A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays from

It's THAT time of year again - hectic year-end activities combined with anticipation of a new year and what it may bring. I'm proud to say that has enjoyed serving many loyal customers this year, as well as many new ones. And we look forward to serving you all in 2012 with new signs, new website tools and some exciting changes. We're moving into the new year with anticipation, and I think you'll like where we're going.

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!
Paul Sandefer, President

DOT Bans Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Commercial Drivers Effective Jan. 3

A new DOT rule takes effect January 3, 2012 that specifically prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. New sanctions are also in place for drivers and carriers that violate the rule.

No Cell Phone Label
Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations.

Motor carriers are prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving, and will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million commercial drivers would be affected by this final rule.

December Customer Comments

Here's what our customers are saying about us this month:

I would recommend ComplianceSigns to anyone who is looking for a OSHA compliant chemical labeling "right-to-know" sign that they can customize themselves for their site.
Chester M., Hillsborough, NJ 

I found what i needed quickly, was easy to choose and view my custom sign, easy pay and fast delivery.
Frank L., Portland, OR

What's New at

Nearly 700 new safety signs and labels were added to in November. Here's a sample:
Our team of development specialists continually researches new rules and codes so we can provide the signs and labels you need. But if you can't find what you're looking for, it's easy to create your own with our Custom Sign Generators.

BLS Reports Nonfatal Occupational Injury, Illness data for 2010

The rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work was 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2010, statistically unchanged from 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of cases decreased 4 percent to 1,191,100, and the median days away from work was 8 days, the same as the previous year.

Key Findings:Kitchen Safety Signs
  • The incidence rate for food preparation and serving related workers increased 10 percent to 116 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
  • The incidence rate for healthcare support workers increased 6 percent to 283 days-away-from-work cases per 10,000 full-time workers.  
  • Incidence rates for construction and extraction workers declined 17 percent
  • Contact with objects and equipment remained the top injury-causing event, followed by overexertion injuries, which increased by 3 percent.
 Learn more with these links:

Injury / Illness Incidence Rates for Selected Industries:
Incidence Rate  
Transportation and warehousing 232
Forkllift safety sign

Local government 180.6
State government 175.1
Health care & social assistance 139.9
Natural resources and mining 137.7
Burried Cable Safety Sign

Retail trade 118.4
Accommodation and food services 103
Educational services 61.5

Most Common Injury Events / Exposures:

Injury Event
Incidence Rate
Contact with object 28.1
Fall Protection Sign

Fall on same level 18
Fall to lower level 7.3
Transportation incident
Exposure to harmful substance / environment 5.2
Assault / violent act 4.9
Machine Safety Sign

Slip / trip without fall 3.8
Repetitive motion 3.5
Fire / explosion 0.3
All other 14.2

OSHA Announces Two New National Emphasis Programs

Chlorine Gas safety signChemical facilities and nursing home / residential care facilities will be the focus of additional OSHA inspection efforts under two new National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) recently announced.

The new chemical NEP aims to reduce releases of highly hazardous chemicals. It replaces a 2009 regional pilot program and establishes policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces covered by OSHA's process safety management (PSM) standard. The inspection process includes detailed questions designed to gather facts related to PSM requirements and verification that employers' written and implemented PSM programs are consistent. Under the NEP, OSHA will conduct focused inspections at facilities randomly selected from a list of worksites likely to have highly hazardous chemicals in quantities covered by the standard.

Biohazard safety signThe health care NEP, still in the planning stages, is in response to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing an increase in the rate of nonfatal occupational injuries among health care support workers.

In a November announcement, OSHA head David Michaels noted the new health care emphasis program will involve increased inspections with a special focus on back injuries from resident handling or lifting. The program will also target exposure to bloodborne pathogens and infectious diseases, workplace violence and slips, trips and falls.

According to BLS, the rate of nonfatal injuries requiring days away from work for health care support workers in 2010 increased 6 percent to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers-almost 2.5 times the rate for all private and public sector workers.

