A History of Workplace Health and Safety – Part 2

By the middle of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. As the pistons pumped and furnaces fumed, however, often lost in the clang of progress was the plight of the workers within the new factories, mills and workshops. Employers and governments showed little regard for the often-atrocious working conditions in which laborers were forced to toil. Consider:

  • 12- to 14-hour workdays were common.
  • Wages were low, often at mere subsistence levels. Women typically earned only half of what men did.
  • Children were frequently employed. Part of their duties included cleaning and servicing machinery (often while it was still running) that had tight spaces that only they could fit into.
  • Severe punishments were meted out, often to children, who were sometimes hung in baskets from factory roofs and often doused with water to keep them awake. Strapping was common, and some children even had their ears
Read more...

A History of Workplace Health and Safety – Part 1

Human societies have endeavored to ensure the health and safety of their workers for centuries. Doctors in ancient Greece raised concerns over lead and other dangerous materials to which miners were routinely exposed. Later, the Roman senator Pliny the Elder alerted citizens to the dangers of sulfur and zinc. He recommended miners cover their mouths and noses with animal bladders – one of the first examples of industrial respiratory protection.

In the 15th Century, Austrian physician Ulrich Ellenbog published a treatise on the dangers that mercury and asbestos posed to laborers and the correlation of these and other metals with lung disease.

About 1700, Italian physician Bernardo Ramazzini – today known as the Father of Occupational Medicine – published his findings on the topic of occupational disease. He famously urged other doctors to ask their patients “What is your trade?”, drawing a definite link between the typical conditions of … Read more...

Health and Safety Program Performance, Engagement and Autonomy

Health & Safety

The national retail federation in the U.S. estimates that retail supports 1 out of every 4 jobs in the United States. Retail is incredibly important to the global economy.  In fact, many if not all of us have probably been employed by the retail industry at some point in our lives. As such, most of us understand how critical motivation and culture are in that industry. This is especially true as it relates to employee workplace health and safety.

The interesting thing about “work” and modern research into workplace culture, motivation, and engagement, is that many of the core philosophies of business are being challenged. Even in industries such as retail that come with so much history. Research today is showing a direct link between employee happiness and engagement, with company performance, and ultimately company safety and quality performance.

What does it means to really be engaged at work Read more...

Transforming Health & Safety

Saving safetyWhat got us to where we are today will not get us to where we want to be tomorrow.

Decades of awareness building, training, and record keeping on Occupational Health and Safety – spearheaded by private and public enterprises and prodded along by governments – have got us to where we are today. These efforts have moved us incrementally along a path over the past four decades from literally dozens of deaths per day in the US alone, to a quarter of this number today.

However, the new standard many companies are striving for of zero fatalities and zero serious injuries requires a breakthrough. Traditional health and safety investments relying on moral suasion and larger budgets suffer from diminished returns after a certain point. To drastically change safety outcomes, we need to look beyond traditional Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) approaches. New social and mobile technology offer hope of getting … Read more...

NSC Reflections – Safety Stakeholders

nsc-blogLast week, I was fortunate to attend the National Safety Council Conference as a member of the Intelex contingent. This year, the NSC was hosted in Anaheim California, right around the corner from Disneyland.  Truth be told, it was a nice break from the onset of the Canadian fall weather. The event was well run and was host to over 10,000 attendees looking for ways to move their organizations’ safety programs forward.

The expo was home to over 1,000 exhibitors that represented an incredibly diverse range of health and safety solution providers. Every corner of the expo floor showcased innovations from advancements in fire proof materials to new types of shock absorption, and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). One theme expressly present across these innovations was a focus on the primary stakeholder in any safety program – the worker at risk. Vendors showcased new ways to shield workers … Read more...

How to Evolve Safety from Protection to Prevention to Prediction

Road

I’m in the market to buy a new car. My shopping experience thus far has led me to be absolutely amazed by how much has changed in the automobile landscape in just a few years. The vehicle I’m replacing is only 6 years old, but in terms of technology and capability it already feels like an antique. One observation that stands out is the amazing pace of change in car safety. Automobile safety has gone from protection, to prevention, to prediction in what feels like a matter of years.

The emergence of automobile safety initiatives in the 1960s and 1970s was driven (no pun intended) by the research of people like Ralph Nader. This research and advocacy led to car manufacturers to make features such as seat belts standard in cars, which soon evolved into air bag technology and structural engineering to account for crumple zones. These innovations transformed vehicles … Read more...

Intelex Community | This Week: Quality

Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality Professional CommunityWe invite you to join our Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality professional discussions. This week Community Member Peter-Elias Alouche share in his post

Upcoming changes to ISO/TS 16949:2016, we invite you to join the discussion and share your knowledge with our member.

  • Upcoming changes to ISO/TS 16949:2016

  • Is That My Employee? Multi-Employer, Joint-Employer, Independent Contractors and Temp Workers
  • Join Member Gerald Whitehouse  in his Office Ergonomics Discussion group; and

  • Hazardous Materials: – Proposed

Read more...

Intelex Community | This Week: Policy

Image

Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality Professional CommunityWe invite you to join our Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality professional discussions. This week Community Mentee Member Emma Mensah asked our new Mentor Moments about how to write an OHS Policy Statement, we invite you to join the discussion and share your knowledge with our member.

  • Mentor Moments: Writing an OHS Policy Statement

  • How to create sustainable performance and achieve organizational goals through safety. Member Ron Gantt will discuss creating a sustainable safety performance and more;

  • Join Member Gerald Whitehouse  in his Office Ergonomics Discussion group; and

  • National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry – Rule

Read more...

Intelex Community | This Week: Analysis

Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality Professional Community

We invite you to join our Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality professional discussions. This week Community Member Emma Mensah asked our new Mentor Moments “How do you conduct an On-site Job Safety Analysis (JSA)? we invite you to join the discussion and share your knowledge with our member.

  • Mentor Moments: On-site Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

  • How to create sustainable performance and achieve organizational goals through safety. Member Ron Gantt will discuss creating a sustainable safety performance and more;

  • Join Member Vince Marchesani and Eric Morris in their Leading and Transformational Indicators in EHS&Q Discussion group; and

  • Extension of the Attainment Date for the Oakridge, Oregon 24-hour PM2.5 – Rule

Read more...

Intelex Community | This Week: Bad Data

Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality Professional Community

We invite you to join our Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality professional discussions. This week Community Member Sarah Fuller shares a post about Data with the insights that there is no such thing as bad data, just bad analysis

  • Data: No such thing as bad data just bad analysis

  • How to create sustainable performance and achieve organizational goals through safety. Member Ron Gantt will discuss creating a sustainable safety performance and more;

  • Join Member Gerald Whitehouse in his Office ErgonomicsDiscussion group; and

  • Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances; Correction – Rule

Read more...