Jamie: Hello, and a warm welcome to everybody. We would like to wish everyone a good morning, a good afternoon, or a good evening, depending on where you are in the world today. My name is Jamie and I’m one of the co-founders of Safeopedia.
Before we get started, I’d like to run through just a few housekeeping items. Everybody in the webinar will be on mute for the duration, but we really want to hear from you. So, we’ll keep it interactive and ask that you type your questions into the GoToWebinar console as we go, and the presenters will do their best to answer as many of the questions as possible at the end of the presentation. Also, a reminder. Today’s webinar is being recorded and you’ll be receiving a link to the recorded version a few days after the webinar’s live show.
Typically, one of the first questions that gets asked is, “How do I get in touch with the presenters after the webinar?” So what we’ll do is we’ll put up a slide at the end that has the contact information on it. That way, if we don’t get to your question or the webinar ends and then you have a question after the fact, you can follow up with them directly.
Today, we’re proud to present Transitions in Safety. The webinar is hosted by Safeopedia and is being presented by Sospes. At Safeopedia, it’s our goal to support those EHS professionals; the operational folks; and, really, any safety-minded individuals through free educational content and resources. We would really like to thank those dedicated professionals for the great work they do on a daily basis. It is now my pleasure to present Scott Brothers.
Scott: Hi. Good afternoon, good morning wherever you may be. It is currently a beautiful afternoon here in Boulder, Colorado. And thank you Jamie for that introduction.
Today's webinar is going to highlight the transition into safety that the environmental health and safety industry is seeing here in North America and abroad. We’re going to cover a variety of things here. So we're going to cover the generational aspect. With over 48,000 safety professionals over the age of 55—and the next generation is set to begin the transition—we’ve spent the last year talking with professionals of all ages to get the pulse of the change and what the industry can expect with the younger safety professional presence. We will take a broad look at new technologies and how the next generation of the environmental health and safety professional is able to not only adopt to the technology, but roll it out to their workers.
There will be a brief video that showcases industry leaders that have been interviewed over the last year in an ongoing series called Faces of Safety. The inspiration behind this video came from the realization that there is a tremendous shift in the environmental health and safety field, and professionals had to feel their way. We’ll look at leaders in multiple industries, from construction to pharmaceutical companies, and discover the strengths and pains from a transitioning environment.
Finally, we sit with OSHA’s Area Director for Denver’s office, Herb Gibson, a graduate from Colorado State University. He will address OSHA’s upcoming changes in regards to technology and electronic reporting requirements. We will leave the last 10 minutes or so open for questions. If you have a question, please use that little text box in the GoToWebinar.
So, quickly, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Scott Brothers, the VP of Channels here at Sospes. I've spent over the last 10 years in building technology companies from the ground up. I actually started up working about age 14 for my father’s oil service company in northeast Oklahoma. I learned quickly. As many of you know in oil and gas, the value of engaging your workers in safety. In fact, I lost my father in a work-related accident that could have been prevented by decreasing road blocks for information from the field to that safety professional. I then took my years of experience in the tech field to focus on creating technology to save lives. My goal, along with yours, I’m sure, is to ensure every worker goes home in the same way they went to work: safe and healthy.
So, we’re going to jump in. When addressing transitions in environmental health and safety, we have to take a look at our ever-changing physical technologies, and these are so cool. And this is a short list. I recommend searching some of these technologies out there and see them and in use in the field, and you can see any of these on YouTube.
First there is the Resafe - Mark VIII Indestructible Glove, with the tagline of “hard as nails.” It lives up to its name. These safety gloves help workers avoid smashed or sawed off fingers, by being made of nitrile cotton and metal. If you get the chance, take a look at some of their demos online. They’re pretty impressive.
The second one is SawStop table saw. I saw this in action in Washington State Construction Safety Conference this last spring when they showed their hotdog demo. It was a crowd pleaser. In a nutshell, the table saw blade carries a small, electrical signal which is monitored by the internal safety system. When skin contacts the blade—or a hotdog, as was the case in Washington—the signal changes because the body is conductive. The change activates a stop and drop of the blade in less than 5 milliseconds.
