With the recent coronavirus pandemic, identifying and screening your employees is more important than ever. For the safety and security of your workforce and workplace, employees should be easily identified. As of the beginning of April, nearly 95% of Americans have been given stay at home orders except for essential businesses. As these essential businesses remain open, it is crucial that each employee be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and that additional protocols are enacted. Some states require letters for those essential employees and identification while in route and at their respective jobs.
One way that companies are keeping this controlled include specialized employee badges with a color-coded sticker for that day of the week. As a badge is something that can be easily produced, replaced and changed, it is something that is also very visible and can be utilized for multiple items. Some items an employee badge can be utilized for include:
An important piece to the ongoing safety of your customers and coworkers includes asking the recommended Coronavirus questionnaire and checking temperatures and symptoms each shift. Once this is completed prior to entry into the workplace, a visual identifier is a great way to let people know this person is assumed safe for the day. Stickers placed on a badge that are changed every shift or every day is an easy, affordable solution in this time of need. If your organization is looking for individuals to perform screening, look towards a local safety or staffing agency. If your company is looking to purchase essential employee badges or purchase a printer contact us today to lead you in the right direction.
Training in the construction industry is a LEADING INDICATOR AND PREVENTION OF INJURY AND DEATH IN THE WORKPLACE. Not only is proper training good practice, it is also one of OHSA’s most common citations. Proper training and the documentation of that training can save thousands of dollars in fees, lost time and insurance claims.
OSHA requires recordkeeping in two areas; Injuries & Illnesses and Safety Training.
Injury & Illness Reporting Requirements
OSHA requires construction employers with 10 and more employees to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses.
What is considered a recordable injury?
What is considered First Aid?
What does OSHA consider a severe injury?
A severe injury includes a fatality, amputation, loss of eye, or hospitalization (formal admission to hospital for treatment). In the case of a fatality, OSHA must be notified within (8) hours of the incident. In the cases of amputation, loss of eye, or hospitalization, OSHA must be notified within (24) hours of the incident.
How do you record these injuries and illnesses?
*A recent update (2/25/2019) now does not require companies with more than 250 employees to electronically submit their OSHA 300/301 forms. They are still required to maintain these records each year and continue posting by location.
Training Reporting Requirements (29 CFR 1910/1926)
It is the employer’s responsibility to initiate and maintain programs for accident prevention.
Training is both task and hazard specific. Below is an example of when training is required:
How often in training required?
OSHA requires that some trainings be repeated after a certain period of time. Below are several of those trainings.
Here is a complete list of Training Standards
When are refresher trainings required?
Refresher trainings are required to reiterate the most important aspects of a training and also to incorporate any changes made pertaining to the specific topic. Refresher trainings should be implemented when one of the following instances occur:
What kind of information should be recorded for training?
Training documentation should include:
The best ways to keep your employees safe in the workplace is to provide them with the proper tools and training to get the job done correctly without putting them in danger. STAC emphasizes this by assisting in recording injuries & illnesses and tracking your employee safety trainings and certifications. By having real-time access to these important records, you can have the peace of mind knowing your employees have been given the proper training that is up to date with current standards.
PART 1904 - RECORDING AND REPORTING OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
PART 1926 - SAFETY AND HEALTH REGULATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION
Training Requirements in OSHA Standards
Safety is more than just signs and hard hats. Safety programs can help influence work habits, provide a cultural change, and ultimately keep workers safe at work and at home. But where do you begin creating a safety program? With OSHA’s SAFE + Sound week, STAC has helped prepare some simple steps to help you jumpstart your safety program.
Make Safety a Core Value
The best way to begin your safety program is by establishing safety as a company-wide value. Encourage employees to begin thinking and speaking about safety while affirming that you are all in charge of keeping each other safe in the workplace. This value must include all employees from your president down to your first day intern. When everyone begins thinking about safety, a cultural change can occur.
Create a Reporting System
Once you have established safety for your employees you need a way to report issues they find. Create a report or find a form that allows employees to document incidents and injuries, record near misses, or identify potential safety hazards on the job. Be sure to encourage employees when filling out these forms so you can identify ongoing hazards that are seen on a regular basis and find ways to mitigate them in the future.
With STAC, we can help record incidents with the Add Incident feature. This allows you to record on the job injuries and illnesses and download them as an OSHA 301 form for your reports.
