Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CDC Halloween Safety

The CDC provides trick-or-treating safety tips with an easy-to-remember acronym.
Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating and always walk from house to house.
Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent irritation.
Look both ways before crossing the street and use established crosswalks.
Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult and only visit well-lit houses.
Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Follow these tips for a safe and happy Halloween! For more safety tips, click here

Effective Procedures & Human Performance - Part 2

In his thought-provoking session at the 2012 Fatality Prevention Symposium, Fisher It’s Rob Fisher pointed to these five criteria as critical to effective work instructions:
  1. They must be available. 
  2. They must be workable. 
  3. They must be intelligible.
  4. They must be correct—and this applies to both technical accuracy and usability and technical accuracy. 
  5. They must be consistently reinforced. 
One effective approach is to use the WITH model:
  • Work environment
  • Individual capabilities
  • Task demands
  • Human nature
According to Fisher, this model can be used in JHA development, pretask assessment, observations and investigations.

To write effective procedures, a SH&E manager also should consider these guidelines to avoid error traps:
  1. Minimize field decisions. Don’t force the user to make a decision with little or no guidance for making the decision. Phrases such as if necessary and where appropriate are error provocative. 
  2. Minimize difficulty. The more difficult the procedure, the greater likelihood workers will deviate. 
  3. Minimize multiple (and embedded) actions. One step should not contain more than three actions, and required actions should never be buried in a note, caution or warning. 
  4. Avoid vague terms and misleading information. Misleading information is incorrect information that is difficult to detect, meaning workers don’t recognize that it is incorrect, which can cause critical steps to be missed.
  5. Avoid conflicting instructions. Procedures should not contain elements that people don’t expect to see. Procedures should not require “contrary to normal actions," and should not contain inconsistent words, expressions or formatting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revised A10.32 Standard Now Available

The newly revised standard, “Personal Fall Protection Used in Construction & Demolition Operations” (ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2012), is now available. The standard establishes performance criteria for personal fall protection equipment and systems in construction and demolition and provides guidelines and recommendations for their use and inspection. It includes, but is not limited to fall arrest, restraint, positioning, climbing, descending, rescue, escape and training activities. It does not include linemen’s body belts, pole straps, window washers’ belts, chest/waist harnesses and sports equipment.

The standard applies to users of personal fall protection equipment; to those personnel responsible for the selection, procurement, inspection, use, care and maintenance of the equipment; and to those responsible for training and supervision of the users.

Click here for more information.

Effective Procedures & Human Performance - Part 1

Procedures, said Rob Fisher, president of Fisher IT Inc., are a big part of the equation for addressing serious injuries and fatalities, the focus of the 2012 Fatality Prevention Forum near Pittsburgh. And, he stressed, it’s the system management creates that is responsible for making sure those procedures are clear, consistent and correct.

It’s too common, Fisher said, to hear statements like this one: “We have good processes. Now if we could just get people to follow them.” Such a response limits response to incidents and it prevents a true assessment of the systems involved.

Fisher also noted that 90% of events are caused by something other than just the individual and that 95% of people respond similarly to the same stimuli. “People do what they do at the time that they do it for reasons that make sense to them at the time,” he said, adding that what they do may not necessarily be right but the system drives them to believe what they are doing makes sense. “It’s reasonable, therefore, for a person to miss hazards because something makes sense at the time.”

When developing procedures, Fisher advised that it’s important to drive down to the task level. “People get killed doing tasks, not jobs.” That’s why JHA and similar analyses must be task-specific. Beyond that, ensuring consistency of outcomes requires consistency of method—allowing variability in methods leads to variability in outcomes.

Preventing Fatalities Requires New Focus, Revised Paradigm

Fatality prevention is "the most important work a safety leader can do. It's the most important issue we a be working on." With that Tom Krause opened his presentation at the IUP/Alcoa Fatality Prevention Forum near Pittsburgh by sharing some new insights on serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs). As he did during ASSE's Safety 2012 conference in Denver, Krause noted that while recordable and lost-time injury rates are generally declining, fatality rates remain flat or are rising.

