A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

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.

OSHA Issues Directive on Workplace Violence

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a directive on enforcement procedures for investigating or inspecting incidents of workplace violence. Weapons Prohibited signThe directive establishes procedures for OSHA field staff responding to incidents and complaints of workplace violence and conducting inspections in industries considered vulnerable to workplace violence.

The directive outlines the types of businesses and the reasons why inspectors will review a company's workplace violence prevention efforts. Inspections will be conducted if:
  • Workplace violence results in a worker fatality or three or more hospitalizations
  • An employee files a workplace violence complaint, or
  • The company is in an industry with known risk factors for workplace violence
OSHA-identified high-risk industries are:
  • Healthcare and social service settings
  • Late-night retail settings
OSHA doesn't have a standard on workplace violence, but the agency says it will issue citations under the General Duty Clause. The agency has launched a new web page on Preventing Workplace Violence and published several workplace violence guidance documents including Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments and Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers.

Studies by NIOSH and other organizations show that employers who implement effective safety measures including employee training and conducting workplace analyses can reduce the incidence of workplace violence.

Are Your Respirators Really NIOSH-Approved? Here's How to Find Out

Respirator Safety SignBuying a respirator can be confusing, especially because some facepieces are marketed and advertised as NIOSH-approved when, for a variety of reasons, they are not actually certified. NIOSH recently launched a new campaign, "Know It's NIOSH," to make it easier to identify true NIOSH-certified respirators. The project includes a respirator source web page to help you verify if your respirators are actually NIOSH-approved. It also provides other useful respirator information.

ASSE / ANSI Announce Prevention-Through-Design Standard

Safety slogan signsThe American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has approved a new standard providing guidance on including prevention-through-design concepts in occupational safety and health management systems for any workplace setting. The ANSI/ASSE Z590.3 standard, "Prevention through Design: Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes" will soon be available online.

The standard focuses specifically on how to avoid, eliminate, reduce and control occupational safety and health hazards and risks during design and redesign processes. Concepts presented in the standard can be incorporated into the design/redesign of work areas, tools, equipment, machinery, substances and work processes. It can also apply to construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, disposal and reuse of equipment used on-the-job.

October 17, 2011

Seven Practices that Contrubuted to the BP Disaster - Are Any Yours?

Think Safety sign
The final report on the BP oil Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico identifies seven company practices that contributed to the incident. Technical reasons for the explosion include problems with cement barriers, production casing and lock-down sleeves.

But the report also cites seven company practices that contributed to the explosion. And they're mistakes that could be made by any company, not just an oil giant:
  1. Failure to stop work after encountering multiple hazards and warnings
  2. Failure to fully assess the risks associated with operational decisions
  3. Making cost- or time-saving decisions without considering contingencies and mitigation
  4. Failure to ensure all risks associated with operations were as low as reasonably practicable
  5. Failure to have full supervision and accountability over activities
  6. Failure to document, evaluate, approve and communicate changes associated with personnel and operations
  7. Failure to ensure a common integrated approach to well control

The report from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) says the explosion that killed 11 workers and sent almost five million barrels of oil into the Gulf resulted from "poor risk management, last-minute changes to plans, failure to observe and respond to critical indicators, inadequate well control response, and insufficient emergency bridge response training by the companies responsible."

October News and Notes

OSHA, NIOSH Release Nail Gun Safety Guide.Nail Gun Safety Guide
OSHA and NIOSH have developed a new guidance document titled "Nail Gun Safety - A Guide for Construction Contractors" to help construction employers and workers prevent work-related nail gun injuries. The guide highlights information on nail gun injuries, describes common injury causes and provides six practical steps contractors can take to prevent these injuries. It includes actual workplace cases along with a short section on other types of nail gun hazards and sources of additional information. Download the guide here (pdf).

Safety Podcasts from ASSE's Virtual Classroom.
Every month, ASSE delivers live webinars from safety experts. These monthly live webcasts are a way to interact with experts while learning about new approaches to managing safety. Audio recordings of some of these events are now available as podcasts from the ASSE website and also on the iTunes store. Browse the ASSE podcast archives here.

CDC Offers Flu Prevention Resources. Business Guide to Flu
It's that time again! Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. Although no predictions are available on flu severity this year, several flu resources are available from the CDC, including the "Make it Your Business to Fight the Flu" booklet. You can download the booklet here (pdf), get more seasonal flu info here, view additional resources for businesses and employers here, or browse hand washing signs here.

