Occupational Fatalities in 2018 Up 2 Percent: Workplace Overdoses, Suicides on the Rise

The most recent Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Report, released by The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS), shows the rate of fatal work injuries increased by 2 percent in 2018 – the fourth such increase in five years – and two statistics stand out.

Tragically, unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12 percent in 2018 — the sixth consecutive annual increase and a reflection of the broader opioid crisis that the United States is facing. OSHA has teamed with the National Safety Council (NSC) on the release of a toolkit to help employers address opioid abuse in their workplaces and support workers in recovery.

Unintentional overdoses from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol increased for the sixth consecutive year, claiming 305 lives in 2018 compared with 272 the previous year, the NSC noted. Meanwhile, work-related motor vehicle deaths declined, totaling 1,276 in 2018 from 1,299 in 2017. In addition, falls … Read more...

Yes, You Should Argue with Success: Why You’re Luckier Than You Think You Are

Many organizations operate according to the maxim “you can’t argue with success.” In other words, if it works, it’s worth doing. You might have heard this in another guise when someone says, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done.” 

But what if you should argue with success? What if what you think is success is simply sheer luck that the small failures that take place unnoticed every day simply haven’t yet aggregated into an inevitable cataclysm that results in injury, financial damage, or loss of life? 

Humans are not particularly good at extrapolating possible negative future outcomes from the information they learn from past events. We’re prone to assuming that if something has gone well when we performed the task on a previous occasion, that it will always go well. As a consequence, we get an inflated sense of our abilities and our skills at handling other similar situations, and the level … Read more...

Being a safe employer pays off: Ontario announces program to reward excellence in health and safety

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will provide $140 million in WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) rebates over three years for employers who successfully implement occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) in the workplace. The program is open to any employer regardless of sector or size, and while it will recognize existing safety management systems, it will also encourage organizations that don’t have safety management systems to create them. 

This program is the first of its kind in Canada. The incentive is part of Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers, a voluntary program that recognizes employers who are working towards lowering the accident and injury rate among Ontario workers. The program is accredited by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) under the authority of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development with the goal of promoting health and safety in the workplace and encouraging continuous improvement in existing safety management systems. The program has … Read more...

IIoT and the Continuing Evolution of Safety Management Systems

Safety management systems, like other performance-based systems, have evolved over the years. The establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971 was a catalyst for a renewed emphasis on health and safety in the workplace, driven mostly by compliance. As a result, the 1970s saw a focused drive toward compliance and physical controls for hazards in the workplace. 

As EHS programs began to mature, the 1980s saw an evolution of behavior-based safety, which utilized a scientific approach based on the theories of Herbert William Heinrich in his definitive book Industrial Accident Prevention, A Scientific Approach. (Heinrich, 1941) Behavior-based safety is a broad term used to describe everything from employee behavior audits and feedback to a comprehensive safety management system designed to change a company’s safety culture. 

The 1990s saw a resurgence of knowledge and capability training combined with new methods of transferring information, such as online training. … Read more...

Injuries to Retail Employees on the Rise for the First Time in 15 Years

The latest statistics showing an increase in illnesses and injuries among retail workers is a sobering reminder to retailers to protect their workers during the busy holiday shopping season.

For the first time since 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is reporting that in its latest estimates, nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses show no decline year-over-year and retail incidents involving injuries or illnesses increased for the first time since 2003. The retail trade accounted for 14 percent of all injuries and illnesses in the private sector in 2018 and is the only sector where the total number of recordable cases increased. In fact, the retail sector had more total recordable cases (TRC) than the mining, construction or manufacturing sectors.

BLS reported on Nov. 7 that there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. These data are estimates … Read more...

Seven Leading Indicators to Drive Safety Improvement in Your Organization

The safety profession has a fixation on measuring using purely negative values. OSHA recordable and lost-time injuries spring to mind—both are lagging (negative) indicators.  

“Once they occur, there is nothing that can be done but to investigate and hopefully learn enough to avoid similar incidents in the future,” says Carey Usrey, Process Improvement Leader at Predictive Solutions in the Insight Report “Seven Leading Indicators to Drive Safety Improvement in Your Organization.” “But even these metrics are flawed, in that a lack of injuries or incidents does not necessarily equate to a safe workplace. It could be a matter of just being lucky.” 

For almost 20 years, Predictive Solutions has helped companies move from “just being lucky,” or in many cases, having not been lucky at all, to saving lives by predicting and preventing workplace injuries. 

According to Usrey, safety experts have made a sound case to adopt leading … Read more...

The Evolution of EHS: How Times Are Changing – And How to Change with Them

A new eBook from Environment + Energy Leader, The Evolution of EHS: How Times Are Changing – And How to Change with Them, sponsored by Intelex, shares insights from EHS experts and Intelex insiders on justifying your costs to the C-suite, building or expanding a successful EHS program, and using software to solve EHS complexities. They discuss the changing role of the EHS manager and how to incorporate new responsibilities into an already complicated mix. 

The eBook points out that an effective EHS program is built on a few key elements: people, processes, and – to varying degrees – technology. 

“I am a huge fan of the idea that, the better we ‘build’ people, the better our organization performs,” says Scott Gaddis, VP and EHS practice lead at Intelex, who was interviewed for the article. He says that in the organizations where he has led safety, such as Coveris … Read more...

Performance and Why It Matters

Improving safety performance is a team effort that is based on data that easily can be monitored and measured to prioritize where safety programs can have the most impact.  When it comes to improving performance in Health and Safety, this webinar, “Performance and Why It Matters, sponsored by Intelex, explains why organizations must leverage their most important asset - their tools and data - to improve future H&S performance. 

Better tools and processes give workers the power to improve their performance through data-driven decision-making and enhanced situational awareness. The result is a stronger EHSQ practice that drives improved overall business results and revenue. Tomorrow’s businesses will rest on a strong foundation consisting of rigorous EHSQ performance, singular dedication to customer satisfaction, and a passion for innovation.   

You will hear from Kanwer Kahn, CSP, CRSP, QEP, P.E., who is Vice President, Environment, Health, Safety and Security for SUEZ North America. In his … Read more...

Why the Human Factor is as Important as Your Technology

In 1979, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) held a workshop at which it presented research demonstrating that the root cause of most aircraft accidents was human error and worker performance relating to poor critical thinking, lack of leadership, and miscommunication. The presentation was a response to the crash of United Airlines Flight 173 in Portland, Oregon in 1978, in which a landing gear problem forced the crew to circle the airport prior to landing. The captain focused on the landing gear problem for over an hour, missing frequent communications from his crew that the fuel supply was running low. The captain only realized his lack of situational awareness moments prior to the plane running out of fuel and crashing only a few miles short of the runway. Two crew members and eight passengers were killed. 

NASA therefore developed the practice of crew resource management (CRM). CRM addresses the human factor in teams … Read more...

How Ignoring the Voice of the Customer (VoC) Reduces Customer Safety

Why women are less safe than men when driving 

study at the University of Virginia, soon to be published in the academic journal Traffic Injury Prevention, has determined that women are at greater risk of injury or death in motor vehicle accidents because safety tests are conducted using crash test dummies that mimic the physiology only of men. 

According to the authors of the study, despite the fact that female physiology differs from that of males in areas such as distribution of muscle and fat, bone alignment, and features of the pelvis, most crash test dummies in use today are still based on male models from the 1960s. As a result, important factors such as how differences in breast tissue impact the effectiveness of the three-point seatbelt and how range of joint motion during menstruation makes females more susceptible to injury, are not widely considered in most automotive safety … Read more...