Corporations establish an annual Business Plan to:
Fearing, Jack (Aon Global Risk Consulting Parsippany) | Freeman, Nattasha (Institute of Occupational Health & Safety (IOSH) Leicester) | Garlapati, Ashok (Kuwait Oil Company Kuwait) | Yap, Edwin (Asia Pacific Pte Ltd)
Wendland, Bryce (Square D Company, Schneider Electric, LTD Lincoln) | Lander, Lina (College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center) | Stentz, Terry L. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center) | Spanjer, Kathleen J. (Square D Company, Schneider Electric, LTD) | Herstein, Kelli R. (College of Engineering University of Nebraska)
A scaffold is defined as any temporary elevated work platform (supported or suspended) and its supporting structure (including points of anchorage) used for supporting employees or materials or both. Note that there are three main points to the definition: it is elevated, it is temporary, and it supports either personnel or materials or both.
Scaffolds are divided into two main categories, those supported from underneath, and those suspended from above. OSHA has specific rules for 25 different types of scaffolds in 29CFR 1926.452. This paper is a short overview of some of the general requirements for supported scaffolds.
When planning a scaffold job, one of the first considerations is training of personnel. All personnel who will use a scaffold must have User training, covering such topics as fall protection, loading, electrical safety, material handling, falling object protection and safe work practices (1926.454(a)). All personnel involved in inspecting, erecting, or modifying scaffolds must be trained in scaffold hazards, assembly procedures, design criteria, loading, OSHA regulations, and manufacturer's recommended assembly instructions as applicable to the type of scaffold being used. (1926.454(b)). A Competent Person must supervise erection and perform inspections every workshift (1926.451(f)(7) and 1926.451(f)(3).
WARNING: SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH CAN RESULT FROM IMPROPER ERECTION OR USE OF SCAFFOLDING EQUIPMENT. ERECTORS AND USERS MUST BE TRAINED IN, AND MUST FOLLOW SAFE PRACTICES, PROCEDURES, AND SPECIFIC SAFETY RULES.
A qualified person should design the scaffold job (1926.451(a)(6)). Since each job site presents unique conditions, the following items must be considered:
a. Proximity of electric lines 1926.45 (f)(6), process piping or overhead obstructions.
b. Adequate access to the job site.
c. Weather conditions and wind/weather protection.
d. Openings, pits and ground conditions.
e. Adequate foundations of sufficient strength to support scaffolds from a sound, stable surface that assures support of the intended loads.
f. Interference with other jobs or workers.
g. Environmental hazards.
h. Proper bracing that is rigid in all directions.
i. Safe and easy means of access and egress to the platform.
j. Fall protection for workers using the scaffold.
k. Adequate decking materials and overhead protection, where required.
l. Falling object protection of people passing, working near or underneath the scaffold.
m.Planning for the loading (weight) on the scaffold.
Loading on the scaffoldis a major item to consider when planning a scaffold job. Historically, the scaffold structure loading calculations have been based on one of three anticipated load ratings. Light duty is the term for up to 25 pounds per square foot. Medium duty is the term for up to 50 pounds per square foot. Heavy duty is the term for up to 75 pounds per square foot. The user should know how much weight they will place on the platform with workers, tools, and materials, and plan for the corresponding rating. The anticipated loading should be communicated to the erector. Consult the manufacturer of the specific equipment for allowable load limits.
Planning for Fall Protection is extremely important in planning, erecting, and using a scaffold.
Recognition plays a significant role in achieving permanent employee behavior change. Traditionally, safety “incentive” programs have based rewards on all employees reaching a benchmark. When rewards are based on everyone succeeding, negative peer pressure can occur, resulting in injury hiding.
Proactive, prevention-oriented reward programs that focus on identifying desirable actions, behaviors and conditions and eliminating unsafe actions, behaviors and conditions effectively produce employee behavior change without the unwanted side-effect of injury hiding. Tangible rewards that are positive, regular and certain reinforce desirable behaviors and conditions, making them more likely to continue and even replace undesirable behaviors and conditions.
The Fear of Recognition Programs
There is a fear among safety managers that employee recognition programs create or encourage injury hiding. While it’s true that a poorly designed program can lead to injury hiding, this is not a universal truth. As we explore the concepts and strategies behind safety recognition programs, it will become evident that a properly developed safety recognition program can have lasting behavioral change benefits without negative results, like injury hiding or nepotism.
Do Rewards Really Work?
In a three-year study conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers that was published in Professional Safety magazine in 2004, 300 construction firms were tracked. One half of the companies refused to implement a safety reward recognition program for the reasons mentioned at the start of this article; the other 150 companies felt that they needed a safety recognition strategy.
At the end of the three-year study, the firms who chose to implement safety recognition programs had injury rates that were 50 percent lower than the firms who refused to try safety recognition programs.
There are numerous case studies that support these same findings, proving that these programs work. Before we consider some of these studies, let's explore the most common objections heard to safety reward and recognition programs and provide a response to each.
Most Popular Excuses for Not Using Reward Programs
1. "Why should I PAY people to be safe? It's part of their job! That's why they get a paycheck..."
There are several important reasons why a good safety recognition strategy is vital for a successful business. The first is raising worker’s compensation costs.
Worker's compensation stacks the deck against the employer. Many employees abuse the system and fraud runs rampant.
Consider the damage that worker’s comp claims can unleash against your company. The Stevedoring Company in the Southeast region of the U.S. reported $2.5 million in worker’s comp costs and more than 100 Lost Time Injuries. This company only had 300 employees!
Consider the practices of unethical worker’s comp lawyers who make presentations to labor unions in order to educate employees on how to milk the work comp system.
Finally, consider the lucrative side of worker’s comp claims from the standpoint of an unscrupulous employee. Studies have suggested that workers can earn more income from worker’s comp—tax-free no less--than working a job.