Organizations face a wide range of risks each day that can affect their ability to achieve certain business objectives and stay in business. Risk assessment is an important and sophisticated process used to assess an organization’s risks so that it can mitigate and reduce risks to an acceptable level.
Over the past 30 years as risk control consultants, the authors have performed, facilitated, participated in and observed thousands of risk assessments for almost all industry types and sizes. Based on those experiences, they have concluded that many organizations fail to perform effective risk assessments.
This article describes the authors’ top 10 reasons organizations fail to perform good risk assessments and provides advice on avoiding these failures. Most of these observations can be tied directly to key components found in two consensus standards:
The corruption of government officials is as old as government regulation and enforcement itself. There is a growing legislative response to this problem globally. Government safety and health inspectors are not immune from pressure and corruption. As the world continues to flatten, globalization compels regional and national firms to compete on an international scale. Cost pressures from emerging economies and industries are enormous.
Methods to gain business are not always limited to ethical and lawful means. Pressures to engage in manufacturing, transportation, construction, mining and other commercial activities abroad are growing. North American businesses must comply with the legislative and regimes of numerous foreign governments, but foreign regimes are occasion-ally corrupt. The cultures, values and practices of the host country may vary from legislation and regulatory integrity at home.
Safety and health standards in foreign jurisdictions vary tremendously. Government officials are not always honest or ethical. Difficulties may arise for international firms when local business practices allow, encourage or accept payments to government officials. Government officials or offices may expedite processes, or circumvent safety and health legislative requirements, in exchange for bribes and benefits. To remain competitive with local organizations, international and multinational firms may be tempted to adopt similar strategies, values and practices to ensure their success. This raises serious challenges for international corporations and their SH&E and ethical values.
The law also has responded to the challenges of foreign corruption. Several developed countries, including the U.S., Canada and the U.K., have passed legislation to prohibit corrupt activity domestically and abroad. The scope of anticorruption legislation across these jurisdictions is relatively uniform, as will be discussed, but the jurisdiction asserted by each statutory regime varies.
These laws apply to SH&E professionals and these laws create significant penalties for those who disobey.
Maintaining safety as a priority in people’s minds is a leadership challenge. Research points to several organizational influences such as leadership style, supervisor involvement and communication systems that deter-mine the importance allocated to safety (Janssens, Brett & Smith, 1995; Singer & Tucker, 2006). Lessons from the BP oil spill and other disasters reconfirm that complex multiple demands from stake-holders play a key role in system failures. Deadlines and goals must be evaluated and communicated repeatedly because priorities compete for time and attention in today’s ever-changing environment.
CMT) and relationship psychology offer new ways of understanding this dilemma in high-risk, rapidly changing environments. Because change is continuous, static approaches such as rules and procedures do not influence people’s priorities. These disciplines propose that people’s decisions and actions—how they determine what is important—are influenced through their interactions and relationships. Thus, social interaction and relationships are seen as powerful vehicles to transmit in-formation and influence behavior.
Fourteen percent of all work deaths are due to falls, with 34% occurring in construction and 20% being related to the use of ladders, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2012). Falls from ladders in the construction industry are costly beyond the human toll. The latest ?gures compiled by OSHA (2012) indicate that the average workers’ compensation cost of a fall from a ladder or scaffold by a roofer is approximately $68,000 and for carpenters is approximately $62,000.
Even falls from relatively low heights can prove fatal. BLS reports that 20% of fatal falls at work occur from heights less than 15 ft, whereas 50% of fatal falls are from heights under 35 ft.
This article asserts that the proper use of the three-point control ladder climbing strategy could prevent many of these ladder fall injuries and deaths. In addition to discussing principles of effective three-point control, the article reviews recommendations for design and process changes needed to better protect workers using ladders or stairs.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is an agency of the City and County of San Francisco; it is responsible for water, wastewater and municipal power services. The agency is implementing a $4.6 billion infrastructure program, known as the Water System Improvement Program (WSIP), to repair and seismically upgrade the local and regional water system. The program encompasses 86 separate construction projects including dams, tunnels, pipelines, treatment plants and special facilities.
The water system for the city and county has local Bay Area reservoirs, but most of the water comes from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park. The water is transported approximately 160 miles via a system of pipelines and tunnels to the Bay Area to serve a regional population of 2.5 mil-lion customers. The Hetch Hetchy Water System crosses three active earthquake faults, which makes it vulnerable to damage and disruption of water delivery (SFPUC).
The role of construction safety professionals has significantly expanded over the past decade. The industry employs thousands of safety professionals, most of whom work for contractors (general or subcontractors).
Prior to the 1980s, only a few progressive owners held employees and construction contractors who worked in their facilities to a higher level of safety performance than OSHA standards. Then came a real push for safety performance excellence as insurance carriers demanded that contractors provide their own full-time safety field supervision. In addition to the considerable efforts by safety-conscious owners, contractors, OSHA, insurers and other organizations, safety professionals have played a prominent role in the industry’s safety improvement over the past 30 years.
