About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

Application Spotlight: Training Management

Training tracking software can help you manage risk and contribute to a strong and resilient safety and quality culture.

Experts agree that the time spent on training can be a leading indicator that offers insight into the effectiveness of your safety and quality management systems and training tracking software can make collecting those insights easy. Effective training is a vital component to manage risk and build a strong and resilient safety and quality culture, yet challenges persist in many organizations. The demands of a global diverse workforce, lone worker and remote worker scenarios and evolving industry regulations add complexity to training efforts.  

According to the article “Training Records: A Source for Leading Indicators,” on EHS Daily Advisor, “…Your training records can provide you with leading indicators you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your overall safety program.”

For example, have employees completed their scheduled training? What percentage of … Read more...

6 Feet Apart: How Our Lives and Workplaces Have Changed Post-COVID

To reduce the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important for all employers to address the specific exposure risks, sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and other unique characteristics of COVID-19.

For the first time since March 14, I ate a meal in a restaurant. Well, not in a restaurant; on a restaurant patio.

While the restaurant looks the same from the outside and the brunch food is familiarly delicious – brioche French toast with local blueberries, ricotta custard and Ohio maple syrup – everything else is different. Masks are required for all employees and customers, who could take them off once seated. Customers are reminded not to “congregate” around other tables or the bar area. Tables are spaced 6-8 feet apart. Menus are paper and are thrown away after use. Tables are disinfected as soon as diners got up to leave.

While I appreciate the new protocols the … Read more...

25 Tips to Stay Safe While Celebrating the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July should be a fun family holiday, so follow these tips to avoid a trip to the emergency room.

The Fourth of July is the quintessential summer holiday in the United States. It’s a fun celebration, filled with picnics and barbecues, fireworks displays and time spent in pools and on beaches and on boats. It also can be a painful day for many, and results in thousands of trips to the emergency room each year. Injuries caused by mishandled fireworks, drownings and boating injuries, fires and burns related to grilling incidents, insect stings, food poisoning and car crashes are just some of the fun buzz kills seen by ER doctors and nurses.

This year, a new layer of safety concerns has been added. Celebrating Independence Day will be different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers these safety tips you can … Read more...

NSC: A Temporary OSHA Standard Is Needed to Protect Workers from COVID-19

The National Safety Council is calling on OSHA to issue a temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19 as they return to the workplace.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is using all means at its disposal – legislative, administrative, judicial, and public support – to pursue implementation of a temporary OSHA standard to protect workers from COVID-19.

As employers send more workers back into facilities, they are doing so without a standard to protect workers from COVID-19. This becomes even more problematic given 20 states are reporting surges in cases. In response, the NSC is calling on OSHA to immediately exercise its emergency authority and issue a temporary emergency standard. The standard would protect workers during the pandemic and reopening process. The NSC made its position clear regarding a temporary OSHA standard in a new policy position statement released June 12.

“Employers must know the specific measures they are required … Read more...

COVID-19 and Mental Health: Are Employers Prepared for Increased Employee Substance Misuse?

Employers should prepare for a surge in substance misuse issues and employee mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is warning employers to prepare for a surge in addiction issues and is offering guidance to handle employee mental health issues related to the pandemic.

At least 30 states are reporting spikes in fatal opioid overdoses and ongoing concern about mental illness or substance use disorders, all in connection with COVID-19, according to the American Medical Association. To help employers address these interconnected issues, the NSC is calling on employers to prioritize employee stress, including emotional and mental health, both now and as they return employees to traditional work environments.

Prepare for an Increase in Substance Misuse

Additionally, NSC warns employers that they must prepare for an increase in substance misuse – one that could be a serious threat to worker safety. Substance misuse … Read more...

COVID-19: How Social Distancing and Other Measures Fit into the Traditional Hierarchy of Controls

Some workplaces are measuring the temperatures of workers and visitors before they enter the workplace.

Like any workplace hazard, the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace can be slowed or eliminated by using a hierarchy of controls like those created for other hazardous exposures.

