The Key To A Successful Safety Culture

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Common safety slogans of companies who have taken that first step toward building a safety culture include:

  • Our goal is zero accidents
  • We believe all accidents are avoidable
  • Safety is our #1 priority.

Or, maybe this is something that your company has once said. While these are all great statements, they are only just that: statements, and a statement is only the first step. Many companies stop after creating a safety manual or policy and having the employees sign it saying they are responsible for their safety, but this is only the beginning of their safety culture!

What Is A Safety Culture?
Before we go into finding the key to a safety culture, what exactly is a safety culture and why it is important to you as an employer or manager? A safety culture is the combination of knowledge, ability for continuous improvement, and willingness to participate in all things safety. It is not one person’s job, but encompasses the entire group of employees, customers, visitors and guests. If your safety stops once an employee signs a safety policy, then this article is the perfect place to start!
The key to a successful safety culture is: Top-Down Support and Bottom-Up Involvement.Top-Down Support
The President, Chairperson, Owner, CEO, or whomever is in charge of your company or business, is ultimately the spokesperson and the “leader” of your employees. There is no single person who is more influential in the safety culture. Their support is ultimately the foundation of your safety culture. Having them speak on safety, distribute safety information, or simply provide recognition of safe acts is what promotes this culture. If you do have a safety manual or policy, ensure that this leader is active in the creation of it and they endorse it at all levels.
Next, is to have all, or most of all, upper levels of management partake in safety to some extent. It could be as simple as having a quarterly or bi-annual safety meeting where they review past incidents and safety concerns and speak about what direction the culture of safety is headed. Do anything you can achieve to get them involved and brought up to speed on their company’s or business’s safety. This is seen by all levels as the appreciation for employee’s well-being and has immediate rewards by increased employee morale.Lastly, if your company or business is small, or does not have upper management, it is important that you lead by example. Show up to job sites with the correct PPE, encourage safety training, promote your safety culture and your employees will allow it to grow.

Bottom-Up Involvement
Participation is key from all levels, including the individual with no experience that you just hired. The biggest set-back to a successful safety culture is when an employee does not feel that their input matters or it goes unheard. If an employee makes a suggestion, ensure that you do what you can to implement it. Even if it may seem silly, it encourages them to be more active in your building of safety culture and could lead to a great safety idea or implementation. If you don’t have a form that employees can fill out for safety ideas or any other continuous improvement ideas, then create one. Even if it hardly gets used, it will still make employees feel empowered. Additionally, if you do have a safety meeting, extend the invitation to all levels of employment.Hold safety events, luncheon trainings, or give prizes that are all aimed at promoting and encouraging safety with all levels. These events allow an introduction into your beginning safety culture and jump start something that may not even be thought about until you first bring light to it.

Wherever you start, the most important thing that you can do is to take that first step and keep following up with it. Sometimes safety gets set aside or it is assumed that “accidents happen.” Not believing in that misconception and forming your own safety culture will improve your safety, reduce workers’ comp costs and frequency and greatly improve employee morale.

Should you require assistance, please contact Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Inc. at daday@compone.net.

Posted in 2020, APRIL 2020 | Comments Off on The Key To A Successful Safety Culture

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Prompt Payment Legislation Introduced

Legislation requiring prompt payment for labor, materials and services in private construction contracts has been proposed in the Michigan House of Representatives. While the bill exempts single family residential and attached residential of less than 7 units, apartment buildings 7 units and over are included with all other types of private commercial construction projects. The legislation mandates that construction contracts between an owner and general contractor include a clause requiring payment for satisfactory performance within 30 days from the end of the billing period (defined as the payment cycle agreed to by both parties, or, if no period is specified then the calendar month in which the work is performed). The bill also mandates a contract clause calling for 12% per annum interest on wrongfully withheld amounts due to the contractor. Further, the legislation stipulates a 7 calendar day payment clause in contractors’ contracts with subcontractors and suppliers, with the same 12% interest provision. Finally, the proposed legislation lays out a dispute notification and resolution process. House Bill 5375 has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism for consideration.

Census Bill Targets Multiunit Residences

A bill to prohibit an owner or operator of a “multiunit residence” from denying access to a federal census employee has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. House Bill 5597 would require the owner or operator to permit the census employee to leave census materials for residents at their doors. However, the legislation would not prohibit the owner/operator from requiring a prior appointment to gain access. A “multiunit residence” would include apartment buildings, dorms, mobile home parks, or an area in which 2 or more single-family dwellings are located on private roadways. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations for consideration.

