Last week on The Pump Handle, Kim Krisberg highlighted an interesting pilot program in Rockaway Township, New Jersey that puts an extra set of eyes on the lookout for workplace safety concerns that might otherwise have gone unnoticed by government inspectors. As she explains here, restaurant inspectors in Rockaway are pilot testing a simple modification to their inspection responsibilities—while they check refrigerator temperatures and cleanliness for food safety concerns, they’re now also looking for good practices that ensure workers are safe. Inspectors have a checklist of basic worker safety issues and they’re keeping tabs on which restaurants are making the grade.
As we described in our Winning Safer Workplaces manual, federal OSHA and its state-plan partner agencies only have the staff and resources to inspect a small percentage of workplaces for potential health and safety violations. We suggested that many other government agencies have inspectors who probably come across problems in the course of their other duties and identified a couple of ways that agencies with overlapping jurisdiction might coordinate their efforts. The Rockaway Township pilot project is a great example of how to start that process.