OSHA Extends Comments on Occupational Injury / Illness Tracking, Reporting to Oct. 28.
OSHA has re-opened the comment period on revising recordkeeping and reporting requirements for work-related injuries and illnesses. Individuals interested in submitting comments must do so by Oct. 28, 2011. Under the revised proposal, employers would be required to report to OSHA any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours. OSHA also proposes to update rule Appendix A that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements. Read more from OSHA here.

Observe Drug-Free Work Week October 17-22

The department of Labor has declared October 17-22 as Drug-Free Work Week, a time to highlight the benefits that a drug-free workplace brings to employers, workers and communities. And according to recent research, it's a message that many workers (and employers) need to hear.
  • 75 percent of illegal drug users in the U.S. are employed - and 3.1 percent say they have used illegal drugs before or during work hours. 
  • 79 percent of the nation's heavy alcohol users are employed - and 7.1 percent say they have consumed alcohol during the workday.
Drug-free workplace programs can help protect employers and employees from the potentially devastating consequences of worker alcohol or drug abuse. Establishing drug-free policies, educating workers about the dangers of alcohol and drug use, deterring and detecting their use and urging people to seek help for alcohol and drug problems are smart safety strategies. They're also smart business strategies.

Safety Tip: Aerial Lifts

Aerial lifts include boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks. (OSHA regulates scissor lifts as mobile scaffolds, not as aerial devices.) The major causes of aerial lift fatalities are falls, electrocutions and collapses or tip-overs. Here are some OSHA tips for safe work practices:
  • Safety Harness signNever move the equipment with workers on an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.
  • Do not allow workers to position themselves between overhead hazards, such as joists and beams, and the rails of the basket. Movement of the lift could crush the worker(s).
  • Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet, or 3 meters, from the nearest overhead lines.
  • Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
  • Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
  • Set the brakes, and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
  • Use outriggers, if provided.
  • Do not exceed the load limits of the equipment. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools, and materials.
  • Ensure workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
  • Maintain and operate elevating work platforms in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Never override hydraulic, mechanical or electrical safety devices.

Creating Successful Project Safety Committees

Recent evaluation of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster identified seven company practices that contributed to the incident - practices that could be common in most workplaces. One way to avoid potential safety disasters is to encourage collaborative efforts to improve safety across a worksite - by developing a project safety committee that:
  • Fosters a strong safety culture on the project
  • Creates a sense that everyone is responsible for safe work
  • Builds collaboration between various trades and contractors, and
  • Can improve efficiency and productivity
The safety experts at Safety Management Group have written an in-depth article explaining how you can set up a project safety committee at your workplace. Learn more here or browse Construction Safety signs here.

Menu Focus: Electrical Tab

Solar Disconnect label
For electrical safety signs ranging from AC Voltage labels to Vehicle Charging Station sign, start at the Electrical tab on the top row at That's where you'll gain fast and easy access to signs and labels for:

Arc Flash: OSHA and ANSI format signs and labels for required PPE and general warnings about arc flash and shock hazards.

Battery Charging safety signAlternate Energy Labels and Signs: If you work with wind or solar electrical systems, you'll find signs or labels here that address co-generation, AC and DC disconnects, Photovoltaic arrays and more.

Battery Charging: Just what you'd expect - signs and labels for charging areas, PPE notices, open flame warnings, used battery areas, electric vehicle charging stations and more.

Electrical Cutoff signBuried Cable Utility Markers: Call before digging and buried cable utility line identification markers in OSHA, ANSI, round, rectangular, parking and label formats.

Static and Grounding: Workplace signs for static control areas, grounding devices, equipment notices and more.

Voltage and Shock Hazard: A truly huge selection of signs and labels for voltage and shock hazards. Electrical safety tags, too.Voltage Pipe Labels

Voltage Labels
: If you need black-on-orange voltage labels, go straight to this page and select from AC, DC, phase and more. Or create your own custom label.

Electrical Pipe & Conduit Markers: Our electrical pipe markers, labels, wraps and stencils will help  you identify electrical conduits and pipes. Choose from AC Voltage, Current / Phasing / Panel or DC Voltage.

Top 5 Links in September

These were the most popular articles / links in the September Connection:

  1. Drive Safely Work Week campaign materials
  2. BLS list of 2010 fatal workplace injuries by metropolitan area (pdf)
  3. Staying Alert About Fatigue article by Safety Management Group
  4. Browse Vehicle Safety signs and labels at
  5. Browse new Utility signs and Pipeline markers at