Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

A workplace injury, no matter how severe is something that is easily preventable by following safety procedures at all times, the proper way. From mopping the floor, to navigating scaffolding on the side of a building, the employer’s job is to train their employees to always work safely, following the proper guidelines. The following situations have been taken from true stories that show that even a split second of not following the rules, led to severe injury and even death for some employees.

 

Scaffolding Fall

A 22-year-old ironworker was three stories up on some scaffolding, it was time for lunch and he started working his way around the building to come down. He unclipped his safety harness temporarily since it was just a short 1.5 foot leap to the next spot. That spot was wet and caused him to slip and fall 33 feet, straight to the ground. He suffered 18 broken bones, a broken pelvis, collapsed lung, and dislocated three fingers. Miraculously he survived, and even walked again, which many people can not say they’ve been so lucky. No matter how heavy, or inconvenient fall protection may be, it is SO important to wear it properly at all times, to avoid falls like this.

Conveyor Belt “Shortcut”

A young woman worked in a paper mill during college, and had been learning the ins and outs of the job and seen a lot of her other coworkers take a shortcut through the mill that required stepping over the conveyor belt that runs through the whole building. If everyone else did it so often, it must be okay, so she decided to take the shortcut. Her foot stepped right into the wrong place, where the conveyor belt collided and she was dragged along the ground to a point where her foot was being pulled through a hole no foot would ever fit through. Screaming for help, a fellow coworker was able to stop the belt and rescue the worker. The maintenance crew had to disassemble the machinery around her foot to free her. The damage was so severe she had her leg amputated from the knee down. This is a prime example of why safety training is not only important, but it’s important to hold your coworkers responsible, and speak up if anything seems unsafe or out of the ordinary. Do not follow the crowd if something seems unsafe.

Tragedy at Disney

In March of 2019, a 58-year-old man passed away while working a job at Disney’s Epcot Center. He was in an elevated cherry picker, attempting to load it into a pickup truck, when he was witnessed tumbling from the basket to the ground. He was found deceased from head trauma by rescue workers. It was found he was NOT wearing any safety equipment. This is a tragic loss, and a terrifying scene for onlookers to witness. A cherry picker is a device that elevates a person in a basket with a mechanism not unlike a forklift that will bring them in a basket to reach higher areas. A safety harness should always be worn and attached to the basket at all times. This small and effective safety measure would have saved his life.

Forklift Fatality

An employee in Wichita, Kansas was fatally crushed by part of a forklift at a drywall company facility. After an OSHA inspection, it was found the hydraulic boom hosit cylinder came loose from its supporting slings and landed on the employee. Serious violations of forklift, machine guarding, and control of hazardous energy standards led to proposed fines of $77,604 to the company via OSHA representatives. “Employers must take proactive steps to ensure that suspended and supported loads are properly secured at all times, and that employees are kept clear of such loads,” said OSHA’s Wichita Area Director Ryan Hodge. “Companies should implement a comprehensive safety and health program that addresses recognition of hazards, safety precautions, and safety training.” View the news release for more information.

Crane Collapse

Another citation was given by OSHA this year to a contractor working on a New York construction site who failed to ensure an employee was trained, competent, and knew of the weight limits for a mini-crane that ended up overturning and falling four stories on the construction site, gravely injuring two ironworkers. The supervisors were charged with assault in the second degree for their severe negligence in supervising this team that could have cost the lives of many workers. Kay Gee, OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office Director said, “This employer knowingly put workers at risk by failing to ensure that the crane was operated by a competent person, effective training of employees, knowledge of equipment’s limits, and correct operation of equipment are critical to preventing injuries.”

Employers need to ensure their employees make safety their #1 priority, are trained thoroughly, and pass all necessary checks before operating any machinery or taking part in an hazardous workplace activities. In the same way, employees need to hold their employers accountable for safe practices, and following OSHA compliance. Never be afraid to speak up, or refuse to use unsafe equipment. It could save your life.

 

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health, can launch a surprise inspection at any notice. An OSHA audit would likely be due to a failed inspection, or a safety issue happening in the workplace. It’s important to always be compliant and prepared for a potential OSHA inspection.

OSHA’s website states “OSHA is committed to strong, fair, and effective enforcement of safety and health requirements in the workplace. OSHA inspectors, called compliance safety and health officers, are experienced, well-trained industrial hygienists and safety professionals whose goal is to assure compliance with OSHA requirements and help employers and workers reduce on-the-job hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. Normally, OSHA conducts inspections without advance notice. Employers have the right to require compliance officers to obtain an inspection warrant before entering the worksite.”

As you can imagine, there are a number of different workplaces, on a varying scale of mild risk to severe risk of hazard or injury. OSHA wants to focus its efforts on the most hazardous workplaces first, and utilize six levels of priority. In order of importance: imminent danger situations, severe injuries and illnesses, worker complaints, referrals of hazards from other agencies, individuals, or organizations, and finally targeted and follow-up inspections. More information and descriptions of each situation can be found on the OSHA Inspection Fact Sheet.

