Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keeping Safety in Perspective

Some companies will openly show signs that state “Safety First” as one of their company values.

While this indeed sounds noble and well meaning, in reality it directly conflicts with the main purpose of the business – which is to make money for the owners, employees or stockholders either through sales of a product or offer of a service.

We will advance that it makes more sense for safety to be considered an integral part of the business – akin to the 3 legs of a stool - all equally as important to the overall continued success of the business. The 3 main priorities would be productivity, product or service quality and safety.

Consider now how much more sense this makes from a day to day operational perspective and employees being better able to conceptualize the relationship and importance of all 3 priorities working together equally for success.

Visualizing one of the main priorities failing causing the stool to fall over might help.

Keeping this perspective could make safety a more realistic concept for all concerned.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Workplace safety does not receive much mainstream exposure. The vast majority of the U.S population does not know what OSHA is or what it regulates. We’re intent on changing that.  In this post, we’ll analyze the $250 million dollar 90′s blockbuster Enemy of the State and NBC’s The Office for OSHA violations.

A special thanks goes out to contributing safety expert Anne Evans for her assistance in creating this post.

(1998) Enemy Of The State, Supply Room Scene. CLIP ENDS AT 03:20
This clip is from the late 90′s blockbuster ‘Enemy of the State’. What’s especially interesting about this clip is that the management had the audacity to place a ‘Safety First’ poster in the same room as a handful of critical OSHA violations. Sadly this type of gross negligence coupled with minimal effort to create the appearance of compliance (such as a ‘Safety First’ sign) is far too common in actual workplaces. In this case, Hollywood’s depiction of workplace safety is not so different than reality.

We can see that the hotel stocked their supply closet  with a tray of lighters a few feet away from several gallons of cleaning solution marked as ‘FLAMMABLE’ in large red letters.

This is a clear violation of 1910.106(d)(5)(iii) which states:

Storage shall be prohibited except that which is required for maintenance and operation of building and operation of equipment. Such storage shall be kept in closed metal containers stored in a storage cabinet or in safety cans or in an inside storage room not having a door that opens into that portion of the building used by the public.
While this discussion centers on OSHA regulation, NFPA 30 also has a lot to say about the use of storage rooms/cabinets, ignition source control (50 feet) and management of other hazards for flammable storage.  A fire could result in both OSHA and Fire Marshal inspections.

Interestingly enough, the hotel did seem to comply to regulation 1910.106(d)(7)(i)(a) that requires a fire extinguisher near the entrance of the room:

"At least one portable fire extinguisher having a rating of not less than 12-B units shall be located outside of, but not more than 10 feet from, the door opening into any room used for storage."
They also complied with 1910.106(d)(7)(iii) which requires control of open flame and smoking.  They posted signs to comply:

"Open flames and smoking shall not be permitted in flammable liquid storage areas."

At 3:17 there is a moment when storage is very briefly visible within 18” of the ceiling in the storage room.  In this instance, the storage of materials so closely crowding the sprinkler device could not arguably be far enough away from a sprinkler head in such a small room as to allow adequate vertical clearance in line with the Standard Interpretation of 1910.159(c)(10) and NFPA 30  3-2.3.2:

 Aisles shall be maintained to retard the transfer of fire from one pile to another and to permit convenient access for fire fighting, salvage, and removal of storage.
(2005-) The Office, Episode: “Boys and Girls”, warehouse scene. CLIP ENDS AT 00:24
In this clip, Michael seizes Daryl’s Forklift and makes a huge mess in the warehouse.
Michael was engaging in ‘horseplay’ which is specifically forbidden by 1910.178(n)(9):
"Stunt driving and horseplay shall not be permitted."

As Michael had clearly not been trained to use the Forklift, his usage of the equipment violated 1960.10(a) which states:

Each employee shall comply with the standards, rules, regulations and orders issued by his/her agency in accordance with section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and this part which are applicable to his/her own actions and conduct.

Michael was clearly not competent to operate the forklift safely. Seeing as he is a branch manager and exhibits similar reckless and unsafe behavior on a regular basis, we can assume that management is not making a reasonable attempt to ensure that forklift operators are competent and trained which violates 1910.178(l)(1)(i):

The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (l).

Michael was able to seize the Forklift while it was running with the forks elevated. This indicates that the forklift was left unattended which violates 1910.178(m)(5)(i) through (m)(5)(iii) (paraphrased):

When a forklift is left unattended, load engaging means shall be fully lowered, controls shall be neutralized, power shall be shut off, and brakes set.  If the forklift is only dismounted (operator within 25’ and within line-of-sight) the truck need-not be shut-off.

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Reprinted by Invitation from Compliance and Safety - We enjoy their work here at SaferWorkSite

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Safety Success Story - Reditus

We've had the distinct pleasure of working with Mike and Tony since 2005 so it is a pleasure to spotlight this success here.....


Innovation, entrepreneurship, and small business | More blogs at the Democrat and Chronicle

Nothing Beats Shoe Leather

Posted by • December 18, 2012 • 11:14 am

Back in 2006 I was having coffee at Starbucks Penfield with Mike Keefe. A workplace safety expert, Mike was lamenting that he had been laid off and could not find a job. He had knocked on all the doors, had gone through dozens of interviews – but no job. His wife was expecting, money was running out; he desperately needed work. Then came the tipping point. One of his friends suggested that he take on a safety training project from a business owner on a contract basis. Mike agreed on terms and acquired his first retainer client.
Today Mike’s company, Reditus Safety Solutions, LLC , is a safety management, loss control, and training resource company. At 1555 Lyell Avenue, Suite 122, Reditus occupies 5,000 sq. ft. of classroom and hands on training spaces. This is how Mike differentiates his business: “It’s not about Power Point slides. It’s about putting on a harness and being hoisted, about crawling through confined spaces, understanding lock out/tag out situations.” It’s also about ROI: “Reditus is about producing value; people see that I can change the cost structure of their business by lowering their safety exposure. Without a value proposition, we would be at the mercy of the invisible hands of the market.”