Consider a ComplianceSigns Corporate Portal in 2012

Corporate PortalDid you know you can have your own custom home page at We call them corporate portals, and there are a lot of great reasons to consider adding one in 2012:
  • All the signs you regularly order in one convenient location
  • Ensure consistency across multiple locations - you decide what signs and sizes are shown, so your people can't order non-approved signs, colors or sizes
  • Convenient for multiple users
  • Set up custom signs for your company (name, phone number, etc.)
We'll set up a page separate from the rest of our site that lets you send a link to whoever needs access. No special software is required, and the checkout process works just the same as our public site. Your corporate portal simplifies ordering and gives you greater control. For more details, Contact our Sales team.

New Research on Fall Injury and Prevention

Ladder Safety Label at ComplianceSigns.comA new document from NIOSH presents expert advice on the best way to understand, prevent and control fall-related risk exposures.
"Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection" includes commentary, research findings, recommendations and expert advice on the latest tools and methods to reduce the incidence of injury from falls. A wide variety of research approaches and methods are included, reflecting the multidisciplinary orientation of different stakeholders, as well as the individual interests and expertise of participating researchers.

December News and Notes

New Tire Service Charts for Single- and Multi-piece Rim Wheels

OSHA has revised its tire servicing materials to address current hazards and help workers safely perform maintenance on large vehicle tires. OSHA's revised "Multi-piece Rim Matching Chart" provides an updated list of current and obsolete components and the old "Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Truck/Bus Tires" chart is now expanded into two charts that deal individually with tubeless and tube-type tires. The revised materials can be downloaded here.

New Nail Gun Safety Website
A Duke University researcher and the Center for Construction Research and Training launched a new nail gun safety website on December 2. features video interviews with workers and information on how nail guns work and how to prevent nail gun injuries. It also provides access to nail gun research articles. Visit the site.

OSHA Releases Construction Hazard Videos
OSHA has released a dozen online educational videos about potential hazards in the construction industry. The 12 videos cover falls in construction, workers who are struck by vehicles and heavy equipment, sprains and strains, trenching and excavation hazards, and carbon monoxide poisoning. The 2- to 4-minute animated videos are based on real-life incidents and include detailed depictions of hazards and the safety measures that could have prevented the injuries and fatalities.They are brief, easy to understand and geared to the needs of employers and workers. Each video is available in English and Spanish, and video scripts will be available soon. Read more here. View English videos here. View Spanish videos here.

Health and Safety Podcasts
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety produces monthly podcasts that provide information, tips and insights into worker health, safety and well-being. Topics include radiation in the workplace, prolonged sitting, workplace lighting, aging workers, HR and health & safety, close quarters, noise control and more. Although they are intended for Canadian audiences, the information applies equally well across the U.S. Learn more and download Health & Safety to Go podcasts here.

On-site Consultation Program Helps Improve Workplace Safety
OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers no-cost, confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Under the program, consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, give advice on OSHA compliance and assist in establishing safety and health management systems. In FY 2010 the program conducted over 30,000 worksite visits, at employer request. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Learn more about the program here.

Safety Tip: Confined Spaces

Many workplaces include spaces that are considered "confined" because they restrict activities of employees who must enter, work in or exit from them. These spaces, such as tanks, manholes, silos or pipelines, often present increased injury risks. Here are some confined space safety tips from OSHA:
  • Review, understand and follow employer's procedures before entering permit-required confined spaces and know how and when to exit.
  • Before entry, identify any physical hazards.
  • Before and during entry, test and monitor for oxygen content, flammability, toxicity or explosive hazards as necessary.
  • Use employer's fall protection, rescue, air-monitoring, ventilation, lighting and communication equipment according to entry procedures
  • Maintain contact at all times with a trained attendant either visually, via phone, or by two-way radio. This monitoring system enables the attendant and entry supervisor to order you to evacuate and to alert appropriately trained rescue personnel to rescue entrants when needed.
Confined Space Resources:

Bringing Behavior-based Safety to Construction

On many construction sites there's an enforcer who is widely disliked. His mission is to spot workers violating safety rules, and to call out and penalize them. His heart is in the right place, and his ultimate objectives are sound, but his law-and-order approach makes him ineffective. Sadly, the workers who he sets out to protect are the ones who suffer the most. After all, when they ignore his dictates, they put themselves in hazardous situations.

