4.5 min read Since 1922, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week in the United States. It has been a national observance since 1925, making it the longest-running public health observance in the U.S. The prevention week is observed each year during the week of October 9th to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire. The fire, which began on October 8, 1871, killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres of land. This week reminds us it is imperative to perform fire suppression system checks, emergency procedure inspections and ask questions to make sure our companies have done their due diligence in protecting stakeholders from the risk of fire on work sites and company premises. The Scope of the ProblemIn 2017, the Fire Service in the United Kingdom was called to an average 300 non-dwelling building fires a week. According to Health and Safety Executive, some of the contributing ignition sources include hot works, plant and equipment, smoking, electrical installations and arson. When looking at the United States, it is reported that in 2017 there were an estimated 111,000 non-residential fires. There were 95 deaths, 1,200 injuries and losses of more than $2.7 trillion reported in these fires. With a 20% increase in fires and a 16% increase in deaths from these fires between 2008-2017 reported by the U.S. Fire Administration, companies face a serious threat of loss of life and property. The risk of fire for organizations and contractors is a global issue. Review and evaluate your fire prevention programs to minimize liability and risk. The Science of Fire – Fuel / Heat / Oxygen (Triangle of Combustion) Fuel – For a fire to start there needs to be the presence of materials, such as oils, paper, fabrics, gases, woods, rubber, plastics or liquids. Heat – The listed materials need to be heated for ignition to occur. Oxygen – The last element to enable the start and spread of fire is oxygen. When combustible materials are oxidized with the presence of a heat source, this is where ignition results. All three elements must be present for a chemical chain reaction to take place and result in combustion. To put out the fire, one of these elements must then be removed. When we break fire down into its 3 core elements, it is easy to see why job sites can be susceptible to the risk of fire. Best Practices to Consider PreventionA key step in assessing fire programs is to question what we can do to minimize these risks in the first place. Consider the following checklist: Employees Confirm those performing inspections are competent to perform them and understand how defects and/or issues are reported Sites & Equipment Implement a maintenance program to prevent equipment / plant machinery failures and train employees to report defects Assess your premises and day-to-day operations to identify fire risks and potential emergency situations Perform inspections to ensure emergency routes are clear and to highlight unsafe storage of combustible materials and cylinders Confirm suitable security provisions and access systems are in place to secure against arson and other risks Procedures Develop suitable procedures / safe systems of work to minimize the risk of fire Ensure your procedures are adhering to local legislative requirements Have a fire watch process in place for hot works & welding in line with legal / industry best practice standards ReactionConsider what can be implemented to mitigate the severity of fire and prevent harm to all stakeholders if there has been a failure in prevention systems or where an accident or unforeseen event has taken place. By asking the following questions, gaps can be identified in current reactionary processes and increase efficiencies: Employees Have fire wardens / incident controllers been appointed and is there a system in place to account for all persons on site? Have persons been appointed to provide first aid? When and how often is training required? How do you assess and ensure the competency of your appointed incident controllers and fire wardens? Systems & Equipment Do you have appropriate detection and alarm systems in place and are these suitably maintained? Does your company have firefighting equipment with maintenance programs to ensure effectiveness? Procedures Is there a suitable procedure in place for persons to raise the alarm? Are emergency evacuation plans suitably displayed and communicated to all employees, contractors, subcontractors and visitors? Are there regular tests and/or reviews of evacuation procedures? ReviewCompanies should always strive for continuous improvement to help ensure when an incident has occurred that actions are taken to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring. The following should be considered: Are you investigating fires and incidents to identify causes to prevent reoccurrence and future incidents? How are necessary corrective actions tracked and implemented by your company? How are investigation findings communicated to all relevant stakeholders? Let ISN helpISN’s team of health and safety specialists monitor applicable regulatory changes as well as review and verify fire and emergency safety programs to ensure documentation is meeting regulatory standards and client best practices. By meeting these safety program requirements contractors are demonstrating they have suitable provisions in place. ISN’s RAVS Plus process provides an effective platform for discussing implementation with management and company employees to ensure these practices and procedures are being communicated to front-line personnel. If you are an existing ISNetworld subscribing Hiring Client, contact your account team to inquire about RAVS Plus and other programs to help bolster your fire protection program. To discuss ISNetworld’s resources, RAVS Plus and additional benefits for both clients and contractors, please request a demo of our contractor management platform.
