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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program Step 5: Immediate Corrective Action

When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, it’s essential to deal with hazards as quickly as possible. When an incident or near miss occurs, or when a hazard is identified by a worker, it is the responsibility of both management and your safety program’s leaders to take immediate action. Immediate corrective action not only prevent further injury or illness from occurring, it also shows your workers that your organization takes safety seriously.

These are three steps that can help you to take the most effective action when an incident occurs at your worksite.  

  1. React: If a worker is injured, the first step is to ensure that they receive proper medical attention as soon as possible.
  2. Investigate: Investigation isn’t about placing blame; it’s about identifying the root causes of the injury and making sure that workers understand why the incident occurred. Investigations should be conducted by supervisors and employees working together.
  3. Reflect: Create a detailed report of the incident for your records. Then, ask these three questions in your post-incident reflection. If a rule or procedure was not followed, why was it not followed? Did pressures for productivity play a role, and if so, why were they allowed to jeopardize safety? Was the procedure or safety training related to the procedure out-of-date or inadequate?

While immediate corrective action is crucial, it’s also important to let these situations guide long-term corrective action. A quick-fix for a safety hazard is never acceptable. Once immediate action has been taken and the hazard has been eliminated, it’s necessary to consider how the occurrence should impact your overall program in the long-term.

United Alliance Services provides a variety of workplace health and safety training services to companies in the New England area. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help make your workplace safer.

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

Step 3: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

Step 4: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 4: Accountability

 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 4: Accountability

Accountability ensures that your workplace health and safety program is implemented as intended. If no one is held accountable for their participation in the program, safety won’t be treated as a legitimate business objective (as efficiency and profitability are). If your health and safety program has goals, they need to be set as real expectations that are visible to the entire organization. Here are some tips for keeping up accountability for your workplace health and safety program.

  1. Create a Team: For sizable organizations, it can be quite difficult to hold all employees accountable for the effective implementation of your program. You should talk to employees and see who is interested in improving health and safety conditions at your workplace. Assemble a team that will be responsible for implementing and monitoring the program. Assign individuals with specific tasks and hold them accountable for making sure they get done.
  2. Set Expectations: Don’t be vague about the goals of your health and safety program. Set realistic, measurable expectations and check in on progress regularly. For example, if one of your program goals is to reduce workplace injuries, set a realistic percentage that you want to see reduced from the current injury rate.
  3. Create a Timeline: Create a timeline for when you expect measurable goals to be accomplished and check in with your health and safety program team regularly to ensure that the organization is on track.
  4. Make Goals Visible: If health and safety objectives aren’t visible to the entire company, it’s hard to hold anyone accountable for them. Make sure that everyone is expected by not only management but also by their coworkers to play their role in carrying out the program.
  5. Reward Performance: Publicly reward employees who make significant contributions to the health and safety program to encourage others to help out.

Use these tips to increase health and safety accountability in your workplace and ensure that your program is implemented as effectively as possible. Contact United Alliance Services for information on creating a health and safety program, employee training sessions, and more. We offer a wide range of services that focus on improving health and safety in a variety of industries.

 

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

Step 3: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

 

Worker using fall protection gear as a safety precaution he learned in em 385 training

Does your company have a culture that elevates safety to a world-class level?

If so, then you should apply to be one of America’s Safest Companies.

EHSToday.com recently announced that the application process for selection as the 2019 America’s Safest Companies, an honor bestowed on more than 200 companies since 2002, has begun. The application process is open from May 1 through July 15, 2019

According to their website:

“To be considered one of America’s Safest Companies, organizations must demonstrate: support from leadership and management for EHS efforts; employee involvement in the EHS process; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.”

Winners will be expected to attend the America’s Safest Companies Awards Night Out, held Nov. 6, 2019 at the Safety Leadership Conference in Dallas.

If you’re interested in applying – we can help.

We provide OSHA and workplace environmental health and safety consulting services for businesses and industries throughout the New England region.

Our senior consultants and instructional staff are qualified and experienced in creating occupational safety and health management solutions, specifically tailored to the needs of private and public sector workforces.

Contact us today to learn how we can assist you with the application process.

