Safety + Beer = Success

 

The Ferri Group recently put our money where our mouth is by joining the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. We are the first Allied Trade Member specializing in safety, and look forward to adding to the Guild’s established Safety Committee and assisting members with continued forward momentum on building their safety programs.

The brewery safety scene reminds us of the construction industry 10+ years ago. There is a slight difference, of course, in that beer is allowed in the brewery workplace! The enthusiasm for safety in the brewery industry is refreshing, like a pilsner in the summer. Most breweries have similar safety concerns, and the Guild and other brewing associations are working hard to provide resources geared towards brewery safety. We look forward to supporting these efforts.

We are excited to be working with such a dynamic and fun industry. Cheers!!

Subpart AA – 10 Good Faith Effort Tips for OSHA’s Temp Enforcement Period

If you are affected by confined spaces in construction, your procrastination was rewarded this month. The rule, Subpart AA, went into effect on August 3, 2015. However, OSHA granted a Temporary Enforcement Period from that day until October 2, 2015. This means that citations are on hold as long as an employer can demonstrate Good Faith Effort (GFE) to meeting the standard. GFE was defined by OSHA and includes scheduling training and purchasing equipment.

 

I encourage you to use this time wisely! You have been given a chance to ensure your company is ready for enforcement and meets the new standard. Here’s my Top 10 List of things I’d be doing if I were in your shoes:

1. If your company has anything to do with confined spaces in a construction setting, download the full text of the standard and read it. It’s only 27 pages and is very informative.

2. Ensure your company has a Competent Person or Persons designated to manage confined space work.

3. Coordinate with the Competent Person(s) to identify the confined spaces at your site per 1926.1203(a).

4. If you are a Host Employer, identify the confined spaces that construction work has previously been done or is on the horizon. If there are projects coming up during, or immediately after the Temporary Enforcement Period, develop a communication plan that meets 1926.1203(h)(1).

5. If you are a Controlling Contractor, develop a communication plan that meets 1926.1203(h)(2).

6. Evaluate your company’s current Confined Space Program, refer to my previous post about the 5 Key Differences between the General Industry standard and the new Construction standard for a checklist.

7. Train employees on the new standard! One of the specific GFEs spelled out by OSHA is scheduling of such training. If you don’t have it scheduled, DO THAT FIRST. Next, visit www.conconspace.com for an editable training presentation and tailgate/toolbox suite perfect for Host Employers, Controlling Contractors, and Entry Employers. Include information from steps 3-6 in this training.

8. Evaluate your current confined space equipment related to air monitoring and rescue. A four-gas monitor and a fleet of tripods may not be sufficient! The new standard addresses rescue equipment for non-entry and entry rescue. Based on your findings in step 3, evaluate which types of rescue are appropriate for the confined spaces at your site.

9. If you are a contractor performing work at water or wastewater facilities or other confined spaces that are connected to a larger system, pay special attention to 1926.1204(e)(1).

10. Dive in to specific aspects of construction confined space that apply to your industry. For example, water and wastewater contractors often use pipe plugs. OSHA mentioned these in the preamble to the new standard, and this is going to be useful information for those using this type of equipment. Go here and do a text search for “pipe plug” by using Command+F. This will take you directly to the 16 mentions of “pipe plug” in the preamble.

For more templates and resources, visit www.conconspace.com or contact me directly!

Don’t Pass Around the Safety Fruitcake!

We’ve all been guilty of this. Years ago when chain emails were en vogue, you probably passed along an email with a shocking picture of an injury or incident without verifying it’s credibility. Now, such misinformation can be spread even quicker through a LinkedIn or Facebook “like” or a retweet on Twitter.

As I’ve posted information and presented webinars on OSHA’s Construction Confined Space Standard, the safety fruitcake has come to mind. A few fellow safety professionals reached out to me to verify that the information I was posting was indeed correct due to conflicts with the initially proposed standard. As safety professionals, we have a duty to our workers to make sure we are providing them with credible and relevant information. Because information, even misinformation, lives on in the internet, it is important to vet any materials you plan to provide workers in a training environment prior to presenting the class!

In the case of construction confined space, there was a proposed standard that had language in it about four confined space classifications. These four classifications did not make it into the final standard. Make sure to refer to the final Subpart AA rule when preparing training for workers or reviewing your company’s written program. The standard can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/1926_subpart_aa.pdf

Subpart AA is “only” 27 pages. I strongly suggest that you click the provided link and read it!