To find a better approach, we need only look at changes in manufacturing, where a behavior-based approach encouraged workers to take greater responsibility for their actions - including safety. Learn how you can apply this change to your construction site here, or browse construction safety signs here.

Top Safety Links of 2011

Here's a list with links to the top ComplianceSigns Connection topics of 2011, determined by what readers viewed the most:

Is Your ComplianceSigns Connection Email Profile Complete?

We invite you to update your ComplianceSigns Connection subscriber information with your city, state and industry, so that we can better serve you with information that's relevant to you.
For example, if a new state-specific cell phone or smoking rule is about to take effect, we might send a note to subscribers in that state to help them achieve compliance. We will never sell or share your information, and we promise not to fill your inbox with promotional clutter. You can use our Subscription page to update your information at any time.

November 22, 2011

Top Workplace Safety News This Month

  • Fall Protection, Scaffolds take top spots on OSHA violations list for the past year
  • Dust explosion risk rises in static-prone winter weather
  • OSHA Lockout / Tagout fines have doubled since 2009
  • GHS implementation unlikely until late 2012
  • OHSA posts crowd-management safety guidelines for holiday shopping

November Note

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it's only right to thank you, our ComplianceSigns customer, for choosing to do business with us. Earning - and keeping - your trust is important to us, and it's something we don't take lightly. Our team of dedicated employees work hard every day to design, develop and produce top-quality signs at a fair price, and to give you the highest level of service. That's how we built our business, and we thank you for the opportunity to serve yours.

Have a safe month
Paul Sandefer, President

Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2010-11

Fall Protection SignFall Protection, Scaffolding and HazCom top the list of OSHA citations in its 2010-2011 reporting year, accounting for almost half the citations within the list. Fall Protection and Scaffolding traded the top two positions from last year's list. Here are the numbers, and links to the related OSHA standards:
  1. Fall Protection in Construction - 7,139. Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction. Standard 1926.501
  2. Scaffolding in Construction - 7,069. Many resulted from improper placement and setup of scaffolds. Standard 1926.451
  3. Hazard Communication - 6,538. Most involved a lack of written Hazard Communication programs, training programs or MSDS management systems. Standard 1910.1200
  4. Respiratory Protection - 3,944. Standard 1910.134
  5. Lockout/Tagout - 3,639. Standard 1910.147
  6. Electrical Wiring - 3,584. Standard 1910.305
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks - 3,432. Standard 1910.178
  8. Ladders in Construction - 3,244. Standard 1926.1053
  9. Electrical General - 2,863. Standard 1910.303
  10. Machine Guarding - 2,748. Standard 1910.212
This list covers the period from October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011. It was announced at the National Safety Council's Annual Congress.

What's New at

More than 900 new signs and labels appeared on in October, including:

NFPA Diamond500 new NFPA Diamonds, including Special Hazard designations for COR-OX, COR-OXY, CRY and OXY. Create your own with our easy NFPA Sign Generator.

Hundreds of ADA acrylic signs with Grade 2 Braille and symbols for Restrooms, No Smoking, Room Names, Exits, Stairs, Department Names and more. Search them here.

Many more small-format engraved signs with Braille, including new color combinations. Browse engraved signs here.

magnetic EXIT signMagnetic-backed Exit Signs. We've had several requests for 14x5-inch Exit signs with magnetic backing, so we've made that option available. See them in the middle of this page.

