You might not have heard of the term “onboarding” as it relates to safety, but it’s a concept that you should get on board with to bolster your company’s safety program.Read More
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The workplace can be a hazardous place for new workers. Statistically, workers who have been in the workplace for up to two years are at much higher risk for injury and illness than experienced workers.Read More
Two owners of a property management company in Australia have been fined $110,000 and their company must pay a further $25,000 in connection with the electrocution death of a teenager in Stanwell, Queensland, Australia.
The 16-year-old victim, Rueben Barnes, was electrocuted in 2009 while installing fiberglass insulation in the ceiling of a home. Barnes, an apprentice carpenter, was using a steel pole to move insulation into place when his head touched an electrified piece of metal in the ceiling.Read More
New workers, particularly young new workers, often lack the experience to know how closely they can approach a potential hazard without putting their safety in danger.
If they guess wrong, as many inexperienced workers have, it’s incredibly easy to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, with tragic consequences.
So how close is too close? Bill Dickerson, a senior health and safety advisor for a major Ontario electricity producer who has a passion for young worker safety awareness, has developed an innovative answer to that question. He calls it the Magic Metre or for our readers in the United States, the Magic Yardstick.
“The Magic Metre or Magic Yardstick is a visual image new workers can use to protect themselves from all kinds of hazards,” says the 25-year safety professional. “A Magic Metre is the distance from your nose to your fingertips. It’s almost like a 360 degree bubble all around you, including up and down.”
When delivering high school safety talks or new worker orientations, Dickerson offers the following 11 practical applications for the Magic Metre:
1. Noise: If you have to raise your voice above a normal talking level to be heard one Magic Metre away, you are likely exposed to (a sound pressure level) over 85 decibels and require hearing protection.
2. Moving Equipment: When working around moving equipment such as chain drives, conveyors, etc., if you maintain a Magic Metre from your outstretched fingertips, you are unlikely to fall into the equipment or contact a pinch point. The same concept works for hot pipes, electrical hazards, etc.
3. Biohazards: If you maintain a Magic Metre from a fellow worker with a cough or cold you are likely beyond the “sneeze spray zone.” Maintain the same Magic Metre from blood and body fluids and products unless protected.
4. Tools: Protect yourself and others by maintaining a Magic Metre or “safety bubble” around yourself when using power tools, hammers, axes, etc.
5. Chemicals: From the material safety data sheet (MSDS) determine how many Magic Metres are required between you and chemicals you may be exposed to.
6. Workplace Violence: Maintain a Magic Metre between you and an angry customer or co-worker. Position yourself to minimize your exposure as a target, and protect vital areas.
7. Eye Protection: Wear your safety glasses or goggles within a Magic Metre of any process that could result in flying objects.
8. Fall Protection: A worker may be seriously hurt in a fall or poorly planned jump of even less than a Magic Metre. You require fall arrest protection if your feet are two Magic Metres above the next level.
9. Lifting and carrying: The safest zone for carrying loads is within the Magic Metre from your knees to your shoulders.
10. Call Before You Dig: Don’t dig (including hand digging) within a Magic Metre of either side of a utility location marker (hydro, gas, telephone, etc.).
11. Falling Objects: Almost anything that falls a Magic Metre onto you will hurt!Read More
A partnership struck between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US Department of Transportation will hopefully combat the problem of distracted driving among American workers.
OSHA will investigate and issue citations and penalties when it receives credible complaints that employers require texting while driving.
“It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving. It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality,” says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
There will be a special emphasis on reaching younger workers, who fall into the age group most likely to text.
The initiative includes an education campaign for employers, calling on them to prevent occupationally related distracted driving, with a special focus on prohibiting texting while driving.
It also includes forming alliances with the National Safety Council and other organizations to provide outreach to employers, especially small employers, aimed at combating distracted driving.Read More
A spotter at a trucking company and the company he works for have both been charged after a co-worker was crushed beneath a trailer in Calgary.
The spotter, Keith Hargrave, has been charged with failing to take reasonable care to protect a fellow worker. Hargrave and the victim, 20-year-old James Rintoul, were helping to guide a truck and two trailers into a wash bay when Rintoul was run over by one of the trailers.
Denel Trucking, which employed Hargrave and Rintoul, has been charged with failure to ensure the safety of a worker in connection with the Aug. 8, 2008 fatality. The company is based in De Winton, AB.Read More
The crushing death of a truck driver has resulted in the first reckless endangerment conviction in the Australian state of Victoria, along with hefty fines for both the company and its director.
Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd. has been fined the equivalent of $695,000 in connection with the death of 21-year-old driver Bradley Alford in December 2006. The company was convicted of recklessly engaging in conduct that places or may place another person at a workplace in danger of serious injury.
Martin John Smith, director of Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd., was fined the equivalent of $111,000 after being convicted of failing to provide safe working conditions for employees.
A Mack truck driven by Alford went out of control and overturned on a steep slope. The young worker was ejected and crushed. Melbourne County Court found that Orbit Drilling had failed to ensure that Alford was properly instructed and trained to operate the truck off-road on a steep slope.
It also failed to ensure that the truck he was driving was in proper working order. There was a problem with its brakes.
Alford had held a license to drive a Mack truck for only two weeks when he was instructed to drive an overweight truck in off-road conditions on a slope exceeding 10 degrees.
Instead of reversing onto a drilling pad located on top of a steep hill, the truck gained speed before rolling over at the bottom of the hill. The court heard Alford was not trained to understand gear selection for the type of terrain upon which he was driving, nor had he received safety training or had his driving skills supervised.Read More
Alberta Workplace Health and Safety won’t be laying charges in connection with the death of a 16-year-old worker.
A spokesman for the safety agency told reporters that a prosecutor determined that there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction in the case.
Mitchell Tanner of St. Albert, AB, just north of Edmonton, died at a Rona Building Centre in June 2008 while he and another yard employee were using a forklift. Tanner, who was a passenger on the forklift, died when the machine tipped over. It was only his second day on the job.Read More
Nova Scotia students will soon know more about how to prevent workplace injuries, thanks to new curriculum based on a successful pilot project.
The program was piloted on 330 Grade 9 students this past academic year and it is being expanded to cover all Nova Scotia students in that grade during the 2010-11 academic year.
The departments of Education and Labour and Workforce Development and the Workers’ Compensation Board developed the eight hours of in-class instruction, which is part of the compulsory Healthy Living 9 course.
“My students now recognize a safety hazard when they see it, and they understand the consequences of saying nothing,” says John Helle, who teaches at Malcolm Munroe Junior High School.Read More
A West Virginia man is struggling to cope with not only the loss of his 21-year-old son in a mine explosion, but also the deaths of his brother and a nephew.
Tommy Davis, 42, told Today show host Matt Lauer that the last words he heard his son, Cory, speak that morning were, “I love you too, old man! I’m going to go cut me some coal.”
Tom’s older brother, Timmy, 51, and 27-year-old nephew, Joshua, also perished in the early April explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, WV. The explosion killed 29 miners, making it the worst mining disaster in the United States in 26 years.
As he made his own way out of the mine that day, Tommy felt a gust of wind and didn’t think much of it until he realized that Cory, Timmy and Joshua should have been coming out too, but weren’t. He later learned that all three had perished in the blast.
Tom said Cory loved working at the mine and was close to getting his “black hat,” indicating that he was a certified miner.
“I just want everybody to know Cory was a great kid,” he told Lauer. “He loved his job and he loved everybody around him. And he’s going to be missed, big time.”Read More