Workplace accidents don’t discriminate for ignorance or experience; an accident can happen to the best of us if we are caught in a distraction. This includes our most experienced employees.
Risk management professionals in many industries are adept at new-hire orientation and developing awareness of risks in a new workplace. However, most need improvement with keeping safety interesting and fresh for more experienced employees.
Interestingly enough, outside of new hires, many accidents tend to occur with employees having many years of experience. Because of complacency and a sense of security, employees get comfortable in their role and suffer injury due to carelessness and taking safety for granted.
How can you keep an experienced employee engaged in the safety process in relationship to their experience? The key is employee involvement. Here are some ideas to foster continuous improvement in experienced workers:
Including experienced workers allows for a sense of accomplishment and personal achievement outside of an employee’s everyday task. This fosters company loyalty, job satisfaction, and increased participation in the safety process. What are some ways you incorporate experience into your safety program?
Kirsten Hedden is a Risk Control Representative out of our Peoria, IL Service Office. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and Business from Bradley University in Peoria. Upon graduating, Kirsten entered an intensive insurance training program with a global carrier for 14 months and obtained experience in all insurance disciplines including claims, underwriting, and loss control. Kirsten has 5+ years experience providing loss control consultative services for a variety of industry exposures; specialties include hospitality, food and beverage manufacturing, religious institutions, and country clubs/golf courses.
The following is the third post in a three-part series on hot work. The series offers an overview of hot work, safety hazards, team members, permit programs and a precautionary checklist.
Due to the extent of risk involved, hot work requires certain safety standards be met before work commences. This enables businesses to properly protect workers and property surrounding hot work activities.
Hot work permits are formalized checklists that help ensure safety precautions are met in the workplace. They should be issued directly to the person who will be performing the hot work.
A permit is issued only after the designated person, or their alternate, has inspected the work area and satisfactorily completed the inspection checklist on the permit. All the questions on the permit should be answered “yes” before the permit is issued. It should then be attached to the equipment being used.
Immediately upon completion of the hot work, the permit should be returned to the person who authorized it, or an alternate, and signed off. Permits should then be filed for review by the person who authorized the hot work.
Additionally, the person authorizing the hot work should maintain a cutting-welding-hot work log and monitor the permits being issued. Cutting, welding, and other hot work done by contractors should also be safely managed using the same permit system.
Every contractor working at a facility should be aware of the requirements for credentials, experience, and adherence to the plant’s hot work permit program. These requirements should also be written into any bid/contract documents the insured uses.
Below is a sample permit safety precautions list that should be posted in conspicuous areas. [
Some areas simply cannot be made safe for hot work. When such conditions exist, hot work must be prohibited and moved elsewhere.
Below are several examples of areas where hot work activities should not be performed:
These areas should be clearly marked “No Hot Work.”
Whether you’re a business owner, supervisor or worker, it’s essential to keep safety top of mind. What has work best with your hot work permit program? Have you been successful in avoiding risks to employees or property?
We’d like to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below!
Read part 1 and 2:
Jeff Hendershot is a Board Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) with degrees from Kent State University (BS- Industrial Technology) and Southern New Hampshire University (MBA). He has nearly 18 years broad-based experience in the Risk Control /Management field, and is currently a Westfield Property Specialist.
Jeff has over 15 years concentrated training/experience in the property conservation discipline working with HPR/HVR accounts to control/protect property hazards/exposure. Prior to working with insurance companies, Jeff worked in manufacturing, was a small business owner, and served with the US Army Reserve.
Most folks that run businesses requiring employees climb in and out of trucks or heavy equipment know the safe way to do so is by a 3-point contact. Simply put, 3-points of contact is defined as always having one foot and two hands or one hand and two feet in contact with a handle, ladder or piece of the equipment.
An Ohio ready-mix company performed a companywide analysis and found that with a fleet of 300 drivers, there were 24,000 potential mixer truck climbing accidents every day. This was based on 10 climbing movements for each of 6 daily loads plus another 20 times per day per driver for additional climbing movements. Now, a mixer operator may do more climbing in, off or around their vehicles than your employees but the number of potential accidents add up quickly.
Nationwide, falls account for about 15% of all workplace deaths and is second only to auto accidents. 70% off all falls from equipment occurred at the bottom step.
Keep these factors in mind to help prevent injuries from falls:
Dan Cieslak is a Claims Services Consultant with Westfield Insurance located in Orlando, Florida. Dan brings over 37 years of multi-line claims experience having worked with several national carriers in various management positions. Dan received his B.A. degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He also has his Senior Claims Law Associate designation from the American Educational Institute.
Westfeld is proud - and pleased - to share ways and means to help our customers and guests stay safe and informed on a wide variety of topics. This blog post hits close to home - literally.
Imagine that you and your family are sound asleep at 4:30 a.m. Your home is secured by locked doors and perhaps by a burglar alarm to a central station.
No, this is not about the importance of smoke detectors with good batteries (but why not add that in, right?). It is about the opportunity for crime - which doesn't knock but simply opens the door of that nice shinny unlocked vehicle in your driveway and steals whatever is of value including laptops, cell phones, GPS units, jewlelry, cash etc. The loss of course goes way beyond the replacement cost of such items as there likely would also be personal (and company) information that could, if in the wrong hands, lead to another level of angst. An additonal concern that should cause a scare is that a garage remote may also be stolen and used for future crimes IN YOUR HOME!
