What's different in occupational safety rules and regulations etc. now as opposed to say, 25 to 30 years ago.
I worked for a Fortune 500 Co. in the early 80's that relied mainly on Gov't contracts for development and manufacture of Avionics test equipment and such with an average Maintenance crew of 40 - 45 and never saw an OSHA person, Never attended any job-related safety training or trade related instruction. Yet, we did all the maintenance and added installation/construction (constant) for about 2 million sq. ft. of Office/Engineering/Machine Shop/Testing/Assembly and Warehousing space in 7 different buildings. What would be different nowadays?
[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 12-04-2001).]
Well, from a 'users' perspective in a gov't facility, I can tell you that they feed us safety info like there's no tomorrow. And, in some cases it's to the detriment of speedy work (imagine that in a gov't setting anyway!) and gives rise to an extra-cautious workforce or user as in the case of 'stop work' rules where any person, no matter expertise, rank or role, can figuratively or literally 'pull the plug' on work being done if they detect an unsafe situation.
Also, due to accidents in recent years, we now have extra 'layers' of approvals prior to the release of a design package to even get out to construction and then there are the on-site approvals, sign in sheets, site-specific safety courses, etc. There are safeguards such as a buddy-system when working on ANY energized object - you cannot work alone or if you do, there's a safety infraction to face.
We have easily added 25-30% for admin time surrounding field work and it's easy to gripe about the seemingly endless litany of safety-related info, but I guess it beats the fear, frustration and loss of a future similar to that experienced by one of the electricians who now sits strapped into a special wheelchair, staring off into space and not able to recognize most of his loved ones.
[This message has been edited by BuggabooBren 'cuz she can't spell... (edited 12-04-2001).]
[This message has been edited by BuggabooBren (edited 12-04-2001).]
#147187 - 12/04/0103:32 PMRe: What's different now?
I hate to say anything nice about insurance companies, but they give rebates for certain levels of competency through training, as well as an aware worker is not as likely to get injured. Couple this with the companies who actually back up the "do it safe, or leave" mentality, and the guys know that you are serious. Some of these things combine to make classes (which of course we would have NEVER gotten back in the 70's) a bit more prevalent today.
#147188 - 12/04/0107:13 PMRe: What's different now?
The biggest difference between now and then would be the level of resources dedicated to workers safety, both by the companies and the government. OSHA just celebrated it's 30th anniversary with much to be proud of. As an agency that catches more crap than they deserve, they have made a huge difference in the workers life and his/her family benefits from this. Sure there is a lot of room for improvement, but don't bitch at the safety professional or at OSHA...WRITE YOUR BLASTED CONGRESSMAN and give them the crap, it is the politicians that can screw up a steel ball. In a basic OSHA class I teach, I tell my students that OSHA rights the regs they way they need to be written, then the politicians get paid off by the lobbyist and out comes a screwed up, un-enforceable standard that has so many loop holes in it, it looks like Swiss cheese!
#147189 - 12/04/0107:59 PMRe: What's different now?
I'm not sure if my question came across in the way that it was intended. As I think back, I realize how unqualified we were to do the types of work we were doing and how ill-equipped we were to handle or protect ourselves from accidents or injuries. I am really surprised that we had no serious incidents (permanent injury) back then. There were some real close calls though.
Some of our guys were almost killed on several occasions. These incidents were because of VERY STUPID mistakes that anyone with any Electrical Safety training would not have made. Bottom line is that we shouldn't have been asked or allowed to do them because we weren't qualified and didn't know the dangers.
I imagine that it would probably be different nowadays in a big Company like that but not sure how much would be due to fear of liability on the companys' part.
#147194 - 12/05/0108:04 AMRe: What's different now?