Next here, we're going to see the re-usable anchors along with more comfortable harnesses, are changing how workers approach fall safety. It’s easier and cheaper for contractors to place anchor installations that could be used over and over again through the life cycle of a project. The improvements to safety harnesses that increase the level of comfort and ease of use is making it more desirable for workers to be compliant. These improvements include better adjustability, padding at stretch points, and tangle-free design.
The coolest to me is the exoskeletons, and they’re becoming more and more popular when it comes to construction and sometimes manufacturing. Now if you thought of Iron Man when you think of exoskeleton, you’re probably in that new generation of the environmental health and safety professional. If your mind shot back to Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, you might be part of that seasoned generation. Exoskeletons have made their way from military use to physical therapy, and now we’re seeing their benefits in the workplace. These suits allow a person to lift heavy power tools as if they weighed nothing at all, decreasing the chance of accidents or injury and eliminating or greatly reducing worker fatigue. They do this by using counterweights, and translate the weight through the suit and into the ground.
Now, on to transitions in digital technologies. And although some may claim that environmental health and safety has been slow to adopt new technology, the transition is speeding up as we see Generation X and Millennials entering leadership roles in the safety industry. Even older generations are getting excited about some of the new software products that are coming out that are reducing roadblocks, increasing incident and close call reports, and dropping their injury rates.
Mobile apps—many of you know that almost every worker now has a smartphone. Tech companies are building more and mobile-friendly programs that allow safety professionals to leave the office and go into the field. Environmental health and safety professionals may now roll out their safety programs onto every worker’s phone, giving them access to reporting tools, manuals, trainings, safety data sheets. Eliminating the pen and paper, companies are now able to obtain real-time information on their safety program, from site audits to emergencies in the field. By digitizing these traditionally manual processes, the EH&S professional is able to use real-time data to run analytics of their safety program and provide managers with reports that show strengths and areas that need improvement. We've come a long way from paper, and we've come a long way even from Excel.
That takes us to “What can we do with those analytics?” So, Predictive Analytics and Safety. Companies large and small have seen success employing Predictive Analytics to improve safety. Studies have found that companies can lower accident rates using Predictive Analytics. And a few examples here: Fortune 150 energy company reduced injury rate by 67% within 18 months by implementing these types of analytics. The Fortune 150 manufacturer reduced its lost workday rate by 97% within one year. And you can take a look at some of those other statistics there.
Gallup actually did a study here about employee engagement. As you can see, the return on investment with top tier of companies that know to engage their employees into their safety program, you can see here a 21% increase in productivity, 22% increase in profitability. So it really shows what companies can make.
Taking a look at education now. A lot of people that are in the industry know that educating today’s environmental health and safety professional isn’t done in the field anymore. A transition from the seasoned professionals that they may have started in the field or on the line. The smallest industry leaders are starting in the classroom. Over the past decades, specialized degrees in Environmental Health and Safety and Industrial Hygiene have started becoming more and more popular in mainstream universities. Typical programs include—and you can see some listed there—but typical programs include course work in Industrial Waste Management, Environmental Law and Compliance, Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Toxicology, just to name a few.
Some issues with this approach is entering the workplace with excellent book skills and academic knowledge but little actual experience in the field. And in order to address these issues, programs are requiring a successful completion of internship where they shadow experienced safety professionals.
Another trend that we’re actually seeing here in the academic field is the seasoned professional that started on the line is going back to school to expand upon their hands-on knowledge. Programs like Denver University’s graduate and undergraduate programs are seeing large numbers of current safety professionals entering their classrooms to complete advanced degrees to not only further their expertise but to further their career.
So we all realize that we have an aging workforce. Companies are learning how to take care of their workers as they age. There are many approaches, from preventive medicine programs to promote and maintain health and well-being to teaching the workers new job skills in order to change duties within that company. Environmental health and safety professionals have more resources than ever before available to help them navigate these challenges in their specific industry. And for more information, you are welcome to turn to the CDC or the OSHA websites. They provide excellent information. And part of that aging workforce is a large number of environmental health and safety professionals. In fact, 42% of professionals are over the age of 55. Seventy-six percent are over the age of 45. This has some benefits. One being that income should expand with waistlines. The median salary of the environmental and health safety professional is $79,000—far better than the US average of $41,000. The drawback may be hesitation to adopt to new technologies, and this is where the next generation of environmental health and safety pros will bridge that gap.