Though OSHA has granted a Temporary Enforcement Period for the new standard from August 3, 2015 to October 2, 2015, make sure to use this time to actually review your company’s written program and provide training for employees. More information about what constitutes “good faith effort” during this temporary time can be found at OSHA’s website https://www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/tempenforcementpolicy_0715.html

If you still need some assistance, I created a website specifically for construction confined space resources, www.conconspace.com. There you will find tailgate meetings, a training presentation, and a written program template. The training and program template are downloadable so you may customize them for your specific needs.

Don’t pass the fruitcake around! Give your workers real, substantial, and practical information.

Five Keys to Construction Confined Space Safety

The Construction Confined Space rule becomes effective next week, August 3rd to be precise. Are you ready? If not, don’t worry about that, scroll to the bottom because I’ve got you covered.

 

There are 5 key points that separate the Construction Confined Space standard from the General Industry standard you’ve been following for years, hopefully.

1. The rule specifies detailed requirements for coordination and communication between multiple employers at the worksite. OSHA realized that construction sites truly are different than general industry sites. They are often a tangled web that can only be sorted by closely reading the contract and specifications.

For the purposes of the new OSHA regulation, the employer categories are host employer, controlling contractor, and entry employer. The controlling contractor can be considered the middle man, the entity responsible for both gathering info and sharing info with the other parties.

I’m sure this information sharing occurred at some sites prior to this regulation, and I am happy to see it standardized!

2. A Competent Person is required to evaluate confined spaces. Each employer with employees entering a permit space to perform evaluation or work must designate a Competent Person.

3. Continuous atmospheric monitoring is required whenever possible. In short, you must continuously monitor the confined space unless you can prove the technology does not exist yet to do so.

4. Engulfment hazards must be continuously monitored. This is the part of the standard that will have the single greatest impact on contractors. Especially those contractors conducting wastewater and water treatment work. You simply can NOT isolate all hazards in most of those settings. To comply with this part of the standard will require some thinking caps…the enforcement is going to be interesting!

5. You can suspend a permit instead of canceling it. This is a practical approach to the permitting system, which was often construed as confusing and extra work. I applaud OSHA overall for coming up with a practical standard, that is exactly what the industry needed.

For downloadable templates and training that you can customize to your company’s needs, visit www.conconspace.com 

Safety, Soccer and the Marginalization of Minority and Migrant Workers

 

This post has been revisited lately due to the news of 13 migrant workers dying in a fire at a labor camp in Qatar. The labor camp is in place for a hotel project in support of the 2022 World Cup. At least 10 other workers were injured in the fire. Since I wrote this post a year ago, really nothing in Qatar has changed, except that the worker death toll continues to rise. The following post is as it appeared in June 2015. 

Marginalization is the act of relegating or confining a group of people into a lower or outer limit. Marginalization occurs in society in many different forms, but today I’m going to relate it to safety.

As the enormous construction projects have rolled on in Qatar in preparation for the 2022 World Cup of soccer, a story has been kept under the international radar, known only by safety professionals, journalists, and the workers who live in the conditions each day. Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar were dying at a rate of one person every two days in 2014 according to an investigation by Guardian last year. This figure did not include deaths of Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi workers, and it is feared that if all were included, the toll would be more than one each day. FIFA and Qatar authorities have cited the fact that many of the deaths were heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest that did not occur specifically on the jobsite, and only 34 deaths in 2014 were recorded as workplace accidents. Heat stroke is a common root cause in these deaths due to extremely high temperatures in Qatar.

The Guardian report noted that there were over 400,000 Nepalese workers in Qatar among 1.4 million migrant workers employed on various construction projects. With numbers like this, it is difficult to know which deaths are related to the World Cup. One could assume that of course stadium construction is directly related, and construction of a new hotel or other hospitality buildings are indirectly related.

When I first heard of the staggering death toll almost two years ago, I thought FIFA should be playing a larger role. It appears now with the larger FIFA scandal and news that their president is stepping down, that the corruption and related marginalization of workers in Qatar is part of a larger problem within the organization.

In comparison to other large sporting events that have spurred construction projects in the host countries, only the Sochi Olympics of 2014 even comes close to the huge toll of the Qatar World Cup with 60 deaths. Next is the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in which 10 workers died at related worksites. The 2008 Olympics in Beijing saw 6 deaths in the construction leading up to the games and London and Vancouver Olympics in 2012 and 2010 respectively each had one worker death.

