A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

February 20, 2011

Top News This Month

  • New OSHA PPE directive
  • How to assemble an Accident Investigation Kit
  • Flu activity is increasing
  • Dangerous jobs require interactive training, not just videos
  • New Crane Hand Signal posters

Hello Again

February is American Heart Month, which makes it a great time to look at your workplace first-aid program - especially CPR and AED training. More than 50,000 people die from workplace heart attacks every year, so it makes good sense to provide CPR training for your employees. Check your first aid kits to make sure they're fully stocked and up-to-date. And don't forget to mark their locations so your employees can find them easily.

Have a safe month!
Paul Sandefer, President

New OSHA PPE Enforcement Directive

OSHA has issued a new enforcement directive to provide general enforcement policy and guidance related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to assist OSHA inspectors in conducting workplace inspections.

The new directive, Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry (CPL 02-01-050) became effective February 10, 2011. It replaces previous inspection guidelines for the PPE standard for general industry workplaces.
Key changes include:
  • Clarifies what type of PPE employers must provide and pay for, when employers must pay for PPE or replacement PPE, and when employers are not required to pay for PPE.
  • Clarifies the PPE payment requirements for PPE worn off the jobsite, for PPE that must remain at the jobsite and for employee-owned PPE.
  • Recognizes more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards, and deletes editions of the national consensus standards that PPE must meet if purchased before a specified date.
  • Sets forth enforcement policies that reflect court and review commission decisions concerning PPE.
  • Provides guidance that allows employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with the most recent national consensus standards.
  • Amends the OSHA provision that requires safety shoes to comply with a specific American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard.

What's New at

In the past month, we've added hundreds of new safety signs and labels, including:

Hazardous Waste Labels to comply with EPA or state hazardous waste programs.

Age to Operate signs that remind young workers to stay clear of certain machinery.

Ammonia Refrigeration Pipe Labels and Label Reference Charts that comply with IIAR Bulletin 114 and ASME A13.1.

OSHA Crane Hand Signal Posters that clearly show approved hand signals for crane operation.

Lithium Battery Hazardous Materials labels to properly identify lithium batteries for transport.

Custom Maltese Cross Fire Fighter Safety Building Marking System (FFSBMS) signs to fulfill NFPA 1: Annex Q for standardized identification of building construction types, fire protection systems or hazards.

We're always updating our site to provide the safety signs and labels you need. Watch for hazardous chemical identification, In / Out sets, pool signs and much more in the month ahead.

OSHA Temporarily Withdraws Musculoskeletal Disorders Indicator on Injury Logs

Late last month, OSHA announced it had temporarily withdrawn its proposal to restore a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs. The agency is seeking greater input from small businesses on the impact of the proposal.

"Work-related musculoskeletal disorders remain the leading cause of workplace injury and illness in this country, and this proposal is an effort to assist employers and OSHA in better identifying problems in workplaces," said OSHA's head, Dr. David Michaels. "However, it is clear that the proposal has raised concern among small businesses, so OSHA is facilitating an active dialogue between the agency and the small business community."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSDs accounted for 28 percent of all reported workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2009.

For Dangerous Jobs, Interactive Training Helps Prevent Deadly Mistakes

Hands-on safety training for workers in highly hazardous jobs is most effective at improving safe work behavior, according to psychologists who analyzed close to 40 years of research. However, less engaging training can be just as effective in preparing workers to avoid accidents when jobs are less dangerous, says the American Psychological Association.

More interactive types of safety training may help employees become more aware of the threats they face on the job and avoid making deadly mistakes, according to the findings in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Researchers analyzed results from 113 safety training studies including 24,694 workers in 16 countries. For jobs where the likelihood of death or injury was highest, the findings showed that more engaging training (e.g., behavioral modeling, simulation and hands-on training) was considerably more effective than less engaging training (such as lectures, films, reading materials and videos) for both learning about and demonstrating safety on the job. Less engaging training was just as effective in regard to improving these outcomes when the risk for death or injury was low.

Workplace Fatalities Cost U.S. $5.3 Billion Annually

Workplace fatalities cost the United States $53 billion from 1992-2002, according to a publication now available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The document attempts to add an economic dimension to existing research efforts addressing the incidence and prevalence measures of loss associated with fatal occupational injury. Major findings include:
  • Between 1992 and 2002, there were 64,333 civilian workers who died from injuries sustained while working in the U.S., generating a total societal cost of over $53 billion.
  • Transportation accidents created the leading cost ($23 billion), followed by assaults and violent acts ($9.4 billion) and contact with objects and equipment ($7.9 billion).
  • The 35-44-year age group showed the largest share of occupational fatalities (25%) and the largest share of total cost (32%), closely followed by the 25-34- and 45-54-year groups.
Download the full report here.
Browse DOT and DOD safety signs and labels

Flu Activity Increasing Across Country

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity in the United States is on the increase, as noted in the FluView report for the week ending February 5. CDC tracks certain key flu indicators over the season. Most key flu indicators increased this week, including the number of people visiting doctors for influenza-like illness, the number of states reporting widespread influenza activity and the number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths.