This Year’s Conference ISN will be exhibiting at the Southeast Mine Safety & Health Conference from November 5th to November 7th in Birmingham, Alabama. The Southeast Mine Safety and Health Conference Executive Committee is a not-for-profit group formed to plan, market, manage, continuously improve and perpetuate the annual Southeast Mine Safety and Health Conference. This year’s conference theme is “The Only Way to Live.” Visit Our Booth Stop by booth #31 to discuss your contractor management goals for 2020 and learn more about ISNetworld’s tools and services. We look forward to seeing you there.
2 min read Between 2003 and 2018 in Australia, 3,753 workers have been killed in the workplace. In 2018 alone, 149 workers were killed on the job. Work-related injuries and disease cost the Australian marketplace approximately $61.8 billion per year. No industry or workplace desires to be unsafe and no death or injury is acceptable. Each October, Safework Australia recognises and emphasises the importance of health and safety at work. The 2019 theme is “Be a Safety Champion.” This year’s theme demonstrates that both employers and workers from any occupation or industry can be a champion for health and safety at work. Being a safety champion describes more than just observing the rules or following procedures. Being a safety champion asks for individuals to show a strong focus on safety by: leading others being innovative and proactive demonstrating an understanding of the importance of all workers going home the same way they came to work Support a Culture of SafetyEveryone can support a safety culture at their workplace and promote best practice work health and safety initiatives. To help companies recognise the month’s focus, the Safework Australia website offers several resources. Use them to demonstrate in your workplace the importance of work health and safety and why everyone should be a safety champion, including: Posters Editable posters Flyers Web graphics Digital brand kit Demonstrate your Commitment to SafetyWe can all strive to Be a Safety Champion at work this October, and every month moving forward. It is important to demonstrate your commitment to safety through leading by example and following company policies. If you are a contractor, review your company’s safety policies and programs to help reduce incidents. If you are a Hiring Client, it’s a good time to evaluate your written programs and trainings. Ask your contact at ISN for information on how our team can help. Are you a Hiring Client and interested to learn how ISN could help you manage your contractors and validate written programs? Request a demo of our contractor management software, ISNetworld.
5 min read A safety program is a defined plan of action designed to prevent accidents and meet health and safety legislation requirements. Safety programs play an important role in carrying out daily safe work practices in a variety of job tasks and environments within an organization. The purpose of such programs is to ensure that everyone in the company is aware of work associated hazards and risks and understands how to perform their job safely. Safety programs, however, are only as good as their implementation. They should include recognition for safe performance and consequences for non-conformance. These programs can also help your company maintain compliance with laws and regulations. It is everyone’s responsibility to work safely. The more employers and employees who participate and are educated about safety in the workplace, the more people who will go home safe at the end of the day. The Value of a Thorough Safety ProgramWell-developed health and safety programs help workers and employers prepare for activities that could impact their quality of life and prevent life-altering incidents. These programs are also an essential steppingstone to improving a company’s overall health and safety culture. Reduce Workplace Injuries and FatalitiesAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five workplace deaths in the U.S. in 2017 were in the construction industry. The leading causes of these deaths—excluding highway collisions—were falls, being struck by an object, electrocution and caught-in/between. A thorough health and safety program can ensure written programs are in place that cover topics like those in construction’s “Fatal Four” in hopes of reducing workplace injuries and fatalities. Increase Employee Morale and Productivity One of the keys to having a successful safety program is allowing employee participation in program building, which will encourage them to take ownership and promote a beneficial safety culture. Reduce SpendHealth and safety programs also include additional benefits, such as reducing company cost by helping reduce injuries. In turn, this decreases the time that would be spent investigating workplace injuries or the time that would be spent training a short service worker to replace an injured one. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that employers pay nearly $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. These costs far outweigh the upfront struggles of preventing an incident by creating a safety program to deter it. Prepare for your Program Following are a few steps you can take prior to drafting your health and safety program. First, identify your company’s purpose for developing a standard approach. Define why it’s important to your company and why this program is being created. And ensure that you have management support to implement such a program. Next, identify the scope of your program. Who will be affected by it and who will need to comply? Your health and safety program will become a crucial resource for employees to reference on the job. It’s important to create a program that includes any task that imposes risk to your employees and tools to help them identify and mitigate the associated hazards and risks. And then, ensure your program is specific to the tasks performed by your employees and contract workers and applies to the everyday operations of the company. Create a complete list of job types, tasks and associated hazards and risks to address in the program. Be sure to identify new or modified tasks and address jobs where frequent accidents or injuries occur. What to Include in your Safety ProgramThe safety program should be an accurate reflection of the work your company performs. Review the following items to consider and include: DefinitionsProvide thorough information on terms used in the program that may not be familiar to all employees but are crucial to every day work practices. This helps employees understand what they should be doing and reduces ambiguity. ProceduresProvide step-by-step requirements for employees to learn and follow. This becomes a resource during daily activities. Use the list of jobs you prepared before drafting the program and define the sequence of steps involved for the job’s tasks. Signal the risks and hazards of the job and provide defined preventative measures employees can follow. Perform a hazard and risk assessment and determine what controls are needed. Then ensure you’ve included all steps and corrective actions in the documentation and review the program. ReferencesIf you have documents and resources available for detailed information employees can review, provide this in your program. References could include regulatory or company specific links, documents or training sessions. 4 Ways to Nurture a Successful Program ImplementationA successful implementation of a safety program requires time and commitment from employees at all levels of the organization. From senior management down to the field level employees, your safety program should be one that is carried out by everyone. Provide Access to EveryoneCommunicate your company’s health and safety objectives and goals to all employees and describe the responsibilities of the people involved. Your program must be accessible by all employees at any given time. They should feel comfortable with the contents of the program and understand how it relates to the job they’re completing. Effective Training is KeyEmployees should be trained on the content of the program. Lunch and learns, videos and classes with an instructor can provide valuable instruction and reinforcement. After training, ensure all levels of employees understand the content presented as well as their responsibilities. Keep RecordsKeep program training records for all employees and retrain annually. Proper documentation could help mitigate the liability of the company in the case of an incident and litigation. Enforcement is Necessary A well drafted health and safety program can only work as well as it’s enforced. Review the program with the executive team and prepare a plan for proper enforcement. Let ISN Help Help CenterFor current Hiring Clients, ISN’s Help Center provides answers to frequently asked questions, updates, written instructions and videos on various areas to help your company build safety culture and written safety programs. Log in now to view the Help Center. Reference Materials in ISNetworldProvided within the Review & Verification Services (RAVS) section of your account, you have access to safety videos, links to legislation and a detailed summary of the requirement as it relates to written safety programs. Log in now to review the materials. Customer Service TeamYour ISN account team as well as our customer service and RAVS teams are always happy to answer any questions and provide additional clarification if needed as you build your thorough health and safety program. Our customer service team is available via phone and chat 24-hours a day during the business week. Get Started TodayIf you are a Hiring Client and want to know more about how ISN can help you streamline your health and safety and contractor management programs, request a demo from our client development team. We will be happy to share our experience and knowledge with you as you take on the journey to improve workplace safety.
