MOS 5201 Safety Engineering Unit 4 Article Critique

Course Textbook APA Citation:

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Asfahl, C. R., Hammer, W., & Price, D. (2004/2001). Occupational & industrial safety health management and engineering(2nd Custom ed.). New York, NY: Prentice-Hall.

 

Chapter 8 comes from an OSHA publication on job hazard analysis.

 

 

MOS 5201 uses a custom textbook including only information used in this course, resulting in a more cost-effective textbook than typically available otherwise.

 

 

 

 

Unit IV Article Critique

 

The Article Critique for Unit IV is based on the following article:

 

Mundy, R. D. (2003, December). The Safety man cometh . Professional Safety, 48 (12), 43-46.

 

The link to this article has been disabled. The article however is listed below. After you have read the assigned article, prepare answers to the following questions. Your response is expected to be 2-3 pages (double spaced), following the APA rules for formatting, quoting, paraphrasing, citing, and listing of sources.

 

Questions:

1. The author describes his role as a “safety man” in the construction industry. Describe the safety conditions that existed before the company was sold to the new owner.

 

2. Mundy described the period of time after the company’s purchase by a new owner as a “new era”. Describe the safety initiatives introduced following the change in ownership.

 

3. Compare and contrast Mundy’s role to that of the “safety man” described in Chapter 2 (page 26) of the textbook. How are the positions similar? Dissimilar?

  To submit your completed Article Critique, follow the submission instructions in Unit IV. Do not e-mail your paper directly to your professor. By uploading into Blackboard, your university record will automatically be updated to indicate you have submitted your paper and it will be provided to your professor for grading.

 

 

Professional safety journal December 2003 (Volume 48, No. 12) Safety Home

December 2003 (Volume 48, No. 12)

The Safety Man Cometh

 

Improving the perception of safety in the roofing industry

 

By Randall D. Mundy

 

Abstract

Do roofers consider the “safety man” friend or foe? The author shares his experience as a safety manager in the roofing industry and his quest to improve one company’s safety performance. He explains how a philosophy that started at the top with a new owner and involved an ongoing series of proactive efforts has had a positive impact .

 

DO ROOFERS CONSIDER the “safety man” friend or foe? On most occasions,

when I arrive on a commercial roofing jobsite to conduct a safety inspection, I can

hear the whispers, “The safety man’s here.” On the surface, this has not changed

much in the two years since I became safety manager for a parent company that

owns three commercial roofing companies. I always wonder what quick changes

in procedures are being made for my benefit. Are workers hurrying to find PPE

(such as long-sleeve shirts and gloves if working with hot asphalt), moving

warning lines back to their proper location or tying off the ladder? Do I make

much of a difference?

 

As someone who worked nearly 30 years as a roofer, both as an employee and

employer, I have a good idea what is probably happening. In some situations, the

foreman may only be checking to make sure workers are complying with safety

procedures that he supports and requires; or, he may be advising them to conform

to the “troublemaker’s” (my) expectations for the 20 or 30 minutes that I’m on site.

 

As a result, it’s difficult to truly know whether safety is receiving its proper

position in the workplace. However, in my opinion, even if workers and site

managers do the right things for the wrong reasons, the worksite is still safer as a

result. Because of political and economic pressure and a more enlightened view of

the workplace by management, it seems that progress is unavoidable, even if the

workforce is divided in its faithfulness to the program.

 

While businesses are morally bound to provide as safe a workplace as possible,

implementing an effective program can be costly. Businesses are only successful

when they make more money than they spend; therefore, in order to be attractive,

safety must be shown to save money as well as lives. Many within the roofing

industry, like those in many other industries, have had to be dragged kicking and

screaming toward making the workplace safer.

 

The Impact of OSHA

In 1970, when Congress was developing the OSH Act, politicians considered

that 14,000 American workers were dying because of workplace hazards, 2.5

million workers were being disabled and 300,000 new cases of occupational

diseases were being reported every year ( Goetsch 53 ). “Clearly, a comprehensive,

uniform law was needed to help reduce the incidence of work-related injuries,

illnesses and deaths. The OSH Act of 1970 addressed this need” ( Goetsch 53 ).

