- Help So You Can Fulfill Your Mission of Feeding the World
- Lockout/Tagout in Poultry Processing
- Developing an OSHA Response Plan: Proactive Measures to Reduce Exposures and Surprises
Help So You Can Fulfill Your Mission of Feeding the World
By the time you receive this Gallagher newsletter, it will be fall and we will be in the last quarter of 2021. This year has presented many challenges; some pandemic related and some not. We have dealt with wildfires, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, cyber-attacks, social unrest, geopolitical uncertainty and an insurance market that continues to demand rate, more restrictive terms and challenged capacity. All is not doom and gloom though.
We are using our subject matter experts to help clients. One example is our recent food and agriculture business income webinar. The session helped people understand the components of a business income exposure and how to choose the appropriate limit. If you missed the webinar, here is link for your viewing.
Gallagher is helping clients choose the correct deductibles based on their past loss experience, appetite for risk and their current financial position. We are using data to benchmark your rates against others in similar businesses and with similar revenue. We are also benchmarking appropriate limits of coverage. Our Food and Agriculture risk control specialists are working to help you prevent injury to your employees and damage to your facilities. When you do have a claim, our claim advocates are there to assist you in getting all of the coverage out of the policy that is available to you. This year, we will place in excess of $700,000,000 of premium on your behalf. Our strong market relations are benefitting you.
As you fulfill the mission of feeding the world, we will continue to partner with you to do it with an eye for providing strategic options that provide maximum impact on your total cost of risk.
Lockout/Tagout in Poultry Processing
In the Poultry Industry, employees are likely to be exposed to the accidental start-up of many different types of equipment during servicing/maintenance activities. Injuries that may occur from accidental start-up of equipment include but are not limited to minor cuts and lacerations, serious fractures, puncture wounds, amputations and even fatalities. An effective Energy Control Program, also known as a Lockout/Tagout program must be developed, implemented and monitored to ensure the safety of the employees.
Various equipment used in Poultry Processing and Further Processing routinely requires servicing/maintenance activities. Hazards related to this equipment includes ingoing nip points, chain & sprocket drives, belt drives, rotating blades, bandsaw blades, rotating equipment, thermal, hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical. During servicing/maintenance activities guards that would normally protect employees have to be removed. Without these guards, accidental start-up of the equipment may cause serious injuries.
A routine and frequent servicing activity for equipment in the Poultry Industry is thorough cleaning due to all the USDA sanitation requirements. To adequately clean equipment, guards must be removed and employees are then exposed to hazards from accidental start-up. Additional servicing/maintenance activities include:
- Setting up
- Making adjustments
- Tool/Blade changes
To protect the employees during these activities we must develop, implement and monitor the Energy Control Program (Lockout/Tagout). The Energy Control Program consists of the following elements:
- A Written Energy Control Program
- Machine Specific Procedures (similar to a Job Safety Analysis)
- Identified Alternate Procedures
- Hardware and Energy Isolating Devices
- Training (documentation for Authorized & Affected employees)
- Inspections (periodic, at least annual - certified)
- Accountability & Progressive Disciplinary Action
At a minimum the Written Energy Control Program and the Machine Specific Procedures will include the Big 6 Lockout/Tagout steps which include the following:
- Prepare for shutdown-notify affected employees and clear the work area
- Shut down the equipment - at the normal on/off location
- Isolate the energy - Identify all energy sources - electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical, pressurized liquid/gases and thermal
- Apply devices (padlocks & tags) and hardware to breaker boxes, disconnects, valves, fuse boxes
- Control residual energy - bleed lines, check equipment for continued movement
- Verification - go back and check the equipment at the normal on/off switch to make sure the right equipment has been locked out
Some additional key areas to remember for this process include having only one key for each lock so it is under the control of the authorized employee. If multiple employees are conducting any of the servicing/maintenance activities each exposed employee must apply his/her lock. This ensures the elimination of hazards due to accidental start-up for each exposed employee.
Another major concern with this process is when contractors are hired to do specific jobs onsite. The host employer should always check during the bidding process to make sure that the contractor has complied with all the requirements of the OSHA standard for Lockout/Tagout. When the contractor begins work the host employer should monitor their work to ensure compliance and to protect their employees. Communication between contractor employees and host employees is vital to prevent confusion, responsibility, and all safety practices.