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

Once you’ve established a workplace health and safety program, it needs to be consistently monitored and evaluated in order to verify its effectiveness. If you’ve followed our previous steps, you have defined clear, measurable goals for your program. It is important to periodically check your progress and determine what’s working and what isn’t.

The first step in tracking your program’s effectiveness is to identify relevant indicators of progress.

These indicators will help you determine whether or not your program is acheiving its set goals:

  • -Number of injuries and illnesses
  • -Severity of injuries and illnesses
  • -Workers’ compensation data (number of claims/cost)
  • -Employee time-off for illness

These indicators will help you identify how your program is being implemented:

  • -Employee participation in program activities
  • -Number of employee safety suggestions
  • -Number of employee-reported hazards/ near misses
  • -Amount of time taken to respond to reports
  • -Number and frequency of inspections by management
  • -Number and severity of hazards identified during inspections
  • -Employee responses to safety surveys

As you begin to check up on these indicators periodically, you should be able to connect items from each list. For example, as the number of employee safety suggestions increases, the number of injuries should decrease. If the injury rate is not decreasing, it would indicate that there is something wrong with the way the program is being implemented. Perhaps employee safety suggestions aren’t being responded to in a timely manner, or they aren’t being used to make real procedural adjustments.

Use this process to verify that your program is being properly implemented and that it is working towards its goals. Evaluate your progress over time and identify weak points in your program so that adjustments can be made. Involve your employees in the evaluation process. Encourage worker input; when you see that goals aren’t being reached, ask your employees for suggestions to improve the program.

If you need guidance to make your workplace healthier, safer, and more productive, contact United Alliance Services today. We offer workplace health and safety training for both workers and management in a variety of industries. We can help you develop an effective program and give you specific steps for tracking progress. Learn more here: https://www.unitedallianceservices.com/safety-training/

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

Workplace Safety Handbook with OSHA Requirements next to A First Aid Kit, Respirator Face Piece, Hart Hat, and Safety Gloves

A Quick Guide on OSHA Safety Requirements

Weeding through letters of interpretation or researching OSHA standards for a quick answer can eat up precious time. This is why UASC’s safety consultants and training department wanted to provide you with a quick reference guide on our most commonly asked OSHA reporting, recording, and training questions.

Breaking Down What OSHA Wants

OSHA can be ambiguous in what they want in some cases. This is done intentionally so that workers have the most protection possible. However, there are some things that are black and white for employers to follow to help ensure the minimum requirements are being met. It’s important to ensure that your company is operating as safely as possible and our team is ready to help provide you with written health and safety plans (HASP), training, consulting, or a safety manager. In the meantime, here’s the bare minimum.

Companies are required to have a written safety program no matter what sector or industry they’re in. These help their employees work in the safest manner possible, and, per OSHA, must include the following topics:

  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
  • Fire Prevention Plan
  • Hazard Communication Program (HazComm)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Lock-out/Tag-out (LOTO)

Beyond this, established safe work practices are required for all tasks. Additional written plans or supportive documentations may be required, which depends on the task(s), duties, or environment. A professional safety consultant can easily walk you through these steps to ensure full compliance, but this is a great starting point.

Simplifying Company Safety Plans

There are also required written safety programs when they’re applicable to your company’s work environment. If your employee’s job requires them to use any of the following, then you need to have a written safety plan.

  • Respirator Program
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Plan (BBP)
  • Firearm Safety Program
  • Firearm Range Safety Program
  • Aerial Lift Program
  • Trench Safety Program
  • Permit Required Confined Spaces Program
  • Asbestos Management Plan
  • Hearing Conservation Program
  • Arc Flash Program

Maintaining Up-to-Date Training Certifications

Once the safety plans and programs are written, you now need to teach them to your employees to ensure full understanding and compliance. Some of these areas require specific training to ensure full compliance, which often comes with a required “retraining” date to ensure all employees have a refresher to maintain the information. Should you make any of your policies, even if they just had the training a few weeks ago, then a new training session needs to happen to ensure complete compliance. Many companies choose to hire a third party instructor to deliver the content to their employees so that it’s coming from an outside source who has experience with OSHA regulations and training, such as UASC.

