A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays from

As 2010 draws to a close, I'm proud to look back at a year that included major changes and improvements to our website, our Inc. 5000 award and the continued support of our customers, even in tough economic times. And I'm excited to look ahead to 2011. 

We have many new products in development to meet your signage needs, as well as plans for new website functionality and services. We're moving forward, and I think you'll like where we're going.

I wish you all the best in the New Year.
Paul Sandefer, President

December 17, 2010

December - Top News this Month

  • Seasonal flu is on the rise, but not widespread. Hand washing and other preventive measures are the best workplace defenses.
  • OSHA will continue to target federal agencies in 2011, especially locations with high lost-time injuries in 2010.
  • EPA announces new tool to identify safer chemicals and adds 16 chemicals to EPCRA reporting list.
  • A new lead hazard database from NIOSH lets you search data on elevated lead blood levels in adults.

December News and Notes:

New Technology for Reducing Ladder Slips. Ladder slips account for more than one third of all ladder-related fall incidents. NIOSH is collaborating with a research institute to develop an extension ladder stabilization device that will electrically attach a ladder to a variety of building surfaces and improve stability. Learn more here (pdf), or browse Ladder / Scaffold signs here

Video Highlights Hispanic Worker Risks. In a new Spanish-language video presentation on the Dialogo de Costa a Costa news service, NIOSH's Maria Lioce highlights occupational cancer issues. View the video here. 

CDC Unveils Learning Connection Website. CDC Learning Connection offers more than 150 online courses, webcasts, and electronic publications for public health-related education, produced by the CDC and partners. Offerings include podcasts, e-learning, electronic publications and live events. Check it out here.

ANSI-HSSP Releases Final Report on Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs. Emergencies and natural disasters present a unique challenge for people with special needs. In an effort to advance standardization efforts in this area, the American National Standards Institute Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) has released a final workshop report outlining recommendations for development of standards to support more effective emergency preparedness for all. The report consolidates the panel's findings from a series of 2010 workshops. Download the report here (pdf) or check OSHA's evacuation plans and procedures e-tool for more info. Browse Emergency Exit signsSevere Weather / Area of Rescue signs at

EPA Adds 16 Chemicals to EPCRA Reporting List. Effective November 30, EPA has added 16 chemicals to the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA). These 16 chemicals have been classified by the National Toxicology Program as ''reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.'' Visit the EPA EPCRA page here, read the final rule (pdf) here or browse Chemical & Pesticide safety signs at

Fire / Emergency - Fire Safety Signs

The Fire / Emergency tab at is your access point to hundreds of safety signs and labels in four main categories: Fire Safety, Fire Exit, Fire Extinguisher / Equipment and Fire Fighter / Rescue / EMS. The Fire Safety page is the place to go for general fire safety signs, including: Fire Alarm, Sprinkler Access, Fire Lane, Gas Shut Off and more. You'll also find signs for DoD Fire Division, Roof Access, OSHA and ANSI. Many are available with reflective or glow-in-the-dark materials. Here's an overview of the Fire Safety section:
  • Surface Mount - Flat signs with a variety of messages, colors and graphics
  • 2D Projection - Aluminum signs stand out from the wall for viewing from either side
  • 3D Triangle Projection - Fire hose, fire alarm and other signs viewable from any angle
  • Ceiling Mount Projection - Mark fire exits, alarms and doors with signs that project down from suspended / drop ceilings
  • Roof Access - Mark roof ladders, hatches and other access routes with signs and labels in a variety of styles
  • DoD Fire Division - Signs and labels for DoD hazard classes, per Directive 6055.9
  • DOT Hazard - Includes placards, labels, shipping signs and aircraft hazardous material items
  • Elevator / Escalator Fire Signs - Includes In Case of Fire instructions in several styles with Braille
  • Truss Construction - Signs to identify buildings with truss construction are required in many areas
  • OSHA and ANSI - A variety of headers with messages for flammable materials and fire hazards

