According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, hernia, and tendonitis were responsible for 31.6% of lost work days in 2004. What can mangers do about these injuries and losses? Some mangers accept these injuries as a cost of doing business. Other mangers wonder if there is a magic bullet that will prevent these injuries. And then there are the managers who ask the right questions and take practical steps to reduce soft tissue pain, injury and losses.
Barry J. Nadell, BS, PI, Senior Vice President InfoLink Screening Services, A Kroll Company Chatsworth, CA InfoLink Screening Services, All Rights Reserved The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a Washington, D.C. based group that promotes stricter immigration policies, along with other reports, advise that the United States has somewhere between 11 and 20 million illegal aliens residing within our borders. In addition, 1.1 million undocumented workers enter the U.S. each year. The financial cost to illegal immigration is enormous. Reports indicate that over $30 billion leaves the U.S. economy annually as workers ship home to their country money and goods. To pick just the state of California, it's nearly 3 million illegal immigrants cost taxpayers nearly $9 billion each year according to a report by FAIR.
Implementation of a machine hazard assessment program is essential to any workplace safety program; yet thorough machine hazard assessment programs are rare. Only now are we starting to see a proactive movement toward machine hazard assessment. This can be attributed to the influence of Safety Professionals and realization that an effective management system such as OHSAS 18001 is needed for a successful safety effort. An essential part of a management system is a thorough and ongoing workplace assessment for hazards, which must include hazards associated with machines.
It is common for safety professionals to be involved in decisions related to an employee's ability to work safely and effectively, either because of concerns that he/she could be at work but is not, or because the employee is at work but may be impaired and creating unacceptable risks. Such decisions can be difficult and stressful for all involved, as they are inherently conflictual. In addition to the specialized concerns peculiar to a given workplace, there are general considerations about being aware of Fitness-for-Duty issues, and how to deal with these issues that are applicable to all employment, with particular aspects imparted by details of the specific workplace itself. How do we usually know if an employee is fit for duty or not? In a "routine" work situation, an employee's stated belief is consistent with reality, as to whether the worker is able to work effectively and safely.
In 1999 and 2000, the British Standards Institution established the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series, (OHSAS) Guideline, based on a 19996 publication; BS 8800, 1996, guide to occupational health and safety management systems. This guide was designed to be compatible with ISO 9001:2000 (Quality) and ISO 14001:1996 (environmental) management systems standards. Elements of successful OH&S management While never adopted by ISO, in part due to opposition from the US, OHSAS 18000 has been widely used by companies throughout the world as a guide in developing safety management systems (SMS). In the US, OSHA published its guide safety management in 1989, as the Program Management Guidelines, which is also used as a template for OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), California's injury and illness prevention standard as well as other OSHA initiatives. In 2005, after years of consensus building, the American National Standard Organization (ANSI) published its Z-10 standard, entitled Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.
While many new topics are addressed in the draft ANSI Z359 fall protection standard, one of the critical concepts presented is certified and non-certified anchorages for fall protection systems. Since the consequences of failure can be so dire, it is imperative that persons involved in the selection and design of anchorages understand the limitations and risks involved with using both certified and non-certified anchorages.
Regulations and Standards
The safety requirements set forth by OSHA represent the regulations that must be followed by law. Consensus standards, such as ANSI, represent the best practices in the industry and many times become the precursor for the direction in which the regulations are headed. For fall protection, OSHA requires that fall arrest anchorages be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs. per employee attached. Alternately it is stated that fall arrest anchorages be designed, installed and used under the supervision of a qualified person as part of a complete personal fall protection system which maintains a safety factor of at least two. But, who is a qualified person? According to OSHA 29 CFR 1926.32(m), " Qualified means one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project."
The ANSI standard for fall arrest equipment is Z359.1, which was originally released in 1992 and reaffirmed in 1999. The existing document references anchorages as needing to be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs. in the absence of certification or 3,600 lbs. with certification. In the original standard, part of the definition for certification (section 2.13) states it is "[a]n act or process resulting in the documentation that determines and attests to criteria that meet the requirements of this standard."
For the past several years, the ANSI Z359 committee has been working on a new draft family of standards to reflect the changes in the industry and provide a more comprehensive and informative document. Full understanding of certified and non-certified anchorages is best achieved within the context of the draft Z359.2-200X standard, Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program. The draft standard describes this comprehensive program and includes:
There is rising concern that current approaches to environmental management systems are yielding little in the way of meaningful environmental performance improvement. No small concern because the scale of the investment in EMS is colossal, but often underestimated. Over 95% of the real economic cost of EMS is attributable to factors which are difficult to measure - time inputs from personnel working within organizations on program development (drafting and reviewing policies, procedures and the like), training (most personnel will be trained), auditing (internal and maybe 3rd party) and very especially the pre-audit blitz that precedes most audits by 3rd parties.
Concerns about the value derived from implementing and certifying EMSs have not impacted growth in the field. Indeed there has been a significant uplift in the level of activity with the European Commission, EU Member State governments, US State and Federal government agencies joining with industry sector associations and others in the call to promote - and in many cases require - the uptake of management systems and third party certification of them.
Among the companies and institutions we have worked with, many have demonstrated what we would call excellent safety performance. They consistently apply their efforts and sound safety practices to achieve substantial safety outcomes. We have also seen that among these organizations there is a distinct set of "extraordinary" performers; organizations that take their safety performance to a discernibly higher level. These organizations tend not only to surpass the outcomes achieved by their counterparts, they are distinct for another reason; for them safety occupies a wholly different, and some would say unconventional, place in the organizational scheme. They see safety as a performance leader, and actively engage it as such.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza type A or type B viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can be fatal. The best way to prevent this illness is by getting a flu vaccination (flu shot) each fall. About 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu 2. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu complications 3.