Mike’s billable hours have grown so much that he has taken a full time partner, Tony Giovanazzo, himself a national level expert in safety. How did Mike grow the business? “Nothing beats shoe leather. It’s about this…” pointing to himself and me. “You have to earn their trust.”

Go see Mike at:

Classroom for on the job safety training, at Reditus



Friday, December 7, 2012

Normalcy Bias

"Normalcy Bias" Explained

Might this condition also relate to how workers view workplace and see....

The phenomenon of normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.

This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations.

The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur.

It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before.

People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday, November 30, 2012

Scaffold-Sidewalk Shed Daily Inspection

 Scaffold-Sidewalk Shed Daily Inspection Log
All supported Scaffolds and Sidewalk Sheds must be inspected daily and results of the inspection logged and readily available on the jobsite at all times. Maintenance Logs minimally must include the following info:
General Information
Permit #

Name of Scaffold Erector:

Installation Date:
Renter Name: 

Phone #
Shed Type:   Light [  ]  Med [  ]  Heavy [  ]  Duty

Are Drawings on Jobsite for Inspection
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Specific Information:

Scaffold Height:  
Number of Platforms Decked:

Base Plates and Mudsills Secured?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are the Signs on the Parapets?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are all Scaffold Pins and Bolts installed?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Maintenance Information

Are Legs and Poles Plumb, Braced & Not Displaced?  Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are Cross Braces fully attached – not distorted and not missing?   Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Tie –Ins correctly spaced, properly secured and the correct number required?    Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are Pipe Clamps Tight?         Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are Window Jacks Tight?     Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are all the Planks secured?  
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are Decking and Planks in Good Condition?    
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Is the Deck Fully Planked?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are there Gaps or Open Spaces on Decking?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are Guardrails and Toe Boards Secured at all places as required?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Is the Netting Extension of full length & height?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Is the Netting Secured?   
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Is the parapet of proper height and secured?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Are the lights working properly?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]
Is the Deck clean and free of debris?
Yes  [   ]   No  [   ]



Emergency Symbol Recognition - ICE

ICE - In Case of Emergency  Job Site Safety Tool trademarked emergency icon was created in 2005 by safety professionals wanting a “Best Practice” highly recognizable and memorable symbol to represent emergency preparedness.
This is especially important for our highly diverse as well as our aging members of society who may find the plethora of new safety symbols confusing.

ICE4SAFETY has created a very useful and easy to understand representative safety icon and here is the short form reasons why:

1. Symbols should be visually simple & representational. Simple and direct is best.
ICE symbol is comprised of representative safety colors (Orange, Blue with White lettering) found on OSHA/ANSI signage. ICE represents medical emergency preparedness and reflects the extensively used NHTSA “Star of Life”. 
ICE = In Case of Emergency.

Independent study has shown that the term “ICE” is widely recognized by the majority of American citizenry. The concept continues to get coverage in the national media. For those who may not be immediately cognizant of the symbol’s meaning it is a simple and easy task to understand and recall in an emergency situation.

2. Increased Complexity should be relevant and necessary in communicating the symbol’s meaning.
We kept the symbol simple. You only need to know that ICE and Emergency are synonymous.

Text denoting ICE is in plain sight – not obscured by any other symbology, notices, graphics or distracting irrelevant advertising.
In fact any such sponsorship of the printing of ICE images is relegated to one line (only) of non-distracting text on the bottom edge of the symbol. Creations of promotional materials for community groups or EMS/Fire is strictly that – promotional. Actual use materials are strictly function oriented. Once again KISS.

3. Symbols should not be arbitrary if they are abstract.
The six bars of the NHTSA Star of Life and safety color scheme are representative of safety in all sectors of our society and have been for decades.

4. Using abstract or arbitrary symbols – using contextual or verbal cues in design may facilitate initial symbol comprehension and increase training effectiveness.
Training and awareness “uptake” for the ICE symbol representing emergency preparedness, workplace safety, emergency medical-contact and related safety/preparedness uses rapid and long term. We advocate KISS and REDUNDANCY as prime concepts of preparedness. The use of “ICE” is promoted for cell phone use and is incorporated in phone design and as an ITU international communication standard E.123 that electronic devices are programmed to recognize by design. 

5. “Learnability” can aid in selection of the best symbol from a set of symbols of similar comprehensibility.
One need only review a list of the various symbols used on job sites and workplaces to see there are conflicting and confusing symbols that can be misunderstood. Not with ICE.

Learning what ICE represents can be as easy as one 5 second training at a visitor station at any hospital, workplace, business, school, vehicle safety, government facility or home. It IS that simple. A doctoral study in hospitals in Amsterdam has shown that even an uninformed medical professional easily comprehends ICE and immediately agrees to the use of this term and the concept of preparedness that is represented. 

Recommendations for symbol design were adapted from an article by fellow ASSE members in the March 2012 Professional Safety Magazine - The Aging Workforce by Mary F. Lesch, William J. Horrey, W. Ryn Powell and Michael Wogalter. Page 45-49