Budgeting for Work Injury Prevention & Safety Risk Management Strategy

As we begin to budget for strategic objectives in 2015, several work safety topics centered around an important theme come to light.  Posts ranging from safety training to workers comp/EMR risk, the importance of conducting fall hazard assessments and engineering fall prevention design — each capture elements of what I believe to be the annual theme for our blog, and what may be the most notable national work safety theme of 2014: Preventive Safety Risk Management Strategy.

Comprehending and preparing for the preventive work safety trend will prepare you for 2015 budgeting and set your organization on the path towards a beneficial work safety culture. While this may sound complicated, strategy setting will become easier after considering the benefits of preventive safety strategy.

First, Consider the Benefits of Safety Risk Management

The concept of pursuing Injury Prevention tactics for Safety Risk Management is not a revolutionary approach, nor is it a simple strategy to follow. The motivation behind injury prevention strategies that minimize risk to reap long term safety benefit is based in the complementary advantages provided by a preventative safety culture. Risk prevention strategy involves foresight and planning, and requires a greater upfront investment cost. Over time it will result in fewer injuries, worker lost time reductions, improved workers comp rates, and other indirect savings and benefits. From this perspective, preventative safety risk management ultimately provides inherent value to businesses that are financially stable and well-managed.  These businesses are typically set up to plan ahead strategically and invest accordingly. If they are able to effectively implement safety risk management strategy, they will thrive when compared to protection-focused strategies with stringent safety controls.

Safety risk management investments provide ROI via reduced workers comp claim costs, less lost worker time, culture and morale benefits

…then brainstorm Injury Prevention Strategies

The elements of successful injury prevention strategies are not unlike those of a typical work safety program, with respect to procedural elements. Hazard assessments, incident recording, policies and training remain standard work safety objectives. The subtle difference between injury prevention through safety risk management versus protection and control strategies is that prevention policies and controls are engineered to prevent risk, as opposed to simply identifying risk areas and protecting workers. For example, while injury risk hazard assessments are an element of most work safety programs, an overarching preventive strategy will interject that step into the initial processes of any new development or work activity.  The goal is circumventing, not simply mitigating, potential risk areas. With this in mind, preventive strategy is most effective when work safety culture is established and new initiatives are supported by an acknowledged organizational safety commitment.

Reassess work processes with a risk prevention approach and inject the process into strategic planning

Preventive Safety Incentives & Training Ideas

In support of building a work safety culture that values and supports injury prevention ahead of protective measures, safety incentives should be structured to reward preventative innovation as opposed to strict adherence to performance metrics such as injury rates or lost time. For example, an organization might hold a contest that challenges employees to propose an injury risk prevention strategy that reduces injury risk for the work process that had the highest injury rate the previous year. This approach delivers the strategic preventative message while working to solve a problem, and also helps to increase employee commitment through involvement. Similarly, training documentation should emphasize the importance of avoiding unnecessary risks as much as utilizing the proper protective equipment or following the recommended procedure. In an injury prevention safety environment, the goal should be to efficiently avoid risks, not plow through them with precautionary measures.

Safety policies that require PPE can often be improved via equipment investments that increase efficiency and reduce injury risk

Now You’re Ready to Budget Your Injury Prevention Risk Management Investments

We at the Safety & Numbers blog encourage you to invest in injury prevention engineering strategies and equipment as you write the 2015 budget. Establishing preventative work safety as a cultural value will not only offer the ‘usual suspect’ benefits (monetary expenses, less lost worker time, improved morale, etc.). Over time it will provide indirect benefits such as workers comp rate and hiring advantages. Need help with your injury prevention safety planning? Contact IAS


The Trucker Newsletter: Fleet Friendly Trucker Access

At Safety & Numbers we are building customer interest in The Trucker Series trailer access products, in the form of real genuine online product reviews at IAScustom.com.  You know… like the ones you see on Amazon, only better. We think IAS produces the highest quality and safest trailer ladders available and we’d like you to help us make the web just a little bit more accurate on that topic.

In fact, our newsletter is offering a promotion for those who provide an Online Product Review at IAScustom.com. And yes indeed, we want to pass along that promotional opportunity to you faithful readers as well. Simply provide an email address with your Online Product Review and/or Sign Up for Our Newsletter so we can send along the promotional code.  Thanks in advance!

An Excerpt from the September 2014 IAS Trucker Newsletter….  Sign up Here

In a day and age when impressions are gathered in 140 characters and time is managed down to the minute, versatility and convenience are especially valuable. That’s why many of our customers choose The Trucker® Series. Our ladders are easy and safe for any truck driver or style.