TopicFrequency
Asbestos Cement Pipe (water/sewer)Every 5 Years
Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)Annual
Fire Extinguisher Annual
Forklift Training (PIV or PIT) Every 3 Years
Hazardous Waste Annual
Hearing ConservationAnnual
Respirators Annual

*An OSHA 10 or 30 Hour course does not satisfy job-specific training as it is simply an overview and not specific to job tasks. Looking to fulfill your training needs? Visit our calendar full of upcoming public courses, or check out our online and private course catalogs.

In addition to written safety manuals/policies and job specific training, inspections play a key part in keeping a worker safe. These inspections need to happen prior to each use with proper documentation, showing it’s been completed and the condition of the item is noted. OSHA requires the following items to always be routinely inspected and removed from service if they’re deemed damaged in any way.

Routine Inspections

Chains and SlingsFire Extinguishers
Cranes/HoistsLadders
Electrical GFCIMachine Guard
Emergency Detection
(lights, alarms, monitors, etc.)
Emergency Supplies
(First Aid, AED, eyewash, etc.)
Personal Arrest Fall ProtectionVehicles and Equipment

OSHA Assistance and Resources

These lists are provided as a courtesy to help understand what is required of companies per OSHA and OSHA may change their requirements at any time; thus, it is always important to have a safety consultant on hand to ensure complete compliance. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding your safety manuals, policies, training, or inspections by visiting our website or giving us a call (774-302-4305). Providing a safe work environment ensure your employees go home to their families each day.

Man cutting wood with a saw.

A “Cutting” Issue

Do you use chop saws?  Is the saw is sending clouds of silica dust into the air? Do you know the potential hazard for breathing dust from cutting stones, masonry, bricks, some tiles, glass, or CMU? Chop saws can pose a potential “cutting” issue for employees working in the construction industry.

Dangers of Saw Dust

Saws can generate dust of all particle sizes, and you should assume some of the particles are small enough to get deep into the lungs of all people nearby.  Cutting, drilling or grinding many materials, can release crystalline silica.

Some materials are processed in a way that creates crystalline silica.  This is the more dangerous form of silica and is associated with heat.  However, substances that were not crystalline before the cut can become crystalline when you go to cut it. This is because the heat generated from the process

Also, the smaller the particle size, the greater the risk for the dust particles of crystalline silica to get into the deepest parts of the lungs.  Once there, they cause damage that can include silicosis over time.  In addition, the more crystalline silica in someone’s lungs, the greater the risk of damage. This can become life threatening, in the form of silicosis and other diseases.

OSHA Standards on Crystalline Silica

Whenever there is a life threatening occupational risk, employers must diminish the risk. Employers can do this by training employees on the hazard and implementing controls or avoidance methods. Next, employers must test these controls that they are used properly and are effective.  For handheld power saws and many other types of equipment in the construction field, OSHA has developed a standard that makes it simple to minimize the risk to respirable crystalline silica.  Generally, integrated dust control systems are required to be part of the equipment.  These generally use water or HEPA vacuum systems to capture the dust.  The standard also defines when the systems are not sufficient requiring that respirators will also need to be worn.

Resources for Employers

Additionally, OSHA just posted a handy video for employers to use to better understand the ways to control the silica dust risk, and follow the table to determine the minimum options for equipment and respirator use.

If you need to provide training on silica hazards and respirator use, but don’t know where to start, call United Alliance Services. We can provide the annual training with documentation, consultation with management on options to create a safer workplace, and survey your job sites to identify these and other risks. For more information, visit our website to learn more.

drug and alcohol program enforcing a sign "notice: this a drug free workplace"

Why Employers Need a Drug Testing Program

Having a drug and alcohol policy, along with a formalized drug testing program is essential in minimizing risk within an organization. All across the United States, the use of illicit drugs has increased substantially. Out of the estimated 25 million people who use some kind of illicit drugs, 75% of users are employed. On average, 10% of employees use drugs. What does this mean for business owners? A fairly large percent of their employees use drugs and may be a risk to their company.

