Lightning bolts are static electricity discharges, with which their formation is impossible to avoid. However, we can take measures to protect and prevent workers against the risk of electric shock by direct lightning impact.
In the Technical Note of Prevention (NTP) 1.084, published by the Spanish National Institute of Safety and Hygiene at Work and written with the assistance of Aplicaciones Tecnológicas, the main risks related to storm phenomena with electrical device are explained.
The electric shock by direct lightning impact on workers located in open areas can occur when work is carried out in open spaces in the presence of electrical storms, such as: agricultural or livestock tasks, installation of equipment on roofs, works on oil platforms, airports, ports, maintenance of power lines or wind turbines, edification during its construction, etc.
To protect against the risk of electric shock from direct lightning impact, according to the NTP 1.084 for the prevention of occupational risks caused by lightning strikes, there are permanent and temporary protection measures. Within the permanent protection measures are lightning rods andsurge protection devices, which require a fixed installation to the structures and equipment to be protected. Temporary measures, on the other hand, are those that are adopted when a local storm detection system warns of the imminent risk of lightning strike, but are then deactivated when the risk has disappeared. These temporary protection measures can complement the permanent ones, but never replace them.
In parallel to these protection measures, safety standards must be set and followed by all workers that are potentially exposed to the risk of electric shock by direct lightning strike.
Achieving the expected results, being efficient, improving productivity, meeting customers’ expectations and generating growth are some of the many challenges we face whether working in the industrial sector or in any other type of organization for that matter. However, this daily dynamic should not make us forget something as important as investing in prevention and concerning us with better job safety.
That’s why today we would like to share 5 key elements that will allow us to better understand the importance of approaching this issue from the correct angle:
First, it’s important to clarify that when we talk about investing in prevention – when we refer to the positive aspects of improving safety at work – we are not only talking about an economic investment. What we mean is that it’s necessary to dedicate time and energy to ensure that it becomes one of the pillars of our organization and it extends professionally and globally throughout our business.
Then, it’s important to consider that the correct implementation of occupational safety and prevention measures should define the potential risks of workspaces, take appropriate measures, explain the issue to the workers in that space, and follow-up the matter ensuring it does not generate later complications.
Similarly, it’s vital to understand that work in occupational safety must be “transversal “: that is, it must cover all areas and levels of the company. All members of the organization must also incorporate the established parameters to their work.
Safety at work policies must continually be updated. The work environment is a dynamic space in a constant state of change and where operating parameters can vary or be affected. Therefore, it is essential to keep our safety practices and policies up to date and adjust or correct everything necessary to ensure compliance with the standards established. In this sense, the correct training of employees is also key, as well as the tests of maintenance of competences and the training of the new members of the organization.
Finally, we can assure that once we integrate quality policies pertaining to job safety, we will not only be protecting the most important thing in our business – which is the integrity of the members of the organizations, but we will also be adding efficiency and quality to the firm, which will end up having positive effects in the areas of results and productivity mentioned at the beginning of this post.
We have attended thousands of safety meetings where the body language of the people coming in clearly indicates they don’t want to be there and that they have more important things to be doing.
Experience has told them that safety meetings are more TELL than share and more LISTEN than engage, more POWERPOINT than powerful, and sadly they are often right! Safety meetings should be an opportunity to inspire people, to show them how much we care for them AND to leave them thinking about being safe and helping those around them to be safe too.
When we think about it, any safety culture can be boiled down to one simple word, CARE. We want colleagues who genuinely care for their own safety and the safety of each other. So every safety meeting should have that as its focus. A great question to ask is “How can we inspire people to take good care of themselves and each other?” And if you don’t have the answer, ask your people. They will give you some great ideas.
Leaders, spend time going out meeting your teams on their worksites. Chat with them, engage with them and you will hear of how safety can be improved. Don’t just drag people into compulsory safety meetings, engage with them and see safety improve.
Remember, behind every safety statistic or trend, a person, a family and a community has been hurt.
Electrical power is no longer a convenience but an absolute necessity. It’s how businesses keep the lights on, industries keep running, and households keep food rooms warm and food fresh.
This dependence, along with economic growth, technological advancement, and population increase, has driven a high demand for electricity. And as the size of the electrical market grows, so do the dangers of workplace exposure to electrical hazards.