In order to promote safety, you must make it a priority from the beginning. Create a new hire orientation that gives insight to the potential dangers seen on a regular basis and how to identify hazards. Review proper PPE requirements and provide them with the gear prior to going to the job. During this orientation be sure to iterate that all employees are responsible for safety and they have the right to speak up if they see a potential safety hazard.
Once the orientation has been implemented, look to add additional trainings for seasoned employees to continue promoting safety and proper working habits.
Create a jobsite inspection outline and review this in the field on a routine basis. Check for hazards and review findings with your employees on-site so they are aware of the dangers and can prevent them in the future.
Inspections can also be created for equipment being used in the field. Train employees to use these inspections before they operate the equipment to make sure the equipment is in good working condition.
Review Safety Regularly
Keep safety in the minds of your employees. Use toolbox talks, safety stand-downs, and job hazard analysis forms on a regular basis to review and identify hazards that are specific to work your employees are conducting. Make these interactive with questions and scenarios to engage your workers and make them think about their tasks and using proper techniques.
Record all training and safety records in an organized manner. Make sure these documents can be easily reached if employees or trainings come into question.
STAC can help provide on-demand access to employee records keeping you organized and compliant. Our automated reports can help you review this information and find employees who have expiring training to make sure their certifications are never behind.
Until there are zero accidents across all jobsites, continue improving your program to make it the best it can be. Collect feedback from your employees when implementing changes to know what works best. Set goals for your organization and strive to make the changes happen. Continue to encourage safe habits both on the job and at home. When safety is part of the company culture, everyone benefits from the rewards.
After over 10 months on deployment, it has become time to prepare to return home. Instead of counting the days during the deployment, I would count the holidays (it really help make time go quicker). First it was Halloween, then Thanksgiving, next Christmas and New Year’s, Saint Patty’s day, Memorial Day, and now finally 4th of July. It’s crazy to look back at it now how long I’ve been here and how little time that I ‘ve got left.
The unit that is replacing us has also arrived. We will spend the next couple of weeks getting them ready to assume control of all the vehicles and equipment. It almost doesn’t seem real that it’s going to be over soon. Heck, there was a point we thought we’d get extended because of Iran. But, as of now it seems clear sailing to home.
Trenching & Excavation Safety Information:
According to the Bureau of Labor during a 7 year stretch between 2011-2017 153 people were killed in a trench or excavation accident. That's on average 21 people per year in that time period. That's 153 families that have lost a loved one that they will never see again.
The first alarming trend, is that trenching and excavation fatalities have been on an upward trend after hitting an all time low of 13 back in 2014.
The second alarming trend is the size of company that a majority of these fatalities are from companies with fewer than 50 workers. 68% of those fatalities occurred in companies with fewer than 50 workers. 46% of the deaths occurred in small companies with 10 or fewer workers.
Training employees in trenching and excavation safety hazards, protective systems, and role of the competent person is crucial in prevention further fatalities and injuries.
What is the different between a Trench and an Excavation?
OSHA defines an excavation as any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal. A trench is defined as a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide and is no wider than 15 feet (4.5 meters).
Dangers of Trenching and Excavation
Access and Egress
OSHA requires safe access and egress to all excavations, including ladders, steps, ramps, or other safe means of exit for employees working in trench excavations 4 feet (1.22 meters) or deeper. These devices must be located within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of all workers.
Do not enter an unprotected trench! Trenches 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep or greater require a protective system unless the excavation is made entirely in stable rock. Trenches 20 feet (6.1 meters) deep or greater require that the protective system be designed by a registered professional engineer or be based on tabulated data prepared and/or approved by a registered professional engineer. Ensure that spoil piles are at least 2 feet away from the edge of the trench or excavation.
There are different types of protective systems:
Inspections & Competent Person
OSHA standards require that trenches be inspected daily or at the start of each shift and as conditions change (such as after a rainstorm) by a competent person prior to worker entry to ensure elimination of excavation hazards. A competent person is an individual who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards or working conditions that are hazardous, unsanitary, or dangerous to employees and who is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate or control these hazards and conditions.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. You can die from it. Your body has used up all its water and salt and cannot cool itself. Your temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Here’s how to avoid heat stress in the first place:
OSHA Standard: 1926.300 – Subpart I – Tools – Hand & Power
Training: Training should be performed upon initial assignment/before use of tool.
Frequency: When roles, conditions, or equipment changes. Or when worker is using the equipment in an unsafe manner.
1. Always place the load well forward, balanced and confined in size for safety. The load should clear safely through openings, aisles and roadways. The user should be able to see over and around the load to guide it safely. The load should be secured, or held steady, against shifting or falling.
2. When picking up a wheelbarrow, spare your back by giving your legs their fair share of the lifting. Bend the legs for lifting instead of bending the back. Spare your back and the wheelbarrow by never overloading.
3. Always push a loaded wheelbarrow forward. This is the way to avoid being run over. Warn others out of the way. A walking pace is safer than running.
4. Cross over obstacles at the right angle, especially over rails or planks which may divert the wheel causing the load to spill or fall.
5. The wheelbarrow wheel or wheels should be inspected and maintained regularly. Maintain proper lubrication according to directions. Inspect tires for damage. Keep tires inflated according to directions. Keep all bolts and fittings tight and secure.
6. Wheelbarrow handles are for your hands. Replace handles which are split or splintered. Use handle guards to protect your knuckles from scrapes, cuts and fractures.
7. A wheelbarrow by itself will not harm you or anyone else. You are responsible for how well a wheelbarrow is handled, operated, maintained and stored for safety.
The Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) recently released their 2019 Safety Performance Report boasting a drastic reduction in the number of OSHA recordable incidents for companies involved in their ABC STEP program. The average company involved in this program showed nearly a 200% safer Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) than the industry average while companies recognized as a Diamond participant showed a nearly 680% safer TRIR. What attributed to such a drastic shift for companies involved in the STEP program? ABC says a commitment from leadership, a shift in company culture from the beginning and acting on eight core leading indicators are the leading factors.
High Scoring companies in the STEP Program with engagement from c-suite management showed over a 60% decrease in the TRIR and DART (Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred) rate compared to those with no engagement from upper management. The same type of reduction (over 50%) was shown when companies committed to a safety culture, including an in-depth new hire orientation that introduced the company’s values, expectations and procedures. The eight core leading indicators contributing to the rate reductions included toolbox talks, substance abuse programs, performance reviews, action on indicators, safety meetings, PPE requirements, safety pre-planning and goal setting. Each one of these indicators being implemented into the company culture showed decreases between 50%-60% of the company’s TRIR and DART rates. If these steps being implemented can have such a huge impact on company safety records, why isn’t everyone doing it?
The simplest answer is time and money. Many companies are either unwilling or unable to provide these types of changes to their company culture. The 2018 Training Survey conducted by Safety+Health showed that 70% of companies spent less than $500 per individual on safety training. Of all companies surveyed nearly 1 in 4 spend less than $5,000 for safety training for their entire company. When asked of the five hardest challenges regarding safety training, two of the top answers were “Finding Time to Train Workers” and “Lack of Support From Leadership”. While many of these companies struggle with changing the culture from the top down, almost all agree that safety training should be conducted to help reduce injuries and illnesses. It may be difficult to change a company’s culture overnight but implementing change to a safety-oriented culture must start somewhere. With three people being fatally injured during every workday, the construction industry must strive for the goal of zero accidents.
While STAC may not be able to change the mindset from the c-suite management, we can help change some of the core leading indicators to impact safety performance. Whether it’s helping collect toolbox talks, storing substance abuse programs, or tracking indicators and incidents for review, STAC is dedicated to providing service with the peace of mind and affordability for companies of varying sizes. We provide real time access to information helping those already pressed for time focus on keeping their people safe while changing the culture in which they work. Committing to compliance could change lives, while committing to safety within your culture will save them.
Kuwait Army Training
I got the opportunity to train with my counterparts in the Kuwait Army Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Corps. The Kuwaiti’s trained us on there area reconnaissance tactics and we trained them in our site characterization, exploitation, and mounted reconnaissance. We were able to facilitate this training with the use of translators. I was more comfortable than others with speaking through a translator with previous trainings in safety, except I was more used to English to Spanish, not English to Arabic.
Regardless of that, it was a great relationship building exercise and fostered a real sense of partnership. It was great to talk with the guys during the break, it really shows that wherever you go, people are generally the same. It will be an experience that I will not forget.