Elimination

The first step in the hierarchy of controls, however sometimes elimination of a hazard is not possible. Until a vaccine or other countermeasures are identified, COVID-19 is a potential hazard in the workplace. Review, update, or develop workplace plans to potentially include:  Liberal leave and telework policies including a leave policy for workers with COVID-19 symptoms; encourage employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick; and provide non-punitive sick leave options to allow staff to stay home when ill.

Substitution

COVID-19 is not a hazardous chemical or process that can be replaced with a less-dangerous option. However, some employers are implementing a new … Read more...

What Is a Process Hazard Analysis and When Should You Do One?

When done correctly, a process hazard analysis identifies, evaluates, and controls the hazards found in processes that involve hazardous chemicals.

A process hazard analysis (PHA) is a set of organized and systematic assessments of the potential hazards associated with an industrial process in order to prevent and mitigate risks. When done correctly, a PHA identifies, evaluates, and controls the hazards found in processes that involve hazardous chemicals.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires PHAs to be updated and revalidated every five years. However, PHAs must be updated if aspects of your process change, including the addition or subtraction of equipment or hazardous substances or any change that could introduce a new hazard into the workplace.

Bad Process Safety = Bad Headlines

Every company wants to make headlines for great business practices, increasing profits, being recognized as an employer of choice, and being perceived as an asset to the … Read more...

Ready to Return: Our Return-To-Work Tools Can Help You Safely and Successfully Reopen Your Workplace

Cleaning, disinfecting, decontamination, and ventilation of the work area is an important step in returning employees safely to the workplace.

As a result of COVID-19, it is no longer business as usual. As businesses ramp back up, employers need a plan to reopen keeping safety and productivity top of mind.

Your COVID-19 Preparedness Plan should establish the policies, practices and conditions necessary to meet the regulatory requirements where you do business.

What Your RTW Plan Should Address

The plan should include and describe how your business will implement, at a minimum, the following:

  • Infection prevention measures;
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick workers;
  • Engineering and administrative controls for social distancing;
  • Cleaning, disinfecting, decontamination, and ventilation of the work area;
  • Communications and training for managers and workers necessary to implement the plan; and
  • Provision of management and supervision necessary to ensure effective ongoing implementation of the plan.

If you are a … Read more...

Dangerous Drivers: Roads Are Less Crowded but Riskier

Distracted drivers, the presence of greater numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians, and speeding have contributed to an increase in roadway fatalities.

If you’re like me, you’ve noticed an uptick in risky driving in the past couple of months. Although there are fewer cars on the roads, I’ve noticed drivers weaving in and out of traffic in alarming ways. My area has experienced multiple fatality crashes attributed to speeds of up to 100 mph. I’ve witnessed drivers ignoring traffic signals and traffic signs, cutting off other drivers, and generally behaving badly.

Apparently, it’s a thing: Preliminary estimates and data from the National Safety Council are showing emptier but riskier roads during COVID-19 pandemic. Despite fewer vehicles on the road, roadway deaths have increased.

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council show that as Americans began driving less and covering fewer miles, the emptier roads became more lethal. Early data indicate a … Read more...

Using Mobility to Increase Business Agility

With the Intelex mobile application, every employee can report real-time data on incidents where and when they occur, allowing for accelerated response and resolution anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Protecting the health and safety of your employees and ensuring product quality is a 24/7/365 job. Keeping employees productive, aware, and engaged is a critical component of your EHSQ program.

The Intelex Mobile application helps you simplify data intake, and get communications and best practices to the right people at the right time. It also will help you build an engaged workforce for improved EHSQ program adoption.

The fifth webinar in Intelex’s Product Webinar series focuses on Intelex Mobile. The webinar is Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 10 am. The webinar will feature Aaron Davis, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Dylan Adams, Senior Product Solutions Consultant. They will demonstrate:

  • How mobility can increase efficiency and productivity, and build business agility  
  • How
Read more...