A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

September 29, 2010

September News - It's Injury season!

Although the football season just started, some key players are already out with injuries that may impact team performance. There's a good message there for businesses. Could your team still perform if it lost key players to injuries or disasters? This month's Connection will help you prepare:
  • National Preparedness Month resources will help you plan for the worst.
  • You provide PPE items, but a key survey shows your employees probably don't use PPE as much as you think.
  • Observing Safe Driving Week in October could help keep your players in the game.
  • Celebrate our Inc. 5000 award with a $10 credit toward your September safety sign purchases.
Have a safe month!
Paul Sandefer, President

OSHA Proposes Changes to On-site Consultation Program

OSHA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise regulations covering the agency's On-site Consultation Program. Proposed changes include clarifying the Assistant Secretary's authority to identify sites that will be inspected, even if those sites are normally exempt because of their SHARP status. For example, when workplace accidents occur that generate widespread public concern about a hazard or substance, such as diacetyl or combustible dust, the Assistant Secretary may order OSHA to inspect all sites within a specific industry.

Other proposed changes would add referrals as a basis to terminate an employer's on-site consultation visit and conduct an enforcement visit. OSHA is also proposing to revise the existing initial exemption for employers who have achieved SHARP status to one year with an extension of up to another year.

Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by November 2, 2010.

What’s New at

A variety of tall signs to identify fire and rescue equipment. Options include flat, 2D Projection and 3D Triangle Projection signs. See them here.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) signs and labels to help employees and emergency responders. 

Additional Fire Exit signs and labels in a variety of sizes and materials to let you clearly mark paths to safety.

National Preparedness Month - Is Your Business Prepared?

September is National Preparedness Month - a time for American businesses and individuals to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, workplaces and communities.

Business leaders can plan in advance to manage any emergency situation, including both natural and man-made disasters. Assess the situation, use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business's recovery.

Program sponsors (the Ready Campaign, Citizen Corps and the Ad Council) have identified three key preparedness actions to help you stay in business following a disaster:
  1. Plan to Stay in Business
  2. Talk to Your People
  3. Protect Your Investment

    Drive Safely Work Week is October 4-8

    Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) is an annual workplace safety campaign that reminds employees about safe driving practices. The 2010 campaign materials focus on the dangers of distracted driving, particularly as related to the use of cell phones and texting while driving. You can use Drive Safely Work Week materials to customize your own safe driving campaign any time of the year.

    The program provides activities to:

    • Help prepare an organization for the launch of a new cell phone policy;
    • Reinforce an existing policy; or
    • Build awareness of the issues related to distracted driving and help develop strategies to minimize distractions.
    The DSWW tool kit has everything needed to launch a successful campaign:
    • Activities for each day, including interactive, electronic-based tools
    • Daily communications messages
    • Downloadable graphics
    Although national observance of the campaign takes place during the first week of October, the materials are not dated and can be used throughout the year for continued promotion of safe driving practices.

    Safety Survey: Required PPE Often Ignored

    How often do your workers ignore personal protective equipment rules? You might be surprised. In a survey released this month, 98 percent of safety professionals said they had observed workers in their organizations not wearing safety equipment when they should have. To make matters worse, 30 percent of these respondents said this had happened on numerous occasions.

    Not surprisingly, worker compliance with personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols was cited as the top workplace safety issue by all survey respondents. The survey was conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional at the recent American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) show in Baltimore.

    The survey results confirm a disturbing trend toward non-use of PPE equipment. In previous surveys conducted at the National Safety Council Congress, results indicated observed PPE non-use rising from 85 percent in 2006 to 89 percent in 2008.

    "Increasingly high noncompliance with PPE protocols is an alarming trend and a serious threat to worker health and safety," said Kimberly-Clark spokesperson Gina Tsiropoulos. She noted it’s not clear if declining PPE use is a result of economic conditions, a flawed approach to safety programs, younger workers who are more inclined to take greater risks or some other cause.