[intro music to video]
Whitney: Technology has opened doors for so many different industries, and, you know, there’s no reason it shouldn’t do the same thing for environmental health and safety. You know, it’s going to be a really, really big benefit once people get the hang of how the changes are going to come and, you know, how simply this—how much simpler it’s going to make your life. It really, really does.
Dennis: Collaboration, that’s the key. I love collaborating with people, and I think the Environmental Health and Safety department, whether you’re talking in any kind of industry, any kind of company, is the department that has the widest reach. There is not a corner of a company that doesn’t have some environmental health or safety aspect that could impact it.
Jennie: Nobody wants to have to, in addition to having an incident or a near-miss, have to come back again, fill out a bunch of paperwork. So, it’s just very cumbersome.
Bob: While it’s critically very important for you to engage at the floor level—because if you never take this seriously and engage in prevention methodologies, there’s not a very good chance you’re going home without injury. But I also appeal to them by saying you’re not in this alone because I’m going to work with every layer in the company. Because I call it “connected responsibility:” the guy or gal at the top, including us at the bottom, all have a role. The problem is, people don’t generally define those roles at the level above the operating floor. And because of that, management, in those layers, they literally don’t know what to do. So I tell the floor workers, “It’s not just you; I’m going to start working up here first, but I need you guys to hook up here and what we’re going to do is meet in the middle. And when we do, we will have an operating safe culture that results in lower in number and types of incidents.”
Whitney: One of the biggest challenges that any consulting company faces is being able to convey the importance of the stuff that you’re teaching to your employees and then being able to kind of create a bridge between employee needs and management desires. And, it’s kind of a big puzzle.
Dennis: And the world is a small place, and that’s something we as EHS professionals, especially those of us that have been around a while need to make sure we embrace that, and that we look for those opportunities to help drive that. I think that’s one of the big challenges is getting over our heritage culture and our heritage mindset of how we’ve been doing EHS for the past 20, 30 years and thinking about doing it differently. And that’s scary. I can tell you, absolutely, I believe that’s scary for most EHS professionals that are out there that have more than 10 years of experience. It’s unchartered territory for us. But that said, just look around. We’ve got to adjust. We’ve got to make sure that we’re keeping up with the changing times; otherwise, we’ll be left behind.
[return to presentation]
Scott: Basically, we spent the last year—and I kind of introduced it—talking about those changes in generations and how people got to where they are today. And we’ll kind of take a look at that. But what drove entry? You know, most seasoned professionals we interviewed had a similar story. They started on the line or in the field, and there was a workplace incident involving an injury or fatality, and they took a leadership role in preventing those types of incidents from re-occurring. The next generation of professional that we interviewed, they all seemed to have similar responses. Each talked about wanting to help people. A lot of these people started out as pre-med majors, biology majors, and many of them were introduced to the environmental health and safety professional route. Either way, all answered that they were in the field because of the impact that they can have over the workplace safety and how exciting it was to create a safer work environment that allowed every worker to go home in the same way that they arrived, which is safe.
So, it’s important that these two generations learn from each other. And it’s important that the older generations are in management roles, and can learn from Generation X and Millennials and turn to them for new technology and knowledge. In fact, moving on to digitizing systems: what younger professionals can learn is a great deal from their older counterparts, and what they lack in a firm understanding of workplace practices and procedures.
So, every site and every industry is different. What younger professionals need: they need mentorship while getting their street smarts, so to speak. Again, going back to those shared values: no matter whether they started out on the line, they started out in the field, or whether they started in the classroom in Bio 101, they all had a sense of ownership for the well-being of their employees, and we all have that goal of zero workplace injuries.
So with that, the changing technology, OSHA is changing as well. And with us today is Herb Gibson. He’s the Area Director for OSHA’s Denver office. He has held numerous positions. He’s been a Field Industrial Hygienist, Area Director for 38 years, and he’s a local Colorado State University Grad. Herb, thank you so much for being here.
