Archive for April, 2012

I read an article where a worker was killed while constructing the Chelsea Piers Sports Complex in Stamford, Connecticut.   The employee fell 35 feet while installing a metal roof.   Upon investigation, it was noted that the fall protection was inadequate and ineffective.   It was further noted that “This employer was well aware that these workers were exposed to falls but did not take steps to eliminate a significant hazard.   A combination of proper fall protection and effective training could have prevented this needless loss of life”.   American Building, LLC was fined $50,000 by OSHA for this incident.

$50,000??????  Really??????   What about criminal prosecution for management at American Building, LLC????   If American Building, LLC was well aware that these workers were exposed to this hazard and did not take steps to eliminate the hazard, somebody should be going to JAIL – not a $50,000 fine!

The killed worker was wearing his safety harness, but was not tethered to an anchor point.  Another worker on the job site  was tethered to an anchor point, but his lanyard was too long – if he fell, he would have hit the ground before his fall protection did any good.  Why did American Building, LLC supply safety harnesses that would not work?  Why did the American Building Supply, LLC not train these employees on proper tethering to a secure anchor point?  Did American Building Supply, LLC just go through the motions to satisfy the APPEARANCE OF SAFETY to OSHA?

Companies and negligent management need to be held personally liable for situations like this one.  It is unacceptable that this worker was killed on the job because there was not proper fall protection or effective training.    We have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.   It is unacceptable for any worker to be injured on the job, let alone killed!

In my opinion, it’s time for OSHA to get real about protecting workers in America.   I am not advocating bureaucracy and a creation of additional rules and regulations.   I am not advocating increased inspections.   I support a responsibility by management to ensure that safety is a priority.   Make management personally liable and subject to jail time for gross negligence.    Management at companies, like American Building, LLC, would act differently if they personally faced jail time.  That’s how OSHA can get real about protecting workers in America.

I am going to actually BE safe – not just have the APPEARANCE OF SAFETY – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

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DISTRACTED DRIVING is already a problem in the United States.   As our society is becoming more and more electronic savvy, this problem will continue to increase.   In fact, this problem will grow exponentially:  From 2009 to 2011 – texting has doubled to 196 billion messages per month!

Here are some facts about DISTRACTED DRIVING:

  • In 2009, over 5,000 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 injured through distracted driving.
  • 40% of all American teens say they have “been in a car when the driver used a cell phone that put people in danger”.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
  • Texting creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
  • Sending or receiving an e-mail or text takes the drivers eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  That’s equivalent of driving blindfolded the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour.
  • Using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent (legally drunk).

What are we doing about this problem?   Certain Cities, Counties, and States have passed hands-free laws – but is this enough?   I don’t think so.  Plenty of research has been conducted on the subject which supports the need to completely ban texts and e-mailing as well as talking on cell phones while driving (both hand-on and hands-free).

I recently read about a new product developed by Location Labs that prevents the use of cell phones and texting while driving.   Through the use of GPS technology, it senses when you are driving and routes all calls to voice mail and automatically responds to any text or e-mail that is received indicating that you are driving and will respond when you reach your destination.  I completely support the adoption of this technology in all cell phones.

I support a change to remove distractions while driving – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

Every company is on a “SAFETY JOURNEY”.  Some companies are just beginning their journey and do not have a safety program in place, and some companies are considered world-class safety leaders and have exceptional safety programs.   I created the following INFOGRAPHIC to show the types of safety programs and relationship to safety performance results, safety culture and incident rates.

I am going to strive to have an exceptional safety program – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

In business, just like in sports, you need to have the right team to accomplish your goals (like winning the championship or growing sales).   You can have the perfect individual on any team, but if they are not looking out for the team’s best interests and are solely focused on individual results, the team will not succeed.   How does this relate to safety?   You can have the safest employees that follow every safety rule, but if they are not proactive in identifying hazards, do not look out for their co-workers, and demand that their co-workers follow the rules, then an accident will happen and the team will fail.

How often does someone see a fellow employee break a safety rule and not do anything or say anything?  How many accidents can be avoided if they just said something?  This is the challenge that managers have everyday – creating a safety culture where employees want to be safe and want their co-workers to be safe – always!

As leaders, we need to understand why employees are reluctant in addressing co-workers.   Is it:

  • Fear?
  • Embarrassment?
  • Difficult?
  • Peer Pressure?
  • Easier Not to?
  • Perceived as Pointless?
  • That They Don’t Care?

NO – It’s that we allow employees not to be part of the team!  Take away excuses from employees who do not address their fellow employees when breaking a safety rule and challenge them to be part of the team.

The only way a championship is going to be won is through TEAMWORK.  The only way we are going to grow sales is through TEAMWORK.  The only way we are going to create a positive safety culture is through TEAMWORK.   If you are going to be on my team – you will be a team player!   What about your team?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434