A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

December 14, 2009

Cell Phone Safety Makes Good $ense

Formal company policies regarding texting and cell phone use are becoming more common - and with good reason. Not only are distracted drivers more likely to crash, courts have ordered companies to pay judgments as high as $20 million when employee cell phone use resulted in death - even when making a work-related call after-hours on a personal cell phone.

A new survey of National Safety Council members shows that 58 percent of organizations have a cell phone policy of some kind. And 99 percent of companies that prohibit use of cell phones and messaging devices while driving have experienced no change in productivity. Some have seen an increase in productivity after policies took effect.

A driver sending or receiving a text message spends
4.6 seconds with their eyes off the road
for every 6 seconds of drive time,
-- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

The NSC has developed a comprehensive cell phone policy kit with sample policies, PowerPoint presentations and executive summaries to help companies build support for cell phone policies and communicate to employees. You can download the no-cost kit here.

Links to learn more:

December 13, 2009 Posts New Help Center and FAQ pages

We've revised our Help Center page to make it even easier to find answers to common questions. The dashboard-style layout is organized by topic, and each topic gives you direct access to numerous pages in our site, such as our new FAQs page.

The FAQs page includes answers to the most common questions about products, orders and payments, shipping, returns & exchanges or our website policies. And it's all in an easy-to-use tab format with links to the information you need.

Check out these pages today at

November Survey Results: H1N1 in Your Workplace

In our November newsletter survey, nearly half of respondents (48%) reported they'd seen increased illness in the previous two months. Fully 93% of respondents had taken steps to prevent the spread of H1N1 in their workplace.

Common flu-fighting efforts are shown below:

December 12, 2009

December News and Notes

DOT Issues Rules to Enhance Pipeline Safety
The Transportation Secretary has announced new Federal regulations for operators of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. The two rules require operators of natural gas distribution pipelines to adopt integrity management programs similar to current requirements for larger transmission pipelines. In addition, the DOT is calling for strengthened management and oversight of control room operations for all types of DOT-regulated pipelines. Learn more here.

Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2008
The complete Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts annual reports contain vehicle miles traveled and vehicle registration data. For the 2008 report, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is publishing an early release of the annual report with preliminary figures. Read more here.

OSHA issues final rule revising acetylene standardThe final rule revising OSHA's Acetylene Standard became effective Nov. 9. The rule changed procedures for transferring, handling and storing acetylene cylinders and replaces references to outdated industry standards. Read the Federal Register for more information.

Food Safety and H1N1 Flu
The CDC reports that food workers with the flu do NOT present any risk to the safety of food. However, one of the best ways to reduce the spread of influenza is to keep sick people away from well people. Workers who have symptoms of the flu should stay home and not come to work until at least 24 hours after their fever has resolved. Review Frequently Asked Questions about H1N1 and food handling at

Beware Fraudulent Emails Promoting CDC Vaccination Profile
Fraudulent emails referencing a CDC-sponsored State Vaccination Program are making the rounds. The messages direct users to create a personal "vaccination profile" with the CDC, and will take users to a look-alike website. Clicking a link on the site will install malware and give scammers access to the user's computer. The CDC reports it has not implemented any such program. Read the CDC statement here.

Focus on Flu
Experts from WebMD and the CDC have teamed up to answer your questions about the flu season - from concerns about the H1N1 pandemic to seasonal flu issues. Visit the Focus on Flu blog here.

NFPA Report: Industrial and Manufacturing Fires

From 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 10,500 structure fires in industrial and manufacturing properties include utility, defense, petrochemical, agriculture and mining properties and manufacturing and processing properties.

These fires caused an annual average of 12 civilian deaths, 300 civilian fire injuries and $509 million in direct property damage.

Key findings include:

  • 29% of fires involved shop tools and industrial equipment, and caused 54% of civilian fire injuries
  • 15% of fires started in process / manufacturing areas or workrooms (the leading area of origin)
  • 6% of fires started in machinery rooms or areas
  • 11% of fires began with trash or waste
  • 10% of fires began with flammable or combustible liquids or gases, filters, or piping
  • 10% of fires began with dust, fiber, lint, sawdust or similar material
  • 6% of fires began with electrical wire or cable insulation

Do you have adequate fire safety warning signs in key areas of your workplace? It might be worth another look to be sure.