6 min read This month at the National Safety Council 2019 Congress & Expo, OSHA announced that for the ninth consecutive year, Fall Protection – General Requirements, specifically 1926.501, is the most frequently cited standard. OSHA has a long history of focusing on fall protection issues and citing U.S. companies for violations. Employers bear a substantial amount of responsibility for providing and maintaining adequate fall protection for employees. It is also important to ensure trained and competent employees continuously inspect and monitor all fall protection and prevention equipment and systems before use. Effective Fall Protection Programs Fall protection includes a variety of different equipment and systems. For example, many companies employ fall protection measures like personal fall arrest (PFA) systems, guardrail systems, safety nets, positioning device systems, warning line systems and controlled access zones. When looking at the components of an effective fall protection system and program, consider these three factors: Thorough pre-work equipment inspections Detailed work area inspections Appropriate fall arrest/restraint systems Pre-work Equipment Inspections Before performing work involving significant heights, it is critical that trained personnel complete a thorough inspection of all fall protection equipment that will be in use. There are a few different regulations that can be referenced while developing pre-use inspection protocols for personal fall protection arrest equipment: ANSI/ASSE Z359.2* requires, among others, that fall protection equipment be inspected at the beginning of each 8-hour shift. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.140 requires that each inspection of fall protection equipment include inspections for mildew, wear and tear, deterioration and other defects that might affect critical functionality. Failure to inspect fall protection equipment properly can have dire consequences. In 2017, OSHA reported 366 deaths in the construction industry attributed to falls from elevated work areas. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported fatal falls in the private construction industry increased by 45% over the five-year period from 2011 to 2016. For many employees, adequate personal fall arrest systems are the last line of defense in preventing fatal falls. Any defects must be identified and corrected prior to an employee beginning work at elevation. *ANSI will periodically update these guidelines, and updated versions will typically be made available every three years. Work Area Inspections In addition to inspecting the fall prevention equipment itself, a thorough pre-work inspection must include consideration of the environment in which the work is being performed. When inspecting your work area for fall protection issues, some factors to consider include: Where is your anchor point? OSHA 1910.140(c)(4) and 1926.502(d)(15), for general industry and construction respectively, require an anchor point be strong enough to safely hold 5,000 pounds per attached employee. A reliable anchor point is typically at a point embedded into the structure where work is being performed, such as a steel component. Temporary or unstable materials, such as guardrails, scaffolding or light fixtures, should not be used as anchor points. “If you do not feel you can safely hang your work vehicle from the structure without collapse, it shouldn’t be your anchor point,” said Jerrod Temple, an ISN safety professional. What is below the elevated work area? In addition to finding a sturdy anchor point, it is necessary to determine what lies beneath the elevated work area should a fall occur. Care should be taken to identify the structures an employee could hit if swinging during a fall. Consideration should be taken to limit work or traffic under the elevated work area. What is the estimated free fall distance? The estimated free fall distance for an employee working at heights is crucial and needs to be calculated prior to work beginning. Once identified, ensure the anchor point is at a correct height and verify that the properly sized fall protection equipment is used for the affected employee. If the free fall distance of the available fall protection would exceed the fall distance, then a fall restraint system should be used over a fall arrest system. How to Calculate Free Fall DistanceThe factors considered when calculating total free fall distance include the length of the lanyard being used, the height of the anchor point, the distance that the employee would have to travel, the employee’s height, harness flex and incorporation of a safety factor (typically 2 feet). This number generally comes to approximately 18.5 feet, depending on equipment used and the personnel using it. It is best to engage competent fall protection experts when evaluating and prepping the workspace to incorporate fall protection considerations. A fall protection competent individual is defined by OSHA 1926.32(f) as, “…an individual who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surrounding work conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to correct and eliminate these hazards.” Although employees at your company can become competent fall protection individuals through a mix of specific fall protection training and workplace experience, it is ultimately up to the employer to determine who is truly competent. Fall Arrest vs. Fall Restraint As previously mentioned, total free fall distance will determine if the individual working at heights may hit the ground if a fall occurs. When there is high risk for a fall, fall arrest equipment should be used. Fall arrest equipment is designed to slow the employee during a fall, limiting the impact incurred on the body. This equipment includes retractable lanyards, ladder safety systems and shock absorbing lanyards. If a fall does occur, the equipment used should be immediately inspected to determine if damage affected its integrity. Some equipment, such as lanyards with shock absorbing packs, will become ineffective after a fall and should be immediately destroyed. Fall harnesses and other equipment may also be designed to show impact; if a previous impact is identified or suspected upon inspection, this equipment should be immediately destroyed and discarded to prevent future use. Fall restraint systems are used to prevent a fall from occurring. Unlike fall arrest equipment, fall restraint is designed to prevent an employee from reaching the edge of a structure through rigid lanyards and work positioning devices. One of the most common examples of where fall restraint devices may be used is roof work where the anchor point is typically in the middle of the structure. Work positioners and rigid lanyards are designed to allow individuals to move freely across the structure while preventing them from reaching the leading edge. Suspension Trauma Even if all equipment functions as it should, when a fall occurs there are still serious dangers associated with suspension from safety equipment. Suspension trauma is a serious, life-threatening issue that must be addressed immediately. 29 CFR 1926.502 (d) (20) requires employers provide a “prompt rescue” for an employee that has experienced a fall and are unable to rescue themselves. Studies have shown victims of a fall can experience suspension trauma within as little as 10 minutes of a fall. Familiarize yourself with how suspension trauma can affect the body and consult medical professionals to help develop rescue procedures and post-rescue protocols. Emergency personnel and medical services should be consulted any time an individual has a fall from heights. A detailed medical consultation and/or investigation is necessary to determine the extent of the individual’s injuries. Be AwareIf you’re a contractor employee, ask your supervisor for a copy of your company’s fall protection written program. Stay up-to-date on the latest information available regarding preventing falls and requirements from your Hiring Clients. How ISN Can Help If you are a Hiring Client, ask your contact at ISN for information on the fall protection written program requirements. Our HSEQ Review and Verification Services (RAVS) team reviews contractors’ policies and training to help ensure they address necessary regulations. RAVS Plus Implementation Assessments take the initiative one step further, analyzing contractors’ policy implementation through interviewing employees and reviewing additional documentation, including evidence of fall protection training and equipment inspections. Are you a Hiring Client and interested to learn how ISN could help you manage your contractors and validate written programs like fall protection policies? Request a demo of our contractor management system, ISNetworld.