Top 10 Safety Topics of 2010

Here's a recap and links to the top 10 ComplianceSigns Connection topics of 2010, determined by what readers viewed the most.
  1. OSHA news was the #1 topic again this year. Popular items included the Field Ops Manual, Workplace Violation letters, State Reports, and Consultation changes.
  2. Cell Phone / Texting Laws changed almost monthly as federal and state governments adopted driving laws to control distracted driving - and people needed relevant signs.
  3. Crane Safety. New OSHA crane rules made crane-related signs and information a hot topic.
  4. H1N1 and Seasonal Flu. Connection readers monitored H1N1 flu activity through the spring and posted hand washing signs to help stop the pandemic. This fall, we're all interested in a new CDC flu toolkit for businesses.
  5. Construction Safety is always a concern, sparking interest in a Safety Management Group article on 13 construction myths and our great selection of construction safety signs.
  6. National Safety Month in June attracted a lot of attention, as readers downloaded a calendar with daily safety tips from the National Safety Council.
  7. New EPA Lead Laws for contractors took effect this year, and many readers took advantage of Connection links to lead-related EPA information, OSHA standards and construction safety signs.
  8. OSHA and Custom Sign links were popular, giving readers quick access to our huge selection of OSHA signs and our Custom Sign Generator.
  9. Fire Extinguisher Signs and Labels also proved popular with readers, who easily browsed our growing selection of fire extinguisher, fire safety and fire exit signs.
  10. Severe Weather and Wet Floors. Spring storms across the country spurred interest in our new severe weather and area of rescue signs. Our new wet floor stands and cones were also popular this year.

Flu Season 2011: Activity Increasing

According to the December 3, 2010 FluView report, flu activity remains relatively low in most of the United States, but there are exceptions. Influenza activity is increasing in the southeast, especially in Georgia, where the percent of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza has been rising for several weeks. Other parts of the country are beginning to see increases in flu-like illness and positive tests, as well. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is also an increasing threat this year. 

Influenza viruses identified so far include 2009 H1N1 viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses and influenza B viruses. These viruses remain similar to the viruses chosen for the 2010-2011 flu vaccine, and remain susceptible to antiviral drugs. Hand washing is still considered a first defense against the flu and similar illness.

What's New at

Roof Access fire safety signs. New signs to identify roof access, roof ladders and roof access hatches are available in flat, 2-D projection, 3-D triangle and ceiling-mount styles, as well as engraved acrylic with Braille. Reflective and glow-in-the-dark materials are available too! See them here.

Drug-Free Zone / No Bullies / Gangs signs. Schools, churches and businesses can use these parking-style signs to clearly identify drug-free zones and post rules about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weapons and more. See them here.

Nearly 1,000 more Spanish and English / Spanish bilingual signs and labels. We've added Spanish and bilingual versions of nearly 1,000 signs for Area of Rescue, Fire Safety, Shoplifting, and Room Names in ANSI, OSHA and general formats. It's easy to access these new items, just search or browse for the sign of your choice, then choose a language from the Alternate Languages drop-down box below the sign image.

OSHA Continues Targeted Inspection Program for Federal Workers

OSHA recently updated its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG) directive for fiscal year 2011, directing programmed inspections of federal agency establishments that experienced high numbers of lost time injuries during 2010.

OSHA will inspect all establishments reporting 100 or more lost time cases (LTCs) during FY 2010; 50 percent of those establishments reporting 50 to 99 LTCs; and 10 percent of those reporting 20 to 49 LTCs. Changes to the directive include defining lost time case to mean a worker who loses time from work beyond the date of the injury. Other changes include updates to OSHA's record keeping violation policy and guidance for inspection of worksites with multiple operations.

NIOSH Launches Lead Hazard Database

A new interactive database from NIOSH provides information on cases of elevated blood lead levels in adults, and tracks trends in those cases over time. It also allows users to easily search and sort the data to identify and monitor lead overexposures.

ABLES (Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance database) is a state-based surveillance program of laboratory-reported adult blood lead levels. In the U.S., the vast majority of reported elevated blood lead levels have been work related.

