Safety Net | February 2020

Page 1

The Safety Net C O N S U LTA N T S







Family Health and Safety National Safety Council | 01.22.2020

There are many aspects of keeping your family healthy and safe. These include the lifestyle choices you make and the things you teach your children. It is important to create healthy habits starting at an early age. Doing so will make it more likely for them to stay healthy as adults.

PATH TO IMPROVED HEALTH Nutrition Good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life. This is the case for kids, teens, and adults. You can improve your health by keeping a balanced diet. Healthy eating can help prevent chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Other benefits include:


• Increased focus.

Austin employees have

• More energy.

worked 3,251,866 hours

• Stronger muscles and bones. • Healthy weight.

without a Lost Time Accident through 12/2019.

Tips on how to create and keep healthy eating habits.

Keep in mind that children develop their eating patterns

• Choose foods that contain a variety of vitamins,

at a young age. The early years are a chance for you to

minerals, and nutrients. Eat a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein. • Teach table manners. Eating is not a race. It should be slow, purposeful, and enjoyable. This aids in proper digestion of nutrients. Help your kids understand what “full” means, so they don’t undereat or overeat. This means knowing how to listen to their bodies. Do not make them clean their plate, but do not be too quick to let them eat multiple helpings all the time. • Make meals family time. This may not be possible for every meal, but it is a good routine to aim for. It helps you to communicate and build strong connections. It can also lead to healthier eating choices. • Eat in. Avoid or limit how often you eat out. This includes

teach them healthy habits that will stay with them as they get older. Use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate as a tool to create a healthy eating routine and lifestyle. People who have certain allergies or health conditions may need to set certain diet limits. For instance, if you have celiac disease, you can’t eat gluten. Or if you have high cholesterol, you should cut back on fat, sodium, and processed foods. These diet restrictions may apply to your children as well.

Exercise Physical activity helps prevent or reduce health problems, such as obesity. Other benefits include: • It helps make bones and muscles strong.

fast food or takeout, as well as sit-down restaurants. If

• It burns calories instead of storing them as fat.

you do eat out for an occasion, read the menu or ask

• It maintains blood sugar levels.

for nutrition information to choose healthy meal options. • Monitor your children’s eating. Keep track of what and how much they eat. Also, be mindful of why your child

• It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. • It builds strength and endurance.

eats. Are they eating out of boredom? Are they starving

• It relieves stress and improves focus.

each time they sit down to eat? Do they pick at their

• It boosts self-esteem and confidence.

food? These can be early signs of eating disorders or other health problems. • Set an example. If you prepare and eat healthy foods

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids who are 6 to 17 years of age should be active for 60 minutes or more each day. Adults should be

yourself, your child will be inclined to eat healthier too. Do

active for 150 minutes each week, in addition to doing

not talk poorly about yourself or others in terms of food.

muscle-strengthening exercises. Exercise doesn’t have to

• Involve your kids. Include your children when you shop

be done all at one time. You can be active several times

for groceries and prepare food to eat. Teach them what

throughout the day.

is and isn’t good for them.

When it comes to being active, there is something for

• Set snack boundaries. Make a rule that your child has to ask for a snack. Put the snack on a plate or in a bowl to

everyone. It may take some time to find an activity that is enjoyable. Try a variety of options early on, and find

limit intake. Also, have them eat the snack at the table,

things that are fun to do together.

if possible.

Tips on how to create and keep healthy exercise habits.

• Skip the food reward. Do not use food to reward or

• Allow your child to choose. Involve your child to help

persuade children. This can lead to an unhealthy habit

promote interest and excite them. It also lets them show

of using food to cope with emotions. Instead, give your

their personality.

child praise, attention, and affection. • Choose healthy drinks. Nutrition is not just about the food you intake, but also the liquids you consume. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Avoid or limit high-calorie and sugar-filled drinks, like soda, juice, and sports drinks.

• Try new things. It’s important to explore different activities. You never know what you’ll like or be good at. Try a mix of single, group, and team activities. • Be active together. Build exercise into family outings and vacations, as well as your everyday routine. This makes you a healthy role model for your children.


• Put limits on screen time. Reduce the amount of time spent on TV, computer, or video games to 1 or 2 hours a day. This forces you and your family to find something more active to do.

Mental and emotional health Mental health is a big part of our overall health. It is just as important as nutrition and exercise. It affects how we think and feel about ourselves and the world around us. Good mental health helps solve problems, make better decisions, and have positive relationships. Mental health begins to take shape at a young age. There are certain things you can do with your children to support their emotional state. • Spend one-on-one time with them.

Sexual health Sexuality is another aspect of our health. Good sexual health means you are informed, careful, and respectful to yourself and others. Discussions about sex should begin early and at home. You want your children to feel comfortable and safe to ask questions. Let them know that sexual health is not something that should be managed alone. It is something that they should talk about with people they love and trust. It is normal for a person’s sexuality to change over time. To stay healthy, it is best to regularly reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.


• Offer regular praise and encouragement.


• Give them chores to help them grow and learn.

It is important to practice drug safety at home. The best

• Teach them (through words and actions) how to manage anger, stress, and other feelings.

way to do this is to keep all medicines out of your child’s sight and reach. This includes prescriptions, over the counter (OTC) drugs, and vitamins. Follow these tips to

• Teach them to think before they act.

ensure protection:

• Take time to have meaningful talks.