In reality, almost every single facility has a need for electrical safety, since everyone from maintenance workers, janitorial staff, facilities staff, and equipment operators regularly interact with electrical equipment.
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In this article, I’ll go over the three pillars of a successful electrical safety program. If your workers face electrical hazards, ensuring their safety will require you to:
Identifythe need for electrical safety
Verify electrical protective equipment before use
Comply with equipment testing standards
Identifying the Need for Electrical Safety
Arc flash and electrical shock injuries continue to pose a significant threat to workplace health and safety. Anywhere from five to ten arc explosions occur in electric equipment every day in the United States, and as many as ten U.S. workers are killed or injured according to CapSchell Inc., a Chicago-based research and consulting firm.
Moreover, the risks associated with shock and electrocution from inadvertent contact with energized parts have also long been recognized as a danger to workers, and they aren’t going away anytime soon (if ever). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrocution is the fifth leading cause of workplace fatalities in the United States, with more than 2,000 fatal and more than 24,000 non-fatal electrical injuries reported in the last 10 years. Since the BLS counts arc flashes as burns rather than in its electrical shock statistics, the true rate of electrical shocks is even higher. Furthermore, OSHA estimates that 80% of electrically-related accidents and fatalities involving “Qualified Workers” are caused by arc flash or arc blast.
OSHA rules and the NFPA 70E standard make the use of rubber insulting products mandatory when even the smallest probability of contact with 50 volts AC or higher exists. Regardless of the heavy fines, serious injuries, and deaths that occur from arc flash and electrical incidents, compliance continues to remain an issue. What’s even more shocking is that many workers are not using rubber insulating equipment because they simply don’t know they need it.
Electrical Safety PPE
While the best way to prevent arc or electrical incidents from happening is to de-energize equipment before beginning work, there are instances where turning off the power could create an even greater hazard. As such, employers and facility owners must establish safe practices to protect their workers against arc flash incidents, including guidelines for the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Rubber insulating products, such as the gloves, blankets, sleeves, line hoses, and hoods used by electrical workers today, are manufactured in accordance with industry consensus specifications under the auspices of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). These ASTM standard specifications are referenced in the OSHA regulations dealing with electrical safety, specifically 29CFR1910.137 covering Electrical Protective Devices, and 29CFR1910.269 covering Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution.
Bear in mind that rubber gloves are the only protective gear designed for constant contact with, and protection from, energized conductors and equipment. All of the other items are designed for protection from accidental, incidental, or brush contact.
Choosing the Right Rubber Insulating Gloves
Take care to choose the correct rubber insulating glove for the task at hand and level of electrical exposure. Rubber insulating gloves are typically manufactured in sizes 8 to 12 (often in half sizes), although options in sizes 7 and 13 are available from some manufactures. In addition, rubber insulating gloves are available in different cuff lengths of 11, 14, 16 and 18 inches depending on the glove class.
Rubber insulating gloves are available in six specific voltage classes (Class 00 to Class 4). Other rubber insulating products are available in different voltage classes as well.
Proof Test Voltage
AC / DC
Max. Use Voltage
AC / DC
2,500 / 10,000
500 / 750
5,000 / 20,000
1,000 / 1,500
10,000 / 40,000
7,500 / 11,250
20,000 / 50,000
17,000 / 25,500
30,000 / 60,000
26,500 / 39,750
There is a significant margin of safety between the proof test voltages and the maximum working voltage. Gloves\a and other rubber insulating products must be permanently marked to indicate the voltage class, and the gloves and sleeves must also have a color-coded label identifying the voltage class.
Verifying Product Integrity with Visual Inspections
OSHA and ASTM standards also require regular inspection of in-service electrical protective equipment in order to maintain compliance and ensure the products’ safety and integrity when exposed to a wide range of voltages.
Visually inspecting rubber gloves and sleeves identifies physical, chemical, or ozone damage. Inspecting under direct light is recommended because it enhances the ability to see surface imperfections on the rubber. Inflating the gloves with air or otherwise stretching the surface helps identify age and ozone damage as well as other physical damage such as snags, rope burns, deep cuts, and punctures.
Expand the gloves no more than 1.25 to 1.50 times their normal size. Listen for escaping air to detect holes. If a portable inflator is not available, use a rubber glove inspection tool or roll the glove cuff tightly to trap air inside. Then, apply pressure to areas of the glove to inspect for escaping air. Repeat the procedure again with the rubber gloves turned inside out.
