Even if you are not a diehard fan of it, chances are you have heard of the show, The Office. In the show, Toby Flenderson, the resident H.R. rep, is an openly despised presence in the office, the killer of fun and general “wet blanket.” Why do memes get sent out of Michael (the boss) screaming “no!” when he realizes Toby is in the room? Why does this character exist, and his supposed misery is appreciated?
Very often, the response to litigation and enforcement is eye rolling and a strong urge to mock. It can be very easy to question why standards are in place, why policies have to be a certain way. Whether your industry is white collar or blue collar, safety is continually a factor. Here is a quick reminder of 5 reasons to stay “on it” when it comes to policies of health and safety.
Positive reinforcement is the most basic reward system to reinforce and teach good behavior. When you are a part of a company, understanding that any good you do means more money for the company is a great positive reinforcement tool. It is common knowledge that the more safe you can prove your organization to be, the less money you will have to put into necessary insurance policies.
While OSHA compliance and awards for safety may be mostly voluntary and have no monetary reward associated with them, they will definitely earn your company some good press. Good press for your company can mean benefits for the organization, as well as the individual.
3. Mistakes Happen
When it comes to safety, not all publicity is good publicity. Even with all the right equipment, and the right people for the job, mistakes happen. Like the recall of almost 40 million fire extinguishers last year. Staying “on it” when incidents outside of your organization’s control occur, means only minor setbacks, as opposed to major accidents. The news of the recall went out, and the companies which had invested in the recalled products merely had to request replacements fire extinguishers, instead of trying to quell the flames of a tragedy.
4. Government Shutdown
During the Government shutdown that took place last month, government agencies that protect and monitor safety standards were reduced to a skeletal staff that were mandated to only respond to immediate emergencies, leaving many corporations with the impression that “they can take a vacation from safety.” However, the government shutdown was concluded in a matter of days, and there are still provisions in place to ensure workplace safety, despite the lack of immediate response to potential hazards. OSHA, for one, has several requirements in place entailing employers’ electronic tracking of incidents. Even with talk of another government shutdown, safety is not ever put on hold.
5. Employee Approval
Unless you are a professional stuntman, chances are you do not list the possibility of danger among desirable traits in the workplace. So when you are in an industry that entails potentially dangerous situations, no one wants to hear from their employer that danger is “just part of the job.” Having appropriate and sometimes extensive safety measures in place is an attractive quality to potential employees seeking work in a given organization.
Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King Junior was a civil rights leader whose voice shook the foundations of America and resonated throughout the entire world. In the United States we celebrate King’s life on the third Monday in the month of January each year; this year we celebrated on January 15th, King’s actual birthday. Many cities celebrate this holiday with parades and community get-togethers. Federal legislation often preempts the celebration by encouraging American citizens to volunteer, therein embodying Martin Luther King’s cause of bettering society and helping your fellow man. As we reflect on the past week and remember our day of celebration, we can remember that innovative thinking is a cause which will continue on. While we honor one who dedicated his life to civil rights, we can continue to propel his dream by educating ourselves on all the details of life that civil rights entails.
The fight for civil rights has not ended. Basic civil rights include not just the right to work, but the right to work in safety; not just the right to vote, but the knowledge of how voting affects your everyday life. Jordan Barab, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA, makes the statement in his online newsletter, that all American workers, “need to know that there are technical resources out there. And they all need to know that politics matters, voting matters — in national and local elections. Politics and voting affect workers’ likelihood of coming home alive and healthy, how much they’re getting paid and what their rights are. Everything is connected — tax cuts, growing deficits, federal budgets, executive orders, regulatory “reform” — it all affects workplace safety every day.” These “technical resources” Barab refers to include Barab’s own blog, myriads of webinars, OSHA’s website, and many more. As we remember a man who famously fought for the civil rights of American citizens, it is important to remember Martin Luther King Jr. both in word and deed, to use the resources at hand to educate oneself on and vote to establish the civil right of safety in the workplace.
IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single company in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a new budget plan. (Thanks, Jane). Typically companies’ “New Year’s Resolutions” come in the form of new projects, facelifts, etc. When the company is the United States government, administration changes affect the entire nation.
According to recent information, due to efforts from the Trump administration to downsize the federal bureaucracy, OSHA has lost 40 field inspectors since January 2017. It is OSHA’s mandate to increase the safety of the American workplace. Accidents in the workplace can mightily disrupt overall company success. OSHA’s website estimates that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. In a 2014 OSHA Inspection Q&A with Industry Expert Rick Foote was asked “how to convince management to better prepare” for new projects. Foote’s answer was quite a compelling one. Not only does a commitment to such programs reduce insurance cost, but also significantly reduces the likelihood of job-related injury. In cooperation with employers, safety initiatives have seen a lowering in the average number of workplace accidents. Simply stated, you don’t skimp on safety.