Three Winter Worksite Dangers to Remember

Winter conditions create a variety of safety challenges on construction projects. Common examples include a significant increase in the likelihood of slip and fall accidents and tissue damage caused by frostbite. But some hazards that arrive with winter conditions aren't quite as obvious. The safety experts at Safety Management Group offer a closer look at three dangers that supervisors sometimes miss. Read more here.

December 10, 2009

Winter Workplace Safety

With the onset of cold weather, it's time to think about preventing cold-related health problems and accidents. But some indoor health risks also increase during cold weather. Here's how to help keep your workers safe indoors and out this winter.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless killer, and more than 60 percent of CO poisoning cases occur during the fall and winter months. So before you close up your workplace to keep out the cold, be sure your heaters and boilers are vented properly and operating safely.

CO is commonly associated with gas furnaces, boilers, water or space heaters and propane-powered forklifts. When doors, windows and other sources of fresh air are closed to keep in the heat, they also keep in any CO in the air. Employee training and safety signs can remind workers to be alert to CO hazards. You may have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, but what about your office or warehouse?

Cold temperatures, wet weather and shorter daylight hours increase the potential for worksite accidents. Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures can cause serious health problems including trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Risks increase for workers taking certain medications or suffering from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. Ice or snow falling from roofs is another common danger that can be addresssed with safety signs.

What constitutes "cold stress" varies across the country. In regions unaccustomed to cold weather, near-freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress, while folks in colder climates might consider the same temperatures a warm-up. Migrant workers or others who are new to your area may not be familiar with winter weather and need training about dressing for winter weather.

To avoid accidents:

  • Establish a procedure for spreading salt or sand on icy walks
  • Monitor ice and snow buildup on roofs above walkways
  • Check ladders and scaffolds for ice
  • Regularly clean windows and lights on vehicles and construction equipment so operators can safely see and be seen

To protect workers from cold stress:

  • Schedule cold jobs for the warmer part of the day
  • Reduce physical demands on workers
  • Use relief workers or assign extra workers for long, demanding jobs
  • Provide warm liquids to workers
  • Provide warm areas for use during break periods
  • Monitor workers who are at risk of cold stress
  • Provide cold stress training

Learn more with these links:
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Read the CDC Carbon Monoxide fact sheet.
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Review NIOSH Cold Stress information.
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Download OSHA's Cold Stress Card with guidelines and recommendations for preventing cold weather-induced illnesses and injuries in English or Spanish.
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Download the Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety winter survival tips brochure.

Safety Tip: Prevent Cold-Related Injuries

Here's a collection of cold-weather tips that can help you and your employees avoid injuries this winter:
  • Wear several layers of loose clothing to provide insulation (tight clothes reduce blood circulation)
  • Be aware that some clothing may restrict movement, creating a hazard
  • Wear a hat and protect the ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold weather
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots
  • Keep moving when working outside for long periods of time
  • Change out of wet clothing as soon as possible
  • Move into warm locations during work breaks; limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days
  • Stop working and seek shelter if you feel disoriented or experience tingling or numbness
  • Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers
For more information:

Safety Humor

Winter weather is coming, but a good laugh will help keep you warm:

  • Blizzard: A storm that winterrupts traffic.
  • Winter: The age of shivery and shovelry.
  • Headline: Snow Storms May Be Precursor of Winter
  • Think about this: If it's zero degrees outside today and it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?
  • It was so cold . . . Starbucks was serving coffee on a stick!
  • Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.
  • There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor's.
  • Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.

From the Washington Post weather blog.