It is clear that something needs to be done and the owner of the project, FIFA, must take a leadership role. The Qatar World Cup of 2022, will remain tainted due to the recent scandal and these worker deaths. If the current trends continue, there could be over 4,000 worker deaths by the time the World Cup is held in 2022! This is simply unacceptable. The kafala system that governs migrant workers in Qatar leaves workers open to horrible conditions, exploitations, and abuse with no recourse against their employer.

 

Qatar has been called a “country without a conscience,” which may explain, but not justify, the working conditions the migrant workers are exposed to. This marginalization of the migrant workers is on a massive scale and will take years to undo.

In the United States, I’ve seen marginalization of workers on a smaller scale. Often workers in the agricultural industry are treated as disposable resources where only death tolls spur a change in regulations to ensure healthier and safer conditions for the workers. In some trades, certain minority groups are the majority. Think about Southern California and other border areas where the laborers are mostly Spanish speaking. If your company works in those areas, you must have a plan in place to ensure ALL workers understand safety directions that will help them prevent injury and death. You cannot turn away and say “learn English.” Many of your workers who speak a language other than English may be interested in learning English, and as a company, you should foster that in any way you can as it promotes an overall culture of worker safety.

As a safety professional, I have prided myself on going where others will not go and standing side by side with the workers who I am responsible for protecting. Think about the areas of your fabrication shop that no one from management goes, the work on the construction site that is 20+ feet underground or 20+ feet in the air, the work that no one at your retail store wants to do – this is where you will find those marginalized populations and it is your duty to protect them. You must dig into all areas of your company’s operations to ensure complete worker safety. This is how you gain credibility, respect, and ultimately the results you are seeking.

Life Cycle of a Safety Career

I will “do” safety until I can no longer walk around a jobsite. Heck, even if I can’t walk around, I’ll probably still be at my desk doing phone surveys for insurance clients! The life cycle of a safety career can be long if you’d like. I don’t care how you entered the profession, you can make it last by doing some important things.

My vision for you as a safety professional is that after years of hard work in the corporate world, you are able to enjoy a flexible lifestyle by transitioning to a consulting or independent contractor role. You know, write your own ticket and set your own hours!

Even if your transition from corporate life is many years in the future, start planning NOW. And on the flipside, if you’re approaching retirement, it is not too late for you to take my advice so you can put your best safety self forward.

 

1. OFFICE SKILLS – These are the skills that pay the bills. Literally, as a consultant, you will need to write proposals and invoices at minimum to survive.

If you started working in safety “by accident,” or came up from the trenches, your computer skills may be lacking. You’re the hunt & peck person who is jealous of how a millennial can type fast on a tablet and even quicker on a laptop. Your practical safety skills are invaluable, there is no doubt. However, you need to make yourself into the total package to stretch the life of your safety career.

– Take a keyboarding class: Try http://www.freetypinggame.net while you watch TV at night or find a cheap CD-Rom program to use for practice.

– Learn the basics of the major Microsoft Office Programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Safety programs are written in Word; safety stats are kept in Excel; and safety training can be developed using PowerPoint. These have been constants for over ten years, and will provide a good foundation for whatever technology comes next.

– Learn to navigate your smartphone: You will be using your phone for site photos, communicating with field personnel, and maybe even using an inspection or auditing application.

– Extra Credit ideas:

Learn to manipulate and re-size photos taken on your digital camera or smartphone to insert them easily into reports. This is especially useful for risk control report writing.

Sit with your favorite millennial for a few hours and develop social media profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and any other sites that interest you. If you are searching for jobs, LinkedIn networking has become a standard in all industries. I will expand on this topic in a later post.

Get digital! Most documentation is kept electronically using PDFs. Make sure your resume and other career files are in the updated Word and PDF formats. When you submit your resume for a position, the body of your email is the cover letter, attach your resume as a PDF, and send!

Organize your computer files so that you can easily locate information that you need. Consider using a cloud-based service to backup files, I personally use Google Drive and it is great! This is another topic I will expand on in a later post.

Claim your website name. I have started multiple websites using WordPress, so I am a big fan. They have great templates and you can easily buy your domain name for about $20/year. You can post blogs about topics that interest you, advertise your services, and even sell products using your website.

2. THE BASICS

Think about the desired training, certifications, designations, and associations in your industry. Do you check all of the boxes? If you’re a 10+ year veteran of safety, you should have your OSHA Outreach Trainer certification for either Construction or General Industry at a minimum. This is something you can always promote – you’re an OSHA Trainer available for hire! Another commonly desired safety certification is CPR and First Aid. Bonus points if you’re a trainer, this is another skill you can promote!