These government cutbacks may have affected allocated spending on safety, but they have not affected the need for and enforcement of safety protocols. In an article addressing the decrease in inspectors, OSHA reportedly responded that “its enforcement efforts have remained vigorous, even with fewer inspectors on the job.” Additionally, as technology advances, government and private agencies have been working to make safety information more attainable than ever. Awareness has been a recognizable high priority. The CDC recently made advances in a research initiative called Prevention through Design (PtD), that informs businesses and academia on the need for safety programs. PtD released their online publication last year, quickly furthering their outreach. SaaS companies like SafetyStratus assist other institutions in the utilization of safety protocols. Eric Mittenthal of the North American Meat Institute, made a statement that exemplified this readiness in American companies, “Inspectors don’t make workplaces safe. People and programs do by working to prevent problems before they occur and by creating workplace cultures where safety is top of mind.” In our rapidly accelerating technological world, companies now have the tools to match the desire to bridge the gap between safety and success in the American workplace.
The 11th most popular 2018 resolution is to find a better job, according to a 24/7 Wall Street’s survey. The correlation between the popularity of this resolution and the abysmally low 32% of American employees surveyed who claimed to be actively engaged at work is worth investigating. As the economy has been lifting out of the recession, companies as well as individual employees are adjusting priorities in the workplace. The average American worker is less than content to just have a job now; there is a reclaiming of pride in the workforce. Employees are placing more value on job satisfaction.
Employees who are more engaged will lead to a more productive and innovative workforce and reduce cost involved in turnover and new-employee training; so the question facing companies now, is how to increase employee satisfaction? OSHA has done their homework and claims to have found one way in which to invigorate employee satisfaction. Industry Expert Rick Foote states, “if employees feel that management cares about their safety and well-being this will help with morale and should turn into better production from employees.” So, involvement of management and employees in an established safety plan not only deepens understanding on all sides, but also will affect employee morale, saving companies from costs not only because of avoidable accidents, but also from unnecessary turnover.
When you have all your ducks in a row, they are more likely to get where they’re going.
CENTURY CITY, CA — One of the most important aspects of a successful Safety Management Program in any jobsite or company is employee recognition.
Appreciation is truly a fundamental human need, and often, understanding and acting on this fact can make or break the safety culture of a jobsite or company. (more…)
LOS ANGELES, CA — When we think of being exceptional at our craft and how we strive to generate business success in every endeavor that we embark on, we ought to remind ourselves what is the driving force behind it all.
It’s all about people.
And as we realize that people are truly the objective, and they are also a source of energy for the work that we perform, we can understand that their success and satisfaction are always in our best interest. (more…)
TAKE RISKS, DON’T GET STUCK – TRISH ENNIS’S STORY
You may know Trish as the former president and powerhouse for the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), but I had an opportunity to dig a little deeper and discover how she came to be the mover, shaker she is today. Spoiler alert, there’s a zoo involved. Have a listen as Trish shares her story, talks through how safety maximizes efficiency, and discusses the impact technology and the expansion of education have on the safety professionals.
Take The Leap – Neal Langerman’s Story
You may know Neal Langerman as the industry expert and powerhouse behind Advanced Chemical Safety, the leading resource dedicated to preventing workplace injury and environmental damage. Neal’s career has been quite a ride… so grab a cup of coffee and listen to his transition from education to safety consulting. Neal tells us what it takes to establish credibility and with how you can make safety a priority.
The Power Of One – John Tomich’s Story
John Tomich, Principal for North Star Consulting and nationally recognized OSHA expert, always knew he was meant to save lives. On a journey that started with the Maritime College, John quickly stepped into taking on “the man” to enforce OSHA regulations long before they were the national standard they are today. John knows what it takes to be STARS, or among the VPP safety elite, and shares words of wisdom on how to get your company and culture there.
Doing With Data – Ralph Stuart’s Story
Ralph Stuart, Chemical Hygiene Officer for Keene State College and Secretary for the Division of Chemical Health and Safety in the American Chemical Safety, shares his inspiration to start a 30-career in environmental health and safety, and what he’s learned along the way. Have a listen to Ralph share what goes into a catered lab safety program, what it takes to move your safety initiative forward, and how to gather the information you need to realize leading indicators.