Online Program

Every job is a near miss: Skilled trades input on near miss reporting

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Judith Daltuva, MA, MSW, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Katherine King, MS, PE, BCEE, Monarch Environmental Services, Ann Arbor, MI
Thomas Robins, MPH, MD, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
W.Monroe Keyserling, PhD, CDP, CPE, Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Within the United Automobile Workers labor union, skilled trades personnel comprise approximately 20% of the membership. Yet, this sector experiences over 40% of the fatalities, presenting a substantially higher risk per hour worked than production workers. U-M and a major automotive transmission plant collaborated on a joint labor management skilled trades action research project to identify and intervene on systemic root causes and workplace cultural influences that contribute to unsafe work practices. The joint committee has met for over 2 years providing a unique time and space where labor and management can speak honestly and freely of safety issues without concern for disciplinary action or assignment of blame. This supportive environment has resulted in the identification and implementation of several positive changes within the plant. Based on the committee's work, the plant has implemented modifications to the facility's near miss reporting system that has resulted in a substantial increase in reported near misses and improved and more timely communication of health and safety concerns plant-wide. Interestingly, the skilled trades do not regularly use the system, stating “every job is a near miss.” However, the committee was instrumental in facilitating changes in the pre-task job safety analysis and improved conversations between multiple trades regarding potential near misses associated with skilled trades job assignments. The multiple perspectives expressed during these pre-task conversations have resulted in a deeper understanding of safety issues and important modifications to equipment and/or methods.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Assess improvements in near miss reporting Articulate the benefits of joint labor and management research

Keyword(s): Participatory Research, Occupational Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 20 years experience in the conduct of evaluation research and 5 years experience in working with joint labor management teams focusing on the physical and organizational aspects of workplace safety culture.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.