Good Friday morning,


OSHA continues to clear out its rusty standards pipeline issuing this Wednesday what it calls a “historic” new standard on cranes and derricks standard. It replaces a decades old standard and affects about 267,000 construction, crane rental, and crane certification establishments with about 4.8 million workers, according to the agency.

OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 22 fatalities and 175 non-fatal injuries each year.


OSHA continues to announce major enforcement actions:

Widespread chemical, mechanical and electrical hazards at Eastford, Conn., aircraft parts maker leads to nearly $140,000 in OSHA fines…

$420,000 in proposed fines against US Postal Service for electrical hazards at Vermont mail processing facility…

OSHA cites Marcum Transport trucking company for exposing workers to a variety of safety and health hazards, with proposed penalties of $73,500…

Fall River, Mass., contractor cited for fall, scaffolding and electrical hazards at East Providence, RI, jobsite, with a total of $60,000 in proposed fines against Homeland Builders Inc.

Not bad for three days of work…


On Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the second National Distracted Driving Summit will be held on September 21, 2010, in Washington, DC.

Last fall, Secretary LaHood sparked a national conversation on distracted driving when he held the first summit on this new-age hazard. The Obama Administration immediately issued an Executive Order banning all text messaging by four million federal employees while they’re driving government owned vehicles, while driving any vehicle on official government business, or using mobile devices issued by the government while behind the wheel.

What’s your company’s policy on distracted driving?

Another sign of the times: A New York Times article this week examined the vehicle crashes caused by drivers taking prescription medications…


BP said Wednesday it estimates it will pay at least $60 million in advance payments in August to claimants across the Gulf Coast who have lost income or net profit due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP, which has paid $256 million to date for claims including $30 million in the last seven days, will start making the advance payments by the end of this week. Claimants will receive their check about 30 days after they received their July payment.

The world’s most-watched company says it is pleased more fishing areas in the Gulf have been reopened by both state and federal governments.

A spokesperson repeated BP’s mantra: “We will be here for as long as it takes to make things right, and that means providing these advance monthly payments for loss of income to fishermen, crabbers, shrimpers and many others.”

Those receiving payments and the amounts received to date include the following: fisherman, $39 million; shrimpers, $23 million; oyster harvesters, $8 million; and charter boat owners, $6 million; while more than $117 million has gone to individuals and businesses in a variety of occupations including those who work as deck hands and in seafood processing.

BP has 36 claims offices and one mobile claims office in the Gulf Coast states and has 1600 people in its claims team. BP has received 133,000 claims and has issued more than 83,000 checks in the 12 weeks since it began making claim payments on May 3.


“I see companies struggle all the time with making the right decisions on cutting costs, increasing profit, and maintaining safety standards. BP was no different in trying to achieve those goals, but it presents a textbook case of what not to do.

“At the most basic level, BP suffered from a failure to balance competing objectives.

“Tony Hayward began as BP's CEO in May 2007 with a promise to focus "like a laser" on safety concerns, as well as operating performance. The metaphor proved to be all too apt: A laser can focus on only one thing at a time. It appears that BP failed to focus on the right target.

“It's essential to create the right performance metrics, not simply those that will generate positive feedback. The problem is that BP failed to put in place measures that would have shown the company just how well or how badly it was meeting one of its top priorities.

“Warning signs began to emerge that should have signaled to BP executives that severe problems remained unresolved. For starters, OSHA found numerous safety hazards at the supposedly ‘upgraded’ Texas refinery, even as serious problems with BP's Alaska and Gulf of Mexico operations started cropping up.

“Outside observers see these problems as unambiguous signals that things were very wrong. It's not so easy when you're on the inside. What's likely is that Hayward and the rest of BP's management believed they were meeting all safety performance targets, or at least gaining on them. By the metrics they had created, the company might well have been making progress. The metrics they chose were the problem.

“I've worked with numerous clients who have unknowingly chosen to measure themselves in ways that don't actually gauge true performance. The point should be driven home to all business owners that making safety a priority and throwing a bunch of money at it doesn't mean you have processes in place to measure if you are safer.

“You also need to create the structure to ensure that this priority is given appropriate urgency, down to the very last employee.

- from Lisa Hershman, CEO of Hammer and Co., a Boston-based business education and research firm, and co-author of the forthcoming book, “Faster, Cheaper, Better: The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done.”


“Leadership is a snap if you don't worry about people.

“Until we evaluate our leaders on how they actually lead — on the trust and respect and forthright communication and teamwork they engende r— we can expect the same outcomes we're getting now, namely apathy, turnover, and cynicism.

“I talk with managers all day long, and for me they fall into two buckets. One type of manager says, ‘Do you have any tips for motivating my team?’

‘What can you do for them if they perform?’ I ask.

‘I can't pay them a fortune, but I can bring them into decision-making, give them some flexibility in work time and place, recommend them for promotions, and let my bosses know what they're capable of,’ these human-centered managers say. Bosses like that have a chance of getting people to care and to work hard.

The second group of managers also ask the same question.

“When I ask, ‘What can you do for them if they perform?’ the answer is, ‘Do for them? As in, bend the policies? No way — I can't take that risk. My job is on the bubble itself.’

“Leadership means taking responsibility. Leadership is a pain in the neck, but it produces the best results on the spreadsheet and in real life, too. Fake leadership, the kind where people don't enter into the equation, is easy. That must be why so many people find themselves sucked into it.

- from Liz Ryan, an expert on the new-millennium workplace and a former Fortune 500 HR executive