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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com ®

August 15, 2017

5 Online Resources That Create a Safer Work Environment

Not that long ago, if company owners or foremen wanted to get information about workplace safety, they had to either purchase and peruse through heavy books filled with rules and regulations or schedule an appointment with a safety inspector. Now, thanks to the internet, construction site managers and others who are concerned about this important issue can access pertinent information from their desktop, smartphone or laptop.

Of course, the ComplianceSigns CONNECTION workplace safety blog is a good source for information that can make your workplace a little safer - and your job a little easier. We compile, curate and share information from a wide range of sources to save you the time of visiting dozens of sites. Here are four additional online resources that anyone who is interested in workplace safety may want to bookmark:

National Safety Council


safety trainedFor more than 100 years, the National Safety Council has been working hard to make the workplace safer. The website is a one-stop workplace safety shop and includes online NSC Safety Training courses that help employers make their companies as safe as possible. They also offer a free consultation to company owners; during the appointment, a representative from the NSC can tailor safety-related projects and goals to the specific business. To set up the complimentary appointment, foremen can fill out a request form found on the website. The site also includes information on NSC Emergency Preparedness training, OSHA Compliance Training and instructor development on workzone safety, forklift operations and more.

Driving-Tests.org


How's my driving? Call ___For company owners who have employees who drive on work time—either in their own cars or company vehicles—it is imperative that they stay as safe as possible while on the road. In order to help make sure that everyone is up-to-date on the latest driving rules and regulations in their state, foremen should suggest that their team visit the Driving-Tests.org website. The site is filled with helpful information about the driving laws in all 50 states; if someone has to drive out of state for a work-related project, the site boss might suggest that he or she take a few practice driving exams for that state on Driving-Tests.org; that way, the employee will be aware of any laws that are different in that part of the country.

Federal OHSA


Heat Index Heat DisordersThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the holy grail of workplace safety organizations. As part of the United States Department of Labor, the OSHA website includes a lot of pertinent and useful information for company owners about workplace safety. In addition to an OSHA Directory with contact information and addresses of regional and area offices, the site features a blog section filled with educational articles that can be helpful to any site foreman. For example, a recent blog titled 8 Steps to Keep Workers Safe in the Heat is a must-read for anyone who has a team working in the hot summer weather. In addition, the OSHA site features information about their On-site Consultation Program, which offers free and confidential safety occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health


no smoking or open flamesThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website is another must-have resource for business owners. The site offers a wealth of free information relating to common workplace safety conditions. For example, the section of the site titled Workplace Safety and Health Topics contains a variety of in-depth and helpful articles on a number of subjects including Hazards & Exposures, Chemicals, Diseases and Injuries and more. The Safety and Prevention section is worth its weight in safety gold. Employers can click on a number of subjects to get tips and advice on topics like aerosols, asphalt fumes, heat stress, poisonous plants and venomous snakes and spiders.

August 14, 2017

Study Shows Workplace Deaths Rising Among Older Workers

This department has worked __ days without a lost time accident
A study conducted by the Associated Press shows older people are dying on the job at a higher rate than workers overall, even as the overall rate of workplace fatalities decreases. In 2015, about 35 percent of fatal workplace accidents involved a worker are 55 or older.

This is not exactly a new trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported fatal work injury rates for workers 55 years and older were higher than the overall U.S. rate in 2010, and the rate for workers 65 years of age and older was more than three times the rate for all workers. Between 2006 and 2015 the rate of fatal accidents among older workers was 50 to 65 percent higher than for all workers.

The percentage of older employees in the workplace has increased some 37 percent in recent years, and experts on aging caution against stereotyping older workers, because people of all ages have a wide range of physical and mental abilities. There are steps employers can take to help improve safety for older workers, but recent research also shows younger workers benefit from increased safety efforts, as well. So perhaps the best approach is an increased focus on occupational safety for all workers, which can include prominent machine safety signs and other safety reminders.

