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Weekly News Round-up

Stories from Safety 2013, European oil & gas news, another deadly explosion

Weekly News Round-UpWith ISHN Editor Dave Johnson’s reports from ASSE’s Safety 2013, this was a HUGE week for EHS-related news on ISHN.com. Whether you went to the convention and couldn’t make every session (who could?) or whether you didn’t make it to Vegas, you can catch up here on all the hot topics that were talked about at Safety 2013 and also review the breaking EHS news from around the world.

NIOSH provides free data on work-health connection

Effects of alternative shifts, hazardous exposures and more

It’s no secret (to the EHS profession, anyway) that work affects health. But exactly how does work affect health? What are the health consequences of specific employment factors, conditions and circumstances?

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What you should know about people, public trust, and profits

By Dave Johnson

High, high above the desert floor and a gleaming Las Vegas downtown as the sun set Tuesday evening at ASSE’s Safety 2013, Cintas Corporation hosted a reception atop the Stratosphere Hotel, the iconic needle in the sky in Vegas. The keynoter was Dr. Richard Fulwiler, the former worldwide head of health and safety at Procter and Gamble.

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Safety monitoring and tracking: Big Brother is coming

By Dave Johnson

Vendors of exposure and training monitoring and personnel location and PPE tracking software despise the name Big Brother to describe their expanding arsenal of analytics. But that’s how many employees look at what they consider an invasion of privacy.

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The Best Description of a Zero Injury Culture We Heard

By Dave Johnson

The rap against setting a goal of zero injuries is that workers know it is an impossibility, and will tune out further safety messages. Three different safety experts at ASSE’s Safety 2013 gave us almost identical definitions: First, you start by asking employees, “Can you go a day without an injury?” Well, yeah, probably.” So the day does go by without an injury.” Next you ask:

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Getting to metrics beyond injury rates (it’s about time)

By Dave Johnson

Many safety pros are exasperated by their senior leadership’s slavish devotion to tracking OSHA recordables, lost-time incidents, severity rates and fatalities. In a way, you can’t blame them when their pay bonuses are based on these numbers, and the numbers represent pretty much all senior leaders know about safety.

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ASSE’s Safety 2013: Innovation is everywhere

By Dave Johnson

For decades the safety products market as known was a rather sleepy commodity market (a hard hat is a hard hat is a hard hat, etc.) with few technological breaththroughs. That was then, this is now. The expo floor this week at Safety 2013 showcased more tech innovations than I have seen in coming to ASSE national meetings for 30 years.

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Is behavior-based safety dead?

By Dave Johnson

At ASSE’s Safety 2013 I was asked by an author writing an upcoming article for ISHN magazine: “Should I title it, ‘The Demise of BBS,’ or the ‘Evolution of BBS’?” To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of BBS’s death are greatly exaggerated. It’s been employed by safety pros for more than 30 years now, since Proctor & Gamble Safety Manager Gene Ernst started industry’s first BBS program in the 1970s.

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ASSE Safety 2013 Attendee Choice Award winners

Voters got a first hand look at cutting edge EHS products

From arc flash, respiratory, foot, hand and fall protection to AEDs, gas detectors, training courses and more, attendees at Safety 2013 had a chance to check out cutting edge safety products at ISHN's booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center and vote on their favorites. The votes have been counted and the winners have been determined/

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Dr. Krause stumps safety pros

By Dave Johnson

 “Are we kidding ourselves?” Dr. Tom Krause, founder of BST and now an independent consultant, asked several  hundred safety pros at a session at ASSE’s Safety 2013. Kidding about what? Dr. Krause’s point: low OSHA injury rates are deceiving many companies into believing they have better safety performance than is really the case.

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Outgoing ASSE President Rick Pollock on the safety profession’s evolution

By Dave Johnson

In an exclusive with ISHN magazine, outgoing ASSE President Rick Pollock explains the profession’s expanding focus on risk and myths about human performance, as well as other issues.“ASSE now has, and will into the future, have a much greater focus on risk. Clearly, any true business leader understands the concept of risk as it applies to investment and decision making. Business is about understanding enterprise risk and how investment is always at risk of loss or under performance."