Recent research has led to increased concerns about the toxicity of lead at low doses. Reflecting this increased concern, the ABLES program updated its case definition for an elevated BLL to a blood lead concentration > =10 µg/dL in 2009. ABLES data shows more than 6,000 adults with BLL > = 25 ug/dL in the US in 2008. Pennsylvania and Missouri reported nearly 1,000 cases each and accounted for almost 1/3 of reported cases. The 5 states with the highest reported adult lead cases are:
- Pennsylvania - 994 cases
- Missouri - 971 cases
- Ohio - 462 cases
- Tennessee - 429 cases
- California - 315 cases

EPA Announces New Tool to Identify Safer Chemicals and Products

The EPA has announced new criteria to help companies, states and environmental organizations identify safer chemicals as alternatives to those that pose a concern to human health and the environment. The DfE Alternatives Assessments criteria are part of the agency's Design for the Environment (DfE) program.

Information on chemical hazards from DfE Alternatives Assessments is combined with industry data on performance and cost to guide the choice of safer alternatives. To distinguish among alternatives, DfE evaluates data for each chemical and assigns hazard levels of high, moderate or low for human health and environmental concerns.

The assessments will lead to the manufacture of safer products and reduced chemical exposures. For example, replacing bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper with safer alternatives will safeguard people from BPA in cash register and sales receipts. Similarly, identifying safer alternatives to decaBDE flame retardants used in textiles and electronics will eliminate an important route of human and environmental exposure to this chemical.

Safety Tip: Avoid the Flu at the Holidays

Seasonal flu activity already is increasing in some areas, just in time for company holiday parties, school programs and family reunions. Here are some tips from the Ryerson University School of Occupational and Public Health that can help you enjoy the holidays and avoid the flu:
  1. Do the air kiss. Greet your family and friends by giving them a hug and kissing the air near their cheek.
  2. Wash your hands. Always wash your hands before and after digging into the appetizers at a party.
  3. Don't use your fingers. Use serving spoons or forks to put food on your plate instead of just reaching for it.
  4. Get creative with your cups. Come up with fun ways to personalize cups so there aren't any mixups.
  5. Carry hand sanitizer. Viruses can survive hours to days on surfaces or your skin. Use alcohol gel to sanitize your hands before you eat or even touch your face, particularly your nose or mouth.
  6. Cough in your sleeve. If you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, direct it toward your sleeve to avoid spreading germs.
  7. Attending an event? Try to keep 3-6 feet away from other people. Instead of shaking hands or hugging, try greeting others with a friendly wave or the new health-inspired elbow greeting.
  8. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Aim for a consistent six to eight hours of sleep every night.
  9. Sick? Stay away. If you feel like you are coming down with a cold or flu, stay at home until you feel better.
  10. Cold or Flu? A cold can strike any time, but October to March is flu season. If your symptoms include a headache and high temperature, contact your health-care provider.
Read more here, or browse our selection of colorful engraved Hand Washing reminder signs with Braille.

Dust Hazards in Special Work Environments


Construction dust and other particles take on a whole new level of hazard in some special work environments. When a project involves renovation of a hospital or other healthcare facility, common dust and other particles take on a whole new level of hazard. Contractors already use a lot of common sense in protecting their workers and the occupants of the buildings they work on. But demolition and excavation at healthcare sites calls for extra measures beyond the normal housekeeping and cleaning to protect patients who are even more susceptible to dust than workers. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have some good ideas to help control dust in these special situations. Read them here or browse Respirator Safety signs here.

Customer Comments - December

Here's what customers are saying this month:

" is a great site to order from and work with. Every order that I have received has been correct and on time!"
Kristi S., Administrative Manager 
CVR Industries USA, Inc.