Smoke Alarm Standard Proposed

House Bill 5407 would ban the distribution/sale of smoke alarms powered by replaceable and removeable batteries in Michigan beginning April 1, 2022. The bill further requires that smoke alarms distributed/sold after April 1, 2022 must be powered for not less than 10 years by a nonremovable and nonreplaceable battery or by another power source utilizing new technology. The legislation would not apply to hard-wired or wirelessly linked alarms.
Posted in 2020, APRIL 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Legislation Proposes To Make Certain Evictions More Difficult

Recently introduced legislation in the Michigan Senate would make it more difficult to evict in cases involving controlled substances or threats of physical injury. Under current summary proceedings law, a landlord is entitled to recover possession of premises in cases of controlled substances when a formal police report is filed alleging that the person has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent to deliver, or possessed a controlled substance. Senate Bill 720 would change that standard for delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and possession from a formal police report to an actual conviction. The standard for unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance would remain as a formal police report. Further, current law states that you can recover possession in instances where the tenant or member of the tenant’s household has caused or threatened physical injury to another individual, and the police department has been notified. This legislation would change that standard of simple notification of the police to an actual conviction of a crime.

HUD Issues New Assistance Animal Guidance

At the end of January the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced new guidance to clarify apartment owners’ responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act when a request is made for an assistance animal. The guidance provides best practices for assessing reasonable accommodation requests and documenting a resident’s need for an assistance animal. It also differentiates service animals from support animals. The guidance can be found at www.hud.gov.

Have A Builder’s License? Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency
Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your renewal deadline of May 31, 2020.
AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply. Visit HBA’s website for online registration at www.builders.org.
Posted in 2020, MARCH 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Make Safety Fun And Your Employees Will Thank You

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager
Picture this: You are walking into a safety training on a relevant topic, the instructor introduces themselves, briefly talks about the class, then goes right into a 100 slide PowerPoint that is statistic after statistic, with a brief break up of regulation and some semi-interesting photos… Yawn! That class is going to put you directly to sleep!

Safety in general has always a hard topic to teach. Historically, when someone gets notice of a safety meeting that they must attend, there is always a sense of hesitation, frustration or even annoyance. “Oh, man, another safety class… dang!” All of that must end! Safety is not meant to bore people to death. It is meant to prevent the audience from getting injured and the only way to provide training is to ensure the message gets received in full by them. Sure, there are scare tactics that will provide the audience’s attention, such as showing videos of real-life accidents, but humans are born to adapt to fear and are meant to overcome it. Scare tactics only work for so long. Making safety fun not only ensures that the message gets delivered, but also boosts moral and encourages a safe working culture.
Here are some ways you can make your training more fun and captivating so that your employees will be pleased to know that they have a required safety training they must attend.
 

It Starts With The Instructor
If you had to choose between going to see Queen perform live at a concert first row, or going to see some local guy sing his best impression of We Will Rock You at your local coffee shop, which would you choose? Well, unless you are best friends with the local guy or own the coffee shop, odds are your choice is going to go back in time and watch Queen.
Why is this? They both can sing the same song, right? It is all about performance! Queen has a reputation to have amazing concerts and sing with such power. Your training is simply a performance that is meant to entertain the audience. If they are not entertained, they will not pay close attention and therefore will not learn. So, leave all the insecurities, hesitation, and boredom at the door when you go to train, because you are about to give a presentation they won’t forget!
 

Minimize Wordy PowerPoints
Or, for that matter, get rid of them all together! If at all possible, take training to the point of operation. If you are doing Energy Isolation (Lockout-Tagout) training, set up ahead of time a mock-up situation of where the audience gets to participate (with guidance) how to lock-out equipment. This hands-on approach leaves people informed and confident with what they have learned. Same with PPE: you don’t need to include a PowerPoint classroom training on gloves, all you need is some samples of what PPE you provide and then provide real-world testing. If you cannot remove the PowerPoint, don’t flood the brains of the audience with slide after slide of OSHA Regulations. Include relevant videos, or split up the class into a classroom discussion and a demonstration.
 


There is no need to go on and on about how much OSHA citations are, how the company would be impacted if someone got hurt, or what the safety goals are for next quarter. What to do instead is to gear your training around how does your particular subject – or the lack of it – directly impact the audience. Show concern and interest for the well-being of the employees and they will return the appreciation with their safe and quality work.
Lastly, include relevant items with specific job duties that are performed by the those in your audience as much as possible. Adding up all of this equates to a training they won’t forget!
Posted in 2020, MARCH 2020 | Comments Off on Make Safety Fun And Your Employees Will Thank You

Do Your Written Procedures Meet MIOSHA/OSHA Regulations?