Why is this happening? According to Krause, the fact that existing safety systems aren't reducing SIFs implicates problems with the design and implementation of those systems.

Research into this issue has revealed several interesting findings about the well-known safety triangle.

The triangle is accurate descriptively about the quantitative nature of accidents. There are "lots of small ones before a big one," Krause said. The traditional triangle also provides insight that informs prevention strategies. "There are lots of warnings if we are in a position to recognize them." And it proves that a single incident has significance. "The likelihood that something is a one-off event is low," Krause explained, meaning that the sequence events that led to the incident likely has happened before, it just didn’t result in injury.

However, research shows that the triangle is not accurate predictively. "Not all injuries have SIF potential and a reduction of injuries at the bottom of triangle does not correspond to equivalent reduction in SIFs," Krause said.

The first step in addressing this issue is to identify precursors, which Krause defines as unmitigated high-risk situations that will result in SIFs if allowed to continue. Examples include the way work is designed, lack of appropriate tools and inadequate procedures.

Next, the profession needs to modify the existing paradigm to ensure that it reflects the fact that all mnor injuries are not the same; that injuries have different underlying causes; and that different strategies are needed for different types of injuries. This, Krause said, will lead to more focused attention to SIFs, a stronger safety culture, better engagement and lower rates of serious injuries.

The research also points to several new research questions:
  1. Do specific leadership behaviors predict SIFs?
  2. Do specific cultural attributes predict SIFs?
  3. What other variables are related to SIFs?

Monday, October 29, 2012

ASSE Provides Tips, Resources for Arrival of Hurricane Sandy

News of Hurricane Sandy has the East Coast preparing for the worst. In its press release, ASSE provides many links to resources that can be helpful in preparing for the storm. ASSE also provides information on crisis management, recommendations for businesses and community members, and it suggests steps to take after a catastrophe.

Create a Winning Safety Program

John Amann, Vice President of First Aid and Safety at Cintas, proves that building a winning safety program is no different than building a winning football team.
  • Work with seasoned referees and coaches. Putting safety in the hands of an unqualified service provider can have disastrous results. Partner with a seasoned first aid and safety team that offers a multiple solutions to all safety and compliance needs.
  • Practice. Employees must regularly update their safety skills. This can be done through regular training sessions using a combination of online, DVD and instructor-led formats. Training should address specific industry hazards and occur when new members join the team, if regulations change and to act as a refresher for seasoned veterans.
  • Wear protective gear. Encourage workers to put on personal protective equipment before performing potentially dangerous job tasks. This includes flame-resistant clothing for electrical work, hearing protection for noisy environments and gloves and safety glasses for handling chemicals or equipment.
  • Develop a strong defense. Workplace first-aid cabinets help reduce the impact of common ailments by providing quick treatment. Stock these cabinets with a variety of bandages, individually-sealed aspirin, antibiotic ointment and a solution for diabetic reactions. This can limit the need for additional treatment and missed days from work.
  • Keep a medic on the sidelines. It is crucial to place functioning automated external defibrillators throughout a facility. Partner with a service provider to ensure units are regularly inspected and tested. Workers should be trained to can act as a first responder during an emergency.
Like the game of football, in order to be successful, a workplace must be equipped with the preventative actions, Amann says. Training, PPE and emergency response equipment must be part of every safety manager’s playbook. For more information, click here.

Safety: A Prerequisite for Doing Business

During an opening presentation at the Fatality Prevention in the Workplace Forum being held in Pittsburgh, Alcoa's Chief Sustainability Officer Kevin Anton told the nearly 200 attendees, "At Alcoa, safety is a prerequisite for doing business." Anton (speaking in place of CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, who remained in New York due to Hurricane Sandy) noted that Alcoa's C-Suite and board of directors are squarely behind safety and continuously seek new ways to improve the company's performance.

The company recently evaluated 16 fatalities that occurred over the past 5 years and determined that one decision made in advance of the event could have altered the outcome, underscoring the need to assess and communicate risks continually. He also noted that Alcoa is focused on creating a culture in which all workers are willing to stop work when an unknown or potentially at-risk situation arises. By showing workers that safety is, indeed, a top priority along with productivity, the company can better engage employees, Anton concluded.

The 2012 symposium is sponsored by Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with Alcoa.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Truthland Offers Counterpoint to Gasland

On June 13, 2012, the 34-minute film, “Truthland,” debuted nationwide as a rebuttal to the 2010 HBO documentary, “Gasland.” “Truthland” seeks to demonstrate that natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing are safe, whereas “Gasland” showed how these processes can negatively impact surrounding communities. Although the costs to produce “Truthland” were underwritten by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Energy In Depth, none of the experts who appear in the film were paid for their participation.

Click here for more information on “Truthland.”  

Click here for more information on “Gasland.”

Have you seen either film or both? Post your comments on the Oil & Gas Practice Specialty’s LinkedIn page. Comments may be featured anonymously in a future issue of Well Informed.

Driver Decals Linked With Less Crashes

A study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) links New Jersey's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) decal requirement with lower crash rates among intermediate teen drivers. In May 2010, New Jersey implemented Kyleigh's Law, requiring all 16- to 20-year-olds with a permit or intermediate license to place a reflective decal on the front and back license plates of vehicles they are operating. In the first year after the decal's implementation, crash involvement of an estimated 1,624 intermediate drivers was prevented, meanwhile the rate of GDL-related citations issued to intermediate drivers increased by 14%, and the rate of police-reported crashes among intermediate drivers decreased by 9%.

Researchers at CHOP suggest states with higher teen crash rates than New Jersey might see even greater results from GDL programs because they have more room for improvement. In addition, parents can enforce GDL and driving rules upon their own children whether or not laws are in place. Here are some basic rules from Allison Curry, director at CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention:
  • Start new drivers out in low-risk conditions;
  • allow no more than one passenger;
  • limit nighttime driving;
  • always prohibit cell phone use while driving;
  • insist on seat belts for every occupant on every drive.

For more information on teen driver safety, click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Motivating Employees to Love Their PPE

J.A. Rodriguez, Jr., author of “Information Pit Stop” from the latest issue of the Consultants Practice Specialty’s publication The Advisor, suggests that linking the information provided in a PPE program to employees’ needs will lead to a better chance of uncompromised employee safety. By crafting your PPE program so that it matters to employees, you can secure the emotional buy-in needed to help employees realize why consistently wearing PPE is so important. Click here to learn more.

Lead Prevention Week Focuses on Keeping Kids Healthy

The National Lead Poisoning Prevention week ends on Oct. 27. It's not too late to spread the word of this year's theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future." CDC's website has an array of resources to help communicate the message, such as posters, banners, press releases and podcasts.

Massachusetts Department of Labor reports that the greatest risk to childhood lead poisoning is residential lead-based paint hazards, which can be found in pre-1978 housing stock. The agency also reports that this year, CDC lowered the threshold blood level of concern for children by half (it is now 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood). As a result, this new threshold "makes it all the more important to be aware of potential sources of lead in the home so we can take actions to protect children and families," the department says.

Typeface Can Improve Driver Safety, Study Finds

With more and more in-vehicle screens and devices at drivers’ fingertips comes increased potential for distraction while driving. A new study set out to determine whether a change in typeface used in these devices could reduce driver distraction and, thus, improve safety on the road.

“The study indicates that the right typefaces can make a difference in reducing the amount of time not focused on the road, and therefore, gets us closer to our goal of improving driver safety,” says MIT AgeLab’s Bryan Reimer, one of the project’s principle researchers.