December 9, 2009

ASSE Announces Revised Workplace Fall Protection Standard

Fall-ADE-3000_150The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently announced approval of a newly revised American National Standards Institute (ANSI) /ASSE Z359.0-2009 "Definitions and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest" voluntary consensus standard. The approval is an effort to provide the most current information on slip, trip and fall prevention.
The standard establishes definitions and nomenclature for fall arrest and fall protection equipment, including those used for all nine current Z359 standards. Falls in the transportation industry are covered under Z359, including all vehicles, such as trailers, that move on a railway. ANSI/ASSE also is working on 10 additional Z359 standards projects aimed at protecting workers from falls.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 680 fatal on-the-job injuries in 2008 were attributed to falls. As reported in the November Connection, fall protection is one of the top 10 OSHA violations for 2009.

New at Virginia No Smoking Signs

Effective December 1, smoking is prohibited in most restaurants and bars in Virginia and proprietors are required to "post signs stating 'No Smoking' or containing the international 'No Smoking' symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a bar across it, clearly and conspicuously in every restaurant where smoking is prohibited…"

If this law applies to you, is ready to meet your need for state-approved No Smoking signs. We offer a wide selection, including:

  • Premium wood-framed brushed metal signs
  • Designer wood plaques with brushed metal plates
  • Standard signs and labels available in a variety of materials
  • Clear labels for use on doors and windows

Learn more with these links:

OSHA Issues Flu Fact Sheets

H1N1 Update:
"There's been a decline in activity, but there's still lots of flu," the CDC reported on Dec. 1, noting that flu is still widespread in 32 states. About half of flu experts the CDC polled think there will be another wave of cases before spring. Each week the CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in a report called FluView.

H1N1 web page provides current information about the 2009 H1N1 flu and details steps that managers, employers and workers need to take now to avoid flu problems. OSHA has also issued fact sheets that employers and workers can use to promote safety and reduce the risk of exposure to H1N1 virus at work. Separate fact sheets with additional precautions are available for health care workers.

November 18, 2009

Survey: OSHA Visits

October Survey Results: Visits from OSHA
While just 1/3 of respondents have been visited by OSHA in the last 12 months, 2/3 of all respondents felt they were well-prepared for an inspection. Half of respondents said they have implemented new procedures as a result of previous OSHA visits.

How does your workplace compare?

Safety Humor

Murphy's Laws of Work

  • You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard.
  • Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing.
  • The last person that quit or was fired will be the one held responsible for everything that goes wrong... until the next person quits or is fired.
  • There is never enough time to do it right the first time, but there is always enough time to do it over.

November 17, 2009

November News & Notes

High-visibility warning garments are required safety attire for highway and road construction workers according to a new letter of interpretation recently released by OSHA.

Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Declined in 2008. Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers in 2008 occurred at a rate of 3.9 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers - a decline from 4.2 cases in 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported in 2008 declined to 3.7 million cases, compared to 4 million cases in 2007. The total recordable case (TRC) injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers has declined significantly each year since 2003. Read more here.

OSHA Addresses Combustible Dust Standard. OSHA has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking as an initial step in developing a standard to address the hazards of combustible dust. More than 900 workers have been killed or injured in combustible dust explosions since 1980. OSHA has been conducting a Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program since October 2007; a status report is available on OSHA's Combustible Dust Safety and Health Topics page. Read more details here.

CDC Flu Update. Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) nationally decreased very slightly this week from last week, after four consecutive weeks of sharp increases.

  • ILI continues to be higher than what is seen during the peak of most regular flu seasons.

  • Total influenza hospitalization rates for laboratory-confirmed flu are climbing and higher than expected for this time of year.

  • Forty-eight states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time; a decline of one state from last week. This many reports of widespread activity at this time of year are unprecedented during seasonal flu.

  • Almost all influenza viruses identified so far continue to be 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. Read more from the CDC here.
OSHA to Evaluate State Plans. As a result of deficiencies found in Nevada OSHA's program, federal OSHA will implement a number of changes to strengthen the oversight, monitoring and evaluation of all state programs. Problems with the Nevada program include failure to issue appropriate willful and repeat violations, inspectors who were not properly trained to recognize construction hazards, and lack of follow-up to determine whether hazards were abated. Read more here.