Herb: I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this webinar. It’s really interesting, some of the topics you brought up today about the aging workforce. I’m one of those aging folks that’s over 55 and been in the field for a long time and always trying to recruit new and young safety and health professionals and encourage—and I’m involved in talking to younger people, educating them about going into the safety and health profession. And many universities throughout the country have programs for both Industrial Hygiene, Safety Engineering, and Safety.
Scott: Excellent. So, what are some of the changes that we are seeing? I know there’s been changes in the last 2 years but what is coming up?
Herb: This is the most recent modification to one of our regulations, and it’s improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. And what I am going to talk about is little bit of an overview of that, and there’s three paragraphs that have been modified. One deals with employee involvement that encourages employees and employers to educate employees about the message to report injuries and illnesses to ensure there is no barriers, and then also 1904.36 is prohibition against discrimination. I’ll go a little further into this in some later slides. But really creating – not to create barriers to employees, so you have accurate injury and illness data. And that’s really the heart and the most important part of a safety and health program is ensuring and having data to ensure that workers are reporting near-misses or injuries, instead of having a particular muscular or skeletal injury and then not reporting it and then getting worse where surgery may be required. So, the whole concept of this regulation is to improve the reporting of injuries and illnesses. And then the last is more technologically driven. It’s employers are required to keep OSHA 300A, which is the summary, and then the first report of occupational illness and injuries. Effective in 2017, those will be uploaded into some type of a database, so OSHA and others may be able to look at this data for nationwide trends in injuries and illnesses.
And I do think it's really important that employers and the folks are on the call today look at our regulatory text, the preamble on the website. There’s really a lot of good information about that.
Scott: Excellent. I know everyone is going to want to know the timeline, and you can kind of go over...
Herb: Yeah, the timeline—the standard came out in May and became effective in August. And, really, the first time, the first situation where we’re going to start having to upload. Employers will have to upload the summary for 2016 by July 1st 2017, and then the next year, 2018, you’ll be uploading your calendar year 2017 reports, but that’s going to include the summary, the OSHA 300, and the first reports for employers with establishments greater than 250. And then smaller employers, meaning 20-249, are only going to have to report the summary form, and that will also be due July 1st. And then 2019 and thereafter, you will be reporting the data every March 2nd. And we’re still working – I'm sure there will be some questions on how this is going to work—but the concept is that this information will be either uploaded, the forms will be uploaded to some type of database, or there will be forms on our website that you can fill out. But that’s still being developed, and obviously it’s not required until July 1st of 2017.
Scott: Okay. Excellent. Can you share a little bit more about employee rights and where this came from?
Herb: Yeah, I think one of the concerns of OSHA was that in certain situations, employees may be not reporting injuries and illnesses, so there is under-reporting of information. So, this particular standard requires employers to inform employees about the method to report injuries and illnesses and also that they’re not retaliated for reporting an injury or illness. So, if you have our most recent OSHA poster off our internet, I encourage you to do that. We did make some modifications to our OSHA poster. You can go to our website, download it, and post it in your workplace, and that would be an excellent method to provide information to your employees. I do think that that would be part of your overall package for your safety program is that when employees starts work, you will educate them about how to report injury or illness, and that there is not a barrier to do that. We encourage you to report injuries because we are concerned about your worker safety and health.
Scott: Okay, and, talking about encouraging people to report, let's talk about that employees’ procedure.
Herb: I think that one of the things that’s important is it has to be reasonable, and that’s really the word that is actually used in the regulatory text. It really shouldn't deter or discourage employees from reporting injuries and illnesses. It's on a case-by-case basis, but there shouldn't be methods or procedures or policies that are established which create a barrier for workers who are going to report injuries and illnesses.
Scott: And this kind of talk about you – you already said a little bit about employer not retaliating against employees. I don't know if we need to go further into that, but let's go on into electronic reporting and what this may mean for establishments.