"Hassle-free and customizing is a cinch! Truly - it can not be made ANY easier! This site is a life saver!"
Lori N., Safety Engineer

"An excellent source for safety signs, especially custom signs!"
Greg G., CSR
Industrial and Construction Enterprises

November 18, 2010

Top News This Month

  • Workplace injury rates dropped in 2009, especially in manufacturing
  • Revised OSHA policy now limits worker training classes to a maximum of 7½ hours per day
  • The EPA has strengthened air standards and promises improved monitoring, timely and thorough permitting and vigorous enforcement
  • Seasonal Flu is back on the radar - and the CDC has a business kit to help
  • Musculoskeletal disorders cost American businesses $61.2 billion annually in lost productivity alone

November Note

The Thanksgiving holiday is almost here, and there’s a lot to be thankful for this month: workplace injury rates are down, election ads have stopped, and the weather in this part of the country is unseasonably warm. More importantly, is thankful that you choose to do business with us. We work hard every day to earn your trust and to provide the signs you need. Thanks for giving us that opportunity.

Have a safe month!
Paul Sandefer, President

2010-11 Seasonal Flu Information for Businesses and Employees

 In the United States, the flu season usually runs from fall through early spring. Although the World Health Organization declared an end to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, the H1N1 flu virus is expected to circulate again this flu season, along with other seasonal flu viruses.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine, but good health habits and antiviral medicationsalso help protect against the flu. To help businesses, employers, and their employees learn about these strategies for preventing flu, CDC has developed a "Make It Your Business to Fight the Flu" toolkit, flyers, posters and other materials to post and distribute in the workplace.

The kit includes:
  • Recommended strategies for businesses and employers
  • A flu vaccination checklist
  • Promotional materials
  • Take 3 Actions to Fight the Flu brochure and poster
  • Key facts about Influenza & the flu vaccine
Learn more with these links:

Reported Workplace Injury / Illness Dropped in 2009

Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2009 to a rate of 3.6 cases per 100 full-time workers - down from 3.9 cases in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported.

Key findings from the 2009 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses:
  • The manufacturing sector reported the largest year-to-year decline in injuries and illnesses since NAICS was introduced in 2003 - falling by 161,100 cases (23%) from 2008 to 2009 to a rate of 4.3 cases per 100 workers.
  • The construction sector reported 71,700 fewer cases in 2009, compared to 2008 - a 22 percent decline, lowering the incidence rate to 4.3.
  • Slightly more than one-half of the 3.3 million private industry injury and illness cases reported nationally in 2009 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or Restriction - commonly referred to as DART cases
  • Injuries accounted for about 3.1 million (94.9 percent) of injury and illness cases.
While the decline in injury/illness cases seems promising, OSHA leaders and others are less than impressed, commenting that 3.3 million cases are still too many, and expressing concern about the widespread existence of programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries. Work-related illness is also a point of debate, due to the extended time between initial workplace exposures and onset of the related illness.

EPA Lays Out Five-Year Priorities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its 2011 to 2015 strategic plan, which presents five strategic goals for advancing the agency's environmental and human-health mission.

The plan identifies measurable environmental and human health outcomes the public can expect over the next five years and describes how EPA intends to achieve those results. The agency's five strategic goals are:
  • Taking action on climate change and improving air quality
  • Protecting America's waters
  • Cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development
  • Ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution
  • Enforcing environmental laws
EPA has strengthened ambient air-quality standards for nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide and proposed stronger standards for ozone. It is developing a strategy for a cleaner and more efficient power sector with strong and achievable emission-reduction goals for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and other air toxins.

The agency says improved monitoring, timely and thorough permitting and vigorous enforcement will be its key tools for air-quality improvement.

OSHA Revises Time Limits for Worker Training Program

Effective immediately, OSHA outreach trainers must conduct 10-hour courses over a minimum of two days and 30-hour courses over at least four days. The change comes after audits showed some classes were lasting up to 13 hours daily, while others were not meeting minimum time requirements.

Revised program policy now requires OSHA trainers to limit worker training classes to a maximum of 7½ hours per day. Before OSHA made this change, there were no limitations on how long these classes could last each day. OSHA became concerned that long, mentally-fatiguing class days might cause students to miss essential safety and health training.

