A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

February 25, 2010

February News

I noticed this month that workplace safety and compliance issues are a lot like this winter's weather - they just keep coming at you! Here's a quick forecast of hot topics you'll want to know about this month:

  • Your OSHA safety record is now available online - to anyone
  • Your employees know who's taking safety risks, but they won't tell you
  • NIOSH reports that safety training alone doesn't reduce injuries or illness
  • Commercial drivers are now banned from texting while driving.

Have a safe month and keep smiling - Spring will be here soon!
Paul Sandefer, President

OSHA Workplace Injury / Illness Data Now Available Online

For the first time, work-related injury and illness data from more than 80,000 employers is available in a searchable online database. OSHA collected the data since 1996, but only now can the public easily look at establishment or industry-specific injury and illness information.
"Making injury and illness information available to the public is part of OSHA's response to the administration's commitment to make government more transparent to the American people," said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. "This effort will improve the public's accessibility to workplace safety and health data and ensure the Agency can function more effectively for American workers."
Available information includes an establishment's name, address, industry, associated Total Case Rate, Days Away/Restricted/Transfer case rate and Days Away From Work case rate. OSHA uses the data to calculate injury and illness incidence rates to guide its efforts and to focus its Site Specific Targeting (SST) Program, used to target inspections.

Are your company records included?
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Check it out on the OSHA website or at the Data-gov site.
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Browse thousands of OSHA signs and labels and Days Without Injury signs at

DOT Issues Immediate Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers

Commercial truck drivers in the United States are now prohibited from texting under federal guidelines recently enacted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."

The action is the result of the Department's interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
Post Script:
Do Cell Phone Bans Reduce Accidents?
As legislators across the country enact laws that ban phoning and/or texting while driving, a new Highway Loss Data Institute study finds no reductions in crashes after hand-held phone bans take effect. Read more here.

Customer Comment - Feb. 2010

Here's what customers are saying this month:

"My sign just arrived, looks like an excellent, very professional product. Your website is very attractive and easy to navigate, prices are fair, ordering was easy and shipping was immediate. Oh, and I like your "green packaging" too!"

"If I have a need for another sign I will turn to you immediately. Keep up the good work."
-Nick C., Hawaii

February News & Notes

H1N1 Update - The latest flu report from the CDC shows most key flu indicators remained about the same as the previous week. Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness nationally increased slightly over the prior week, but are still low for this time of year. The national increase was driven by elevated numbers in the south, plains states, southwest and Hawaii. No states reported widespread influenza activity, but Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina reported regional activity. Check the latest news here.

Delaware updated its statewide adoption of three NFPA Codes: NFPA 1: Fire Code and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code® to the 2009 editions, and NFPA 70: National Electrical Code® to the 2008 edition. The state has also updated several other NFPA codes and standards to the latest version. Learn more here or with the links above.

OSHA released a new eTool addressing Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution standard (29 CFR 1910.269). It also outlines employer obligations regarding prevention and control methodologies for hazards such as arc flashes, electric shock, falls and thermal burns. ETools are highly illustrated, interactive, Web-based training tools available on a variety of occupational safety and health topics. Check it out here.

On February 17 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to further reduce emissions of air pollutants from some 900,000 existing stationary diesel engines that meet specific site, age and size criteria. Operators of affected engines will be required to:
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Install emissions control equipment that would limit air toxics emissions by up to 70 percent
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Perform emissions tests to demonstrate engine performance and compliance with rule requirements
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Burn ultra-low sulfur fuel
Review a fact sheet on the new ruling here, or read the complete new rule here. (The EPA will issue final emissions standards for existing spark-ignition engines by August 10, 2010.)

Safety Tip: Shoveling Snow

Much of the country is still reeling from record snowfalls in recent weeks. That means people everywhere are digging out their cars, homes and businesses - and injuring themselves in the process.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) says shoveling snow is like lifting weights in freezing temperatures on uneven, slippery ground while wearing heavy clothing. Here's the scoop on safe snow shoveling from our experienced neighbors to the north:
  • Warm up first. Walk for a few minutes or flex and stretch.
  • Allow enough time. People get hurt when they try to shovel in a hurry.
  • Wear several layers of warm, lightweight clothing that lets you move comfortably.
  • Spread salt, sand or kitty litter to create better traction if the ground is icy or slippery.
  • Keep moving and work at a steady pace. Shovel only small, manageable amounts (1-2 inches) at a time.
  • Protect your back by lifting properly and safely
  • Walk to dump snow rather than throwing it. DO NOT twist at the waist or throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side.
  • Recognize danger signs. Stop shovelling and call 911 if you feel discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck, or other signs of overexertion.
  • Review the full list here.

