The Importance Of Accident Investigation

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

The only thing worse than an accident happening, is a previous accident happening again. Incidents and accidents that occur and go without a proper accident investigation are likely to occur again. It is your responsibility as an employer or owner of a company to ensure that your employees are provided a workplace that is free of hazards, and that includes conducting a proper investigation on accidents and incidents and doing what is feasible to prevent them from happening again. The purpose of an accident investigation is to determine the root cause (the real reason) of why the incident occurred, or to find the initial hazard that set off the series of events that led up to the accident. While there are many ways to determine a root cause, it is best not to “jump to a conclusion” and assume what happened based on very little investigation

Additionally, the purpose of an accident investigation is NOT to assign blame. It is common to see untrained investigators simply put the blame or the cause of the accident on someone “not paying attention” or similar. While these components of an accident may play a part in why the accident occurred, they are not the root cause of why the incident occurred.

Finding the root cause may be as simple as just asking “why” more than a couple times. This is known as the “5 Why Analysis” and it is one of the most common forms of incident investigation you see in the workplace. It is incredibly easy to use and understand and to find root causes without much training. For example: “Lizzy was working on siding the building when she fell off the ladder and sprained her wrist” and ask the first why: “Why did Lizzy fall off the ladder?” Then follow up with the second why: “The ladder started to shift on her when she was working.” Third why: “The ladder sunk into the ground.” Fourth why: “There were missing feet on the ladder.” Fifth why: “The ladder was missing feet because the ladder was not inspected prior to use.” While this may be common sense to replace feet on a ladder, or to avoid using a ladder if it is broken or missing parts, many people may not look to inspect a ladder prior to use. A poor corrective action for this incident would be to write up Lizzy for not inspecting the ladder prior to use. This does not solve the problem, but only creates a reactive action. This does not eliminate the problem and allows the problem to still exist for all others who use ladders in a similar manner. The obvious root cause of this incident is that the missing foot was not identified prior to use. A great corrective action for this incident example would be to not only fix or replace the ladder, but additionally to also create a ladder inspection program that requires individuals to fill out a complete ladder checklist prior to use. Yes, this will take additional time, but will save the employer and employees from any future related accidents.

In addition to finding the root cause via “5 Why Analysis,” pointing out contributing factors also aids in investigation. Additional questions for this example might include:

  • Was the individual using the proper three points of contact?
  • Should the individual have fall protection gear on?
  • Was it windy or were there other weather hazards?

These are all questions that should be asked during an investigation to help aid in finding ALL the root causes. (Yes, there may be more than one root cause!) Lastly, it is unlikely that every incident will require exactly 5 questions every single time. The investigation may only require a few questions, or very well may require several more. It is your responsibility, as an investigator, to understand when you have discovered the root cause(s) and to find a adequate corrective action that will prevent the incident from occurring again.

If you need any assistance with investigating an incident or are interested in accident investigation training, please feel free to contact me at daday@compone.net or at 734-341-6620.

Posted in 2020, OCTOBER 2020 | Comments Off on The Importance Of Accident Investigation

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Vice President Government Affairs and Industry Relations

Additional Legislation Proposed to Limit Evictions
Two bills introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives – unrelated to the national moratorium on evictions – would further restrict evictions as a result of the pandemic and establish an unreasonable use of security deposit funds. House Bill 5962, introduced in July, would amend the Revised Judicature Act to prohibit property owners from evicting residents or sending a notice to quit until 60 days after the termination of the COVID-19 emergency orders. The legislation also prohibits courts from the following: accepting a filing for summons or complaint; entering an order or judgment for a plaintiff for possession; issuing a writ of restitution or order of eviction; denying a stay of a writ of restitution or order for eviction or a continuation of a summary proceeding; or scheduling a court event. House Bill 5963 would amend the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to allow a resident to request their security deposit be used to pay rent during a state of emergency as declared by the Governor. The bills have been referred to the Committee on Judiciary and the Committee on Regulatory Reform where AAM is opposing them. These bills join recently introduced Senate bills which would statutorily restrict rental property evictions during a state of emergency.

Help AAM Make A Difference In The Election!
With all 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives up for election this year, AAM needs your help to maintain our strong voice for the multifamily rental property industry. One great way you can assist us is by supporting AAM-PAC. AAM-PAC is the Apartment Association’s political action committee, which utilizes contributions from members and aggregates them into one fund. This fund is used to financially support those elected officials who understand the important role of rental housing in Michigan’s economy. In short, we do the legwork for you to find the candidates who will best represent your business, and then support their campaign.

Remember, AAM-PAC contributions must be made via personal, partnership, LLP, or LLC check or credit cards. Please call me at 248-862-1004 to make your contribution today!

Posted in 2020, OCTOBER 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

The Hazards Of Heat Stress

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

Whether you are outside mowing the lawn, or sitting in an office without adequate air conditioning, heat stress is a very real problem that can become life-threatening, quickly. When you think of heat stress, you may think of sky rocketing temperatures, while standing in the direct sun and extreme physical work, but in truth, heat can affect individuals differently based on their health, hydration levels and tolerance for temperatures. Not all hazards of heat stress are noticed and could be as simple as lowering worker motivation and morale and decreasing work output. Take the time now to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventing them before they become a problem.

Signs and Symptoms
Although there are many heat-related illnesses, the most severe is “Heat Stroke”. Heat stroke can occur when the body’s temperature rises rapidly and the rest of the body can’t keep up. Individuals who experience heat stroke generally are not sweating (your body’s natural way of cooling down), have hot, dry skin, are generally confused, may faint or go into a coma and even have seizures. If any of these symptoms occur, call 911 immediately and move the individual to a cool, shaded spot. Put wet clothes or ice on them to rapidly cool them down.

Heat exhaustion is not as life-threatening as a heat stroke, but should still be addressed immediately. It occurs when there is an excessive loss in water and salt in the body after being exposed to heat. It coincides with excessive sweating (hence the loss in salt to retain water). Symptoms may include headaches, weakness, excessive sweating, light-headedness, irritability, and thirst. If caught early on, have the individual take frequent sips of cool water while seated in shade or in front of a fan. If someone is extremely confused, light-headed, or non-responsive, call 911 immediately.

Heat cramps are more common and may lead to one of the aforementioned heat-related illness. Heat cramps are most common in the abdomen, arms, and legs and are a result of dehydration and a lack of salt within the body during more strenuous activity. If you do notice cramps, pain, or spams in any of these parts of the body, drink a sports drink that is going to replenish your electrolytes. If cramps are not going away with an hour, medical attention may be required.

Pre-existing conditions may influence someone’s response to heat. Rhabdomyolysis, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness and poor blood circulation, to name a few, lower an individual’s tolerance to heat. Something to consider is just because you feel comfortable, doesn’t mean that someone else’s concern for the heat is invalid. All concerns for high heat levels should be taken seriously and addressed accordingly.

How to Prevent Heat Stress
The most important preventative measure you can take to combat heat stress and heat-related issues is to check the weather and plan accordingly. Also take into account the humidity and the heat index. The heat index is the measure of what the “real feel” temperature is outside. This takes into account the humidity and actual temperature and outputs a temperature that your body will react to. An example of this is when it’s 92 degrees out, with 85% humidity, it can feel like 126 degrees! Plan work accordingly and encourage frequent breaks, hydration and provide shade when working outside at temps above 80 degrees.

Additionally, provide drinks and cold treats. Believe it or not, milk is actually one of the best drinks to maintain hydration, along with coconut water, sports drinks and, of course, water. Additionally, cold treats not only help reduce body core temps, but also increase work morale on hot summer days.

Lastly, have workers trained in CPR and first aid to be able to easily recognize early signs and symptoms and have the knowledge to react to an emergency if one occurs. If you do not have a First Aid, CPR, and AED trainer already, CompOne has certified Red Cross Trainers and are able to come on-site and offer adequate training to help prepare your staff for potential medical emergencies. If you need additional information, please feel free to contact us at: daday@compone.net or 734-309-3456.