A new H1N1 Flu and You brochure from gives information on the illness, tips on prevention and what to do if you get sick, signs of severe illness and more. Download a pdf file here.

BP Products North America Inc. has been issued the largest fine in OSHA's history for failure to correct potential hazards faced by employees - $87.4 million in proposed penalties. Safety violations at BP's Texas City, Texas, refinery resulted in a massive explosion causing 15 deaths and 170 injuries in 2005. BP later agreed to corrective actions to eliminate potential hazards. The fine was recently announced following an OSHA evaluation that determined BP has allowed hundreds of potential hazards to continue unabated, even after four years. Read more here.

Set the Tone for Safety

Seven Strategies Set the Tone for Safety

The safety orientation session can be an excellent opportunity to set the tone for a new project and help workers understand the role they play in achieving a safe workplace. But more often than not, it becomes a dreaded interruption, with a presenter who drones on about safety, telling workers things they believe they already know.

But it doesn't have to be that way. The experts at Safety Management Group have identified seven proven strategies to effectively deliver safety messages to new workers. These strategies can easily be applied to orientations at any construction or industrial site. Read more here.

November 16, 2009

Safety Tip: H1N1 Flu Advice from the CDC

Simple actions can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Here are some tips to protect yourself, and others:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw away the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you are sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for several days; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues, facemasks and other related items might be useful and help avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and contagious.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

OSHA Makes Statement on H1N1-related Inspections

H1N1_fluOSHA will soon issue a compliance directive to ensure uniform procedures when conducting inspections to identify risks of occupational exposure to H1N1 virus. The directive will closely follow the CDC's Interim Guidance on Infection Control Measures for 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Healthcare Settings, Including Protection of Healthcare Personnel.

In response to complaints, OSHA inspectors will ensure that healthcare employers implement a hierarchy of controls (including source control, engineering and administrative measures), and encourage vaccination and other work practices recommended by the CDC. Where respirators are required, the OSHA Respiratory Protection standard must be followed, including worker training and fit testing.

The CDC recommends use of respiratory protection that is at least as protective as a fit tested disposable N95 respirator for healthcare personnel who are in close contact (within 6 feet) with patients with suspected or confirmed 2009 H1N1 influenza.

If OSHA inspectors determine a facility has not violated any OSHA requirements but believes that additional measures could enhance the protection of employees, OSHA may issue a Hazard Alert Letter outlining suggested measures to further protect workers.

Read more here.
Review the latest CDC Guidance here.

November 12, 2009

Sign Posts and Mounting Hardware Now Available

In response to customer requests, we now offer a variety of sign posts and sign-mounting accessories designed to work with our parking signs and many other signs:
  • 3 types of posts to meet your needs, from 7-foot economy posts to 8-foot premium square posts with optional mounting sleeves - all with standard mounting hardware included
  • Aluminum and poly post bases for permanent or temporary mounting applications
  • Tamper-resistant mounting hardware to secure your signs from vandals
  • 3 types of fence-mounting kits to let you easily mount our signs to open chain link fences
Visit our new Mounting Accessories page to learn more.

Top OSHA Safety Violations for 2009

OSHA has revealed the preliminary top 10 workplace safety violations for 2009. The number of top 10 violations increased almost 30 percent over the same time period in 2008. The 10 most common violations in 2009 are:
1. Scaffolding - 9,093 violations. Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.
2. Fall Protection - 6,771 violations. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction.
3. Hazard Communication - 6,378 violations. Chemical manufacturers and importers are required prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.
4. Respiratory Protection - 3,803 violations
5. Lockout-Tagout - 3,321 violations. These practices safeguard employees from unexpected startup of machinery and equipment or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
6. Electrical (Wiring) - 3,079 violations
7. Ladders - 3,072 violations. The Department of Labor lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death.
8. Powered Industrial Trucks - 2,993 violations. Each year, tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks, or forklifts, occur in US workplaces.
9. Electrical - 2,556 violations
10. Machine Guarding - 2,364 violations. Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.