Do you have letters after your name? I got my CSP as soon as I was eligible. I know it is not for everyone. Consider your background and skill set and identify the right certification for you. BCSP is a great organization to start with, go for the STS, OHST or CHST. If you’re in the insurance industry, or would like to be, go for the CRIS through IRMI or consider the ARM. This is a very small list of certifications, and there are many more out there. The ones I have listed are industry standards that most employers and potential clients are familiar with.

3. PROOF OF SUCCESS

A resume lists where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to. It gives very basic information. Look at your resume and type up a new Word document that lists your successes and achievements throughout your career. This will make the information more accessible in your memory when you are asked to describe these situations in interviews and client meetings. In the past, I have listed at least one achievement or highlight for each previous work experience on my resume. If you can quantify your achievement, that is even better, especially if you can quantify it in dollars or metrics. Some examples from my resume include:

– Improved the EMR by 7 points from 2003 to 2006 (0.85 to 0.78)

– Drastically improved the OSHA Recordable Incident Rate from 2003-2006 (3.36 to 0.67)

– Trained 20 crane operators for operator certification by 2003 Cal/OSHA deadline.

– Implemented onsite pre-employment drug testing, which saved the company thousands of dollars in one year.

**GUESS WHAT? All of the examples above are from ONE COMPANY – this is your opportunity to toot your own horn.

Hopefully these three tips give you something to think about and build upon. Side note, if you’re already retired, contact me! There are companies right now looking for 100% retired persons to provide risk control services from home. I told you it wasn’t too late!

Minnesota will be BIG in Texas!

 

Thanks to the Northwest ASSE Chapter for plugging my upcoming presentation at Safety 2015 in Dallas. I am really excited for the opportunity to speak at the big dance. I consider ASSE the top organization for safety professionals, so speaking at their largest event of the year is pretty much the Super Bowl of safety!

For those of you heading to Texas in June, here’s a list of my fellow Northwest Chapter members who will be speaking at Safety 2015. I may be biased, but I know each session is going to be informative and dynamic.

See you in Texas!

NW Chapter has “Texas-Size” Presence at ASSE Safety 2015 in Dallas

 They say “everything is big in Texas” which includes the Chapter’s representation of Concurrent Session Guest Speakers at the upcoming national PDC in Dallas in June. The NW Chapter has over 10 Chapter members who will be presenting various safety and health topics at Safety 2015 breakout sessions. The following is a list of some of these concurrent sessions given by Chapter members:

Session 509  
Hearing Conservation Programs in Construction- New Perspectives
Presented by: Donald Garvey

Session 541
Occupational Injury in Schools
Presented by: Katie Schofield & Luke Sammon

Session 663
What Industrial Contractors Need To Know About MSHA Before Work at a Mine Site
Presented by: Terry Keenan

Session 723
Step Up Your Game! Using Gamification Techniques to Enhance Training Delivery
Presented by: Abby Ferri

Session 752
Fundamentals of SH & E: Risk Management
Presented by: Diana Stegall

Session 765
Wellness: Beg and Bribe or use Design
Presented by: Jill Kelby

Session 766
Human Error: There is No Root Cause
Presented by: Rick Pollock

Session 767
Worker Fatigue- An “Eye-Opening” Safety and Health Epidemic
Presented by: Kurt VonRueden

Session 774
Zero Injury State- Does It Matter?
Presented by: Elbert Sorrell

Construction Confined Space – It’s Happening!

This afternoon, OSHA issued their final rule for the construction confined space standard. The rule has been discussed in safety circles for YEARS, and some wondered if it would ever develop into something. Well, it’s happening! Last October, I prepared a webinar with an update on the standard, which at the time was stagnant. That presentation is on SlideShare and can give you a good digested version of the highlights: http://www.slideshare.net/AbbyFerriCSP/construction-confined-space

 

There is no doubt that the standard is important and long overdue. OSHA estimates that the standard will prevent over 750 serious injuries every year. The rule will be published May 4, 2015 and will become effective August 3, 2015. For contractors who are in their busy season right now, this will represent a challenge to comply. OSHA stated in their press conference today that they are producing some compliance assistance materials and may conduct webinars.

This rule is especially near and dear to me as I got my start with a contractor that built wastewater and water treatment plants. If you’re looking for a dirty job, that was it. We worked closely with plant personnel to coordinate entries into piping systems that were part of much larger systems, including the drinking water supply to all of Southern California! I was part of some pretty amazing projects. It is contractors like that who will be hardest hit by the new standard. There are new acronyms and procedures to learn. In fact, there are now four types of confined space classification, not just the two we have become used to. The four new classifications are listed below in ascending order from “least” to most hazardous.