AP examined the number and types of accidents in which older workers died between 2011 and 2015:
  • Fall-related fatalities rose 20 percent
  • Contact with objects and equipment increased 17 percent
  • Transportation accidents increased 15 percent
  • Fires and explosions decreased by 8 percent
State-by-state accident rates for older workers vary widely. In most states, the fatal accident rates for older workers were consistently higher than comparable rates for all workers. Nevada, New Jersey and Washington had the greatest percent increase in fatal accident rates for older workers between 2006 and 2015. In two states, older worker accident rates decreased while the overall rate increased. The National Center for Productive Aging and Work is working to make workplaces safer for older workers. The year-old center is part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Additional Resources:

August 3, 2017

National Safety Council: 97 Percent of Workers Report Fatigue Factors

Stay Alert Safety Banner
According to a new National Safety Council survey-based report, 43 percent of Americans say they do not get enough sleep and are at risk of fatigue that can reduces their ability to think clearly, make informed decisions and be productive on the job and at home.

Fatigue in the Workplace: Causes & Consequences of Employee Fatigue shows that 97 percent of Americans say they have at least one of the leading nine risk factors for fatigue, which include working at night or in the early morning, working long shifts without regular breaks, working more than 50 hours each week and enduring long commutes. More than three of four Americans say they feel tired at work, 53 percent feel less productive and 44 percent have trouble focusing. Fatigued employees are more likely to make critical safety errors that could lead to injury.

Key findings from the report:

  • A person who loses two hours of sleep from a normal eight-hour sleep schedule may be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers
  • An estimated 13 percent of workplace injuries could be attributed to fatigue
  • 21 percent of all fatal car crashes – 6,400 deaths each year – are attributed to a drowsy driver

The survey – which will be released in three separate reports – also found:
  • 41 percent work high-risk hours, at least occasionally
  • 39 percent have trouble remembering things at work because of fatigue
  • 31 percent commute 30 minutes or more, which exacerbates the chances of falling asleep behind the wheel
  • 27 percent have trouble making decisions because of fatigue
  • 10 percent do not get regular rest breaks

There are geographical trends when it comes to the number of Americans with fatigue risk factors. This survey identified that the South has the highest mean number of risk factors at 3.21, while the Midwest has the lowest with 2.94 risk factors.

What to do to prevent workplace fatigue:

  • Get enough sleep and provide for adequate rest between physically or cognitively demanding activities
  • Talk to your doctor about getting screened for sleeping disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • Align your natural body clock with your work schedule; some people who regularly fly through different time zones, for example, use melatonin to reset their circadian rhythms
  • If you work the night shift, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule even on your days off, and be sure to use blackout curtains to keep your bedroom dark
  • Instead of tossing and turning, try to find out what’s keeping you awake; your answer is likely to differ greatly from your colleague or neighbor

The complete report and more information about fatigue are available at nsc.org/fatigue.

Resources:



July 31, 2017

New OSHA Guide Helps Small Businesses with Silica Rule for General Industry and Maritime

Small Entity Compliance Guide
OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. Employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica are at increased risk of developing serious adverse health effects including silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

The guide describes the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in general industry and maritime from the hazards associated with silica exposure. Employer requirements include:

  • Assessing worker exposures
  • Using engineering and work practice controls to keep exposures below a specified safety threshold
  • Offering medical exams to certain highly exposed workers
In general industry and maritime operations, employers must assess the 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) exposure for each employee who is or may reasonably be expected to be exposed to respirable crystalline silica at or above the action level of 25 µg/m3 as an 8-hour TWA. Assessing employee exposures helps employers:
  • identify where exposures are occurring
    select control methods and make sure they effective
  • prevent employees from being exposed above the PEL
  • provide employees with information about their exposure levels
  • give the PLHCP performing medical examinations information about employee exposures
Enforcement of the final rule in general industry and maritime is scheduled to begin next June. Employers in the construction industry should refer to a similar guide for Construction.

