Friday, June 29, 2012

MSHA's Roof Control Campaign Targets Underground Mine Ribs

During its 2012 Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program (PROP), MSHA will focus its annual mine roof control program on efforts to improve mine rib control. In 2011, the agency says, fatal rib roll accidents in underground coal mines outnumbered more typical fatal roof fall accidents. Roof control in underground mines involves securing the top as well as the sides of travel ways, or walls (known as ribs in underground coal mines). Injuries resulting from roof and rib failures increased from 439 in 2010 to 484 in 2011.

MSHA will distribute specific information to underground mine operators and miners about these dangers, as well as methods to check and address hazardous roof and rib conditions. During the initiative, inspectors will distribute posters that identify rib control problems and list several possible solutions. The agency's report, "Protecting Underground Miners from Rib Falls," points out key trends in recent roof and rib accidents, and provides safety advice and tips for mine operators to consider in maintaining proper roof and rib control.

Remember the Dangers of Using Fireworks

As Independence Day approaches and summer festivals kick into full gear, OSHA is reminding employers in the fireworks/pyrotechnics industry to protect their workers from hazards they face while handling fireworks for public events. The agency offers a Safety and Health Topics page that addresses retail sales of fireworks and fireworks display. The site features descriptions of common hazards and solutions found in both areas of the industry; downloadable safety posters for workplaces where fireworks are handled; and a video demonstrating best industry practices for retail sales and manufacturers based on NFPA consensus standards.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

BCSP & NIOSH Sign Partnership to Further Safety Profession

BCSP and NIOSH recently signed a formal agreement that commits the organizations to improving occupational safety and health throughout U.S. workplaces and help one another in developing SH&E professionals. According to BCSP, the agreement states both agencies will work to:
  • Develop and distribute information on management systems and best practices for occupational safety and health, and career opportunities in safety and health through print and electronic media, including NIOSH and BCSP websites.
  • Strengthen recruiting efforts for students interested in occupational safety and health technical, undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Participate in conferences, meetings and other key events where worker safety and health, and safety and health practitioners’ professional development are addressed.
  • Promote and facilitate the transfer of relevant occupational safety and health research findings and prevention-through-design (PTD) to practices and the body of knowledge of safety and health professionals.

Transforming SH&E

In his Safety 2012 proceedings paper, “Six Steps Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: A Successful Journey for the Safety Professional,” Fran Sehn, vice president, casualty risk control for Willis of PA, offers eight steps for applying a transformation model to SH&E, which he based on the writings of John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and a recognized authority on leadership and change.
  1. Establish a sense of urgency. Analyze the current situation to determine what works and where gaps exist. Include existing problem areas (e.g., incidents, property damage concerns) as well as both actual and potential loss sources. Seek opportunities for continuous improvement based on the analysis. Present the assessment to top management as a way to move beyond complacency toward a vision of excellence.
  2. Create a guiding coalition. Involve enough key people to lead the safety change effort. Each team member should have an area of responsibility and accountability. A management oversight committee may be needed to provide adequate guidance for this step to be successful.
  3. Develop a vision or set of goals. Protecting people, property and the environment is the primary goal. The ultimate goal is to provide a direction for the change to take place. Establishing a goal to reduce injuries by 15% has similar limitations as reducing the experience modification rate. A target of 100% compliance with PPE has far-reaching implications. Devise a strategy or plan to accomplish the goal.
  4. Communicate the goals. Computers and electronic signage are just two methods to increase awareness. Committee members must model the expected behavior for all employees. Top management must lead each communication with a safety message, comment or statement.
  5. Empower broad-based action. Remove obstacles to change--meaning physical barriers as well as systems and structures that undermine goals. Encourage employees to offer ideas that might be considered nontraditional or risk taking in nature. Direct resources at safety engineering solutions versus traditional approaches.
  6. Generate short-term wins. Plan for visible improvements or wins. Create wins based on data improvement, audits and monitoring. Communicate these results and recognize those responsible and celebrate.
  7. Consolidate gains and produce more gains. Credibility should be used to change the systems, structures and policies that do not fit together in the process. Add and promote change agents and look for opportunities for continuous improvement. Like W. Edwards Deming said, maintain a constancy of purpose.
  8. Integrate new approaches into the new safety culture. Create better performance through employee safe behaviors. Articulate the connection between behaviors and success. Develop a means or method to ensure leadership and succession.

Baby Boomers Need Hepatitis C Test

The CDC has suggested that all Americans born from 1945 through 1965 get tested for hepatitis C. The virus is the leading cause of liver transplants and liver cancer, and this age group, otherwise known as the “baby boomers,” account for over 75% of adults infected with the virus in the U.S. According to the Center, more than 15,000 Americans—mostly baby boomers—die each year from hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade. In fact, most people do not know they have the virus because it inconspicuously damages the liver over many years. New treatments are now available that can cure some infections, and the CDC believes expanded screening efforts can prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths. For more information, click here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

VPPPA Exec to Testify on Voluntary Programs

R. Davis Layne, executive director of Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA), will appear before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce's Workforce Protections Subcommittee to testify about OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The hearing, "Promoting Safe Workplaces Through Voluntary Protection Programs," will be held Thursday, June 28, at 9:30 a.m. EDT, and will be webcast live for online viewers.

According to VPPPA, Layne will address the benefits and recent changes of VPP, as well as the advantages for companies in VPP, the importance of employee participation, how the program reduces injury and illness rates, and how to best ensure the program's continued success.

Report Recommends Focus on Safety Culture in Offshore Drilling Operations

A report from National Research Council recommends that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) take a holistic approach to ensuring the effectiveness of recently mandated safety and environmental management system (SEMS) programs for offshore drilling and production operations. According to the report, "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems,"  this approach should include inspections, audits by the operator and BSEE, key performance indicators and a whistleblower program.

The recommendations are consistent with BSEE's proposed changes to SEMS with the exception of one change requiring that audits be performed by third parties. According to the report, a truly independent internal audit team is preferred to an external third-party team to avoid a "compliance mentality."

"BSEE should seize this opportunity to make a step change in safety culture," says Kenneth Arnold, chair of the committee that wrote the report. "The bureau can tailor its approach to evaluating the effectiveness of SEMS in order to move both the industry and the government from a culture of relying on punishment only--obtaining prescriptive adherence to pass/failure requirements--to a culture of continuous improvement."

New Website to Help Reduce Railroad Worker Fatigue

The Railroaders' Guide to Healthy Sleep website is a new resource from DOT that aims to help reduce on-the-job fatigue that railroad workers might face. According to the agency, many railroad workers have challenging work schedules that might make it hard for them to obtain enough healthy sleep.

The website contains information on the importance of healthy sleep and how it helps improve a person's well-being, safety and workplace performance. The site features an anonymous screening test so users can tell if they might have a sleep disorder; a sleep and wake diary for tracking sleep habits and patterns; and strategies for improving the amount and quality of sleep. In addition, the site includes quizzes, illustrations, articles and videos to educate workers on how sleep affects their job performance and overall health.

