The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) collects and compiles worker injury data, but its reporting system contains "disincentives that may discourage workers from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses to their employers and disincentives that may discourage employers from recording them," according to a recent report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). Examples include:
...workers may not report a work-related injury or illness because they fear job loss or other disciplinary action, or fear jeopardizing rewardsbased on having low injury and illness rates. In addition, employers may not record injuries or illnesses because they are afraid of increasing their workers’ compensation costs or jeopardizing their chances of winning contract bids for new work. Disincentives for reporting and recording injuries and illnesses can result in pressure on occupational health practitioners from employers or workers to provide insufficient medical treatment that avoids the need to record the injury or illness.
GAO estimates that a third of US employers face these pressures. Still other factors undermine the accuracy of employers' injury and illness data, said GAO, including "a lack of understanding of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements by individuals responsible for recording injuries and illnesses."
GAO recommends that OSHA:
(1) require inspectors to interview workers during records audits, and substitute other workers when those initially selected are unavailable;
(2) minimize the time between the date injuries and illnesses are recorded by employers and the date they are audited;
(3) update the list of high hazard industries used to select worksites for records audits; and
(4) increase education and training to help employers better understand the recordkeeping requirements.
GAO says OSHA has agreed with the changes.
Congratulations to the management and production teams at these facilities for their recent safety achievements:
- Cargill Salt - Watkins Glen, NY evap plant, 600,000 hours
- Cargill Deicing Technology - Avery Island, LA mine, 500,000 hours
- Compass Minerals - Duluth, MN processing facility, 200,000 hours & six years
Cargill Deicing Technology - Lansing, NY mine, 100,000 hours
Cargill Salt - Newark, CA processing facility, 100,000 hours
Compass Minerals - Chicago, IL processing facility, 100,000 hours & two years
Sifto Canada - Goderich, ON evap plant, 100,000 hours & one year
- Cargill Salt - Buffalo, IA terminal, six years
Cargill Salt - Cincinnati, OH terminal, four years
Cargill Salt - Hutchinson, KS evap plant, two years
- Cargill Deicing Technology - Cleveland, OH mine, one year
Detroit Salt Mine was awarded the Sentinel of Safety Award today by the National Mining Association (NMA) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The award is presented annually to those mines with the best safety records in the country.
Sentinel of Safety winners are those mines that have worked the most employee-hours without experiencing a lost-time injury. Detroit Salt Mine worked 97,132 injury-free hours in 2008. The competition reflects the continuing commitment by mining companies to a goal of zero injuries and fatalities and a steadily improving safety record.
Detroit Salt Mine president, Janette Ferrantino, was in Washington to accept the prestigious award, stating, “We are extremely proud of our team and their dedication to safety and continuous improvement. They are dedicated to creating a safe work environment every minute of every day.”
Mining is inherently difficult work. Due to extensive training, education and technological advances there has been a 61 percent reduction in the rate of mining injuries from 1990 to 2008, according to MSHA data. Detroit Salt Mine vice president, E.Z. Manos commented on the challenges of underground mining: “Underground mining is demanding work, but employee safety is our number one priority, so this award means a great deal to our company.”
American and Canadian salt industry workers logged more hours in 2008 and yet achieved the salt industry’s best-ever worker safety record, the Salt Institute reported today.
The 8.3% increase in industry work-hours resulted from the industry’s year-long all-out rock salt mining effort which produced a record amount of road salt in preparation for the recent, harsh winter,
Salt workers put in nearly 12 million work-hours in 2008 and recorded 99 injuries. Only 21 incidents resulted in time lost from the job. The incidence of recordable injuries fell from 1.97 per 100,000 work-hours to 1.65, a dramatic16.2% improvement and an all-time salt industry safety record.
Morton Salt achieved the best overall company safety record among large companies and Detroit Salt among smaller companies.
Of the 50 U.S. and Canadian salt plants, more than a third, 17, had unblemished safety records last year. <more >
The first nine months' safety statistics, just released, reflect the increased hours being recorded in U.S. salt mines and, despite the production push, an improvement in both the incidence and severity of worker injuries. Hours worked surged 8.53% while reportable incidence fell 14.88% and the severity rate by 53.99%.
Cargill had the best large-company safety record through September. Among smaller companies, Lyons Salt and Detroit Salt had unblemished records and no small company has had a single lost time injury for the entire year. In all, 23 facilities have perfect records in 2008. By category, they include:
Large processing: Morton Salt's Rittman, OH; Silver Springs, NY; and Manistee, MI evap plants and Cargill Salt's evap plants in St. Clair, MI and Hutchinson, KS.
Mining: Cargill Deicing Technology's Cayuga Mine in Lansing, NY; Lyons Salt in Lyons, KS and Detroit Salt in Detroit, MI.
Small processing: Cargill Salt's facilities in Watkins Glen, NY; Akron, OH; Port Newark, NJ; Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles; Freedom, OK and Tampa, FL; United Salt's Carlsbad, NM saltworks; Canadian Salt's Lindbergh, AB evap plant; Compass Minerals's Chicago operation and Compass/Sifto's Amherst, NS evap plant; and Morton Salt's Elston Dock facility in Chicago and its Glendale, AZ saltworks.
Morton Salt and Canadian Salt had perfect safety records in their terminals and warehouses as well.
Keep up the good work!
