A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

May 31, 2011

May 2011 - Top News This Month

  • Court Upholds OSHA Construction Fall Protection Rule, compliance date is June 16
  • 146,000 young workers are injured every year. Use these resources to help protect yours. 
  • Get your Electrical Safety Month Kit to help inform employees of workplace hazards. 
  • 27 States have specific swimming pool rules. Use our new resource page to find the signs you need. 
  • Take 4 Steps to help reduce severity of workplace injuries.

May Welcome

Hello Again

The rain just won't quit here in the Midwest, but sooner or later summer weather will be upon us and public swimming pools will open for the season. So this is a good time to update Pool Rules signs - with the help of a new state pool rules resources page at This month's Connection gives details, as well as information on Electrical Safety Month, protecting young workers, OSHA fall protection rules and much more. I hope this issue will help make your workplace a little safer - and your job a little easier.

Have a safe month
Paul Sandefer, President

ESFI Offers Electrical Safety Month Tool Kit

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May to increase public awareness of electrical hazards at home, work, school and play. ESFI has issued a National Electrical Safety Month Toolkit with materials that will help you conduct an electrical safety awareness campaign for your workplace.
Did you know:
  • Electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries in the workplace each year.
  • Every 30 minutes a worker sustains an electrical injury that requires time off the job.
  • Electrical accidents rank sixth among all causes of work-related deaths in the United States.
  • Electrical accidents on the job cause an average of 13 days away from work and nearly one fatality every day.
  • Nonfatal electrical injuries occur most often to those who work with machines, tools and electrical wiring other than power lines.
Fortunately, most electrical fires and incidents can be prevented. Electrical safety awareness and education among employees and communities will prevent electrical fires, injuries, fatalities and property loss.

What's New at - May 2011

We added more than 750 new signs to our store in April and May, and we're fast approaching 50,000 unique items you can order in a variety of sizes and materials. Here are some of the latest additions:

Oversize Load Banners to identify wide, long and oversize vehicle loads. Some are two-sided with a different message on each side, for greater versatility. Our new wide load banners are available in a variety of sizes on heavy vinyl, flexible magnetic or vinyl label materials. Check them out here.

Truck, Shipping and Receiving signs to direct drivers to your shipping office, identify delivery areas, show idling rules and more. See them here.

Hydraulic Lift safety signs cover a variety of topics related to hydraulic lifts, lift points and more. Useful for auto lifts, cranes and other material handling needs. Browse here.

Trash and Dumpster Rules signs in a variety of formats. We added more than 130 new signs and labels to address dumpsters, compactors, private containers, load levels, security and more. See them all here.

Lifting and Back Belts signs remind employees to use proper lifting techniques. We've created new signs for 2-, 3- and 4-person lifting in a variety of formats. Browse here.

Playground / Children at Play signs to identify areas where children play - and adults must use caution. See them here.

Other recent additions include: Spanish and bilingual Tobacco-Free Campus signs and updated Parking, NFPA Diamond and No Smoking signs.

Keeping Young Workers Safe

The Centers for Disease Control estimate 146,000 young workers sustain work-related injuries and illnesses each year. If you plan to hire young workers this summer, you should be aware of their unique risks for work-related injuries and illnesses.

Research from NIOSH shows that younger workers (age 15-24) are twice as likely as their older counterparts to be treated in hospital emergency departments for work-related injuries. The most frequent cause of death for younger workers was transportation-related (also true for older populations). "Contact with objects or equipment" caused the highest number of emergency-room-treated injuries.

One possible contributing factor: Medical research now suggests the human brain continues to mature and change significantly into the mid 20s. This may help explain why adolescents and young adults sometimes make decisions that are risky and lead to safety or health concerns.

Fortunately, a number of resources are available to help employers keep young workers safe, including videos and fact sheets from ANSI, OSHA and other groups:

Court Upholds OSHA Fall Protection Change

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an industry challenge to OSHA's new residential fall protection directive. Issued in December, the directive requires all residential construction employers to comply with Code of Federal Regulations 1926.501(b)(13). Where residential builders can demonstrate that traditional fall protection is not feasible, it allows for alternative means of providing protection. Construction and roofing companies have until June 16 to comply with the new directive.

State Pool Rules - How to Find the Right Signs

Summertime is just around the corner, and the new Pool / Spa / Water Safety - State Rules page at will help you find state-required signs to keep your pool, spa and dock areas safe. Just pick your state from the US map to see signs your state requires.