5 min read Debates over contractor management in the past several years include the amount of oversight a Hiring Client needs to identify the risks associated with contractor use and how to score contractors accurately and consistently. At a high level, contractor management is the practice of managing outsourced work performed for an individual company. The simplicity of the definition, however, can be misleading in that it doesn’t speak to the types of information that need to be managed, who should be involved and what is considered a best-in-class contractor management program. Building the Case for Contractor Management In 2018, ISN surveyed 204 decision makers from 161 Hiring Clients across various industries to gather feedback on the challenges, trends and future of contractor management. Of those surveyed, 95% expect outsourced work to increase or remain at the same rate over the next several years. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) reports that historical trends of contractor work hour exposure has grown by five times over the past 20 years. Regulations, legislation and legal requirements are constantly changing, which creates a difficult landscape for Hiring Clients to understand a contractor’s work history and potential risk. For example, Mexico’s Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) in June 2013 published rules outlining an employer’s obligation to develop and implement detailed employee training programs. And in 2017, the Province of Alberta passed Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans, which was put in place to improve worker safety and modernize workplace standards and practices. A committee of occupational health and safety experts from the International Organization for Standardization released the new health and safety management system standard, ISO 45001, in March 2018. Although a global standard and not law, Australia is one of the first countries to introduce ISO 45001 country wide. Hiring Clients must focus on their contractor management strategy to keep up with growing work, comply with local regulations and reduce the potential liabilities of their organization. Companies are struggling, however, to standardize their contractor management programs and practices. Contractor Management Collection and Verification Basics A major debate for Hiring Clients is what information needs to be collected, verified and managed. If you asked 10 different Hiring Clients, you would likely receive 10 different responses about what information should be included. When building your contractor management program, start with the basics, like information on health and safety, insurance and training programs. Health and Safety Information Contractors are required to develop, implement and maintain written health and safety programs as well as document past and present injury statistics. However, Hiring Clients lack the manpower to collect, verify and audit contractors’ health and safety written programs and historical performance. Hiring Clients need a system in place to collect, trend and store these written programs and injury statistics to ensure the organization has a clear picture of contractors’ safe work practices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines six key benefits companies will see by implementing health and safety programs: Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses Improve compliance with laws and regulations Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums Engage workers Enhance their social responsibility goals Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations Insurance Information The financial and risk burden does not fall solely on the Hiring Client. Contractors are required to carry various types of insurance based on the type of work they perform and their company structure. For Hiring Clients, the need to verify a contractor maintains the required insurance policies is a burden. At any time, policies can expire, be cancelled or change during the relationship between the Hiring Client and contractor. Training Programs Contractor management does not stop at the company level. A successful contractor management program includes evaluating individual employees to determine if they are qualified to perform their scope of work on a jobsite. Contractor companies and employees are required to maintain trade qualifications for type of work the employees are performing. It is a duty of the Hiring Client to verify and audit the qualifications of contractor employees to ensure educated, qualified and competent workers are performing work on Hiring Client property. The ability of the Hiring Clients to constantly maintain and verify hundreds or even thousands of employee qualifications on a day-to-day basis is a significant resource burden for Hiring Clients. Contractor Management Lifecycle Once a Hiring Client identifies the priority information in their contractor management program, the next step is to set short-term and long-term goals to drive the program from being reactive to proactive. In a recent publication, The Orange Book, ISN outlines five priorities that drive contractor management goals within a Hiring Client organization. Improving safety performance of contractors and employees Improving business continuity and operations