Winter Weather Can Increase Dust Explosion Risks

Dust explosions often occur from November to March when there are higher static electricity concentrations, according to a panel of safety experts who spoke about combustible dust hazards at the recent National Safety Council Congress & Expo.

Nearly 280 dust fires and explosions have occurred in U.S. industrial facilities over the past 25 years, resulting in 119 fatalities and more than 700 injuries. Since launching a combustible dust National Emphasis Program in 2007, OSHA has issued 9,466 dust-related violations, but has not yet established a timeframe for a combustible dust standard.

The panel identified combustible dust safety hazards frequently found in plants and factories:

  • Dust collections located inside a building without proper explosion protection systemsStatic Control Area safety sign
  • High dust accumulations due to poor housekeeping
  • Improper deployment of venting
  • Improper protection of bucket elevators
  • Unprotected long ducts and pipes
  • Improper protection of silos and bins
  • Absence of building protection
  • Unprotected conveyors
Combustible dusts include: metals, textiles, wood, coal, plastic, biosolids and organics such as paper, sugar or dried blood. Without proper housekeeping, even a facility below OSHA's PEL (permissible exposure limit) for process-generated dust can accumulate enough dust to become dangerous. If drafts, vibrations or other incidents send settled dust into the air near an ignition source, a fire and dust explosion could occur.

"Safety managers need to consider facility design, have dusts tested at a certified lab, and establish a detailed process hazard analysis, housekeeping protocols, and operator- and technical-level training," said panel member Kevin Jeffries, senior safety manager of frozen foods for Kellogg Company.

Lockout / Tagout Fines Nearly Double Since 2009

LOTO Safety TagsLOTO has been in the top 10 most-cited regulations for more than 15 years, but in the past two years, OSHA fines associated with LOTO have nearly doubled - to a record high approaching $6.2 million. And that accounts only for states under federal jurisdiction. When combined with individual state totals, LOTO fines reached more than $10 million in the 2010-11 reporting year.

While the total fine amount has rocketed upward, citation and inspection numbers have remained relatively steady at about 2,000 inspections and 4,000 citations. This seems to indicate heavier fines for LOTO citations, rather than poor compliance. With OSHA's new push for zero workplace incidents, it's a safe bet that regulations on the Top 10 list will continue to be prime targets for inspectors.

Signs with Braille: CAPS, Initial Caps or lowercase?

ADA BrailleWe frequently receive questions regarding the Braille dots on restroom signs, especially the lack of the "double dot" all caps designation before the name of the room (MEN, WOMEN, etc.). According to ANSI/ASME A17.1-2007, ANSI A117.1-2003, and the United States Access Board July 23, 2004 Accessibility Guidelines (Section 703.3.1), the following description of capitalization for Braille should be used:

Braille shall be in accordance with literary Braille, except the indication of an uppercase letter or letters shall only be used before the first word of sentences, proper nouns and names, individual letters of the alphabet, initials, or acronyms.

Because room names don't meet the criteria requiring capitalization, and capitalization doesn't alter the interpretation of the function of the room, Braille restroom and room name signs at do not include the double dot signifying capital letters.

GHS Delayed Until Late 2012, or After?

MSDS Station signWe've been watching for OSHA direction on the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) for several months. Now OSHA head David Michaels says OSHA's new hazard communication standard may be finalized in the early part of 2012, but that the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) won't go into effect at that time.

Like most OSHA regulations, it would take effect some time later, perhaps up to six months after the new standard is finalized. GHS is expected to provide standardization of MSDS formats in the U.S. and other countries.