Herb: Yeah, I think electronic reporting, like I mentioned earlier, is the things that are going to be required or the summary form. And everyone has obviously, every year, you have to sign summary forms and post it in the workplace. The actual Form300 and then the incident form. These are forms that are going to be uploaded, and we kind of talked about the time frames of when that’s going to be done, along with—also, there's been some concerns about this information not being public information, or private information being released to the public. So that would be—you’d remove the employee's name and address and the physician’s name and address to prevent privacy issues. So PII information will be removed.
There was one thing on the previous slide that the Employee Rights section for retaliation and the drug testing issues—that will not be enforced until November 1st , 2016. One of the reasons for that is similar to this webinar, OSHA is developing a variety of outreach materials to help employers comply with this and educate their employees. So that's one of the things that the regulation was going to be effective more recently, and now it’s November.
Scott: Excellent. This next slide here. Talk a little bit about what type of establishments, these requirements are going to…
Herb: The requirements are for establishments, and that's the key: establishments are not corporations. Establishment with 20-249 have to just do the summary form, and larger facilities have to do—meaning greater than 250—have to do all three of the forms which we already mentioned.
Scott: Okay and those forms that we’re mentioning here. Can you talk a little bit about each one and what’s required?
Herb: I'm sure that everyone is familiar with the log, OSHA form 300. This is the log of occupational illness and injuries. We really have a lot of great information on our website that will assist you in—we, at OSHA throughout the country, do a lot of webinars, we do outreach speeches, we have a lot of good information about how to fill out the document. And you can call your OSHA local office or you can go to our website, and there's a lot of good information about how to fill out the form, but that’s really the key. You want everybody filling up the form accurately and filling in all the different columns that are required under the regulation. Also our website has excellent interpretation letters and frequently asked questions about unusual situations that would require recording or unusual situations to assist you ensure that the data is accurate.
Herb: This is the summary form that has to be filled out every year. And if there's anyone from the Federal Government on the call or webinar, they also are covered, just like every establishment in the Federal Government has to fill out the same form as you as private sector employers. The same thing. I know when I have to fill it out, I have to fill it out and post it in our work site and sign it as the manager in my particular office.
Scott: Managing ourselves?
Herb: And then the 301 or equivalent is the first report of occupational illnesses and injuries, and that’s really more detailed information about what exactly occurred in the incident that occurred in the workplace in injury or illness.
Scott: Okay. And they can go on your site to figure out what needs—what constitutes a reportable and recordable?
Herb: Yes. There's a lot of flow charts and decision logic diagrams on our website that will assist employers to—how to report and what’s recordable and what’s considered first aid. And that’s really a tool—whoever is responsible for keeping your records, that person needs to be trained and also know the difference between first aid and recordable injuries under OSHA because we’re trying to keep all the data accurate, and that’s really the key. Accurate recording is really important
Scott: Excellent. I understand that. Going back to electronic reporting, you kind of list here some of those industries that this covers.
Herb: This is the industries that are covered. There is an appendix to the standard that talks about the specific codes, but this covers a majority of the industries in the United States. There are some exempt codes that may not be covered, but you can go to our website. And I think it is important that all employers should know their 6-digit NAICS code because that’s how—you can also go to BLF and look at that data, so you can compare your injury rate to other industries, so you can kind of determine where you stand. If you are significantly above the industry average, then that may require a little more attention for the safety and health professionals, or top management may be a lot more interested because they are higher than the industry average.
Scott: Excellent. You talk about injury and illness record keeping or reporting.
Herb: Yes. What this slide really covers, this is one of the first times that OSHA has done this. It talks about state plans, and I work for Federal OSHA, so half the states are Federal and half the states are state plan states, and some of you out there may be in state plan states such as, for instance, Wyoming and Utah. In this particular case, employers are required in those states to have the same regulation as the Federal Government, and they give them a certain amount of time to promulgate that regulation, but they do talk about that employers can use the federal upload system. Some states may choose to allow employers to use their state to use Federal OSHA data collection website to meet the new reporting requirements, or certain other states may use their own internal system that they have developed. So, that’s kind of an unusual situation that a federal standard has a specific details for state plan states.
Scott: And does this rule change any past record keeping rule for employers?
