Workplace safety lapses continue to occur despite the development of preventive engineering solutions. Employers reported 2.9 million nonfatal worker injuries and illnesses in 2016, according to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. More shockingly, more than 5,100 employees died on the clock over the same 12-month span. While both of these figures constitute historical lows, room for significant improvement exists. Environmental health and safety stakeholders can catalyze progress and see further reductions in worker injury and fatality rates by putting into place formalized incident management strategies and the tools that support them.
The diversity of modern work environments means that while the majority of the workforce spends its days in a building, it is equally likely others work in the great outdoors. And while the latter work hazards may differ greatly from those encountered inside, companies still need to make sure that their occupational safety protocols are compliant with federal regulations.
The end of a year is a time for companies to reflect, review and, inevitably, make business-orientated resolutions for the next 12 months. Irrespective of the size of an organization, the roadmap for 2018 will have been planned, with the expectation being that stated goals will not only be achieved before the end of 2018, but also contribute to a healthy bottom line.
Companies that fail to provide their employees with a safe working environment are leaving themselves open to both legal action and federal citations. As our work/life balance continues to skew toward the workplace, there is an expectation that employers should be taking safety as seriously as they do the bottom line.
Representatives from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration recently announced the top 10 workplace safety violations for 2017. The agency personnel publicized the information during the National Safety Council Congress and Expo, as has become custom. Patrick Kapust, deputy director for the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs, led the announcement and offered some historical context to the new data set, Safety and Health Magazine reported.
In October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released the list of the 10 most common safety citations issued in 2017. Fall protection once again topped the list, accounting for approximately 6,072 violations.
Construction workers face numerous physical hazards when navigating worksites. From multistory structures and moisture-slicked surfaces to overbearing power tools and large-scale industrial vehicles, builders encounter all manner of danger. While many employees in the industry manage to avoid sustaining injuries on the job, a significant number fall victim to various worksite hazards. In 2015, more than 930 workers were injured on construction sites, constituting approximately 21 percent of the all workplace injuries recorded that year, according to research from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. While many of these builders succumb to some of the traditional dangers mentioned above, others visited hospitals due to an under-the-radar yet equally debilitating threat: respirable crystalline silica.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has amended its workplace injury reporting requirements numerous times since Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. In May 2016, the organization once again revised these regulations, releasing the "Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," which required enterprises to keep electronic records detailing all worker injuries sustained on-site and submit this data for public consumption. The new rule, which carried an implementation date of Jan. 1, 2017 and a record submission start date of July 1, 2017, was designed to promote transparency and arm environmental health and safety researchers with the insights they needed to develop actionable, data-backed strategies for reducing worker injuries and fatalities.
Organizations across numerous industries are taking steps to improve workplace safety. In their respective quests to protect employees, many are embracing incident management software. How do these platforms help businesses bolster safety and improve operations?
Businesses embarking on environmental health and safety improvement activities sometimes balk at the notion of implementing new backend tools, such as compliance auditing software, that catalyze EHS growth. Installation can require considerable time and corporate resources. In the end, EHS stakeholders are reluctant to commit to these expenditures in fear of implementing solutions that generate paltry return on investment. However, powerful, well-tested compliance auditing solutions like the one we produce at ProcessMAP can reliably deliver optimal ROI, ultimately paying for themselves not long after the implementation process has concluded. How?