• Store medicines in high and/or locked cabinets.

• Listen to and acknowledge your kids.

• Put medicines away after each use. Do not leave drugs

• Talk to them about bullying and how to treat others. Look for signs of poor emotional health or mental health problems. These may vary for children and adults. Seek medical help for you or your family member. Warning signs can include: • Sudden or ongoing sadness or irritability. • Frequent temper tantrums. • Acting anxious, nervous, or worried.

out because of convenience. • Request and purchase medicine with safety caps, when possible. • Explain what medicine is to your kids. Never tell them that it tastes like or is candy to get them to take it. • Ask all guests and caretakers to follow the same rules.

Water All babies and children are around water at some point.

• Acting violent or harmful to oneself and/or others.

Most often, this occurs when they take baths. It is possible

• Decreased performance in school, work, or hobbies.

to drown in any amount of water, even 1 inch. Never

• Lack of interest.

leave your child alone in or near water. Keep electrical items away from water. Make sure water is not too hot for

• Avoids spending time with others.

your child by testing it first. Set your water heater to 120°F

• Trouble sleeping, either too much or not enough.

or less.

• Unplanned weight loss or weight gain.

You may also have a pool or take your kids to a pool.

• Complaints of feeling sick often with no visible symptoms. • Substance abuse.

Do not let children be unattended. Teach your children about water safety in advance.

• Thoughts or hints (verbal, written, or actions) of suicide.

...continued on next page 3



The law requires everyone be properly secured in the car.

There are a lot of things that families can do to stay

Older children and adults must use seatbelts at all times.

healthy and safe. For instance, you should childproof

Babies and younger children must be placed in a car seat

your home. Doing so can help prevent accidents, such as

according to their age, weight, and height. In general,

falls, burns, choking, and poisoning. However, sometimes

babies less than 2 years old should be in rear-facing car

emergencies happen. Know what to do and help your

seats in the middle of the back seat. Toddlers should be

kids understand how to react in these situations.

in forward-facing car seats. School-aged children use booster seats until they are about 4’9” or 80 pounds. Check the seat’s owner’s manual for specific limits and installation instructions. You also can check with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

• Talk to your family doctor about when to go to urgent care versus the hospital. • Call 911 if someone is unconscious, not breathing, bleeding badly, or has a severe injury.

Prepare and plan in advance when traveling with

• Learn how to do CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

children. This includes by car, plane, train, or boat. A few

• Set up and practice disaster plans. Make sure your family

tips for safe travel are:

knows what do to in case of a fire or other natural disaster.

• Bring proper child gear. This often includes a car or

If at home, decide where to take shelter or how to escape.

booster seat, baby carrier, and stroller. If on water, make

If not at home, identify where to go and who to call. When

sure there are life jackets for everyone in your family.

you go to a public place or event, have a plan of what to

• Pack medicines. Include any medicines your child takes on a routine basis. As a precaution, consider taking over the counter (OTC) drugs for things such as fever, motion sickness, altitude sickness, swimmer’s ear, or diarrhea. Talk to your doctor about what OTC medicines are safe for you child, considering age and weight. A first-aid kit may be useful as well. Pack it with a thermometer, band-aids, wipes, creams, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. If anyone has a severe allergy, pack an Epi Pen in case of exposure. • Give each child a form of ID in case of separation. This could be a card or bracelet with contact information. Make sure your kids have their name, your name, and your phone number memorized. Older children may carry a phone in case of emergency. • Carry on toys and books. This includes anything that will keep your kids entertained. These should be easy to access during travel. Be sure to include chargers for electronic devices as well as extra batteries. If you are traveling internationally as a family, everyone will need passports. Check to see if vaccinations are required or if there are known health issues. Research medical centers near where you are visiting. This way you know where to go in an emergency without having to figure it out in another language.

do in case a family member gets lost or hurt.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR • My child is very picky. How can I get them to eat healthier food? • If my child is overweight or underweight, should they see a nutritionist? • Are different types of physical activity better than others? • What kinds of activity do you recommend for a child who has a physical handicap? • How much exercise should someone get if they are overweight or obese? • How can I keep my child active and prevent injury? • I have a mental health condition. Is my child at risk of having it too? • What types of mental health treatment are available? • What are stress and anger management techniques for children and adults? • What is the best way to start a conversation about sexual health with my kids? • Can being overprotective push my child into having sex before they are ready? • What does childproofing my home involve and when should I do it? • How do I know if I should take my child to an urgent care clinic or emergency room?


Know The Facts: Occupational Asthma National Safety Council | 11.24.2019 Occupational asthma can develop when a worker

notice that symptoms go away on weekends or vacations,

breathes in gases, chemical fumes, dust or other work-

but come back when you return to work. Symptoms also

related substances. According to Mayo Clinic, it also can

may continue after exposure has stopped.

result from exposure to a substance a worker is sensitive to, triggering an allergic or immunological response.

People who already have allergies or asthma are at an increased risk of developing occupational asthma, as well

The clinic lists more than 250 substances as possible causes

as anyone who has a family history of allergies or asthma.

of occupational asthma. These include:

Smoking increases your risk of developing asthma if you’re

• Metals, especially platinum, chromium and nickel sulfate.

exposed to certain kinds of irritants, as well.