Herb: That's a great question, Scott. This particular rule really does not add or change any of the other obligations employers have. The real obligation is really transmitting these records that they’re already keeping. And, really, one of the main reasons is for transparency of safety and health data nationwide. It allows researchers, safety and health professionals to research particular industries and look at trends and look at how to improve safety and health programs nationwide and gives more information to everybody about what's happening in this country. There’s a lot of—this information is not always as transparent as it should be. And safety and health information really should be as transparent as possible. It also gives employees the opportunity to look at an employer's safety record, and they may make decisions on if they want to work for a particular company based on the injury data that has been posted or maybe just doctors.
Scott: Excellent. And then where can they find more information?
Herb: We have a lot of outreach materials. Once again, you definitely want to look at the actual wording of the regulation. Our Frequently Asked Questions is excellent. We have a fact sheet that gives your top management folks something that they can look at very quickly. We have press releases and also that cover industry to be sure that you are covered under the regulation.
Scott: I know I'm on your website constantly.
Herb: Yeah, that site really—I think for this particular rule, the improved tracking is an excellent website, but really just for record-keeping in general provides a lot of great information like I spoke about before to really assist employers to ensure that they keep accurate records for employers. This is just our Fact Sheet that I talked about previously.
Herb: And I really appreciate everyone listening and hopefully there will be some questions that folks may want to ask about the regulation. This is a new regulation so I may not have all the answers.
Scott: Absolutely. Let's see here. Someone asked if we can get a copy of the slides Herb is using. Is that all right with you?
Herb: Yeah, that's fine.
Scott: Yup. So absolutely we can do that. Here says, “The PHI will not be submitted to OSHA, but the 301 requires worker address and doctor name and address. Is OSHA changing the 301 Form or will there be two forms?”
Herb: That will be removed somehow and I'm not sure exactly how that information is going to be removed because you still have to put that information. If OSHA will do an inspection, that information will have to be on that form. It’s just during the upload that that information will be removed, and I don't know exactly that particular electronic technology that is going to be used to do that. And PII information in the Federal Government is obviously a very important issue with federal employees. I just got done taking my PII training, so we’re very sensitive to ensure that we don't inadvertently release information that we’re not supposed to.
Scott: Okay. Excellent. Yeah, no, I think that cyber security, everyone is wary of what information is going where. How does OSHA regard employee safety incentive programs? Are they permitted?
Herb: Incentive programs are also mentioned. Whenever you look at a new regulation, or any regulation, if you have time, you want to go to the preamble because the preamble really talks about the specific thought process and the comments that were made during the actual regulatory process. And the Preamble talks about incentive programs. Incentive programs are okay if they don't deter employees from reporting injuries. And I think that's on a case-by-case basis, but an example would be that if there's a large amount of money that’s going to be given to a group of workers at the completion of a project, and a particular employee is injured but feels as though if he reports that injury, the group will not get the money. That could be construed as a problem for the incentive program, that we may question that incentive program. But if the incentive program talks about reporting, quick reporting of injuries, or identifying hazards in the workplace, those would be incentive programs that we would support. You can get more detail on our website, along with also the preamble that talks about examples of incentive programs that probably would be a good idea, and others that could create a barrier to reporting of injuries or illnesses.
Scott: Excellent. Well, thank you very much. Those were our questions. There are several more questions about the slides. All of this will be provided to anyone that signed up for the webinar. Is there any other questions?
Jonathan, do you have any other question?
You're always welcome to contact OSHA, your local Area Director, and you're always welcome to contact us as well if you have any questions about what we do here at Sospes. I want to thank Herb for being here. It was very informative.
And I'd like to thank Jamie and Safeopedia for hosting this webinar. For any information, you’ve got our phone number there. You are always welcome to visit our site at sospesinc.com.
Herb: I really appreciate the opportunity to participate. And once again, I encourage all employers to go to our website and also contact your local area office. There's always a duty officer available to answer questions and interpret regulations and provide information that you may need to help you improve or continue your excellent safety and health program.
Scott: Excellent. Thank you so much, Herb. Everyone, have a good day!
Jamie: Alright. We’d like to thank everyone for attending today’s webinar. Just a reminder, we will be sending out the link to the recording and the presentation slides in just a few days. Thanks again. Take care and stay safe.