Continuous Improvement and Fall Prevention: Using the Hierarchy of Controls to Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

In Part III of our blog series during National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, Scott Gaddis looks at using the Hierarchy of Controls to promote a proactive safety approach to preventing falls in the workplace.

Employing the Hierarchy of Controls

Understanding control and how best to manage your walking and working surfaces program are more significant than the outputs of the risk assessment process. The process defines good control actions specific to hazards and risks, but it is not the only process that can be used. While I’m a firm believer in the risk matrix and scoring approach, I also would recommend the widely accepted approach within the safety and health practice called the hierarchy of controls. This process is simple to understand and is quite useful in gauging the control appetite of the organization. It should serve as the overarching methodology for how we best deliver the … Read more...

Fall Prevention Strategies: How Risk Management Can Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

In Part I of this blog, Scott Gaddis looked at how falls in the workplace happen and the impact they can have on workers. In Part II, Scott examines the role of risk assessments in preventing falls from happening in the first place.

Risk Assessment

The objective of risk assessment and analysis is to understand the level of risk associated with the hazards found in the work environment as well as the concerns related to how people are navigating walking and working surfaces. All associated activities need to be judged with criteria that assist in building a credible understanding of what is acceptable or not acceptable.

Most regulatory bodies require some form of risk assessment and all follow a similar template:

  • Identify risks to the worker associated with work activity.
  • Identity hazards found in the work environment that pose a threat of loss.
  • Provide details of identified risks or hazards
Read more...

The Problem is Real: Why Slips, Trips and Falls Continue to Cause Serious Workplace Incidents

May 1-5, 2023, is the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. This is a voluntary event that encourages employers to stand down from work and discuss workplace hazards relating to trips, falls or other job safety concerns.

In this three-part series dedicated to walking-working surfaces, Scott Gaddis—Vice President, Global Practice Leader, Safety and Health at Intelex Technologies, ULC—provides his expert insight into the risks associated with pedestrian safety in the workplace and what employers need to do to mitigate them.

Pedestrian Safety in the Workplace

Pedestrian safety is not an issue to be overlooked. The 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 in the United States annually and close to 20 percent of those accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by the forklift. Of these forklift … Read more...

Should You Be Contesting That OSHA Citation?

Going down the road of litigation isn’t always the right path to take when your organization is on the receiving end of an OSHA citation.

Your company has just been cited for a safety violation or workplace incident by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). What should you do now?

You have 15 days to respond and according to John Ho, the co-chair of the OSHA workplace safety practice at international law firm Cozen O’Connor, contesting an OSHA citation shouldn’t necessarily be your automatic response. There are many factors to consider when determining a course of action, he says, explaining that a decision should weigh issues that may have significantly greater liabilities than the actual OSHA penalties imposed.  

“Lawyers are expensive and usually you’re going to spend more money on litigation, even if you win,” Ho says. “To fight a $30,000 to $50,000 OSHA (fine) – the cost/benefit … Read more...

Blog: Looking Back on 2022 – EHS and ESG Make the Connection

Concerns and connections between environment, health and safety (EHS) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) were dominant topics of interest for readers of Intelex’s online resources in 2022.

Visitors to intelex.com during this past year most often download reports and research on EHS and ESG, particularly insights that explored important links between the two practices. And it became a hot discussion topic in our blog posts and webinars conducted throughout the year and will continue as a key focus of our insights and analysis in 2023.

Our most downloaded content report for the year was the just-completed research with North American health and safety and ESG professionals that examined trends, top challenges and important opportunities in EHS and ESG. More than 1,200 Intelex website visitors have so far requested the report since it was made available in early November. Upcoming in 2023: stay tuned for our global report.

Other topics … Read more...

Worker Safety During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Worker safety is particularly important at this time of year as stresses, busy workplaces and seasonal distractions can contribute to greater on-the-job risks.

The holiday season – known as the “most wonderful time of the year,” according to Christmas carols – can be dangerous and stressful for many workers. Whether they are warehouse workers, delivery drivers, seasonal workers, retail workers or others, the holiday season brings with it a number of risks – from ergonomics to winter driving to customer temper tantrums to workplace stress.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a web page to address Workplace Holiday Safety. As noted by the agency on that page: “As the nation enters the holiday shopping season, employers must ensure that all workers are trained to recognize and prevent job hazards and implement safe work practices. OSHA has resources to help keep workers safe at every step, … Read more...

Why Human Error Isn’t to Blame: Understanding Variability in EHS Systems 

Scapegoating workers and accepting the limitations of human judgement does nothing to reduce injury and fatality rates or to improve the efficiency of the EHS management system.

When we say that human error was responsible for an incident, it’s tempting to be comforted by the idea that one person’s poor judgement was to blame. If that person was doing something they shouldn’t have been doing, that seems to be a fairly obvious root cause that couldn’t be anticipated and doesn’t reflect the overall integrity of the management system, leadership or workplace. “Humans will always make mistakes,” we might tell ourselves, “and you can’t make a system foolproof when humans are involved.”  

Yet scapegoating workers and accepting the limitations of human judgement does nothing to reduce injury and fatality rates or to improve the efficiency of the EHS management system. People operate within the constraints provided by the culture and management … Read more...

ESG Reporting and EHS Management at Day 2 of the Intelex User Conference 

Day Two of the Intelex User Conference in Nashville on Nov. 4 continued the discussions about the current state of EHS management, the growing role of ESG reporting and how best to support the frontline worker.

With experts from various industries in every breakout session, the discussions were rich with insights into how Intelex and its partners can continue to foster the innovation customers need to keep workers safe on the job and create a sustainable future for everyone. 

Managing an OSHA Inspection

When an incident happens in the workplace, an OSHA inspection frequently follows. 60 percent of inspections take place in construction, manufacturing, retail and health care, while almost 40 percent of all OSHA inspections are at organizations with fewer than nine employees.  

While your organization and OSHA both have the goal of keeping workers safe and ensuring the continuous improvement of the safety management system, it’s important to … Read more...

Intelex30: How ESG Reporting and EHS Management Systems are Responding to a Changing World 

Some organizations will face the reality that spreadsheets and manual methods for collecting data will not be able to keep up with the requirements of ESG reporting and EHS management.

The world has changed a lot over the last three years. In many ways, it’s become more unpredictable, with supply chain disruption, economic concerns and geopolitical volatility becoming part of our daily existence. Yet through it all, frontline workers are there to keep the machinery of the global economic engine moving, so keeping them safe while improving the way they work has never been more important.  

With that in mind, the Intelex User Conference returned in Nashville, Tennessee from November 3-4. For two days at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, we met with customers, partners and industry experts to dig into the present and future developments of EHS to see how we can support the needs of frontline workers everywhere. Since … Read more...

ESG’s Growing Importance Will Draw Upon EHS Leadership

Survey results show intrinsic links between the two practices of ESG and EHS with both areas sharing many common concerns and similar objectives.

The role played by environment, health and safety (EHS) in the development and execution of environmental social and governance (ESG) strategies may depend on who you ask.

A recent Safety + Health Magazine webinar highlighted 2022 research from Vance and Bourne conducted on behalf of Intelex and shed light on how EHS and ESG leadership professionals are dealing with their evolving mutual challenges. The resulting report – Big Ambitions. Complex Data. Limited Visibility – analyzes a survey of 450 professionals who occupy EHS and ESG leadership roles in North American public and private organizations representing 17 business sectors. 

Survey results show intrinsic links between the two practices with both areas sharing many common concerns and similar objectives. During the webinar it was revealed that a vast majority … Read more...