All rubber insulating equipment should be thoroughly inspected prior to use. Common problems to look for include the following:
Cracking and Cutting– Prolonged folding or compressing can cause this type of rubber damage.
UV Checking– Storing in areas exposed to prolonged sunlight causes UV checking.
Chemical Attack– Oils and petroleum compounds can cause swelling of the rubber.
Avoid Folding– The strain on rubber at a folded point is equal to stretching the rubber to twice its length.
Snags– Wood, metal splinters and other sharp objects can snag or tear rubber.
Physical Damage– Rope burns, deep cuts, and puncture hazards are cause for rejection.
Perform Electrical Testing for Continued Compliance and Cost Savings
Various ASTM Manufacturing and Acceptance standards mandate the testing of the rubber insulating products by the manufacturer or supplier prior to the first delivery to the end user.
Users also have the option of performing or requiring an acceptance test upon receipt of the goods and prior to placing rubber insulating products into service. Once placed in service, there are periodic re-test intervals specified in the following ASTM standards:
ASTM F496 Rubber Insulating Gloves– 6 months (under very limited conditions this can increase to 9 months)
ASTM F496 Rubber Insulating Sleeves– 12 months
ASTM F479 Rubber Insulating Blankets– 12 months
ASTM F478 Line Hose & Covers– when field inspection or company policy warrant
Note that these in-service re-test intervals are the maximum permitted and must be performed in addition to daily field care and inspection. It is quite common for users, including power utilities and contractors, to specify shorter intervals. Do not, however, place rubber insulating products into service unless they have been electrically tested within the previous 12 months.
Rubber goods should be electrically tested at their rated test voltage using specialized equipment designed to gradually increase the voltage to the desired test level. The dielectric test is two-fold:
Pass/failon the ability to withstand the rated test voltage
For gloves, quantitativeon the ability to prevent electric current from passing through the rubber gloves above the maximum listed in the specifications
Products that pass the inspection and test procedures can then be returned to service.
Testing is a critical component to electrical safety – not only does it help maintain compliance, but it also increases savings. Rubber insulating products are costly, and these costs are often unnecessarily increased by purchasing replacements for products that could have remained in service with the proper testing and re-certification.
If you don’t have the equipment required to perform these electrical tests, there are independent testing facilities that can perform the acceptance and in-service testing on behalf of end users. ASTM standards recommend that the inspection and testing process include the following steps:
Removing previous testing markings
Washing with cleaning agents that will not degrade the insulating properties
Visual inspection (inside and out)
Packing in appropriate containers (to prevent folding, creasing, or similar stress on the rubber) for storage or shipment
When selecting a test lab for use, make sure it is NAIL (National Association of Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing) accredited. NAIL provides the only Laboratory Accreditation for electrical equipment test labs in North America.
Nearly all industrial workplaces have a need for electrical safety, and failure to comply can result in heavy fines, serious injuries, and even death.
OSHA and ASTM standards also require regular inspection and testing of in-service equipment in order to maintain compliance and ensure the products’ safety and integrity when exposed to a wide range of voltages.
Fortunately, there are practices that you can easily implement into your electrical safety program to help you prevent injuries, avoid citations and penalties, and curb superfluous spending. It starts with awareness of the need for electrical safety, and includes visual inspection as the first line of defense for your electrical safety products with periodical re-testing for continued confirmation of the equipment’s effectiveness.
It’s often said that our hands are the most important tools we have. And no wonder: their flexibility, strength, coordination, and sensitivity are unparalleled.
Since we use them in so many tasks, however, they are also one of the most vulnerable parts of our bodies.
Accidents due to cuts, lacerations, bumps, and impact cause painful injuries every year in a growing number of industries. And not only do they cause physical harm, but they are costly as well. Proper hand protection is crucial to keeping your workforce on the job instead of the emergency room.
Given the high cost of accidents, loss of productivity, and the pain and recovery that come from injuries, your hand protection plan can provide great benefits to you and your employees.
Know the Hazards
Before you can select the right hand protection, it’s important to know the hazards you’re dealing with and the level of protection you need.
