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Safety Management Archive



Closing the Cracks with the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Slipping through the cracks has become much more difficult for drivers with the 2020 implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The following scenario paints a picture of how easy it once was for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who violated the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations to move from job to job and continue to threaten public safety on U.S. roadways. Later in this article, we will explore requirements and responsibilities related to the clearinghouse.  The Scenario In March 2019, John Doe, a CDL holder employed by ABC Transport, was selected for a random drug and alcohol test regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. After receiving noti…

Beyond Behavior-Based Safety: Why Traditional Safety Practices are No Longer Enough

Traditional safety management practices are built on the assumption that human behavior is rational and occurs primarily through conscious decision-making. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, irrational by nature, creatures of habit and deeply influenced by past experiences. To create the next step change in the practice of occupational safety, we must revisit existing paradigms defining it, revise them to better align with research emerging from advancements in neuroscience, and adapt to practice realigned strategies of an affective nature. Irrational by Nature In 2016, a municipality in western Virginia experienced a fatality when a maintenance worker entered a confined space containing lethal atmospheric conditio…

Mitigating Heat and Cold Stress with FR/AR Clothing

Within the utility industry, employers have long looked to flame-resistant (FR) and arc-rated (AR) garments to help protect workers from injury due to flash fire and arc flash. Because these garments are designed using specially engineered, self-extinguishing fabrics and are certified to rigorous testing standards, they can help prevent or lessen the severity of injury. Utilizing FR/AR garments as part of a comprehensive personal protective equipment program is also one of the ways employers can meet OSHA’s mandate to provide workers with employment and a place of employment that are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Designing a Safe and Reliable Electrical Maintenance Program

The critical importance of power to every aspect of our world cannot be overexaggerated. It must be generated and distributed effectively to end users, and any disruption in that process means loss of operations, money and, in extreme cases, life. Therefore, the reliability of power creation and distribution must be continually safeguarded and improved. This doesn’t happen by chance or through reactionary maintenance tasks; rather, it must be focused on from the early design stages and continue through the life of the assets tasked with these functions. Adopting a “Monitor, Inspect and Manage” approach is a proactive way to avoid the concerns at hand by maximizing the value of workforce time and skill. Scalability is no longer an issue w…

Increasing Worker Confidence and Competence

When allowed to be immersed in their desired craft, our workers become proficient, experienced and competent. Adept lineworkers, for example, will interact with thousands of poles and pieces of hardware in their careers. They have a deep understanding of strain, depth, condition and loading after only moments of viewing a pole they are about to work on. But does the industry recognize and treat our workers like they are the experts? This article is not meant to tell you what you should do, but I am going to provide information for you to discuss, interpret and decide how to implement. If the words in this article cause you to pause, reflect and then act on a potential change in strategy, I am interested in hearing what you learn from you…

Using PPE to Bolster Safety Resilience

| Scott Francis |
Task-based and daily wear PPE programs help protect a company’s workers and improve resilience. Alexander Pope famously wrote that “to err is human,” yet as safety professionals, we often feel that we can prevent incidents if we eliminate all risk. It’s a concept that has permeated nearly every facet of the safety sphere: account for the risks, eliminate their presence and prevent injuries. Even still, incidents and injuries do happen, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. This has brought about a shift in the safety mindset, moving toward a more resilient outlook.

Safety Advancements in the Line-Clearance Industry

Progress over the last decade has made the industry a safer place for line-clearance workers. When I started working for an investor-owned utility in 1974, I was fresh out of high school and had little knowledge of safe work practices and policies. I was truly fortunate to collaborate with people at the utility who cared about my safety and made sure I developed safe work habits that I still espouse today.

ANSI A92.2: 2022 Changes and Training Requirements

Here’s what owners and operators should know about upcoming updates to the standard.  Updates are coming to the ANSI A92.2 standard, titled “American National Standard for Vehicle-Mounted Elevating and Rotating Aerial Devices.” Your most common piece of powered equipment soon will have new or revised requirements for design, manufacturing, testing, training and operation. These new requirements go into effect in August of this year. First, let’s cover some of the most notable changes, and then we’ll look at some often misunderstood training requirements.

