5 Ways Technology Can Improve Your Job Safety Anaylsis Program

By Tim Lozier

Source: ehstoday.com

Most of the time, I sit at a desk and stare at my computer. For many other organizations, however, being a desk jockey will not get products made, nor will it be productive for everyone. Most manufacturing jobs have inherent risks, whether directly related to product manufacturing or simply workplace hazards that exist throughout the facility.

Historically, companies often took a fairly broad approach to workplace safety. Safety managers would focus on the broad level of hazards and then apply them to the general work area of their employees and put controls or PPE in place as a result. Now, technology and processes have evolved to enable a much more poignant way to drive safety in the job with Job Safety Analysis (JSA) tools.

Essentially, the JSA takes a specific job, breaks it into the individual job steps and assesses the potential hazards with those steps. If the hazard is too high, then managers put controls in place to effectively reduce that hazard to acceptable levels. The idea is that once you’ve reduced the risks associated with each job step, the overall risk that the job poses is mitigated to appropriate levels.

In a small scale, this is a logical and effective measure. However, when you have thousands of employees and thousands of job types in your company, maintaining JSAs become cumbersome as a manual task. That is why technology has jumped in to ease the burden of updating JSAs, JSA reporting and creating a comprehensive JSA program. Here are five ways technology is growing the JSA trend.

1. Risk Management Quantifies Job Hazards: In many cases, no job is completely safe. Heck, I could fall out of my computer chair right here and injure myself. While JSA attempts to identify potential job hazards, it needs a method for determining the severity of the hazard and rating the safety level. Risk assessment and risk management are designed to solve this. Risk provided a systematic set of criteria that provide risk levels, usually based on severity and frequency of the hazard. Based on these levels, organizations can quantitatively determine the overall risk of a job step. Based on the risk levels, they can make better decisions on how to control these risks.

2. Job Safety Linked to Document Control: Each job step and type is associated with documentation. Most often, people are not memorizing their job steps; they need to be documented and controlled so that all processes, job descriptions, work instructions and others are the most relevant and up to date. Linking a JSA record to Document Control not only provides direct relation to the job and the procedures that associated with it, it also provides a centralized place to maintain and modify your job safety program.

3. JSA Controls Linked to Employee Training: Just because you’ve create a safe job analysis doesn’t mean it will actually work. It may work on paper (or computer screen, in this case), but unless you’ve effectively trained your employees on operating in a safe manner, it is just an analysis. To be truly effective, new job procedures, new PPE requirements and similar effects from a JSA need to be linked to training activities. This way, when a JSA is completed, your employees automatically are trained and knowledgeable on the new requirements.

4. Regular Reviews/Audits of the JSA Program: Even though you’ve set up a winning JSA program, this does not mean you are completely safe forever. Like everything in this world, change is always happening, and as your organization evolves, so too must your JSA. Technology facilitates automatic reviews of your JSA program, enabling you to regularly review the processes and ensure that the JSA you created before are still valid today.

5. Reporting on Your JSA Program: Frequently overlooked, but extremely important, is the reporting aspect of the JSA program. The key is to be able to identify how effective the JSA controls are against EHS data coming in. If you are seeing a trend that suggest there are still high levels of risk in your job safety program, then you need to be able to identify, mitigate and prevent it immediately. Reporting tools help to identify these events and provide real-time visibility into the EHS system.

Sitting here at my desk, I probably have a low-risk job (although that stapler looks pretty dangerous). But for those jobs that have real, quantifiable hazards, it is important to take measure to ensure they are safe. Technology  can provide a comprehensive, integrated framework for managing job safety, taking action to document and train against JSA controls and effectively reviewing and changing your JSA programs as your organization evolves.


Take Action to Eliminate Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common cause of lost-workday injuries. Nowhere is the problem worse than in the healthcare industry. Here are some preventive measures implemented in that industry that could help reduce the risk of these incidents in your workplace, too.

Research conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in three acute care hospitals led to the identification of the major causes of slips, trips, and falls, along with the development of effective measures for preventing them.

Over a 10-year period following the implementation of these preventive measures, workers' compensation costs arising from slips, trips, and falls in the three hospitals declined by 59 percent. These preventive measures could help reduce your workers' comp costs, too.

What's Tripping Up Workers?

The specific causes of slips, trips, and falls may vary—the slick floors in your workplace might be created by a different substance than those in a hospital—but the prevention principles can be broadly applied to any workplace and any industry.

Major risk factors identified by NIOSH and the CDC include:

1. Contaminants on floors and walkways. Kitchens, bathrooms, building entrances, and other areas where floors and walkways are often wet or contaminated present this type of risk. Effective preventive measures include:

  • Well-documented housekeeping procedures. The CDC suggests creating a written housekeeping program.
  • Two-step mopping. This technique, in which a cleaning solution is applied, then removed, is more effective than traditional damp-mopping and may reduce slipping hazards.
  • Slip-resistant shoes. In persistently slick areas, workers should wear appropriate footwear.
  • Correctly aligning pipes with the drain they empty into, unclogging drains regularly, and redirecting downspouts away from sidewalks.