Although influenza activity can rise and fall during an influenza season, activity in the United States generally peaks in January or later.

February is American Heart Month

The American Heart Association reports that cardiovascular disease, including stroke, is the #1 cause of death in the United States. Sudden cardiac arrest and other life-threatening emergencies can happen anywhere, even in your workplace. Giving CPR and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can greatly increase a victim's chance of survival.

Here are some heart-healthy resources for your workplace:

February Safety News and Notes

Phone Service Automatically Blocks Texting While Driving. DriveSmart Plus automatically detects when a user may be driving and sets the phone to 'Driving Mode', sending incoming calls directly to voicemail and preventing access to text messages. It also sends a text message to the person who phoned or texted, alerting them the recipient is driving and unavailable to receive calls or messages. It is specifically designed for T-Mobile customers with Android™ smartphones. Learn more here.

Revised ICC Standard Builds a More Accessible Environment. The International Code Council (ICC) has made several important updates to ICC A117.1, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. The standard contains technical accessibility requirements for both new and existing buildings, and includes new and revised requirements addressing dwelling units, recreational facilities, restrooms, and variable message signs, among others. Read more here (pdf).

Drug Use At Work: Higher Than We Thought. Fortune reports that since the federal government tightened testing requirements last October, drug testing of employees including pilots, airplane mechanics and train operators has revealed twice as many employees as previously believed are using heroin, and the use of prescription painkillers on the job is soaring. Read more here.

OSHA Video Discusses Proper Respirator Use for Healthcare Workers. OSHA recently produced a training video for health care employers and workers that explains the proper use of respirators and the procedures to follow to assure that respirators protect workers from airborne hazards in healthcare settings. View the video here or visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics: Respiratory Protection page for more respirator safety and health information.

SMG SAFETY ADVISOR: Assembling an Accident Investigation Kit

  Imagine you're supervising a jobsite two hours away from your company's offices when one of your subcontractor's craftspeople is seriously injured. Do you know what to do after calling an ambulance or administering First Aid?

Any injury can have serious implications for your company, the subcontractor and the owner. OSHA may become involved, as will everyone's insurance companies. Everything that happens from this point forward hinges upon the steps you take in securing the accident site and performing a preliminary investigation. That's why it's important to prepare for the possibility of an accident and the realities of the initial investigation by developing an accident investigation kit. The safety experts at Safety Management Group walk you through the steps here.

Safety Tip: Skid-Steer Loaders

NIOSH studies suggest that employers, supervisors and workers may not fully appreciate the potential hazards associated with operating or working near skid-steer loaders. Here are a few simple tips for preventing deaths and injuries:
    Seat belts must be worn in this vehicle at all times
  • Read and understand all safety and operating procedures outlined in the operators manual, workshop manual and safety decals.
  • Be aware that each machine may operate differently.
  • Operate the loader only when properly positioned in the operator's compartment - never from the outside.
  • Stay seated when operating the loader controls.
  • Operate with the seat belt snugly fastened and the restraint bar properly positioned, if one is provided.
  • Keep hands, arms, legs, and head inside the operator's compartment while operating the loader.
  • Travel and turn with the bucket in the lowest position possible. Carry the load low.
  • NEVER modify or bypass safety devices.
  • NEVER carry riders.
  • Enter and exit from the loader safely.
  • Maintain the machine in safe operating condition.
Learn more:

Menu Focus: Safety Labels

The Safety Labels tab at gives you easy access to hundreds of labels with Prohibited, Circle and Triangle formats covering dozens of topics from body hazards to recycling. All are available in standard gloss white material, and some include glow-in-the-dark and reflective material options.

Body Hazards - Includes poisons, respiratory and ingestion hazards, tip and crush warnings, pinch points and much more in black on white.

Circle Symbols - These labels in varied colors include PPE reminders, Do Not Enter symbols and more.

First Aid, Fire, Material Hazards - Available in a variety of colors, with topics such as radioactive, falling rocks, fire, crane, fire equipment, first aid and more.

General Symbols - This folder contains symbols you might use for just about anything, from housekeeping reminders and ATM machines to directional arrows, hand washing and restrooms.

Prohibited Symbols - Just as the name says, you'll find dozens of topics here with the universal "No" diagonal slash across them: No smoking, no diving, no food, no matches, no jewelry - no kidding!

Triangle Symbols - Use these black on yellow triangle labels to warn people of a variety of hazards.

Work Safety and PPE Symbols - This collection of labels address a wide range of PPE and hazard issues, including static electricity, gas cylinders, hearing protection, lasers, forklifts and more.

Recycling Labels - Includes dozens of labels to identify recycling bins and collection areas. Recycling topics include everything from aluminum, paper and plastic to electrical and garden waste.

ALL Symbols - If you're not sure where to look, this folder has them ALL.

Top 5 Links Last Month

Here's a list of the most popular articles / links from last month's Connection:
  1. Workplace Tobacco Smoke resources at the CDC
  2. No-Drug Zone / No Bullies / No Gangs signs at
  3. Revised OSHA Fall Protection Guidelines for Residential Roofers
  4. Solvent Safety for Everyone article by Safety Management Group
  5. Crane Hand Signal Charts at