Congratulations. This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for the diligence of our workers and their wonderful record of safe-working achievement. Most recently, these achievements:
Canadian Salt, Pugwash, NS mine, 700,000 hours without a lost-time injury Cargill Salt, Newark, CA processing plant, 700,000 hours Cargill Salt, Lansing, NY mine, 700,000 hours Cargill Salt, Avery Island, LA mine, 400,000 hours Cargill Salt, Dubuque, IA terminal, 23 years Cargill Salt, Bonaire, N.A. solar, 3 years Cargill Salt, Cincinnati, OH terminal, 3 years Cargill Salt, Freedom, OK solar, 2 years Cargill Salt, Lansing, NY mine, 2 years Cargill Salt, Avery Island, LA mine, 1 year
As reported earlier with the January-June U.S. salt sales figures showing an 11.6% increase in sales, the industry's labor force put in a lot of overtime the first half of this year. Hours worked in North American salt facilities rose 9.83%. Pushing for extra output also strained the industry's safety record, with a 28.6% increase in lost-time injuries, according to the Salt Institute's report on industry safety.
The percentages hide the full story, however. While the production hours were nearly 6 million, the number of lost-time injuries was nine, up from seven in the same timeframe in 2007. Any number above zero is lamentable and justifies a strong, continuing safety effort, but the industry's remarkable safety improvements in recent years have reduced the denominator in the calculation so that a single incident is magnified greatly. Industry-wide, reportable incidents, which many safety experts consider a better indicator of safe working conditions, increased from 49 to 50, inching up only 2%, a fifth of the increase in work-hours.
All that should not diminish the continuing safety efforts by salt companies. Salt companies recorded an astounding 0.30 lost-time injury rate (up from 0.26 last year), but this is light-years better than the lost-time rate for all U.S. nonmetal mines which recorded a 4.27 rate. Before we reach euphoria for this record, 13 times better than the MSHA benchmark, we should reflect that the rate of reportable incidents is about the same. The adage declares that those who work hard enjoy good luck. That seems apropos.
With that long contextual introduction to the release of the first half safety statistics, congratulations are due to the company safety leaders. Among large companies, Cargill led the way with regard to both incidence and severity; Morton Salt tied with Cargill for the best incidence rate. Among smaller salt companies, not a single company recorded a single lost-time injury, a tremendous achievement.
Safe work, of course, is achieved at the level of each worker, but the work teams at each facility are a key element of encouraging adherence to approved safety procedures. The facilities with the best records for the January - June include, for incidence: Morton Salt, Rittman, OH evap plant for large processing plants; Cargill Deicing Technologies Cayuga mine in Lansing, NY among salt mines; Cargill Salt's Watkins Glen, NY evap plant for small processing facilities and Morton Salt for terminals and warehouses. With regard to severity rate, industry leading facilities include, again, Morton Salt's Rittman plant; Morton's Grand Saline, TX mine; Cargill's Watkins Glen plant, again, for small processors, and Cargill's terminals and warehouses.
As they would say in the NFL, this is a very competitive league with very little separating the top performers from their competitors. Unlike the NFL, everyone can be a winner in this league.
In matters of worker safety, everyone is a winner.
Results are in for the 2008 Metal/Nonmetal and International Mine Rescue Contest . Congratulations to from the Cleveland, OH mine for its salt industry-leading overall 6th place award. Joe Desko is the team leader.
The program is sponsored by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Ten teams from eight countries participated. Host Team U.S.A. finished fourth.
Salt mine rescue teams were well represented among the leaders in the several individual skills competitions.
In the multi-gas instrument benchman contest, of Cargill's Whiskey Island team took 2nd, on Cargill's second Cleveland team, Cuyahoga River, finished 4th and from Morton Salt's Grand Saline, TX "Team Texas" earned 6th place.
See our earlier post for salt inductees into the Mine Rescue Hall of Fame .
34 Mine Rescue teams faced off July 15-17 in Reno, NV in the MSHA-sponsored 2008 Metal/Nonmetal National Mine Rescue contest . Seven salt companies participated: Morton Salt teams from Grand Saline , TX; Fairport, OH; and Weeks Island , LA; and Cargill Deicing Technology teams from Avery Island , LA; Cayuga mine in Lansing, NY ; and two teams from Cargill's Cleveland, OH mine (Whiskey Island and Cuyahoga River ). Still awaiting final results, but local coverage featured Cargill's Avery Island team showcasing their lifesaving skills. I'll re-post when the final results are in.
In related news, MSHA announced seven inductees into the Mine Rescue All of Fame including three from salt companies, Rod Etie and Rayward Segura of Cargill's Avery Island, LA mine, and Lee Graham who retired from then-SI member Carey Salt in 1988. Segura was a participant in the inaugural competition in 1971 when the contest was conducted in Lafayette, LA. Congratulations.
The U.S. Department of Labor has just released the 2006 Metal & Nonmetal Fatal Accident Review . The positive news is that 2006 experienced the lowest number of fatalities on record- 18 mine employees and 7 contractors for a total of 25. The bad news is that all of these accidents were preventable. No surprise to anyone that more than half of all fatalities involved the maintenance crew. What was a surprise was the fact that fully 1/3 of fatalities involved mine workers that had between 10-15 years of experience.
The majority of fatal accidents have these common characteristics:
1) Failure to identify hazards, and 2) Failure to manage risks
The key root causes were: No Risk Assessment Conducted No/Inadequate Policy or Procedures Did not use Personal Protective Equipment Lack of Pre-operation Checks Equipment not Maintained Training Inadequate Failure to Conduct Examinations
Let's use this information to guide our way to making 2007 an even safer year!