CoatingsPro Magazine

MAY 2016

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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82 MAY 2016 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Industry Insight N o worker intends to get hurt. No employer intends to allow an employee to be hurt or suffer an illness because of something that happens at work. So why do workers get injured, get sick from their jobs, or, sadly, lose their lives on the job? It 's not a s i f we don't k now how to keep a worker sa fe. Work pl ace sa fet y a nd hea lt h h a s come a long way si nce t he d ays when i nju r ies were accepted a s a way of l i fe i n some occ upat ions. Yes, t here a re c hem ic a l s a nd ot her e x posu res we don't k now enoug h about. But for most com mon work pl ace h a z a rd s, t he r isk s — a nd protec t ive mea su res — h ave been a n a ly zed , c h a rac ter - i zed , a nd c ategor i zed. We k now t he d a ngers of fa l l s, i mpac ts, c uts, bu r ns, a nd overe xer t ion. We k now t he ef fec ts of c hem ic a l, biolog ic a l, a nd rad iolog ic a l agents. We k now t he d a ngers of f i re, noise, elec t r ic it y, heat, a nd cold. A nd yet, more than 4,600 workers d ied on the job in 2014 (the last year for which the Bureau for Labor and Statistics, or BL S, has data). Ta ke out transpor tation incidents and workplace v iolence, and there were sti l l over 2,000 deaths. Added to that tota l are nearly 3 mi l lion nonfata l injur ies. Liber t y Mutua l, in its Workplace Safet y Index, repor ts that the 10 most d isabling , nonfata l workplace injur ies cost businesses more than a bi l lion dol lars a week in workers compen- sation costs a lone. A nd yet it sti l l happens. So what can we do? Culture of Prevention Today, we know that these injuries and deaths are preventable. But it isn't easy. Workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities aren't going to be elimi- nated by upgrading regulations, hiring more enforcement ofcers, or even prosecuting employers. It's going to take a determination in every worksite — large or small, industrial or institu- tional — that no one will get hurt. Tat takes a culture of prevention. A culture that starts with a commit- ment that no one will be hurt or get sick from something on the job. Tis requires top level dedication to safety and health as well as buy-in by everyone in the organization from the CEO to the part-time worker. It requires under- standing every work environment, every type of task, the demographics of the workforce, and other factors, and it requires creating a safety and health management program that identifes and addresses all potential hazards. It's been said that the best safety and health management program is one in which workers can make mistakes and not get hurt. Tink about it. Tis level of dedication to safety and health requires constant attention, ensuring that everyone knows the rules and procedures, has a role in creating them and making them work, and is account- able. Workers need to be involved in planning and running the program, along with the safety experts and management. But it's also important that supervisors be empowered to enforce the rules. It's easy to take a shortcut. Unfortunately, complacency can kill. Safety Stance A company dedicated to a culture of prevention will make investments in technologies and work practices that eliminate hazards or isolate workers from hazards and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) where hazardous conditions persist. Tis has to be the right equipment. PPE selection starts with a hazard analy- sis, which identifes and characterizes potential causes of injuries and health risks. It considers the standards that set minimum levels of product performance, as well as how suppliers determine and demonstrate confor- mity to these standards. A good PPE program ensures that workers are ftted properly and that they are trained in the use, care, maintenance, capabilities, and limitations of all the equipment they wear and use. Above all, the culture of preven- tion recognizes that safety and health is not just another corporate function but a shared value that is the soul of the organization. CP Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of ISEA By Dan K. Shipp, President of International Safety Equipment Association Safety: The Soul of the Company

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