OSHA and Safety Record Keeping in Manufacturing

img_machine-safetyRecord keeping is again on the agenda of OSHA. Effective January 1, 2015 all work-related hospitalizations and inpatient hospitalizations must be reported within 24 hours and all work-related fatalities must be reported within 8 hours. The new rule took effect for all employers under federal OSHA’s jurisdiction on January 1, 2015. States that operate their own OSHA-approved Occupational Safety and Health Plans must adopt a regulation at least as stringent as the federal OSHA injury reporting rule within six months. Additional electronic record filing changes are coming in 2015. Read more about OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements.

Why the discussion about record keeping?

OSHA’s 2015 objective is to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses under Part 1904. Manufacturers and other business who have more than ten employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry are included. The ruling is to allow OSHA more visibility into the data. The goal is to better identify and abate workplace hazards in an effort to reduce the number of injuries faster.

The ruling would require employers to submit records electronically to OSHA on a quarterly basis. Open discussions were conducted throughout 2014. Now, plans are heading into the final stages of approval.

How do you handle safety recordkeeping at your facility?

Currently, you may use a paper-based system with a series of steps leading to the reporting and approval of corrective actions.

Some of these steps may be:

  • Notifying relevant plant personnel
  • Investigating and collecting further information
  • Checking to see if the same type of event had occurred previously
  • Informing senior level management of more severe events
  • Developing corrective actions
  • Sign-off and approval of corrective actions
  • Follow-up and verification that the corrective action was successfully performed.

An automated workflow would improve your routine process methods, similar to automated controls for your equipment.

Addressing automated workflow for electronic record keeping

A global manufacturer recently turned to Polytron to help leverage software to increase visibility and access to critical safety downtime and other operational data. Previously, the manufacturer used paper-based comprehensive workflow processes for handling incidents related to injury to plant personnel, safety violations, production issues, and downtime events.

Unfortunately, the paper-based system only allowed one person at a time to work on the document causing bottlenecks in the process. There was also the risk of the master documents being lost or misplaced. It was difficult and time-consuming to organize and distribute the latest information to the appropriate team members and allowed no remote access for updates.

We’ve discussed this in more depth before, but because an automated workflow system can touch every area of the plant, this type of project starts with input from operations, plant management, quality, safety, IT and HR. All stakeholders should be interviewed to develop an effective plan.

For the manufacturer, switching from a manual paper-based system to an automated workflow made it easier to manage and track critical manufacturing events, including safety events that may require OSHA reporting. It streamlined the process and provided a more user-friendly platform, with greater flexibility and functionality. It also allowed for future expansion.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Automatically notifying proper personnel of an event based on alerts in the workflow system.
  • Requiring standard, step-by-step procedures for every type of incident
  • Checking to see if the incident is a repeat occurrence
  • Providing search capability of centrally-stored information
  • Allowing centralized storage of all documents, pictures, and other information
  • Allowing centralized listing of all events and current status
  • Providing automated emails to the appropriate personnel
  • Providing traceability for all actions taken

With an increased need for effective tracking for your safety incidents and events, and more electronic filing requirements by OSHA, how are you preparing for the changes soon to come?

Read about Automated Workflow at Share and Share Alike.