Stop Blaming Employees to Avoid OSHA Inspection

Passing the buck is as old as man himself. Few of us are any good at taking responsibility for our actions when we can blame someone else. But if you want to avoid an OSHA inspection, it’s something your company has to step up and do. According to OSHA, companies that fill out accident reports and blame an “incompetent” employee are much more likely to get scheduled for an inspection than companies who accept the blame.

When you think about it this makes perfect sense. A company that blames the accident on the employee isn’t going to feel compelled to do anything to make sure a similar accident doesn’t happen. If I think you’re to blame for a problem than the solution to the problem lies with you, not with me. If, on the other hand, a company steps up and takes responsibility then they are also going to accept responsibility to correct the problem.

The truth is that it’s easy to put the blame on someone else but doing so blinds us to our own part in the issue. The employee might easily have done something stupid but if the company didn’t train him or her properly, if they didn’t keep driving the safety message home, if they didn’t consistently correct the employee when that employee was doing something in an unsafe way then the company certainly does deserve some, if not most of the blame.

When OSHA sees that a company is, in fact, accepting responsibility, it lets them know that this particular company is going to try to find solutions to keep similar problems from happening in the future.

The danger of such a blog post is that at least certain companies are now going to “accept blame” in order to avoid an inspection. The reality, however, is that if you are such a company, the truth will eventually come out. A company that does not “own” the safety of it’s employees is going to eventually come to attention of OSHA; such companies usually have repeated injuries. “Passing the buck” in an accident report just allows OSHA to get to you before another accident happens.



CDC Publishes Obesity Rate by State. Where does your State Rate?

From the CDC website:

Obesity prevalence in 2014 varies across states and territories.

  • No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.
  • 5 states and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity between 20% and <25%.
  • 23 states, Guam and Puerto Rico had a prevalence of obesity between 25% and <30%.
  • 19 states had a prevalence of obesity between 30% and <35%.
  • 3 states (Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity of 35% or greater.
  • The Midwest had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.7%), followed by the South (30.6%), the Northeast (27.3%), and the West (25.7%).

Obesity

Check out the CDC webpage for other regional obesity maps based on ethnicity.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Initial 2014 Injury Summary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released their preliminary findings for 2014 and the news isn’t all that great. Among the results reported:

  • 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2014, an increase of 2 percent over the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013
  • The number of fatal work injuries in private goods-producing industries in 2014 was 9 percent higher than the revised 2013 count but slightly lower in private service-providing industries.
  • Falls, slips, and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013.
  • After a sharp decline in 2013, fatal work injuries among self-employed workers increased 10 percent in 2014 from 950 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2014.
  • Women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than in 2013.
  • The number of fatal work injuries among police officers and police supervisors was higher in 2014, rising from 88 in 2013 to 103 in 2014, an increase of 17 percent.

Read the full preliminary report here.



Nail Gun Safety from This Old House

Nails guns apparently account for almost 15,000 injuries a year. A nail driven through a finger or an ankle is certainly nothing to laugh at, a nail through the skull can also kill.

This Old House website (http://www.thisoldhouse.com) has a great guide to nail gun safety entitled “Don’t Get Nailed: A Guide to Avoiding Nail-Gun Injuries -Wherein we, um, hammer home safety tips for one common power tool

Along with all the pointers and tips for safely using nail guns, they include x-ray photos of fingers, ankles, skulls and other bones and joints with nail through them like this one below:

nail-gun-hand



Putting Together a Fall Protection Plan

Fall

If you work at heights, you need a fall protection plan. Putting something together, something that is going to satisfy an OSHA inspector when they come around, isn’t so easy to do however. If you need a little help, a good place to start is the Guardian Fall Protection “8 Things to Address in a Fall Protection Plan“.

Here are the 8 bullet points:

1. Assess all fall hazards in the work area.

2. The fall protection applications employees will be working in, and the equipment needed to work safely.

3. Correct procedures for assembly, maintenance, inspection, and disassembly of fall protection systems used.

4. Correct procedures for handling, storage, and securing of tools and materials.

5. Training methods for the employees working on the jobsite.

6. The method for prompt, safe rescue of injured workers (i.e., your rescue plan).

7. The fall protection plan must be jobsite specific.

8. The fall protection plan must be available to employees.

Go to http://guardianfall.com/blog/gf-team-blog/220-8-things-to-address-in-a-fall-protection-plan for a breakdown of each of the bullet points.