Posts Tagged ‘Safety Training’

What Is Workplace Violence?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Workplace violence is defined as violence or the threat of violence against workers. The violence or threat can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. No matter how it comes about, violence in the workplace is a growing concern for employers and employees across the nation.

Workplace violence can strike anywhere and at anytime. There are some professions that are at increased risk. Among them are workers who exchange money with the public; deliver passengers, goods, or services; or work alone or in small groups, during late night or early morning hours, or high crime areas. Other groups that are considered more vulnerable are health-care and social service workers; gas and water utility employees, workers that install phone and cable equipment, letter carriers, retail worker and taxi drivers.

There are measures that employers can take to help protect employees. Employers should implement a zero-tolerance policy towards violence in the workplace to safe guard employees. An employer should establish a workplace violence prevention program that is included in the employee manual of standard operating procedures. Additional protections to include are: safety education for employees; ensure a secure workplace; limit amount of cash on hand (if applicable); equip field staff with cell phones, hand-held alarms or noise devices; instruct employees not to enter a location where they feel unsafe or threatened.

Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not become a victim of workplace violence. While we hope that situation does not occur, there are ways employees can protect themselves as well. Learn how to recognize, avoid, or diffuse potential violent situations through safety training meetings; alert supervisors to any concerns and report incidents immediately; avoid traveling alone whenever possible; carry minimal money and required identification into community settings (high-crime areas).

Safety Training Resources has developed a Violence Prevention Training Program along with a Workplace Threat Assessment to help you identify and evaluate workplace security hazards and possible threats. Contact us at 314-808-3502 for a no-fee consultation.


Are You Providing Adequate Training?

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Failure to adequately train employees concerning job safety is a serious omission that can get an employer into a lot of trouble. Following is a lawsuit that makes the point.

A worker, who was not wearing work gloves when he was injured, sued his employer, claiming that the employer did not instruct him that wearing leather gloves was a mandatory safety precaution. This same employee passed a written test before he could work on railroad tracks for the company. He was taught how to set railroad track spikes during the on-the-job training.

At the pre-shift meeting that day, his assignment was discussed. He would be using a 10-pound steel maul head to manually set .8-pound steel spikes into railroad ties. An independent contractor was delegated as foreman in charge of the jobsite, but the employee’s supervisor, from the worker’s company, was ultimately responsible for safety.

The Accident
A steel spike shot out of the tie, striking and cutting the back of the employee’s wrist. No one was there to witness the accident. The employee’s supervisor was in a worksite trailer about 5 miles away. Even though the company had provided PPE to all employees, including leather work gloves, the employee was not wearing them when he was injured. The injury resulted in major surgery to repair tendons and nerves.

The company conducted an accident investigation and concluded that the injury was solely the employee’s fault because he had not followed the company’s safety rules and procedures, which contained expressed and repeated instruction that employees were responsible for complying with all safety rules and instructions, including wearing assigned PPE and following specific rules for using spike maul and setting and driving spikes.

The employee charged that the company was at fault because it did not make him aware that wearing the gloves was mandatory. And while he noted that 6 months earlier, his supervisor initiated a practice of training new employees by having them watch a series of safety videos, he had been working for the company for over 2 years, and therefore did not view these same videos until after his accident.

Keep in mind that the employee did admit to receiving a copy of the company’s safety rules and procedures, he argued that the rules did not address setting spikes or the use of gloves and the company did not have written rules regarding the use of gloves.

Eventually the employee filed suit against the company, alleging it had violated the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (law applicable to railroads). He sought compensatory damages for his injuries, past and present medical care, past and future mental and emotional distress, and post and future lost earnings.

So how do you think the court ruled?
The railroad company requested the court to dismiss the claims, which was denied saying that a jury should decide the matter and that there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could reasonably conclude that the employer was negligent for failing to define and enforce its own safety rules and for failing to properly train employees.

What Can You Do To Prevent Negligence Claims

First, make sure all employees are adequately trained. This includes all new hires and more importantly, existing employees who may be doing a job for the first time. Just because you have an employee working for you for years doesn’t negate the fact that they may not have performed a certain task and as such must be properly trained on the requirements of the task.

Second, provide PPE and require its use. It’s the responsibility of the employer to instruct employees about when and how to use PPE. Make sure they know they must wear it. And make sure you monitor that they are actually using the required PPE. This means that the site supervisor or foreman needs to be available to check in on the job and the employees.