Safety on Stage

In a recent post on NIOSH’s Science Blog, Gregory Burr and Deborah Hornback take a behind-the-curtain look at the hazards faced by actors, designers and musicians involved in live performances. “Some of these hazards were well publicized in recent years, as multiple actors and stunt doubles were injured during the production of Spiderman, Turn off the Dark,” Burr and Hornback note. “Potential hazards include rigging and flying hazards, repetitive strain injuries among dancers and carpenters, solvent and chemical exposures, noise-induced hearing loss (subject of another Science Blog post), electrical hazards, falls from heights, as well as most hazards found on a construction site.” These include electrical hazards, falls from heights, exposure to solvents, paints and resins, repetitive strain injuries and noise.

Burr and Hornback point to BLS data showing that injuries involving days away from work among occupations related to the theater increased from a low of 870 in 2006 to a high of 1,570 in 2008 before declining in 2009 to 1,190. Among the injuries incurred from 2003 to 2009, Burr and Hornback report that 50% were strains and sprains; 41% were to the lower extremities; and the median number of days away from work was 39 days--“notable as the national average is around 8 days.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roundtable to Examine Confined Spaces Worker Safety Challenges

International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) will be holding a roundtable Aug. 21, 2012, in Arlington, VA, in which experts will discuss their perspectives and examine the challenges of confined space worker safety. The event is free, but registration is required by July 20.

Panelists will include  OSHA's Sherman Williamson; Willam "Chico" McGill, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Jim Thornton, Newport News Shipbuilding's safety chief; marine chemist Ken Congleton; and confined space experts from ISEA members Honeywell Analytics, Mine Safety Appliance Co. and Scott Safety. ISEA President Dan Shipp will pose a series of questions for each panelist to address on various safety challenges of confined space entry.

Lightning Myths

In honor of Lightning Safety Awareness week, meteorologists at Environment Canada want to clarify three common myths about lightning.
·         Myth #1: Lightning never strikes the same place twice. This is completely false. In fact, the CN tower in Canada gets struck by lightning an average of 75 times per year. So lightning can and does strike the same place.
·         Myth #2: Lightning only strikes under a storm cloud. Lightning can strike more than 16 km away from the storm. Its striking distance extends far beyond the actual lightning storm.
·         Myth #3: Trees are safe hiding places from lightning. They are incredibly unsafe. The safest place to be is in a fully enclosed building with plumbing and wiring. Another safe option is in a metal-enclosed vehicle with the windows up.
If thunder is audible, then lightning is near. It is safest to steer clear of tall objects and seek shelter immediately. For more information, click here. To watch Environment Canada’s lightning safety video, click here

World Standards Day Poster Winner Announced

The World Standards Cooperation has selected the winning poster for the 2012 World Standards Day, which is scheduled for Oct. 14, 2012. Participants had to work with the theme "Less waste, better results--Standards increase efficiency." The winner, Aildrene Tan, of the Philippines, was chosen out of about 300 entries. In addition to a monetary prize for winning, his poster will be used to illustrate and promote World Standards Day 2012.

Staying Safe in the Field

U-TECK, a developer of specialized products for the telecommunications, utility, municipal and transportation industries, offers its top five tips for ensuring a safe environment for workers in the field.
  • Invest in ergonomic equipment. “Such tools are designed to work with the body’s natural movements and minimize the risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders, especially back pain.” U-TECK explains. For example, easily transport ladders to and from trucks with a ladder caddy, which offsets much of a ladder’s weight. 
  • Recognize the dangers of confined spaces. Atmospheric hazards are common in manholes. Before heading down into a manhole, practice OSHA’s “test, purge and ventilate” routine to ensure that the space is free of combustible gases and has ample oxygen, U-TECK says. 
  • Maintain visibility. According to BLS, 220 workers were struck and killed by a vehicle in 2010. “Whether repairing a cable line on the side of a highway, or directing traffic around a construction site, high-visibility clothing and equipment can prevent these devastating incidents.” 
  • Use ladders carefully. Statistics from Consumer Products Safety Commission show that nearly 65,000 workers go to the hospital every year due to ladder-related accidents. “Before using a ladder, inspect it for broken rungs, missing bolts and other broken parts, and make sure it is placed on level ground,” U-TECK advises. “When climbing up and down, face the ladder while holding onto the sides. Use a ladder wedge to help keep the ladder steady.” 
  • Beat the heat. Effective measures include proper hydration and light clothing, heavy-duty work tents and umbrellas. Russ Mason III, U-TECK’s vice president of sales, says, “We encourage organizations in all industries to make an extra effort to examine their current safety initiatives and ensure that they are taking the best possible measures to keep workers safe.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

EPA Air Quality App

The EPA has created an AIRNow mobile app that shows real-time air quality information. Users can get location-specific reports on current air quality and air quality forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution. The website features air quality maps and health codes, and describes what actions people can take to protect their health at different AQI levels. For health tips, click here

Website Helps Communities Take Responsibilty for Wildfire Risk

With the dry summer months upon us, some communities may be (or currently are) in danger of wildfires. NFPA's new Fire Adapted Communities website offers information on how communities can prepare for and reduce the risk of wildfires. The site details information on how to protect your house, details geographical regions and the risks they may have, and what role community members play in the event of a wildfire. In addition, the site explains how your community can become a fire adapted community and take responsibility for its wildfire risk.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week

June 24-30 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week and the National Weather Service (NWS) has launched its annual lightning safety campaign, which delivers a simple message: If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Go inside. “It’s tragic when people die because they stayed on the water fishing or on the golf course 1 minute longer than they should have,” says NWS’s Donna Franklin. 

Lightning kills 54 people per year in the U.S., and it strikes hundreds more who often suffer life-long debilitating injuries. According to NWS, about 80% of lightning victims are male, and about 60% of victims are struck when participating in sports or leisure activities. NWS has developed three unique lightning safety toolkits:

1) The large outdoor event venues toolkit targets places such as sports stadiums, amusement parks, fairgrounds and golf courses.

2) The outdoor community preparedness kit addresses facilities, such as parks and swimming pools.

3) The beach patrols and lifeguards kit, which has been adopted by the U.S. Lifesaving Association, focuses on beach locations.

Find the kits and more lightning safety information here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Preventing Slips & Trips

According to Injury Facts 2012 Edition, falls account for more than 8.7 million emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. Grainer, a leading safety product distributor, offers five tips for creating a safer environment at work and at home.