Elevator / Escalator Safety Week

Elevator / Escalator Safety Week is November 9-13
National Elevator / Escalator Safety Awareness Week is celebrated the second full week of November each year to increase public awareness of safe riding behavior.

Why is this important? Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates some 20,000 injuries from elevators and escalators require emergency-room treatment each year. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 workers died from on-the-job accidents involving elevators in 2007.

If you have elevators or escalators in your facility or worksite, this is the perfect time to review safety records and measures to protect your workers. The ASME A17.1, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, and CSA B44, Safety Code for Elevators, are the basis for elevator codes used throughout the United States and Canada, but are only guides unless adopted as law or regulation by the authority having jurisdiction.

For more information:
View elevator and escalator safety signs at
View the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 table of contents here, or buy the handbook here.
Review OSHA confined space regulations pertaining to elevator pits here.

November 9, 2009

Training with Real-Life Examples Improves Safety Sign Effectiveness

More than 5,000 workplace fatalities were reported in the U.S. in 2008, and more than 1 million injuries and illnesses occur annually. These numbers point to the continued importance of workplace safety efforts. Creating and maintaining a safe work environment requires:
1) Understanding the benefits of a safe work environment
2) Addressing workplace issues, and
3) Cultivating a culture that promotes safety

Clearly, communication is the common thread among all three.

How can you communicate effectively in the workplace? Start by posting safety signs.

Prominent safety signs that list safety rules and regulations and identify workplace hazards are among the most cost-effective safety tools. In fact, senior financial executives estimate that each $1 invested in injury prevention returns $2 or more in bottom-line benefits.1

But even with safety signs posted, workers continue to suffer injuries. Did you ever wonder why? Cognitive researchers and other experts have developed some possible explanations. First, signs can be improperly placed or poorly designed. If they can’t be seen or understood, they can’t help. Second, warning signs can become “overly familiar” so they are no longer noticed or thought about. Third, workers often consider other people to be more vulnerable to a hazard than they are themselves. Fourth, workers may simply choose to practice risky behavior. And finally, warning signs may simply be more effective as reminders of a known hazard, rather than as a way to educate workers about unknown hazards.2,3

So how do you maximize the effectiveness of safety signs in your workplace? In a word: communication.

A sign presenting a warning message is only one part of the communication equation. Your workers must understand what the warning means, be able recall it quickly and realize that it applies to them. Ideally, workers will also plan to follow posted safety messages and feel some control over their own safety. Fortunately, simple training can help accomplish all these goals. Especially effective is training that includes real-world accident scenarios that illustrate the hazard, the required or prohibited actions and the possible consequences of failure to comply.2

If you get creative, you can find memorable ways to safely demonstrate to workers what could happen to them if they don’t follow posted safety signs. For example, at The Book of Odds website you can find the odds of death from all kinds of risks. So before someone asks what the odds are of being injured or killed, you can tell them. The site has an entire category on Accidents & Deaths, and a sub-section on Workplace Accidents. At another site,, students and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University let you compare mortality risks by gender, age, cause of death and geographic region.

Now that you’re thinking about safety communication, why not conduct a safety sign audit at your workplace? Look for out-of-date, damaged or missing safety signs; Identify new locations where warnings and notices could improve worker safety; Check fire exits, shipping/receiving areas, PPE reminders, machine and process areas, storage areas, restricted areas and all areas where chemicals are used. Then take a look outside your building. Would additional parking lot or fire control signs improve safety on your property?

You’ll probably be surprised how many additional messages you can identify. When you do, browse to to search and shop from more than 38,000 safety signs and labels, including OSHA, ANSI and custom formats.

And when your signs are delivered, don’t just post them and expect workers to read and follow them. By illustrating what the signs mean and what can happen if they are ignored, you’ll help workers better understand and recall your safety messages. Remember, the key to workplace safety is communication, and signs communicate safety.

David Anderson
ComplianceSigns, Inc.

1 2005 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, Chief Financial Officer Survey.
2 From Research to Reality, Winter 2009.
3 A. Adams, S. Bochner, L. Bilik. Applied Ergonomics, Aug. 1998.