I live in a residential neighborhood of 92 single family homes, and each house has a garage and driveway. This past June 8 at about 4:30 a.m., five vehicles at random were entered by theives seeking easy marks. No forced entry. Police stated each vehicle was parked unlocked in the homeowner's driveway, and each theft would likely have been avoided had the owners followed some basic and simple rules.
Be safe! Follow these simple rules and share them with fellow employees, family, friends and neighbors. Have a community newsletter? This may be of interest as an inclusion.
Tips to avoid vehicle break-ins:
Could this happen in your neighborhood? Has it already happened?
Steve Damsker is a Senior Risk Control Representative out of Westfield's Duluth, Georgia office. He has more than 30 years of risk control experience. His background includes 22 years in corporate risk control and insurance industry experience with AIG, Marsh and CNA, as a risk control representative. Steve specializes in manufacturing, workers compensation and fleet safety. Steve is an authorized OSHA Outreach trainer for both the General Industry and Construction Safety 10 & 30 hour courses.
Westfield Insurance has partnered with ReEmployAbility, Inc. on an innovative program that benefits community service organizations, while helping Westfield customers assist their injured employees in recovering from their work injuries and returning to work.
WesWorks, a program customized and managed by ReEmployAbility for Westfield, offers injured workers who are unable to return to their normal job duties the option to earn pay while volunteering time and service to American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, United Way, YMCA, community food banks and many more nonprofit agencies.
"WesWorks is a winning approach to managing work-related injuries," Jim Bowers, Westfield Workers’ Compensation Claims Leader, said. "Injured workers who may not be ready to perform their regular work duties can make valuable contributions to service organizations in their communities."
According to Bowers, Westfield was impressed by ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work solution and how it aligns with the insurance company’s commitment to citizenship. Westfield’s community investments focus on safety and education, health and human services and home ownership.
"We are excited about our partnership with Westfield. We believe that Westfield’s commitment to extending this program to their commercial policyholders and their collaborative efforts to implement the program nationwide will result in great success," Debra Livingston and Frances Ford, founders of ReEmployAbility, said.
Studies have shown that getting an employee back to work as quickly as possible following a workplace injury can greatly reduce the overall cost of the injury and also greatly improve employee morale. While many business owners that I have met with recently understand the importance of getting an employee back to work these same business owners often say that they don't have a job to give the injured worker - - especially in this economy. This new program allows the employee to return to work by volunteering at a local nonprofit organization. Not only does this help the injured employee but it also promotes goodwill within the community.
What are your thoughts on this new program? We'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Lisa Mundt is a Senior Risk Control Representative for Westfield Insurance, a regional insurance company based in Northeast Ohio and operating in 18 states. Lisa is based out of our Atlanta, Georgia office.
We have all heard that in order to grow we must learn from our mistakes and failures. Accidents on the other hand can be very costly misfortunes, as noted in our last blog posting “What’s Your Number? The Real Cost of Accidents”, but the lessons learned can be extremely valuable to help prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. “But we don’t have any accidents”, you may say… However, the lack of accident frequency doesn’t mean that a severe accident can’t happen at any time which could have devastating effects on the business, the employee and their family.
Even if your company has not had a claim or accident, you can bet someone else already has; and they may be involved in similar activities as your employees or use the same equipment as your company. Investigative findings from their accidents can be valuable to help your organization learn to identify hazards and develop corrective actions BEFORE an accident happens.
One resource that I often refer to is the NIOSH F.A.C.E. reports.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program is a research program designed to identify and study fatal occupational injuries. The goal of the FACE program is to prevent occupational fatalities across the nation by identifying and investigating work situations at high risk for injury and then formulating and disseminating prevention strategies to those who can intervene in the workplace.
Why are these reports important?
Each day, on average, 16 workers die as a result of a traumatic injury on the job. Investigations conducted through the FACE program allow the identification of factors that contribute to fatal occupational injuries. This information is used to develop comprehensive recommendations for preventing similar deaths.
These “comprehensive recommendations” and associated discussions can be used in your organization to prevent similar hazards from leading to an employee injury, property damage claim or fatality.
To access these reports for free, you can go to: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/
You can also sign up for free e-mail updates which allow NIOSH to send you links to the FACE Reports as they are released.
Matt McKelvy is a Senior Risk Control Representative for Westfield Insurance and is based out of our Toledo, OH office. Matt has had prior experience in the insurance claims field as a Multi-lines Claims representative before transitioning into our Risk Services Department in 2003.
While researching this topic, I looked at only one YouTube video and knew that my heart (and nerves) couldn’t handle watching the many lawnmower accidents caught on videotape. So, I have decided simply to provide you with some facts and safety tips, and forego any links to videos of “what not to do.”
Every year, thousands of injuries occur due to misuse or carelessness when using lawnmowers. According to U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 200,000 people were injured in lawnmower-related accidents in 2007. This number included the 16,200 children (younger than 19) who were unfortunately injured as well.
So, here are some safety tips to help you, your colleagues, and your family understand how to avoid an accident and reduce the number of injuries associated with this common lawn care activity.
Riding and walk-behind mowers
Corded and cordless mowers
All safety precautions addressed earlier apply to using electric or battery mowers. However, special care must be taken when handling these products to reduce the risk of electric shock.
For other resources, go to these websites:
http://www.5min.com/Video/Lawn-Mower-Safety-11563 (this one is a "how-to" safety video!)
Suzanne Coleman is a Senior Risk Control Representative working out of the Nashville, TN office of Westfield Insurance. Suzanne has over 18 years experience in the health and safety field.
June has been identified by the National Safety Council as National Safety Month. Each week during the month of June will target a different safety topic. The following is a list of the topics that will be covered during National Safety Month 2011: