January 15, 2014 | Volume 12, Number 2

Government and Oil and Gas Industry Team Up for Safety

The federal government and key players in the oil and gas sector have established an alliance to help reduce injuries and fatalities among industry employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 138 oil and gas workers died in 2012, an almost 25 percent increase from 2011. Vehicle crashes and being struck by objects or equipment were determined to be the major causes of death.

The fatality rate from 2003 to 2010 for the industry, according to a report from NIOSH, was 27.1 per 100,000 full-time employees, much higher than the rate of 3.8 for all other workers in the U.S.

To help reverse this trend, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network all hosted a safety stand-down. The event featured roundtable discussions and case study analysis.

To find out more, read this article from Safety+Health Magazine.

Winter Time Tips for Outdoor Workers

Outdoor workers must watch out for cold stress, says the Department of Labor (DOL) in a blog post. Amidst plummeting temperatures, the DOL published several safety reminders to help keep employees who work outdoors safe and warm.

Cold stress is a condition brought on when the body cannot warm itself, it may cause tissue damage and even claim lives. There are four factors that can lead to cold stress: cold air temperatures, high velocity air movement, dampness of the air, and contact with cold water or surfaces.

The DOL advises employees to avoid alcohol and smoking to help reduce the risk of cold stress, and to wear protective clothing made of wool, silk and common synthetics. These fabrics remain insulated even when wet.

The DOL recommends at least three layers of clothing including an inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to wick moisture away from the body. A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet and an outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating. Do not wear tight fitting clothing.

Other protective gear includes hats or hoods, insulated boots, and an extra change of clothes.

For more tips, visit the DOL blog entry.

Budget Cuts Compromise OSHA’s Efforts

The recent decreases in OSHA’s budget are affecting its reach and efficiency, according to an article from Safety+Health Magazine.

Arguing that OSHA has helped precipitate a long-term decline in injuries and fatalities since its inception in the 1970s, the article attributes the agency’s success to, among other things, enforcement and compliance assistance programs.

Both have been the lynchpins of OSHA’s success, but they are undercut by decreasing budgets. State plan funds have had to be reduced, depriving funds for training and halting many inspections. It is also feared that with less funds to enforce safety standards, the number of egregious violators will only grow.

For more information, read the report.

Start the New Year with a New Way of Thinking

Every action counts so it is imperative that your employees know how to respond to hazardous situations. Even more important is that your employees know what preventative steps to take to try and avoid hazards altogether.

Safety Orientation: A New Way of Thinking, is a new training program from DuPont Sustainable Solutions that focuses on some key work practices that will help your employees work safely, whether it’s their first day or their thirtieth year on the job.

Help shift and enhance employee attitudes by increasing their safety awareness around personal protective equipment, chemical safety, fire safety, lockout/tagout, back safety, bloodborne pathogens and slips, trips and falls.

Preview and purchase online or get instant access on CoastalFlix™, our video streaming solution.

Ask Employees: Is This Slippery?

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety published new research that shows how the extent of slipperiness can be reliably assessed through workers’ perceptions.

In the study, researchers used the coefficient of friction as an objective measure of slipperiness in a restaurant. At the same time, they asked the employees to rate slipperiness on a four-point scale, with 1 as not slippery and 4 as very slippery. The workers were later surveyed on their slip experiences, including how often they slipped.

Results confirmed a correlation between perceived slipperiness and measured friction and showed that each point increase in the mean-level perception of slipperiness was associated with 2.71-times higher rate of subsequent slipping.

Based on the study, workers’ perceptions of slipperiness are an effective and practical alternative to objective measurement studies like slip meters. Plus, the perceptions can also help predict the extent of slipping risks and help organizations take preventive action.

For more information, download the research.

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