If you treat every day as if that’s the day OSHA comes to inspect your workplace, you will be in good shape. First of all, the OSHA website contains all materials, training, resources, and contacts you could possibly need to be safety compliant. To prep for an OSHA inspection, try the following steps to avoid a surprise, and disorganized workplace when that time comes.

In-House Training and Continuing Education

Ensuring your employees are well versed in the laws, regulations, and safety compliance procedures is your first line of defense in passing any OSHA inspection, but more importantly maintaining a safe, injury-free workplace. First Response Safety Trainers provide OSHA certified training courses and resources for all employers, and before engaging in any potentially hazardous activities, all workers must receive OSHA standardized safety training. They can even receive an OSHA card indicating they received OSHA-authorized training in either 10 or 30-hour courses. This isn’t required in all places, nor guarantees hire if employees hold an OSHA certified training certification.

Let’s say your workplace is a hospital laboratory. You have workers in the lab, but also workers in an office setting. It’s likely you have lab employees walk through an office, and office workers walk in a lab setting. It’s very important that all team members, regardless of their work area, know the laws and regulations of safety throughout the entire department. The same goes for construction companies that may have a receptionist or office staff, who doesn’t work in the field, but need to be safe passing through those areas. They also need to know how to keep the construction workers safe and be able to act appropriately.

Define Laws & Regulations

There will be different laws and regulations for all industries, in both public or private sectors. Your employees, especially those closest to any hazardous materials and activities should be familiar with the laws and regulations. Some industries, like construction, are going to have a massive list, that no person could memorize, or be expected to, but they need to be reviewed, and be easily accessible to all employees. They should be able to look up the rules for ventilation for example, within minutes.

Posting Necessary Signage

OSHA requires proper signage to be posted near hazards in the workplace. They have guidelines of what they require (colors, fonts, verbiage), and where they should be placed. Below is a quick breakdown, but more information can be found on the OSHA website, and also in this handy infographic produced by Graphic Products.

DANGER SIGNS must be placed where a hazard poses an immediate danger and special precautions must be taken.
CAUTION SIGNS must be posted to warn of potential hazards; they may also be used to caution against unsafe practices.
SAFETY INSTRUCTION SIGNS should be used wherever general instructions and safety suggestions can help workers perform their tasks in a safe manner.

Monthly Compliance Checklist

Once a month, employees and employers should go through a checklist of all compliance items to be fully prepared for any inspection. They can go through signage, test employee knowledge, cover safety procedures, safety clothing, and PPE, etc. A safety officer can be designated to be in charge, and be the main point of contact if an OSHA inspection ever occurs.

On top of the monthly compliance checklist, inserting quarterly “mock inspections” could be an great way to be 100% prepared for an inspection or audit. Using materials from the OSHA Inspection Fact Sheet, you can do a full run down of the procedure. At this time you should assign responsibilities to your team in terms of safety checks and audit run-downs, perform hazard assessments, and safety training with the team.

Know Your Rights

Lastly, it’s important to know your rights as a company, and as employees. Let employees know they don’t have to talk to OSHA, it is not required. It is encouraged that employees answer any questions from OSHA honestly, but are not under any obligation or requirement to speak with the inspectors. Lastly, they can refuse to be recorded by any OSHA investigators. When or if OSHA surprises your company with a visit, you should first ask for their credentials, and if you want to make sure they are who they say they are, you can call the local OSHA director to confirm the inspection and inspector identity. Employers are allowed to put the OSHA inspector in a room while they alert staff, vendors, contractors, etc. on-site that OSHA is there for an inspection. During the inspection, keep steady notes on what they do, what they ask, and how they conduct the inspection – these notes will come in handy in all future interactions and for future safety training. Lastly, keep in mind that inspectors cannot issue citations, only the area director can do so, but they can discuss any problems they find during the closing conference before their departure.

If you have any questions about how to be OSHA compliant or how to get your employees properly trained, give us a call at 651-423-9255.

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

We scoured the internet for the best (but actual worst) on the job safety images we could find. These might be some of the biggest fails we’ve seen, and are the reason we are adamant that safety training is important. When you think people know how to be safe, just know you are so, very wrong.

 

This guy who may or may not remember how physics and gravity works.

We applaud the ingenuity, but please sir, have some common sense!

A fire extinguisher for that 8-foot tall employee everyone has…

MISSING: 1 very important safety requirement.

We have no words.

We promise you, paying attention to our safety training COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Hey, whoever is taking this picture, help your friend!

Well-intentioned, but very poor execution.

NOTE: Ladders are NOT a secure fall protection system.

We don’t really know what’s happening here, but it CAN’T be good.

If only there was some sort of machinery that would help me grab things off the top shelf…

“Don’t worry, we rinsed the soda out first.”

Wow! Defying physics, one ladder at a time.

And finally, the reason we do what we do.

 

Don’t be like them! Call First Response Safety Trainers to get your workplace trained properly, and be accident free.

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere