Imagine this: A big order or a crisis requires lots of overtime for your employees. Where would you draw the line on OT because of worker fatigue?
If you haven’t thought about that scenario, you may have to in the near future.
OSHA administrator David Michaels says the agency has no plans to create an employee fatigue standard, but it would expect companies to address the issue as part of its injury and illness prevention program (i2p2) proposal. Michaels made his comment in a meeting with reporters at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo.
The program would require employers to develop and implement a program that minimizes worker exposure to safety and health hazards. Instead of waiting for an OSHA inspection or a workplace incident to address workplace hazards, employers would be required to create a plan for identifying and correcting hazards, and then implement the plan. Some states, including California, already require companies to have such programs.
Michaels has referenced California’s plan as an example that OSHA will explore.
At the NSC meeting, Michaels also referenced the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Fatigue Risk Management System for Personnel in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries as an example of how companies can investigate the effect of fatigue on their workers.
API created the voluntary standard in response to recommendations made by the Chemical Safety Board after its investigation in the explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005 that killed 15 workers.
Has your company contemplated fatigue’s effect on workplace safety? Let us know in the Comments Box below.