• Chemicals used to make paints, varnishes, adhesives


and laminates. • Respiratory irritants, such as chlorine gas, sulfur dioxide and smoke. “If it’s not correctly diagnosed and you are not protected or able to avoid exposure, occupational asthma can cause permanent lung damage, disability or death,” Mayo Clinic cautions.


“The best way to prevent occupational asthma is for workplaces to control the workers’ level of exposure to chemicals and other substances that may be sensitizers or irritants,” the clinic states. These measures can include implementing advanced control measures to prevent exposures, using less harmful substances and providing personal protective equipment to workers. Employers should inform workers that they may be exposed to hazardous chemicals and instruct them on how to safely

Symptoms of occupational asthma are similar to other

handle them.

types of the condition, and may include wheezing,

Advice for workers: If you smoke, try to quit. Also,

coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain, as well

avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal

as a runny nose or eye irritation. However, because

anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAIDs), as these

occupational asthma depends on which substances you’re

medications can worsen asthma symptoms.

exposed to and how long you’re exposed, symptoms may get worse as the workweek progresses. In addition, you may

If you’re overweight, losing weight can help reduce asthma symptoms and improve lung function.


ANSI/ISEA 121- Dropped Object Prevention Solutions Industrial Safety & Hygiene News | ANSI 01.21.2020



ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is a standard that consists of design,

A dropped object can be:

testing, performance and labeling requirements for tool

1. An object that falls from a height by its own weight and

tethering systems and containers used to transport and secure tools and equipment at heights.


gravity, or 2. An object that falls from a height due to contact with an energy source.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted

According to Dropped Object Prevention Scheme (DROPS),

121, which was developed by the International Safety

an object that weighs less than three pounds if dropped

Equipment Association (ISEA), a group that represents

from a height of 30 feet can be fatal.

manufacturers of safety equipment.

DROPS classifies the consequences of a dropped object in

This standard was prepared by members of ISEA’s Dropped

the following manner:

Objects working group with the following companies as

Light: A First Aid Case. No injury, or the injury is limited. First aid

members at the time of the approval of the standard: 3M Company, Ergodyne, Guardian Fall Protection, Hammerhead Industries, Ty-Flot and West Coast Corporation. Voluntary consensus standards for safety products are the formalization of requirements for equipment, giving manufacturers’ guidelines for designing and testing product. These often become a way for end users to set a best practice on the job for what safety products to use.

may be the only treatment needed. Minor: A Recordable Incident. A work-related injury that does not involve death, day(s) away from work, restricted work or job transfer, and where the employee receives medical treatment beyond first aid. Major: A Lost Time Incident (LTI). This is a nonfatal traumatic injury that causes any loss of time from work beyond the day or shift it occurred. A major incident is also referred to as Day Away From Work Case (DAFWC). Fatality: Death resulting from an injury or trauma.


REQUIREMENTS The requirements of this standard will create formal

Labor Statistics show there are over 50,000 “struck by object” incidents every year in the US.

distinction of a proper tethering system compared to duct

Protective equipment, such as hard hats, have long been

tape and string and other inferior solutions. ANSI/ISEA 121 is to

available to minimize the effects of struck-by incidents only

dropped object prevention equipment what ANSI Z359 is to

after an object has fallen. Preventative measures such as

fall protection equipment.

netting and toe boards are also a mitigating practice for this

This standard DOES NOT specify proper use of this equipment for workers or specify what needs to be tethered and when it needs to be tethered. • Proper use of the equipment is specified by the manufacturer. • When a worker needs to tether and what they need to tether is specified by a company or a regulatory body. OSHA does require employers to address falling/dropped objects hazards on the job. OSHA mentions this both in General Industry (1910.23; 1910.28) and Construction (1926.451; 1926.501; 1926.759) standards. This establishes that OSHA does require mitigation of falling/dropped objects risk. There is no argument that preventing dropped objects all together is a better practice than hard hats, canopies and ground-based safety zones. The latter can minimize damage and injury of a struck by falling object, but they do not prevent the items from falling in the first place. ANSI/ISEA 121 formalizes and codifies the above to two points, creating the variables of an equation for OSHA to cite under the General Duty Clause. The equipment (attachments, tethering, containers) in 121 are the solutions to the equation.

EQUIPMENT COVERED BY STANDARD Anchor attachments: These allow a tool to be tethered to someone or something. They’re also retrofitted attachment

this risk, however there are challenges to these solutions and they do not entirely prevent incidents. Active controls utilized to prevent falling objects by tying them off or containing them while at heights are a rapidly growing practice.

FAQS Does the standard cover how to tether tools? The standard is not about how you tether tools. It’s focused on the equipment used for tool tethering. You need to follow manufacturer guidance on weight limits for tethers, anchor points and harnesses, and make use of their training materials to learn how to safely tether your tools. ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 also doesn’t specify what tools need to be tethered or when you should tether them.

Does this mean I need to replace my tool tethers? No. If you’re already using tool tethers there’s no need to replace them immediately. This is a voluntary standard. However, you may want to think about upgrading your tool tethering equipment to ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 compliant tool lanyards as and when they need replacing. If you don’t have proper tool tethers and are using makeshift tethers like string and duct tape, you should invest in proper tool tethering systems

How can I check if a product is ANSI/ISEA

points, but to a fixed anchor location (such as a structure) or

121-2018 approved?

a worker.

