How To Build and Maintain a Positive Safety Culture

How to Build and Maintain a Positive Safety Culture

Safety culture is the way safety is perceived, valued, prioritized, and integrated into all activities in the workplace. Rather than referring to the company’s safety policy and program, it is a set of core values and behaviors that prioritize safety. Safety culture encapsulates the mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors of workers, supervisors, managers, and owners toward safety in the workplace.

Benefits of building a Positive Safety Culture

Having a positive safety culture within an organization promotes more than safety. It is vital for a successful and effective health and safety program. According to OSHA, developing a strong safety culture has a significant impact on the accident reduction of any process.

Additionally, a positive safety culture helps strengthen worker confidence and retention, organizational behavior, and even productivity.

Core Elements of Building a Positive Safety Culture

While qualities may differ from organization to organization, companies with a strong safety culture share several characteristics, including:

  • Management Leadership – Senior leaders demonstrate their commitment to continuous safety and health improvement, communicate that commitment to workers, and set program expectations and responsibilities. Managers shall make safety and health a core organizational value, establish safety and health goals and objectives, provide adequate resources and support for the program, and set a good example. Often, a shift in safety culture is unsuccessful because there is without top-down support. The change is temporary and ends by slipping back into old patterns, or there is no change.
  • Worker Participation and Ownership – Workers are committed to continuously identifying safety hazards and improving the work environment for the better. Once the employees understand safety standards, they can help with establishing, operating, evaluating, and improving the safety and health program. Team participation can be taken a step further by improving safety dialogue between workers and management and showing workers how to help keep each other safe. Organizations should empower employees to improve safety in their work area and throughout the facility.
  • Hazard Identification, Assessment, Prevention, and Control – Involve workers who often have the best understanding of the conditions that create hazards and insights into how to control them. Identify and evaluate options for preventing and controlling hazards, and develop plans to protect workers during emergencies. After assessing existing hazards, exposures, and control measures, periodic inspections and reassessments shall follow to identify the root causes and new hazards. A plan should also be developed to ensure that controls are implemented, interim protection is provided, progress is tracked, and the effectiveness of controls is verified. Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regular hazard assessments including hazards of arc flash, lockout tagout, and electrical safety.
  • Safety Procedures and Equipment – Inspect the workplace with workers and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment, or material that concerns them. Other good practices include posting signs around the facility indicating different safety procedures, regular communication on safety tips, and announcements on new safety procedures.
  • Education and Training – Providing ample opportunities for employees to access safety resources, including signage, safety stickers, regular safety meetings, and safety training, is essential in creating a safe work environment. All workers should be trained to recognize workplace hazards and understand the control measures implemented.

Consider developing training programs with the help of industry subject matter experts that offer blended and interactive training solutions. Ideally, a comprehensive training program should include a good mix of on-site training, hands-on validation, online learning, webinars, toolbox talks, and virtual reality courses in multiple languages for easy access.

Maintaining the Safety Culture by Continuous Evaluation and Improvement 

Creating a positive workplace safety culture goes a long way towards changing the mindset, and the actions, of both workers and management. Often, organizations recognize the need to change the workplace safety culture in response to a culture that’s become complacent. The effects of complacency can be catastrophic in causing accidents, injuries, illnesses, costly fines, and even loss of life.

Continuous processes shall be established to monitor safety program performance, verify program implementation, and identify the shortcomings and opportunities for improvement.

A positive safety culture will be easier to build and maintain when employees feel comfortable reporting concerns and believe that the reporting process is positive. Keeping team members motivated and updated about the improvement is essential to maintaining a positive safety culture. Recognizing individuals and departments for improvements can effectively keep team members excited and invested in building a positive safety culture.

Read more on Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs.

Resources:

Benefits of Infrared Inspection: https://martechnical.com/electrical-infrared-inspection/

Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Construction Safety & Injury Prevention Program Workbook

Infographic: Core Elements of the Safety and Health Program Recommended Practices

 

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OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations of 2020

 

The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) recently announced its top 10 safety violations for the 2020 fiscal year. Every year, OSHA announces its top 10 most frequently cited safety violations. This helps alert employers so they may prevent these hazards before they take place.

 

No. 10: Machine Guarding

Last year Machine Guarding ranked number 9. In 2020 it received 1,313 citations. It’s reassuring to see fewer citations in this standard. But, worker amputations continue to be a concern.

No. 9: PPE and lifesaving equipment related to eye and face protection

The previous year, eye and face protection was in spot number 10, so this citation has increased. This relates to PPE that prevents eye and face injuries including chemical, environmental and other hazards. This can include Arc Flash-related injuries. So, proper Arc Flash labeling programs are critical in ensuring PPE is worn in these situations.

No. 8: Fall Protection Training requirements

Citations were given out for failure to provide proper training materials and programs.

No. 7: Improper Use of Industrial Trucks

The Improper Use of Industrial Trucks held the same ranking as it did last year at 1,932 citations.

No. 6: Lockout Tagout (Control of Hazardous Energy)

Lockout Tagout went down from number #5 in the year prior. In 2020, it held 2,065 violations. Improper training and procedures are often to blame. Martin Technical offers LOTO training to prevent accidents and citations of this very kind.

No. 5: Improper use of Ladders

2,129 citations were given for the Improper use of Ladders in 2020.

No. 4: Scaffolding

Scaffolding moved from #3 to #4 in 2020 with 2,538 citations.

No. 3. Respiration Protection

This standard had 2,649 citations in 2020, moving from #5 to #3. This is both due to lack of fit testing and program management.

No. 2. Improper Implementation of Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication relates to the evaluation and clear identification of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Related citations in 2020 numbered at 3,199.

No. 1: Fall Protection

Fall Protection has been the number one citation for 8 years, with 5,424 citations in 2020. In partnership with PIXO VR, we offer fall protection training through Virtual Reality training allowing a “hands on” experience of a previously inaccessible training experience.

Going Forward

These top 10 alone make up a total of 24,239 citations. What will you do to prevent citations, injury, and deaths in your facility in 2021?

If your safety program needs a tune-up, contact Martin Technical today. We look forward to earning your business. Call us at 866-234-6890, email Sales@MarTechnical.com, or contact us here.

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Boiler Safety & Maintenance

Boiler Safety & Maintenance



2 DAY ON-SITE

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Class Description

Service your own boiler but make sure to do it safely. This Boiler Safety and Maintenance On-Site training is designed to teach building and facility maintenance personnel how to stay safe while servicing. Reduce the need for outside service contractors, while at the same time increase your confidence and comfort level in operating and maintaining your own boilers.

Purpose of Training

We will take the mystery out of wondering if your boiler is safe and operating efficiently. For the novice technician needing a well-rounded education and the experienced stationary engineer who needs a refresher course for continuing education, this boiler safety training program provides a no-nonsense, practical and real world approach for boiler operation, maintenance and safety. Extend boiler life, improve boiler efficiency, and save energy costs, while establishing a culture of safe work practices among the employees.

Learning Objectives

• How/When to Schedule Preventive Maintenance Procedures
• Differences between High Pressure and Low Pressure boilers
• Differences between Firetube and Watertube boilers
• Primary boiler components
• Operating pressures and temperatures of cast iron boilers
• Differences between steam boilers and hot water boilers
• Applications for Electric Boilers
• Four major perils associated with boilers
• Common boiler accidents to avoid
• All about furnace explosions
• Dangers of low water conditions
• How to inspect your Boiler
• Conducting efficiency tests
• Maintenance troubleshooting tips
• Waterside and Fireside maintenance
• Boiler design and construction codes and standards
• How to safely and efficiently operate your boiler
• Burner operations and combustion control systems

Course Agenda

Day 1

Day 2

 

 

 

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Failures in Written Procedures Mean $72K in Fines for NJ Chemical Co.