    Perhaps it's no wonder that three-quarters of respondents cited workplace accidents and injuries as the issue “most likely to keep you up at night." Potential exposure due to noncompliance with PPE protocols was second, at 13 percent, while fear of a global pandemic and its impact on the workforce was a distant third, cited by only 8 percent of respondents.

    Multi-lingual Worksites: Translation is Only the First Step


    You’ve no doubt heard that OSHA is stepping up enforcement of many workplace rules. One area that’s being watched closely is training and communication with workers who are not native English speakers. Companies are being required to provide training, training materials, and safety policies in their workers’ native languages.

    For years, many companies dealt with non-English speakers in minimal ways. The most common was putting up the required jobsite posters in Spanish. Under the new rules, that won’t be sufficient. The experts at Safety Management Group have prepared some advice to help you achieve compliance on your multi-lingual worksites. Read more here, or order bilingual OSHA signs at

    PPE of the Future

    A recent report from Textiles Intelligence in the United Kingdom indicates that, in the future, smart textiles and nanotechnology will enhance the benefits of PPE, offering better protection from occupational exposures, hazardous materials and pathogens that trigger infectious diseases.

    When U.S. safety professionals were asked their visions for the future of PPE, 42 percent said they would like to see PPE that automatically adjusts to fit different body types, hands, heads, faces, etc. Next was PPE with customizable style and design options, so workers could select PPE based on their own individual tastes and safety requirements. And fully 87 percent of respondents said customizable or individualized style and design options would help increase PPE compliance.

    Technological advances in the PPE industry have led to development of products that not only meet stringent performance standards but also offer advances in comfort and style. Rising demand for high-performance PPE products that are both user-friendly and stylish will help drive change in PPE designs, and perhaps ultimately increase the proportion of workers who comply with PPE regulations. Menu Focus: Chemical Tab

    The new navigation tabs at can quickly take you to a wide variety of related signs and labels. Here's a peek inside the Chemical tab.

    Chemical / Biohazard page topics are:
    • Biohazard
    • Chemical & Pesticide
    • CA Proposition 65
    • Cylinder Safety and Gas Lines
    • Diesel, Gasoline, Fuel
    • DoD Fire Division – 6055.9
    • DOT and DOD Hazard Class
    • Flammable & Explosive
    • Food & Drink
    • MSDS
    NFPA 704 Hazmat Diamonds page includes links to:
    • Blank signs and kits
    • Custom NFPA signs (diamond with text)
    • Explanation guides in English & Spanish
    • Make your own custom diamonds
    Pipe Markers
    This is where you’ll find pipe-marking tape, labels / wraps and stencils for dozens of common chemicals – and a link to create your own.

    Just hover over any tab and a pop-up window will appear, showing you a menu list of what's inside. We're dedicated to making your sign purchase fast and easy!

    Safety Tip: Plan to Survive a Disaster

    Disasters can occur at any time, so preparation is your best bet for survival. Here are some business preparedness tips from the Ready Business website:

    • Develop a building evacuation plan and practice regularly.
    • Take a critical look at your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to determine if it is secure or if it could be upgraded to better filter potential contaminants.
    • Be sure you know how to turn ventilation systems off if you need to.
    • Think about what to do if your employees can't go home.
    • Make sure you have appropriate supplies on hand.
    Visit Ready Business for more information.

    September News and Notes

    Workplace safety a high priority for workers. A new study just released by the University of Chicago shows 85 percent of workers rate workplace safety more important than wages, sick pay and leave. Read more here.

    OSHA comments on long work hours, fatigue and worker safety. “The relationship of long hours, worker fatigue and safety is a concern … since there is extensive evidence linking fatigue with operator error.” Read the full statement here.

    Interim final rules on whistleblower procedures. New regulations, which cover workers filing complaints in the railroad, public transit, commercial motor carrier and consumer product industries, establish procedures for handling worker retaliation complaints, allow filing by phone as well as in writing and filing in languages other than English. Read more here.