State and Federal Laws Impacting a Company Policy

State and federal laws dictate a large part of what business owners can and cannot do when it comes to drug testing. But, not having a drug and alcohol policy or testing program at all may create more harm than good. Some states allow pre-employment drug testing, while some forbid random or post-accident drug testing. But, to drug test at all, employers should have a written policy that outlines their company policies and testing procedures.

4 Steps to Develop a Policy

So, how do employers know what to put in their company policies? It is important business owners, human resource managers, and other supervisory staff stay up to date with state and federal laws regarding drugs and alcohol. The second step is to consult with an expert in the field to write the company policy. Companies who specialize in writing drug and alcohol policies can provide a second set of eyes on how you can reduce liability and eliminate risk. It is recommended that all drug and alcohol policies are reviewed by either the company’s legal department or an attorney before implementing or enforcing the policy. The final step is to train company employees on the policy and ask for feedback. Employers should consider revising their policy from the input received from their employees.

The Cost of Implementing a Drug & Alcohol Policy

Once an employer had a drug and alcohol policy developed, the quality of work and productivity may improve. Drug and alcohol users in the workplace have demonstrated higher absenteeism, increased accidents and injuries, workers compensation, turnover and healthcare costs and the risk of losing the market to a competitor. When you compare the cost of a drug and alcohol program to the cost of damages to a business, it’s worth spending the money on a testing program.

OccuMed of New England, United Alliance Services Corporation’s sister company, specializes in writing drug and alcohol policies, as well as providing other drug testing services. For more information, visit their website or call 833-622-8633.

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

A workplace health and safety program can only be effective if goals, standards, and procedures are clearly communicated to all members of an organization. Ongoing awareness regarding your health and safety program requires ongoing communication. Furthermore, that communication has to go both ways; from management to employees and vice versa. Use these steps to encourage communication and facilitate a safer, healthier workplace.

Hold a program awareness training

In step 1 of developing your workplace health and safety program, you identified goals and set procedures. Hold a program awareness meeting to train both workers and management on the program and each of their individual roles in making the program successful.

Regularly communicate hazards

Making your workers aware of potential health/safety hazards is not a one-time exercise. Make this a regular conversation, especially if your organization is working at a new site. You should always communicate the following:

  • Hazards that may be present
  • Detailed procedures for avoiding or controlling exposure to hazards
  • How to report work-related illness or injury

Encourage worker participation

Your workers should not only be involved with maintaining your health and safety program, but also developing it. Your workers can oftentimes identify potential hazards that you were unaware of. It’s important to encourage feedback and make your workers feel comfortable coming to management with concerns. Give workers a set procedure for reporting potential hazards. Assign certain employees with individual roles that assist in developing/maintaining your program.

When it comes to health and safety, awareness is key for both workers and management. With these three steps, you can create a work environment that fuels open communication and awareness regarding the workplace health and safety program.

United Alliance Services offers online and on-site safety training as well as other workplace health/safety-related services. Learn more here: Safety Training

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

 

Worker using fall protection gear as a safety precaution he learned in em 385 training

UASC filling in EM385 FP Training lack in Northeast

It’s a training requirement that has hit many construction supervisor or project manager’s site; yet, it still seems to be one of those trainings that is not widely offered, even here in the Northeast. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a 900-page manual that outlines the safety regulations for their job-sites, with many of the requirements being a bit stricter than OSHA regulations. Every contractor and subcontractor on a UASCE-overseen job-site must have at least one person who is trained and competent on the specifics buried within those 900 pages of their Engineer Manual (EM) 385-1-1. There’s no getting out of it.

PM’s Need for EM 385 Training

Given the amount of daily phone calls we receive from PMs who need the training ASAP in order to return to work, the UASCE has become more stringent on ensuring this training is completed. They are also doling out some hefty fines as well as issuing stop orders until the mandates are met – especially if you don’t have designated safety personnel on-site. Thankfully, we have several highly competent and trained construction professionals who have poured over the complete 900 pages and have designed a training program that ensures compliance. Our EM 385 Compliance training, often referred to as 24 Hour Competent Person Fall Protection, is one of our most sought out trainings – often after being kicked off a job site. Those same trainers are able to also assist on meeting the requirements of having a Site Safety and Health Officer (SSHO) and Quality Control Manager, Quality Assurances Manager (QA/QC) on-site quickly.