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Why every safety pro should know Peter Drucker

By Dave Johnson

The title of one Thursday session at ASSE’s Safety 2013: “Why Every Safety Professional/Manager Must Understand the Ideas of Peter F. Drucker,” presented by Jay C. Brakensiek, CSP, MSIH, EMBA, Claremont University Consortium, Claremont, CA. Brakensiek was a former student of Professor Drucker, considered the “Father of Management.”

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What exactly is Prevention Through Design?

By Dave Johnson

A session at ASSE’s Safety 2013 focused on, “Integrating Risk Management and Prevention Through Design Standards,” and ASSE has been beating the drum in support of what’s known as PtD. Presenters were Georgi I. Popov, PhD., QEP, University of Central Missouri, Overland Park, KS; and John N. Zey, Ed.D., CIH, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO.

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Are safety pros fooling themselves?

By Dave Johnson

Two sessions this week at ASSE’s Safety 2013 took up the subject of zero injury goals. The first was presented by Tom Krause Ph.D., the founder of BST who now works as an independent consultant in Ojai, CA after selling the company to Dekra of Germany. Tom posed the question: “Are We on the Path to Zero or Are We Kidding Ourselves?“

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Executive panelist: Investments in safety must continue

By Dave Johnson

A highlight at ASSE’s annual professional development conference, this year titled Safety 2013, is the Executive Summit Panel Discussion. This year’s featured panelists:  Robert Zaist, President of Energy and Construction, URS Corporation; Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chair, U.S. Chemical Safety Board; Lester Grey, Sr. Vice President of Operations, Perdue Farms; Stephanie Buchanan, Vice President of Operations, United Airlines, Houston Hub; and Virginia Valentine, Nevada Resort Association.

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Retirement ain’t what it used to be (the aging workforce)

By Dave Johnson

In recent years, the issue of the aging workforce in the U.S. has been a staple education session at safety and health meetings. So too this week at ASSE’s Safety 2013, which featured a session on, “So You’re Retired? Not So Fast - Attacking Injuries of an Aging Workforce.” According to a recent AARP study, 70 percent of workers report they plan to work past retirement or never retire.

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Preventable trenching tragedy earns Neb. company 5 violations

No cave-in protection

OSHA has cited Witt Plumbing Inc. for five safety violations, including two willful, after a worker died from injuries received when a trench collapsed at a job site in Hastings, Jan. 16. The worker was locating a sewage drain pipe at a home under construction when the unprotected trench collapsed.

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European oil & gas industry to reveal chemicals used in fracking

Website launched to address public concerns

While U.S. oil & gas companies have, for the most part, refused to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – on the grounds that such information is proprietary, their European counterparts have launched a new website to disclose those and other details.

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Worker killed in Indiana explosion

Combustible dust suspected

An explosion at an Indiana grain bin Monday afternoon claimed the life of 67-year-old James Swank, news sources report. Police believe Swank was on top of a tower when the blast – which may have been a grain dust explosion, caused him to fall approximately 175 feet.

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Top 12 topics at ASSE 2013

By Dave Johnson

This much is clear after the first full day of ASSE’s Safety 2013 in Las Vegas talking to attendees and strolling the exhibits. We’ll call them the top 12 topics du jour: FR clothing market – 500K electricians and 269K power line installers should be wearing flame-resistant fabric clothing.

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The apps are coming, the apps are coming

By Dave Johnson

What kind of business confab in any field is on top it without a session or two or 12 on new communications technology devices as business tools? Certainly ASSE is “with it.” On Wednesday afternoon Safety 2013 features an education session; “Streamlining Safety Operations Through Widespread Use of Mobility.”

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Why bad things happen to good companies

By Dave Johnson

On Wednesday morning at ASSE’s Safety 2013 in Las Vegas a vexing, long-standing irritant to safety professionals is addressed by Canadian consultant Corrie Pitzer -- why safe organizations fail. Pitzer calls it “drifting into disaster.”

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Every day safe ladder use tips

Construction jobs require specific types

By Dave Johnson

Building and construction workers use ladders every day. Yet, like any piece of equipment that’s not properly maintained, used, and respected, they can let you down. Whenever you reach for a ladder, yourfirst stepshould always be to think about which ladder is right for the job.

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Managing diversity: It’s a small world after all

By Dave Johnson

A session on Wednesday afternoon at ASSE’s Safety 2013 promotes itself stating: “Most workplaces are like a mini United Nations. People from different cultures bring a range of values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that can challenge and impede your S, H & E efforts.

