Year in reviewFrom contentions that OSHA is turning radical to disagreements over the meaning of the term, “safety culture,” the ISHN Blog served as a forum for a wide range of opinions. Here are some of the most-viewed posts of 2013:

Proposed: Change our name from the safety profession to the injury prevention profession

By Phil La Duke

… In my blog and in my articles for publication I use words to incite, to prove points, to shock, and hopefully to stimulate debate. The one word I have been struggling with lately is “safety” and I think it’s time we stop using it to describe our profession.

We aren’t, after all, safety professionals.  Safety, as defined by is “the state of being safe; freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss.”

This is clearly not…Read more>>

OSHA’s electronic injury/illness recordkeeping data regulation,

or OSHA adopts Saul Alinsky’s “Twelve Rules for Radicals”

By Tom Lawrence CSP, P.E.

The current administration looks to Saul Alinsky’s “Twelve Rules for Radicals” for their guidance. OSHA has now stepped in this direction and away from safety principles.

Their first foray was the Shaming Press Releases. With the exception that some targeted work sites were held up for ridicule wrongly after further review of their citations, this foray has largely been a big yawner.

Not to worry. There are other opportunities and OSHA took another big step in the Rules For Radicals direction last week.

The shaming press release initiative targeted significant violations or number of violations of standards. This new initiative will target...Read more>>

The numbers trap

By Eric Nickless

… If we get improper data, by chasing high numbers, we skew the very data that protects us! We may be looking at something else that is really not a problem at all, and not seeing the real problems.

Our whole world is competitive; we all strive to be the best, but high numbers may not always be the key to success. You may have the best time on the cross country course, but if you cut a corner along the way, you lose. All your hard efforts and preparation are wasted. I would rather...Read more>>

Safety culture – No and hell no!!!

By Dr. Richard Fulwiler

Every time I see or hear the term strong safety culture I cringe.

The focus on building a strong safety culture is terribly misplaced. Safety excellence is a more likely outcome for an enterprise that clearly values and cares for its employees and includes safety as a strategic element of its organizational culture. 

What is the one constant in an enterprise that clearly demonstrates…Read more>>

Safety’s “Usual Suspects”

By Terry Mathis

In the classic movie, Casablanca, whenever a crime took place the police gathered up the “usual suspects” to show that they were taking action. The usual suspects regularly got blamed but were seldom the true guilty parties. At the end of the movie, even when they were sure of who committed the crime, they simply went through the motions to satisfy those in control...

Investigating industrialaccidents can fall into the same trap of substituting action for results.  

When reading over a recent set of accident investigation forms, I was alarmed at the cut-and-paste wording that seemed to...Read more>>

Join the Actively Caring For People (AC4P) Movement

By Dave Johnson

Scott Geller coined the term “actively caring” in 1990 when working with a team of safety leaders at Exxon Chemical in Baytown, Texas. Theirvision was to cultivate a brother’s/sister’s keepers culture. Everyone would look out for each other’s safety. People would routinely go above and beyond the call of duty for the benefit of the health, safety, and/or welfare of others.

Fast forward 23 years. Scott and his team of students at the Center for Applied Behavior Systems (CABS) at Virginia Techare preparing to publish the second edition of a book on what is now known as the Actively Caring for People (AC4P) Movement. The book covers the evidence-based principles behind actively caring. Scott is a scholar, and this is not any kind of self-help book.

Its contents cover the psychology of actively caring, the courage it takes for all of us to...Read more>>

The Obama worker safety and health legacy: The fifth inning and the possibility of a shutout

By Rena Steinzor

The Senate’s grudging confirmation of Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor was the first piece of good news working people have had out of the federal government for quite some time. 

I know Perez--as a neighbor, a law school colleague, Maryland’s labor secretary, and a civil rights prosecutor. He’s a fearless, smart, and hard-driving public servant—exactly the qualities that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his caucus deplore in Obama appointees. 

With luck, Perez will be successful in direct proportion to the unprecedented vitriol Republicans hurled in his path. Their efforts to define a “new normal” for appointees—no one need apply who has ever done or said anything the most rabid member of the Tea Party might dislike—should not distract us from...Read more>>

Construction fatalities continue without confined spaced and LOTO standards

By James W. Platner Ph.D.

Unfortunately, unlike maritime or general industry, OSHA construction regulations do not have permit required confined space standards, and do not have lock-out requirements to assure that hazards are isolated. Our system of adding new OSHA regulations is essentially broken.  Both these standards have been on the regulatory agenda for well over a decade.

A direct reading explosimeter and oxygen monitor is standard issue for sewer and utility crews, but rarely available in construction. 

These hazards are entirely predictable and are easy and cheap to monitor and control, but they still kill people...Read more>>