1. IHCS – Isolated Hazard Confined Space

This classification represents the lowest level hazard to employees. Compare this to the familiar non-permit required confined space (NPRCS). A space can be classified this way if all physical and atmospheric hazards are isolated.

2. CACS – Controlled Atmosphere Confined Space

A space can be classified this way if ventilation alone controls atmospheric hazards to safe levels. A space cannot be classified this way if a physical hazard is present that is not isolated. This classification was included as a protective yet cost-effective solution.

Documentation will be required for a CACS to note that physical hazards are isolated, ventilation alone is controlling atmospheric hazards, other identifying details of the space. The documentation should be posted at the entrance to the CACS.

3. PRCS – Permit Required Confined Space

A space is classified this way if ventilation alone will not reduce or maintain atmospheric hazards at a safe level. Hazards related to configuration and engulfment are other characteristics of a PRCS.

Access to a PRCS must be made physically difficult by means of barriers, high visibility physical restrictions at entrances and a retrieval system must be provided. Most of the familiar PRCS rules still apply.

4. CS-PRCS – Continuous System Permit Required Confined Space

A space classified this way is part of a larger confined space like a sewer system, that can’t be isolated from the larger space. This means there are IDLH conditions present due to potential release from the larger space that could overwhelm PPE or other controls. The CS-PRCS cannot be reclassified.

 

The CS-PRCS is obviously the mother of all confined space classifications. It represents a world that many have survived by good luck, not best practices. The regulation is going to force a thought process that many contractors do not currently go through. There is a possibility that OSHA will develop a Special Emphasis Program (SEP) to ensure contractors working in sewers and other larger confined space systems comply with the new standard. Only time will tell. But, you do not have much time as the standard’s effective date is 3 months away.

Safety Pro’s Media Guide for Maximum Coverage

The road construction season has already started and most of the USA is in summertime construction mode at high-rises, bridges, trenches, and residential projects. This is a perfect time of year for the unsung safety professional to get some well-deserved shoutouts. But, you’ll have to do it yourself! Of course, right? Here’s a list of upcoming events that you can use to make a safety splash to start the summer, following the list is your media guide for maximum coverage.

 

April 28, 2015: Worker’s Memorial Day

Mark this one in your calendar and set a recurring reminder, it is observed EACH YEAR on April 28. It is a day to remember those who have died on the job. It’s too late this year to book your state’s traveling worker’s memorial, so try for next year if that is something that interests you. If your company has experienced a fatality in the past, this is a time for remembrance. If you go this route, make sure to contact the family to ensure you have their approval for anything you do in their loved one’s name.

You can find some more ideas at the OSHA landing page for the day: https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/workersmemorialday.html

 

May 3-9, 2015: North American Occupational Health and Safety Week

Again, you may be too late to take part in some of the planned events for this week, like the kids’ coloring contest, but you can still do something. The NAOSH landing page has some great ideas and marketing material: http://www.naosh.org/english/

There are currently no events posted on the NAOSH Events page for the United States – you can easily submit your own through the site: http://www.naosh.org/english/events.html – even if it’s “just” a safety appreciation lunch, get credit for what you are doing. You are automatically entered to win some kind of mystery safety prize if you submit your own event – so get to it!

Don’t forget your fellow HS&E professionals on Occupational Safety & Health Professionals Day, it is always celebrated during the Wednesday of NAOSH week, this year is it May 6, 2015.

Here’s some more NAOSH info from ASSE: http://www.asse.org/newsroom/naosh/what-is-naosh-week/

 

May 4-15, 2015: OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

So, this one is for my construction friends. You would be remiss if you do not participate in the stand-down! Every jobsite has fall exposures, so make sure to follow OSHA’s directions for receiving a certificate of completion after you have your event. Again, it can be as simple as a tailgate meeting, safety lunch, or other focused time to discuss falls on your jobsite. If you do not directly work at a jobsite, encourage your clients to hold a stand-down, or offer to plan it for them and be the guest speaker.

GET CREDIT!

As you prepare for any of the above events, get local media involved.

– Tweet local media, scoop your favorite anchor: send a tweet to every twitter account associated with local news channels. If you see profiles called “assignment desk” or “news desk,” that’s gold – those folks are looking for news to cover. Tell them you are hosting an event at your site related to Workers Memorial Day, NAOSH Week, or the Safety Stand-Down – this lends credibility and a national angle to your event. Do not be surprised if you end up with a camera crew at your site!

