This health, safety and environment electronic update comes from Chip
Dawson and the Rochester Business Alliance as a service to member
companies. There are currently 290 names on the list.
House/Senate Introduce OSHA Amendment...On Monday (4/31) in both Houses of Congress, identical legislation was introduced that would substantially amend the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970. Senator Edward Kennedy introduced S1244 and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey introduced HR2049. The bill proposes expanding coverage under the Act by 8.5 million workers not currently covered (all federal, state and local employees and some private sector), increasing protections for whistleblowers and increasing penalties for certain violators. Under the bill, felony charges would be available for an employer's repeated and willful violations of OSHA that result in a worker's death or serious injury. The bill also updates OSHA civil penalties, which have been unchanged since 1990, and sets a minimum penalty of $50,000 for a worker's death caused by a willful violation. Both versions are expected to ride the fast track, however a Presidential veto is expected. Whether an override is possible remains to be seen.
Signs of Safety...Dr. John Kello, Professor of Psychology at Davidson College, writing in the current issue of ISHN, addresses four "markers" or signs that he looks for when visiting a facility. According to Dr. Kello, these are messages the organization sends to indicate the strength or weakness of its safety culture. His "markers" are:
Housekeeping-the first and strongest non-verbal clue about how management and employees feel about their workplace and the work they do.
Safety Activators-clear signs of safety, enthusiastically-lead tool-box or pre-shift safety meetings, focused communications, peer coaching.
Role Modeling-Leaders who model the safety behavior they expect of others and provide immediate coaching when they don't see what they want.
Employee Behaviorsâ€”Everyone you see should be exhibiting proper safety behavior.
When it comes to your operation, how would you score on the four markers? It's what visitors, customers, corporate managers, regulators, potential employees and anyone else who has the opportunity to visit probably uses to form a quick (and probably fairly accurate) opinion about how you do safety.
Multi-Employer Construction Liability Eliminated...The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ability to cite general contractors for safety violations at construction sites with multiple contractors was eliminated by a divided Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission April 27 (Secretary of Labor v. Summit Contractors Inc., OSHRC, No. 03-1622, 4/27/07). In vacating a citation issued to a general contractor, OSHRC Chairman W. Scott Railton and Commissioner Horace A. Thompson III agreed in separate opinions that OSHA's multiemployer work site doctrine is invalid as applied to a "controlling employer" who neither creates nor has employees exposed to the cited safety hazard.
Magnet Alert...The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a strong warning about the potential for injury from small magnets now found in small toys. The CPSC has received hundreds of complaints of magnets falling out of toys and being ingested in 33 cases with one death. All the injuries resulted in hospital stays of from three to 19 days and all cases resulted in intestinal perforations. According to the CPSC, if two or more magnets, two or more magnet components, or a magnet and another metal object are swallowed separately, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls. When this happens, parents and physicians may think that the materials will pass through the child. But with magnets this is often not the case. The magnets become trapped in the body and can twist or pinch the intestine, causing holes, blockage and infection in the intestine or blood poisoning, all of which can lead to death.
Steel Mill Deaths In China...The Boston Globe reported April 19 that 32 workers were killed when an industrial ladle filled with 25 metric tons of molten steel dumped its contents into a room where workers were changing shifts. The 2,730ºF liquid engulfed the room, burying workers. SafetySmart newsletter reports that in 2005, 127,000 workers died in industrial incidents in China. Despite reports that China is seeking to improve workplace safety, it's clear from this information that the country has a long way to go. It's also clear that cheap goods come at a high cost.
Obesity and Workers Compensation...A new study of almost 12,000 Duke University employees found that obese workers filed twice the number of workers' compensation claims, had seven times higher medical costs from those claims, and had 13 times more lost work days due to work injury/illness than non-obese employees. The study, by researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., also found that obese workers in high-risk jobs incurred the highest medical and economic costs of all employees. The study is published in the April 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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Lawrence H. "Chip" Dawson Dawson Associates Rochester Business
Alliance Coordinating Consultant for HSE 6 Saddle Ridge Trail Fairport,
NY 14450-9584 (585) 425-1639