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Safety Leadership: How One Achieves Two Results

It’s no surprise that safety leaders have to deal with many issues simultaneously. Having this busy job often has side effects, and leader sometimes drop some balls, complete some tasks with barely minimal attention, and are split and frazzled. The good news is that the same mindset of getting several things done at one time can also work towards injury prevention. This especially applies to sizably reducing two of the most common types of injuries in many companies—soft-tissue (strain/ sprains) and slips/trips/falls (STFs)—at the same time. These two kinds of injuries are costly in almost every business sector, accounting for 64.7 percent of all compensable injury costs, according to the 2018 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. And, that’s just in direct costs. (Source: Occupational Health and Safety, 2019).

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New OSHA Weighting System For Workplace Inspections

OWS will encourage the appropriate allocation of resources to support OSHA’s balanced approach of promoting safe and healthy workplaces, and continue to develop and support a management system that focuses enforcement activities on critical and strategic areas where the agency’s efforts can have the most impact. Under the current enforcement weighting system, OSHA weights certain inspections based on the time taken to complete the inspection or, in some cases, the impact of the inspection on workplace safety and health. OWS recognizes that time is not the only factor to assess when considering the potential impact of an inspection. About 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported to OSHA by private industry employers in 2017, occurring at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers. (Source: Sun News, 2019).

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Field Safe Solutions Newsletter: Issue 03 (September 2019)

Message from the CEO

Field Safe Solutions has been growing at a rapid rate and has added more than 1,700 users year to date.  Our continued goal is to provide business value to our customers by providing the easiest, and most user-friendly way to capture data from the field worker.  In 2019, we continue to find new solutions and ways to innovate our product based on customer needs, as illustrated in our New Product Features in this newsletter.  We look forward to some big announcements of larger Enterprise customers in 2019 as we continue to innovate and evolve.

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Occupational health and safety and the internal responsibility system : OHS information for all Alberta work site parties

An internal responsibility system is a way of sharing responsibility for health and safety between everyone in the workplace. Responsibility is shared according to each person’s legal obligations, which are often based upon that person’s authority and control at the worksite. In other jurisdictions, including Alberta, the internal responsibility system is not included explicitly in legislation, but is a defining concept – especially, in regards to legislated roles and responsibilities for work site parties. (Source: Government of Alberta, 2019).

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Safety and the small business

Just because small businesses may not have the same resources doesn’t mean a safety program is out of reach. The benefits of operating safely far outweigh the consequences of a serious incident: According to a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, worker injuries and illnesses cost U.S. businesses $225.8 billion a year. OSHA encourages small-business owners to use the agency’s no-cost On-Site Consultation Program to find out about potential hazards at their workplace, improve programs that are already in place and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.

Additionally, the NIOSH Small Business Assistance Program uses research, outreach and prevention activities to assist businesses with fewer than 50 employees in reducing workplace deaths, injuries and illnesses. (Source: Safety+Health, 2019).

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OHS Due Diligence: If There Isn’t a Record, Did It Even Happen?

Much has been, and continues to be, written about the corporate due diligence defence in Occupational Health and Safety Act prosecutions. Scores, if not hundreds, of articles have been written both about what it means and how courts will assess due diligence once it has been raised.

Obviously, these topics are important and businesses that employ workers benefit greatly from them. Unfortunately, one point that is often missed in the mix is the absolutely critical role that record keeping plays in establishing due diligence. This article aims to remedy that. (Source: Aird Berlis, 2019).

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Did you know? OHS inspections vs. investigations: Understanding employer rights

OHS legislation across Canada provides them very broad powers when inspecting a workplace. They are authorized to enter a workplace, possibly at any time, without warrant and, while there, gather all manner of information. This can include demanding the production of documents and materials, taking photographs, gathering samples, seizing items, questioning people (which may include excluding the employer or other workplace parties from the questioning), taking tests and bringing in experts to assist them. But how far do these powers go? What limits exist?

One key limit is where the regulator has moved from inspecting the workplace to investigating an OHS offence. The broad inspection powers do not apply when the regulator is gathering information to prosecute the party in control of the workplace — whether that is an employer, constructor or prime contractor. The challenge, though, is recognizing when the purpose of the regulator’s activities has shifted. (Source: Occupational Safety, 2019).

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Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs

Effective controls protect workers from workplace hazards; help avoid injuries, illnesses, and incidents; minimize or eliminate safety and health risks; and help employers provide workers with safe and healthful working conditions. The processes described in this section will help employers prevent and control hazards identified in the previous section. Collect, organize, and review information with workers to determine what types of hazards may be present and which workers may be exposed or potentially exposed. (Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d.)

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Did you know? What can be done to help a lone worker stay safe?

It is important that a check-in procedure be in place. Decide if a verbal check-in is adequate, or if the employee must be accounted for by a visual check. Make sure your plan is appropriate for both regular business hours as well as after main office hours. For most lone workers, the telephone will be the main source of contact. If you work at a desk or station, have a telephone close by. If you are away from a main office or work-station, the use of a cell phone is very helpful. If a cell phone is unreliable in your area, be sure to have alternative methods of communication available (such as use of public telephones, site visits or satellite technology). (Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, 2014), (Published: Aug 2014)

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U.K. and Alberta partner on advanced tech

Alberta is strengthening its ties with the United Kingdom in a new agreement to better promote economic prosperity in advanced technologies. As a part of the province’s focus on the economy and investment attraction, Alberta has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom to explore opportunities that stimulate innovation and commercialization in new and emerging technologies. The agreement focuses on science, technology and innovation in these key sectors: artificial intelligence, health and life sciences, agri-tech and agri-food technologies, clean growth and smart cities. (Source: Government of Alberta, 2019).