My most recent trip off Camp Arifjan was to the Kuwait Towers. The Kuwait Tower park is located in Kuwait City standing prominently into the Persian Gulf. The park consists of three towers with the largest tower standing at 614 feet and carries two spheres within the tower, which contains an observation post of the entire city and the Persian Gulf. These towers are actually water towers and there are 31 other towers spread throughout Kuwait, although they are not as large or prominent as the 3 Kuwait Towers. The city is just as lavish and modern as any other American city.
This past month my unit conducted cross level training. My platoon specializes in dismounted reconnaissance (in which we perform site characteristics to gather intelligence to send back to higher). The other two main focuses are mounted reconnaissance with Strykers and decontamination.
The mounted reconnaissance vehicle is the Stryker, which is essentially an armored personnel vehicle. The variation of the Stryker combat vehicle that we have is the M1135 Nuclear Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV). This variation of the Stryker has an on-board integrated NBC sensor suite. Driving the Stryker is actually very fun, the driver seat is low to the ground, it’s almost like driving a sports car, that cost several million dollars. The NBCRV has a complement of 4 soldiers (driver, surveyor, vehicle commander, and assistant). The NBCRV has a left handed glove port on the back of the vehicle. The surveyor has to lay on the floor, use the glove port, and attempt to look outside the window (which is a little bit smaller than a piece of paper) to collect samples. It is an extremely difficult task and takes lots of practice to get used to. You literally only have your left hand to work with.
The other cross level training we did was in decontamination principles. The decontamination platoon taught us about mass casualty decon, equipment decon, and terrain decon. The problem with the training is wearing the appropriate protection level and dealing with the heat. Other than that, it was good to learn these tasks as it will be the main task that we will be doing once we get back to Ohio.
Being from Ohio, I am used to a more humid summer weather. The heat here is more of a “dry heat,” but there is still a decent amount of humidity in the air. Just walking outside during the daytime makes me sweat. Even at 2100 the temperatures can be in the 90s. The “coolest” the daytime temperature in the next two weeks will be 96 degrees Fahrenheit, with most days being consistently over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. By 0500 the sun is up, and the temperatures can already be in the 80s.
The weather honestly feels like opening the door of an oven. It is very windy, and the wind just blows more hot air into your face. The crazy part, we haven’t even reached the hottest time of the year in July/August in which the temperatures will be between 110-120.
Jane is now almost 10 months old and was able to go in the pool for the first time this season. She is a water baby, and that should make her mother happy. I have well over 1,000 photos and videos on her on my phone.
As a follow up to Safety Week, the importance of safety and training is at the top of the list for most safety-oriented people. With an increased commitment to safety training, New York City’s Department of Buildings will begin to enforce Local Law 196 of 2017 starting in December of this year. As part of a response from an increase in construction related fatalities a few years ago, the New York City council passed LL 196 to require contractors to have a much higher commitment to safety training to work inside the city.
As the law will continue to be phased in over the next year, all workers at commercial construction jobsites will be required to have 40 hours of safety training and all supervisors will require 62 hours of safety training. In addition, all workers will be required to have a Site Safety Training (SST) Card. This card is to provide access to an online verification system, dates of course completion and expiration, a unique identification card number, photographs of the person to whom it was issued, and the printed name of the signature of the card holder. So what training is needed?
Worker Required Training:
Supervisor Required Training:
How long does this training last? The SST card is valid for 5 years before a renewal is required. Within the one-year period prior to renewal application, each worker is to take a 4-Hour Fall Protection and 4-Hour Supported Scaffold User training class. All supervisors are required to take 8-Hour Fall Prevention, 4-Hour Supported Scaffold, 2-Hour Toolbox Talks and 2-Hour Pre-Task Safety Meetings training courses. All training must be done in person or an actively proctored online training.
What happens if you don’t live up to the new standard? Well the worker, employer and owner of the project can all be fined up to $5,000 per untrained worker. In addition, each permit holder is required to maintain the BC3321.2 Log which maintains the information of all trained workers and their SST Cards or be fined $2,500 per occurrence.
Safety and safety training should be an integral part of every company culture, especially in construction. Tracking and documenting that training is an important component in addition to providing the training because if there is no proof, it did not happen in most people’s eyes. Since we are all forgetful and busy people, refreshing training should be a routine part of your company’s culture as well. Although, not every city or state will go as far as NYC, it is important to reinforce the need and commitment to safety within a company and community. As a commitment to this ideology STAC will also be introducing the new STAC Safe Badge to companies that show an increased commitment to safety training. More to come, stay tuned.