This policy change is effective immediately and will be reflected in the next revision of the Outreach Training Program Guidelines. OSHA will not recognize training classes that exceed 7½ hours per day or do not meet all program content requirements. In such cases trainers will not receive completion cards to distribute to students. Trainers may, however, submit written requests for exceptions to limiting training days to 7½ hours based on extenuating circumstances.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month - a national campaign designed to focus attention on lung cancer issues. Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death, claiming 1.3 million lives every year. Non-smokers account for up to 15% of U.S. lung cancer cases, and exposure to secondhand smoke accounts for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually, according to the National Cancer Institute.

But commonly used chemicals also contribute to lung cancer and other respiratory illness. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that respiratory conditions account for nearly 10% of all reported workplace injuries and illnesses. For example, exposure to hexavalent chromium increases the risk for lung cancer, and was the topic of a new OSHA rule earlier this year.

Respiratory protection continues to be a hot safety topic with OSHA, NIOSH and others as new protective gear is developed and the long-term effects of various substances are questioned. Use these links to learn more about respiratory health and protection in the workplace:

ASSE Addresses Ergonomic / MSD Injuries & Costs

American businesses pay $61.2 billion annually to cover the lost productivity costs associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). NIOSH rates MSDs as one of the most significant occupational safety and health problems in the U.S., and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that sprain and strain injuries accounted for more than three-fourths of the MSD cases that resulted in days away from work in 2005.

"I do not expect to see much change in that number when data for 2006 and later are released," says ASSE Ergonomics Branch Chair Jeremy Chingo-Harris. "MSDs are a growing concern in all industries from office work to shipyards; from restaurants to hospitals; and are increasingly on OSHA's radar scope. OSHA has recently brought added attention to occupational ergonomics by proposing the addition of a new column on the OSHA 300 log for tracking work-related MSDs.

"Beyond OSHA, we look at effective ergonomics programs as a cost saving opportunity and the right thing to do for employees," Chingo-Harris adds. "Injuries cost companies and industries millions of dollars every year in direct and hidden costs. Companies need to start asking if they can afford the cost of not incorporating ergonomic practices into their operations."

A new article in the October ASSE journal Professional Safety identifies several best practices that can help demonstrate the economic value of ergonomics as a cost-saving, productivity-enhancing tool that contributes significantly to a company's bottom line.

Noise: The Hazard that's Often Missed

Some hazards in the workplace are fairly obvious. A sharp edge on a tool, a flame from a torch, and an open unprotected trench are all easily recognizable as potential dangers, and our safety training helps us avoid them.
But workes may not even notice one of the most potentially damaging hazards. This insidious hazard sneaks up on them slowly, and by the time they become aware of the injuries they've suffered, it's too late to reverse the damage. That hazard is workplace noise. The safety experts at Safety Management Group discuss this timely issue here. or browse ear PPE signs and labels here.

November Safety News & Notes

The revised OSHA Crane rule is now in effect. The new standard addresses key hazards related to cranes and derricks on construction worksites, including the four main causes of worker death and injury: electrocution, crushed by parts of the equipment, struck-by the equipment/load, and falls. Read more here.

OSHA seeks comments on workplace noise exposure controls. OSHA is proposing to issue an interpretation of the term "feasible administrative or engineering controls" as used in the general industry and construction occupational noise exposure standards and to amend its current enforcement policy to reflect the interpretation. For the purpose of enforcing compliance with these standards, the proposal states that "feasible" means capable of being done. Comments on the interpretation must be submitted on or before Dec. 20, 2010. Submit comments here or browse ear PPE signs at 

OSHA Targets High-Hazard Worksites for Inspection. OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting 2010 (SST-10) program for inspecting non-construction workplaces with 40+ workers. The plan is based on work-related injury and illness data collected from a 2009 OSHA survey of 80,000 manufacturing, non-manufacturing and nursing and personal care facilities. In addition to SST, OSHA implements local emphasis inspection programs to target high-risk hazards and industries. Read more here or view the list of National Emphasis Programs.

