This week had plenty of safety news but only a couple really got my attention. Some of the stories that seemed to be new news, was really just week old safety information other media outlets finally got their hands on. There were many stories (not really remarkable) about lockout tagout and machine guarding. These two items usually go hand-in-hand when referencing an OSHA inspection. If there is not a guard, there has to be a lockout tagout in place. It is an easy one-two punch from an OSHA citation standpoint. No guarding = fine. No lockout with no guarding = another fine. The inspector sees a trend and keeps finding the same problem over and over and over. The fine racks up to a hefty sum, the local news runs with it. On the other side, there are workers who have serious risk of amputation and death from the lack of those two basic programs.
On to other news.
In the “Most Creative Headline” category:
OSHA: Trains Aren’t the Only Things Blowing the Whistle at Union Pacific. EHS today continues to find interesting ways to grab the reader’s attention with punny headlines. The story is interesting. Workers’ have the right to report safety issues to OSHA without fear of retaliation. There were several documented cases where workers were retaliated against for either reporting safety issues or reporting work related injuries. The story focuses on one such case in which a work related injury appeared to result in a termination. Documentation is key. Just because a worker reports a safety issue or injury does not mean they have a free pass from the other rules of the workplace. The key is to consistently follow policies and document concisely when there are breaches in the policy. In this case, the story also lists other instances which this seemingly unfair practices were conducted.
In the “Learn from the Past” Category:
At the 10 year anniversary of the BP Texas City explosion, the CSB released a statement. This was a dramatic event and reviewing what went wrong is critical for prevention. PSM is a performance based standard and good mechanical integrity is very important to making sure catastrophes like this do not happen. Personally, I saw this event as one where a zero recordable mentality, should have been one of preventing injuries and incidents. They let their maintenance slip, but was proud of no OSHA recordables. In the end, there should have been more focus on the process and not on the results.