There is certain information that should be clearly displayed

Tool attachments: Defined as any retrofitted attachment points that are fitted to tools or other equipment to enable

on any tool tethering system that complies with ANSI/ISEA 121-2018.

them to be tethered.

Look for:

Tool tethers: The tool lanyards that tether the equipment to

• Manufacturer’s identification (name/trademark).

an anchor point.

• Reference to ANSI/ISEA 121.

Containers: Any container that can be used to transport

• Product identification.

tools, equipment or parts to and from work areas at height. This can include bags, buckets and pouches.

BENEFITS Struck-by falling objects kill hundreds of individuals each year and injure tens of thousands more. Figures from the Bureau of

• Serial number. • Maximum load capacity. • Maximum tether length (for anchors or attachments) or the tether length (for tethers).


National Burn Awareness Week #NBAW | February 2 - 8, 2020 | 01.21.2020 National Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is a window of opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities. The 2020 Burn Awareness Week dates are February 2-8, 2020. In the United States, approximately 400,000 people receive medical care for treatment of burn injuries every year. In 2018 alone, there were 3,655 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation and another 40,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn related injuries. The majority of these injuries are preventable. The American Burn Association strives bring awareness to the causes of such devastating and costly injuries and encourages everyone to make simple environmental and behavioral changes that can save lives. Most burn injuries occur at home but nearly 10% of all burn injuries do occur in the workplace. Burns are not just caused by getting too close to a fire or accidentally hitting the inside edge of the oven when you are cooking. The 2020 Burn Awareness Week Campaign is Contact Burns - Hot Surfaces Damage Skin! Take a look at these surprising statistics related to this year’s theme. • Roughly 70,000 people went to the hospital emergency department because of contact burns in 2018. • Most burns associated with cooking in 2013-2017 were caused by contact with a hot object or liquid rather than by fire or flame. • About one-third of contact burn patients are children under the age of five (5). Click the image below to read more about workplace fire prevention.

The American Burn Association has put together a great toolkit you can use in your company or organization to share the message of burn awareness and prevention. Resources materials include a ideas on how your company can participate in Burn Awareness Week, fact sheets, statistics, posters, and social media posts. Also included are lists of prevention tips that you can share with employees and their families. You can access these materials on The American Burn Association website at or by clicking the logo. Awareness campaigns, such as this one, offer a great opportunity to safety management, business owners and team leaders to highlight the importance and commitment the organization has to worker safety. It doesn’t take a lot of time, money or resources to participate. At minimum, consider an email from management to the staff, a brief safety meeting or a sign on the central bulletin board.


OSHA Releases 2020 Citation Penalty Increase | 01.20.2020 by Shane Hedmond

Treating Broken Bones National Safety Council | 12.20.2019 If you suspect a co-worker has a broken bone, refrain from moving the person to avoid further injury. Then, while waiting for help, follow these steps from Mayo Clinic: • If the victim is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound using a sterile bandage, clean cloth or item of clothing. • Immobilize the wound. If you’re trained and medical help isn’t readily available, apply a splint to the area above and below the fracture. • Never attempt to realign a bone or push back in a bone that’s sticking out. • If available, apply an ice pack to help limit swelling and relieve pain – but never directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a towel or other material. • Monitor the victim for shock. If he or she reports or appears to be

For 27 years, from 1990 to 2016, OSHA citation penalty amounts remained the same. In 2016, citation amounts increased 78%, a significant increase to make up for the inflation over that 27 years. Starting in 2017, OSHA began to increase the penalty amounts each year in line to keep up with inflation and 2020’s increase

feeling faint, or is taking short, rapid, panting breaths, lay the victim down with the head slightly lower than the trunk. Elevate the legs. Although all injuries involving broken bones require medical attention, some are more serious. Mayo Clinic advises calling 911 or your workplace emergency number in these instances: • The injured worker isn’t responsive, breathing or moving. (Begin CPR if the victim isn’t breathing or a heartbeat can’t be detected.)

was just announced.

• Bleeding is heavy.

According to the announcement from OSHA, the

• Even gentle pressure causes pain.

official maximum penalty amounts for citations in 2020 will be as follows Serious, Other-Than-Serious, and Posting Requirements: $13,494 (up from $13,260 in 2019) Failure to Abate: $13,494 (up from $13,260) per day after due date Willful or repeat: $134,937 (up from $132,598)

• The victim’s limb or joint looks deformed. • The broken bone has pierced the skin. • The extremity of the injured limb, such as a toe or finger, is numb or bluish. • You suspect the worker has broken a bone in his or her neck, head or back.

The increases amount to a 1.78% year over year, which is lower than last year’s 2.5% increase. States who have their own safety and health plans are required to at least match these increases. OSHA also released a memo explaining how penalty amounts are assessed. There are many levels to decision, but in general, the higher the severity and probability of injury, the higher the penalty that will be given.


Risks Employees Face When Traveling Outside The Four Walls Of A Workplace Insurance Business America | 01.21.2020 Work-related travel can open up employees to a myriad

and not chastising them for failing to respond to an email or

of risks, whether they’re attending a conference outside of

a text when they’re on the road.

the office, traveling to another state for work, or crossing borders to contribute to a long-term project.

