Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Why Disaster Isn’t Inevitable

Disasters aren’t inevitable. From tragedies involving crowds to cataclysmic organizational failures, disasters often begin with minor failures that aggregate over time in complex systems.

Preventable deaths in the workplace happen around the world every day. They rarely make front-page news, even when they have important lessons we could learn to avoid them in the future. However, the deaths of eight people at a Houston music festival on November 5, 2021 have cast the spotlight on how multiple, seemingly minor factors can aggregate within a system and culminate in a tragedy that could have been avoided with better planning and more insightful risk management. 

Tragedies involving large crowds and poor planning have a long history. Despite the fact that event organizers often seem not to have learned from these disasters, there are several factors we might recognize in common with other similar events. Here’s a brief review of some of the most … Read more...

Putting Together the Big Picture for the World Trade Center Disaster Investigation

Imagine conducting root cause analysis for an incident that required review of 14,000 photographs. Organizing those photos to create a picture of what happened on 9/11 was the daunting task assigned to a team from the NIST Fire Research Division. Kathryn Butler offers a first-hand account of their efforts. Photo Credit: N. Hanacek/NIST

Imagine assembling a jigsaw puzzle of more than 14,000 pieces without an image on the box showing what the final picture will look like. Imagine that important pieces were missing and needed to be searched for. And imagine that this puzzle was four-dimensional, involving time as well as space.

This was the task for our small dedicated team in the wake of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster on Sept. 11, 2001. In the weeks following the disaster, my colleagues in the Fire Research Division and I started to think about how we might assemble the story … Read more...

Meet Ethan Cushing, Who Is Introducing the APAC Region to Intelex’s Powerful Platform

Our new series of blog posts invite you to “Meet the Intelexian.” In this case, it’s Ethan Cushing, who’s focusing on building our global footprint in the APAC region.

Ethan Cushing is Strategic Account Director, Intelex Technologies. He started with Intelex in 2011; his 10-year work anniversary will be in December. He currently manages the APAC sales team, which he started in July 2021. In addition to being responsible for our revenue targets in the APAC region, he supports our new team members in a pre-sales capacity, ensuring they have product knowledge and support as they work through the sales cycle with prospects and existing customers.

I (virtually) sat down with Ethan recently to find out more about him and his role at Intelex.

Intelex: Can you tell us a little about your professional background and what attracted you to Intelex/technology?

Ethan Cushing (EC): I have been in technology since 2006 after … Read more...

ILO Director-General Urges G20 to Focus on a Human-Centered Pandemic Recovery

In 2020, the equivalent of 161 million full-time jobs were lost in the G20, and 255 million in the world as a whole.

Speaking at the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers meeting in Catania, Italy, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder emphasised the need to prevent long-term scarring of economies and societies and to shape an inclusive, sustainable and resilient response that leaves no one behind.

“We are all aware of the devastating impact of the pandemic on our health, our lives, our societies, our economies,” said Ryder, adding, “It has had a cataclysmic impact on the world of work.”

He went on to highlight three aspects of the pandemic and how the impact was felt in the workplace.

In 2020, he noted, the equivalent of 161 million full time jobs were lost in the G20, and 255 million in the world as a whole. As a result:

  • The number of people
Read more...

Expert Advice about Using Control of Work to Leverage Your Safety Performance

Don’t miss our next Expert Connect session on July 14: Leveraging Safety Performance through Control of Work.

For most safety and health professionals, regardless of career maturity, their role most likely is involved with building management systems and implementing programs based on the risks residing in the work system.

For the July session of Expert Connect, we will explore an essential, but often overlooked, part of the safety management system called Control Of Work (COW). COW is used to request, review, authorize, document and control risks before tasks are performed by the worker. In addition, we will look at more granular elements like permit to work, hazards identification, isolation management and risk assessment.

COW has quickly become an identified best practice across the globe to gain and maintain better control of worker safety. This is a session you don’t want to miss, according to one of our panelists, Eric Fishman, … Read more...

The Top 10+1 Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Everyone wants to enjoy summer fun and activities. That said, there are hazards associated with most summer activities. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your family from summer safety hazards.

1. Heat Safety

The first thing most people think about when they hear “summer safety” is heat stress and heat-related illness. The human body normally can regulate its temperature through sweating, unless it is exposed to more heat than it can handle. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can escalate rapidly, leading to delirium, organ damage and even death.

People at every age are at risk of suffering from a heat-related illness, but infants, those over 65 and people who are ill or have chronic health conditions or have certain medical conditions are more vulnerable. When temperatures soar or when spending time outside in hot weather, take extra breaks and drink lots of water. For employees who must work … Read more...

Why Risk-Based Thinking Should Be Part of Your Quality Management System

While the concept of risk is easy enough to understand, figuring out how to apply it to your organization can be somewhat more complicated. Learning how to manage the effect of uncertainty in such a way as to determine the impact on how value is created and sustained requires a deep understanding of your organization’s processes. Many organizations are tempted to avoid these difficulties by ignoring risk management altogether, which can lead to cost overruns, time delays, waste, rework, or even to more serious problems that have an impact on health and safety or the environment.

Fortunately, ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems (QMS) can provide some much-needed guidance on how to make risk-based thinking the cornerstone of your QMS. ISO 9001:2015 incorporates risk-based thinking throughout to help your organization make better quality decisions that anticipate and prevent process problems. It also incorporates the high-level structure of Annex SL to … Read more...

NIOSH limits worker exposure to nanomaterials, EPA increases civil penalties, Decrease in carbon pollution, and more on EHS This Week.

On this week’s edition of EHS This Week we’ve got the week’s top stories in environment, health and safety news:

  • NIOSH limits worker exposure to nanomaterials
  • EPA increases civil penalties
  • Decrease in carbon pollution, and more.

Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments. Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you.

Until next week, enjoy the program!

[audio: 2013/11/EHSTW111513.mp3]… Read more...