Posted in 2020, August 2020 | Comments Off on The Hazards Of Heat Stress

Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Vice President Government Affairs and Industry Relations

Property Tax Extension Bills Vetoed
On July 8, Governor Whitmer vetoed two bills which would have provided businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19 with an extension to pay their summer property taxes. House Bill 5761 would have amended the General Property Tax Act to defer the deadline to pay until March 1, 2021. Under that bill, to qualify for a deferment, a property owner would need to have experienced an economic hardship related to the pandemic and/or state government’s response to the pandemic. House Bill 5810 would have created a summer 2020 property tax advance payment program via the Michigan Department of Treasury. This program would provide payments to eligible local tax collecting units to alleviate the short-term cash flow problems from deferred tax payments under House Bill 5761. Both bills passed unanimously in the Michigan House of Representatives and with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Michigan Senate. In her veto explanation the Governor stated that she felt the bills would cause too much economic harm to local governments and that part of the legislation was unconstitutional. Despite the veto, discussions continue to find a potential compromise so stay tuned.
 

Help AAM Make A Difference In The 2020 Election!
With all 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives up for election this year, AAM needs your help to maintain our strong voice for the multifamily rental property industry. One great way you can assist us is by supporting AAM-PAC. AAM-PAC is the Apartment Association’s political action committee, which utilizes contributions from members and aggregates them into one fund. This fund is used to financially support those elected officials who understand the important role of rental housing in Michigan’s economy. In short, we do the legwork for you to find the candidates who will best represent your business, and then support their campaign.
Remember, AAM-PAC contributions must be made via personal, partnership, LLP, or LLC check or credit cards. Please call me at 248-862-1004 to make your contribution today!

Posted in 2020, August 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Thinking About The Unthinkable

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist
 
As inconvenient as it might seem, being prepared for an unlikely event could mean the difference between being able to reopen your business and having to close your doors for good. Although the likelihood of something tragic happening to your business is relatively low, the impact that a disaster could have greatly outweighs the complacency of not having a plan in place. Taking the needed time to plan with affected departments and test understanding at all levels is an absolute must in ensuring that getting back to the “normal” is as easy as possible. An Emergency Preparedness Plan should include all potential emergencies and be easy to read and understand. Ensure to have the following in your plan:
Include All Potential Emergencies
The best emergency plan is one that contains all potential emergencies. Yes, even that one you just thought about. Given “today’s” emergencies in the world, it is hard to forecast what tomorrow might bring, whether it is an “active attacker” situation, a broken dam that creates mass flooding in your area, a virus that causes a world-wide pandemic, or a fire started by an employee taking a smoke break. There would be nothing worse than spending resources and valuable time on an emergency plan and including only some of potential situations, only to have a disaster happen that was not included on your plan. This requires you to think outside of the box and to not just copy-and-paste a generic emergency plan that you found online. Almost every company is going to have a different plan based on a few items: where their building(s) is/are located, what their daily operations are, what material is stored on site, how many employees they have, and what history can tell us about companies that are similar. A case in point is that a building placed right next to a railroad track should include a plan in place to what is to happen if the train derails and wipes out half of the building, while another business located in a wooded, low-populated area, should consider including something along the lines of appropriate responses to animal attacks. This is absolutely the time to think about these situations and plan for them so these events will not catch you off-guard.
Do Not “Set and Forget”
An emergency plan is not something that once created, you can laminate, put into a nice binder, and set on your shelf for dust to collect and only to be looked at in case of an emergency. At an absolute minimum, it should be looked at on an annual basis,  reviewed and checked for accuracy and applicability. Given this topic 6 months ago, there would be very little to no mention of a virus, but going forth, almost all new emergency plans written will have some inclusion of an unplanned virus or disease. This only shows the importance of regularly updating (and recording revisions to) a plan. Routinely search for the most accurate emergency response information with your given disasters and update as needed.
Train and Test
What is worse than not having a plan? Having a plan that you spend valuable time and effort on, then telling no one and not providing training on the topics. At the very minimum, each and every employee should go through an overview of your emergency response during the on-boarding process or during new-hire orientation. Also, make it available to all guests, residents, visitors, potential customers, clients and vendors, if asked. Additionally, annual drills should be made to test the knowledge and preparedness for more common emergencies such as tornado, fire, lockdown situations and similar. Develop training matrixes and ensure that all levels of employment know what to do in the event of an emergency. You should feel confident that your employees will know what response is needed in an emergency.

Taking these steps today and the time you invest in being prepared now, are proven to be time well spent in the aftermath of an emergency. If you need help in creating your plan, please feel free to contact us at: daday@compone.net or 734-309-3456. 
Posted in 2020, JULY 2020 | Comments Off on Thinking About The Unthinkable