Let’s Hear it for Keeping Workers’ Hearing Safe

Your office might be quiet, but more than 22 million workers are exposed to noise levels every year that can damage their hearing or cause permanent hearing loss. They might be construction workers, machinists, or on the factory line. They might also be musicians or pilots, or from any number of professions.

Damage occurs when loud noise damages the sensitive nerve endings in the ear. Repeated exposure deadens more nerves, causing greater loss. These nerves do not regenerate so hearing loss is permanent and cannot be corrected by surgery or medicine. Shorter term exposure can cause tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. Tinnitus might be temporary or may become a permanent, debilitating condition. Continue reading “Let’s Hear it for Keeping Workers’ Hearing Safe”

How automation improved the world’s biggest chemicals producer

Well, at this particular BASF site, they run chemical batch processes where they put a bunch of chemicals together, they cook it and then they do purity measurements on the particular product.

If the product isn’t pure enough or the chemical bindings aren’t strong enough, they cook longer and add additional additives until they are. That’s not an uncommon process in the chemical world.

They ran for five days in a row and would shut down over the weekend, when they would do their clean-up. So that’s 24 hours a day, five days a week, 120 hours of uptime in total.

They had a 40 hour cook cycle and could get three cooks in in that time period. Then things started to get out of hand and a cook cycle would take 45 hours. If the second cook also took 45 hours then you didn’t have enough time before they shut down to get the third one in. Continue reading “How automation improved the world’s biggest chemicals producer”

Motivating Employees to Accept a Behavioral Safety Process

Is behavioral safety just another way to blame workers for accidents? I have fielded this question in one form or another almost every time I have talked to workers or union leaders about behavioral safety. Because behavioral safety is dependent on the participation of motivated employees to make it effective, such perceptions can seriously jeopardize the success of the process. What causes some people to perceive that behavioral safety is a blame-the-worker program? Just the name “behavioral” seems to point the finger of blame at the workers. Several other factors also contribute to the perception that behavioral safety is about blame.

Most approaches to behavioral safety include references to studies from the DuPont Company or the National Safety Council which indicate that the “causes” of most industrial accidents (up to 96% in some studies) are the “unsafe acts” of workers. According to these studies, very few industrial accidents are caused by “unsafe conditions.” This terminology has unfortunately contributed to misunderstanding. Continue reading “Motivating Employees to Accept a Behavioral Safety Process”

How To Put On A Fall Protection Harness The Right Way

In the construction industry, working at heights is a standard part of the job. But with increased height also comes an increased risk of falling.

Consequently, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, taking the lives of more than 359 construction workers in 2014. Personal fall arrest systems – body harnesses, lanyards, and connectors – are one method of protecting workers from injury and death by falls.

Fall arrest systems aren’t foolproof, however. Faulty or misused fall harnesses can be just as dangerous as no fall protection at all. But knowing what to look for when inspecting a fall arrest system, and how to properly strap on a harness, can save your life. Here are steps for inspecting and putting on fall arrest harnesses so that you stay safe while working at heights. Continue reading “How To Put On A Fall Protection Harness The Right Way”

Workplace Lifting Safety

Injuries related to lifting are often particularly troubling because it can be difficult to treat these types of injuries. Lifting something improperly can cause your back to spasm, which is extremely painful. In some cases, however, there is little that can be done to fix the problem quickly. Doctors often prescribe rest and pain killers, which can cause employees to miss a lot of work.

“Lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. In 2001, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over 36 percent of injuries involving missed workdays were the result of shoulder and back injuries.” Continue reading “Workplace Lifting Safety”

Keeping Yourself Safe and Healthy: Choose, then Use PPE

Many of us still remember the confusion and uncertainty when trying to comply with the personal protective equipment (PPE) section of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard when it first came out in 1991. Fifteen years later, there are many more types of protective gear to choose from; but the basic premise of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the same today as it was then – whatever you choose to wear must protect you from the hazardous materials found in the workplace (see Table 1). For dental hygienists, that usually means taking steps to avoid the spray, splash and spatter of potentially infectious material encountered in direct patient care and reprocessing instruments. Continue reading “Keeping Yourself Safe and Healthy: Choose, then Use PPE”

How to Reduce Rudeness in the Workplace

Lots of us have probably experienced a toxic employer at some point in our lives. I had a boss many years ago who would lash out at colleagues and me during staff meetings with little provocation, putting everyone on edge. Yet he was also hailed among higher-ups as someone who got the job done. So, should we have just put up and shut up?

According to the new book Mastering Civility by management professor Christine Porath, the answer is absolutely not. Porath makes a clear and compelling case that rudeness and incivility in the workplace do more damage than good to work relationships and efficiency, soundly dispelling the myth of the hard-nosed-yet-effective boss. Instead, she argues, we would do well to practice civility at work. Continue reading “How to Reduce Rudeness in the Workplace”

Industry Article: Drilling in a Digital World

Drilling will never be a one-size-fits-all operation. Every well presents a unique set of conditions that vary during construction. For years the industry has been applying discrete drilling technologies and relying on incremental enhancements to improve drilling efficiency. While this has produced noteworthy results, performance is still plagued by inefficiencies due to the interfaces between multiple technology and service providers.

By adopting a holistic, consistent and collaborative approach to managing the entire drilling system, the industry can achieve fundamental improvements and new levels of drilling performance. This requires industry participants to completely rethink the way we operate. We need to redesign and digitally enable workflows to drive integrated technology and service delivery platforms built on cloud-based single data sources. That is the way to empower the industry to rise above the present-day barriers of data and domain silos and disconnected drilling services. Such a radical level of change requires a new mindset for both operators and service companies. Continue reading “Industry Article: Drilling in a Digital World”

Safety Is A Core Value In The Oil And Gas Industry

While rugged conditions and hands-on labour are a big part of many oil and gas industry jobs, those challenges come with a major commitment to a safe work environment.

“Everything we do is dedicated to the continuous improvement of safety,” says Cameron McGillivray, President and CEO of Enform Canada – The Safety Association for Canada’s Upstream Oil and Gas Industry. Continue reading “Safety Is A Core Value In The Oil And Gas Industry”

Trends In Personal Protective Equipment

Properly working and fitting personal protective equipment is critically important for workers, even if it’s meant to be used as the last line of defense. Safety+Health, with help from the International Safety Equipment Association, recently asked PPE manufacturers three questions: What PPE trends are happening now, what challenges are your customers reaching out to you with, … Continue reading Trends In Personal Protective Equipment