Third, institute a company-wide Disciplinary Program and enforce it. The program should define the company’s policy of enforcing safety practices and the penalties that will be in place if an employee chooses to disregard them.

Finally, continuous learning through on-going safety training enforces a culture of safety and fosters good behaviors. Safety Training Resources in St. Charles, Missouri  is committed to helping companies institute a strong safety culture and can help bring all levels within an organization to work on a  common goal – Worker Safety and Health. Call us today to schedule an on-site safety consultation. Have you included safety training in your budget for 2012?


Safety Training Resources Transforms Safety Costs Into A Safe Investment

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The benefits of workplace safety performance are often undervalued because of communication barriers between safety professionals and executive management, and the challenge of instituting metrics that demonstrate safety performance in financial or strategic business value terms.

To turn that situation around, Safety Training Resources incorporates four basic strategies to enhance the business value of safety.

1. Identify safety as a core business value driver. Profitability is an obvious corporate value driver, but so are your brand name, compliance risk, and the productivity of your workers. All of these drivers are influenced to some degree by workplace safety activities.

 Safety Training Resources believes that increased productivity and reduced costs are the top benefits of workplace safety and health.   An investment in workplace safety can have a positive impact on your company’s financial performance. Many believe that a return of investment of $3 for every $1 they invested in workplace safety programs.  

2. View safety as an investment in continuous improvement. An “investment” is a commitment to earn a financial return or gain future benefits or advantage. Safety programs have been directly linked to the benefits of increased productivity and efficiency.

3. Use a combination of leading and trailing indicators of safety performance. Using the combination instead of just trailing (or lagging) indicators to measure progress toward business objectives is much more effective.

Leading indicators tell you about the future value or direction of performance.

  • Employee turnover rate can indicate future changes in productivity and/or injury rates.
  • The number and frequency of near-misses can indicate the risk of future accidents.
  • Hours of employee safety training completed or the number of employees trained can indicated changes in productivity and safety.
  • The number and/or frequency of completed inspections can indicate the level of compliance risk, integrity of equipment, and changes in productivity.

Trailing indicators tell you where you’ve been. For example:

  • Injury and illness reports
  • Lost workdays
  • Workers’ compensation claims

Trailing indicators can highlight past costs, but they are inconsistent and often unreliable indicators of future performance.

4. Enhance employee involvement. It’s not effective just to tell employees what to do and judge them on how well they follow directions. Since they are working with the process all the time, workers are more sensitive to the integrity of safety and productivity data than management. For example, workers can see what is really going on behind the data in the injury and illness reports where management often cannot. Employee involvement is now a major component of most true safety performance evaluation methods.


Safety Training Resources Offers Guidance to Stone Fabricators

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Safety Training Resources is providing Missouri’s Stone Fabricators with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help them protect employees’ health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to silica hazards and addressing safety related hazards in natural stone fabricating businesses, including, but not limited to material handling, with emphasis on slab handling issues. Safety Training Resources provides guidance on safety procedures for personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, hazard communication, slab handling, and OSHA compliance.
Our comprehensive approach to safety is designed to assist stone fabricators and distributors train and educate employees on how to identify and prevent safety and health hazards in your facility. Safety Training Resources will:

  • Conduct a Site Audit and provide a comprehensive Health Report
  • Conduct weekly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual Safety Meetings outlining Electrical Safety, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection, Personal Protective Equipment, and many other general safety topics
  • Conduct Dust and Noise Surveys to help understand hazardous exposure and assist in the elimination of dangerous workplace exposures (ie. silica)
  • Explain OSHA Recordkeeping requirements and assist in implementing recordkeeping procedures

Safety Training Resources is dedicated to helping you better understand the basics of OSHA Compliance for the Natural Stone Industry. Our goal is to keep your employees safe and to insure that your company is better informed on safety and health related issues. Call today for a “free” safety consultation.

Remember, safety is no accident.


Safety Training Resources’ Experience Can Modify Your Insurance Rates

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Many of our existing customers ask us the same question, “What is the best way to lower or reduce my company’s Experience Modification Rating (EMR)?

First, you have to understand what an EMR is.  The two factors that influence the EMR are the frequency and severity cost your recordable accidents.  The EMR is based on old, historical data.  For example: the 2011 EMR will be based on 2007, 2008 and 2009 accident histories.  Fiscal year 2010 is not used because it was the year just ending.

1) Track and trend the frequency of your accidents.  Attack your problem areas with training programs, focused inspections and targeted enforcement.  Change your culture to lower your incident ratios. 