However, driving exposures are not the only risks facing employees who are traveling for work. Injuries sustained

The top risk to traveling employees comes up when

at a hotel they’re staying at over the course of a work

they get behind the wheel and take their eyes off the

trip or medical issues that can arise if they’re abroad for

road to text, take a call, or have another bite of their

work can also derail work-related travel, though there

breakfast sandwich.

are ways that employers can avoid putting their traveling

“The number one trend that I see is distracted driving,”

employees at risk.

said Matt Zender, AmTrust Financial Services’ senior vice

“Making sure that they’re staying in reasonably safe lodging

president of workers’ compensation strategy. “There are

is helpful,” said Zender. “It might be nice to save a couple

clear trends that are showing that frequency is increasing

dollars, but you want your employees somewhere where

in driving claims and many of these industries that are

they’re not going to be at risk of some type of violent

impacted are not industries that typically would expect to

attack or bedbugs, so having a reasonably generous travel

see a lot of driving exposure – this is an anomaly for them. If

policy can certainly help make sure that your employees

you’re working in hospitality, for example, you may not be

are set up in a safe manner.”

thinking that you’ve got a lot of driving exposure, but you do in these particular instances.” Some of the standard risk mitigation approaches to address distracted driving include implementing a phone free policy while employees are driving for work-related trips,

Workers’ compensation insurance can help employees get back to work if their trips don’t go exactly as planned. “When an employee is truly traveling for work, they are basically covered 24/7,” said Zender. “It’s a much broader range than you’d find ordinarily. I think ordinarily an


employer is just focused on those things that are happening in the course and scope of their employment – things that they can easily control – and it’s one reason why I think employers get a little nervous about traveling employees because they don’t

OSHA most frequently violated standards Ladders (1926.1053) Industrial Safety & Hygiene News - NSHN 01-21-20

have the same control. Many of these claims are unwitnessed and many of these claims are atypical of what that employee is normally involved in.” If employees are going abroad for work for longer periods of time, businesses might want to consider buying an endorsement. “One of the things that clearly employers need to think about is foreign travel. If they have employees who are going to routinely or periodically find themselves with foreign travel, that’s something that they should be thinking about and have their workers’ comp policy assist with that,” said Zender. “Foreign travel in and of itself is generally going to be covered by all workers’ comp policies. However, the nature of what they’re doing, the length of what they’re doing – if they’re over there for a five or six-day export search where they’re trying to find items to bring back to their business – that’s going to be covered by a workers’

Ladders 1926.1053 was the sixth most-frequently

comp policy. If they’re over there for three to four months on an

cited agency standard in FY 2019.

extended basis, you clearly have some issues with whether or not

Enforcement citations FY 2019: 2,582

that’s going to be covered and it probably wouldn’t be.” If individuals are routinely doing this type of traveling for work, the business should think about either a foreign voluntary endorsement on their workers’ comp policy or they should consider purchasing a foreign liability policy.

Number of inspections: 2,135 Proposed penalties: $6,322,138

MOST FREQUENTLY CITED INDUSTRIES Specialty Trade Contractors and Construction

“What the foreign voluntary endorsement does is basically

of Buildings earned the lion’s share of OSHA

guarantee repatriation out of that country, so if the employee

citations for violations of standard 1926.1053,

is injured say in France, the foreign voluntary would make sure

with employers in the first category accruing

that we can get them out of that country as quickly as medically

2,282 citations from 1,898 inspections, resulting in

reasonable,” explained Zender. “And that can be very important,

$5,684,448 in proposed penalties, and employers in

depending on the country that they’re traveling to. Some

the second, Construction of Buildings, being cited

countries may not be fully-equipped to help make sure that

for 211 violations arising from 169 inspections, with

they’re mitigating injuries in the way that we’d like to see.”

proposed penalties of $456,163.

If an employer wants to add a foreign voluntary endorsement to

Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction was

their policy, AmTrust keeps its costs competitive on this offering.

in third place, with 39 citations, 31 inspections

AmTrust also helps businesses with traveling employee exposures

and $65,983 in penalties, followed by Merchant

in other ways.

Wholesalers, Durable Goods (18 citations, 11

“Our employers who have these types of exposures should be

inspections, $36,083 in penalties); Utilities (four

encouraged to reach out to us, to reach out to our library of

citations, three inspections, $11,987 in penalties);

services, and we’re happy to help guide them and make sure

and Administrative and Support Services (four

that they’re helping to protect their employees,” said Zender.

citations, three inspections, $7,492 in penalties).

“These are oftentimes some of their bigger earners, some of their

Real Estate employers were inspected three times

more important employees that they’re trusting to be out in the

in FY 2019, resulting in three citations and $14,624

field, so it’s very important for them to make sure that these folks

in penalties. The Accommodation (three citations,

are able to get back into the workforce as quickly as possible,

one inspection, $3,500 in penalties); Electrical

and we understand and recognize that.” ...continued on next page 11

Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing industries (two citations, two inspections, $4,131 in penalties) rounded out the top ten violators list.

