Does OSHA Target Small Businesses?

Does OSHA target smaller companies for fines?  Sometimes it may seem like it.  If you just look at penalties, small companies pay the lion’s share of fines for violations.   According to information from the  trade group, the Asbestos Institute, businesses with less than 100 employees received more than 80,000 citations in  2012 compared to only 9,000 for companies with more than 100 employees.   When it comes to fines, the under 100 employee companies paid more than $112 million versus $33 million for the over 100 companies.  Companies with fewer than 20 workers paid a whopping $70,000 in fines in 2012.  The differences come despite OSHA guidance to reduce overall fines to smaller firms.  Continue reading “Does OSHA Target Small Businesses?”

OSHA Top 10 Violations – Digging Beneath The Numbers

Every year OSHA releases its top 10 list of violations.  It is done with a lot of build up at the National Safety Council’s annual conference, kind of like the Oscars, except no one wants to win this competition.   What you notice is that the top violations don’t change much, but maybe we need to dig deeper into the numbers to catch the real trends going on in safety.

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Is It Time To Blow The Dust Off Your Safety Manual?

I’m finishing up a review of a client’s safety policies and procedures, and it got me thinking – why do we even have manuals?  I’ve done a number of these reviews and read a lot of manuals.  I’ve decided it is time to rethink how we manage our policies and procedures.   We still need manuals but there is a real need for companies to think through what their purpose is and whether our existing documents meet that purpose.  Here are a four key issues to consider:

Safety manuals tell your story, but what story do they tell?  A few years ago, I got a call from a company that said its manual needed tweaking.   What I found was a monster that took up two massive binders, with loose pages stuck in here and there.  It had been added to, revised and updated until it contained about two feet of gibberish.  Most of it only existed as paper copies with no electronic versions.   Continue reading “Is It Time To Blow The Dust Off Your Safety Manual?”

OSHA Delays Crane…Again

OSHA’s new certification rules for crane operators have been delayed for another year, just one day before they were scheduled to go into effect. This is the second time since 2014 that the certification has been delayed.  According to a pretty good background piece from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO),  OSHA needs to resolve two issues before it is ready to implement the program, “whether operators need to be certified by type and capacity, or just by type; and whether certification is sufficient by itself to deem an operator qualified to operate a crane.”

So OSHA says it will try to address those two issues through a new rulemaking and the new deadline is November 10, 2018, or at least that is the plan.   It is worth noting that OSHA’s database shows there were around 20 fatalities related to crane incidents in 2015.

Fed-Ex Exec Nominated To Head OSHA

Mugno (left) 

Scott Mugno, Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground, has been nominated to be the next head of OSHA, or to give his exact title, Assistant Secretary of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health.  The job has been empty since President Trump took office and the department has been pretty quiet for the last 10 months.  Perhaps it is fitting that the President very quietly released the nomination last Friday, releasing the name in a group of nominees.  So what do we know about Mr. Mugno?

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Best Practices on Supervisor Training At The Next ASSE Bayou Chapter Meeting

Please come participate in an open round table discussion on best practices for supervisor training at the next meeting of the ASSE Bayou Chapter at Nichols State College in Thibodaux, Louisiana on Friday, October 27th.  I am honored to be facilitating the discussion on what we need to be teaching supervisors to help turn them into leaders.

In preparing our own supervisor leadership class, we found study-after-study that shows that, depending on what you teach supervisors, classes can help:

  • Reduce your recordables and cut disability claims by up to 47%.
  • Cut crew turnover by 40%.
  • Increase safety compliance by more than 25%.

So let’s put our heads together and see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to training supervisors.   Think about inviting you HR colleagues as well.

The meeting will be held on Friday, October 27th at 11:30 a.m. in the student union building at Nichols State University in Thibodaux, LA.  It is open to ASSE members and non-members are welcome. There is a $25 charge to help fund the chapter’s activities.   Go to for registration information or contact me at

How To Manage Worksite Injuries – New Training Added To Our Supervisory Leadership Class –

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether onsite supervisors help or hurt when it comes to worker injuries.  One complaint I hear comes when they overreact and immediately send an injured employee to an emergency rooms, turning what should have been a simple first aid case into an expensive recordable injury.

Worse, they may under-react and ignore an injury.  Continue reading “How To Manage Worksite Injuries – New Training Added To Our Supervisory Leadership Class –”

Supervisor Training – The Training That Pays For Itself.

Companies are spending more on training each year, more than $1200 per employee according to training industry surveys.  But what do we spend it on?  For many companies the biggest chunk goes to new hire orientation training and annual refresher compliance training.   But smart companies know that is not where they get their biggest return on investment.  It is in supervisor and manager training.

A recent study looked at investments in supervisory training and how it turned around one company’s bottom line.  Researchers started a supervisory class at a U.S. hotel chain and then they measured the impact on the rest of the staff.   Here is what they found: Continue reading “Supervisor Training – The Training That Pays For Itself.”

A Train Hits A Pedestrian or Vehicle Every Three Hours – Will Your Drivers Be a Casualty?

Your car stalls on the tracks when a train is coming.  Do you know which way to run?  More importantly, do your crews?

The answer is to run at a 45 degree angle toward the train, even though your instincts may be to run away from the direction of the train.

Continue reading “A Train Hits A Pedestrian or Vehicle Every Three Hours – Will Your Drivers Be a Casualty?”