Leadership Perspectives Blog

Safety Leadership and Accountability in the Supply Chain

Too many employees are needlessly dying merely because they reported to work. The numbers are staggering.

On Dec. 15, EHS Today reported on the case of Regina Allen Elsea, a 20-year-old bride-to-be and temporary worker who needlessly died while trying to make a living. According to OSHA, Regina was killed two weeks before her wedding by her employer’s decision to not positively lockout a robotic station whose sensor she was clearing.

That decision did not cost the employer’s life. It cost Regina her life.

Regina’s employer and the one she was supporting were cited by OSHA for a host of safety violations. The citations and the fines, while impactful, will never bring this young lady back to her family. These actions are lagging. They are too late. Waiting for the regulators to catch the safety violations is not the answer.

Regina’s death does not have to be in vain. Major change can come and lives can be saved but only if corporations, hiring organizations and all of us demonstrate safety leadership and accountability in the supply chain.

Due Diligence Saves Lives

Vetting your contractors before contract award is one of the best ways to establish a safety management system foundation that is based on validation and due diligence.

Most world-class organizations that are focused on the full cycle protection of people require their product and service providers to provide three years of historical data, such as this, before they consider awarding contracts:

  1. OSHA recordable cases and injury and illness rates
  2. OSHA lost workday rates
  3. Number of fatalities
  4. Days away, restricted or transferred (DART)
  5. Record of OSHA citations issued
  6. Workers’ compensation insurance carrier “experience modification rating” (EMR)

There are requirements for submission of job- and site-specific written safety policies, plans and programs; evidence of effective safety management system implementation; flow-down provision for lower-tier contractors; a signed certification from the contractor that all of its employees and those of its tiers agree to follow all applicable safety and health regulations; contractor safety checklists; job hazard analysis requirements; hazardous material identification and storage requirements, etc.

These world-class organizations have a formal supply chain policy in place detailing exactly the process that must be followed by all stakeholders to assure the safety of workers like Regina. The supply chain policy delineates responsibilities and details pre-bid requirements and post-award requirements, along with the project- and site-specific requirements.

Establishing safety leadership and accountability in the supply chain is not only the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do. Who you contract to support your work is a reflection of your safety management system.

Let’s make the right decision and protect the lives of our workers together. Please.

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What's Leadership Perspectives Blog?

Advice, best practices and strategies for safety performance and professional development. For more, visit http://ehstoday.com/leadership.

Contributors

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic is an associate editor for EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has been in B2B publishing for eight years. Her work has...

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is editor-in-chief of EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. She has been...
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