– Ask for a proclamation from the Mayor or Governor to be read at your event. If you do get this, mention it to the news folks that you scooped in the previous step.

– Write a press release about the event and send it to local newspapers. Better yet, condense the press release and find the newspaper contacts’ email addresses or twitter handles – it seems that this process has replaced the press release as we knew it!

– Write an article or blog post about the planning for your event, the actual event, and lessons learned from the event – get maximum mileage! The article should be easily adapted to your local Patch.com site, your company newsletter, industry association newsletters, and your company’s website. If media covers your event, notify your IT people so they can link to the posts on the company website.

– Don’t forget to take pictures during the event. If you end up with media covering your event, still take pictures! You can use the pictures to promote future events, or just keep the photos for future newsletter articles, blog posts, and website content.

CASE STUDY

I contacted my local Fox News channel to ask if they were planning to cover Workers Memorial Day. They responded saying that they planned to send a camera to a few events and also shoot the illumination of a local bridge in honor of the day. I responded by informing them of NAOSH week and the OSHA Stand-Down, which they “favorited.” If I were actively working for a contractor at the moment, I would have offered my jobsite! Why not? Local media needs somewhere to go, why not your site? Invite them, it takes a minute and you can even do it from your smartphone.

The Jobsite of the Future with Wearable Tech

Safety as an industry is somewhat slow to adopt new technology. Years after the release of a popular smartphone app that streamlines jobsite inspection, it is almost a given that a site safety manager uses the app today. After my initial chuckles about the Apple Watch release, I started to think about wearable tech’s application for safety. Specifically, how could a wearable device, like the Apple Watch, impact worker safety?

 

To follow my thoughts in the rest of this post, you have to imagine with me, a world that we hand each new hire a hard hat, safety glasses, vest, and a device to wear on their wrist similar to a FitBit or Apple Watch. If the employee already has such a device, they would just need to download some new apps to start working at this futuristic jobsite.

1. Warnings

The device has a built-in accelerometer, similar to what most smartphones have in them now that enable you to use them as a pedometer or sleep tracker. This capability could be used in many ways that could prevent injury by warning a worker of an unsafe condition.

Fall Protection Trigger Height: The device vibrates and audibly alarms when the worker is approaching a six foot (or other pre-programmed) elevated area. The worker would then need to either indicate that they’ve donned the appropriate fall protection gear, are working within a guardrail system or other protected area. If they do not give that indication feedback to the device, they need to vacate the area.

Proximity Warning: The device again vibrates and audibly alarms when the worker is approaching traffic or large equipment, and conversely, if large equipment or other traffic is getting close to the worker.

A technology similar to this is in development for road construction crews in which a proximity sensing device is connected by bluetooth to equipment operators. The operators sometimes cannot hear or see everything from their noisy cab, the alarm piped into the headphones serves as a warning for them to make sure they can get a good look at everything around them before proceeding with their work.

Heat Stress: The device could measure the outside temperature and provide warnings when the temperature reaches pre-programmed levels like the Cal/OSHA regulation action levels or other set measurement. After the device senses the action level temperatures, it would remind the worker at intervals of one hour to hydrate with cool water or seek rest in the shade. The device could also be programmed for new hires to ensure the Cal/OSHA acclimatization regulation is met.

Noise: The device could have a basic sound level meter, similar to the current smartphone app, and alarm when noise in the worker’s area goes above a pre-set level based on OSHA standards. The employee would have to indicate to the device if they donned hearing protection or leave the area.

2. Reminders

Stretching: If your worksite has a stretching program, the device could remind workers of the pre-job stretching and remind them to take short micro-breaks throughout the day to perform selected stretches like wrist stretches and back bends.

For office workers, the device could remind a worker to get up every hour, or perform long-gaze exercises for long periods of time spent at the computer screen. From my reading, it appears this is a default feature of the Apple Watch!

Equipment Inspections: Similar to pre-job stretching, the device would alarm to remind equipment operators to perform daily inspections.

Until wearable technology catches up with industry and is durable enough for a jobsite or manufacturing setting, the reminders I’ve proposed above could be accomplished via text message or other internal messaging that your company has. The warnings I’ve proposed could become reality in the near future as wearable tech companies realize beneficial industry applications instead of more sleep tracking and exercise apps that we’ve all become nearly immune to.

Share your ideas in the comments, dream big!