Newark, NJ – In an August inspection, OSHA claims to have found 17 serious safety and health violations at Elan Chemical Company Inc. Citations, including for failures in written procedures, have been issued and the proposed penalties total $72,100.

Elan Chemical manufactures flavor and fragrance products. Alleged violations at their Doremus Avenue facility in Newark, NJ included deficiencies in equipment process safety information, process hazard analysis, and written operating procedures, as well as other safety and testing issues.perfume written procedures

A statement from OSHA reads as follows: “The violations identified in this inspection create a hazardous environment for the plant’s workers…This facility uses more than 10,000 pounds of ethyl chloride, a highly flammable liquefied gas. The company’s failure to comply with OSHA’s process safety management standard could result in a chemical release, as well as a serious fire or explosion.”

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American Air Filter Fined for Machine Safety and LOTO Failures

Atlanta, GA – OSHA has fined American Air Filter Co. Inc. $119,900 for allegedly failing to provide proper machine guarding to protect employees from amputation hazards and not following safety procedures to prevent unexpected startup of machinery during maintenance and servicing, known as Lockout/Tagout.

These violations have landed American Air Filter on the OSHA‘s Severe Violator List “for demonstrating indifference to its OSH Act obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.”

Having equipment specific lockout procedures written for each piece of equipment is required by OSHA, and is the cornerstone of a compliant lockout/tagout program. The lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the unexpected startup or energization of machinery and equipment, as well as preventing the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

“This is the second significant enforcement action we’ve conducted at AAF International in the last six months,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “We found the same type of hazards during a recent inspection in a different area at the same plant. Management continues to allow workers to clean equipment without following safety procedures and without guards being properly installed.”

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Safety Violations at Alfa Laval US, Fines near the Half Million Mark

BROKEN ARROW, OK – Alfa Laval Inc. faces $477,900 in proposed penalties after U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections discovered dozens of serious workplace safety violations, five of which were identified in previous inspections.

Federal investigators found five repeated and 45 serious violations on a range of health and safety issues at the company’s Broken Arrow facility, including inadequate protection of workers from machinery, a lack of respiratory equipment, lack of training for hazardous chemicals, and failure to maintain written plans for fire protection and emergency management. Alfa Laval also had no procedure to prevent machines from starting during maintenance or service. These procedures are known as Lockout/Tagout.

OSHA levied a $218,500 penalty for the repeated violations that it had cited the employer for in 2010 and 2011, and an additional $259,400 for the serious violations. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

A global provider of heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling products, Alfa Laval employs about 18,000 employees at locations worldwide, and approximately 220 people at the Oklahoma facility. The company serves industries that produce food and beverages, chemicals and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, starch, sugar and ethanol.

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OSHA Fines Vehicle Parts Manufacturer $1.6 Million

Ravenna, OH – Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) imposed a $1.6 million fine for a vehicle parts manufacturer’s 38 safety and health violations. The company was cited with four repeats, 18 willful, and 16 serious safety and health violations, following an investigation into the death of a 43-year-old worker on March 30. The tragedy happened when the barrier door closed on his head when loading a part into a machine.

OSHA alleged that General Aluminum allowed employees to bypass guarding mechanisms designed to prevent the barrier door from closing on them. A malfunction in the door’s optic control also existed before the deadly incident. The OSHA investigators also found a lack of Lockout / Tagout and effective safety management procedures throughout the vehicle parts maker’s facility, in addition to failure to protect employees from burn and explosion hazards.

Vehicle parts maker facing $1.6 million fine

General Aluminum Mfg was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) and is subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and increased agency pressure to abate cited hazards. Willful violations will be cited when an employer knowingly disregarded safety and health law and regulation or acted indifferently for employee safety and health. “OSHA will continue to hold bad actors accountable and emphasize the importance of complying with safety and health requirements that can save lives,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick said in an agency statement.