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Every safety pro’s headache: conflict resolution

By Dave Johnson

Wednesday afternoon at ASSE’s Safety 2013 features a topic every safety professional deals with at some point or another, as described by the session title: “Conflict Management Strategies for the Real World.”

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Safety & sustainability: No shotgun marriage here

By Dave Johnson

Sustainability is a very visible topic of educational sessions at ASSE’s Safety 2013. It’s another aspect, as with risk management, of the safety profession broadening its horizons.

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Good strategy / bad strategy: Business tips for safety pros

By Dave Johnson

A business strategy guru, Richard Rumelt, is the opening session keynoter to kick of Day 2 of ASSE’s Safety 2013, Wednesday, June 26, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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German workers are stressed out

Nearly half don’t anticipate working until retirement age

Work-related stress is one of the main reasons given by the 47 percent of German workers who say they doubt that they’ll be able to continue working under their current employment conditions until retirement age (67 in Germany).

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Can you really catch yourself if you fall?

10,000 lbs. of force in a 6' fall

By Dave Johnson

The average person’s reaction time is half a second. In that time you fall 4 feet. As you fall, gravity pulls you down and your speed quickly increases. That means your impact force increases too. And, once you start falling, you will stop only when you hit a lower surface. Still think you can catch yourself?

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Scott Geller speaks on management errors

By Dave Johnson

You can’t have an ASSE professional development conference without a presentation by Dr. E. Scott Geller, one of the safety circuit’s most popular speakers and a university professor for more than 40 years. “The Doc” is speaking this afternoon on “The Human Dynamics of Safety: 20 Safety-Management Errors with Simple Solutions.”

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Business innovator opens ASSE’s Safety 2013

By Dave Johnson

ASSE’s Safety 2013 officially opens with the usual pomp and circumstance this morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The opening general session presentation is by Peter Sheahan, on the topic of “Creative Strategies for Turning Challenge Into Opportunity and Change Into Competitive Advantage.”

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Roundtable open forum tackles job-related fatigue

By Dave Johnson

The first “Key Issue Roundtable” of ASSE’s Safety 2013 takes place tomorrow (Tuesday) morning on the subject of fatigue. Specifically, “Fatigue in Transportation: Latest in Regulations & Research.” The “town hall” type of open forum/speak your mind is sponsored by ASSE’sTransportation Practice Specialty.

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A tale of transformational leadership

Story of a culture of caring

By Dave Johnson

ASSE’s Safety 2013 features a number of educational sessions on the topic of leadership. None probably will be looked forward to more than the session tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon on “Transformational Leadership - A Key Element in the Journey to World Class.” Transformational Leadership is a fancy term, but the presentation here is real world, involving

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Europeans push risk agenda

By Dave Johnson

The amount of coverage given to safety-related risk issues at ASSE’s Safety 2013 made us think of how the European Union (EU) is actually ahead of the U.S. safety profession when it comes to embracing risk. The past year saw the completion of EU-OSHA’s flagship Foresight project, which anticipates longer-term workplace risks (initially in relation to ‘green’ jobs), to stimulate debate, and make clear to decision-makers the implications of particular courses of action.

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“Risk” takes center stage at ASSE’s Safety 2013

Represents a move away from focus on compliance

By Dave Johnson

Risk assessment. The Future of Risk Control. Integrated Risk Management. Risk Management and Product Safety. Risk Management and Risk Elimination. Risk Management Forum. Risk Factors. Risk Management 101. Risk Managers From Mars. “We have 15 risk-related sessions at Safety 2013,” says incoming American Society of Safety Engineers’ President Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, president of Global Solutions, Inc. “You are right to think ‘risk’ is a focus for the safety profession.“

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ASSE Safety 2013 by the numbers

By Dave Johnson

A week before the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Safety 2013 conference and exposition opened for business at the Las Vegas Convention Center, registration was at more than 4,000 attendees. The expo was filled by approximately 550 exhibitors taking up more than 89,000 square feet of exhibit space.

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Pa. workers exposed to hexavalent chromium

Lack of respiratory protection among violations

A Pennsylvania helicopter manufacturer exposed its workers to hexavalent chromium and other hazards, according to the eight serious citations issued by OSHA. Carson Helicopters, Inc., based in Perkasie, faces fines totaling $40,500 after a December 2012 inspection of the facility was launched because of a complaint.

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