2. Indoor walking surface irregularities. Damaged, warped, buckled, or uneven flooring surfaces can cause employees to slip, trip, or fall. Control this risk by:

  • Replacing or re-stretching loose or buckled carpeting
  • Removing, patching underneath, and replacing indented or blistered vinyl tile
  • Eliminating trip hazards over a quarter-inch high in all areas of pedestrian travel, using beveling or ramps
  • Replacing smooth flooring materials in areas normally exposed to water, grease, and/or particulate matter with rougher-surfaced flooring
  • Making sure elevators are leveled properly so elevator floors line up evenly with hallway floors

3. Outdoor walking surface irregularities. Outdoor falls can result from poorly maintained, uneven ground; protruding structures; holes; and rocks, leaves, and other debris. Improve safety by:

  • Patching or filling cracks greater than a half-inch wide in walkways
  • Highlighting changes in elevation with Safety Yellow warning paint
  • Eliminating concrete wheel stops in parking lots
  • Covering or highlighting underground watering system structures

4. Weather conditions. Ice, snow, and rain can cause slips and falls. In areas where this is a problem, you can improve safety by:

  • Providing additional mats when needed
  • Removing ice and snow from parking lots, garages, and sidewalks promptly
  • Placing freezing weather warning monitors at entrances to employee parking areas
  • Displaying contact numbers for the maintenance department so employees can report slick conditions
  • Placing bins of ice-melting chemicals in outdoor areas of heavy pedestrian traffic

5. Inadequate lighting. Inadequate lighting makes it harder to see hazards. Make hazards visible by:

  • Installing more light fixtures and/or brighter bulbs in poorly lit areas
  • Installing light fixtures that emit light from all sides

6. Stairs and handrails. Poorly designed or maintained stairs and handrails can lead to falls. Make these safer with:

  • Slip-resistant treads and nosing that cover the entire tread, especially on outside steps
  • Handrails at an appropriate height (34 to 38 inches from the stepping surface)
  • Handrails that extend the full length of the stairs plus 12 inches at top and one tread depth at bottom

7. Tripping hazards. General clutter, loose cords, hoses, and wires pose a tripping hazard along with improperly used floor mats. Eliminate these by:

  • Using wall-mounted storage hooks, shelves, and hose spools
  • Marking walkways and keeping them clear
  • Covering cords on the floor with a beveled protective cover
  • Using mats and runners large enough that users can take several footsteps on them, thereby cleaning contaminants off their shoes before the shoes contact the flooring
  • Using beveled-edge, flat, and continuous or interlocking mats
  • Replacing mats that are curled, ripped, or worn (secure edges with carpet tape if needed)

Home Is Where the Falls Are

According to the National Safety Council, when it comes to off-the-job safety, falls in the home are the second leading cause of accidental death in the community, surpassed only by car crashes.

Whether your employees fall and injure themselves on the job or fall and get hurt off-the job, the result is often the same—lost workdays that interfere with your production schedules and pain and suffering for the injured worker.

Here are some tips that would make a good short safety meeting to teach workers to prevent home falls.

Fall-Proof the Home on the Inside

There’s a lot workers can do to make their home environment safe from slips and falls. For example:

  • Clear up the clutter inside your home that could cause someone to trip and fall.
  • Keep electrical cords out of the path of foot traffic.
  • If possible, install railings on both sides of the stairs.
  • Never store any items on the stairs.
  • Secure area rugs with double-sided tape or rubber padding.
  • Increase lighting throughout the house.
  • Plug in nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways.
  • Use rubber mats in the bathtub and rubber-backed rugs on the bathroom floor.
  • Avoid floor wax cleaners.
  • Clean up spills immediately, whether they are greasy or just wet.
  • Be careful when using ladders for home fix-it jobs.

Fall-Proof the Home on the Outside

Likewise, there are several steps employees can take to safeguard the exterior of their homes

  • Install railings on outdoor stairs.
  • Add outdoor lighting at entryways and along walkways.
  • In winter, be sure to clear steps and sidewalks of snow and ice and use sand to improve foot traction.
  • Fill holes and depressions in the yard.

Take Extra Steps to Protect Children from Falls

Children are particularly vulnerable to home falls. Employees should take steps to prevent injuries. For example:

  • Never leave babies unattended on beds, changing tables, or even sofas.
  • Strap babies and toddlers in highchairs and strollers.
  • Install safety gates at the top of staircases and be sure to secure them to the wall.
  • Don't let children play in raised outdoor areas, such as fire escapes, balconies, high porches, or decks.
  • Move furniture, such as chairs, sofas, and beds, away from windows. Small children love to climb.
  • Keep windows closed and locked. For ventilation, open only those windows that children cannot reach. If you must open a low window, use window guards to prevent it from being opened wide.
  • Insist that children pick up their toys.

Don't Fall for Substitutes

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Training responsibilities become a snap with the website's thousands of audio presentations, PowerPoints, prewritten safety meetings, toolbox talks, trainer's guides, and much, much more. You'll find training tools on more than 120 safety topics along with plain-English compliance analysis and other resources.

At a time when budget considerations are paramount, what makes more sense than an all-in-one safety training and compliance solution?

And BLR has revamped Safety.BLR.com to meet your needs even better. You'll be amazed by all the features and functionality of the site. Highlights include:

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