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This article was written By: Michael Farber, Senior Advisor to the Director of BSEE and I am posting it here as there is no means to "share" this great piece via social media. 

General Motors (GM) recently released the findings of its internal investigation into the various failures that led to 12 fatalities and many injuries resulting from collisions caused by faulty ignitions switches in a number of its models. The company found that the ignition switches failed to keep the cars powered in certain circumstances, but they initially did not understand that this failure would prevent airbags from deploying. The internal investigation determined that there were at least 54 frontal-impact collisions in which airbags did not deploy as a result of the faulty ignition switches. GM used the faulty switches for 11 years without issuing any type of recall.

GM’s experience provides a window into how companies of any size and sophistication can lapse into systemic problems that can result in tragic consequences. Lessons learned from the GM experience can be applied to offshore oil and gas operations, as well as any other industry where lives are at stake every day. These lessons include:

NFPA® recently released its latest edition of the NFPA Glossary of Terms (GOT). The GOT is a list of the defined terms in all of NFPA's published codes, standards, guides and recommended practices. The 14,575 terms are listed alphabetically and assembled into a free PDF. The document is used in a number of ways. It helps NFPA Technical Committees who are looking to define new terms or compare existing terms. It also helps members of the public who are interested in learning about how NFPA documents define specific terms. The Glossary of Terms Advisory Committee helps regulate the number of unnecessary duplicate definitions to try and make the GOT easier to use. Click Here for more info and to download the NFPA Glossary of Terms.

Smoke alarms by the numbers:

  • In 2007-2011, smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.

Source: NFPA's "Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires" report, (March 2014)

At the November 2014 meeting, the WorkSafeBC Board of Directors (BOD) approved the adoption of the 2012 new and revised American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values (ACGIH TLVs), as well as substances from previous years.  The BOD decided to adopt the ACGIH TLVs as B.C. Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for carbonyl sulfide, diacetyl, ethyl formate, and nonane. The BOD also decided to adopt the ACGIH TLVs revised in previous years for beryllium and compounds, vanadium pentoxide, alpha-methyl styrene, and Portland cement.  Effective February 1, 2015, these substances will be removed from the Table of OELs for Excluded Substances in Policy R5.48-1, and the ACGIH TLVs will be assigned as B.C. OELs as follows:  CLICK HERE

NIOSH, under 91, Sections 20 and 22 (Section 20-22, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1977) has the responsibility to conduct research relating to innovative methods, techniques, and approaches dealing with occupational safety and health problems.  This project seeks to understand the best practices for developing, implementing, and maintaining a robust risk management system (i.e. health and safety management system [HSMS]). Researchers suggest that an HSMS requires considerable knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies from all individuals within an organization as well as focused and purposeful coordination between them.  Previous research considered the sheer number of possible choices to be a barrier to HSMS adoption. Therefore, NIOSH began to understand what the most fundamentally important elements were that support the development, implementation and maintenance of a comprehensive, effective risk-based HSMS. NIOSH surveyed practicing health and safety executives, managers, and professionals from a variety of mining commodities to determine if they agreed on which HSMS elements and practices were most important. The results of this study suggested that the following areas require consistent focus and attention: Leadership Development; Accountability; Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Development; System Coordination; Culture Enhancement; Behavior Optimization; and Risk Management. To date, little empirical research has been conducted to address practical research questions related to each.  Therefore, the current research task is designed to investigate research questions related to the practical purpose, implementation, and evaluation of each element:

WARNING!  This presentation contains GRAPHIC images that may be upsetting to some.  Viewer discretion is advised.

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