Security in the Field: A Largely Unnoticed Need

It’s time for worker security to receive the same attention as worker safety. Society today is no longer predisposed to viewing utility employees in a friendly manner, and aggression toward them is growing. For some time, the steady rise in aggression toward utility workers has flown under the radar. Whether employee or contractor, job site violence is a real threat. Of the multitude of issues fueling this aggression, one of the most significant is shifting public opinions of utilities themselves. For a growing segment of the population, public utilities are nuisances to be confronted, not benefactors providing a service. And this dissatisfaction and loathing for the utility are commonly expressed through violence aimed at field employee…

Electrical Arc Flash and Shock Hazards for Fall Protection Using ASTM F887

Electrical Arc Flash and Shock Hazards for Fall Protection Using ASTM F887 The standard helps to ensure equipment safety in multihazard environments. Arc-rated personal protective equipment (PPE) provides thermal protection against burns to a worker’s body. Fall protective systems, although categorized as PPE, do not have the same primary purpose. A fall protective system’s primary performance requirement is fall protection. In applications where both the exposure to thermal hazards from an electric arc or flame and the prevention of falls must be considered, the fall protective system must retain its mechanical integrity when exposed to thermal stresses. This article introduces the testing and specifications standard and practical consi…

Managing Risk Through Cognitive Impairment Testing

Editor’s Note: Incident Prevention does not condone, promote or recommend manufacturers’ products mentioned in technical articles. The magazine’s editorial advisory board will make exceptions for devices, technology or equipment that is unique in its design or application. The board has found that AlertMeter, mentioned in this article, meets the exception as their research could not find a competitor that offered a similar device. Incident Prevention believes the information provided in this article to be an evolving application in risk prevention and therefore of interest to readers. Incident Prevention and its editorial advisory board make no warranties, express or implied, about the efficacy or testing described. Utility safety profes…
making workers safer

Are Your Lessons Learned Making Your Workers Safer?

Reports of the incident travel like lightning through the company. There are no real details yet, just a statement that at 10 a.m. today, an employee of The Big City Project was seriously injured on the job. The event soon becomes the subject of coffee break conversations. “We’ve had a lot of serious incidents lately” seems to be the consensus.
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Lagging Indicators, Leading Indicators … Let’s Start Over

What do indicators really mean? Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals continue to debate this issue. Can indicators really measure performance of an OSH program? On one side are lagging indicators, which include common markers such as total recordable incident rate (TRIR); days away, restricted and transfer rate; and experience modification rate.
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Overcome ‘Burnt Toast Syndrome’ to Improve Safety and Training Results

I have a beautiful and caring better half. She is always there for me. One of the things she does for me is make breakfast. Now, I am an old country boy, so any old breakfast won’t do. I want meat, eggs, potatoes and toast, and she is happy to prepare them for me.
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The Biological Basis of Complacency

The adverse effects of complacency in the workplace have long been an ongoing source of concern in the safety community. What is not agreed upon is the reason for this problem. In my own experience, I have noticed that safety professionals use the term “complacency” in different ways to refer to different kinds of events.
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My Shocking Awakening: Lessons Learned From a High-Voltage Contact

Why is this happening? It hurts! Don’t let go! These are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind on a day in late 2015 when an induction contact surged through and around my body for roughly 30 seconds.
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Leading Change Through Faith, Hope and Tough Love: Part II

As we discovered in the first part of this two-part series (see https://incident-prevention.com/blog/leading-change-through-faith-hope-and-tough-love-part-i), people are fallible, sometimes lessons aren’t learned, and improvements aren’t always made. This can leave leaders and team members feeling frustrated or apathetic because they don’t know how to right the ship. The simple truth is that your team should be able to succeed today and learn what they need to improve tomorrow. The simple solution is to speak from vision through faith and hope, and lead with tough love. However, simple rarely equals easy. In the previous article, we discovered that if we have confident trust in our people, it leads to hope, which allows us to keep our cu…
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Leading Change Through Faith, Hope and Tough Love: Part I

The operations director stood before his direct reports, boiling over with anger. “Here we are again!” he said. “Still plagued with the same production, quality and safety issues – problems that we’ve cussed, discussed and created improvement plans for over and over again. I don’t know what’s wrong with you and your people, but we’re going to get to the bottom of this right now. To be brutally honest, I’m not sure that everyone in this room will still have a job next month if you don’t start implementing the changes that will get us different results. So, who wants to kick off this meeting with an idea about how we can become the best division in this company?” And then there were crickets, only to be interrupted by moments of meaningle…
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Line and Substation Insulator Refresher

Years ago, a rare event happened in the service area of the company I was working for at the time. Sea fog had rolled in and blanketed most of the system along the coastline where the generation was located. It contaminated the insulators and tripped major circuits everywhere. All of the substation and line crews worked hard to clean the insulators and get the system restored.
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Safe Transportation of Leaking Transformers

“Back in the day, we put leaking pots in a trash bag, and we were good to go!” For hundreds of Incident Prevention readers, that remark isn’t totally unheard of. And in reality, it’s not far off from what some do when leaking transformers are transported or stored prior to reclamation or disposal. However, that will not save a utility from the fines and reclamation actions it could face if transportation or environmental regulatory authorities get involved. Utilities fall under numerous environmental regulations, including the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. Since the 1970s, public demand for environmental safety also has led to numerous additional requirements. The problem is that the various agencies, with their overlapping envi…
This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series AUGUST- SEPTEMBER 2022
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