Lockout/Tagout is not a difficult process to implement and enforce. Authorized employees should be held accountable for following the process. One way to accomplish this is through annual training and having them sign a Lockout/Tagout Written Agreement. The periodic, at least annual inspection of the process should identify non-compliance and if any disciplinary action may be necessary to prevent reoccurrence. If new equipment is added, a hazard assessment should be conducted to identify all areas of concern. A machine specific procedure should be developed and all Authorized employees should be trained.
Many horrible life changing injuries and fatalities have occurred because normal guards were removed for servicing/maintenance and the equipment unexpectedly started up. With an effective Energy Control Program (Lockout/Tagout) implemented and monitored these things should never happen. This process is not expensive or time consuming so there really should not be any excuses for implementation. Controlling energy from equipment may save a life so communicate this to all employees who may be exposed and make them understand that it is for their personal safety.
Developing an OSHA Response Plan: Proactive Measures to Reduce Exposures and Surprises
Unplanned visits from any regulatory agency can be stressful and quickly change your priorities for the day or longer. Visits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can be particularly challenging. In some cases, a visit from OSHA may be to investigate a serious workplace injury or death, which can compound an already difficult situation. Other types of inspections, such as complaint-based or focused inspections, while less serious, are still stressful and may have a significant impact on your operations. Having a plan in place and the appropriate individuals mobilized can significantly reduce the stress and impact of these investigations.
It is important to begin by recognizing that OSHA has an important role in protecting employees from work-related injuries and death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,333 fatal work injuries in 2019, the highest number since 2007. That equates to one worker killed on the job every 99 minutes. There were also 2.8 million work-related injuries and illnesses. In addition to injury investigations, OSHA also responds to employee complaints of unsafe working conditions and programmed inspections geared toward specific hazards related to certain industries. Programmed emphasis inspections can be national, regional or state based. Understanding why OSHA would pay you a visit helps us understand how we should prepare.
The first step to developing an OSHA response plan is to establish an OSHA response team. The role of the team is not just to respond to the requirements of the OSHA investigation but also to represent the best interests of your company and employees. The team should comprise upper management, safety directors, and human relations and front-line managers or supervisors. You should consider individuals with knowledge of your operations, policies, procedures and safety programs. It is also imperative that team members have good communication skills and a level head. The team roster and contact information should be readily available to company representatives such as managers, receptionists, security, human relations and safety managers. Establish roles for each team member. There should be a key spokesperson, a note taker, a photographer and someone to gather documents to make copies. Consider where the team will meet with the inspector; the room should be large enough to hold the team as well as one or two inspectors.
Once the team is established, follow these steps:
- Review operational exposures to determine which OSHA standards apply.
- Conduct a gap analysis of current safety programs as compared to the appropriate OSHA standards.
- Identify written programs and training requirements as spelled out in the standards.
- Update written programs and training as needed.
- Ensure that documentation of safety programs and training is in place and up to date.
- Ensure that required documentation of workplace injuries and illnesses, the OSHA 300 log, and 300A summary are complete within seven days. At least the last five years of records should be available.
- Ensure that all team members know how to access the aforementioned items and are familiar with them.
When OSHA arrives, the initial meeting is critical in determining how the next few hours or days will proceed. Establishing the purpose of the visit and the expectations of both your team and the OSHA inspectors is important in establishing an orderly process and minimizing exposures. Here are a few steps to keep in mind.
OSHA inspectors are required to identify themselves, and explain the nature and scope of their task. The inspectors will begin by introducing themselves and present their government-issued identification. In the event further contact is necessary, be sure to get their business cards to reach them by email or phone. Provide contact information for your designated spokesperson.
Gather your team:
All team members should be promptly notified and should make every attempt to meet as quickly as possible. Inspectors are required to provide adequate time for you to gather your team, but it is up to their discretion to determine how long they will wait. During this time, it is best to provide the inspector with a space to wait such as an unused office or conference room. If some key members are not able to be on-site, you will need to decide whether to wait or proceed without them. Keep in mind, it is the employer's right to prevent the inspector from entering or proceeding; however, this action will most likely result in a warrant being issued to allow entry.