excellence Improving profitability through reduced costs, rework and incidents Improving regulatory compliance Meeting or exceeding internal management expectations By changing from a reactionary contractor management company to a proactive contractor management company, Hiring Clients can expect to have a closer relationship with contractor partners. How Technology Enhances Contractor Management Programs Once you decide to commit to improving your contractor management program, consider implementing technology to streamline the process. Established in 2001, ISN is the global leader in contractor and supplier information management. Our online contractor management software, ISNetworld, helps companies manage risk and qualify contractors to ensure they meet Hiring Client standards and regulatory requirements. In coordination with our Hiring Clients, ISN helps identify contractors that need to be included in each prequalification process. Our team then works directly with contractors to subscribe and submit required documentation to ISNetworld. The software allows Hiring Clients to collect, verify and trend documentation for a clear picture of the health and safety practices of their contractors. ISNetworld’s tools help organizations identify and evaluate the right contractors for each job. And since all tools are included in each Hiring Client’s subscription, we can customize every implementation to support your specific challenges and priorities for one annual fee. Let us Help If you’re a current ISN Hiring Client, speak with your ISN team about how your organization’s contractor management program and contractor performance align with your industry peers. If you’re a Hiring Client interested in learning how a partnership with ISN could support your organization’s contractor management efforts, request a demo of our ISNetworld platform. If you’re a contractor and need help with your ISNetworld account, contact our Customer Service team for support 24 hours a day during the business week.
The 2019 Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) Professional Development Conference will be held on September 22-25 in Winnipeg, MB. ISN will be located at Booth #57 throughout the trade show from September 23-24. We invite you to stop by to discuss best practices in contractor management and see a live demonstration of ISNetworld, ISN’s online contractor management platform. Attend ISN’s Workshop Session Richard Cerenzio, Senior Director, and Darren Hamman, Senior Technical Manager at ISN will be presenting “Contractor Management Strategy – Insights from a Survey of Decision Makers” on Monday, September 23rd from 1:30-2:45pm. This workshop session will cover: Contractor Management Attributes of Leading Organizations Challenges of the Contractor Management Maturity Framework Threats and Priorities of Decision Makers How Organizations can Drive Continual Improvement About the CSSE Conference The CSSE has over 5,000 members working in various industries across the United States and Canada. As an organization, CSSE members work together towards a goal of accident prevention and enhancing the health, safety and environment profession. The annual CSSE Conference provides opportunities for health, safety and environment professionals to network with peers and attend technical workshops to stay current on the latest trends and industry best practices. We look forward to seeing you there.
Heat-related injuries or illness are caused by the overheating of your body. Heatstroke is the most severe, but other types include: Heat rash Heat syncope (fainting) Heat cramps Heat exhaustion Causes of HeatstrokeHeatstroke is the most severe form of a heat-related injury. There are two main causes of heatstroke: non-exertional and strenuous activity. Non-Exertional HeatstrokeIt is possible to experience heatstroke simply by being exposed to a hot environment, even without performing any type of physically demanding activity or work. This is caused by being in hot, humid weather or a hot environment that causes the core body temperature to rise to 104°F (40°C) or higher. Non-exertional heatstroke generally occurs to people who are in extreme heat for long periods of time. People without functioning air conditioners in their homes or businesses when the outside temperatures are high are at a greater risk of experiencing this type of heatstroke. Strenuous Activity HeatstrokeMany people are unaware that any physical activity while in the heat—whether seasonal or environmental—can increase the body’s core temperature and the risk for a heat-related injury or illness. Those at greater risk are outdoor workers or people who perform work in hot environments, including near equipment that gives off heat Firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers and factory workers should be aware of this increased risk. Increased RisksSeveral factors can increase your risk for heat-related injuries or illnesses. ClothingWearing clothing that prevents sweat from evaporating easily increases your risk for heatstroke. Your body is unable to cool itself through its typical process. DehydrationAs you sweat, you need to replenish fluids. While working in hot, humid weather and in hot environments, it is important to stay hydrated. By not replenishing fluids, you become