Written by AJ Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

The information below will help you acquire a sense of how many regulations exist, gain an understanding of your organization’s legal duties and obligations and identify your level of compliance and readiness.

When we discuss OSHA and MIOSHA, we are referring to federal and state laws. They are not just suggestions, opinions, options or recommendations.

MIOSHA Standards:

  • General Industry Safety and Health Standards (94 Safety Standards and 38 Health Standards)
  • Construction Safety and Health Standards (37 Safety Standards and 28 Health Standards)
  • Administrative Standards for All Industries (7 Standards)
  • Agriculture Operations Standards (11 Standards)

There are also the OSHA Standards, National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Department of Transpiration (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Labor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), just to name a few. You may also need to have procedures in place for issues including ethics, sexual harassment, cybersecurity, contractors, email and internet, texting and driving, smoking, drug and alcohol use, anti-discrimination and harassment, grievances and a code of conduct.

Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone. Every business is required to comply with the same regulations. Compliance requires a strategy, commitment and resources.

More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers.

If all employers simply corrected the Top Ten hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, injuries and hospitalizations would decline dramatically. In 2019, there were 35 MIOSHA related deaths in Michigan. We need to make sure we doing all we can to prevent injuries and most importantly send our employees home the same way they came to work: alive and upright.

Michigan’s Top Ten most cited regulations in 2018:

  1. Hazard Communication – Written hazard communication program
  2. Medical Services & First Aid – Emergency eye/body flush stations
  3. Hazard Communication – Employee information and training
  4. Respiratory Protection – Written respiratory protection program
  5. Personal Protective Equipment – Use of eye and face protection
  6. Bloodborne Infectious Diseases – Written exposure control plan
  7. Occupational Noise Exposure – Hearing conservation program
  8. Personal Protective Equipment – Use of Hand Protection
  9. Respiratory Protection – Medical Evaluation
  10. Bloodborne Infectious Diseases – Exposure determination

Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a preliminary list of the ten most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.

  • Fall Protection
  • Hazard Communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Lockout/Tagout
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Ladders
  • Electrical, Wiring Methods
  • Machine Guarding
  • Electrical, General Requirements

One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, MIOSHA and OSHA inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.

Have you reviewed your company’s written safety procedures to make sure they are meeting the minimum requirements of the Standards? Procedures may no longer be compliant because there have been critical word changes in the regulatory narrative.

The Worker Endangerment Initiative is a joint effort between the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor to utilize the enhanced penalties available under environmental and Title 18 felonies to prevent and deter crimes that put the lives and health of workers at risk.

Well-written business policies and procedures allow employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits.

Policies and procedures are the strategic link between the company vision, and its day-to-day operations. Developing clearly written policies and procedures that are documented, updated and followed bring structure to an organization and assist in the day-to-day decision making processes. Policies and procedures need to be adaptable to the needs of the company and enforced across the organization. They also serve as an internal control method so managers cannot take free license to make creative or unauthorized decisions.
Written policies and procedures are important tools for preventing losses and defending your organization in legal proceedings should they occur. Clear description of work duties and how to perform them will decrease and minimize the frequency and severity of incidents.

A critical sign that your policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated would include an increase in the frequency of incidents, higher failure rates or costly overruns as well as more frequent staff questions on ‘normal operations’ or a feeling of general confusion within a department or division.

Major benefits of solid, well-written procedures:

  • Provide employees with information that allows them the freedom to carry out their jobs and make decisions within defined boundaries.
  • Employees understand the constraints of their job without using a ‘trial and error’ approach, as key points are visible.
  • Everyone is working off the same page; employees can get the “official” word on how they should go about their tasks quickly and easily.
  • Enable the workforce to clearly understand individual and team responsibilities, thus saving time and resources.

Where Does Your Company Stand?

  • Have you completed a Management Procedure / Policy Audit?
  • Have you completed a Site Audit?
  • Is there sincere executive level support?
  • Can you demonstrate through documentation that your staff has been trained?
  • Do staff, supervisors, management and employees understand the importance of policies and procedures?
  • Do you have a sound disciplinary process in place that follows your written Safety Procedures and Polices?

For the protection of your company and all those that work there, it is highly recommended that compliance becomes a priority.

Posted in 2020, FEBRUARY 2020 | Comments Off on Do Your Written Procedures Meet MIOSHA/OSHA Regulations?