Establishing the scope of the inspection:
Once the team has gathered, the inspector will begin the opening conference. At this point, they will address the reason for the visit, such as a programmed visit, employee complaint, referral, or reportable serious injury or fatality. Understanding the purpose of the visit will help determine the scope of the investigation. Ask questions and take notes on what the inspector is saying. This is your opportunity to define the scope of the investigation and reach an agreement as to what it will entail. If any change in scope occurs, address it separately from your agreement during the opening conference. As the meeting proceeds, the inspector will identify the needed documents. Designate an individual to gather the documents while the rest of the investigation continues. Make two sets of copies, one for the investigator and a separate set for your files. If the inspector requests your company's injury and illness prevention program (IIPP), ask what section they would like to review rather than handing over the entire safety manual. Often, they are only looking for specific programs, especially as part of an emphasis program or accident investigation.
Most investigations will include employee interviews. Inspectors will request a list of workers and often select potential witnesses to an event, coworkers of similar occupation as the injured employee and employees from the same department. Interviews are conducted in private, therefore you may need to arrange a designated location. If a translator is needed, OSHA will arrange for one. This will typically be done telephonically.
If the investigation is due to a serious injury or fatality, the inspector will want access to the accident scene in order to review the events and conditions that lead to the incident. It is important that the accident scene not be disturbed. However, there may be situations where preserving the scene is not possible. During this phase of the investigation, the inspector will gather photographic and/or video images, and often take measurements. A team member should also duplicate photos and video so you have your own set of images. If measurements are taken, the team member should duplicate those as well. During this process, the inspector will ask many questions as they seek to understand your operations, how an event occurred and so on. In most cases, the inspector will have limited if any knowledge of your operations. Be helpful in your explanations so the inspector can more fully understand your processes. On the other hand, too much information can be counterproductive. Respond in a concise manner and on topic. "Yes," "no" and "I don't know" are perfectly fine responses. Do not add additional comments. Be cautious about leading questions, and ensure that you understand the question before responding. While it is a good practice to have your team present during this phase, there should be one spokesperson.
Feel free to include your OSHA team in the management interviews. These interviews provide the inspector with a window into your company's safety culture. During this time, clearly communicate your company's commitment to the safety and welfare of your employees.
The closing and management conferences are often combined. Your note taker should attend to make a record of the information discussed in this meeting. The inspector will provide an overview of their findings and provide a sense of potential citations. This is the time to ask questions and clarify inaccurate information. In some cases, the closing conference may not occur at the time of the investigation. These delays may occur if an employee is hospitalized or otherwise not available to be interviewed, or when other reports are needed from outside agencies, in the case of a fatality. Closing conferences often are scheduled in advance so you can gather your team as needed.
Once the investigation has concluded, your team should gather to debrief. Correct and document any deficiencies discovered during the investigation as soon as possible. In the event of a citation, the date of correction will indicate that the condition was promptly abated.
OSHA investigations are often stressful and disruptive, but they can also shed light on areas where you can improve the safety and efficiency of our operations. Taking the time to prepare an OSHA response team can lessen the stress and disruption of an OSHA investigation, and it can also help create a safer and more productive work environment. Safer workplaces also provide fewer opportunities for unexpected visitors.
We can help:
If you would like assistance in reviewing your safety programs or developing an OSHA team, please contact your Gallagher National Risk Control representative; they will be happy to assist.
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf#:~:text=The%205%2C333%20fatal%20occupational%20i njuries%20in%202019%20represents,largest%20number%20ever%20recorded%20for%20this%20age%2 0group.
Business Income: A Coverage That Could Save Your Company On-Demand Webinar
Join Gallagher's Food & Agriculture Practice as we discuss the importance of Business Income (BI) coverage and exposure reporting and help you learn how to avoid being underinsured.
Protecting Your Property from Wildfire Risk
What can your business do to maximize its opportunities for wildfire coverage? This white paper covers need-to-know information about the current state of the wildfire insurance market and key opportunities for businesses to mitigate and insure risk.
Need Training? We can help.
Gallagher's CORE360™ Loss Control Portal, our web-based learning management system, provides human resources and safety-related training topics in English and Spanish.
Gallagher's CORE360® is our unique, comprehensive approach of evaluating your risk management program that leverages our analytical tools and diverse resources for customized, maximum impact on six cost drivers of your total cost of risk.