2) Take a look at your deductible.  A low deductible can have a big impact on your mod rate versus a high deductible.  Talk with your insurance company and get recommendations about which one is best for your situation. 

 
Make sure your insurance company is timely in closing out cases and dropping reserves.  If you have an injury with a reserve, talk to your insurance company about their justification and get it reduced, if possible.

3) Don’t forget near misses.  Keep tabs on them as best you can.  They are often warnings of tomorrow’s accidents.  Your tracking information will tell you where to look.  Separate the safety problems into two groups: (1) things that can be fixed (improved) by changing conditions, and (2) things that can only be fixed by changing the way the employees act (behavior modification).

Unsafe conditions are usually a little easier to deal with, at least at the beginning.  Workplace conditions are generally under your direct control. Look for low hanging fruit:
• damaged or missing equipment
• missing guardrails
• under staffing issues or people who are not trained
• missing or inadequate machine guards
• are there employees (specific people with names) who are actually responsible for checking scaffolding, inspecting trenches, etc.?
• does everyone have a hard hat, a pair of safety glasses, and usable hearing protection?

Most of those issues can be fixed pretty quickly and relatively inexpensively.

Reducing unsafe actions (behavior modification) requires getting your people to think and work safely.  You have to change minds and change habits. Changing your company’s safety culture requires listening, understanding, training, explaining, fixing, and enforcing.

A safety policy is a good place to start.  It doesn’t have to be a formal document.  It can be as simple as: “If we cannot do it safely we don’t do it. There is nothing that needs to be done in our company which is so important that it is worth risking your health or safety.”  Spend time with your people explaining what safety means and why safety is important.  Having an owner or an officer honestly and believably describe the policy will help a lot.

Training is tough.  It can be helpful to bring in an outside expert (i.e. Safety Training Resources).  In some cases you can leverage OSHA’s regulations, for instance: “wearing safety glasses isn’t just a good idea or our rule, wearing them is the law.”

Train frequently and in small doses.  Frequent training provides an on-going reminder to think about safety and work safely.  Repeat the safety message clearly and frequently.  Routine training shows that you and the company really care about safety

Scheduling 5-15 minute training sessions can provide critical facts and timely reminders.  A small dose of learning gives your people one or a few things to think about and apply.  Short sessions mean that production isn’t held up.

What it all comes down to is…. ACCOUNTABILITY.  You can either turn your back on it, or you can make an affirmative decision to become part of the solution.  Don’t just say “NO”, give the supervisors and workers a safe alternative.  If you drastically cut back on the unsafe acts that happen everyday, the accidents and near misses will rapidly disappear and your EMR rate will come down.

Act Now!


Safety Training Resources advises Missouri employers on excessive noise levels….

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Safety Training Resources offers on-site consultation services that are independent from OSHA's enforcement efforts.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA‘s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

“Hearing loss caused by excessive noise levels remains a serious occupational health problem in this country,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Thousands of workers every year continue to suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. In 2008 alone, BLS reported more than 22,000 hearing loss cases, and OSHA remains committed to its emphasis on finding ways to reduce this toll.

Missouri employers can obtain advice from Safety Training Resources on addressing noise hazards. Safety Training Resources offers on-site consultation services that are independent from OSHA‘s enforcement efforts. On-site consultations identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management systems.

Safety Training Resources recommends initiating a robust compliance adherence effort that enhances your technical understanding of the standard and implements inexpensive, effective engineering controls for dangerous noise levels.

ACT NOW!


Safety Training Resources says “enlighten, educate, and empower”…..take a practical approach to implementing and managing your occupational health program for respirable dust.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Enlightenment…

Crystalline Silica is one of the most abundant minerals found in the earth’s crust. Nearly all industries in our complex civilization use crystalline silica in some way. A background level of respirable silica exists in ambient air. The term “respirable” typically refers to particulates 10 micrometers or less in diameter.

Crystalline silica is one of the most significant health hazards encountered in the minerals industry. The primary health hazard is from the inhalation of respirable silica dust, which may result in silicosis and other occupational lung diseases. In more recent years inhalation of respirable crystalline silica has been identified as a risk factor in the development of lung cancer.