dehydrated. Consuming alcohol while exposed to the heat can be an added danger. It not only dehydrates your body, but it also affects your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. AgeThis can play a pivotal role in your chances of developing heatstroke. Your body’s ability to cope in extreme heat depends on your central nervous system. Children who are very young do not have fully developed central nervous systems, and adults over age 65 have failing central nervous systems. Without a fully functional central nervous system to help adjust to extreme heat conditions, these age groups are at a greater risk for developing heatstroke. MedicationsCertain prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your body’s ability to maintain itself, disturbing your body’s ability to cool itself or remain properly hydrated. Consult your doctor to discuss these and other potential side effects of medications you’re currently taking or considering. Signs and Symptoms of HeatstrokeThe most common, well-known symptom of heatstroke is a high body temperature. When the core body temperature increases to 104°F (40°C) or higher, it’s hard for your body to maintain its normal functions. It can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like your heart, kidneys and muscles throughout your body. While high core body temperature is the most common symptom, there are other signs to look for when you are exposed to extreme heat conditions. People can also experience the following: Changes in mental status, including agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium and/or seizures. Changes in sweating – When people are hot, they sweat in order to help cool the body. Alterations in sweating can be indicative of heatstroke. Instead of sweating, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. Nausea and vomiting Flushed skin Faster breathing Racing heart Headache Dizziness Loss of coordination Seek Immediate HelpIf you experience signs or symptoms of heatstroke you should seek immediate medical attention. Delaying medical treatment can lead to increased injury to your body, causing permanent damage or disability. This can increase the risk for serious complications that, in turn, can lead to death. Best Practices to Prevent HeatstrokeWhen experiencing extreme heat conditions, there are measures you can take to help prevent heatstroke. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothingThis allows your body to cool itself through sweat evaporation. Protect yourself against sunburnThis could include wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, or apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Drink plenty of fluidsEnsure you are also replenishing the minerals and salts that are lost through sweat by drinking sports drinks in addition to water. Take precautions with certain medications – Medications can affect your body’s ability to cope with high heat conditions. If you are at greater risk of heat-related injury or illness due to medications you are taking, consult with a supervisor before performing work in hot environments. Avoid performing strenuous activities during the heat of the day – While this is sometimes out of our control, if you have to work during times of elevated temperature, take plenty of breaks, be sure that shade or air conditioning is available and you are staying hydrated. Get acclimatedGive your body the chance to acclimate to its surroundings. This often takes multiple days or weeks to become fully acclimated. If you are not used to high heat conditions, your body will likely not cope well to the situation. Be cautiousBe aware of yourself and your capabilities, especially if you are at an increased risk of developing heatstroke due to additional risk factors mentioned above. Never leave anyone in parked vehicleThis is the most common cause for heat-related death in children. When a vehicle is parked, whether in the sun or the shade, the temperature within the vehicle can increase by 20°F (6.7°C) within a 10-minute time period. It is never safe in warm or hot weather. Even if you are parked in the shade with the windows cracked, it remains a great danger. Use the buddy systemWhen working in extreme heat conditions, do not do so alone. Monitor conditions of co-workers and have someone do the same for you. You can witness any changes to mental status and help them seek immediate medical attention if needed. How ISN Can HelpTraining on a documented Heat Illness Prevention Program can help employees identify the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them. ISN Hiring Clients can require these programs to be submitted by their contractors for review or can require their contractors to train employees on the topic. If you are a current Hiring Client with ISN, ask your account team for information on our written program, training and supporting documents covering heat-related injuries and illnesses. Are you a Hiring Client and interested to learn how ISN could help you manage your contractors and validate written programs like heat illness prevention? Request a demo of our contractor management system, ISNetworld. If you are a contractor, ask your supervisor for a copy of your company’s heat illness prevention policies and programs to help avoid heat-related injuries, illnesses and incidents.