KEY PROVISIONS 1926.1053 requirements apply to all ladder types, including self-supporting portable, not self-supporting

WHY A STANDARD? OSHA’s priority on ladder safety is understandable; falls from ladders accounted for 104 work-related deaths in 2016. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 57 percent of those fatalities occurred in the construction industry.1

portable, fixed and job-made. The standard specifies

Factors that contribute to falls from ladders include:

the load sizes that each ladder type must be capable

worker inexperience or lack of training, improper

of supporting without failure. It also spells out spacing for

ladder selection, the improper use of a ladder, ladder

rungs, cleats and steps, which must be parallel, level, and

overloading, a ladder not being set up on a flat, level

uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use.

surface or at a proper angle, not extending the ladder

Other requirements: the rungs of individual-rung/step ladders shall be shaped such that employees’ feet cannot slide off the end of the rungs; the rungs and steps of fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991 and portable metal ladders, shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize slipping; and ladders shall not be tied or fastened together to provide longer sections unless they are specifically designed for such use.

above the roof line, and lack of safe access.

TWO LADDER FATALITIES Two NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) reports illustrate the dangers of falling from ladders – even one at a relatively low height. In one incident, in 2017, a 49-year-old carpenter employed by a residential contractor in Massachusetts was fatally injured after falling from an extension ladder. The victim and a co-worker were onsite to perform gutter work on

Ladder components shall be surfaced so as to prevent

a house. The victim was climbing an extension ladder

injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations,

that was set up on stone pavers to access the roof.

and to prevent snagging of clothing and wood ladders

While the carpenter was climbing the ladder, the base

cannot be coated with any opaque covering, except for

of the ladder slipped and the ladder fell to the left. The

identification or warning labels which may be placed on

carpenter fell to the ground and died of his injuries 16

one face only of a side rail.

days later. An investigation into the incident found that

When two or more separate ladders are used to reach

it was caused by an incorrect ladder type/duty rating

an elevated work area, the ladders must be offset with

being used; the ladder being overloaded; and the

a platform or landing between the ladders – except

ladder being set up on a surface that was not flat.

when portable ladders are used to gain access to fixed

In another ladder-related fatality, a worker was on an

ladders (such as those on utility towers, billboards, and

eight-foot step ladder, cleaning windows. The worker

other structures where the bottom of the fixed ladder is

failed to maintain three points of contact with the ladder

elevated to limit access).

and fell to the ground, hitting his head.

AN EXCEPTION Vehicle-mounted fixed ladders are not covered by the standard, as explained in a letter of interpretation written by then-OSHA Director of Directorate of Construction Russell B. Swanson in 2001. Swanson wrote that the definition of a fixed ladder used in 1926.1050, a final rule published by OSHA in 1990, is “a ladder that cannot be readily moved or carried because it is an integral part of a building or structure.” Because OSHA did not address fixed ladders on vehicles in that rule, “the provisions in §1926.1053 regarding fixed ladders do not apply to fixed ladders on vehicles.”

PREVENTIVE MEASURES In addition to complying with the standard, there are additional steps you can take to prevent falls from ladders. NIOSH recommends training employees on how to properly use ladders; choosing the right ladder for the job; inspecting ladders regularly to ensure they are in good working order; making sure you use a ladder on flat and level ground; securing and positioning the ladder in the safest location possible; extending the side rails of the ladder three feet above the roof edge; facing the ladder at all times when climbing; maintaining three points of contact with the ladder at all times and not overloading a ladder. NIOSH also offers a Ladder Safety App to help users set the proper ladder angle. 12

The Right Workplace Safety Program Does Far More Than Reduce Workers’ Comp Claims Insurance Business America | 01.21.2020

There’s no two ways around it – the correlation between

$20,000 claim over the same period,” said Wilkins, adding,

the frequency and severity of workers’ compensation

“Workplace incidents can have a much greater negative

claims that an organization experiences, their premiums,

effect on a smaller company than on a larger one, and

and their commitment to safety is a very direct one.

a single lapse in safety can lead to higher premiums. It’s

Besides the many benefits of keeping their workers safe, a

a great incentive for small employers to put energy into

company doesn’t need to look further than their workers’

safety. It not only prevents the human cost of accidents

comp premium calculations to see the financial impact of

because that’s the right thing to do, but it’s a powerful

a good or bad loss history.

financial move for a business trying to conduct business

This relationship between loss history and premiums is often

efficiently and stay competitive in their markets.”

referred to as an experience modifier, a term that not many

An effective workplace safety program comprises of

employers understand.

four pillars, according to the Occupational Safety and

“The experience modifier is a multiplying factor that’s

Health Administration’s (OSHA) small business handbook,

assigned to a company by the state that they operate in, and it reflects its claims history,” said Brad Wilkins, senior loss control specialist at AmTrust North America. “Just as a credit score quantifies how you interact with debt, the experience mod or x-mod measures a company’s work-

which Wilkins likes to refer employers to because it’s more straightforward and accessible than a complex A to Z program. Those four elements include management commitment and worker involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and training of workers,

related accidents. So, if their accident history is below

supervisors, and managers.

average, then they get a credit on their workers’ comp

“If a leader’s attitude towards their company’s safety reflects

policy, meaning they pay less premium. If their experience

how important it is to the daily operations, then the workers’

is above average when compared to similar sized and

behavior is going to reflect that,” explained Wilkins. “Effective

types of companies, they’ll pay more than average for the

safety only works in a sustained way when it comes from the

same type of coverage.”

top down, and management should clearly communicate

Perhaps unsurprisingly, employers that have a safe

the program and involve [employees] in developing and

workplace generally see an experience modifier that’s

implementing the program.”

better than average, and they pay less for workers’ comp

Another critical building block is to have a process to

over the most recent three-year period. Employers should

identify and assess the hazards in the company. The

be wary that even a single event with medical treatment

AmTrust teams calls this a self-inspection process, and that

can cause higher rates, and what’s worse is if a trend

combined with any outside help that might be available

develops and injuries start accumulating.

