaluate various workplace risks, be sure to reach out to us for suggestions on how to keep your Workmans Comp rates as low as possible… remember we’re here to help!

Workplace Safety Principles You Can Count On

Workplace Safety Principles You Can Count On

As a leading manufacturer Boeing offers a great example of putting workplace safety into practice. And Boeing has come a long way from the early days of ergonomics.

Boeing has a security vision that is rooted in their company culture. The company has core beliefs for their product safety and security. Boeing has an office safety initiative, “Go for no– One day at a time”. It has four primary concepts used to structure everything done.

The primary priority is human life and health, taking action to promote these goals. In addition to efforts designed for safety in the workplace, Boeing also puts an emphasis on health beyond preventing workplace injury. Often a workers’ safety and security can be maximized by decreasing stress and improving health through a balanced lifestyle. Boeing was named one of the “Finest Companies for Healthy Lifestyles” and they’ve taken steps to improve the general wellness of their workers.

All injuries in the work environment are preventable. Boeing tries to use its design and processes to lower the security and safety threats for their workers, especially the ones that work in production. One of the best programs that makes use of this principle is the Boeing location in South Carolina. It has the engineers work as manufacturing specialists to help them recognize and make improvements to each job. With this practical experience, engineering groups have been able to develop tailored ergonomic devices and improve job processes by eliminating potential hazards.

Each employee is made responsible for their own personal safety and also in charge of each other’s safety. Boeing encourages each staff member to take charge of their safety and to watch out for their teammates. Some workers model this principle very well, including examination specialist Roger Grenier. He’s become known for his dedication to maintaining safety. In just a single year of work, Roger worked to notice hundreds of safety concerns as well as point out improvements that were used to keep the workplace safe and eliminate any hazards. Because of his excellent work and dedication in this area, Roger was recognized as Boeing’s first “Safety Champion” in 2016.

By making safety a top priority, Boeing also found that it was able to meet goals for producing top quality materials as a normal part of daily activities. Making large planes and jets to fit client’s needs requires a full-time commitment to safety, quality, and performance. On the assembly line used to make 777 jetliners, a team of designers and manufacturing mechanics created a new option for moving the heavy power panels. In the past, moving and installing the panels had been linked to worker injuries. Using a rail system to move heavy loans in a tight space, this change significantly lowered the risk of injury while also boosting productivity at the same time.

Through safety workshops, groups develop lists of reasons why Boeing has not been able to reach its zero-injury goal. They write down the details of why each injury occurred. Then, they establish methods for the company to be free of injuries in the future. Each time the list grows shorter because of the value that’s placed on decreasing injuries.

Worker safety is best considered as a challenge to innovation. Changes that Boeing is implementing today, including automation, will have a significant impact in the coming years.

Remember that Boeing is a for profit corporation. It answers to shareholders. Safety efforts must comply with the law and be implemented in a way that positively impacts the bottom line. Boeing has recognized that safety always results in decreased costs and increased productivity.

So as you contemplate safety for your own organization, take a little time to reflect on what has worked so well for Boeing and see if you can implement some of these principles in your company.

What to Know About Safety & Legalized Pot

What to Know About Safety & Legalized Pot

Because cannabis legalization is expanding across the United States, many companies are concerned about how to go about drug testing their employees. They are also quite concerned about workplace safety. (As you may know, cannabis or “pot” is legal in some form or another in 28 states as well as our capital, Washington DC.)

Each state’s laws regarding marijuana legalization are different, making it difficult for companies to know how to manage their employees when it comes to marijuana usage by employees and location.

(This can be especially tricky if a company has workers split between multiple states where some states offer legalization and others don’t. For example, Idaho does not offer pot legalization but is bordered by 3 states that allow legalization in some form or another.)

To help give guidance, here are some steps to leverage in order to keep the work environment accident free with the changing tide in pot regulations.

First, it is important to understand that public opinion towards marijuana has shifted in recent years. Today, approximately 60% of the population supports the legalization of cannabis. While this change may be thought of as coming from younger adults, the change in attitudes is actually most significant in the population age 55 and older. A current study found that in medical areas where marijuana was proven to be beneficial, Medicare enrollees were significant users of marijuana.

So what can companies do though if they have employees that use cannabis?

Of course, safety is a primary concern for these companies. It is important that companies concentrate on the efficiency of their employees in addition to increased scrutiny on training and hiring processes. (This is really no different than how alcohol is treated in the work environment.)

These four extra steps can help ensure a safe environment:

1. Review job descriptions and determine what each job requires. Would an employee who uses cannabis in non-working hours influence that person’s capability to perform essential job duties?

2. Train managers how to identify impairment caused by marijuana use in the workplace. Review signs and symptoms of a person who has used cannabis.

3. Determine if drug screening is a good fit for your business. If it is, determine how to best do it with your employees. For example at their time of hire or additionally throughout the worker’s employment.

4. Consider the impact medicinal marijuana may have on policies. For example, where pot use is truly necessary for a given worker’s medical needs rather than being a recreational choice.

Closing thoughts:

Research regarding marijuana usage indicates that the impacts of marijuana on a person’s ability to function changes drastically from user to user in addition to the type of work being done.

Of note, fewer than a third of studies found a relationship between marijuana use and reduced function.

For a complete understanding of how employee pot use may impact your safety risk profile, be sure to reach out to us for guidance. We’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.