1) Follow good housekeeping practices. “Proper housekeeping is a routine,” Grainger says, citing several simple steps for keeping on track:
  • Plan ahead. Know what needs to be done, who is going to do it and how the work area should look when the work is completed. 
  • Assign responsibilities. While individuals should clean up after themselves, it may be necessary to assign the task to a specific person or group. 
  • Move items in cabinets so that things used most often are on lower shelves, about waist level. 
  • Keep objects off the floor. Pick up papers, books, shoes, boxes or other things that are on the floor. 
2) Reduce wet or slippery surfaces.
Most injuries occur on parking lots or sidewalks, or in food preparation areas and showers. To reduce the hazards:
  • Keep parking lots and sidewalks free of debris and in good repair. 
  • Use adhesive striping material or antiskid paint outdoors and antiskid adhesive tape indoors. 
  • Use moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas. Make sure they have backing material that will not slide on the floor. Use proper area rugs or mats for food preparation areas. 
  • Put a nonslip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of showers and tubs. Install grab bars inside the tub. 
3) Avoid creating obstacles in aisles and walkways.
”Obstacles, clutter, materials and equipment in aisles, corridors, entranceways and stairwells also contribute to trips injuries,” Grainger explains. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Keep all work areas, passageways, storerooms and service areas clean and orderly. *Close file cabinets and drawers after use. 
  • Coil or tape wires such as cables, air hoses, extension cords, lamp and phone cords next to the wall. Do not string materials across hallways or designated aisles. 
  • Always keep objects off stairs. Fix loose, broken or uneven steps and make sure that the carpet is firmly attached to every step. 
4) Create and maintain proper lighting.
Poor lighting in the workplace or at home can contribute to incidents.
  • Use proper illumination in staircases, ramps, hallways, basements, construction areas and dock areas; keep poorly lit walkways clear of clutter and obstructions. 
  • Keep work areas well lit and clean. Keep areas around light switches clear and accessible. 
  • Repair fixtures, switches and cords immediately if they malfunction. 
  • At home, place a lamp close to the bed where it is easy to reach. 
5) Wear proper shoes. “Shoes play a big part in preventing falls,” Grainger says. “Pay attention to the slickness of the soles and the type of heels; tie shoelaces correctly. At work, educate employees on the appropriate footwear for their duties.”

For more information about preventing slips, trips and falls, visit Grainger’s Safety Resource page.

FAA, NASA Sign Space Safety Agreement

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA have signed an MOU to coordinate standards for human commercial space travel that aims to avoid conflicting requirements and redundant regulations. NASA's Commercial Crew Program provides technical and financial assistance to foster a U.S.-based commercial capability to launch astronauts safely to the International Space Station (ISS) and other low-Earth-orbit destinations. The FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation seeks to protect the public during the launch and reentry of commercial space vehicles. The agreement establishes policy for operational missions to the space station. Commercial providers will be required to obtain a license from the FAA for public safety. Crew safety and mission assurance will be NASA's responsibility. Learn more and find additional links here.

Students Improve Driving Behaviors

Over the past two decades, U.S. high school students have greatly improved health-risk behaviors associated with driving, according to the CDC’s 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Although motor vehicle crashes account for more than one in three U.S. teen deaths each year, the percentage of students who never or rarely wore a seat belt declined from 26 to 8, and drinking and driving declined as well. Despite these encouraging statistics, the YRBS notes that youth are engaging in other dangerous practices while driving, such as using a cell phone. The survey found that that one in three high school students had texted or emailed while driving a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days. According to Howell Wechsler, director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, the results are reassuring; however, findings also show that there is a continued need for government agencies, community organizations, schools, parents and other community members to work together to address the range of risk behaviors prevalent among youth. For more information on the survey results, click here.

DOL Agencies Publish Silica Hazard Alert

OSHA and NIOSH have issued a hazard alert to ensure that employers protect workers in hydraulic fracturing operations against silica exposure. The alert was published in response to results of a study that identified overexposure to silica as a health hazard to workers in such operations.

The study, conducted by NIOSH in cooperation with oil and gas industry partners, sampled the air at 11 sites in five states where hydraulic fracturing operations were taking place. Researchers identified seven primary sources of silica dust exposure during these operations and found that workers downwind of sand mover and blender operations, especially during hot loading, had the highest silica exposures. Workers exposed to silica every day are at greater risk of developing silicosis, which can cause inflammation and scarring of the lungs, lung cancer and other diseases.

The alert describes how a combination of engineering controls, work practices, protective equipment and product substitution, along with worker training, can protect workers exposed to silica.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What Did You Miss at Safety 2012?

If you didn’t attend Safety 2012, ASSE has produced several recordings to give you a taste of what you missed. 

Personal Responsibility
Robert Pater and Christine Remmo’s session (691), “Building Greater Personal Responsibility for Safety: With Workers and Managers,” engaged attendees on the subject of personal responsibility for safety—and attendees were engaged physically. By way of a demonstration, Pater showed them the concept that “the most effective way to induce and build personal responsibility is not by talk, but by action.”

Discussing the role of leadership, Pater makes reference to the familiar phrase from Spider-Man—“With great power comes great responsibility.” He suggests this phrase is backwards. “When you take great responsibility for yourself, you have great power to change in your life,” he says. When you’re always blaming other things, you’re saying “I’m powerless.” When you take responsibility, you are saying “I have control and power to change things.”

Accountability and Recognition
Sponsored by UL PureSafety, the session entitled “Safety Through Accountability and Recognition: Achieving a World Class Safety Culture” (787), was presented by Paul Esposito. “Culture, by itself, will not necessarily drive you to zero accidents,” Esposito said. “ But its an absolutely essential part of what you need to have in your corporation.” By the same token, management systems alone will not achieve zero incidents. Instead, the session focused on merging the two—culture and management systems—to reduce risk instead of just targeting zero incidents. Esposito also talked about engaging and motivating employees—not just motivating workers, but management as well.

Read the recaps of other sessions here and here, or check out several Safety 2012 video highlights on ASSE's home page. Individual session recordings will be available to ASSE members in the near future by logging into the members-only section.

NIOSH Guidance Discusses Safe Practices With Nanomaterials

In its new guidance document, "General Safe Practices for Working With Engineered Nanomaterials in Research Laboratories," NIOSH addresses the issue that research personnel may have the earliest exposure to nanomaterials. The agency recommends engineering controls and best practices for handling these materials. "The guidance document was designed to be used in tandem with well-established practices and the laboratory's chemical hygiene plan," NIOSH says.

Preventing Serious Injuries & Fatalities

In the past five years, BLS data show that worker fatalities are level or increasing year to year, as are serious injuries. Seven global companies supported by Mercer ORC Networks and BST pooled their data to study this trend, identify its sources and recommend strategies to prevent serious injuries and fatalities (SIF). Here are four key tips that BST’s Tom Krause shared during ASSE’s Safety 2012 conference in Denver.
  1. Educate the organization on the prevention of SIFs. Everyone at all levels of the organization must be aware and alert to the fact that managing OSHA recordables is not enough. The company is still vulnerable to SIF exposures.
  2. Institutionalize the concept of an SIF rate. This rate is the number of serious and fatal injuries—and recordable injuries with reasonable potential to be an SIF—divided by hours worked. Data on the SIF rate should be gathered for the past 2 to 3 years and from that point forward. The rate must have high visibility throughout the organization.
  3. Embed findings from SIF assessments into existing safety systems, including pretask risk assessment, observation and feedback, and incident investigation, so these systems now address SIF precursors. Enhance your incident investigation and root cause analysis protocols. Go beyond obvious errors to find latent conditions that may represent precursors.
  4. Develop mechanisms to identify and mitigate SIF precursors using long-term strategies, such as longitudinal analysis (some precursors do not surface as significant without data analysis over time), predictive analysis (capturing relationships among many factors to assess the risk or potential risk of a particular situation or activity) and discovery conversations. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guide for Local Preparedness

With disasters, outbreaks and terrorism looming, local preparedness remains a priority. The CDC's Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning provides a guide that state and local jurisdictions can utilize to organize their work, plan their priorities and decide which capabilities will sustain. This can help ensure that federal preparedness funds are directed to priority areas within individual jurisdictions. In creating the guide, the Center applied a systematic approach to developing the public health preparedness capabilities. The content is based on evidence-informed documents, relevant preparedness literature and subject matter expertise gathered from across the federal government and the state and local communities. For more on emergency preparedness, click here and here

EPA Announces Green Chemistry Award Winners

EPA has announced the winners of its 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, which asks participants to develop new green chemistry technologies that help industries become more sustainable and safer.