Key Takeaways

Risk can be found in any workplace; it’s essential to avoid becoming complacent with health and safety procedures. Workplace health and safety training can positively influence an organization’s efficiency and productivity, reducing costs and saving lives. A robust health and safety policy cultivates a safe company culture. It helps organizations build a good relationship with their employees, supports businesses to achieve high recognition and good standing in their industry.

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Holter Dam Receives VPP “Star” Designation

Holter Dam – a VPP Star by OSHA

WOLF CREEK, MT – The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA has certified NorthWestern Energy’s Holter Hydroelectric Plant in Wolf Creek as a “Star” under the VPP. This is the highest level of recognition for workplace safety and health excellence under the agency’s Voluntary Protection Program. OSHA has approved Holter Hydroelectric Plant as a VPP program participant since June 2008. In total, NorthWestern Energy has four sites participating in VPP nationwide.

The Recognitions

OSHA announced the recognition as part of Holter Hydroelectric’s recertification in the VPP program, which is now in its 40th year. The “Star” designation recognizes employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of workplace safety and health hazards, as well as the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of their safety and health management systems.

“NorthWestern Energy continues to exhibit a significant commitment to employee safety and health performance,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Jennifer Rous. She quoted this as a great example of safety accomplishments with the teamwork of OSHA, employers, employees, and their union.

The Safety Culture and Good Practices

OSHA praised Holter Dam’s proactive approaches to safety and health, including daily meetings on potential workplace hazards and safety controls.

Other good practices are regular community outreach by employees supporting their emergency preparedness plans. The outreach includes annual tabletop and rotating mock drills at Holter and neighboring dams. It brings together emergency responders, state road and bridge authorities, news media, the National Weather Service, and other stakeholders.

“We conduct annual outreach to 100 people ensuring the readiness in the event of a major worker or public safety threatening issues. Regular exercise programs are conducted with partners, the nearby dams, responders, and major players,” said NorthWestern Energy Operations and Maintenance Superintendent Jeremy Butcher.

In addition, employees at Holter Dam are regularly trained and equipped to perform lifesaving first aid. Last but not least, the company also ensures law enforcement, fire departments, and contractors are familiar with the access points to expedite emergency responses.

In summary, having a positive safety culture within an organization promotes more than safety. It is vital for a successful and effective health and safety program. According to OSHA, developing a strong safety culture has a significant impact on accident reduction of any process. Learn more about building and maintaining a positive safety culture and formulating robust safety training solutions with industry subject matter experts.

OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP)

The VPP recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies implementing effective safety and health management systems. In addition to maintaining injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP, management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. These are achieved through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment, and worker involvement.

Employers must apply to participate in VPP and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a professional safety and health team. Learn more about VPP, the qualifications for application, and the policies and procedures manual.

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OSHA Cites Refinery $259K for 20 Violations

Guaynabo, PR A St. Croix refinery faces $259,407 in proposed OSHA penalties after the agency cited the company for 20 violations. Earlier in February and May, the refinery releasing oil and vapor into the air and fiery flares led to an OSHA investigation.

OSHA Cites Refinery $259K for 20 Violations

The Violations and Citations

Subsequently, OSHA concluded that Limetree Bay Refining LLC’s refinery failed to meet federal workplace chemical safety standards and endangered workers based on the investigation. The agency has determined that Limetree Bay Refining did not fulfill the following:

  • Compile all necessary information on process equipment and technology, including relief system design, safe operating limits, and consequences of deviation from those limits.
  • Evaluate and implement controls to manage process hazards adequately.
  • Complete a pre-startup safety review.
  • Prevent process equipment from operating in deficient condition.
  • Inspect process equipment adequately before returning it to service and introducing hazardous chemicals to the process.
  • Develop and implement operating procedures to address conditions that deviate from normal operations. Inspect process equipment adequately before returning it to service and introducing hazardous chemicals to the process.
  • Develop and implement operating procedures to address conditions that deviate from normal operations.