The shining example we have mentioned before. The Trucker is the Safety Best Practice at United Rentals. With over 800 locations, that is no small feat. Still, we’re proud to serve companies across the country and in dozens of industries. We want you to know that this isn’t just brash talk. The Trucker Series ladders have exceeded even our own expectations as we have grown over the years.

Continue reading The Trucker Newsletter: Fleet Friendly Trucker Access

Fortune 500 Contractor Provides Testimonial for Trucker®

IAS produces access ladders for a wide variety of customers across the country. IAS products are safe, durable and convenient for applications ranging from contractor work safety to boat boarding at the lake. This versatility has earned raves from safety minded contractors and mobility challenged individuals alike.

Here are two examples of testimonials for work safety and optimal accessibility.

Fortune 500 Trucker Ladder Testimonial

The Trucker Series Trailer AccessTrucker® ladders are designed for simple and safe access to any truck trailer.  This safety manager at a Fortune 500 construction contractor and long time IAS customer has great things to say about Trucker® trailer access ladders.

I have utilized your products on jobs I have worked on for the past 4 years, once we started using your Trucker and Drop Deck ladders we realized the great benefits and quality the IAS products provided.  Since using your products our yard bosses and operators have asked for them by name.

Any time I show up on a new job, your ladders are one of my first purchases.  Our truck loading and unloading procedures now call for your ladders specifically, they are in such high demand they have to be assigned to crews and locked in the storage box at the end of each shift.  I couldn’t ask for a better product as far as safety, quality and ease of use.  

Thanks for a great product,

Patrick from Georgia 

Very Impressed Tooner Ladder Customer

Tooner Pontoon Boat LaddersThe Tooner I Ladder is designed for safe and convenient access to pontoon boats.  This customer was especially grateful for the accessibility and safety of the stairway ladder design with a rope available to assist with ascending up and out of the water.

I hope that you had a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. Just so you know, we are very impressed with the ladder and it’s quality. I had a skydiving accident 5 years ago, and injured my spinal cord. I have limited mobility, and this ladder now allows me to go into the water and enjoy the lake with everyone else. Seems like a small thing, but it’s HUGE to me.
Again, Thank you
Craig from Florida

OSHA National Safety Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

OSHA has produced a number of resources in support of the national Fall Prevention Campaign since its inception in 2012.  Perhaps the best opportunity for businesses to show support for this important OSHA initiative will arrive in June 2014 via the National Safety Stand Down for Fall Protection.  OSHA is encouraging construction professionals nationwide to halt work activity during the week of June 2nd  for the purpose of dedicating time to educate workers about the importance fall protection safety.

Preventing Falls in Construction - National Safety Stand Down

OSHA Fall Prevention Safety Stand Down

Employers, contractors, trade associations, government affiliates, unions, and professional societies are all encouraged to participate in the nationwide Fall Prevention Safety Stand Down event.  OSHA is even providing a Certificate of Participation for employers that provide feedback to OSHA about their participation by July 15th.

Topics of discussion during your stand down event may include safety topics such as ladder safety, fall protection equipment, or scaffolds safety.  Participants are invited to discuss work hazard identification and risk management, fall prevention best practices, and company safety policies.  Stand Down for Safety will provide the opportunity to directly discuss a preventable and prevalent cause of death or injury in construction.

National Safety Stand Down Resources

In addition to the opportunity for businesses and organizations to take part in the National Safety Stand Down, OSHA will be sponsoring events nationwide and has provided free education and training resources in support of the cause.

IAS will be participating in the OSHA Fall Prevention Safety Stand Down 2014 and hope you are also excited to take part.  We encourage you to share your Stand Down stories with us and invite you to call our office at (800) 388-6884 for the opportunity to collaborate, motivate and celebrate our mutual interest in preventing falls.

Shipyard Work Safety

Shipyard work safety programs for private sector businesses are generally under the jurisdiction of Federal OSHA regulations.  The shipyard workplace environment presents a wide range of  injury hazards including confined spaces, scaffolds and ladders, rigging, and equipment associated with painting, welding, and material handling.  To help reduce the risks affiliated with these environments, Personal Protective Equipment is frequently recommended.  OSHA has published a complete guide to Shipyard Industry Safety Standards with recommendations for small, medium, or large businesses.

Of particular interest to this blog are the shipyard safety standards provided for Scaffolds, Ladders, and Other Working Surfaces.  In this post we will take a look at the training recommendations for work safety Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control, and also provide information about access products to meet OSHA requirements at shipyards.