A hazard identification assessment provides critical information for safety managers as they decide what kind of hand protection to choose. By taking an inventory of the work environment, lighting, tools, equipment, and materials that the worker uses and touches, you can learn a great deal about the safety gear they’ll need.
Engaging in open communication with workers also increases awareness of the hazards. For example, observing where both of the worker’s hands are placed when working with tools and machinery yields great information about cut hazards. Crew members can also share their experiences with supervisors about how they’re using the tools and machinery, and supervisors should be open to listening to and learning from them.
Choosing Cut-Resistant Hand Protection
With the information from the hazard assessment in hand, safety managers can begin to implement a plan to prevent cuts and lacerations, including choosing the right cut-resistant gloves for the task.
What is cut resistance? It’s the ability of a material to resist damage when challenged with a moving sharp-edged object. Cut resistance is measured using standard testing equipment, and is often used when comparing the safety of various styles of gloves. The ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 Hand Protection Selection Criteria provides cut-resistant guidelines, including a numeric scale, to help supervisors and users choose suitable gloves (see A Guide to Cut Resistance Levels for more details).
It’s important to note that cut resistance in gloves isn’t the only factor in preventing cuts. Tear strength, abrasion resistance, grip, and dexterity all contribute to cut protection as well.
Because our hands move quickly and frequently, painful blows can happen easily. Accidents from impact and pinching can be caused by tools, machinery, striking hard surfaces, heavy equipment, and more.
Impact-resistant gloves play a major role in preventing accidents. Innovative materials like Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) protect vulnerable areas of the hand and the full length of the fingers. Strategically-placed dense padding can also deflect blows.
The back of the hand is particularly susceptible to injury. This part of our anatomy is just as important to keeping our hands functioning as the palms, but unfortunately, it lacks the natural padding the palm gets from bigger muscles and thicker skin. Using TPR to absorb and disperse impact is especially helpful for preventing pain from blows to this vulnerable area.
Innovations in Glove Manufacturing
An uncomfortable, ill-fitting glove is far more likely to be left on the work bench, unworn. But, the good news is that glove comfort has come a long way. Advancements in materials and design are giving supervisors more choices than ever to provide their employees with the protection, comfort, fit, and dexterity that leads to better compliance and reduced accidents.
Today, cut-resistant gloves are made from Kevlar, High Performance Polyethylene (HPPE), steel, fiberglass, and new engineered composite yarns. They are softer, lighter, and cooler to wear than the work gloves of yesteryear.
Providing hand protection is more than just handing out gloves.
When possible, administrative and engineering controls, including machine guards, should be used to eliminate hazards. After all, if hands are out of harms’ way, accidents can be prevented.
When gloves are required, workers should be trained by someone knowledgeable in the employer’s safety policies and processes. Some important ongoing training topics include recognizing hazards, safe practices, and the gloves’ use, fit, and care, including recognizing when gloves are no longer providing adequate protection. Employers must regularly reinforce the value of wearing gloves and practicing safe work methods.
Other factors not related to gloves but not to be overlooked include workplace set-up, working conditions, and better lighting.
Another rising workplace policy is the restriction from wearing jewelry. One of the reasons behind this restriction is that rings, watches, and bracelets can get caught in machinery or pinch points and cause accidents. Having a clear policy in place and reinforcing the potential dangers can help workers feel more comfortable removing something as special or sentimental to them as a wedding ring.
One of the common topics that come up when general health and safety discussions are taking place is the future of the profession and what health and safety practitioners will likely be doing in say twenty or even thirty years’ from now.
From the start of the profession in the early 1800’s when the Factories Act led to the deployment of the first safety inspectors, through the industrial revolutions of the early 1900, fast forward to the establishment of 1974 health and safety at work act until our current times where the first International Health and Safety Management System (ISO 45001) was recently released; the health and safety profession has gone through many major transformations over the years.
As human beings, we are all to an extent, relatively wary of what the future may hold. As organizations we analyse trends, benchmark ourselves against the leading companies in our industry and spend millions on consultants who we hope can provide us with the know-how of where we are likely to be in years to come.
The rise of health and safety as a value rather than a priority is something that we are steadily experiencing among leaders of major organizations as they better recognise their duty of care and the importance of their support in ensuring worker welbeing is never compromised.
I am going to discuss four key elements which I believe can shed a light on the possible future of our industry as a result of some of the current early trends taking place within the health and safety profession. Trends that are likely to guide us into a future that is very different from what we are used to today.