October 18, 2009


How do I choose between ANSI and OSHA signs?It can be confusing. What's the difference between Danger and Warning? How is Caution different from Warning? And what about Notice? If you're not sure which header to use or what's the difference between OSHA and ANSI headers, visit our Help Me Choose page for clarification.

Can I get customized signs or labels?
Yes. We have several ways to help you get exactly what you need, fast! Our custom sign generator is the fast and easy way to create your own custom Safety or No Parking signs and labels for quick ordering. Just select a template style, add text and/or symbols and add to your cart. It’s that easy to design, preview and order your own custom signs and labels from

Or, we’ll be glad to design custom signs or labels to meet your specific needs. Just contact a customer service rep for help at (800) 578-1245 or

Visit for all your safety and compliance sign needs.

Are You Ready for OSHA "VPP" Treatment?

If you think OSHA only hands out citations and fines, think again. OSHA has recognized more than 2,000 worksites as VIPs in its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The average VPP worksite has a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) case rate 52% below the average for its industry. OSHA says VPP participation can also lead to lower employee turnover and increased productivity and cost savings.

What is VPP?
The VPP sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, invites sites to apply and then assesses applicants against the criteria. OSHA's verification includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. In the VPP, management, labor and OSHA establish cooperative relationships.

Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. Highlights from a recently completed evaluation of VPP participants show that, in 2007, VPP participants:
  • Averaged 54% below the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Total Case Incident Rate for their industries
  • Avoided 13,829 TCIR injuries and 7,708 DART injuries
  • Experienced zero recordables at 354 VPP sites
Based on figures provided by the National Safety Council, VPP participants saved more than $300 million by avoiding DART injuries in 2007. That shows workplace safety is good business. If you're ready for the VPP treatment, you can learn more here.

The ComplianceSigns Connection brings you workplace safety news you can use.

October 17, 2009

October News and Notes

Nursing Homes and Manufacturers on 2009 OSHA Targeted Inspection List
Nearly 4,000 high-hazard worksites are scheduled for comprehensive safety inspections under OSHA's 2009 Site-Specific Targeting Program. Changes to this year's program include dividing the primary list of establishments slated for inspection into three sectors: manufacturing, non-manufacturing and nursing homes. OSHA has established minimum injury and illness rates for each group, allowing the agency to inspect more locations that exceed the minimum rates. Read the directive here.

Chamber of Commerce Posts H1N1 Business Guide
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released It's Not Flu as Usual: An H1N1 Business Preparedness Guide with suggestions on how to keep employees healthy and maintain business operations during the upcoming flu season. The guide includes a 10-point preparedness checklist and a list of Internet resources on topics like federal guidance for workplace planning, vaccines, antiviral drugs, face masks and respirators. Download the guide at

OSHA Revises Enforcement Policies for Fall Protection During Steel Erection
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently revised the steel erection compliance directive for the agency's Steel Erection Standard to change two enforcement policies related to tripping hazards and installation of nets or floors during steel erection. Click the links above for details, or read the news release here.

CDC Releases H1N1 Guide for Small Business
The Centers for Disease Control says small businesses must plan ahead so they can respond in flexible ways to varying levels of influenza outbreaks this fall and winter. The most important thing you can do to prepare your business is to have a written plan, and the CDC's new guide, Planning for 2009 H1N1 Influenza: A Preparedness Guide for Small Business, can help you write your own plan. Download the guide here.

Rule Updating Personal Protective Equipment Standards is Now in Effect
The new rule revises the PPE sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring and marine terminals standards concerning requirements for eye- and face-protective devices, and head and foot protection. Read details here.

Count on for workplace safety news and compliance updates.

Understanding ANSI/ASME Pipe Marking Standards

We have moved this article to our new blog.

Shop for pipe labels
Please read it here:

October 16, 2009

OSHA Proposes Adoption of Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication System

OSHA recently proposed a rule to adopt the Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication System (GHS) in order to increase the quality and consistency of information provided to workers, employers and chemical users.

