Those who have been loyal to this blog, you know what is post is about. For those who are relatively new, I welcome you to a Safety Snippet blog post.
These are a recurring theme here, as short news items of importance to safety professionals come across my desk, and individual items are not long enough to justify their own separate post. I will often consolidate two or three items into a single post because I feel it necessary to not be a censor, but a distributor of information to you, my readers, and let you decide whether it is worth your time to read.
Without further ado, we’ll have a couple snippets this week about a Department of Energy inspector general report, and a new online portal to help prevent workplace violence.
IG Report: Where’s the Beef?
The inspector general at the U.S. Department of Energy released a report about OSHA’s special emphasis programs (SEPs) that were designed to promote and improve safety of workers on the job.
The report says, um, not so much; where’s your evidence?
The programs were meant to address risky industries and worksites to help improve outcomes in incident and injury safety in thsoe verticals, and the IG report piggybacked on audits of the SEPs which revealed that the programs did not target those indiutrueis that were considered the highest risk in their site-specific program; did nto show that a reduction in penalties to employers actually improved safety; and could not effectively show that state-run programs were efficacious in achieving the desired mission.
It is not to say that the programs were ineffective, the report only shows that results cannot and have not been determined because there are no outcome metrics fr the programs. Not only that, the OIG noted that there is no known method for risk-assessment within programs, which include risk modeling and data regarding the high-risk industries.
In other words, the programs are in place to take taxpayer money without accountability to the taxpayers. Sounds like a perfect case study for waste, fraud and abuse? The entire report, as well as the official OSHA response, is available here.
Countering Workplace Violence
In some indusries, high stress and anxiety can lead to bouts of violence at the workplace, and this can be especially true in various healthcare industries.
An entity called The Joint Commission has developed a new online portal called the Workplace Violence Prevention Resources Center, which provides a wealth of resources for employers, supervisors and managers to help prevent workplace violence incidents.
The portal contains guidelines, policies and procedures, case studies, white papers and research about workplace violence and its cost to industry. With the right information about what to observe, noting the signs of potential trouble and aggressively addressing it before an incident happens can save future costs and trauma to the entire workforce.
Entrance to the portal can found at the Joint Commission website.