Safety trends to watch, training to conduct and pitfalls to avoid
Published by Business and Legal Reports, 2007
93 minutes CD
Reviewed by Cory Perquin
These days, as you know all too well, management has more than money on the line when it comes to workplace safety - their executives' personal freedom is at stake. Now more than ever, corporations need to play their "stay out of jail" card and go well beyond compliance in efforts to achieve optimum health and safety conditions on the job.
We're talking big stakes here; safety and health violations could cost your company up to $50,000 in fines and your executives 10 years' imprisonment! In the United States, updating this enforcement provision and passing the Protecting America's Workers Act will be top legislative priorities for 2007, particularly for Senator Edward Kennedy.
The trend of holding managers criminally liable for injuries and fatalities in the workplace is one of several emerging issues discussed in this CD (dubbed an "audio conference"), What's New for 2007: Workplace Safety Trends to Watch, Training to Conduct, and Pitfalls to Avoid.
Produced by the Connecticut-based publisher Business & Legal Reports, the CD features a panel discussion between
- Adele Abrams, attorney in Beltsville, Maryland, certified mine safety professional and coauthor of Construction Safety Management and Engineering for the ASSE.
- Gary Gagliardi, vice president with Safety Resources Inc. in Zionsville, Indiana, and authorized OSHA general industry outreach instructor.
- Randy DeVaul, moderator for BLR and principal of Brickhouse of New York Inc., a safety consulting firm in Westfield, New York.
No one looks good in an orange jumpsuit - and OSHA is making more criminal referrals than ever
"OSHA made more criminal referrals than in any year previous," Adele Abrams noted, adding that these days the people at the top (C- and D-level executives) will go to jail if an employee is seriously injured or dies on the job, and the corporation will continue to pay heavy fines.
Other trends discussed in the CD are broken down into five segments (totaling 60 minutes), with a Q&A period totaling 32 minutes, spread over two CD-ROMs. The segments are:
2007 - Legislation Watch
- Global movement around musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)
- Growing emphasis on inspection within OSHA
- Increased liabilities in health/safety
- Court decisions that affect change
- Shift in workers' compensation
2007 - Operations Watch
- Growing focus on communicating health and safety issues effectively to non-English speaking workers (primarily Hispanic).
- Aging workers and related safety issues; the majority of workplace accidents happen to those over 40.
- Increase in certification requirements.
- Growth in insurance requirements (workplace violence, terrorism, evacuation drills).
- Growing influence of non-regulatory associations such as the National Safety Council and its focus on "off-the-job safety and how that drives up costs to businesses.)
2007 - Management Watch
- Safety integrated into production
- Supervisor / manager training in safety, health and workers' compensation
- Increased accountability at all levels
- Ways to raise employees' safety performance.
- The transition of work practices to suit your aging workforce.
- Legislative and legal tips in these days of heavy regulation.
- The advantages of participating in trade and safety associations.
2006 in Review
- OSHA's top citations of the year
- Shift from "behavior-based" safety to "performance-based" safety
- Emphasis on off-the-job safety in addition to workplace safety.
The sound quality of a CD is important, and the recording of What's New for 2007 is the same as a regular teleconference call. Although the panel participants spoke clearly and concisely, and the volume remained satisfactory, the listening experience was somewhat marred by an electronic hiss present throughout the recording.
However, although the speakers don't delve into minutiae about occupational health and safety issues, they do a good job discussing general trends. As such, the CD is a suitable overview for managers who aren't privy to all the information held by the company's safety professionals, or for a small business owner who has to wear the safety pro hat him / herself.