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