Awards were given in these categories: academic, small business, greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions, designing green chemicals and two academic technologies. For a complete list of winners, visit EPA's website.

Humantech Announces 6th Annual Ergonomics Contest

Humantech is sponsoring its 6th annual Find It-Fix It Challenge, which recognizes simple and effective workplace solutions that reduce injuries and illnesses. According to Humantech President James Good, the challenge allows the firm to "recognize efforts and innovations across industry dedicated to creative job improvement." The contest was derived from the firm's RAPID Team Events, which are based on the concept of making quick and simple changes to improve workplace ergonomic issues. "The contest entries are an inspiration to business leaders looking for ways to leverage ergonomics to create more profitable and sustainable companies," Good says.

Open to all past and current Humantech clients, the contest will run from June 28 to Sept. 16, 2012. Organizations submit their best workplace improvements, highlighting the implementation of a creative and high-impact ergonomic solution. A webinar, available on the contest website, outlines the submission process and includes templates and step-by-step instructions.

Norris's Call to Action: Let's Focus on Prevention

Outgoing ASSE President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, urged attendees at Safety 2012 to find new ways to move past the plateau of complacency and cultivate a culture of prevention. "We must encourage everyone to embrace safety, to value human life, and to demonstrate that value in their actions and decisions." Watch her speech here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coalition to Advance Public Safety in the Built Environment

International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have formed the Coalition for Current Safety Codes (CCSC) to advance public safety in the built environment. The coalition will advocate that states and municipal jurisdictions adopt current building, fire prevention, sustainable, electrical and life safety codes. ICC and NFPA will seek broad participation from other standards development organizations, the construction and insurance industries, government and the private sector. Learn more here.

ISO Standard Addresses Fire Risks

ISO has released a new standard on assessing fire risks. ISO 16732-1, Fire safety engineering–Fire risk assessment–Part 1, provides an overview of fire risk management, the steps involved in fire risk estimation--the estimation of the frequency and consequences of a risk--and the steps involved in fire risk evaluation against regulations, costs or alternative approaches.

The standard is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained through the ISO Store.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle crashes killed 4,502 people in 2010, and this is up by 55% since 2000, says the CDC. Despite popular belief, young people are not the only ones dying in motorcycle crashes. In fact, in 2010 more than half the people killed in motorcycle crashes were over the age of 40. To reduce these numbers and keep riders and passengers safe, the Center offers the following tips:
  • Always wear a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Never ride your motorcycle after drinking.
  • Don't let friends ride impaired. 
  • Wear protective clothing that provides some level of injury protection. Upper body clothing should also include bright colors or reflective materials.
  • Avoid tailgating. 
  • Maintain a safe speed and exercise caution when traveling over slippery surfaces or gravel.
According to the CDC, motorcycle crash-related injuries and deaths in one year totaled $12 billion in medical care costs and productivity losses. However, cost savings in states with universal motorcycle helmet laws were nearly four times greater than in states without these laws. As of May 2012, 19 states and the District of Columbia had universal helmet laws, while 28 states had partial helmet laws. For helmet laws by state, click here. For more motorcycle safety information, click here

Court Ruling Forces Review of Nuclear Waste Disposal

A federal appeals court recently reached a decision that forces the country to reevaluate the environmental impacts of storage and disposal of its nuclear waste. As a result of the decision, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will have to determine the safety and consequences of allowing nuclear reactors to accumulate radioactive waste, incluing the potential environmental effects of failure to develop a geologic repository.

“This is a game changer,” says Geoff Fettus, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This forces the NRC to take a hard look at the environmental consequences of producing highly radioactive nuclear waste without a long-term disposal solution.”

Friday, June 15, 2012

EPA's Tips for Staying Cool This Summer

Summer is upon us, and EPA wants everyone to stay safe and cool during the hot months. The agency's 15 "hot tips for a cool summer" list also includes ideas on how to save on energy and water, as well as environmentally friendly ideas to conserve resources. Discover how to increase your car's gas mileage, how to protect against insects and what apps to download for environmental knowledge, such as air and water quality in your community.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Visiting Partners Program Deadline Is July 15

The Visiting Partners Program (VPP) is a new endeavor under the auspices of the University of Michigan's long-standing occupational and environmental health training grant funded through NIOSH. The program offers a novel opportunity for professionals to collaborate with UM faculty on projects addressing occupational and environmental health and safety issues relevant to their work. It is a part-time, nonresidential, nondegree program that offers a modest honorarium. In addition, participants are appointed as visiting scholars with full access to UM resources. According to UM, the program is designed to enhance the participants' continued professional employment while they acquire new information and skills. Learn more about this opportunity here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Healthy Dads!

With Father’s Day on its way, the CDC wants to remind men to stay up-to-date with doctor’s visits and vaccinations. According to the Center, despite what some people think, adults need vaccinations too. Immunity from diseases, such as shingles and pneumococcal, can fade with time. The Center offers these health tips:
  • Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. In general, adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. For help with sleep disorders, click here.
  • Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Quitting smoking has both immediate and long-term effects. For help quitting, click here. 
  • Be physically active. Be active for at least a couple hours a week. Include activities that raise breathing and heart rates and that strengthen muscles. 
  • Eat what counts. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol. 
  • Pay attention to signs and symptoms. Irregular symptoms include discharge, excessive thirst, rash or sores, problems with urination or shortness of breath. These are only a few of the many symptoms that males should pay attention to. See a doctor immediately if they occur. 
  • Get vaccinated. Immunizations are necessary at every age. Be wary of diseases like influenza, tetanus, shingles, pneumococcal and HPV. There are vaccinations for all of these. 
  • Know and understand numbers. Keep track of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index or any others that a doctor recommends. These numbers can provide a glimpse of health status and risk for certain diseases.  Be sure to ask doctors or nurses what tests are needed and how often. Try to get high or low numbers into a healthier range. 
Just a few simple steps can help men live safer lives, free from disease and injury. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tips for GHS Requirements

In honor of June National Safety Month, Cintas offers tips for businesses affected by GHS requirements.

