Just by putting “Congo miners” in the title here will have most readers flipping to the next page. I learned this lesson years ago writing an article about workplace safety, or the lack thereof, in China. “Why did you write this article?” asked a reader. “I don’t read ISHN for articles about China.” Another reader opined: “Everybody knows nobody values life in a country like China.”
A tricky thing, disciplining employees. Every safety pro has a story about discipline:“I had to terminate a woman in 1987 because her body odor was so repulsive, affecting other workers (and her boss… me),” says a pro who requested anonymity. “I remember progressive discipline... You bet I asked the HR manager for assistance.”
Nearly three workers die every week (as calculated over a five-year period) from exposure to electricity – a total of 739 deaths during that period. One-fifth of the victims were self-employed. Most fatalities (417) were caused by direct exposure to electricity, such as touching a live wire.
Perhaps you read about the NIOSH study published in late August that found construction workers die of drug overdoses (not while on the job) at a rate six times higher than the general work population. Heroin was the main killer, followed by prescription opioids.
How would you feel working as the head of safety and health for one of the world’s most scrutinized companies? Your CEO is one of the most talked-about executives in the world. How many CEOs make the cover of Rolling Stone?
Dan Petersen, one of the great thinkers in the history of occupational safety, in a 2005 book, “Measurement of Safety Performance,” tore apart the traditional barometers of safety performance, the OSHA total case incident rate, total lost-workday cases, fatalities and other measures.
The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, addresses issues that should be put into practice at any workplace. New voluntary requirements and guidance cover risk assessment, the hierarchy of controls, human error, job safety planning, management systems, work performance and workplace culture.
Is OSHA more irrelevant than ever? Many top OSHA officials, careerists, are working in an “acting” or interim basis: the agency’s career deputy assistant secretary position; the head of whistleblower protection; the director of training; and four of the ten agency regional administrators.
If you work in safety in a high-hazard industry, would you be worried if your company injury and illness data sat on OSHA’s website to be accessed by the public? Would you fear publicizing the data could damage your company’s reputation?
Among the articles in the April 2019 issue of ISHN Magazine, we have expert insight on the world of safety technology, the latest innovation in respiratory protection, offer a closer look at robotics and welding, and much more.