Modifications to OSHA's current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) would include:
  • Revised criteria for classification of chemical hazards
  • Revised labeling provisions with standardized signal words, pictograms, hazard statements and precautionary statements
  • A specified format for safety data sheets
  • Required employee training on labels and safety data sheets
OSHA is also proposing changes to several other standards, including flammable and combustible liquids, process safety management and most substance-specific health standards, to ensure consistency with the modified HCS requirements.

"Following the GHS approach will increase workplace safety, facilitate international trade in chemicals and generate cost savings from production efficiencies for firms that manufacture and use hazardous chemicals," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab.

The current HCS requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import and provide information to subsequent users. It also requires employers to have a hazard communication program for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals.

If/when the standard changes, you can count on for all your safety sign and compliance sign needs.

Federal No Smoking Signs and Labels

GSA FMR Bulletin 2009-B1 prohibits smoking of tobacco products in all interior space owned, rented or leased by the executive branch of the Federal Government, and in any outdoor areas under executive branch control in front of air intake ducts. In addition, smoking is now prohibited in courtyards and within 25 feet of doorways and air intake ducts on outdoor space under the jurisdiction, custody or control of GSA. carries NO SMOKING signs specifically designed for Federal Government applications, as well as state-specific smoking signs. Our website features an interactive map with quick links to no-smoking signs for all 50 states and Puerto Rico. All our No Smoking signs and Smoking Prohibited labels are produced using industrial strength materials suitable for outdoor or indoor use.

Read more about 2009-B1 and workplace smoking:
- GSA cracks down on smoking in and around federal buildings
- FMR Bulletin 2009-B1 in the Federal Register
- Smoke-free lists, maps and data from
- Case studies of the economic impact on businesses of smoking bans
- A sample smoke-free workplace policy and more 

October 15, 2009

OSHA Begins Emphasis on Recordkeeping

For the next year, select industries with high injury and illness rates can expect records reviews, employee interviews and limited safety and health inspections as part of OSHA's new national emphasis program (NEP) on recordkeeping.

The effort is intended to assess accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers. It will involve inspecting occupational injury and illness records prepared by businesses and appropriately enforcing regulatory requirements when employers are found to be under-recording injuries and illnesses.

This NEP complements Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) efforts to investigate differences between the number of workplace injuries and illnesses estimated by BLS and other sources.

Count on for all your safety sign and OSHA sign needs.

Safety Humor

A voice on the office loudspeaker announced, "We will be testing the speaker system to make sure it will work properly in case of emergency." Then the voice added, "If you are unable to hear this announcement, please contact us." 

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
- Thomas A. Edison

Top 10 Documents You'll Need When OSHA Arrives

When an OSHA inspector visits your jobsite, a funny Top 10 List won't get you very far. You need to prove that your company and employees are serious about safety. So, the most important thing to do before a compliance officer appears at your job trailer is to be prepared.

"They're going to ask to see your documentation, so you may as well be ready. Keeping an inspector waiting or making excuses is simply bad business," says Scott Spence, Manager of Business Development with Safety Management Group in Indianapolis. "Keeping your documentatoin in-line and available is a strong predictor of a company's overall safety program."

The experts at Safety Management Group have compiled a list and explanation of the "Top 10" documents and reports OSHA inspectors ask for when visiting construction sites. This short article will help you ensure you have the right information on hand when you need it. Read more here.

September 24, 2009

Chamber of Commerce Posts H1N1 Flu Guide

UPDATE: H1N1 Flu Guide
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just released: It's Not Flu as Usual: An H1N1 Business Preparedness Guide with suggestions on how to keep employees healthy and maintain business operations during the upcoming flu season.

The guide includes a 10-point preparedness checklist and a list of Internet resources on topics like federal guidance for workplace planning, vaccines, antiviral drugs, face masks and respirators.

You can download the guide at

September 16, 2009

Safety Tip: Using a Fire Extinguisher

how to use a fire extinguisher

This article has moved to our new blog.