1.      Update your written safety program: Refine your written program to incorporate GHS in all of your current hazard communication protocols.
2.      Begin training now: Employees must be properly trained on new chemical labeling and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) formats. Businesses that train well before the deadline will have knowledgeable, prepared employees, thereby limiting injuries, medical costs and potential OSHA fines.
3.      Ensure workers understand new pictograms: Nine new pictograms for chemical labels will be required for use. Clarify what each pictogram represents and demonstrate the types of PPE workers should wear for different hazards.
4.      Familiarize employees with new labels: New labels will now have a signal word, the product identifier, supplier identification, and hazard and precautionary statements. Teach employees how to thoroughly read them before using the chemical.
5.      Explain new SDS formats: SDSs are informational guides for determining chemical handling and storage, necessary PPE and exposure action plans. These will now follow a standardized format and contain more extensive chemical information. Reference OSHA to understand the new layout and keep your SDS binders in an accessible place so employees can reference them.
6.      Engage employees using blended training formats: When used in conjunction, instructor-led, DVD and online training engage all learning types. Lessons should combine visual and auditory instruction with group activities and handouts to encourage retention of GHS material.
7.      Keep training records on file: To prevent OSHA fines, it is necessary to document all of the training conducted within your facility. Have employees sign training logs after they have completed GHS training and demonstrated an understanding of the concepts.

Overall, the new system will require businesses and employees nationwide to be retrained on hazard communication. “Hazardous chemical information needs to be communicated to any employee who is exposed to or works with chemicals – even bleach,” says John Amann, VP, First Aid & Safety at Cintas. “Businesses that begin preparing now will find the transition much easier than workplaces that wait until the last minute.”

To view completion dates and requirements, click here

OSHA Seeks Nominations for Whistleblower Advisory Committee

OSHA seeking nominations for membership on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC). OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 21 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food, safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws. OSHA reports that this committee will make recommendations related to fairness, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.

According to the agency, the 12 voting members will serve 2-year terms, with representation broken down as follows:
  • Four management representatives who are employers or are from employer associations in industries covered by one or more of the whistleblower laws; 
  • Four labor representatives who are workers or from worker advocacy organizations in industries covered by one or more of the whistleblower laws; 
  • One member who represents state plan states;
  • Three public representatives from colleges, universities, nonpartisan think tanks and/or other entities that have extensive knowledge and expertise on whistleblower statutes and issues. 
Nominations may be submitted electronically here. See the Federal Register notice for details. Nominations must be submitted by July 27, 2012. You can learn more about whistleblower protections here.

Nominate Someone for the Ocean Heroes Contest

The fourth annual Ocean Heroes Contest is underway. Do you know someone who is dedicated to protecting the oceans? If so, nominate them for the contest by visiting Oceana's Facebook page. Nominations (in the adult or junior division) will be accepted until June 20, 2012, public voting begins June 27 the winners will be announce on July 18. Nominees should be people who are "making an impact in ocean conservation through creative approaches to fighting pollution, protecting marine life, grassroots advocacy or any number of other missions that benefit the oceans."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Measuring Safety and Health Sustainability

If we are going to move forward the issue of safety in sustainability, then we have to do it together, says Dennis Hudson, ASSE Director of Professional Affairs, in regards to ASSE, IOSH and AIHA creating the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS). More importantly, CSHS needs help and support from the safety community, he adds.  The Center represents about 85,000 safety professionals around the world and aims to ensure that safety is included in all sustainability plans. It hopes to achieve the following:
  • provide a strong voice and comprehensive leadership for safety and health in shaping sustainability policies;
  • educate the business community on the importance of safety as part of good corporate governance and corporate social responsibility/sustainability;
  • provide new insights into the measurement, management and impact of safety and health sustainability;
  • be a recognized thought leader for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 
According to Tom Cecich, ASSE’s Vice President of Professional Affairs, with the sustainability initiative in full spring, the safety community needs to rally to make sure OHS is still on the forefront. "The one thing we can influence is that workers around the world have the same basic understanding of safety," he says. We need to have a mechanism and a process by which safety is measured, we need to have comprehensive reporting and we need to focus on leading indicators rather than lagging, he adds. Thanks to community outreach, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has announced the formation of a “Working Group” for OHS that will study performance indicators to help create the content of their new G4 guidelines. The working group, chosen and controlled by the GRI, will consist of about 20 people who will first meet at the end of June. It takes three meetings to develop the metrics followed by a 90-day comment period in August. In order to initially get attention from the GRI, CSHS reached out to the safety community and asked members to write letters and ask for representation. This is what worked and what we need to continue to do during and after the comment period, Cecich says. The final decision will be made this November, and the final version will be published by the GRI in May 2013. For more information, visit the Center’s website.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What’s Wrong With Risk Assessments?

During Safety 2012, Bruce Lyon, P.E., CSP, ARM, CHMM, and Bruce Hollcroft, CSP, ARM, CHMM, discussed why risk assessments may be inadequate. Here, in Letterman fashion, are their top 10 reasons:

10) Failing to perform a formal risk assessment.
9) Failing to define the purpose and scope of the assessment.
8) Failing to understand an organization's acceptable risk level.
7) Failing to assemble the best possible assessment team.
6) Failing to use the best risk assessment technique.
5) Failing to be objective and unemotional.
4) Failing to identify hazards and see combined whole-system risk.
3) Failing to consider the hierarchy controls or prioritize by risk.
2) Failing to perform risk assessment during the design/redesign stage.
1) Failing to communicate before, during and after the assessment. (Hmm, the actors from Cool Hand Luke would be smilin'.)

Nice Doggy

Guest Post From Steve Minshall, CSP, CIH

300 yards and closing. The deep baritone bark of two large dogs has my attention as I make my way on foot down a country road to where my pickup truck is parked. The barking never stops; I'm intruding on their territory and they're letting me know. 100 yards now. I'm paying close attention and wondering what I'll do if they get too close . . . there's no barrier, no cover. 30 yards and I'm more than a little concerned. Cars drive past, some slow but none are stopping to offer assistance. I have an option that I'm not willing to use . . . not yet anyway. The WOOF, WOOF, WOOF and bared teeth are grim. I raise my arms to make me look bigger and step toward the dogs while shouting loudly, "NO! NO! STOP!" No effect, at least not what I hoped. They didn't retreat but at least they have stopped their approach.

This was a real, and terrifying experience. I believed I was about to be mauled. Turns out, I did some things right but it was providence that delivered me to safety that day.

Because of this experience, I took great interest in Session #739 at Safety 2012. The session was delivered by Mitzi Robinson, president and founder of Bulli Ray Enterprises, the premier dog bite safety training company in the U.S.

I arrived early to the session; two or three other people were in the room besides the moderator and the two ladies from Bulli Ray. A toy stuffed Doberman Pinscher sat on the floor, a stout chain wrapped around its neck. I thought, "Is this the 'dog' that would be part of the demonstration today?" A hint of disappointment crept in.

The moderator loudly proclaimed to the few of us in the room to move forward and sit close together to make room for the large crowd that was expected. I looked around the nearly empty room and thought, "Yeah, right. Pretty optimistic fella."

I couldn't have been more wrong. The room filled quickly and I was glad I'd secured a seat on the front row, sure to have a great view of whatever was to come. The room filled to standing room only.

The show started and Mitzi proved to be a superb showperson of commanding presence. She asked for willing volunteers to suit up with a protective apron and arm bite-shield. Fools, I thought. Mitzi had already shown some video clips of dogs attacking people with the bite-shields on. It didn't exactly look like fun. Still, volunteers were plentiful.