 

According to Goetsch, OSHA’s primary mission and purpose is to 1) encourage

employers and employees to reduce hazards in the workplace; 2) implement new

safety and health programs; 3) research ways to improve workplace safety; 4)

establish training programs; 5) establish mandatory workplace standards; and 6)

monitor job-related illnesses and injuries through reporting and recordkeeping

( 54 ). The agency’s presence over the past 33 years has pushed safety to the

forefront of business concerns for many U.S. industries. Its efforts to prove the

economic value of providing safe workplaces, coupled with the threat of major

fines for noncompliance with OSHA standards, have convinced many employers

to comply.

 

In addition to its many compliance inspections each year (35,778 in 2001), the

agency also tries a softer approach that encompasses education and consultation.

In 2001, OSHA made more than 27,000 visits to small employers and provided

more than 260,000 workers and employers with safety and health training.

Activities on both fronts are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, as

President Bush proposed a $437 million budget for OSHA in 2003 ( OSHA 1 ).

 

Beyond compliance, some companies have realized that safe workplaces are

good for business—that safe working conditions cut the high cost of workplace

accidents and injuries. In a typical year, U.S. industry loses $48 billion as a result

of workplace accidents ( Goetsch 19 ). Related medical expenses reach $24 billion

yearly, and families lose $38 billion in wages ( Goetsch 20 ). National Safety

Council estimates that American workers lose 35 million workhours every year,

which does not include additional time missed for follow-up visits after returning

to work ( Goetsch 22 ).

 

 

Wisdom suggests that when faced with fierce business competition, progressive,

forward-looking companies would do well to embrace workplace safety. Goetsch

believes that companies which focus on safety can be more competitive because

they attract and keep the best employees. Safety also allows employees to focus on

their work without distractions related to unsafe conditions. These savings free up

money for reinvestment in technology and help to protect corporate image

( Goetsch 22 ). Such companies often hire staff safety specialists and create site specific

safety programs—often with more stringent requirements than OSHA’s

standards.

 

The Roofing Industry’s View of Safety

The roofing industry is a hazardous one in which to work. Because of its high

profile in the construction industry and the high potential for fall-related injuries

and deaths, OSHA notices. Although a roofer is most at risk of death or serious

injury due to falls, s/he faces many other hazards, including the potential for being

burned or cut; being struck by objects or equipment; and being electrocuted.

Although the industry has made strides in safety, some within the industry have

viewed OSHA as a thorn in its side. In a 1998 article published in Professional

Roofing, Good wrote:

 

If there is one agency that causes roofing contractors more anxiety

than any other (with the possible exception of the Internal Revenue

Service), it has to be OSHA. Yet, despite a turbulent 28-year

history, the OSH Act of 1970 only has been amended once, in 1990,

to raise the amount of fines that could be levied against employers.

Although Congress has attempted to change the act, it never put

forth bills that could make it through both congressional houses and

be signed by the president ( Good 1 ).

 

The National Roofing Contractors Assn. (NRCA) reported this regarding

OSHA’s Cooperative Compliance Program: “To the relief of various small business

organizations, including NRCA, OSHA’s attempt to institute another

safety program has been halted temporarily by a federal appeals court” ( Puniani

2 ). Clearly, some companies prefer their safety to be as painless and

uncomplicated as possible.

 

Firsthand Perspective

Almost six years ago, I started working as journeyman/foreman for a roofing

company that paid little attention to safety. Management did only what it

perceived as “absolutely necessary” to avoid OSHA fines. I had worked for the

same company in the 1970s; when I rejoined the firm in late 1990s, not much had

changed.

 

Although a relatively large business, the company was located in a smaller

midwestern city and conducted most of its work out of the sight of OSHA

inspectors. For more than 30 years, it had avoided OSHA inspections and audits.

The company had been lucky—not only because it had avoided fines, but also

because it had not experienced any fatal accidents or serious injuries, which

certainly would have drawn OSHA’s attention.

