News & Events
AES Marine informs safety, health and environmental professionals in the production, manufacturing, construction and service sectors about trends, management strategies, loss prevention, regulatory news and new products that help them provide a safe and healthy workplace.
Marijuana In The Workplace
April 16, 2018
Like the United States, Canadian municipalities have been given the authority to legalize and manage the retailing and distribution of marijuana within their provinces. Recently, residents nearby a local construction site complained to authorities last week when workers were observed smoking marijuana near the construction project in Toronto. Crosslinx's Site Supervisor, private consortium constructing the $5.3 billion light rail transit (LRT) project, learned of the accusation and the project was shut down due to safety concerns.
“The 5-man crew were sent home”, announced Crosslinx spokesperson Kristin Jenkins. “We take this very seriously. We have zero tolerance for any kind of consumption of drugs or alcohol on the job”, Jenkins stated, adding the penalty for using drugs or alcohol on the job is “immediate termination”.
Many countries, including several states in the United States, have legalized marijuana use, and more may follow. However, none of the laws which enable users to get high whenever and wherever they want, allows use in the workplace. There are even stipulations regulating where it can be purchased, bans on public use, and limits on how much can be grown at home. Employers need to be prepared for the face that it is now much easier for employees to obtain marijuana. What process does your company have in place to prevent employee drug use?
Repurposing Storage Containers
Repurposing/recycling has been a common practice and an environmentally conscious act to ensure a safe and healthier future for those to come. However, recently WorkSafeBC identified some unseen risks associated with reusing shipping containers for workplace residential storage. The agency released a new video and safety bulletin outlining these identified hazards as well as explaining how to reduce risks.
"Shipping containers are being repurposed all over British Columbia", said Dan Strand, Director of Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC. "The containers are designed to be watertight, which means they are well-sealed with little to no ventilation. Ideal for shipping purposes, but potentially dangerous for other uses."
Several other risks are reviewed in the bulletin, including the potential for the floorboards being treated with toxic chemicals to protect cargo during shipping, or chemicals may have spilled during transport, and workers may be exposed to these chemicals. Organization must conduct a risk assessment and include risk controls, as well as train workers to recognize risks and proper storage methods.
HOTEL HOUSEKEEPER SAFETY LEGISLATION
March 19, 2018
Hoping to reduce work-related injuries to housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry, California has instituted the first ergonomic standard in the United States. The standard that was designed to specifically protect hotel housekeepers, will be enforced by Cal/OSHA, is due to become effective July 1, 2018.
The new regulation, approved March 9, by the Office of Administrative Law, required employers in the hotel and lodging industry to establish, implement and maintain an effective Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP). Standard activities performed by housekeepers include pulling linens, lifting mattresses, and pushing heavy carts, all of which have led to slipping, tripping, or falling while cleaning and resulting in various musculoskeletal injuries.
The regulation requires the program (MIPP) to include:
Death Toll Reaches 108, Largest Outbreak Worldwide
March 5, 2018
South Africa's second largest supermarket chain, Pick n Pay, began a mass recall on Sunday, March 4, of meat products that the Department of Health says is the source of 948 cases of Listeriosis outbreak since January 2017. Since identifying the outbreak, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed 108 deaths.
Listeriosis is caused by bacteria found in soil, water, vegetation and animal feces, which can contaminate food, especially meat, dairy, and seafood products. This disorder is normally prevented via safe food handler practices, basic hygiene and thoroughly washing food products. The disease mainly affects children and has a three-week incubation period, making it difficult to track. The most effective preventative method begins with Food Handler Safety and preventing food-borne illnesses.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Listeriosis contamination in humans can result in a flu-like illness and an infection of the brain which can prove fatal. People with compromised immune systems like some of those living with AIDS and pregnant women are at a heightened risk. For more information on Food Handler Safety or other environmental, health, and safety compliance concerns, contact our offices at (210) 430-3469 or visit our Training Services tab at the top of this page.
Three Year Transition Period
February 19, 2018
Expected to be published next month, and set up to replace OSHAS 18001, the ISO 45001 Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems, is the first global standard for occupational health and safety management systems. ISO 45001 will give organizations in the United States and around the world, a structured plan to support, implement, and evaluate their efforts to eliminate and reduce worker risks.
"ISO 45001 is one of the most significant developments in workplace safety over the past 50 years, presenting an opportunity to move the needle on reducing occupational safety and health risks. The goal was to create a widely accepted standard that can produce a highly effective safety and health management system for an increasingly interconnected world, regardless of an organization's size, location, supply chain, or nature of work. It becomes a minimum standard of practice, and a good one at that", stated Vic Toy, Chairman of the United States Technical Advisory Group for ISO 45001.
For the past five years, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), has been developing and collaborating with more than 75 countries. More than two-thirds majority, nearly 95 percent of the ISO members voted in favor of the standard. Registrants who have a three year transition period, are eagerly waiting to view publication.
Crane Accident, Fatal Victims Identified
February 5, 2018
Although details surrounding the incident are still being investigated, Pennsylvania State Police have released the identity of the two men who were tragically killed in a crane accident last week. The Pennsylvania crane manufacturer, Manitowoc Cranes in Shady Grove, is cooperating with the police investigation.