From a side door a handler, dressed in tactical pants and a T-shirt (emblazoned on the back was "You can't run. You can't hide.") brought in the real dog; Stinger was his name (an apt moniker). Stinger, the police-trained German Shepherd, rated by Mitzi as a 6/7 in aggressiveness (on a 1 to 10 scale), barked loudly with bared fangs at the sight of the protectively clad volunteers. Mitzi instructed each volunteer to brace and hold the bite-shield in front and close (initially Mitzi stood behind the first volunteer for additional bracing and control). When Stinger bit the bite-shield, the instructions were to release their grip on the internal handle and let Stinger take the shield off the proffered arm. Nothing to it; any demented safety professional could do it. Truly, my hat was off to these intrepid, fearless folks.

Mitzi mentioned that the dog she had for demonstration last year was easily a 10 on the aggressiveness scale. She opted to not have any volunteers hold the bite-shield in front of them. Smart lady.

It was impressive to watch Stinger lunge (secured by a leash, still held by his handler) for the shield and rip it from the volunteer's arm. Once removed, Stinger viciously shook the shield a few times, but when completely satisfied that he'd done his job, he became immediately docile.

And, remember the stuffed Doberman? It had to be hidden behind the first row of spectators, out of sight. Turns out dogs like Stinger doesn't take well to stuffed critters. I'm just glad I wasn't holding it when Stinger entered the room.

Completing those demonstrations, Mitzi got down to the business of telling us the things we needed to know to protect ourselves. Here's a list of some of them:
  • Step toward, not away from, a dog that is approaching you. Backing away is a sign of weakness and may induce an attack. That's one of the things I did; it didn't scare the dogs off, but they did stop advancing on me. 
  • Make yourself as big as you can, arms up, and loudly shout "NO!" and "STOP!" over and over; use your most commanding voice. I also did that; again, it didn't scare the dogs off but they didn't close the final distance. 
  • Don't depend on the dog's owner to help you if you're being attacked. In fact, in the dog's way of thinking, the presence of the owner means backup has arrived and it's time to get busy... 
  • Not all dogs adhere to a hierarchy (i.e. dominant to submissive) and that includes Pit Bulls. What this means is that if you act submissive in order to avoid attack, it may do you no good. 
  • Put something between you and the dog if it attacks. Mitzi says that's better than shooting a dog. She described a police officer who mortally shot an attacking dog four times but in the 45 seconds it took the dog to die, it managed to emasculate the officer. Use a tarp, trash can lid, leaf rake, etc. - whatever is handy. If you put out your hand or arm, that's what the dog is going to bite. 
  • If you're bitten by a dog, get it treated. Mitzi described a case where a man bitten by a Dachshund (yes, a weenie dog) died the same day from a rapidly progressing bacterial infection. He hadn't sought treatment until much later in the day. 
  • The most dangerous dog in America is a) Pit Bull; b) Rottweiler; c) Argentine Dogo; or d) Presa Canario. Pit Bulls get all the publicity but the Presa Canario is the most dangerous. 
  • A well-trained police dog can control 40 people! An aggressive dog can go from standing still to full speed rapidly and can cover 30 yards or so in 1.2 seconds. How good are your reflexes? 
  • Police dogs have to be able to withstand 10% capsaicin pepper spray; some dogs have a very high pain threshold. Civilians typically only carry 1% capsaicin pepper spray. The message: pepper spray might not do you any good (though it is effective on 70% of dogs). Mitzi's company has an alternative (SprayShield - check it out on the Bulli Ray website 
  • Don't put your hand or arm or any other appendage you don't want to get bitten over a dog's line of vision. 
  • Striking a dog across the top of the head with a stick or baton, after it's already bitten into your other arm, only serves to drive the dog's canines deeper into your flesh and bone. Striking the dog on its sides (flanks) may yield a yelp but a second attempt at a blow may only offer the dog a new bite target - giving you two injured arms. If it's a male, should you go for its genitals? No, it doesn't have the same effect as on a human male and is likely to get you bitten more. 
  • Dogs have three weaknesses: 1) throat (you can twist the scruff around their neck and choke them out - beware, though, when they come to, they are automatically back in attack mode - no grogginess; 2) feet - lots of blood vessels and nerve endings; and 3) forearm. 
  • What should you offer a dog to bite (if you have no other alternative, like escape)? Not your arm, your back - you will suffer the least amount of injury and you get to keep your arms/hands for fighting if you need them. 
  • Bulli Ray has a nifty device called the Dog Stick. It's a plastic stick with a colored tennis ball on the end. Put it between you and an attacking dog and the dog bites the tennis ball instead of you. With it in the dog's mouth, you can even direct the dog around until you can get to safety. 
  • Popping an umbrella at an attacking dog is amazingly effective in stopping attacks. Here's what you do (assuming you have an umbrella in hand): open it once quickly, aimed at the dog. Observe the reaction; if it stops or cowers that may be all you need to do. If it's still coming, open and close it rapidly. If the dog doesn't react to any of this, you have a problem and you need to get out of there. 
  • If a dog goes from panting to closed-mouth, it's telling you it's ready to attack. 
  • Multiple dogs are a problem, of course. They have a predictable pattern - at least one of them will be behind you and it is likely to provide a distraction (bump into you very hard) so that the other dogs in front of you can attack. If you can, get your back against a wall or fence and fold your arms across your chest so that your hands are on your shoulders. In the loudest, most commanding voice you have, shout "NO!" and keep shouting NO! at each dog as it approaches you. You have to keep this up and be quick about it to keep the dogs at bay - this will occupy all your attention and you might find it hard to move toward an exit. If there's any chance that you can injure a dog enough to make it yelp, try it. The other dogs will attack the dog that yelped, giving you a chance to escape. 
If you have concerns about dog attacks, for yourself or others, visit the Bulli Ray website for training materials and equipment that can be used to defend yourself. Find out where Mitzi is doing her next presentation and attend it if you can. You will not be disappointed.

You may be wondering what saved me the day the two dogs were menacing me. Finally, a passing motorist stopped and I quickly explained my predicament. He let me in and drove me safely to my truck. That Good Samaritan may well have saved me from a mauling.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Report Examines Working Conditions in Food Chain

Food Chain Workers Alliance has issued a new report on wages and working conditions of workers across the entire food chain, a sector that employs 20 million people in the U.S. "The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain" is based on nearly 700 surveys and interviews with workers and employers in food production, processing, distribution, retail and service.

Some key findings: 
  • Lack of benefits: 79% of food system workers do not have a single paid sick day, or do not know if they have paid sick days, and 58% lack health coverage. Consequently, 53% have admitted to working while sick.
  •  Poor quality of life: 10% reported working more than 10 hours per day, and most reported working 60 or more hours per week. Almost half of respondents work multiple jobs to make ends meet.
  •  Improper safety training: More than half of all workers surveyed (52%) reported that they did not receive safety and health training from employers. Almost one-third (32.7%) reported that their employers did not always provide necessary equipment to do their jobs.