November 21, 2011

November Customer Comments

Here's what customers are saying about us this month:
"I was very happy with the quality of product, price, and customer service. I will definitely use your company again." - Jon D., Medina, TX
"Very easy and efficient. They were able to fabricate a sign per my specifications without a problem." - Daniel Y., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
"I made a mistake on my initial order and your customer service representative was efficient and also very nice about helping me correct and re-order the product." - Kim C., Salt Lake City, UT

November News and Notes

NFPA OffElectric Vehicle chargins station signers Electric Vehicle Safety Training for Emergency Responders.
NFPA's Electric Vehicle Safety Training project is a nationwide program to help firefighters and other first responders prepare for the unique challenges posed by the growing number of electric vehicles on the road in the U.S. Topics include: identifying electric vehicles, power down procedures, recommended fire practices and general operation of the vehicles. For additional information on the training, visit the NFPA Electric Vehicle Safety Training website.

ANSI Issues Revised Sign / Label Standards.
ANSI recently revised six standards relating to safety signs and colors used in public spaces, workplaces, and industrial and consumer products. These standards guide the design, evaluation and use of safety signs, colors and symbols intended to visually alert people to potential hazards All ANSI format signs at meet the new standards. Use our new
ANSI Instant Sign / Label Finder to quickly find ANSI safety signs.

Crane Inspector Certification Launched.
Crane signs at ComplianceSigns.comThe National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and the Crane Certification Association of America (CCAA) launched a new CCO national crane inspector certification program on November 1st. The new program allows workers with at least five years of crane-related experience to earn a professional credential that demonstrates their qualification to inspect cranes. NCCCO reviews each application and individually approves candidates before permitting them to apply to take the crane inspector exams. Read more here.

OSHA lab safety guideOSHA Publishes New Safety Materials for Laboratory Managers and Workers.
New OSHA materials can help laboratory managers protect their workers from exposure to chemical, biological, and physical hazards. The materials include a Laboratory Safety Guidance document that describes how electrical hazards, fire, explosions, falls and other hazards can be minimized or eliminated if employers use safety plans, worker training, engineering controls and personal protective equipment. The materials also include fact sheets focused on specific hazards of laboratory environments. Read more here, or download the guidance document (pdf) here.


OSHA Offers Crowd Management Guidelines for Retail Safety.
As hectic holiday shopping approaches, OSHA encourages major retail employers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during Black Friday and other major sales events. The agency's Crowd Management fact sheet recommends elements including trained security personnel, barricades or rope lines for pedestrians and having security personnel or customer service representatives explain approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public. The National Retail Federation has released 2011 Crowd Management Guidelines, as well.
Read more from OSHA here; Review the fact sheet here; or Download the Crowd Management Guidelines here.
Two Arc Flash Webinars Available.
Arc Flash Safety SignOn-Demand Anytime: Protective clothing manufacturer Ansell Healthcare has posted two informative arc flash videos from the National Safety Congress & Expo on their website. View them here.

Thursday, Dec. 1: Occupational Health and Safety and Westex will present, "The Arc Flash Hazard and Changes to 70E," at 2 p.m. EST on Dec. 1. Causes and consequences of arc flash will be examined with emphasis on historical data, real accidents, body burn and non-FR vs. FR clothing. Highlights include new HD super slow-motion video of arc flashes on real 480V equipment with clothed manikins in typical working positions. Arcs from 0.6 up to 40+ cals will be shown. Hazard analysis and FR clothing performance testing will also be discussed. Duration is one hour. Get more information here.

SAFETY TIP: Using a Fire Extinguisher

fire extinguisher signThis article has moved to our new blog.

Please use this link to read it:

Is Your ComplianceSigns Connection Email Profile Complete?

We invite you to update your ComplianceSigns Connection subscriber information with your city, state and industry, so that we can better serve you with information that's relevant to you.

For example, if a new state-specific cell phone or smoking rule is about to take effect, we might send a note to subscribers in that state to help them achieve compliance. We will never sell or share your information, and we promise not to fill your inbox with promotional clutter.

You can use our Subscription page to update your information at any time.