 

By the late 1990s, the company still had no formal safety plan. New employees

received no safety training. No fall protection was required on most jobs. The

company required no PPE, unless a general contractor for which it was working

required it. No employees were CPR or first-aid trained or certified. The

company’s injury recordkeeping consisted of keeping OSHA 200 logs and posting

them as required.

 

Such inattention to safety put employees and the company’s existence in great

peril. For years, the company suffered as a result of worker injuries and the

insurance woes that accompany high injury statistics. Injuries ranged from cuts

and bruises to burns, broken bones and sprains. According to OSHA injury logs,

between 1975 and 2000, the company experienced an average of 14.5 recordable

injuries per year. One year, the company experienced 27 injuries. In another year,

the company had only nine injuries, but three of them tallied a total of 275 lost

days for the year.

 

A New Era Begins

When a new owner bought the company in 2000, he recognized that safety

issues needed to be addressed. Not only did he want to eliminate injury risks, he

also needed to reduce the company’s insurance costs in order to be more

competitive. The company’s experience modification rate had consistently been

above 1.0 for many years.

 

To achieve these goals, the owner believed a full-time safety manager was

needed to oversee safety and health for this company and two other roofing

companies he planned to buy or launch. He wanted to hire someone who had

experience as a roofer—a person who, if not trained in safety, would be able and

willing to learn, would identify with roofers’ needs and know best how to

convince them that change was necessary.

 

I began the job early that year. Within a year, a general manager who shared this

respect for a strong safety plan was hired as well. My job was not easy. I first had

to be converted myself. While I recognized that the company could be much safer,

I carried some of the same prejudices as my fellow workers concerning perceived

hassles of safety precautions. To overcome this, I invested time and effort to learn

about OSHA and its standards, and to read current literature and arguments

supporting workplace safety.

 

Next, I had to convince workers that change was good—both for them and the

company. Not only would they be safer, but their jobs would be more secure as

well. Hefty fines and lawsuits could conceivably bankrupt the company, leaving

them to search for work.

 

Initially, making the jobsite safer was a priority. Pre-employment and random

drug testing was instituted. Several workers left as a result; some tried to test the

system and were penalized. After three years, the workforce has become much

more dependable and productive.

 

Fall protection was also an immediate focus. The company purchased warning lines,

guardrails and safety vests for monitors, and mandated that they be used as

required by OSHA CFR 1926.500 Subpart M, Fall Protection. Many roofers

scoffed at the new policies, but I tried to help them understand that this was the

direction the company was going. I also acknowledged that while some of the

procedures seemed silly, their adoption would keep the roofers safer—and

employed.

 

Safety training—for both the employees and myself—was next. The company purchased training videos covering fall protection, in particular, and proper roofing procedures, in general. Employees were also trained how to use forklifts and cranes, and foremen and leadmen were required to become CPR/first-aid certified. In some cases, such as forklift operation, I became certified to train and certify others. I also received 40-hour OSHA and 30-hour asbestos abatement certification. With assistance from the company, I am now pursuing a master’s degree in occupational safety and health.

 

The company’s recordkeeping was also improved. The firm now documents all

training, jobsite inspections, drug-test results and disciplinary action.

 

To gain worker buy-in to the safety procedures, and to emphasize the fact that

unsafe actions affect not only the worker, but the company as well, I often relate

stories gleaned from trade magazines. This hypothetical situation from a 1998

article in Professional Roofer is quite effective: A young new worker was killed in

a fall. There were no witnesses, but fall protection equipment was available on the

jobsite and visible from the ground. The company owner told OSHA investigators

that the victim had been trained to use protective gear, but recordkeeping did not

support this claim. OSHA fined the company $20,000 for fall-protectionrelated

violations ( Staska ).

 

An Added Incentive

All of these efforts were still not enough to change attitudes to the desired

degree. Although some workers could be coerced to follow the new safety plan by

threat of reprimands or termination, the owner wanted to motivate people through

positive means.

 

As Geller explains, “outcome expectancy” is an important part of motivation:

 

. . . people motivate themselves to do or not to do something by

anticipating what positive consequences will be gained and/or what

negative consequences will be avoided. So, a person might believe s/

he can do anything and believe it will have a certain effect, yet will

not take action unless s/he believes the outcome is worth the

effort. . . . The potential gain from following an inconvenient

process might seem too small to justify the amount of effort

required for implementation ( Geller 28 ).