– from a workers’ compensation insurer, OSHA outreach

“For example, three claims in three years that total $20,000

programs, or a local safety council – can help a company

count more against the experience mod than one

gather expertise to help them assess their operations. ...continued on next page 13

“Part of worksite analysis is also creating an atmosphere

“We simply believe that that no employer, large or

where employees are comfortable and encouraged

small, should have difficulty providing a safe workplace

to recognize and report hazards, and report near-miss

because they can’t get accurate and timely information

accidents immediately so that when something has the

about how to address workplace safety or health

potential of happening, they can learn from that and

problems,” said Wilkins.

correct it, and prevent something from happening in real life,” said Wilkins.

This safety training is especially pivotal for smaller employers because they can run into more challenges in

Hazard prevention and control involves correcting the

implementing their programs than larger companies. For

safety issues identified in the analysis. Finally, the fourth pillar

one, they might not have as much claims experience, so

is training. Retail agents working with workers’ comp clients

they’ve had fewer opportunities to learn from an incident

can point them to resources offered by carriers, including

where something went wrong. Another challenge is that a

AmTrust, that can assist with training.

leader might wear many hats and have less time to devote to safety training. The key for all companies is not to approach safety as an add-on or afterthought. “To be effective, safety has to be woven throughout the organization, from the top down at all levels, and down to the frontline workers. They have to be engaged and there has to be what we call a culture of safety developed,” said Wilkins. “This is an excellent starting place, not only to keep their workers safe and to keep their financial risk more controlled, but it’s low-hanging fruit that has a ripple effect far beyond the immediate

“Many carriers – and AmTrust is a leader in this field – understand that employers may not have ready access to training materials or the right kind of materials, and carriers will provide this content for them on a complimentary basis,” said Wilkins. “For instance, at AmTrust we offer every workers’ comp policyholder an entire library of ready-to-use safety training and our insureds only need to allocate the time to present it.” This can take a lot off a busy safety director’s plate, especially when it’s designed to fit into a busy work schedule so that it doesn’t impair productivity.

benefits of safety. “Once a culture of safety takes hold, quality usually starts improving all over. People start paying more attention, they’re watching out for each other, and when people care about each other, the workplace starts getting cleaner, and equipment and tools are treated with respect and are better maintained. Attitudes and morale improve and there are fewer sick days. When all of these gears start shifting and the pieces start moving in the same direction, a company that can keep its focus on safety can really move from being good to great.”


4 Secrets of a Successful Safety Program

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics ( there are approximately 3 million non- fatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers every year. Small businesses, contractors, and service companies who

QUICK FACTS ON BLS.GOV • They provide annual reports on the rate and number of work- related

make up a large part of our workforce should pay close attention to this statistic

injuries, illnesses, and fatal injuries

as their workers make up a big part this number. Because of this startling fact it is increasingly important that small businesses owners incorporate worker safety into

• Information is available for the specific industry classification

every aspect of their business.

• Many companies are required

Safety, often thought of as a luxury for only large construction firms and manufacturing plants, is needed at every stage in the life of a service business,

to report details on their worker

small manufacturer, or construction company. Which means that the founder,

injuries directly to

owner, or president of that small business should be informed and engaged in

Learn about safety trends and worker

worker safety at their level and set the tone for the importance of workplace

injuries here.

safety for their specific business.


OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, charged

• OSHA makes and enforces federal rules for the safety of workers

with the development of safety regulations for worker safety, is often looked at as solely an enforcement agency. This is only partially true. OSHA has what are called Compliance Safety and Health Officers

• There are 21 states that have adopted

(CSHOs) whose main purpose are to actually inspect job sites and

State Specific OSHA programs and

discover possible safety violations. However, this isn't all that OSHA does.

sometimes they’re even more strict • OSHA has requirements for businesses with even just one employee • Recordkeeping and reporting regulations require companies to notify OSHA online when they’ve had certain types of serious injuries happen on the job

OSHA has a wealth of resources for small business owners to help them implement great safety programs to reduce, eliminate, or prevent injuries and illnesses on the job. The purpose of this report is to guide small business owners through one of the best concepts OSHA has developed for owners in their efforts to improve safety at their companies.






Management Commitment


Hazard Prevention

Safety and

and Employee Involvement


and Control

Health Training

...continued on next page 15

The elements of management commitment and employee

Effective management actively analyzes the work and

involvement are complementary and form the core of any

worksite to anticipate and prevent harmful occurrences.

occupational safety and health program.

- -



What this simple statement means is that in order for

analysis already… it may not be specifically for safety

employees to get involved Management has to set the tone.

but I’ll guarantee you’re looking at your job site, facility,

As a business owner or manager who has reached

trucks, office, or customer worksite and making sure that

As a business owner or manager, you are doing this

any level of success, you know how to get your team

things are getting done.

motivated. Pay raises, good hours, great benefits, a friendly

You are involved and checking. You’re not a babysitter

atmosphere, maybe a free barbeque once a month.

because who has time for that. But you are looking over

The best part of a small business is getting to know your folks

their shoulder, just in case. This is worksite analysis

and what gets them excited about the work every day.

in action!