MENU FOCUS: Fire Extinguisher / Equipment Signs

You'll find a link to the Fire Extinguisher / Equipment page inside the Fire / Emergency tab at If you need actual fire-fighting equipment, you'll have to look elsewhere, but if you want signs and labels to identify fire equipment such as fire extinguishers, hoses, hydrants, sprinklers and more, you'll find just what you need. The page has two sections: Fire Extinguishers (above) and Fire Equipment (below):

fire extinguisher signsFire Extinguisher pages are filled with high quality signs to help you identify the location of fire extinguishers. Choices include directional arrows, extinguisher and hose, Do Not Block notices, charged / discharged storage, English + Spanish text and more. There's also a page of attractive 2-color engraved plastic and ADA tactile + Braille signs in more than 20 color combinations to suit your style.

The Fire Equipment section is the place to go to identify key fire safety equipment, including sprinkler connections, control panels, FDC, fire hoses, fire hydrants, fire blankets and other equipment used in fire emergencies.

Fire equipment signsSign options include standard and glow-in-the-dark finishes printed on aluminum, plastic, label and magnetic materials. Each section offers signs in four mounting styles:
  • Surface Mount signs have mounting holes at each corner to mount to any flat surface.
  • 2D Projection signs are easy to read from both sides and use a flange mount to project from the wall.
  • Ceiling Mount Projection signs have a double flange design that easily mounts between track and tiles in drop / suspended ceilings for easy viewing from either side.
  • 3D Triangle Projection signs stand out from the wall for easy viewing from any angle.
Whatever type of fire extinguisher or fire equipment sign you need, you're sure to find lots of options in the Fire / Emergency tab at

Top 5 Links in October

These were the most popular articles / links in last month's Connection:

October 20, 2011

October: Top News This Month

  • Drug-Free Work Week protects workers, employers and businesses.
  • New OSHA Workplace Violence Directive targets late-night retail, healthcare, social services.
  • Respirators sold as "NIOSH approved" may not be. A new website helps you verify certification.
  • New Prevention-through-Design standard focuses on eliminating hazards in the design stage.

October 19, 2011

October Welcome

Fall is in the air here in northwest Illinois and the dropping leaves cue people to start preparing for winter. But what cues your business to prepare for new workplace safety challenges?

In this month's Connection, you can read about workplace drug abuse and new standards regarding workplace violence and prevention-through-design. You'll also find tips for aerial lift safety and an interesting article that identifies seven company practices that contributed to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster - common mistakes that can happen at any workplace, even yours or mine.

As you review this issue, I hope you find a few "leaves" to help make your workplace a little safer and your job a little easier.

Have a safe month,
Paul Sandefer, President

October Customer Comments

Here's what our customers are saying about us this month:

I have purchased many times from and I find the website easy to maneuver, the pricing is fair and the product and delivery always meet my expectations.
James B., Grayloc Products

I had been searching for a year for a certain product and finally found it at ComplianceSigns.
Judith L., Chemical Dynamics

The service I received was excellent. The customer service person that I worked with was nice, prompt in getting back to me, she had great knowledge of products, was very helpful and made my experience with your company a great one!!
Vanessa, JDL Castle

October 18, 2011

What's New at

New, Upgraded PVC Plastic Material
We're using a new material for all our plastic signs. We've upgraded from foamed plastic to a solid, semi-rigid 1mm PVC material that gives:Plastic Sign Construction
  • More flexibility
  • Cleaner edges
  • Better cold durability
  • A cleaner look
  • Same low price
We're confident you'll appreciate the new material. Read more about it here.

10 New Languages for 600 Bilingual Safety Signs
Nearly 60 of our moInternational Signs at ComplianceSigns.comst popular Safety, Exit, Fire Safety and Parking signs are now available with text in English plus 11 other languages on our new Bilingual Safety Signs page. These signs are ideal for operations with both English- and non-English-speaking workers, visitors or customers. 
We currently offer OSHA, ANSI and other formats in a variety of sizes and materials. Choose bilingual signs or labels with English and: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog or Vietnamese languages. Each page also includes links to additional resources about the featured language. Start here to see them all.