 

Experience suggested that the typical safety drawing, scratchoff cards or safety

trinkets would not work. I believed that everyone who worked safely needed to

receive something of value: Money. The new owner agreed to give each employee

who remained injury-free for a three-month period and extra 25 cents per hour for

the quarter. This meant that each roofer who worked safely for a full year could

earn, on average, an extra $400—much better than a baseball cap, coffee cup or

scratchoff card with a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. The roofers embraced

the concept.

 

When developing the program, it was noted that serious injuries might go

unreported as a result of the incentive program. I have closely monitored reported

injuries and am convinced that this is not a problem. The company also strives to

keep injured employees working by providing light-duty tasks (when possible and

with doctor’s approval).

 

Positive Outcome

Since safety became a focus, progress has been made. In 2001, the company had

10 recordable injuries—50 percent fewer than the previous year. In 2002, the

number dropped to seven. Only four lost workday injuries have been recorded in

each of the last three years. The firm’s experience modification rate has also

dropped—to 1.0 in 2001, 0.95 in 2002 and 0.75 for 2003.

 

Earlier, I speculated what roofers might be doing and saying as they see me

approaching a jobsite. Some negative attitudes likely persist, but many positive

attitudes have developed as well. Some roofers have confided that the changes

have been good. Certainly, they like receiving the extra safety checks every three

months.

 

The company is slowly developing what Molenaar, et al, term a corporate safety

culture. “Although many construction companies have comprehensive safety

plans, a plan’s quality does not necessarily correlate to the company’s safety

performance. Written safety plans can be effective, but companies must go beyond

the letter of the plan and create a true ‘safety culture’” ( 18 ). This culture is based

on the beliefs, values and actions that are consistently shown and expressed by all

involved. Management sets the proper tone by showing that employee safety and

health is as important as profit; giving field employees a share of the process and

profits; and creating the safety manager position and investing in that person’s

qualifications and training to achieve corporate goals.

 

As that safety manager, I can attest that management’s sincerity fuels my own

commitment to administer the safety program to the best of my ability in order to

protect lives and the company’s financial investments. This enthusiasm is, in turn,

fueling workers’ commitment to safety. After three years, the company seems to

have turned the corner. As the company president says, “Little by little, we’re

winning.” As the “safety man,” I am perceived as the face of the company’s safety

program. More and more, I believe the workers realize that face wears a white hat.

 

 

References

 

Geller, E.S. “Sustaining Participation in a Safety Improvement Process: 10 Relevant Principles from Behavioral

Science.” Professional Safety. Sept. 2001: 24-29.

 

Good, C. “A Changing OSHA.” Professional Roofing. Sept. 1998. < http://www.professionalroof ing.net/past/

sept98/scorecard.html >.

 

Goetsch, D.L. Occupational Safety and Health. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.

 

Hammer, W. and D. Price. Occupational Safety Management and Engineering. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice Hall, 2001.

 

Molenaar, K., et al. “Corporate Culture.” Professional Safety. July 2003: 18-27.

OSHA. “OSHA Facts.” Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, 2003.

 

Puniani, A. “OSHA’s New Safety Program Put on Hold.” Professional Roofing. April 1998. < http://www.

professionalroofing.net/past/apr98/flashing.html >.

 

Staska, A. “Keeping Training Records Can Reduce Citations.” Professional Roofing. Aug. 1998. < http://www.

professionalroofing.net/past/aug98/risk.html >.

 

Randall D. Mundy is safety manager for a company that owns three different roofing companies which work throughout Kansas and Missouri. During his career, he has worked as a roofer in Kansas, Utah, California and Tennessee. Mundy holds an undergraduate degree in history from Washburn University and is pursuing an M.S. in

Occupational Safety and Health from Columbia Southern University.

 

http://www.electronicipc.com/journalez/mo/detail.cf…=836581&cftoken=B0DC0EC5-9175-49CC-80C64328F33CC663 (7 of 8)10/19/2006 3:58:34 PM

The Safety Man Cometh

 

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