Menu Focus: Exit and Enter Signs

Navigation tabs at quickly take you to a variety of signs on various topics. Here's a look at the EXIT & Enter tab:
  • Surface Mount - Flat signs with a variety of messages and graphics
  • 2D Projection - Aluminum signs stand out from the wall for viewing from either side
  • 3D Triangle Projection - Aluminum signs viewable from any angle
  • Ceiling Mount Projection - Flanged signs project down from suspended / drop ceilings
  • Enter & Exit Sets - One for IN, one for OUT - pretty simple!
  • ADA Braille Exit - Laser-engraved ADA signs in 24 colors provide visual, tactile and Grade 2 Braille information
  • OSHA, ANSI & More - Includes standard safety signs for doors, exits, gates and more
  • Automatic Door - Signs and strip labels to identify automatic doors
  • No Trespassing - A wide variety of trespassing signs for use at property entrances

October 19, 2010

Top News - October

  • OSHA finds numerous deficiencies in state-run occupational safety and health programs
  • Top 10 OSHA violations in 2010 relate to falls, contact with equipment and exposure to harmful substances
  • Texting while driving is an OSHA violation
  • Job-related vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities and lost-time injuries

October News

There's a lot of OSHA news this month, which points to the increasing emphasis on workplace safety. It can be hard to keep up with new rules being issued by federal, state and local agencies - I know because they affect our business, too!

We have an excellent development team who monitors new workplace safety rules and regulations and works hard to make correct signage available to meet your needs - whether that's a truss construction sign for Acushnet, Mass., a public restroom sign for California, or something in-between.

Almost every month you'll find several pages of new signs at as we work to make your workplace a little safer and your job a little easier. And if you don't find what you need, just contact us and we'll be glad to help.

Have a safe month!
Paul Sandefer, President

OSHA's Top 10 Violations of 2010

  FallProtection-ODE-8135On Oct. 5, OSHA's director of enforcement programs revealed the 10 most common OSHA safety violations for fiscal year 2010 while addressing a special session at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo in San Diego.

The list is consistent with top 2009 citations, differing only in the ranking of the same 10 violations. The most common violations relate to falls, contact with equipment and exposure to harmful substances. OSHA issued about 94,000 citations in 2010, and the top ten represent nearly half of total violations issued.

The 10 most cited violations for 2010:
2010 Violation 2009
1Scaffolding, General 
2Fall Protection
3Hazard Communication
4Respiratory Protection
7Electrical, Wiring Methods 
8Powered Industrial Trucks 
9Electrical, General 
10Machine Guarding 

Browse OSHA signs at Scaffolding, Respiratory PPE, Forklifts, Electrical, Machine Safety

What's New at - October 2010

  Wet Floor Cones and Stands. Now you can order wet floor CAUTION cones and floor signs from your favorite safety sign supplier. Use these stackable cones, folding floor signs and more to identify wet floor hazards throughout your facility. See them all here.

Tip / Climbing Hazard signs and labels. Wherever there are storage racks or shelves for storage or display, people will climb them to reach what's on top. That can lead to accidents and injuries - either from falling or tipping the shelves over. We now have a selection of signs and labels to help you prevent these mishaps. Browse climbing hazard signs and labels here.

Call Before Digging. Calling before you dig isn't just a good idea, in many cases, it's the law. We now have a collection of signs in OSHA, ANSI and standard formats. Many show the national 811 Call Before You Dig number, but you can also customize a digging safety sign with a specific phone number. Check them out here.

Automatic Door signs and Labels. We've added dozens of signs and strip labels to our automatic door collection, including door frame labels, door stickers and wall signs. See them all here.

Coming soon: New signs regarding cell phone use, hazardous atmosphere, smoking and recycling.

OSHA: Texting While Driving is a Violation

Citing the original Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that requires employers to "provide a workplace free of serious recognized hazards," OSHA has called on employers to "prohibit any work policy or practice that requires or encourages workers to text while driving."

Texting while driving greatly increases the risk of being injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading cause of worker fatalities year after year, says OSHA. Based on that belief, employers who require or encourage texting while driving violate the OSH Act.

In a recent statement, OSHA declared: Employers who require their employees to text while driving - or who organize work so texting while driving is a practical necessity even if not a formal requirement - violate the OSH Act. When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, OSHA will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice.

What's the Most Dangerous Construction Site Equipment?


