A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

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:

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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: