For many workers, their jobs may be the most dangerous activities they engage in on a regular basis. On average, twelve people died each day last year from workplace incidents—amounting to over 4,300 deaths. Moreover, nearly 3 million workers suffered injuries or became ill at work last year.
These statistics actually represent some of the lowest workplace mortality and injury rates in decades, but Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez has urged that the government “can and must do better.” To Perez, the statistics “aren’t just numbers and data – they are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who will never come home again.”
In an effort to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed a new rule that would add requirements for the electronic submission of workplace injury and illness information. In announcing the agency’s proposal, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, indicated that the new requirements should provide “better access to data that will encourage earlier abatements of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities.”
via Workplace Injury Reports to Go Online | RegBlog.
The National Safety Council estimates that falls in the workplace account for over 100,000 injuries annually, and that falls are one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control reports that workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with occupational fall incidents are approximately $70 billion annually in the United States (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls/).
Statistics like these make the benefits of implementing a comprehensive fall protection plan in your workplace easy to see. Not only do such programs provide the obvious benefit of protecting workers from injury, they can substantially reduce workers’ compensation claims, reduce your insurance premiums, increase productivity, reduce OSHA fines, and boost worker morale.
via A Comprehensive Fall Protection Program Can Reduce Your Risk and Your Insurance Costs! | Rigid Lifelines.
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to bloodborne pathogens. Workers in many occupations, including first aid team members, housekeeping personnel in some industries, nurses and other healthcare personnel may be at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
via Safety and Health Topics | Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention.
Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations. OSHA defines an excavation as any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal. A trench is defined as a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and is no wider than 15 feet (4.5 meters).
Dangers of Trenching and Excavation
Cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely than other excavation related accidents to result in worker fatalities. Other potential hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and incidents involving mobile equipment. Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year.
via Trenching and Excavation Safety.
Health and Safety Committees should be established for the following purposes:
- To increase and maintain the interest of employees in health and safety issues.
- To convince managers, supervisors and employees through awareness and training activities that they are primarily responsible for the prevention of workplace accidents.
- To help make health and safety activities an integral part of the organization’s operating procedures, culture and programs.
- To provide an opportunity for the free discussion of health and safety problems and possible solutions.
- To inform and educate employees and supervisors about health and safety issues, new standards, research findings, etc.
- To help reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses.
- To help insure compliance with federal and state health and safety standards.
via Safety Committee Guidelines.
Welding, cutting, and brazing are hazardous activities that pose a unique combination of both safety and health risks to more than 500,000 workers in a wide variety of industries. The risk from fatal injuries alone is more than four deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime.
Welding, cutting, and brazing is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, and construction industry.
via Safety and Health Topics | Welding, Cutting, and Brazing.
Safety culture is the ways in which safety is managed in the workplace, and often reflects “the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety”. The related concept of safety climate represents employees’ shared beliefs about how safety behaviors are rewarded and supported.
via Safety culture – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Ammonia is considered a high health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs. Exposure to 300 parts per million (ppm) is immediately dangerous to life and health. Ammonia is also flammable at concentrations of approximately 15% to 28% by volume in air. When mixed with lubricating oils, its flammable concentration range is increased. It can explode if released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present, or if a vessel containing anhydrous ammonia is exposed to fire. Fortunately, ammonia has a low odor threshold (20 ppm), so most people will seek relief at much lower concentrations.
via Safety and Health Topics | Ammonia Refrigeration.
All fall protection products fit into four functional categories.
1. Fall Arrest; 2. Positioning; 3. Suspension; 4. Retrieval.
A fall arrest system is required if any risk exists that a worker may fall from an elevated position, as a general rule, the fall arrest system should be used anytime a working height of six feet or more is reached. Working height is the distance from the walking/working surface to a grade or lower level. A fall arrest system will only come into service should a fall occur. A full-body harness with a shock-absorbing lanyard or a retractable lifeline is the only product recommended. A full-body harness distributes the forces throughout the body, and the shock-absorbing lanyard decreases the total fall arresting forces.
This system holds the worker in place while keeping his/her hands free to work. Whenever the worker leans back, the system is activated. However, the personal positioning system is not specifically designed for fall arrest purposes.
This equipment lowers and supports the worker while allowing a hands-free work environment, and is widely used in window washing and painting industries. This suspension system components are not designed to arrest a free fall, a backup fall arrest system should be used in conjunction with the suspension system.
Preplanning for retrieval in the event of a fall should be taken into consideration when developing a proactive fall management program.
via Fall Protection.
All incidents, whether a near miss or an actual injury-related event, should be investigated. Near miss reporting and investigation allow you to identify and control hazards before they cause a more serious incident. Accident/incident investigations are a tool for uncovering hazards that either were missed earlier or have managed to slip out of the controls planned for them. It is useful only when done with the aim of discovering every contributing factor to the accident/incident to “foolproof” the condition and/or activity and prevent future occurrences. In other words, your objective is to identify root causes, not to primarily set blame.
- ACCIDENT – The National Safety Council defines an accident as an undesired event that results in personal injury or property damage.
- INCIDENT – An incident is an unplanned, undesired event that adversely affects completion of a task.
- NEAR MISS – Near misses describe incidents where no property was damaged and no personal injury sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage and/or injury easily could have occurred.
via Safety and Health Management Systems eTool | Module 4: Creating Change – Safety and Health Program Management: Fact Sheets: Accident/Incident Investigation.