Tag Archives: accident prevention

Tips to Understand OSHA Rights and Responsibilities to Drive Safety

May 2, 2018 by 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created at the federal level on December 29, 1970, with the goal of assuring “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”  Since its creation, the agency has evolved and become commonplace in the workers’ compensation scene as a means of investigating work injuries and providing information to interested stakeholders.  Parties seeking to reduce workers’ compensation program costs should understand OSHA and view the agency as a partner in making workplaces safe for employees. 

work safety and injury statistics poster for article, Tips to Understand OSHA Rights and Responsibilities to Drive SafetyUnderstanding OSHA Basics

 There are many misconceptions about OSHA.  It is important to those seeking to provide a safe workplace to understand better the requirements and how the agency is responsible for enforcing safety standards.

OSHA standards and agency overview covers most private sector employers.  While it does not cover many state and local government agencies, employees of these entities are subject to protections by the federal act and applicable state programs.

The federal act also allows states to create their own OSHA programs.  In these jurisdictions, the state agency receives funding from the federal government to run its program.  This allows states to develop their own standards, provided they meet the federal minimums required under the Act.  There are currently 22 OSHA approved programs that include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

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NFL Wearables Could Be Personal Black Box for Workplace Accidents

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RFID tag illustrationIt came to me just this morning, while I was reading an article about the NFL boosting their statistics tracking and accuracy with the use of RFID tags in the players shoulder pads. It seems these amazing little chips will allow NFL statisticians to know “real-time position data for each player”, as well as “precise info on acceleration, speed, routes and distance”. This is part of the NFL’s “Next Gen Stats” initiative for their fans.

For those who are unaware, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology is the hot new thing. Essentially an RFID tag contains a passive ID chip that can be activated by receivers as it passes near them. It requires no battery power, and is highly reliable. Stores like Walmart now use them extensively to track and monitor inventory changes. Even my Florida SunPass tag uses one. The small sticker on my windshield allows me to zip through tolls and access parking at Tampa International Airport without talking to anyone or even rolling down my window. Of course, it also allows the state to bill me for that activity, and serves to notify the NSA that I am on the move again. But they probably already knew that. The complete loss of privacy is a small price to pay for not having to chat up a friendly toll taker.

I am so glad the NFL has gone with RFID. It is a much more reliable technology than those old scanner barcodes. That was a disaster – having to get the player to run into the end zone 6 times before the scanner could capture the touchdown – but I digress…..

While the source article was prattling on about all the useless stats fans could now have access too, I was thinking in an entirely different direction. I recognized that the NFL has inadvertently invented the personal “Black Box” for workplace accidents. Think about it. This is a technology that could be employed in offices and factories all over the country.

Employers could easily monitor “real-time position data for each employee”, as well as “precise info on acceleration, speed, routes and distance” as they move throughout the day. An RFID enabled wearable could tell accident investigators if an employee was running when they slipped and fell down the stairs, as well as how many rotations they took as they progressed to the bottom.  They could determine that an employee was idle in the break room at the time they claimed to be straining their back on the loading dock.  And biometric sensors added to the RFID wearable could actually cross reference stress levels and physiological indicators to the time and location of the accident, giving a clearer view of events than ever before possible.

It is just like data used from airplane black boxes to reconstruct what actually happened to cause an accident. I am telling you, this technology could be a tremendous boon for risk managers and accident investigators everywhere. But why should they have all the fun?

Safety professionals could leverage the same technology to prevent accidents in the first place. Restaurant servers would no longer have to yell “corner” or “door” when traversing areas with visual limitations. Their RFID enabled monitors would send real time location updates of other employees in the vicinity to their heads up display located within their Google Glass. The system would issue potential collision warnings similar to those in today’s aviation industry.  I’m telling you, Big Brother really may have all the answers after all.

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