Legibility Typeface Comparison Illustration

(Graphic courtesy Steve Matteson, Monotype Imaging)

The results indicate a consistent 10% reduction among men in glance time—the time looking away from the road. The difference observed in women was smaller. When driving at highway speeds, a driver can travel about 50 ft during that time.

“This difference in glance time represents approximately 50 ft in distance when traveling at U.S. highway speed,” says David Gould, Monotype’s director of product marketing and part of the research team. “Although we've only scratched the surface and more typeface studies need to be done, we see this as a call to action for auto manufacturers, their suppliers and safety standards bodies to recognize that typeface style can represent a critical element of the driving experience."

A white paper detailing the research can be downloaded from MIT AgeLab’s website, and a video summarizes the results.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do You Have Safety “Volun-Tolds”?

In his article “Do You Have Safety ‘Volun-Tolds’?” from the latest issue of the Manufacturing Practice Specialty’s publication Safely Made, Shawn M. Galloway warns against “forced selection” when it comes to finding volunteers to help with safety improvement efforts. He maintains that if employees feel a stronger incentive to not be involved or if they fear negative consequence for involvement, then we cannot expect them to want to volunteer.

How does your organization create an environment in which employees willingly participate in safety initiatives?

Keeping the Alligators Away

Guest Post From John Olesky, CSP

As a safety specialist, I can relate alligators to accidents. We all know that most accidents are caused by a chain of events usually starting with something minor that continues through the chain until these minor issues lead to something larger--the accident. Usually, it is not just one factor that causes the accidents, so if we as safety professionals can break the chain of events we can prevent most accidents.

Not long ago, I visited Louisiana. As I talked to some locals, I heard they had problems with alligators coming into their yards and attacking their livestock and pets--and sometimes even going after their children. However, most of those I spoke with did not know what to do about it.

Then, one sweet older lady spoke up, claiming she had a great solution to keeping the alligators out of her yard. This is what she said (and be sure to think about the accident chain of events as you consider this exchange):

"This is how I keep alligators out of my yard," she said. "I just stopped feeding the birds."

"Well, how does that help?" we asked.

"When you feed the birds, they scatter the bird feed all over and a lot of it drops on the ground," she explained. "Then the field mice come and eat the bird seed on the ground. So, the snakes come in and eat the field mice. Then the wild pigs come in and eat the snakes. And then the alligators come in to eat the snakes and wild pigs. Stop feeding the birds and the alligators will not come into your yard."

We were all amused, but she insisted it works.

So, as SH&E professionals, let's think about the many little things we observe when conducting safety inspections that seem minor, like bird seed knocked to the ground. Then, think about how that builds to the alligators showing up, and how we might prevent them from showing up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Visit DOT's New Website

U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) has a new, redesigned website. As the site says, "DOT is here to serve the American people, and the redesigned site reflects our commitment to service by making it easier for you to find the information you need." The agency's new site has three goals:
  • To help find what users need as easily as possible.
  • To make the most popular resources more accessible.
  • To arrange our resources in line with how you think about transportation. 
New features include: content that is separated by audience interests (e.g., individuals, partners, government); a "Top Requests" section on the left side of the page that contains popular DOT website searches; and 10 different buttons that correspond to different modes of transportation.

MSHA Winter Alert Campaign

MSHA has launched its annual Winter Alert campaign that  brings attention to the numerous hazards miners face when colder weather strikes. According to MSHA, statistics show that coal mine explosions occur more in colder months, mostly due to low humidity and low barometric pressures, combined with seasonal drying of many areas in underground coal mines. Colder weather also brings hazards such as limited visibility, icy roads and walkways, and the freezing and thawing of highwalls at surface mines, which can make them unstable. The campaign encourages mine operators to remove snow and ice in pathways, apply salt and sand where needed, and frequently examine highwalls for stability. In addition, underground coal mine operators should check for adequate ventilation, apply liberal amounts of rock dust, conduct frequent and thorough examinations, and be familiar with emergency procedures that prevent ignitions and explosions. Fore more information, click here