Management Commitment to Safety should be no different.

Now incorporate the Safety component. You may need

If the owner or president cares about safety and takes the

to get a little help to know what the safety regulations

key steps to demonstrate that to the team then they will follow through and make it happen in the field. Building safety into the culture of the company is accomplished

or rules are that apply to your specific business. You may also need a starting point, such as a checklist. But worksite analysis does not need to be exhaustive

by showing that the owner, the managers, and the field

or complicated.

supervisors all take safety just as serious as the build schedule.

Here are a few tips:

Here are a few of those key steps to help develop or

• Leverage existing information available to your

improve commitment/involvement:

industry on OSHA websites or through local Workers

• State clearly a worksite policy on safe and healthful

Compensation programs for Small businesses.

work and working conditions. Put this in writing, signed by the boss! • Provide visible top management involvement in implementing the program so that all employees understand that management’s commitment is serious.

• Conduct baseline worksite survey for safety and health… Do this as part of a normal job site visit. Build it into a normal site visit to start out and observe the safety of your team in the field. • Conduct regular site safety and health inspections…

Slogans and posters are great to reinforce the message

Let your team know that you’ll be looking for

but put your money where your mouth is and that will let

good safety behavior with every visit by you, your

the team know you are sincere.

management team, and supervisors. Use a checklist, if

• Hold managers, supervisors, and employees

possible, with each of the visits and discuss the findings

accountable for meeting their responsibilities so

with both management and employee teams.

that essential tasks will be performed. Start with

• Investigate accidents and “near miss” incidents so

the Managers and Supervisors – if you hold them

that their causes and means of prevention can be

accountable for every accident, every injury then they

identified. Accident investigation should be part of

will get the message to the employees.

your regular business duties and a critical component

• Arrange for and encourage employee involvement in the structure and operation of the program. Here’s

to keep up with OSHA required recordkeeping rules too!

where you bring in the boots on the ground. Give the employees in the field a voice to tell you about their safety concerns and then follow-up on them. That lets them know that the safety program isn’t just pile of paper sitting on the shelf collecting dust.


Employee training programs should be designed to ensure Employers should establish procedures to correct or

that all employees understand and are aware of the hazard

control present or potential hazards in a timely manner.

to which they may be exposed and the proper methods for


avoiding such hazards.




The truth is that this is much more than a “should” statement.

Here’s the truth that business owners and managers need

Safety really does come as part of the responsibilities of

to know - construction rules don’t make this an option…

owning and running a business.

See for yourself below:

OSHA reminds us of their General Duty Clause which states

29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.21(b)(2):

– each employer shall furnish to each of their employees

The employer shall instruct each employee in the

employment and a place of employment which are free

recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and

from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to

the regulations applicable to his work environment to

cause death or serious physical harm to their employees.

control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to

In other words, it is your job and duty to provide a safe place

illness or injury.

to work. As if small business owners and managers don’t

Workers need to have a chance to really be exposed to

already have their hands full!

right and wrong examples of safety practices. Train them

The good news is that you are not alone! There are a ton of low-cost and sometimes free solutions that you can use to help you get your safety program started. And if you have a program in place they have great resources to help you improve on your existing safety program. Here are some critical aspects to consider: • Use engineering techniques where feasible and appropriate. Build safety into your processes. If you can avoid creating a hazard then you can avoid having a lot of headaches. Not to mention you can avoid the cost associated with dealing with the hazard. • Maintain the facility and equipment to prevent equipment breakdowns. Whether it is maintaining your fleet, heavy equipment, hand-tools, or extension cords maintaining them in good condition is cheaper and safer than having an incident. • Establish a medical program that includes first aid onsite. There are some specific OSHA standards that require a trained first aid provider. However, consider having at least one person trained in First Aid/CPR for every site and on every crew. Catching a minor first aid injury in time and treating it correctly can prevent an OSHA visit, insurance claim, and loss of production. • Provide personal protective equipment when engineering controls are infeasible. In most circumstances, owners are required to pay for and provide PPE for employees. Even when you don’t have to, it may be better to pay for it than leave it up to the worker to pay for themselves. OSHA rules make it clear that the owner is still responsible even if the

in the classroom or at a tailgate meeting and model the right behavior in the field. Workers need to see and hear from their foreman, supervisor, and owner how good safety means good business. Training doesn’t have to be expensive – reach out to free resources locally but always remember that every dollar invested in safety in an investment in your business. Here are a some important issues to keep in mind: • Employee training programs should be designed to ensure that all employees understand and are aware of the hazards to which they may be exposed… Training has to be relevant to the work, timely for the tasks being performed, and targeted for the right employees. Use pictures of the types of hazards the workers could be exposed to in the field. • Training should be timely and frequent. Tailgate meetings, toolbox talks, and weekly safety meetings are foundational to great safety programs. • Employee training programs must ensure that they address the proper methods for avoiding such hazards. It isn’t enough to talk about what not to do, training has to provide tips and recommendations on how to do it right. Use pictures of the workers performing work in the correct way. • The OSHA rules are an important and even a missed component of the safety training program. Workers need to know the “why” behind the training presented. Showing them the actual written rules and OSHA laws is a great technique to answer the “why” question.

worker uses their own safety equipment and tools.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.