Monday, June 2, 2014

Leading Workplace Hazard? Government Bureaucracy!

An organization here in the United States became aware many years ago that there was a serious safety hazard injuring and even killing workers; a lot of workers! They estimated there had been more than 950 workers seriously injured every year due to this particular hazard, and it also resulted in six or more fatalities occurring every year. This organization has come up with a solution to prevent the vast majority of these injuries and fatalities, yet they have still not implemented this solution after several years. So the hazard goes unabated while a high number of workers continue to suffer and even die.
  
You would expect OSHA to step in and force the organization to implement as fast as humanly possible the solution needed to prevent these horrible injuries and fatalities. And it wouldn’t surprise you if OSHA issued one of their “press releases” to try and shame the organization into making the changes needed to stop this carnage. Unfortunately, OSHA is not the solution in this scenario; they (as part of a broken rule-making process) are actually a part of the problem.

The particular hazard I am speaking of . . .

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10 comments:

  1. OSHA has to focus on things like I2P2 instead of promulgating rules that will really make a difference. Stephen Williams, CSHM

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  2. The average is 16 years. Pretty unbelievable. Eric Conn

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  3. How does this average duration stack up against other DOL legislation? I think it's real interesting the EPA being a direct creation of the executive branch doesn't share this handicap. - Troy Gonyon

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  4. Our government is completely handicapped by special interests that try to block any progess, even when it will save lives, because $ matter more these days in Washington than sense.

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  5. I worked in safety or 36 years. Cordis Dow, Schering Plough, Motorola and Broward Health. I NEVER waited for OSHA to create a safety regulation. I never held my breath and waited for an OSHA standard on a safety. I wrote the safety rules, policies and guidelines for my companies and/or utilized the corporate policies already in place. If it needed to be more strict, more specific and require more steps that is how it was written. In fact, in training I very rarely said. "OSHA says..." because who cares. What's important is this is the safety policy supported by management. Just do it. - Patricia O'Rourke

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    1. Patricia
      I, like you, have always gone forward implementing programs to address hazards without waiting for OSHA. However, I know there for a fact that there are many employers who DO wait for OSHA to come out with their standards before implementing a program, or even some who are so ignorant of OSHA that they don't even realize they need to implement a certain program. And that is who I think is being hurt by OSHA's painfully slow process for rulemaking.

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    2. Patricia,
      I think we need to separate the safety from the compliance. They are two issues. I understand, as do most on the thread, your opinion on worker safety. However, complaince is at issue here since you could operating under one understanding only to find out that it is wrong due to the lack of clarity from OSHA along with how they use it to thier advantage. I think we would all agree with clear information as it is essential as it relates to worker safety and how operations handle daily tasks safely.
      - Kyle Duke

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    3. Oh, okay. I thought it was about getting fined by OSHA for a worker death, for instance, when their standard was absent or unclear. I recommend that before the death or multiple serious injuries occur, and you need more information, clarity you write or call OSHA. Sending letters to OSHA is very effective. You can go onto OSHA.gov and read about pending rules and read letters others have sent in. OSHA is not the bad guy here. Patricia O'Rourke

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  6. IMHO the only thing the government is good at is collecting taxes and defense; and that sometimes is also questionable. I have to agree with Patricia, if you are waiting on the government, your likely to be sadly disappointed. Although OSHA does not currently have a "Confined Space" policy under 1926 they do require training those employees who will be subjected to entering confined or permit required confined spaces under Sub-part C 1926.21 (b)(6)(i). If there are truly 950 workers being injured due to confined space issues, I would be seriously questioning those companies (with the injured employees) supervision effectiveness and training of their workers. Look - Houston is experiencing heavy growth right now and just about every month a news story comes across about 1 or 2 workers being injured due to cave ins with excavation. You have to wonder how that happens and why anyone would go into an unprotected trench. Human error and lack of understanding I assume concerning the consequences present? Regardless, OSHA has some pretty extensive regulations concerning trenching and excavation; but those apparently are not saving lives either. Why would another regulation make a difference? They are just words on paper. Its all about what you do and how you do it which make the difference between your guys / gals going home at the end of the day or not. - Jason P. Kuntz, M.S., CSMP, ASHM

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  7. While I concur with not waiting on OSHA, I have to second the opinion of Curtis. What I mean by this is that even though we can get in front of things, without a proper baseline, OSHA does and has used the lack of rule making to their advantage. Confined Space is riddeld with 5a1 citations and it must stop. Kyle Duke

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