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2008 Workplace Fatality Data:

Most Injuries Down, Fire and Suicides Up

The Bureau of Labor Standards reports 5,071 fatal work injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2008, down from 5,657 for 2007. Although these results are preliminary, they represent the smallest annual preliminary total since 1992, when the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program began.
Based on preliminary counts, the rate of fatal work injuries for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007. These numbers are no doubt
impacted by the increasing unemployment rate and economic conditions of 2008, especially the downturn in construction.

News and Notes; Safety Humor

News iconNews and Notes

A revision to the OSHA Acetylene Standard replaces outdated references with updated references reflecting current industry practices in the acetylene industry.

The Dept. of Health and Human Services announced late last week that early trial data shows H1N1 influenza vaccines are well tolerated and induce a strong immune response in most healthy grown-ups when administered in a single dose. The World Health Organization reports that in the United States, regional increases in influenza activity are being reported, most notably in the south eastern states.

The CDC is releasing new guidance that employers should take now to decrease the spread of seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu in the workplace and to help maintain business continuity during the 2009-2010 flu season. The guidance includes additional strategies to use if flu conditions become more severe and some new recommendations regarding when a worker who is ill with influenza may return to work.

OSHA just published a final rule revising the personal protective equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring and marine terminals standards. The new rule concerns requirements for eye- and face-protective devices and head and foot protection. The new rule takes effect October 9.

A new International Standard developed by the ISO aims to protect lives and cut costs associated with fires in built environments. ISO 23932:2009, Fire safety engineering - General principles, provides general principles for engineers to assess the level of fire safety for new or existing built environments. The standard reviews how fire safety engineering analyses and assessments should be conducted, and includes links to more specific standards.

Safety Humor

Two workmen were digging a trench when one of them started shouting and jumping around. The other one thought his partner had hit an underground power cable and was being electrocuted, so he followed good safety protocol and used a wood-handled shovel to separate his friend from the electricity. Fortunately, the first worker wasn't being shocked but had panicked when a wasp flew up his pants leg. He didn't get stung... but his partner hit him so hard with the shovel that it dislocated his shoulder.

National Preparedness Month

Are You Ready for National Preparedness Month?
How quickly your company could get back to business after a tornado, fire, flood or terrorist attack often depends on emergency planning done today. Ready Business is a national public service campaign that helps owners and managers of small to medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of such emergencies.

Sponsored by FEMA, Ready Business is intended to raise awareness of the need for emergency planning and motivate business owners to:
  • plan to stay in business
  • talk to employees, and
  • protect their investment

The Ready Business website outlines commonsense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready. It provides practical steps and easy-to-use templates to help you plan for your company's future. These recommendations reflect the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Standard (NFPA 1600) developed by the NFPA and endorsed by the ANSI and the Department of Homeland Security. It also provides useful links to resources providing more detailed business continuity and disaster preparedness information.

Is your business or workplace Ready?
  - Review a Small Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Guide at comparitech.
  - Emergency Exit and Severe Weather signs and labels from can help employees and visitors find their way to safety in a disaster situation.

OSHA Fire Prevention Plans

Are Fire Prevention Plans Required for All Workplaces?
Not necessarily. OSHA standards for facilities using the following flammable materials require fire prevention plans:
   - Ethylene Oxide (1910.1047)
   - Methylenedianiline (1910.1050)
   - 1,3 Butadiene (1910.1051)
All fire prevention plans must:
   - Be available for employee review
   - Include housekeeping procedures for storage and cleanup of flammable materials and flammable waste
   - Address handling and packaging of flammable waste (Recycling of flammable waste such as paper is encouraged)

Fire Prevention Week

October 4-10 is Fire Prevention WeekFire Prevention Week 2009 focuses on burn awareness and prevention. While most public efforts will target children and home safety, burns are a common workplace injury. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports approximately 152 fatalities from fires and explosions in 2008, an increase of 16 percent from 2007.
At home and on the job, communication is key to preventing fire-related injuries. Fire Safety Week is a perfect time to remind employees of fire safety precautions and to review and practice fire safety procedures. Check with your local fire department for activities and information, or visit the NFPA Fire Prevention Week website.