The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently launched their new safety campaign called “Safe and Sound”, in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities in the workplace.
OSHA conducted 12 fatality inspections in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska from October 2016 through February 2017. This number represents an increase of five deaths, up from 7, in a period of the same duration, from October 2015 through February 2016. A significant increase in fatalities associated with confined space entry and trenching/excavating was shown to exist in OSHA’s fatality research.
Because of the increase in fatalities, OSHA initiated the Safe and Sound campaign, calling on employers to review their current health and safety programs. As part of the campaign, OSHA identified three core tenets of any successful health and safety program:
- Management leadership: An executive level of management who is committed to establishing, maintaining, and improving the program, continually. A top-level management who will provide any necessary resources.
- Worker participation: An atmosphere where workers are invited to actively identify solutions. Research has shown that increased worker engagement leads to high productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. Incorporating the worker in everyday problem-solving can lower turnover ad recruitment costs.
- A “find and fix” system: Fostering an approach where employers and employees, alike, work, proactively and routinely, to identify and address hazards before they cause injury or illness.
OSHA Kansas City Regional Administrator, Kim Stille, said, “Workplace safety and health incidents hurt workers and their families, and they cost businesses capital – better invested in growing their business and creating jobs. By identifying and controlling job-related hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses, businesses can improve their safety and health programs, save money, and improve competitiveness.”
OSHA’s new Safe and Sound campaign is one way that the agency is fostering an inclusive approach to solving the growing fatality problem in certain workplaces, like those which deal with confined spaces. The agency has implemented a specialized program where employees are expected to hold personal responsibility for themselves and those around them. In this campaign, the skillset and input of the employee is just as important as that of the employer. For this reason, one resource that employees can utilize to maintain compliance in the confined space workplace is an OSHA-approved online training course.