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Working Towards ISO 45001 Certification and Beyond

Last year, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the ISO 45001 standard to replace OHSAS 18001. Aimed at providing organizations with a single, clear framework to improve Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) performance and address persistent problems with safety performance, ISO 45001 represents the first true international standard on safety management systems. Moreover, it takes a more proactive, integrated approach to risk control by incorporating OHS practices into the organization’s overall management system and encourages top management to take a stronger leadership role in the company’s safety and health program. (Source: Occupational Health & Safety, 2019).

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NIOSH Releases Updates on Several of Its Programs

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been exploring the potential to use the data that workers’ compensation insurers collect from their policyholders to better understand workplace exposures, the Institute noted in an update on its Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies program. NIOSH also released updates on five other programs: the Center for Occupational Robotics Research, Emergency Preparedness and Response Program, Health Hazard Evaluation Program, Nanotechnology Research Center, and National Center for Productive Aging and Work. (Source: Business and Legal Resources, 2019).

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12 ways to make your workplace safer for employees

According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured while on the job every 7 seconds in the US.  That’s a lot of injuries. This high rate of workplace injury is hazardous for employees and it is also detrimental to employers. Having an employee land up in the hospital is not only distressing, but it also impacts company productivity and morale. If your company does not have thorough (and compliant) workplace safety protocols in place, this could have serious consequences—for employees and the company. If you are wondering how to make the workplace safer, look no further. We have lined up a detailed list of some of the top strategies that companies can implement to ensure that workers stay safe. (Source: AZ Big Media, 2019).

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Did you know? What are the basic OH&S program elements

A health and safety program is a definite plan of action designed to prevent accidents and occupational diseases. Some form of a program is required under occupational health and safety legislation in most Canadian jurisdictions. A health and safety program must include the elements required by the health and safety legislation as a minimum. Because organizations differ, a program developed for one organization cannot necessarily be expected to meet the needs of another. This document summarizes the general elements of a health and safety program. This approach should help smaller organizations to develop programs to deal with their specific needs. (Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2019).

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OSHA issues guide to leading indicators

Managing workplace safety can be frustrating if you have to play catch-up with accidents, injuries, and illnesses that have already happened. The number and rate of injuries and illnesses in your facility are lagging indicators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidance for employers that want to get ahead of safety and health in their facilities. The agency recommends tracking indicators to bolster the core elements of an effective safety and health management program. OSHA lists management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation; and communication and coordination among host employers, contractors, and staffing agencies as core elements in its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. (Source: Business & Legal Resources, 2019).

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Make work a safer place

Businesses can start by inviting their employees to participate in creating and implementing safety programs. That way, everyone benefits. You don’t need a 5-inch thick safety binder no one reads or an orientation that lasts for days no one remembers. It’s also important to understand lagging indicators and create leading indicators to improve safety performance. A lagging indicator is a near miss, an incident, accident or result of an action. Lagging indicators are easy to measure and offer insights to prevent further incidents from happening. Leading indicators provide information that reduces risk and encourages employees to be proactive in preventing events. According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every 7 seconds, and 104 million production days were lost in 2017 due to work-related injuries. The top three workplace injury events resulting in lost workdays were attributed to overexertion, contact with objects and equipment and slips and falls. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers pay almost $1 billion a week in direct worker compensation costs alone. (Source: The Business Times, 2019).

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The coming evolution of field operations

New technologies are reshaping aftermarket services—and both customers and providers can benefit.

Industrial manufacturers with aftermarket services have been disrupted by new technologies and advanced analytics, but the best organizations are not resisting but capitalizing on those trends. These companies are transforming their field operations to dramatically improve service levels and the customer experience, increasing efficiency and productivity, and creating value in new ways—both for customers and for themselves as original- equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Based on our experience, field organizations that transform themselves to capitalize on new technologies can generate significant gains in labor costs, productivity, and other performance metrics. (Source: McKinsey & Company, 2019).

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New Resource Helps Improve Health And Safety Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a new resource on its website devoted to helping businesses better their safety and health programs.  “Leading Indicators” helps to track dangerous conditions and events at the workplace that can be seen as problematic and a potential cause of injury or illness. If correctly used, leading indicators can help prevent workplace injury or illness, reduce the costs of those incidents, improve organizational performance and raise worker participation, according to OSHA. (Source: Clean Link, 2019).

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10 Ways to Start Your Safety Program

Employers pay an estimated $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. Business that incorporate safety and health programs can prevent injury and illness and improve productivity while reducing impacts to the bottom line. Organizations nationwide will recognize the importance and success stories of their company’s safety programs during the week-long event. The week is dedicated to highlight workers’ innovative contributions to improving safety and to encourage employers to implement workplace safety initiatives. (Source: For Construction Pros, 2019)

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