Hazard Identification and Controls

We have discussed the importance of work hazard assessments on this blog.  The published OSHA standards cover the basic policies of inspecting the workplace, evaluating the level of risk, and working with employees and management to identify and determine solutions to work hazards.  In addition, OSHA provides valuable recommendations regarding how to manage risk associated with identified hazards in the short term while longer term solutions are being developed.  Placing priority on hazard abatement timeframe is important, and interim solutions should be considered.

OSHA also emphasizes the importance of systematic processes, from checking injury logs in support of hazard identification, to using checklists during inspections and breaking down jobs into tasks to determine root causes of accidents or hazards.  The Shipyard Standards document additionally provides a hierarchy of hazard prevention controls, starting with engineering and work practice improvements.  These involve ‘physical changes to jobs’ and are the top level priority.  When engineering controls are not feasible, or in support of engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment are to be considered next in the hazard prevention hierarchy.

Custom Shipyard Access Products from IAS

OSHA provides detailed requirements for scaffolds, ladders, deck openings and edges, and access to vessels, dry docks/marine railways, and cargo spaces.  Innovative Access Solutions has provided shipyard work safety access products for each of these applications.  A few of the OSHA-referenced access solutions include portable metal ladders, gangways, guardrails, platforms, access to lower levels, and ladders for accessing cargo areas or confined spaces.  IAS is experienced, knowledgeable and available to help meet your shipyard access needs.  Contact IAS at (800) 388-6884 to inquire about shipyard access products.

Fall Protection PPE Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) covers a wide range of industries and safety objectives, from law enforcement to sports, industrial settings, contractors and even casual retail environments.  The various functions of PPE are designed to protect hazards in support of work safety policies and controls.  These can range from bodily injury, exposure to environmental threats, breathing mechanisms, and much more.

With OSHA having a renewed focus on Fall Protection and having imposed new rules for Fall Protection PPE, businesses in a range of industries are investing heavily in fall protection equipment.  Consider the following review of Fall Protection PPE equipment and how it can help to reduce injuries at your workplace.

Personal Protective Equipment Options for Workplace Fall Protection Safety

Personal Protective Equipment is required by OSHA when positive fall protection such as guardrails, access platforms, gangways, catwalks, and stairways are unavailable.

When guardrails and other positive fall protection are not available to protect from falls, workers must use personal fall protection systems (such as harnesses, lanyards, lifelines). [29 CFR 1910.6729 CFR 1915.7129 CFR 1915.73, and 29 CFR 1915.77]

Harnesses & Lanyards

Harnesses and lanyards are considered personal protective equipment since each individual worker must be fitted with the equipment for fall protection safety, as opposed to an all encompassing solution.  A lanyard is the rope or other length of connection between a single point anchor source and a safety harness, worn by an employee.  Snap hooks, D-rings and caribiners are utilized to ensure a safe connection.  Anchors must be secured and can be affixed to a variety of stable structures.  The complete fall protection system must be able to adequately support the weight of the employee.  Fall protection PPE systems are typically categorized as a fall restraint system, which prevents falls similar to a car seat belt, and a fall arrest system, which catches a falling worker prior to contact with the ground or other solid structure.

Fall Restraint Systems

The advantage of fall restraint systems is the prevention of the need to absorb the shock and otherwise prevent further injury in the event of a fall.  Further, in cases where the environment requires rescue efforts in the case of a fall, a fall arrest system is preferred.  Generally speaking, fall arrest systems are more safe and less expensive, while more limiting and often less efficient in a workplace.

Fall Arrest Systems

Fall arrest systems often require shock absorbing lanyards and must be carefully considered to avoid further injuring the employee when a fall occurs.  These systems are often used in work environments such as roofing, construction, and shipyards.  In these work environments, a fall is more permissible compared to a mining operation or manufacturing plant with heavy machinery.

Horizontal and Vertical Lifelines

Lifelines are a broad range of fall protection equipment that can be applied for horizontal applications such as roofs or ship decks, as well as vertical applications such as enclosed spaces or ladder systems.  As opposed to a single point anchor, lifelines provide more freedom of movement as they are typically connected to a cable, pipe, or other continuous structure.  Horizontal systems can be designed to provide ultimate movement flexibility via pass through systems, overhead connections, and other similarly unobtrusive mechanisms.  Vertical lifelines can be track based or climb assist systems on ladders at heights, or pulley operated systems for confined spaces and similar applications.  In each case, lifelines generally differ from harness and lanyard systems in so much that they are less mobile and more of a direct method for cases where fall protection risk is consistent and eminent.