Special Topics in Safety Management

8 Award-Winning Safety Ideas

Impressive safety practices and a commitment to employee protection earned eight Indiana businesses 2014 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards. Could one of their award-winning ideas work at your company?

“These companies represent the best of the best,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble when presenting the state’s 2014 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards. “They demonstrate a commitment not only to protecting their employees, but also to ensuring employees understand the importance of workplace safety and health.”

Awards were announced at the Indiana Safety and Health Conference and Expo. Check out the innovative practices that put these companies on top.

  • Gribbins Insulation Company added an additional safety meeting each month to focus on a single training topic like aerial work platforms, confined spaces, or scaffold safety. Employees must test out of each topic with a score of 80 percent or higher.
  • Steinberger Construction, Inc., provides industrial design and construction services in north central Indiana and surrounding states. Steinberger Construction recently enlisted employees to help develop three new training courses on topics including construction fundamentals, leadership training, and general safety training.
  • Hagerman, Inc., a contracting firm, reworked its safety and health tracking method. The employer puts the emphasis on leading indicators like employee perception surveys and near-miss reporting over traditional lagging indicators like DART rates.
  • BMWC Constructors is a general contractor that performs multi-million dollar capital projects, maintenance services, and more for the petrochemical, refining, biotechnology, healthcare, manufacturing, and food processing industries. The company created an “innovation catalog” system accessible through the company Intranet that allows any new health and safety or process improvement idea that has been successfully implemented at a BMWC jobsite to be catalogued, stored, and shared across the company.

When structured properly, incentive programs can play a very positive role in a safety program. The question is how to structure your program to achieve success while avoiding suspicions by OSHA inspectors that your program may not be above board? BLR’s upcoming live webinar has the answers. Click here for details.

  • Aisin Chemical Indiana, LLC, developed a risk analysis program that teaches employees the skills they need to assess risk in their operations, allowing for better prioritization of safety measures. The program has also increased worker productivity.
  • Westech Building Products, which produces approximately 35 million pounds of PVC fence and decking each year, altered its method of cutting extruded PVC to length. Instead of the industry standard method of using a “traveling cut off saw,” Westech adopted a new guillotine cutter system. The new system removed nearly all plastic dust from the process, lowered noise levels in the facility, and reduced laceration hazards because employees are no longer required to interact with a sharp saw blade.
  • MacLellan Integrated Services provides water and dry ice blasting services for the automotive industry. An improved safety training program requires employees involved in blasting to wear an indicator showing their current level of training on their hard hat at all times. Since the new program was implemented, there have been no injuries.
  • Taghleef Industries, Inc., which makes polypropylene film, created a volunteer safety audit team made up of shop floor and supervisory employees from across the country. Team members conduct in-depth audits of the plant four times a year.

Join us on May 22 for an in-depth webinar on safety incentive programs and find out how to structure a compliant safety incentive/disincentive program that will actually achieve the goal of reducing accidents and injuries. Learn More.

Another Good Idea

If one of your company’s ideas for promoting safety is an incentive program, you should know that OSHA is very concerned that safety incentive and award programs encourage the under-reporting of injuries and illnesses. Consider that:

  • In 2012, OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax issued a memo directing inspectors to scrutinize safety incentive programs;
  • OSHA continues to be engaged in ongoing communication that questions safety incentive programs; and
  • A 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study focuses on improving incentive/disincentive policy and guidance to inspectors.

Even though many companies have been using incentive programs successfully—many for quite some time—to reduce accidents and injuries, OSHA has taken the position that there are inherent flaws in these programs and has even directed inspectors to look closely at incentive programs where questionable activities are suspected.

Yet, when structured properly, incentive programs can play a very positive role in a safety program. The real question is how can you structure your program to achieve success while avoiding suspicions by OSHA inspectors that your program may not be above board?

Join us for an in-depth webinar on May 22. Our presenter, a seasoned safety lawyer who has helped many companies understand how to structure a compliant safety incentive/disincentive program, will provide you with necessary information to evaluate your program and determine what changes may be required to assure that it passes regulatory muster.

You and your colleagues will learn:

  • The key documents that can help you develop the most up-to-date understanding of this issue (including pertinent OSHA announcements, white papers and memos, the 2012 “Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices,” and the 2012 GAO study to OSHA for improving incentive/disincentive policy and guidance to inspectors)
  • How OSHA’s position on incentive/disincentive programs is related to other programs such as the National Emphasis Program and the Whistleblower

Protection Program

  • Case studies and examples of the key components of compliant safety incentive and safety disincentive programs
  • Possible violations, citations, and legal compliance consequences that could result from noncompliance
  • Incentive and disincentive best practices, and what you should consider based on what has been successful for others
  • The role of disciplinary programs in the overall incentive/disincentive program
  • How to assure that your existing and future incentive and disincentive programs are not only compliant but have a positive benefit on your overall safety program
  • Ways to identify and evaluate resources that will be helpful in developing and fine tuning your incentive/disincentive program

About Your Speaker

Adele Abrams, Esq., CMSP, is an attorney and safety professional who is recognized as a national expert on occupational safety and health. She heads a ten-attorney firm that represents employers and contractors nationwide in OSHA and MSHA litigation, and provides safety and health training, auditing, and consultation services. She is a Certified Mine Safety Professional, and a Department of Labor–approved trainer.

Abrams is also a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, and is co-author of several safety-related textbooks. She is chair of the National Safety Council’s Business & Industry Division committee on regulatory and legal affairs. She is admitted to the Bars of MD, DC and PA, as well as multiple federal courts including the US Supreme Court.

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