The search for “Generalists” begins
As the health and safety profession matures, professional standards within the various industries are being established at a phenomenon pace. Many of these standards also become obsolete very quickly as new technologies emerge and organizations take proactive measures by developing their own standards that may surpass those of the regulation.
Health and safety is now a common area of education in many of the world’s best educational institutions, professionals are better educated and must learn the fundamentals of safety and health which, each year becomes broader in scope. Health and safety professionals now need to know about engineering concepts, workplace and general organization cultures, human behaviours, statistical analysis, fire safety, emergency response and crisis management, security, occupational health, ergonomics, human resources, industrial hygiene and many many more.
It is also becoming very clear that knowledge of environmental aspects of the business, sustainability, compliance and quality control are beginning to also fall into the same remit. Work titles such “safety managers” or “Environmental Manager” are slowly becoming more and more obsolete and being replaced by overall QHSE professionals in the higher management positions. On the other hand, with regards to less senior positions, as new fields are always emerging, the profession at that level will likely become broader and so will the rise of specialists occur in the fields of quality, health, safety, environment and emergency response. In some of the larger organizations, the field of health and safety will simply be too large for a single person to manage and a need for more specialists will become necessary.
The likelihood is however, that Generalists, who can put everything all together at the end will become more influential.
It’s now all about Welfare!
When I think of health and safety in the past, for some reason the above famous photo always comes to my mind. It also works as a strong reminder of how far we have come from the years when such workplace behaviours were considered completely normal. We have now become so much more proactive when it comes to employee welfare and this does not just stop at the physical injury realm. The majority of our work now is looking at eliminating the situations and behaviors that could lead to injuries. A complete shift in paradigm to practices we used to see back in the early 20th century!
I strongly believe that employee health and overall welfare is the next big shift in general perspective. Stress is becoming a big workplace issue. Statistics show that mental illness is now one of the biggest causes of workplace absenteeism. Safety professionals need to be educated to spot the early signs and symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and the overall effects they have on workplace morale and efficiency.
Psychological issues such as bullying, harassment, racism and workplace violence are growing issues and are areas that safety professionals are likely to find themselves getting involved in as part of incident investigations. As entrepreneurship is being strongly promoted within the new generation of employee arriving into our work market, alone working and working from home will become more common and organizational policies will likely need to keep up in order to account for their well-being.
Health initiatives are also now becoming more common in our workplaces with many organizations integrating health campaigns for their employees and their families as part of these programs.
The stronger focus on health could also affect the employee hiring process, an area which is likely to add to the responsibilities of the occupational health practitioner in particular. Psychological tests are now more commonly being used to select employees. In high risk industries, personal attitude towards safety and risk taking may be strong factors in selecting the correct candidates. There is always a likelihood that genetics and behavioral characteristics could have a strong impact on future employ-ability.
Behavioural change will be the focus
If they’re not used to hearing them already, health and safety professional will be getting used to hearing the words “Organizational Behaviours”, “Cultural Change”, “Employee Empowerment” pretty often from now on. The profession has already seen a strong influence from organizational physiologists mostly through services provided by external consultants and experts. The likelihood, in the near future, is that more of the expertise in the areas of leadership diagnostics and organizational culture applications would be expected to come from within.
It is expected that behavioural safety will become increasingly more sophisticated but relatively easier to manage as much of the observational processes and the background analysis would be done through already existing applications and software. Health and safety professionals are expected to more and more be involved with coaching and motivating their fellow employees as the relationship between safety and psychology increases and becomes a core subject for any safety practitioner.
The behavioural aspect will also see rise to greater focus on training. Computer based training and communication methods such as video-conferencing and the use of tablets will play a big role in health and safety training and overall cultural change.
Health and safety training can be accessed anywhere, anytime. In one of the previous companies I worked for, plant health and safety orientation for engineers could be done online prior to their arrival on the site for the first time. We were one of the very first organizations to start that a few years ago. It worked extremely well and I suspect that will become the norm in the near future. Individual course certificates and training cards will become a thing of the past as training information will be stored on network clouds and accessible to required personnel.
The bots WILL take over!
As a result of swift advances in technology, Workplace processes can change every few years or even months. Risk assessments, the way we know them now, can become irrelevant very quickly after being developed, introducing more risks to workers as a result of toxic materials or unfamiliar machinery.