Federal Bid Requirement

If you’re planning on bidding on a federal contract that takes place in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey or on any of the bases listed below, be sure to reach out to us to secure your training. This will no doubt save your company money, fines, and lost work-time and make you the star employee of the week. We can promise you that somewhere, tucked away in the fine print, the USACE requires you to have at least one person training in EM 385, 24 Hour Competent Person Fall Protection on your site at ALL times. There aren’t any loopholes or fast-talking yourself out of the requirement. It also doesn’t exempt you from following OSHA regulations and our course clearly outlines the differences between the two. Because of this, we strongly recommend that all persons in our EM 385 training also have completed their OSHA 10 Hour Construction training. For an added peace of mind, we strongly recommend you train multiple employees to ensure that you always have someone available in case of injury, illness, or time off requests.

We’ve clocked thousands of hours of training on this topic at various bases and our experts can help your team members understand the complexities of the UASCE requirements, ensure their fall arrest systems are safe and in compliance, and know their responsibilities on a job site.

Projects on Bases

If you have any upcoming projects in VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY or NJ at any of these bases*, be sure to call us today to secure your training dates or SSHO and/or QA/QC needs:

Massachusetts

Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, MA
Otis Air National Guard Base, Buzzards Bay, MA
Hanscom Airforce Base, Bedford, MA
Westover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, MA
Fort Devens, Devens, MA
AIRSTA Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay, MA
AIRSTA Salem, Salem, MA
Aviation Station Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, MA

Rhode Island

Quonset Point Air National Guard Station, North Kingstown, RI
NS Newport, Newport RI

Connecticut

Marine Safety Center Marine Base in Groton, CT
Research And Development Center Coast Guard Groton, CT
Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT
Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT

New York

Fort Drum Army Base in Jefferson, NY
Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn, NY
US Military Academy Army Base in West Point, NY
Watervilet Arsenal Army Base in Watervilet, NY

New Jersey

McGuire Air Force Base in New Hanover, NJ
Fort Dix Army Base in Burlington, NJ
Fort Monmouth Army Base in Monmouth, NJ
Picatinny Arsenal Army Base in Morris County, NJ
Loran Support Unit Coast Guard Base in Wildwood, NJ
Training Center Cape May Coast Guard Cape May, NJ
NWS Earle Navy Base in Colts Neck, NJ
NAES Lakehurst Navy Base in Lakehurst, NJ

*This is not a complete list of military bases

To sign up for an EM385 24 Hour Fall Protection Training Class, visit our website. To sign up for the next public class offering at United Alliance Services Corporation, visit our online calendar. For more information, call 774-302-4305.

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Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Adjusted OSHA Penalties for 2019

OSHA has increased the maximum fines

The maximum fines are now $132,598 per violation for willful or repeated violations for a company, and $13,260 per violation for serious, Other-than-Serious, and Posting violations.

Companies can have multiple violations from one OSHA inspection

For repeated violations, it doesn’t matter that the violation happened at another location of a company.  It is a repeated violation when one location has been issued the violation and a different branch has the same violation.

Failure to abate Violation

The penalty is increased to $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date.  For this reason, it is important to correct OSHA violations and document it back to them with the paperwork that they provide. Then be sure that the corrections are maintained.
For help monitoring job sites, please call United Alliance Services because we conduct documented safety audits of company workplaces and job sites as part of stand-alone auditing services and our annual packages.
For more info on this click here!
Sponsors

UASC & ABC MA 2019 Kick-Off & Induction

United Alliance Services Corporation is a General Sponsor!

Happening now, UASC is attending the 2019 Kickoff Meeting and Installation of Officers

We became a general sponsor this year and are looking forward to what 2019 has to offer both ABC MA & UASC

  • Experts on assisting with ABC STEP PROGRAM (Safety Training and Evaluation Process)
  • Engaged on safety programs with Gould Construction Institute.

We are also connected to the ABC RI Chapter

Don Royer is Co-chair on safety and education for ABC RI