Creating a thorough verification process is a top contractor management priority for Hiring Clients in Mexico. For years, Hiring Clients and contractors have found discrepancies between local jobsite requirements and documentation. This often leaves Hiring Client companies at risk of assuming liability for potential incidents. ISNetworld provides a review and verification process for Hiring Clients to keep track of all their contractors. Through ISNetworld, ISN collects, reviews and stores information for the Hiring Clients’ suppliers and contractors in one location. This allows the Hiring Client to streamline their qualification process and to evaluate their contractors and suppliers based on the specific criteria they establish, including insurance. While insurance is a central part of most risk management strategies, numerous Hiring Clients in Mexico have discovered after joining ISNetworld that a high percentage of their contractors’ insurance policies did not comply with their requirements. Insufficient coverage or documentation have been the primary factors of noncompliance. Download our one-page brochure on insurance requirements in Mexico for an abridged version of this post. Insurance by the Numbers As of 2019, there are more than 500 Hiring Clients across 21 countries that require insurance documents to be submitted to ISNetworld There were 590,000+ insurance reviews completed by ISN in 2018 and 320,000+ in the first half of 2019 ISNetworld has more than 5,300 registered Insurance Agent/Broker subscribers More than 50% of Hiring Clients in Mexico require insurance documents from contractors in ISNetworld Most Frequently Required Insurance Policies by Hiring Clients in MexicoWithin an insurance exhibit document, a Hiring Client will typically dictate the types of policies and amount of coverage required for a contractor. Certain types of work or projects may require specialty coverage in addition to the standard minimum requirements. Commercial General Liability: Protection against claims for personal and bodily injuries and property damage resulting from a company’s operations Automobile Liability: Protection against claims resulting from the use of a company’s vehicles Specialty Policies: Depending on a company’s scope of work, required policies may include excess, professional, pollution and/or marine insurance, among others The Most Common Discrepancies in Insurance ReviewsThere are several discrepancies that result in rejected insurance policies. One missing or insufficient requirement will result in a deficient insurance status within ISNetworld. The most common discrepancies in Mexico include: Insured/company name does not match the company name in ISNetworld Expired policy dates Insufficient policy limits The coverage territory does not specifically state it applies to Mexico Automobile policies in Mexico also differ from the United States. In the U.S., an auto policy typically covers a variety of vehicles that are being used, but in Mexico, an automobile policy is issued per automobile. Another common scenario in Mexico is contractors may be required to provide higher than the minimum state-required limit for their automobiles. To avoid this potential deficiency, contractors can meet these higher limits through an excess policy that would cover the remaining required coverage. Best Practices for ComplianceContractors should follow a series of best practices when seeking to comply with Hiring Client insurance requirements: Use the Agent/Broker ToolThe ISNetworld Agent/Broker subscription allows contractors’ insurance providers to access Hiring Clients’ insurance requirements, submit documents on behalf of contractors and receive renewal reminders by email. Provide the necessary documentationOnly upload the necessary documents required by Hiring Clients. For example, do not upload insurance documents for a vehicle that is not used on a Hiring Client’s site. Submit your renewal policies before your current policies expireISNetworld will send contractors reminders starting 35 days prior to policy expiration dates to allow time for contractors to renew policies and submit for review. Use the Variance Tool when necessary This ISNetworld tool allows contractors to request exceptions from Hiring Clients for requirements that do not apply to the contractor’s scope of work or agreement. Let ISN HelpIf you are a Hiring Client and have questions about insurance requirements for your contractors, contact your ISN representative for more information. Are you a Hiring Client interested to learn how ISN could help you manage your contractors and insurance requirements? Request a demo of our contractor management system, ISNetworld. If you are a contractor who needs help submitting insurance requirements through ISNetworld, contact our customer support team for more information. Download our one-page brochure on insurance requirements in Mexico for an abridged version of this post.
About the NSC Congress & Expo The NSC Congress & Expo is the world’s largest annual event dedicated to workplace safety. For more than 100 years, professionals have turned to this event for industry-leading technology, education and networking opportunities. This Year’s Conference The NSC 2019 Congress and Expo will be held September 6-12 in San Diego, CA. Over 15,000 health, safety and environmental professionals will be in attendance from the US, Canada and more than 70 other countries. Visit our Booth ISN will be located at Booth #837 throughout the Expo on September 9-11. Stop by to discuss best practices in contractor management and see a live demonstration of ISNetworld, ISN’s online contractor management platform. We look forward to seeing you there.