Is COVID-19 the Most Powerful Catalyst for Permanent Workplace Change?

While some precautions and new ways of working were temporary during the initial pandemic outbreak – like masking while at work – others are here to stay, such as remote work for digital knowledge workers and labor market disruptions related to “essential” workers.

COVID-19 has been the most powerful catalyst for workplace change and technology adoption during these past three years. It has also placed new stresses on workers and given pause to the notion of what occupational safety in today’s workplace means.

“The most obvious future-of-work trend today is the role that SARS Coronavirus 2 (COVID-19) has played in our immediate past, the role its many variants and sub-variants play in our present day and what role the coronavirus will play in our future. It is a megatrend that may dictate how future work is organized,” says John Howard, the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and … Read more...

The Data Collection Components of a Safety Management System

Safety Management Systems report essential business information, ensure compliance requirements, help to manage risks and improve operational performance.
Safety Management Systems report essential business information, ensure compliance requirements, help to manage risks and improve operational performance.

The scope and maturity of a safety management system (SMS) to manage safety risk in the workplace varies by industry type, location and company because some are more regulated than others and that dictates the level of maturity and robustness a system requires. However, there are common components every SMS has, including:

Incident Reporting to capture, track, investigate and report on all incidents and near-misses, including injuries and illnesses, spills, property damage and vehicle incidents.

Audit Management that includes scheduling, tracking, data collection and reporting for all internal or external audits to simplify and ensure compliance across all company locations and operating jurisdictions.

Document Control that improves document management across the complete lifecycle of an organization’s compliance efforts and activities. It’s important to control access to sensitive files, forms … Read more...

NSC Publishes Guidelines for Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention

Serious injury and fatality prevention is dependent on effectively identifying and controlling risk.
Serious injury and fatality prevention is dependent on effectively identifying and controlling risk.

The National Safety Council’s (NSC) Campbell Institute – Center of EHS Excellence recently released details of two frameworks described as “a new direction for research on leading indicators” for serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention.

In a white paper titled, Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention: Leading Indicators, Cumulative Risk and Safety Networks, cumulative risk assessment and social network analysis are proposed as SIF prevention frameworks. The research involved a working group tasked to define a set of key leading indicators relevant for SIF prevention and interviews were conducted with nine Campbell Institute member organizations as the basis for the white paper’s recommendations.  

Representatives from organizations interviewed shared details about their data collection efforts and analysis strategies, leading indicators related to SIF prevention, leadership and employee engagement around SIF prevention and the challenges their organizations have faced. … Read more...

Do Your Employees Have a Stake in Health and Safety?

Encouraging employees to be legitimate stakeholders in occupational health and safety is really a matter of listening, being open to and dealing with employees as equal partners in developing and implementing programs.

The greatest error in trying to create a safety culture is leaving everything in the hands of health and safety professionals, says Intelex Vice President and Global Practice Leader for Safety and Health Scott Gaddis. If you want to limit loss and drive performance, the entire workforce needs to be involved.

Employees as stakeholders of occupational health and safety should be tasked to step into safety leadership roles and responsibilities throughout an organization. It’s an approach Gaddis took earlier in his career while working as the global safety and health leader at Kimberley-Clark.

Relationship Building Is Key

As a “staff of one,” Gaddis says he was only going to be as good as his ability to build … Read more...

More Work and More Tech Needed to Take EHS to the Next Level of Success

The COVID-19 pandemic placed EHS in the spotlight and has tasked professionals to do more than ever in managing risks within and outside of traditional workspace confines.

The future of environment, health and safety will see the need for more technology adoption by organizations as EHS professionals take on much greater workloads and a role in total worker wellness largely due to the outfall of COVID-19.  

These were among the key observations and topics of discussion during the first day of the Verdantix virtual summit on Innovating for Sustainable Operations that focused on EHS and operations.

Next Level for EHS

During a session titled, Taking EHS to the Next Level of Success, presenters considered how the responsibilities and workloads of EHS professionals have been impacted as hybrid and remote working becomes more popular. 

Verdantix CEO David Metcalfe said the COVID-19 pandemic placed EHS in the spotlight and has tasked … Read more...

