Suspended Loads and Respecting the Fall Zone

In almost every industry, a load of some kind is being lifted, manipulated, lowered or carried in a way that poses risk to workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” recordable injuries every year in the United States. That’s one injury every 10 minutes caused by a dropped object in the workplace.

Understanding the Fall Zone

The fall zone as defined by OSHA is “the area including, but not limited to, the area directly beneath the load in which it is reasonably foreseeable that partially or completely suspended materials could fall in the event of an accident.” OSHA goes on to state that standing under a suspended load is prohibited and that “while the operator is not moving a suspended load, no employee must be within the fall zone, except for employees (who are): engaged in hooking, unhooking or … Read more...

Walking-Working Surfaces and Pedestrian Safety: Assessing the Risks – Part 1

Working alongside a wide range of material handling equipment, on ill-prepared work surfaces and dealing with elements like weather, congestion and poor illumination are, in many cases, part of work for many. Added to this is the reality that we now deal with the distraction of things like cell phones, creating a perfect storm of substandard conditions met by an increase of substandard behaviors.

Pedestrian safety is not an issue to be overlooked. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on average, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year. OSHA reports that as many as 30,000 forklift accidents occur annually in the United States and close to 20 percent of those accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by the forklift. Of these forklift events, 35 percent resulted in the pedestrian’s death.

Fall injuries also have a considerable cost, with workers’ compensation totals estimated at $70 billion … Read more...

What’s Your Quality 4.0 Strategy?

In ISO 9001:2015, quality is the “degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of an object fulfils requirements.” (3.6.2) Quality 4.0 describes the technological innovations that will help us more quickly assess compliance and customer satisfaction and optimize business processes through systems integration — whether the object we’re working with is a process, a product, a person or an intelligent software system.

Quality 4.0 systems are:

  • Connected— electronic, networked, and capable of communicating in real time with people and systems.
  • Intelligent— autonomous, reactive, proactive, social and/or adaptive to new data or new environmental conditions.
  • Automated — able to carry out instructions with or without human participation.

As a result, Quality 4.0 strategies emphasize real-time visibility, intelligent decision support, and improved communication — between people, systems and machines.

For example, Nikon’s recently announced Quality 4.0 strategy focuses on real-time measurement: improving and automating measurement systems, automating inspections and … Read more...

UK’s Health & Safety Executive Focuses on Engagement, Risk Management for 2018/19

As 2018 enters the final straight and we gallop into 2019, it seems it is only natural that we take a few moments to consider plans and preparations for the coming year. Regulatory agencies like the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) are planning for the coming year as well.

In particular, some industries should pay close attention as the HSE lays out where some inspections will be targeted (see below and Pages 8 & 9 of the report).

HSE’s Business Case for 2018/19 

Planning is as important for the regulator as it is for our own organizations. A particularly good source for a birds’ eye view on the priorities the HSE in the UK has identified and prioritized is the regulator’s business case for 2018/19.

The business case outlines the action that will deliver on its unwavering mission statement:

“At the Health and Safety Executive, we believe everyone has Read more...

Who Should Lead the Charge to a Sustainable Future?

Sustainable development is that in which the resources we use to meet today’s business goals do not come at the expense of the ability of future generations to meet their own environmental, social and cultural needs. In other words, the slash-and-burn approach to fuelling business progress and profit will give way to replacing what we use and looking out for the environmental realities that will support our future development as a species.

The evidence for the requirement for sustainable practices is, by now, beyond reproach. Yet many questions remain about how to create sustainable practices that ensure our future environmental stability without damaging our immediate economic growth. Such questions include: should governments legislate these requirements? Should business govern its own sustainable efforts according to its own perspective? Or should the market dictate its allegiance to the idea of sustainability by supporting or opposing businesses that embrace sustainable principles?

While today’s … Read more...

Uncovering Opportunities with a Risk-Based Mindset in Quality

Quality management is more than it appears to be. While many see it as being about meeting specifications and creating processes that don’t fail, it’s also about enhancing performance by helping people and machines work together more easily and efficiently. Sometimes this means putting controls in place to prevent losses and waste. At other times it means identifying opportunities for improvement and growth. Knowing how to act on those opportunities comes from managing risk.

Risk is not simply the potential for negative outcomes. It’s really the effect of uncertainty on outcomes. Organizations are exploring risk every time they engage with the idea of uncertainty or try to anticipate anything that could prevent them from achieving their objectives. When organizations make decisions that put them closer to their goals, they are successfully engaging with, and addressing, risk.

Risk therefore considers the uncertainty in both threats and opportunities. Risk-based thinking can be … Read more...

World Quality Day 2018: A Question of Trust

Each year, the second Thursday of November is set aside to reflect on the way quality management can contribute to our work and our lives. Led by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) in the United Kingdom, World Quality Day provides a forum to reflect on how we implement more effective processes and systems that positively impact KPIs and business results — and celebrate outcomes and new insights.

This year’s theme is “Quality: A Question of Trust.”

We usually think of quality as an operations function. The quality system (whether we have quality management software implemented or not) helps us keep track of the health and effectiveness of our manufacturing, production, or service processes. Often, we do this to obtain ISO 9001:2015 certification or achieve outcomes that are essential to how the public perceives us, like reducing scrap, rework and customer complaints.

But the quality system encompasses all the ways we Read more...

Notes from NSC: Is Heinrich’s Safety Triangle Wrong?

A new report from the Campbell Institute recommends a redesign of Heinrich’s safety triangle, which states that for every major injury (the point of the triangle), there are 29 minor injuries and 300 non-injury incidents. The triangle treats minor incidents and near misses as if they had potential to be fatalities or serious injuries.

The report, Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention: Perspectives and Practices, notes that despite gains in safety in the past 20 years – the total recordable incident rate dropped from 8.5 incidents per 200,000 hours worked in 1993 to 3.0 incidents per 200,000 working hours in 2016 – fatal incidents and serious, life-altering injuries have not decreased. The National Safety Council reports that worker fatalities are at an eight-year high, with 5,190 workers dying of fatal injuries in 2016.

“Companies in our report know that safety is a work-in-progress with the goal of continuous improvement,” said … Read more...

True Engagement Starts with Speaking Digital Natives’ Language

I attended a great conference in 2017 at the spiritual and literal home of England’s national rugby team, Twickenham. The event was the Verdantix EHS European Summit. I was lucky enough to be invited to participate on a panel that generated audience questions about the under-leveraging of Health, Safety and Environmental metrics and whether more data is desirable if organizations were already struggling to handle and gain meaningful insight from what they had. This was a solid topic and it played into one of the key conference themes of Big Data.

All was going to script, and then it happened… a senior director said the following, or something close to it:

“It’s all well and good this discussion of data, systems and associated metrics, but if we don’t find better and more innovative ways to engage our people in safety, nothing is going to change! Our performance depends upon it!”… Read more...

Neglect Corrective and Preventive Actions at Your Peril

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that “all systems tend towards disorder.”

It’s interesting to me to think about actions (corrective or preventive) in the context of a management system in terms of energy and potential chaos. The reasoning for this is that without energy introduced into the system, there is a predictable outcome, which is a net loss to the system and inevitable tendency to disorder, possibly chaos. This helps me frame why paying lip-service to a management system is potentially worse than not having a management system in place at all. For some businesses, not having a management system at all (certified or not) can or will kill their ability to win contracts, operate in some markets, and ultimately identify opportunity, never mind have continuous improvement within their grasp.

Companies with management systems and those that manage actions well have an advantage over those that do not. These … Read more...