Competition to Develop Personal Air Pollution & Health Sensors

EPA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) are having a national competition to create a personal sensor system that measures air pollution and a person’s physiological response to it.
The My Air, My Health Challenge is seeking designs for sensors that can be easily worn or carried. Up to four finalists will each receive $15,000 and be invited to develop working prototypes. One finalist will receive $100,000 for the most effective solution. Says EPA's Glenn Paulson, "This competition provides an opportunity to tap into the ingenuity of Americans to build technology to improve health. In the future, these types of personalized devices will enable people to make better informed choices about their own health and their environment.”

EPA and NIEHS will host a webinar about the competition June 19 at 4 p.m. EDT. Learn more about that here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

From Safety Manager to Business Partner

SH& E professionals interested in advancing their career in the direction of business partner can benefit from John McBride’s Safety 2012 session, “Advancing Your Career: From Safety Manager to Business Partner.”  McBride says the move to safety manager to business partner is one’s personal decision, but that everyone should make their own decisions about their career, rather than not having any focus. “Don’t let your career make decisions about you,” he says.

McBride discusses differences between the job functions, such as an SH&E manager might design SH&E plans to meet the company’s strategies, while the partner participates in developing those strategies. Or, that managers audit the SH&E program, while partners audit the business process operation and articulate business goals and the role that SH&E plays in reaching them.

McBride says that the business partner is the highest and most independent role in the SH&E profession, but that it involves more exposure that can come with high risk. Where can a partner role take you? Well, that depends on you. “It’ll make you a priceless member of the management team,” he says.

Speakers Discuss Colorado's Prairie Waters Project

Mark Semonsick, of Lockton Companies, Margarita Gutierrez, of Liberty Mutual, and Chris Voltz, held a Safety 2012 session titled, "Prairie Waters OCIP, Aurora Colorado: A Case Study of Success." This 5-year water transmission and treatment project involved nine contractors, had a completion cost of $650 million and included 35 miles of 60" pipeline. In addition, it spanned several federal, state, county and city jurisdictions as well as various environmental factors. Despite the scope of the project, safety was optimal as its lost-time incident rate was .44, compared to the industry rate of 2.0 to 2.6; and its recordable incident rate was 2.02, compared to industry rate of 3.5 to 4.6.

The speakers credited these best practices as key success factors:
  • OCIP (owner controlled insurance program) safety addendum, which set safety expectations and included items such as full-time safety personnel, mandatory safety orientations and solid stop-work and unsafe worker removal authority;
  • a claims consultant and an injury counselor;
  • an OCIP program administrator;
  • an OCIP safety manager and carrier loss control consultants;
  • owner representatives and construction managers
  • customized report template.
View a YouTube video of the project's grand opening here.

Bruce Wilkinson Speaks to Safety 2012 Attendees

"It's zero. Every task, every action, every time." Safety 2012 luncheon keynote speaker Bruce Wilkinson had attendees repeat this line to him to stress the importance of accountability--a key take away from his presentation. Wilkinson spoke during the BCSP-sponsored luncheon. His speech, "Making Safety a Value - Not Just a Priority: The Key to Long-Term Safety Success," was a lively presentation encouraging safety professionals to engage employees to become self-motivated and self-accountable.

"When a number doesn't occur, a person's name isn't attached to it," he said. "Sell the concept. Be persuasive. Find a way to inspire people to become self-motivated."

Awards Presented at BCSP Sponsored Luncheon

The following awards were presented by BCSP at today's conference luncheon:

CSP Award of Excellence
Thomas F. Bresnahan
Bruce A. Brown
David C. Roskelley
Henry J. Smahlik
David L. Walline

OHST Award of Excellence

Eric E. Bertolet

CHST Awad of Excellence
Charles V. Soderquist

In addition, BCSP's new Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Roger L. Brauer. Brauer, an ASSE Fellow, worked for BCSP for 19 years. In recognition of his achievements and lifetime commitment to SH&E, BCSP announced the award will be called the Roger Brauer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Executive Summit Discusses Role of Safety and Its Professionals

Safety 2012's Executive Summit, sponsored by BP, touched on the value of safety, safety professional expectations and what SH&E professionals can do to contribute toward their companies' best safety performance. The panel's executives included: Gregory Smith, of URENCO USA; Al Troppman, of PCL Enterprises; Steve Lockton, of Lockton Companies; and Kelly Wadding, of Quality Pork Processes. In case you missed it, here are some quotes from the panel.

On the role of safety:
"Safety is a core value of our organization. The important thing is to put it on a personal level. Once they recognize safety, they pay better attention to it." - Al Troppman

"Safety is a cornerstone of our company. The personal responsibility is to keep everyone safe. We work every day to keep awareness up and make people understand that safety culture is the most important." - Kelly Wadding

On the value of safety:
"Instill in workers that safety comes first when planning work. You've got to plan to work safely and productivity will follow." -Al Troppmann

"Capture their attention in the safety arena and that attention carries over to the quality arena." - Gregory Smith

On the challenges:
"Our best employees are sometimes our biggest challenge becasue they have a passion for what they're doing. Results are unacceptable if they are produced from unsafe actions." - Gregory Smith

"We've seen that the industry has made huge strides in improvement in loss prevention and safety. "I'm concerned with complacency." That concerns me almost as much as anything." - Steve Lockton

"Clients expect very excellent safety records. Without that we don't get invited to the party." - Al Troppman

On what they expect from SH&E professionals:
"The truth. That's what I expect. I want the truth. I want to know what's really going on." He goes on to say, "If you work for a boss who can't take the truth, go find yourself another job." - Gregory Smith

"I ask safety people to be involved in every meeting we have. If your name is not on the invite list, put it on." - Kelly Wadding

On how to communicate with upper management:
"Craft a hard hitting message that helps the company exceed its goals. Be succinct and to the point." - Steve Lockton

Additional advice for SH&E professionals:
"When you get good at getting people to do the right thing because they want to, that's a magic elixer. That's what everybody wants in a leader. When you find someone who has that skills set, it makes amazing things happen." - Gregory Smith

"We rely on your expertise and knowledge base. We want them [safety professionals] to be creative and keep us on the leading edge of what we need to do." - Al Troppman

ASSE Global Lounge

As of Tuesday, the ASSE Global Lounge has had 170 visitors from all over the world.  The lounge, which is a hot spot for networking, attracts members from places like Switzerland, Pakistan, New Zealand and Singapore (just to name a few). Get goodie bags, participapte in raffle drawings and scan through the various EHS reading materials. Come check out the map where visitors have pinned their home locations to see the variety of membership and chapter services we have here at ASSE.  For those interested, the Global Lounge is in room 608.

Steps to Evolve Safety Obervations, Using Leading Indicators

In his Safety 2012 presentation, Predicting & Preventing: Using Leading Indicators to Assess Safety Performance, Chuck Pettinger, of Predictive Solutions, urged attendees to challenge thoughts, take those observations to the next level and achieve saving lives by predicting workplace injuries.

Pettinger says that companies may struggle with leading indicators because they may question the validity of the data; they may fail to use the observation intelligence; and they may lose momentum and create a downward spiral that involves no follow-up or employees seeing no value.

