Google “safety culture” and you get about 1,600,000,000 results in 0.95 seconds. Safety and health managers have long known the importance of culture – the organization’s values, beliefs and leadership - on safety, morale, productivity, engagement, presenteeism and absenteeism. Culture has been at the top of safety and health issues for the past ten years at least.
We’re coming up on an anniversary: in 1970 Congress passed and President Richard Nixon signed into the law the Occupational Safety and Health Act, creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA.
At 10:30 in the morning the avenue is not busy. Rush hour has passed. The light changed, I got the pedestrian right of way signal, and started to casually walk to the island in the middle of the road. A line of cars and trucks waited at the intersection to turn left onto the avenue once pedestrians were all clear. I saw an SUV or pickup, I can’t recall, beginning to make its turn early – heading straight at me.
Since 2014, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has set a goal, or more specifically a “vision,” that traffic deaths and injuries on city streets is, in his words, “not acceptable and… serious crashes will no longer (be regarded) as inevitable. We won’t accept this any longer.”
In OSHA’s 48-year-old history, the agency has experienced desperate hours on a regular schedule. The agency opened its door in 1971. Before the decade was out a “STOP OSHA” lobbying movement was underway. In 1979, Republican Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania proposed an “OSHA Improvements Act” which would have exempted from inspections all employers, large or small, regardless of industry, with good safety records. It was defeated in 1980.
In 2017, 5,147 workers in the U.S. were killed on the job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, down slightly from 5.190 in 2016. The fatal injury rate in 2017 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time employees. Three or four people out of 100,000. Not close to one percent. Meaning most everyone escapes being touched by a work-related death.
NIOSH uses robotic arms to test healthcare PPE, teen workers get safety info from OSHA and FairWarning sheds a light on the hazards faced by small farmers in the U.S. These were among the occupational safety and health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.
Last month in Seattle the National Safety Council's Campbell Institute held a conference where one of the major topics was, "Fatigue: Managing the Hidden Risk." My question: What's so "hidden" about fatigue? Everyone you talk to in today's 24/7 wired world is fatigued, tired, beat. Just ask them.
United Kingdom-based newspaper The Guardian recently ran this headline: “UK to tackle loneliness crisis with cash injection. More than 120 projects will receive funding to help those affected and reduce stigma.” This reminded me of a book written in 2000, “Bowling Alone,” by Robert D. Putnam.