The control of exposures to respirable silica has long been a concern to the occupational health profession, the minerals industry, and the regulatory community (MSHA). The current emphasis and increased enforcement of CFR 56.5002 is meant to hold your company accountable for proper and systematic monitoring of the workplace environment and the respiratory health status of your employees for the purpose of adequately protecting the workforce from the effects of overexposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Educate everyone…

Your company’s safety training program should provide a general review of respiratory health effects and the various routes by which airborne silica can exert its adverse influence on the respiratory system. It should describe the symptoms of overexposure. And finally, your safety training should reference the health risks associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Workplace dust sampling surveys can be conducted by an industrial hygienist or a non industrial hygienist such as a laboratory technician, quality control analyst, safety officer, or a similar person within the company (Safety Training Resources).

Dust sampling methods are to be both qualitative and quantitative.

While initial dust sampling is used to identify jobs, areas and equipment that may need dust control attention, in most work environments initial dust sampling is rarely sufficient to reliably reflect actual long-term worker exposure. To compensate for variation in dust levels, re-sampling is most always required. Re-sampling is conducted for a variety of reasons, such as gauging the efficiency of dust controls when introduced or modified, documenting the effect of process changes, and as a means to more reliably document worker exposure over time. MSHA has suggested that the minimum standard should be 2 employees being monitored twice per year.

Your company needs to establish dust controls when sampling indicates the need. Commonly applied dust control techniques intended to minimize respirable crystalline silica exposures begin with personal respiratory protection and end with substitution and engineering practices.

Empower with a purpose

Safety Training Resources is prepared to help your company implement and manage your occupational health program for respirable dust. We have the knowledge and equipment to minimize the risk of overexposure and compliance. Act Now!


Noise and Dust Monitoring Solutions in Missouri offered by Safety Training Resources

Monday, January 10th, 2011

MSHA is actively enforcing dust and noise regulations. It has initiated programmed inspections that will regulate dust and noise exposure in the workplace.

As of January 1, 2011 MSHA is no longer providing dust and noise monitoring. Mine operators are responsible for having controls in place and conducting their own sampling. This is a shift from MSHA’s enforcement of overexposures to MSHA enforcement of the mine operators’ requirement to conduct health hazard surveys and make appropriate changes to ensure miners are not overexposed to contaminants. Mine operators must demonstrate compliance rather than relying on enforcement interventions.

Are you willfully exposing your workers to dangerously high levels of hazardous dust and/or noise? Do you have a Safety Strategy in place that addresses workplace exposure?

Safety Training Resources is partnering with companies just like yours to plan and implement dust and noise programs. We have the knowledge and equipment to conduct surveys as frequently as necessary.

5 W’s and How…Your Solution to Dust and Noise Compliance

Who? – US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration
What? – Increased focus on Dust and Noise exposure monitoring
Where? – Metal and Nonmetal Mines throughout the United States
When? – Right Now!
Why? – To protect miners from overexposure to harmful levels of dust and noise, and to ensure mine operators have the required safety programs in place to meet the standard.
How? – Safety Training Resources has the knowledge and experience to assist mine operators in planning and implementing programs to protect miners and conduct workplace surveys for both dust and noise exposure.

Safety Training Resources will:

  • Conduct a Site Audit
  • Write Dust and Noise Exposure Plans
  • Identify Control Measures
  • Assist in program implementation
  • Conduct dust and noise exposure monitoring

ACT NOW!


Safety Training Resources Partners With Missouri Businesses

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Safety Training Resources is building strong relationships with Missouri businesses to help them manage and better understand their responsibilities when it comes to safety and health programs.  Jeff Viehmann, President of Safety Training Resources, believes that creating and maintaining a safe workplace “makes good sense and means good business, strong morale, and a healthy bottom line”.  He also understands that “it’s the law!”

Safety Training Resources is committed to providing comprehensive safety services and products that will protect your business and help keep your workers safe. The company believes in listening to its customers and adapting to their needs.  Jeff Viehmann promises that “we will meet with you to understand your company’s safety goals and financial disciplines”.  Safety Training Resources partners with its customers to build safety and health programs that protect employees and contractors, reduce losses and insurance costs, ensure government compliance and protect your reputation.

Safety Training Resources specializes in:

  • OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour Training (General & Construction Industry)
  • MSHA Part 46 New Miner Training
  • Noise Sampling
  • Dust Sampling
  • Written Safety Programs
  • Safety Audits
  • Equipment-specific training
  • Safety Training on individual safety topics, i.e.; Confined Spaces, Fall Protection, Basic First Aid,

Whether you need training on a single topic or a comprehensive written safety program, Safety Training Resources has the knowledge and experience to enhance your company’s safety culture.

For more information about Safety Training Resources call Jeff Viehmann, president at 314-808-3502 or email him at j.viehmann@safetytrainingresources.com.