Archive for the ‘PPE’ Category

The 2013 NFL season starts tomorrow.  Many people can’t wait for the season to start (myself included).   Safety is a lot like any of the teams in the NFL – you need practice, gameplans, leadership, teamwork, communication, protection, rules, PPE, etc to be successful.    If you are lacking any of theses items, you will not be successful.   Why aren’t we as excited about safety?

I want everyone as excited about safety as they are about the NFL – what do you think?

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

It’s that time of year when the weather heats up and employees wonder why they cant wear SHORTS to work.   As an employer, we have an obligation to provide a safe working environment.   We have an responsibility to conduct a hazard assessment and protect our employees.   As such, many of our facilities handle thin aluminum and steel sheets and fabricated parts and we have determined that there exists a moderate cut hazard.   Therefore, SHORTS are not permitted.

I had a lengthy discussion with a couple of safety experts that have been in the safety field for over 20 years each.   Both of these individuals are in consulting roles and have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses.   In their opinion, only companies with weak safety programs allow SHORTS in the workplace.    Further, their recommendation is for us to not wear SHORTS  based upon the materials that we work with.

We have made some leadership changes in our Human Resources department over the past few months.   The new individuals in this department are traveling to all of the facilities learning about our business and talking to employees.   One of the items that has been coming up consistently is SHORTS.    After their first visit, we explained how we conducted a risk assessment and had discussions with safety professionals on the subject.    Rather than explaining this to the employees, the human resources leadership is telling employees that they will look into it.   Why?   They are providing a false hope to the employees and, in my opinion, undermining our safety program.

I take my obligation to provide a safe working environment seriously.    It is unacceptable of any employee to be injured at work.   Further, in conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace, it has been determined that SHORTS should not be worn.  I think its pretty straight forward – what about you?

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

This past weekend I watched the special on Discovery Channel where Nik Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.   The 2 inch tightrope was 1,500 feet in the air (approximately 1/4 of a mile) and 1.400 feet long.   This was all done with no safety wire, parachute, or airbag.   This is the same guy who last year went across Niagara Falls from the US to Canada on a tightrope.   Last years event was televised by ABC and they required him to wear a safety harness – this year the event was televised by Discovery Channel and he was allowed to have NO SAFETY GEAR.

13.1 million people watched ABC to witness the Niagara Falls tightrope walk and 13 million people tuned in to Discovery Channel to witness the Grand Canyon trek.   He basically had the same number of viewers on Discovery Channel as he did on ABC.   According to experts in the entertainment industry – the ratings on the Discovery Channel were so high because he wore NO SAFETY GEAR.   

Do you think Discovery Channel would have shown him fall?    No – Discovery Channel would not have shown him fall.   There was a 7-8 minute television delay that was not announced.   Discovery Channel did not consider social media and the fact that people who were there in person were twittering 7-8 minutes before it was “live” on television.   Tweets like “Good luck – first steps have been taken”, “Oh my gosh – he is bending down on the rope”, and “He made it safely – congratulations” were out there before he started or finished on “live” TV.

I think it’s not wise to do any stunt with NO SAFETY GEAR.   I don’t think the ratings would have been impacted with or without safety gear.    Regardless if he is a trained professional or a rookie – one should always practice proper safety!   This is a great example of “being lucky” when it comes to PPE.  I am going to talk about it at a upcoming safety meeting – what about you?

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

I was recently sent a link to a video that shows a DEMOLITION of a grain silo from a safety professional.   The title of the e-mail was “What’s Wrong With This Video?”.    This was no ordinary DEMOLITION – this was done by one individual with a single sledge hammer.   However, there was a second individual on site (just in case the first individual was injured or got tired) , he filmed the whole DEMOLITION!     All I have to say is wow – what were they thinking?    Fortunately, nobody was hurt during this particular incident.   How often do you say “what were they thinking?” when you are conducting an accident investigation, near miss investigation, or reading about somebody being injured or killed?

As leaders, we have an obligation to provide a safe work environment.   We have a responsibility to train and educate our employees, to provide engineering controls (guards) on machinery, and to remove workplace hazards.   What we can’t control are the individuals that choose to ignore their training, by-pass guarding, etc.   Obviously if we catch these individuals “breaking the rules”, we need to immediately let them know that such behavior is unacceptable and discipline them (possibly terminate them).    By not acting on such actions, we are sending a message that it is OK to continue – is that the message that you want to send?

As I watch this DEMOLITION video, all I keep thinking about is what could have happened.   These gentlemen were extremely lucky.  Because nobody got hurt , they will probably do something like this again.   Perhaps they will once again get lucky next time, but sooner or later their luck will run out.   I am going to use this video to train employees in the next month and talk about being lucky – what are you going to do?   (Here is the link to this video).

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

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

According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) data, every day more than 2,000 American workers are treated for occupational eye injuries.  AS EYE SEE IT – that’s 2,000 too many!   2,000 per day equates to 500,000 eye injuries per year!   According to NIOSH – 70 percent of these eye injuries were caused by contact with an object/equipment, 26 percent were caused by exposure to harmful substances, and the remainder was due to scrap, waste, debris, chemicals, welding torches, etc.

Where is the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in all this?   A simple pair of safety glasses costs less than $5 and a face shield less than $20!   Why are employers not requiring their employees to wear proper PPE?   An average worker’s compensation claim cost is running $10,000.  If you reduce one claim by wearing safety glasses – that buys you 2,000 pairs of additional safety glasses.  If you reduce one claim by wearing a face shield – that buys you 500 new ones!

Is this the lack of safety culture?  Is it the lack of accountability?  Or the lack of caring?  I don’t care what it is – we have an obligation to provide a safe work environment!   It is unacceptable for any employee to be injured on the job, no matter how minor.  Each and every employee has the right to go home to their family and friends in the exact same condition in which they showed up to work.   That’s how EYE SEE IT – how do you see it?

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