Safety Management Archive

Gauges How to Measure Safety February 23

Gauges: How Do You Measure Safety?

The small utility had just lost two journeymen linemen to contractors, and they needed replacements who could hit the ground running. So, the company held some interviews and hired two seasoned journeymen.
Industry trends to improve worker readiness feburary23

Industry Trends and Solutions to Improve Worker Readiness

The moral and legal obligations to provide workers with a safe workplace are just two of the reasons companies should want to keep their employees safe. However, another big motivator for businesses is how extraordinarily disruptive and costly workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses are for their operations. For example, Liberty Mutual estimated that U.S. employers paid over $1 billion per week in workers’ compensation for disabling workplace injuries in 2018 (see www.osha.gov/businesscase). The actual price of work-related injuries and deaths is much more than just workers’ compensation, insurance and medical bills; it has a broad impact on society and the economy.

Increasing Safety Through Underground Integrity Management

The utility sector is at a higher risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) when compared to construction, manufacturing and mining, according to a 2018 study by DEKRA Organizational Safety & Reliability (see www.dekra.us/en/higher-serious-injuries-and-fatalities-sif-exposure-rate-in-utilities-sector-than-other-industries/). The study found that 30% of the SIFs in the utility industry are the result of motor vehicle incidents and another 28% are attributed to line-of-fire or struck-by incidents. Those are sobering statistics, but they help frame what’s possible in the realm of prevention if we can eliminate the need for many of our unplanned site visits. The encouraging observation is that about 42% (i.e., less than half) of SIF…

A Targeted Approach to Safety Gap Analysis

Does a gap exist between lagging indicator performance and the reliability of industry companies’ safety systems? The bad news is that our work in the industry has led us to believe the short answer to that question is yes. The good news is that our work in the industry has led us to develop an approach that makes gap analysis an effective tool to improve safety system reliability for companies within the utility construction industry. Our Approach Our approach to gap analysis began when working with a large utility company to help contractors struggling with safety performance. These contractors had experienced a serious injury or fatality, OSHA violations or a series of potentially serious incidents. To date, we have performed gap anal…

Thermal Protection for Electrical Work

Thermal protective apparel for electrical work appears to have reached a point of inflection from “What needs to be done?” to “How can it be improved?” Looking at the safety standards recently approved for publication,

The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture

| Rod Courtney, CUSP |
I began writing my new book – “The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture” – in 2004 while working as a civilian contractor for Kellogg Brown & Root in Iraq. I was the area HSE manager for a large portion of the Logistical Civilian Augmentation Program #3 Project. Our contract required us to hire a certain percentage of local national employees (Iraqis) to help build bases for the U.S. military and coalition forces. This was to help the local economy and to teach the Iraqi people new skills that they could use once we were gone. In theory, this was a great idea; in reality, however, it was a safety nightmare. Being a U.S.-based company, we were required to follow OSHA 29 CFR 1926 (Construction) and OSHA 1910 (General Industry)…

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.

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.

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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