Contractor Prequalification – Safety Metrics

By Trish Ennis CSP, ARM, CRIS
Executive Director, Colorado Safety Association

Managing risk on a large project or energy campus is a critical activity for protecting business assets. Requiring suppliers and contractors to go through a prequalification process is one element of reducing risk. A comprehensive prequalification process will enable an owner to benchmark the financial strength, risk management procedures, and safety performance of a potential contractor against acceptable standards. There are numerous services available to provide these prequalification services to owners, such as ISNetworld, Avetta, PEC Safety, BROWZ, Ariba and many other prequalification systems. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Guidance

By Trish Ennis CSP, ARM, CRIS
Executive Director, Colorado Safety Association

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a long and challenging experience for people across the globe. The good news is that there are vaccines being deployed in the United States under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The challenge facing employers now is the question of whether to make a vaccine policy mandatory. Can employers require a worker to show proof of vaccination before they are allowed to return to work?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the best source for employers interested in guidance on the question of vaccines in the workplace. The current position of the EEOC is that employers may require workers to obtain a vaccine before they can return to work. There are some limitations that employers must consider however, in order to avoid violating a variety of antidiscrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The following link provides a significant amount of information on this topic. Vaccines are addressed under section K.

Is it Dangerous to Work in or Live Close to Industrial Sites?

By Connie Fabre, President & CEO, Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance (GBRIA)

Have you ever heard someone ask this question? Most people working in industry enjoy the prosperity that their jobs have brought to them and their families, however when people claim that industrial jobs are unsafe or that industry is harming our environment, some might wonder whether there is any merit to these claims. Although the vocal few speaking against industry can cause people to question, the data does not support their claims. 

When it comes to safe jobs, industrial plant, maintenance, and construction work fare better than working for many service jobs. The Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) number measures the number of people who sustain a non-fatal injury among 200,000 hours worked. In the U.S. in 2019 (the latest information available from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), petroleum refiners averaged a 0.4, down from 0.7 in 2018, while manufacturing as a whole averaged 3.3. As a comparison, retailers averaged 3.4, hospitals 5.5, and state and local government 4.6. So, how does the petrochemical industry achieve such a good record? Sharing best practices, tackling common issues through associations and organizations such as ARSC, is a hallmark of this industry, however, it is each company and each employee’s attitude and focus on safety that makes the difference. Companies expend incredible resources to ensure that employees meet daily, complete Job Safety Analyses, Hazard Analyses, and training upon training in every aspect of hazards possible and how to avoid injury.  Companies have pep rallies for safety and are unrelenting in convincing employees to believe that “ZERO incidents” is an achievable goal.

My Experience with Covid-19

by Sylvia Villarreal
Administrator, Association of Reciprocal Safety Councils

I have been that person who did not take Covid-19 as seriously as I should. Because I took every precaution required to keep myself and my family safe from contracting the virus, I thought that I wouldn’t get it. Boy was I wrong! I unfortunately still fell victim to it. Like most everyone else, I had no clue where I could have contracted the virus. This is my story, and how the virus personally affected me.

In mid-December, I started feeling my allergy symptoms again. I am prone to seasonal allergies and can quickly recognize it if it is just simple allergies. These allergies require me to take over the counter medicine. That evening, I began to feel very tired, more so than usual. I brushed it off as just having a long day, and I was simply mentally drained. The next morning, still dealing with the sniffles, sneezing, and coughing, I got up and went to work. I figured my allergy medication should have or would be kicking in at any moment.                                                  

Safety Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implementing a Digital Site Audit/Inspection plan.

by James Hinton
Director, EHS&Q

The COVID-19 pandemic has given way to a multitude of problems and resolutions for the safety professional. One large problem is how to complete safety inspections/audits when we need to reduce travel and limit exposure to the virus at facilities and construction sites?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced safety professionals to take a very holistic and integrated approach toward site inspections and audits. The safety professional must be able to maintain facility site safety through regular inspections and audits to keep the sites in safe a condition for the employees and the public. Safety professionals have been able to quickly adapt to the pandemic’s resulting issues in many inventive ways.  They have the ability to complete required and needed site safety audits and inspections while still complying with COVID-19 safety recommendations.

Think About This: How can we write a safety program that someone can use?

By Trish Ennis CSP, ARM, CRIS

Executive Director, Colorado Safety Association

Organizations and Safety Professionals spend lots of time and resources developing safety and health documentation, for good reasons. These documents are created for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Meeting legal requirements
  • Defining and documenting compliance requirements
  • Providing details about safety rules and procedures

Despite the amount of time and effort put in to these documents, they are relatively dense, filled with technical language (jargon), and frequently hard to navigate. What if we focused on the psychology of how people access and read information based on the intent of that information? What if our safety documentation was designed to accommodate how people look for cues and read information?

Revised Guidance from OSHA When Work-related Infections Must Be Reported

By David Womack, Ph.D.
Safety and Health Manager, HSEQ & ARSC Owners Advisory Committee Chair

On September 30, 2020, OSHA released revised guidance redefining the triggering event determining when employers must report that a worker has been hospitalized or died because of COVID-19.

These changes are contained in three Frequently Asked Questions added to OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage that outline the need to report employees’ in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from work-related exposures to the coronavirus. The new FAQs offer guidance on how to apply OSHA’s existing injury and illness recording and reporting requirements to the coronavirus, how to calculate reporting deadlines for in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities, and define “incident” as it relates to work-related coronavirus in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities.

Safety and Meditation

By Jennifer Williams
EHS Program Manager

Take a moment to think about how many times you have completed an injury investigation that leaves you scratching your head and wondering if you should just bubble wrap everything or everyone.  You have put controls in place from every corrective action decision tree, yet you still find yourself thinking that there is nothing left to do. Is this simple “common sense” or is it?

Consider the most intelligent person you know - who always makes the correct judgement calls - gets injured in a “common sense” accident. You should take “common sense” out of your mind and replace it with their state of mind. “Common sense” has nothing to do with safety on the job; however, the employee state of mind has EVERYTHING to do with safety on the job.