Be Aware of Burn Hazards

More than 21,000 workplace burn injuries were reported in 2008, resulting in over 110,000 days away from work, not to mention the pain and suffering of those affected. Does your safety program effectively address all critical burn hazards?
The most common injuries result from contact with hot surfaces and materials, flames or steam, but a comprehensive safety program must address other common burn sources, including chemicals, electricity and even sunburn.
Due to lengthy burn-recovery times, training workers to recognize burn hazards and take precautions to prevent injury is time well spent. Even office workers can get heat or electrical burns on the job. Safety signs that identify burn hazards are key elements of any burn prevention program.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these burn injury statistics for 2008:
  • 15,630 heat burns occurred most commonly in the leisure/hospitality industry, followed by trade/transportation/utilities; manufacturing; education/health services; and construction.
  • 5,620 chemical burns were most common in manufacturing facilities, followed by trade/transportation/utilities; construction; leisure/hospitality; and professional/business services.
Learn more at:

Five Simple Steps for Compressed Gas Safety

Compressed gas cylinders found at many job sites and workplaces pose three key safety hazards. First, they can cause damage or injury if they fall over or are allowed to roll. Second, their contents may be explosive, flammable, corrosive or may pose any number of hazards to nearby workers. Finally, they are pressurized, which means a detached regulator or the entire tank can become a projectile if a valve breaks off. All these events have happened - with disastrous results.

The best way to protect workers from the hazards associated with compressed gas cylinders is to follow the five suggested basic safety practices outlined by the experts at Safety Management Group. Read the Five Simple Steps for Compressed Gas Safety here, then shop for gas cylinder safety signs at

NIOSH Review Finds Safety Training Alone is Not Enough

Employee safety training is intended to help reduce workplace injuries, illness and death. But what effect does such training have on workers and businesses? A new review released by NIOSH shows beneficial effects, but also that training alone is not enough to reduce injuries or illness.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in collaboration with the Institute for Work and Health (IWH), Ontario, Canada, conducted a review of recent research in this area and earlier this month released, A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Training & Education for the Protection of Workers.
The review showed that:
  • Workplace education and training programs have a positive impact on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) practices of workers.
  • There is not enough evidence to show that OHS training on its own has an impact on health (for example, by reducing injuries or symptoms).
  • There is currently insufficient evidence to determine whether a single session of high-engagement training has a greater impact than a single session of low/medium-engagement training.
The report shows that investment in training results in positive changes in worker knowledge and skills, attitudes and behavior. However, it also revealed that training as a lone intervention did not reduce injuries or symptoms. To be effective in preventing occupational injuries and illness, training also requires management commitment and investment and worker involvement in a comprehensive hazard identification and risk management program. 

While other authors present evidence supporting high-engagement training, the NIOSH review of trials published in the last ten years could not confirm that a single session of high-engagement training has a greater effect on behavior than a single session of low/medium-engagement training, as the observed effects were too small.

What's New at

California Title 24 Restroom Sets
We have revised and updated our huge selection of Braille restroom signs and door symbols, including new wall-and-door sets based on California Title 24 standards. Sets and individual signs are available in 13 color combinations to complement any d├ęcor. Sets include a wall sign with California Grade II Braille and a geometric door symbol, which are both required to comply with California specifications. Start here to see all the new wall sets, or browse all our restroom signs, colors and mounting options here.

Title 49 Aircraft Hazardous Materials Signs and Labels
Federal Regulation Title 49 Part 175 requires the display of specific notices regarding the transport of hazardous materials on airplanes, by passengers or as cargo. These notices vary for passenger facilities and cargo facilities. now offers Title-49-compliant signs and labels in a variety of sizes and materials. Browse our aircraft HazMat signs here.

California Proposition 65, Title 27 Updates
We've also updated our selection of California Proposition 65, Title 27 signs and information. Formerly known as Title 22, these signs and labels address safe drinking water and toxic enforcement act regarding targeted chemicals in areas and products, as well as distilled spirits warnings. Review the updates here.