A+A 2017 and the Future of Work: Digitization of the Workplace and Creating a Culture of Prevention

A+A 2017 and the Future of Work: Digitization of the Workplace and Creating a Culture of Prevention

EHS Today sat down in Dusseldorf with Birgit Horn, the director of A+A, to discover what occupational safety and health topics are trending with the 65,000 attendees and 1,940+ exhibitors.
A+A – the Trade Fair for Safety, Security and Health at Work and the 35th International Congress for Occupational Health and Occupational Medicine, managed by Messe Dusseldorf GmbH, are occurring in Düsseldorf from Oct. 17-20 and they provide an overview of the latest trends in occupational safety and health.
Horn said that the congress includes experts from occupational health and safety management, HR managers, labor leaders, occupational physicians and nurses, emergency responders, representatives from workers’ compensation insurance carriers, corporate leaders and occupational safety and health organizations, like the International Labor Organization (ILO), the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (Denmark), the German Social Accident Insurance (the national workers’ compensation insurance provider), the UK Health and Safety Executive and the German Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Basi).
The theme of A+A 2017 is the Future of Work – what Horn calls “Work 4.0” – the “digitization” of work and its impact on employees in terms of technological advances such as robots in the workplace, “smart” PPE and monitoring of remote employees.
Companies and their employees are being required to work more flexibly and respond more quickly to customer demands in order to stay competitive. Safety and health for workers not only includes their physical safety at work, but also their physical health both at work and home.
New illness and injury prevention approaches need to encompass things like employee stress and work/life balance, says Horn.
When she took the helm of A+A, employers provided PPE to workers because it is mandated by various workplace safety laws around the world.
Many work alone, so how can employers track them and ensure they are safe and are wearing PPE?

Citations settled after employee injected with flammable propellant gas

Citations settled after employee injected with flammable propellant gas

Reprints Gloria Gonzalez The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has settled citations and proposed penalties against a Massachusetts packaging company and two staffing agencies following a May 2016 incident in which an employee was injected with a flammable propellant gas.
OSHA found that Dudley, Massachusetts-based Shield Packaging Co. Inc. failed to implement required procedures to lock out the machine’s power sources or train the employee on how to recognize and avoid the hazard, according to an agency statement issued on Wednesday.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Shield Packaging will pay $150,000 in penalties, provide OSHA with documentation that all hazards have been corrected, retain a professional engineer to approve the design and installation of a safety interlock on the machine that injured the worker, retain a qualified safety consultant to perform a comprehensive inspection of the plant and develop a workplace safety and health program.
The final amount represents a nearly 50% reduction from the penalties totaling $295,967 initially proposed by the agency.
Leominster, Massachusetts-based ASI Staffing Group Corp. was initially facing $24,942 in proposed fines, but has agreed to pay $12,471 in penalties, implement comprehensive safety and health measures at all host companies and delineate safety responsibilities between ASI and its host companies, according to the statement.
Worcester, Massachusetts-based Southern Mass Staffing was facing $17,460 in proposed penalties, but has agreed to pay a $12,222 fine, attend safety and health training, implement a written safety and health management system, and hire an outside safety consultant.
The packaging company and the two staffing agencies, which provided 86 of the 140 workers at Shield’s facility, were initially facing higher proposed fines after the temporary worker sustained a serious injury and the employer failed to call 911 immediately and notify regulators of the worker’s hospitalization. “The Shield Packaging Co. Inc., ASI Staffing Group Corp. and Southern Mass Staffing are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers,” OSHA Area Director Mary Hoye, said in the statement. “These settlements will help ensure that a comprehensive safety program will be developed to protect all workers — permanent and temporary — from injuries and illnesses.”
The companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

Review underway to stop assaults at mental health unit

Review underway to stop assaults at mental health unit

A health and safety review is underway on a high-needs mental health unit at Hillmorton Hospital after staff have been bitten, hit, and injured while restraining patients.
Mental health services general manager Toni Gutschlag said since January, there had been 11 ACC workplace injury claims for staff working in the unit – one of which resulted in 61 days off work.
“We are extremely concerned about the number of people being injured at work and the injuries they are sustaining.” Ms Gutschlag said it prompted a health and safety review of the unit, which began last week.
“We are confident this review will give more clarity to the issues and possible mitigating strategies.” The secure unit provides treatment for people with “severe behavioural disturbance” and those receiving compulsory care.
The other was for a muscular strain from restraining a patient, resulting in 61 days off work.
Three staff had 10 days or less off work, and four needed between 18-35 days off.
Ms Gutschlag said the CDHB was also planning an extension of the unit in a bid to make it safer and easier to respond to individual patient needs.
“Staff were recently able to view a cardboard mock-up of the proposed extension to the unit, which includes patient living and lounge areas.
Their feedback is currently being collated,” Ms Gutschlag said.
It came after statistics showed between January 2014 and October 2016, there were about 1000 physical assaults recorded at the unit.

November Sees the Launch of the Second Incident Management Month – #IMM2017

November Sees the Launch of the Second Incident Management Month – #IMM2017

November 2017 sees the launch of the second annual Incident Management Month by enterprise SharePoint EHS software providers Pro-Sapien.
The campaign aims to highlight the importance of improving workplace safety by promoting a culture of thorough incident management and reporting.
In the UK during 2015/2016, there were 621,000 non-fatal injuries at work (10,000 more than the previous year).
152,000 of these injuries led to over 7 days absence, meaning that 5.6 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health or injury.
Globally, 317 million accidents happen in the workplace each year, of which 2.3. million lead to a death of an employee.
Despite these figures, almost 20% of workers feel that their companies do not provide active and visible support for health and safety in their workplace, and only 60% track their employee’s engagement with safety.
Pro-Sapien, a global leader in incident management software on SharePoint, are devoting the month to highlight the need for companies to provide staff (especially senior leaders) with the right tools and knowledge to implement a safety culture which will allow organisations to both improve their safety records and instil a message that safety is important from the top down.
Murray Ferguson, Managing Director at Pro-Sapien, comments, “My favourite analogy on the importance incident management relates to the broken window theory – if you see a building with a broken window, vandals tend to smash some more.
Eventually, they might break in, steal or cause more damage inside.
Incident management can enable staff to handle the minor incidents within the workplace, such as slips, trips and falls or near misses, and by controlling and reporting these incidents and analysing the patterns behind them, there is a positive correlation with reduction of serious injuries.” Pro-Sapien will be running several events online throughout the month of November as part of Incident Management Month, including a webinar, guest articles about Incident Management from noted health and safety professionals, online discussions on Twitter & Facebook via the #IMM2017 hashtag, and a competition to encourage employee morale and engagement.

Enzi backs voluntary workplace safety program with bipartisan support

Enzi backs voluntary workplace safety program with bipartisan support

Grain elevators are notoriously dangerous facilities, with dozens of workers regularly suffocating within the silos each year. But by participating in a popular, if seldom known, federal program, the MillerCoors grain elevator in Worland provides a safer environment for its workers while reducing the regulatory burden on the parent company.
MillerCoors is one of just three Wyoming workplaces to participate in the Voluntary Protection Program, an initiative of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“The current model for VPP is not sustainable with resource realities,” OSHA’s acting deputy assistant secretary Tom Galassi told Business Insurance in July.
Currently, it is funded from OSHA’s budget, which is overseen by the executive branch.
“We have a proven program that can protect the health and safety of employees while saving the government and the private sector hundreds of millions of dollars by avoiding injuries and illness,” Enzi said in a statement.
In a statement, Bennet praised the collaboration between labor and management that is encouraged by the program.