Based on the number of fatalities and lost-time injuries caused, what's the most dangerous type of equipment at construction sites and industrial workplaces? You might be surprised to learn it's the vehicles your workers drive.

Job-related vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities and lost-time injuries that cost companies millions of dollars. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have good advice for building an effective fleet safety program. Read more here, or browse vehicle safety signs at

Organize a Business Watch During Crime Prevention Month

October is Crime Prevention Month - a time to spotlight successful crime prevention efforts on the local, state, and national levels. That includes Business Watch, which is modeled after the Neighborhood Watch concept. Business Watch seeks to reduce commercial crime and the fear of crime from both the customer's and the business owner's point of view.

The Texas Department of Insurance has published some key Business Watch concepts your business can use to help prevent crime:

  • Get to know the people who operate neighboring businesses - including schools, civic groups, libraries and clubs. Making personal contact is the best way to get acquainted.
  • Be alert and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement immediately, even if it means taking a chance on being wrong.
  • A phone tree is an effective means of sharing information with neighboring businesses. Should a problem develop, each business is responsible for calling one or two others on the tree.
  • Secure the property. Ask local law enforcement officials to conduct a security survey of the business. Ask for advice on lights, alarms, locks and other security measures.
  • Engrave all valuable office equipment and tools with an identification number - a tax ID, license or other unique number. Check with law enforcement officials for recommendations.
  • Aggressively advertise the Business Watch group. Post signs and stickers saying that your neighboring block of businesses is organized to prevent crime and will report suspicious activities to law enforcement.
Check with your Chamber of Commerce, business association or community association to find partners and support for your Business Watch program.


OSHA Evaluates State OSH Programs, Seeks Changes

  Federal OSHA officials recently announced they found numerous deficiencies in state-run occupational safety and health programs during a special evaluation of programs under the agency's jurisdiction. Evaluations of 25 state programs are now available online.

"While we found many positives in the state programs, we also found deficiencies including concerns about identification of hazards, proper classification of violations, proposed penalty levels, and failure to follow up on violations to ensure that workplace safety and health problems are corrected," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels.

Reports on each state are now available on OSHA's Web site. The Enhanced Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation reports provide detailed findings and recommendations on the operations of state-run OSHA programs in 25 states and territories. States will have 30 days to provide a formal response, including a detailed corrective action plan for addressing findings and recommendations. Each state's formal response will be public information and available online as soon as it is received.

The review was initiated after a 2009 special OSHA report on Nevada's program (prompted by numerous construction-related fatalities in Las Vegas) identified serious operational deficiencies in that state.

October News & Notes

NSC announces new safety management software. Called NSC Navigator, the web-based system helps organizations maintain compliance with safety regulations and manage a process of sustainable improvement. It will be available in January 2011. Learn more from  NSC.

Safety fact sheets for cranes and derricks in construction. OSHA has developed two new safety fact sheets highlighting new crane standards and policies. The first, Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Qualification and Certification explains new operator qualification and certification requirements. The second sheet, Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Assembly/Disassembly explains new assembly and disassembly requirements. Review OSHA fact sheets.

International Energy Conservation Code Now Available. Digital copies of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), published by the International Code Council (ICC), are now freely available for interested stakeholders. It is targeted to both homes and commercial buildings, with the goal of helping reduce energy consumption and emissions. The Department of Energy estimates the 2009 IECC will produce approximately 15 percent residential energy efficiency gains over the 2006 code. Register to receive the free code at the International Code Council.

Safety Tip: Operating Generators

Generators are commonly used on many worksites, but the onset of colder weather is a good time to review generator safety tips for new users. Here are some tips from the National Fire Prevention Association.
  • Use generators only in well-ventilated locations outside
  • Place generators so exhaust fumes can't enter the building through windows, doors or other openings
  • Never use a generator indoors, even with doors or windows open
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling
  • Never refuel a generator while it is running
  • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such
  • Store fuel containers outside of work areas
See home generator safety tips from the NFPA. (pdf)
Browse diesel, gasoline and fuel safety signs at