In addition to OSHA’s PSM and other safety standards, petroleum refineries are also subject to EPA regulations. The EPA cited Limetree Bay Refining on April 30th and June 16th for Clean Air Act (CAA) violations; and issued a CAA Section 303 order on May 14th, pausing the refinery’s operations. Later on July 12th, the Department of Justice announced the refinery had agreed to EPA’s requirements regarding the refinery’s shutdown. Limetree Bay was no longer in operation and did not intend to restart the refinery.

Complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard Reduces Risks

“The increasing number of severity release incidents at the refinery indicated Limetree Bay Refining LLC was putting workers at risk by permitting serious deficiencies that exist within its process equipment and inadequate process safety management programs.” Alfredo Nogueras, OSHA’s Guaynabo, Puerto Rico area office director, said in an agency statement.  “There are inherent hazards facing workers in facilities that process large quantities of flammable and toxic chemicals at high temperatures and pressures. Complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard reduces those risks and protects workers,” he continued.

OSHA has a National Emphasis Program to enforce its PSM standard, including petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing, and facilities producing explosives and pyrotechnics. The agency has a rulemaking intended to modernize the standards to prevent major chemical accidents.

Incidents at refineries are also investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The CSB makes recommendations to the EPA, OSHA, facility operators, and standard-setting organizations. Currently, CSB has 14 open recommendations for OSHA to address.

Key Takeaways

In summary, risk can be found in any workplace; however, to avoid becoming complacent with health and safety procedures is essential. Scheduling regular workplace health and safety training can positively influence an organization’s efficiency and productivity, thus reducing costs and saving lives.

Learn more on Martin Technical’s VR curriculums, developed by subject matter experts, to raise awareness about the risks and preventive measures against accidents on the oil and gas platform (FPSO). It provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. VR is also a cost-effective tool for simulating realistic and hazardous working environments to create memorable and interactive learning opportunities in a safe virtual environment.

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OSHA Seeks $709K Fine From Paint Manufacturer

Columbus, OH – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks a $709K fine from a paint manufacturer connected with a fatal April 8 fire and explosion. The incident occurred in Columbus’s Yenkin-Majestic Paint and OPC Polymers Corporation. The company manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes. The tragedy linked to eight hospitalizations and one fatality. Property damage alone was more than $1 million. A building in the OPC Polymer unit collapsed as a result of the incident. The blast shook neighboring buildings, and at least one nearby business sustained damage.

OSHA Imposed a $709K fine for Ohio Paint Manufacturer

The tragedy could have been prevented

“Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp. could have prevented this tragedy if they had followed industry standards and removed a compromised kettle from service,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “Knowing that this company altered equipment, failed to use a qualified fabricator, and returned equipment to service knowing that it did not meet safety standards is unacceptable,” Donovan continued. In December 2020, the manufacturer altered the kettle reactor vessel and the manway opening but did not ensure the vessel maintained its pressure-containing ability. On January 3, following the alteration, the newly installed manway failed. The company made additional alterations to the vessel when installing a new gasket. It again failed to adhere to OSHA’s PSM, pressure vessel inspection procedures, and the American Petroleum Institute’s pressure vessel inspection code.

OSHA’s investigation determined the kettle reactor vessel released a flammable vapor cloud when its manway cover and gasket failed. The vapor flowed throughout the plant, ignited, and caused the initial explosion.

The citations and penalties

OSHA cited the Ohio paint and resins manufacturer with two willful and 33 serious safety violations. The violations including of the process safety management (PSM) and hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) standards. OSHA also cited the employer for lack of employee safety training and personal protective equipment (PPE). The agency proposed penalties totaling $709,960 and placed Yenkin-Majestic in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Willful violations will be cited when an employer knowingly disregards or acts indifferently for safety and health laws and regulations. Employers included in the SVEP are subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and under pressure to abide by cited safety hazards.

The U.S.Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) also dispatched investigators to the Columbus facility following the incident. The CSB is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. CSB investigations can take several months and result in a report containing recommendations for government agencies, companies, trade associations, labor unions, and other groups.

Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by including regular workplace safety training.

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