Improvement is Wisdom

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September Near Misses

Improvement is Wisdom

Improving is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. The primary difference between the two words is that wisdom involves a healthy dose of perspective or context and the ability to make sound judgments about a subject, while knowledge is simply knowing. Anyone can become knowledgeable about a subject by reading, researching, and memorizing facts. It’s wisdom, however, that requires more understanding and the ability to determine which facts are relevant in certain situations. Wisdom takes knowledge and applies it with discernment based on experience, evaluation, and lessons learned.

How do we apply the knowledge or learning gathered from our Safety Team to result in wisdom and improvement? One method is through communication.  We can utilize our safety newsletter for near misses to systematically look for similar situations. In safety programs, this is also known as a conditions review (or a verbal data collection). The lesson is shared with different project groups with the instruction to review and discuss the lesson on their project, identify similar situations, and report back on those situations. This exercise helps work crews to digest the lesson and reporting back allows the organization to see how big a problem the issue is; from there we can then determine how best to address the issue in moving forward. For example, one of our Safety Teams found inadequate 911 reception on parts of their project location to be a problem. How extensive are 911 reception issues? Is the problem limited to just this project? Is it in certain regions? Is it only with certain cell phone coverage equipment? What needs to be done to correct this situation? At the least, maybe the project groups can begin considering emergency response requirements as part of planning future projects.

Yes, all these questions were resolved and in working with local emergency management, the project now has adequate emergency response coverage as they move toward a safe and productive project.

As CIS Safety continues to learn and improve, the results are beginning to show.  You can see these strides through the monthly newsletter, our Learning Management System (LMS), our website, etc.  Our communication through these systems has proven to be effective through the feedback from our employees.   

My point is if learning is hard, improving is 10 times harder. The amount of condition reviews, conference calls, etc. is a step toward turning learning into improvement. Good communication is the key to saving lives and having a safer project.

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Citations
Just when you thought all your safety programs were all up to date there is one more program to put in place: COVID-19. With the outbreak of COVID-19 comes the inherent health hazards associated with the virus. These health hazards are well publicized and are considered a “recognized hazard.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun issuing citations to employers who are not complying with COVID-19 safety requirements. Many of the citations were issued under the general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm. Other deficiencies OSHA has identified include a lack of cleaning measures, no employee training, no face coverings, not conducting health screenings, and failing to develop overall preparedness plans.

To help employers protect workers, OSHA provides guidance for various industries on how to protect personnel from the virus. The guidance details proactive measures employers can take to protect workers from the coronavirus, such as social distancing measures and the use of physical barriers, face shields and face coverings when employees are unable to physically distance at least six feet from each other. OSHA’s guidance also advises that employers should provide safety and health information through training, visual aids, and other means to communicate important safety warnings in a language their workers understand.

For the construction industry, OSHA provides specific guidance. This guidance applies to employers and workers, such as those engaged in carpentry, ironworking, plumbing, electrical, heating/ ventilation/air conditioning/ventilation, masonry and concrete work, utility construction work, and earthmoving activities. The information includes engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment. Other COVID-19 resources can be found on the CPWR website.

 All CIS employees need to remain alert of the changing outbreak conditions in your area and the availability of testing facilities, and then implement personal infection prevention measures accordingly. Assess the hazards to which you and your co-workers may be exposed, evaluate the risk of exposure, and select, implement, and ensure you and your co-workers use the proper controls to prevent exposure.

CIS Employees,
As we move forward with the COVID-19 outbreak and following the CDC contact tracking protocol to determine exposure risks, we are encouraging you as a CIS employee to consider how you are tracking the co-workers around you in the event that you would become ill with COVID-19. We recommend documenting the other employees and contractors that you would need to identify as working in the area you have been in contact with in your daily logbook or tally book.

 September Near Misses 

I had stopped to pick up cones to place by a cable that was across the road. When someone yelled, I turned around and saw that my vehicle contacted a vehicle in front of where I had parked. Damage was to the two front bumpers. Fortunately, no one was injured. Rules were set in place that non-essential vehicles were to park at the edge of the work area, well out of the construction area, and the relieving parking brake is to be applied.

Today we were stringing pipe with a sucker hoe and were down to the second to the last row of pipe on the truck. The operator picked up the 40’ piece of 12” .250 wall pipe and started tracking backwards.  The track hoe backed into a very low indentation on the ground and made the pipe sway just a touch, causing the Vacuworxs unit to lose suction without any warning. This machine is designed to give at least a 3 second or more, verbal warning before losing suction. The machine failed to do so, and the pipe took a fall from about 5’ above the bed of the semi. It did very little damage but could have been much worse.

When I approached an X-ray truck with the technician sitting in the truck, I realized that the source was exposed.  The technician was in the truck and the boundary monitor had left the area. The area was barricaded but they did not have their High Radiation Sign in place.  The job was stopped, and the crew was coached on the requirements of performing X-rays on the site.

A scrap metal vendor was attempting to pick up an unbalanced load and underestimated the soil softness.  While in motion of dragging the roll-off onto the truck, the entire load started to tip. This motion was caught by the spotters and the load was set back down to be shifted and balanced so that a safe load could be made.

I noticed that at the bottom of a steep hill section, multiple skid sets were knocked out or were compromised to the point that they could slide at any moment. I stopped work that was being conducted on the hill side and had the contractor fix and reset the skids before returning to work.

September Winners   

If you have been selected as newsletter Q&A winner, please click this link and select your prize(s) from your winning category.

 100 – Cory Santoro
50 – Jason Villines
25 – Emery Butler
25 – Jeromy Miller
25 – Shelly Lankford
25 – Troy Dicke


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