OSHA Recordkeeping: An Overview of the Rules

Injury and illness data collected and reported by employers must be uniform and accurate, assuring statistical data consistency and validity.

Many employers in the United States are obliged to document workplace injuries and illnesses under OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule. While this document doesn’t need to be submitted to OSHA unless requested, organizations and businesses subject to the recordkeeping rule must produce these documents when requested make them available during inspections. Incident reports and logs of on-site recordable incidents must be maintained for a period of at least five years.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) directs employers who are subject to the rule to annually prepare and maintain a record of occupational injuries and illnesses. This must be reported each year by March 2. Generally, organizations that employ 10 or fewer people during the previous calendar year do not need to report, unless otherwise directed … Read more...

What You Need to Know: The Four Key Steps When Performing a Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

In a job safety analysis, each basic step of a job is determined, potential hazards are identified in each step, and recommendations are made for the safest way to perform it. 
In a job safety analysis, each basic step of a job is determined, potential hazards are identified in each step and recommendations are made for the safest way to perform it. 

A job safety analysis (JSA) or job hazard analysis (JHA) are generally interchangeable terms used to describe plans that define and outline how to control hazards associated with certain processes, jobs, or procedures.

JSAs incorporate health and safety principles and practices into a task or job. When creating a JSA, it’s important not to define a job too broadly or narrowly. In a JSA, each basic step of a job is determined, potential hazards are identified in each step, and recommendations are made for the safest way to perform it. 

Recognizing hazards is a matter of watching a worker actually do a job.  The analysis that follows should seek to identify undetected hazards and increase the … Read more...

EHS Software Solves a Need for Speed for This Construction Company

Moss searched for a safety management system and settled on the Intelex Health and Safety Management platform to organize all the data it had been collecting.
Moss went searching for a health and safety management system and settled on the Intelex Health and Safety Management platform to bring all its data from various processes into a centralized database, including incident reporting, inspections, behavioral-based observations, recorded near misses, good catches and even safety suggestions.

Fast growing companies often find themselves needing a high-performance approach to environmental health and safety (EHS).

Take the case of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based construction company Moss & Associates, whose vice president of environmental health and safety, Scott Gerard, recently told the story of his company’s business growth. During a presentation at the 2021 EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference, Gerard said Moss started out as a company of 300 people some 17 years ago and has today become an organization of more than 3,000 employees with expectations to reach 6,000 this year.

But high growth often moves too quickly past other corporate capabilities. In … Read more...

Incident Management: Is Your OSHA Recordkeeping Capturing Every Recordable Incident?

Goals and key performance indicators hinging on the number of incidents, recordables, days away and other factors are usually put in place to help drive a focus to safety, but the good intention can lead to unintended and undesired consequences, such as underreporting of injuries.

Employers in private industry reported 2.7 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses to the U.S. Department of Labor in 2020 as part of OSHA recordkeeping reporting. That’s a lot of paperwork.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard Part 1904, many employers with more than 10 employees are required to record and report any work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses of their covered employees using OSHA Recordkeeping Forms 300, 300A and 301. (Certain low-risk industries are exempted, and minor injuries requiring first aid only do not need to be recorded.)

A 2018 report submitted to the United States Congress by the Office … Read more...

Key Lessons Learned during COVID-19 and the Way Forward

Throughout the pandemic, tried and tested foundational public health measures have been effective and helped to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, tried and tested foundational public health measures have been effective and helped to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A retrospective look at two-plus years of COVID-19 offers insightful lessons on how to manage challenging human factors in a pandemic, as well as understanding the nature of virus variants and the important value of vaccines.

Anthony Panepinto – a certified safety hygienist and the senior technical director of health, safety and environmental affairs for The Procter & Gamble (P&G) Company – shared his global organization’s pandemic experience, how the company needed to adapt and respond and what was learned along the way. He presented his story during the 2021 Safety Leadership Conference in December.

The early days of COVID-19 for P&G were a sprint to keep pace with understanding the nature of the disease, how to contain outbreaks and keep people safe, he says. His organization moved quickly … Read more...