It's a simple solution to a very complicated problem, but it took about 2½ months to research and develop correct pool and spa rules signs for all 50 states, says ComplianceSigns eCommerce Data Coordinator Deb Miller, who managed the project. "I ended up with a stack of paper three inches tall while I was collecting requirements," says Deb.

"I found 27 states with specific wording unique to those states, so they have their own pages in our store," she explains. "Some states list general topics that must be covered (lifeguards, diapers, etc.) but don't dictate specific language, and others simply say a rules sign must be posted. Some states specify sign or letter sizes, and our signs meet those requirements."

"We were surprised at the required language on some state signs," says Deb. "Some have incorrect grammar and punctuation, but that's what the states mandate, so that's what's on our signs."

Some states mandate additional signs, as well. For example, Nevada requires chlorine warning and emergency contact information signs in addition to specific pool or spa rules. "If you get to a rules page with a state name at the top, all relevant signs on the page are required by your state," says Deb. (Two exceptions are Montana and New York, which indicate lettering or sign sizes too large to produce and ship.)

"If you click a state from the big map and get taken to our General Pool Rules page, then your state doesn't have specific rules, or our general rules signs meet your state requirements," she adds.

And if this isn't confusing enough, some localities have their own rules, too. To help you sort all this out, we've created a Swimming Pool Rules Resources page where you can start to research state and local pool rule requirements.

"I'd recommend everyone start at the State Rules page and see what they find, then check the resources page," says Deb. "You'll probably have to dig to find your answer, but it's a good starting point."

With a little help from, your swimming season can get off to a safe - and state-compliant - start.

SAFETY TIP: Electrical Safety in the Workplace

The Electrical Safety Foundation International presents these tips for electrical workers to help avoid injuries, deaths and property damage caused by workplace electrical hazards:
  • Complete a detailed job plan and communicate it to all co-workers.
  • Know safety requirements and follow them.
  • Understand the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and the hazards involved.
  • Identify all possible energy sources that could pose on-the-job hazards.
  • Before working on or around electrical systems or equipment, identify the load circuits and disconnect. Remember, in some cases, turning power off may cause other hazards. Such hazards and additional guidance should be addressed in your work plan.
  • Select the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Remember, PPE must be worn until the electrical system is in a safe condition.
  • Never assume that the equipment or system is de-energized. Remember to always test before you touch.
  • Use lock-out / tag-out procedures.
  • Make sure your test equipment is working properly both before and after you use it.
  • If at any time the job becomes more hazardous than you had anticipated, stop and revise the plans.

May News and Notes

Comment Period Extended for Proposed OSHA Ergonomics Reporting
The public now has until June 16 to comment on proposed OSHA musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) reporting requirements. In 2010, OSHA proposed to revise its Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements regulation to restore a column to the OSHA 300 log that employers would have to check if an incident they already have recorded under existing rules is an MSD. Read more here, or review comments here.

CDC Reports on Injuries and Illness Among Older Workers
Findings in a new CDC report show that although older workers have higher incidence rates for some types of injuries (e.g., falls on the same level), they have lower rates than other age groups for other types of injuries (e.g., contact with objects and equipment). The length of absence from work increased steadily with age and was highest for older workers. Read the report here.

Plan Ahead for National Safety Month in June
June is National Safety Month, and the National Safety Council encourages employers to participate. NSC has materials available to download to help educate employees about preventing overexertion, preventing slips, trips and falls, and distracted driving. Learn more here.

Indiana Bans Texting & Driving
Indiana has become the 32nd state to ban texting while driving, effective July 1. The law extends Indiana's current texting ban to all drivers. Drivers under 18 are also prohibited from all cell phone use. Violators face a maximum fine of $500. At this time, 32 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have banned text messaging by all drivers. Eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website for comprehensive information on distracted driving, including laws for your state.

Webinar: OSHA-Compliant Respiratory Program
A webinar on May 26 will provide guidance on how to establish an OSHA compliant respiratory protection program. It will also address key considerations for specific applications such as confined space, welding, abrasive blasting, painting and healthcare. Presented by PPE manufacturer Bullard. Learn more here.

Four Action Steps for Workplace Injuries

When someone is injured in the workplace, the steps a supervisor takes can not only affect the health of the employee, but also determine compliance with workplace safety regulations, protect the employer from legal problems and perhaps help prevent similar incidents in the future. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have identified four key steps to help you respond appropriately, secure the scene, investigate details and debrief your team. Read more here.

Top 5 Links Last Month

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