Resources:

July 26, 2017

2,000 New Signs and Labels at ComplianceSigns.com : Roll Labels and More

Hazmat, GHS and hard hat stickers on rolls
Last month we added some 2,000 new signs and labels to our online store, including:

These signs are proudly made in the USA and available in 6 sizes and 4 materials: aluminum, plastic, vinyl label or magnetic backing. All are backed by our Compliance Guarantee and Lowest Price Promise. See our most recent sign additions here.

July 25, 2017

New OSHA Fact Sheet on Confined Spaces in Residential Construction

permit required confined space do not enter
OSHA recently released a new fact sheet to help builders and remodelers understand provisions of the OSHA standard for Confined Spaces in Construction (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA) regarding spaces such as attics, basements and crawl spaces.

The standard applies to any space that meets the following three criteria:
  1. Is large enough for a worker to enter
  2. Has limited or restricted means of entry or exit
  3. Is not designed for continuous occupancy
A confined space that contains certain hazardous conditions may be considered a permit-required confined space under the standard.

According to the fact sheet, the vast majority of the standard’s requirements only apply to permit-required confined spaces. Attics, basements, and crawl spaces in a residential home will not typically trigger these requirements.

July 19, 2017

OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting Set to Go Live August 1

We have worked 365 days without a lost time accident
Federal OSHA says it will launch its long-delayed electronic Injury Tracking Application (ITA) on August 1. The web-based reporting form will allow employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. We'll see what happens.

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to Dec. 1, 2017, to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.

The data submission process will involve four steps:
  1. Creating an establishment
  2. Adding 300A summary data
  3. Submitting data to OSHA
  4. Reviewing the confirmation email.

Lockout / Tagout Inspections - What You Need To Know

Lockout power before removing guards
If your operation has lockout / tagout (LOTO) procedures in place, or if any LOTO is ever used, OSHA requires inspections of your procedure at least once every 12 months. But the OSHA compliance directive for control of hazardous energy is a whopping 136 pages of OSHA-speak.

Fortunately, the safety training pros at weeklysafety have penned an article that explains what kinds of inspections are necessary and outlines best practices for LOTO inspections. Here are some key points form the article.
  • LOTO inspection is are intended to ensure that the LOTO procedures in place are adequate. If they are not, corrections must be made.
  • The inspector cannot be the same person using the LOTO procedure during the inspection, so there must be at least two competent, authorized persons present during any LOTO inspection - one inspector and one worker following the LOTO procedure.
DANGER do not open
LOTO inspections should determine if:
  • Steps of the current LOTO procedure are being followed
  • Employees involved know their responsibilities as they pertain to the procedure
  • Current procedure is adequate to provide necessary protection, or what changes are needed if the procedure is not adequate
Don't limit LOTO training to specific machine operators or maintenance workers. All employees must know what LOTO means and what they should do if they encounter LOTO devices or signs while on the job.

Resources:

July 18, 2017

Four Essential Tips For Staying Safe While Working Outdoors

Workplace safety is a critical issue for every industry. However, for those who work in non-traditional settings such as in the woods or outside in the varying weather conditions, workplace safety takes on a new, even more important meaning.

If you work in environmentalism, forestry, parks and recreation, or the like, read on for expert tips to ensure that you stay safe and healthy on the job.

Stay Hydrated

July 11, 2017

OSHA Changes Construction Crane Enforcement Policy

Safety First Hard hat required while crane in operation
OSHA has announced a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from the requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers will now meet the requirement if they are in compliance with OSHA's rules for overhead hoists and general training standards. General industry requirements for monorail hoists remain intact.

The agency says the policy change was made in response to comments from stakeholders and in recognition that a monorail hoist – which is attached to a fixed monorail mounted on equipment such as trucks, trailers, or scaffolding systems – is significantly different from other cranes and derricks in construction. OSHA intends to consider rulemaking options to address this issue. A June 30 memorandum announced a temporary enforcement policy pending the resolution of that rulemaking process.