Crucial Gaps Allow Company Reporting 49 Fatalities to be Named to Most Sustainable List

How can a company report double-digit fatalities in a 1-year period but still be listed as one of the world’s most sustainable companies? Most people would agree that a company’s most sustainable resource should be its employees, however a new study – Current Practices in Occupational Health and Safety Sustainability Reporting – reveals that five organizations listed on the Corporate Knights’ 2011 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World reported more than 10 work-related fatalities in a year – with one organization reporting 49 in a year while another reported 70 worker deaths in a 3-year period (2010-2012). “It’s hard to believe that organizations can report double‐digit […]

Rethinking Using 9-1-1 As Your Confined Space Rescue Plan

Workers die in confined spaces every year. And every year, firefighters die trying to rescue workers from these manholes, sewers, tanks, silos and pits. Most workers enter confined spaces with the expectation that they will be rescued if something goes wrong. But if a crew’s only rescue plan is to call 9-1-1 in the event of a problem, that rescue may not be possible. Take, for example, the case of a welder who entered a confined space from a small opening some 20 feet off the ground via a scaffold. As far as the crew was concerned, the requirements for this permit-required confined space had been met: they had an […]

Temporary Worker Killed at Bacardi Bottling, OSHA Says Company Failed to Train

Bacardi’s Web site invites visitors to “Enter the Party,” but working at the Bacardi Bottling Corp. facility in Jacksonville, Fla., where the company bottles all of the rum it distributes to North America led to a tragic end for the short life of Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis. Davis, a 20-year-old temporary worker, was killed last August on his first day on the job when he was crushed by a palletizer machine. OSHA cited Bacardi Bottling with 12 alleged OSHA violations. Davis was an employee of a temporary staffing service, Remedy Intelligent Staffing, which is contracted by Bacardi Bottling to provide workers for certain jobs. OSHA requires that employers protect the […]

You Must Be a Real Person to Write for This Blog

I’m thrilled that this blog has been graced by the words of contributing bloggers like Aaron Morrow, J.A. Rodriguez, Jason Townsell and so many others. They are professionals in the EHS world with valuable insight and advice to share. Right now, for example, I’m busy editing a contributed article about confined space safety and a new blog post that compares EHS professionals to “magicians of eventually.” These are pieces written by EHS leaders who know what EHS Today is all about. They’re real experts with real stories and advice. In most cases, they came to us because they value our publication and want to lend their voices to the conversation. […]

Infographic: The Attack of Office Germs

One in three office workers have witnessed coworkers leaving the restroom without washing their hands. Nearly three-quarters of Americans typically go to work when they’re sick. And the average person is exposed to 840,000 germs every day. If those bits of trivia make you squirm, take a look at the infographic below for tips on staying sanitary and healthy at work. The “Office Germs: Safe for Work?” infographic from Best Choice Reviews reveals keeping clean and healthy in the workplace may be harder than you think. View the infographic below to learn more about office germs; how many employees feel guilty about calling off sick; how many workers decline meetings […]

Occupational Injuries Among Low-Wage Workers Pack a Big Economic Punch

For the 31 million American workers who earn a median wage below $11.19 an hour, occupational injuries and illnesses – and their economic impact – are of special concern, suggests a new policy brief from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). The brief was released in conjunction with a white paper that reveals injuries and illness among low-wage workers cost the nation more than $39 billion in 2010. “Workers earning the lowest wages are the least likely to have paid sick leave, so missing work to recuperate from a work-related injury or illness often means smaller paychecks,” said the lead policy brief author Celeste […]

The Break Room: Get Me Off This Bus!

In December, my husband and I traveled on Megabus from Pittsburgh to Cleveland. For those of you not familiar with Megabus or their brightly colored, double-decker buses, this bus carrier is famous for special travel deals as low as $1 and has accommodations that are, in my opinion, more comfortable and pleasant than other types of bus travel I’ve experienced. On this trip, we missed out on discounts and paid full price, but we were happy to settle into the front seats on the second level, where we could relax, let the driver do the work, and watch the miles zip by through the huge front windows. Unfortunately,  “relaxation” wasn’t […]

Building the Foundation for a Sustainable Safety Culture

Culture change in an organization of any size is not a simple process. When it comes to workplace culture, many elements contribute to creating and sustaining a strong culture of safety.  While it is likely that some of these elements vary from organization to organization, there are four distinct cornerstones that create a foundation on which a more effective safety culture can be built, despite complexity and variability among organizations. Cornerstone 1:  Leading Indicators Safety culture heavily is influenced by metrics. How safety is measured can fundamentally change how safety is managed, and how safety is managed is a primary contributor to an organization’s safety culture. In companies with strong […]

The Changing Definition of ‘Older’ Workers

The work force is getting older. People are retiring later in life than ever before. This trend has been a major concern for those in the health and safety field because the common knowledge has been that older workers are more prone to suffer very expensive injuries. However, new research from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has cast doubt on this conventional wisdom, or at the very least, potentially changed the definition of “older workers.” NCCI studied different age groups and the rate at which they get injured. They found younger workers (under 35) had substantially more cuts on their fingers and older workers (over 35) suffer more […]

Managing Safety: The Power of Shared Definitions

Recently, a safety professional posed a question on a safety-related web site. He asked, “What is your working definition of safety?” Although everyone responding was a safety professional, many with years of experience and academic credentials, the answers varied greatly. Each response had merit and addressed one or more aspects of accident prevention, but none really encompassed the whole issue in a way that would bring clarity and focus. In my consulting experience, very few organizations have taken the trouble to define safety and the basic terms related to it. Many have created elaborate safety mission and vision statements designed to direct and motivate efforts, but I have found that […]