Cournoyer, Michael E. (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)) | Miller, Joshua J. (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)) | Stafford, Darril C. (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)) | Norman, Richard A. (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL))
Data generated from a behavior-based safety (BBS) observation program sup-ports an emergency planning and preparedness program (EPPP) by establishing a process that methodically searches for and eliminates the causes of flawed defenses in emergency operations. Results presented in this article are pivotal to the ultimate focus of this program, which is to minimize emergency operational events. By employing control charts, trends can be identified in safety observation data. This increases technical knowledge and augments operational safety.
Work at a nuclear research laboratory involves chemical and metallurgical operations with nuclear materials. Engineered barriers provide the most effective protection from radioactive materials and have been incorporated through architectural and structural design. Engineering controls at a nuclear research laboratory include differential pressure zones, high-efficiency particulate air filtration, glove-boxes and radiation shielding (Cournoyer, Gallegos & Wilburn, 2011). Although barriers are in place, they can fail (DOE, Office of Environment, Safety and Health, 2006).
A nuclear research laboratory’s EPPP augments these passive safety features by minimizing or mitigating the consequences of an emergency incident in order to protect workers, the public and the environment. A key element of the EPPP is to consider measures that lower the risk of emergency operations. The implementation of a BBS observation program focusing on identifying and eliminating at-risk behaviors is one of these measures.
BBS is the process of observing a worker’s safe or at-risk behaviors. Observations provide direct, measurable information on employees’ safe work practices. Safety observations then take BBS a step further by incorporating one additional element: conditions. The goal is that long-term improvement will be sustained by continuously reinforcing safe behaviors, identifying and eliminating potential organizational weaknesses, and building robust and redundant defenses within systems.
A detailed account of this approach to glovebox operations has been described previously (Cournoyer, Kleinsteuber, Garcia, et al., 2011). A glove-box is a sealed container that, when coupled with an adequate negative-pressure gradient, provides primary confinement. Built into the sides of the glovebox are gloves arranged in such a way that the user can place his/her hands into the gloves and perform tasks inside the box without breaking containment. Glovebox operations are any tasks in which a worker places his/her hands inside the glovebox gloves.
The number of buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system continues to grow. According to USGBC (2010), more than 34,600 LEED- certified and -registered construction projects have occurred as of August 2010. An increasing number of federal, state and local agencies are augmenting their policies to mandate that the design and construction of public buildings in their jurisdiction be LEED certified or equivalent (Environment and Human Health Inc., 2010).
To achieve LEED credits, owners, designers and con-tractors incorporate green features into site selection and project design, and complete the construction work using green materials and practices. Examples of green elements are the use of alternative materials containing low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC), the use of reclaimed materials from demolished buildings, the implementation of green roofs and the use of alternative sources of energy to power the facilities. For example, one site used temporary protection of HVAC ducts during construction as part of the LEED efforts on a project to eliminate contaminants within the HVAC system and improve indoor air quality. The intent is to reduce the project’s energy and environmental impacts.
As the number of LEED-certified projects grows, there has been increasing awareness and concern about the potential effect that green features have on occupational safety and health (OSH). Com-pared to traditional design and construction practices, green features may pose additional or new risks to worker safety and health through the introduction of alternate materials, as a result of different or additional work, or by creating an expanded or unintentionally hazardous work environment.
Higher education institutional culture has shifted from an emphasis on assessing teaching methodology to assessing student learning (Allen, 2006) as a way of measuring educational quality.
This change of paradigm will also make it more difficult to assess quality because it will be necessary to assess not only the quality of teaching, but also the quality of learning, which means assessing the performance of graduates in the world of work. Is this feasible? (Hirsch & Weber, 1999, p. 9)
Accrediting agencies emphasize student learning outcomes and assess student learning during the accreditation process (Burke, 2005). Colleges and universities seek regional accreditation, and several programs pursue program-level accreditation. This is an additional process designed to demonstrate that quality learning is taking place. Institutions invest considerable time and financial resources during the accreditation process, which includes preparing for the assessment, the site visit and any follow-up actions based on the findings. Student learning is an important component in the assessment process.Assessing learning outcomes is an integral component to ensure that quality learning is occurring. Institutions increasingly understand the need to convince stakeholders of the value of their credentials and how coursework will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviors students are expected to acquire as a result of their education (Banta, 2001). In an analysis of student assessment, Otter (1995) says that competence statements define "what learners are in-tended to achieve" (p. 45) rather than the courses or programs of learning that are used to develop them.
Cekada, Tracey L. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)) | Helmrich-Rhodes, Laura (University of Pittsburgh) | Minnick, Wanda D. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)) | Nelson, Eric (Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)) | Wachter, Jan K. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP))
A written job offer finally arrives, perhaps even multiple offers. The SH&E professional must now make a decision. What questions should s/he ask? Since every job offer is different, one must understand the entire offer. To make an informed decision, one must match a job offer to wants and needs, and must fully understand the entire compensation and work package that is being offered, not just the salary component.
This article is a re-source for new SH&E professionals entering the field as well as seasoned professionals considering other opportunities. It discusses how to calculate salary requirements, compare multiple job offers, and negotiate a salary and related benefits. It explains why a job candidate must assess how the SH&E function fits in the organization and how this may affect the SH&E professional. Two job scenarios are provided to help SH&E professionals recognize the intangible components of job offers and how the various benefits factor into an overall offer.