To evolve your company's inspection and observation processes, he suggests the following:
1) Use a simple hazard analysis for severity.
2) Assess observer quality. Since all observers are not the same, use a guideline for excellence.
3) Identify your gold star observers and use them as benchmarks.
4) Track your open issues until they are closed.
5) Automate data entry and analysis. Embrace technology.
6) Use predictive analytics. This captures trends that are not visible to casual observers and establishes a certain mind-set.

Changing Face of the Safety Profession

Guest Post From Frank D'Orsi, CSP, ARM

2011-12 ASSE President Darryl Hill, CSP, Ph.D. and ASSE's Dennis Hudson opened this session with a quote from the U.K. noting the declining faith in the competency of the safety profession. Why is this the case and what can be done to enhance the public profession's image?

Changing the face of the profession would be required by 1) establishing competence and standards for the profession; 2) developing the body of knowledge; 3) developing legalized standards of competence; 4) creating valid certifications and registration; 5) defining "competency"; 6) improving the low public image of the profession; 7) eliminating territorial encroachment; and 8) becoming a well-recognized profession much like doctors and lawyers.

In places such as Russia, Korea, Australia, Canada, U.K. and Singapore, efforts are already underway to make the changes needed to eliminate the causes of the image problem. They have formed alliances with safety professionals locally and internationally to establish core competencies and restore professionalism. According to Hill and Hudson, while much :as been done, but much remains to be done in the identified areas of need.

ASSE is part of this global movement and has begun providing important information in the U.S. and abroad to eliminate the negative factors that contribute to public's current mindset.

Another Safety Slogan from ASSE's Nancy O'Toole

The sayings just keep on coming.

"Safety is cool, so make that your rule."

Thanks to Westex for being an ASSE sponsor and for exhibiting at Safety 2012

ASSE Conference Continues to Set High Marks

Safety 2012 had drawn 4,253 attendees, making it the second largest conference in ASSE history. Adding to the industry's signature event was the record-setting exposition, featuring more than 500 exhibitors, which surpasses last year’s record-setting centennial expo in Chicago, which featured 475 exhibitors. Next year’s PDC and Expo will be held in Las Vegas June 24-27.

Near Miss Reporting: It Can Be For You!

Guest Post From Steve Minshall, CSP, CIH

Universal agreement is hard to come by, but many safety professionals, I think, support the notion that near miss reporting is a good idea.[By the way, if you don't like the term "near miss," substitute the descriptor of your choosing (e.g., near hit; close call).] The problem comes in trying to implement what is generally recognized as a reasonable and prudent practice. Cue the drums . . .and that's where Dr. Mike Williamsen with Caterpillar Safety Services comes in. Presentations on near miss reporting might be old hat to you, but during his session Williamsen provided a fresh perspective and suggested a Kaizen-like process to help overcome the common hurdles to successfully implementing a near miss reporting program.

Williamsen described the five fatal flaws of near miss programs:
  1. Upper management believes in the program but isn't engaged.
  2. Safety professionals have the technology for the program but struggle with how to teach it to people.
  3. Supervisors don't see the value.
  4. Hourly employees perceive that nothing comes from the program; or, when something does happen, it's over-done.
  5. Data management is problematic.
He further described a series of stumbling blocks companies encounter when trying to implement a near miss reporting program:

  • Maintaining the status quo exerts a powerful influence.
  • The meaning of "near miss" is not clear and that leads to less reporting
  • Forms for recording near misses present a whole set of issues (literacy; language; length; location; logistics).
  • There is a fear of punishment/retaliation.
  • It sends a mixed message about the competence or incompetence of supervisors and managers.
  • It creates more work and little or no recognition.
  • Programs fall into a cycle of no recognition and little feedback about results.
  • There is a desire to avoid work interruption in our "productivity culture."
  • It is seen as fault-finding.
So how is a company to engage its employees in a near miss reporting program? Dr. Williamsen suggests forming a near-miss kaizen team that has a defined purpose, outcomes and process. What all is involved in that? If you want to know what your peers know, contact Williamsen at I'm sure he'd like to talk with you about the process.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Don't forget to check out the Service Center where we will be raising money for the Foundation. Donate a minimum of $5 and you get a star with your name on it posted on ASSE's rockstar wall. You will also get to spin the wheel for prizes that include a gift certificate, an iTunes gift certificate or ASSE insignia items. Today's safety quote from Stephanie Johnson: "Everyone's a winner when you invest in safety."

ASSE Catches Up With a SPY Winner Alum

Ashok Garlapati, CSP, and the recipient of last year’s Edgar Monsanto Queeny SPY award has returned to PDC to further discuss international experiences as a safety professional in Kuwait.

In 2001, he moved from India to Kuwait and joined ASSE's Kuwait chapter. He describes this as an "eye-opening" experience that expanded both his knowledge of EHS and his networking opportunities. "When I joined ASSE, there were only 10 members," he says. "Today there are 350-plus members." As a chapter, this is one of our greatest accomplishments, he adds. It was not until his first PDC in 2004 that Garlapati truly saw all that ASSE had to offer. "There are so many benefits," he says. "There are professional development opportunities, job opportunities, recognition among peers and so much more." He completed his CSP at the time and encourages other members to do the same."If anyone comes to Kuwait as a safety professional, the first thing they hear about is the Kuwait chapter," he says, adding that becoming a member is proven to work.

At Safety 2012, Garlapati is spending a lot of time working with the global community. He spoke at the international session about how to get members to volunteer more. The seminar stressed the importance of leadership and how ASSE can contribute to building better leaders. As demonstrated through his professional safety success, Garlapati leads by action. How do you lead?

PPE and International Challenges

The divide between operation management (get this product out fast) and compliance (rules and regulations) is the number one reason why organizations may find themselves in a non-compliant situation, says J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CSP. In his Safety 2012 session on international export and import controls, Rodriguez discusses the importance of a union between these two areas of operation. “Violations of U.S. export controls can result in significant penalties such as suspension or loss of export privileges, seizure and forfeiture of good and criminal penalties including imprisonment.” To avoid these penalties, Rodriguez suggests that companies not only seek professional help, but also be wary of governmental regulations. Here’s what to look out for:
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR):
  • Administered by the Department of State
  • Covers all items that could be used in the military
Export Administration Regulations (EAR):
  • Administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Covers commerce and items listed on the Commerce Control List
  • Covers the “dual-use ban” meaning that although the equipment can be used in a military fashion, it is only being used commercially
Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC):
  • Administered by Treasury Department
  • Enforces economic embargoes and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals
  • Covers items that may be used as weapons of mass destruction
  • Lists countries the exporters and importers cannot do business with
According to Rodriguez, any equipment currently being used in the military or able to be used by other militaries, such as a bullet proof vest, would fall under ITAR. However, a Hummer truck built for commercial use would fall under EAR. There are a lot of gray areas when defining whether an item falls under EAR or ITAR but no matter what the item is, paperwork and tracking are extremely important, he adds. The overall message Rodriguez gives is that when working with international PPE, both operation and compliance managers should know these regulations well and abide by them.