Jeffrey Conner, Franklin County's Coroner released the identities of 49 year old Chris Robison of Marion, and 66 year old John Marcoux of Chambersburg. The coroner stated that both men were fatally wounded due to blunt force trauma. Also, three other workers sustained injuries as well, including a man who required helicopter medical flight to a local hospital for critical injuries. There is still no update on this worker's condition.
The cause of the crane accident is still to be investigated, and no speculation as to what may have contributed to this tragic end has proposed. Representatives from the United States Department of Justice and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have contacted the crane manufacturer. OSHA will be conducting an independent investigation.
Halt of Oil & Gas Study Program
January 31, 2018
A stop-work order was issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement for a program for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Study to review the BSEE's offshore oil & gas operations inspection program was announced on December 21, 2017.
In 2013, BSEE formed an Independent Ocean Energy Safety Institute with a response for a recommendation from the OESAC, which was established after April 2010 explosion and fire that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
In late 2015, BSEE launched a pilot program that was aimed toward analyzing data from audits, as well as all annual inspections in an effort to improve safety standards for all offshore oil and gas operations.
A release from the National Academies stated that all future meetings that were set to be held in the Gulf of Mexico region, are now on hold until further notice.
Are You Prepared, Will You Take It Seriously?
January 15, 2018
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards [29 CFT 1910.38(a)]. The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. This is the character statement provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when it comes to standards and requirements established for organization managing emergency response. However, this past weekend, the EAP, more importantly the early warning notification system established by the state of Hawaii during it's emergency drill did not work as planned.
A push alert-text message, that warned of a ballistic missile heading straight for Hawaii was sent to more than 1.6 million residents who were sent into full-blown panic mode. State emergency officials stated that this was a "mistake" and the text message, "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.", was a false alarm and the agency is trying to determine what happened. Another text was distributed more than 35 minutes later, informing the residents of the false alarm, with further information to follow.
This false alarm has come under significant criticism from community leaders, government officials, the FCC, and many others in Hawaii. Governor David Ige apologized for the error, which was blamed on an emergency worker hitting the wrong template during a routine drill. The mistake, along with the identification of many alert sirens flailing, have raised questions as to whether the preparations are having unintended effects. A huge concern after the false alarm is how people would react to the next emergency alert. As one Senator asks, "How seriously are people going to take this or any emergency alert system?"
Reshaping The Nation's Approach To Workplace Safety
January 4, 2018
Scrapping the Obama-era protections and tools, the Trump Administration is changing the nation's approach to workplace safety when it comes to holding dangerous companies accountable. One of the most significant examples is finding out about worker injuries and deaths. In March, President Trump signed a resolution that was passed by Congress, for companies bidding for large federal contractors, no longer requiring them to disclose labor violations, including workplace safety penalties.
During his first week in office, President Trump invited manufacturer companies to propose ways to cut "regulatory burdens", and the companies responded. Last year, on March 31, the companies met with Trump at the White House and delivered their forty two (42) page wish list. This list included some regulatory changes, such as:
In late August, these companies caught a break when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was required to remove specific information about work-related fatalities from its homepage. The list included the names and circumstances of each person's death. This was what referred to as "public shaming employers". David Michaels, former 2014 OSHA administrator, claimed that prodding employers into providing safe workplaces by disclosing their injury data, fits squarely in the agency's previous enforcement theory of "Regulation of Shaming".
At a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturer's in September, Trump reinforced the removal of the OSHA practice with a point he made previously, "My administration is working every day to lift the burdens on our companies and on our workers so that you can thrive, compete, and grow."
However, posting information about fatalities and injuries encourages companies to protect their workers making them more productive and profitable, said Michaels, who is now a Professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. "There is no evidence that putting information up is bad for a company", Michaels said. "Fatalities and serious injuries are a sign of management failure. Poorly managed companies are not as profitable as well-managed companies."
Rigging Gear Registry Program
December 19, 2017
AES Provides a unique service, a "Rigging Gear Registry" program, which includes inspection and testing of lifting equipment in accordance with current industry standards and manufacturer's recommendations. Normally, visual inspections shall always precede any maintenance, repair, testing, or any new device being put into service. Currently, we have staff trained and experienced. Our inspectors are capable of providing a complete bi-annual inspection of Lifting and Rigging Gear, as well as updating organizations' Rigging Registry for various equipment, including but not limited to: slings (steel, rope, or flat web), chains, nets (steel or rope), shackles, hooks, drum hooks, lifting beams, and spreader bars.
Our inspector also ensures container and anchor lifting effectiveness, via Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), to identify potential surface or subsurface degradation of anchor points. Utilizing Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI) testing, our inspector will determine the suitability of your equipment, and segregate unsafe/unreliable equipment.
The "Rigging Registry Program" organizes your lifting assets by location, description, serial number, condition, and produces an inspection report on paper and in electronic format for your record keeping. The inspection report also notes the standard on which each piece is inspected in the event the inspector's findings recommend disposal and/or destruction. The inspector will update the company's Rigging Registry, certifying equipment for continual use, or identify equipment to be removed from the registry. Finally, the inspector will also provide consultation and/or advice for recommended preventative maintenance, handling and storage of the equipment.