Robotics, for example, have vastly changed the landscape in manufacturing. As a result, assembly lines are so much faster and more efficient than what they were at the turn of the century. Safety professionals will likely take a more proactive approach in the design process to create the necessary safeguards preventing injury to workers.
Wearable technologies; already introduced in multinational organizations such as DHL, Hitachi and BP, allow for better vital signs monitoring and better emergency response. Portable smart devices allow workers to stay in contact with other crew members and record observations or incidents in a safety management system. These systems have allowed organizations to standardize safety practices across their organizations, independent of language or cultural barriers.
Safety meetings for workers who spend many hours of their day on the road or work in remote locations will become easier as virtual meeting will become common place. Similarly, accident investigations will have digitally enhanced photographs and videos as evidence to establish the root cause. As the availability of CCTV around the workplaces becomes more common, videos can be studied to determine how and when an accidents occurred, providing greater learning opportunities from incidents.
In summary, with the support of governmental organizations, the above discussed areas are shaping the future of health and safety. The rise of common, internationally recognized standards and management systems will go a long way in supporting future changes. As we continue to explore the new digital age, it is paramount that employers weigh the risks and the benefits of the new technologies and best practices being introduced to make the best decisions for their businesses and people.
People often think accountability means placing the blame on someone or enforcing a punishment after an incident occurs. If we take an individualistic view, that’s how we’ll see it, but it’s not what I’m talking about here.
Accidents don’t happen single-handedly. Behind every accident, there are a number of direct and indirect causes, often made up of many (often small) unsafe acts and unsafe conditions.
So when we talk about accountability for workplace safety, what we really mean is ensuring open communication about any and every problem in the workplace. When workers are encouraged to bring up issues in order to help the company and its workers, that’s accountability in action.
How Do I Foster Accountability in My Workplace?
If you’ve got employees who keep mum about the issues they face, either because there’s no precedent for speaking up or they fear losing their jobs if they do, it might seem like you’ve got a losing battle on your hands.
Far from it.
Here are five steps to (slowly but surely) give your workers a sense of accountability and improve the safety in your workplace.
Workers sometimes don’t do what we hope they will simply because no one has asked them to do it. It happens more often than you think. It’s easy to assume that everyone will know that a near miss should be reported, that machinery that makes a funny noise should be stopped and inspected, or that they should probably stay home if they have a contagious illness – but you know what they say about assumptions…
Make sure to communicate exactly what is expected of workers. What sorts of things should they report? Who should they report it to? If they have a suggestion to make the workplace even a tiny bit safer, who should they tell?
Making sure there is open communication in the workplace starts with you. So, let workers know exactly what you expect from them.
Make Sure Management Is Approachable
Even if you’re open and available, it will be hard to promote a climate of accountability if everyone in management stays shut off behind closed doors and never greet the workers on the ground floor.
Workers need to know that they can approach management with an issue. But that openness needs to be reciprocal: management can’t ignore or reprimand workers for coming to them with concerns.
Your success here will depend in part on who you work under (some management teams aren’t as open as others). But you can do your part to encourage the right attitude. Start by showing them the value of an accountable workforce, and that they can get those benefits with a bit of approachability.
Business isn’t the way it used to be. Most workers don’t land jobs for life anymore, and if they stay with the same company for years, they will likely be shifted around from position to position.
When someone’s work gets reassigned, they move to a new post at the company, or their responsibilities change, it comes with new challenges. These workers will need more assistance and have more concerns than usual. Prepare for this and be ready to give them a bit more of your time than usual while they adjust.
Accountability is all about taking responsibility for workplace safety.
Often, we approach this negatively, by looking for someone to blame when things go wrong. But it’s far more effective to take a positive attitude toward accountability. Workers need to know that every day, they’re doing their part in keeping the workplace safe.
That kind of positivity helps every worker take safety seriously instead of just worrying that they’ll get in trouble if an incident happens.
Stay on Top of Things
Accountability isn’t a fire-and-forget solution; it’s a fire you need to keep burning.
Check in with workers regularly. Asking them how things are going, if they have suggestions to improve the work, or if they have any questions or concerns will keep safety at the top of their minds. It will also send a strong signal that you’re ready and willing to hear their concerns and give them the help they need.
Again, accountability starts with you. Don’t just give workers a pep talk and spend the rest of the year holed up in your office. Show them that you’re still thinking about their safety throughout the year.
Accountability can take time and determination, but it’s worth cultivating. Open communication is the key to ensuring everyone gets to punch in the clock and go home at the end of their shift.
Creating an effective Safety Culture is something we preach daily to our clients, partners, friends, and family. Through our decades of experience, we have learned that an effective Safety Culture is something that is developed through individuals buying into the idea that safety is the top value at home and work. Here are two main obstacles we must overcome to change the view of fall protection.
Obstacle #1: “Fall Protection equipment is uncomfortable.”
We as safety professionals consistently face two adversaries when changing workers’ mindsets towards safety. One of them is the idea of comfort, a luxury that almost all of us enjoy and appreciate regardless of the setting. It’s hard to argue that being comfortable is more pleasant than being uncomfortable, and workers agree. Fall protection harnesses are designed to be snug and tight, making them a point of contention for workers across numerous industries. It can be challenging to convince them of the necessity of fall protection simply due to their preferred level of comfort.
Obstacle #2: Poor Planning & Time Management
Another excuse as to why fall protection regularly gets neglected stems from poor planning and a misconstrued value of time. Workers fail to plan their days and can forget potential environments where fall protection is needed, often times leaving their harness and other necessary equipment away from the job site. This leads to the excuse from workers of not wanting to “waste time” by retrieving their harness, citing that they “have done the job a million times and haven’t fallen once”.
Addressing The Issues
Changing the mindset of workers is a difficult task that only gets more difficult the longer bad practice continues. In order to see a significant change amongst attitudes toward Fall Protection safety and equipment, a significant investment of time and persistence is needed. Employers and leaders need to take the time to encourage their workers to consistently think about why they should be safe in addition to how. Remind them that the purpose of safety is to get them back to their families in one piece and a few hours of discomfort of Fall Protection equipment is worth the reward.
The National Association of Safety Professionals is proud to be part of the Wilmington Regional Safety & Health School this year. Each year, safety professionals from around the area organize this excellent event which brings nationally recognized speakers to the Port City to focus on the latest in safety-related topics for two packed days of presentations, tasty food, and a lot of fun. Topics include:
Intro to Safety Management Systems
Fall Protection Standard Update
Fall Protection for Tools
Confined Space Rescue
Managing Worker Injuries to the Spine
Powered Industrial Trucks
We highly recommend attending this school and the early bird special ends soon, so don’t miss out. Click hereto find out more and to register now.
We just completed our CSM course in Wilmington, NC and what a diverse crowd we had attend from around the world. I met with several of the students after the class for a nice, cold beverage and enjoyed some of the feedback I received. We had ‘newbies’ and veterans alike that mentioned it was one of the best safety classes they had attended. While I would like to take full credit for this and pat myself on the back, I know that the success of the CSM designation goes well beyond the instructor and is rooted in the concepts and philosophies of what NASP is all about. (Insert class pic)
One of the principal goals established at NASP’s inception was to find a new way to present workplace safety training that would help employees to remember what they were taught and then teach that training methodology to those trained employees. It was a time (the early 90s) when almost all safety training came in the form of a relentless and tiresome lecture or a series of videos both of which lose the attention of the adult learner very quickly. Employees simply did not remember much of what they heard in those classes. NASP was founded with a deeply-held desire to help reduce deaths and injuries in the workplace. It was obvious that one way to do that was to make safety training more effective by finding a way to help employees remember what they were taught.
NASP decided training must be different. The result was the first use of modern adult training methodology in workplace safety training in the United States. There was some trial and error and a great deal of help and advice from our students before we finally reached a true, cutting-edge course on workplace safety training. Word spread quickly, and we soon had representatives of other safety training organizations attending our courses which included a “how to train” component and utilizing adult training methods. Soon, a number of OSHA employees attended our courses and before long, OSHA began to incorporate this training methodology into their training. We were thrilled to see this innovative approach take root and grow in the United States.
Fast forward twenty plus years and we continue to make our mark in the arena of workplace safety training. We have many other competitors with similar names, but there will always be only one Certified Safety Manager Course. Our last CSM in 2018 will be held in New Orleans on October 1-5, 2018. Click here to register now.