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


What We Found: Ladder Safety & Top 10 2014 OSHA Violations

At the Safety & Numbers blog, we spend a lot of time writing about work safety, fall protection, industry news, small business safety policy, etc. etc. etc.  The truth is though, we typically gather our information from the same place you do… the worldwide web.  We just try to package it in digestable morsels and hit the high notes to keep you informed on the go.

So today I am happy to introduce a new blog post category for your enjoyment… ‘What We Found Today’ is intended to cut through the muck and get right down to the business of sharing information that is valuable to you. Without further ado, here is What We Found Today, October 30th, 2014, featuring ladder safety, OSHA News & ANSI guidelines.

New ALI Ladder Safety Website with Training & Interactive Quiz

Have you visited AmericanLadderInstitute.org lately?  The site has a new design and content, with updated links to OSHA documents, ANSI A14 documentation, an Online Store, and — of great interest to this blog — a Ladder Safety Training website complete with a Safety Quiz.  The Ladder Safety Training site provides training resources complete with Videos and interactive features such as posting the most recent Top Ladder Quiz scores.  And it’s free to register!

2014 Top 10 OSHA Violations finds 2 of the Top 3 in Construction

OSHA recently published the Top 10 OSHA violations in fiscal year 2014.  As expected, Fall Protection in Construction held it’s rein on the top position with 6,143 violations. The second highest violation category was Hazard Communication (which we touched on regarding the importance of hazard assessments earlier this month).  Scaffolding in Construction came in 3rd with 4,029 violations.

To review the complete Top 10 List for OSHA Violations, visit Safety.BLR.com

ANSI Ratings Explained… for Ladders

We’ve mentioned in previous posts that IAS’s Trucker ladders are rated ANSI Special Duty Type IAA.  That may mean a lot to you or that may mean very little, which is why we found this link explaining the ANSI rating system for ladders of particular value.  Of course, IAS’s trucking work platforms are also ANSI rated for 3 man / 3,000 lbs.  We haven’t found a helpful link for that so you’ll just have to contact us so we can let our technical experts explain.

With that we will leave you to enjoy the Halloween holiday and stay OSHA safe at work.

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.

OSHA Alliance and Fixed Ladders or Stairways for Fall Prevention

The OSHA Alliance Program is a cooperative effort to leverage resources related to safety initiatives, communication, and training.  OSHA Alliance includes ‘unions, consulates, trade or professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses, and educational institutions’ that promote work safety and support OSHA’s strategic goals.  Alliance members must be committed to working closely with OSHA and establishing teams or individual workers to facilitate the cause, while maintaining and growing knowledge and a safe work environment.  In addition to internal safety benefits, Alliance members are able to maintain progressive dialogue with OSHA and other champions of work safety.  To learn more, contact your OSHA Regional Office.

OSHA Ladder Fall Prevention Campaign

One of OSHA’s ongoing strategic goals is to mitigate risks and increase knowledge regarding falls from ladders.  Fall incidents are the leading cause of deaths in construction and present a wide range of potential work hazards.  Considering the variability of material, application, and objective for ladders and stairs, it is not surprising that OSHA produces a significant amount of standards and guidelines for fall protection safety.  In addition to OSHA’s ongoing Ladder Fall Prevention Campaign, requirements and resources that support this cause are provided by specialized organizations such as ANSI and MSHA (Mining Ladder Safety).

OSHA Alliance Solution: Fixed Ladders or Stairways

The OSHA Alliance Program has produced a summary solution document as a resource for preventing falls from ladders in construction work environments.  This Construction Safety Design Solution recommends specifying fixed ladders or stairways early on to eliminate the hazards and risks associated with portable ladders and to ensure proper ladder or stairway specifications for access to upper levels.  The document also provides links to applicable OSHA regulations and ANSI standards for detailed information. Visit OSHA Alliance member Prevention through Design for more work safety resources.

Custom Fixed Ladder or Stairway Design

Innovative Access Solutions has been producing fixed ladders and stairways for construction, manufacturing, maritime, energy, and other industries for many years.

Fixed Access Staircase     Fixed Access Ladder

Information about how IAS can help support your work safety initiatives is available at IAScustom.com, or click the above images to browse our custom design gallery.

Mining Industry Ladder Safety

The MSHA (Mining Safety & Health Administration) recently published an excellent summary of ladder safety standards for the mining industry.  The MSHA was formed to ‘administer the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act).  MSHA carries out the mandates of the Mine Act at all mining and mineral processing operations in the United States, regardless of size, number of employees, commodity mined, or method of extraction.’

The published document covers all topics and categories related to ladder safety training, from the basics of safe access requirements, requirements for each ladder category and special circumstances such as alternating tread and underground ladders.  This blog post will summarize standards related to Fixed Ladders, Mobile Equipment Ladders, and the basics of Access Requirements, Ladder Construction and Maintenance. For complete access to this valuable MSHA resource, mining professionals are encouraged to download the Mining Ladder Safety Standards PDF.

Safe Access & Construction and Maintenance

The MSHA standards document provides a detailed summary of possible mining ladder safety citations complete with images of compliant and non-compliant ladders.  In addition to common sense factors such as the condition and strength of a ladder, factors such as the height of the bottom rung, the width of the ladder uprights, ladders that require workers to climb over obstructions to mount or unmount, and other potential fall hazards are described. In some cases personal fall protection equipment such as lanyards and harnesses may also be required.

Fixed Ladders

Fixed ladders have been assigned highly detailed requirements specific to the application.  In many cases, safety measures such as landings, backguards, and protection for openings at the upper level are required.  To review these complex standards, we recommend reviewing the Mining Ladder Safety Standards presentation for details.

Mobile Equipment Ladders

“Fixed mobile equipment ladders must comply with applicable fixed ladder standards such as 30 CFR §§ 56/57.11005 and 30 CFR §§ 56/57.11017.”

The details provided in the MSHA ladder standards document are extended to include even standards for mobile equipment ladders.  These ladders must be maintained the same as other ladders and when affixed to equipment, fall under the fixed ladder category.  The uniqueness of mobile equipment fixed ladders leads to certain exemptions and standards that may also apply to walkways that provide access to operator cabs.

For information about designing custom ladder access solutions for your mining facility, contact Innovative Access Solutions, LLC.

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.