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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com ®

March 21, 2012

OSHA Publishes Hazcom / GHS Revisions (finally!)

GHS symbol labels for chemical labelingOSHA has finally published the long-awaited revisions to its Hazard Communications Standard, to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.
 
Major changes include:
  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
Follow the link below to learn more, and look for more details in the April ComplianceSigns Connection.

March 19, 2012

Top Workplace Safety News - March 2012

  • OSHA extends residential fall protection grace period to Sept. 15
  • March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month - Check out two new eye safety resources
  • NIOSH launches a voluntary healthcare OH&S surveillance network
  • New research shows proper safety culture and work-life balance can reduce workplace injuries up to 40 percent

March Storms Highlight Importance of Workplace Emergency Plans



Once again, March storms roared like a lion through many parts of the US, leaving unbelievable destruction behind. I'm not sure any business could be truly "prepared" for an F4 tornado, but these storms clearly illustrate the need for disaster planning. From designated storm shelter areas and backup power to fire escape routes and business continuation plans, the best time to address a disaster is before it happens.

Is your emergency plan up to date? I'll be reviewing mine this month - and I hope you will, too.
Have a safe month
Paul Sandefer, President
ComplianceSigns.com

OSHA Extends Residential Fall Protection

 
OSHA fall protection signOSHA has extended the transition phase for enforcement of residential fall protection directive STD 03-11-002. That gives residential contractors six more months of temporary enforcement measures, including priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions and extended abatement dates. The original effective date was March 15.

OSHA's website has a variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with fall protection compliance, including fact sheets, slide presentations and other items.

March 18, 2012

ComplianceSigns.com Customer Comments - March 2012

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

I am very happy the order was shipped correctly on time and I must say I was very impressed with the packing of the signs and the care that was taken to make sure they arrived in great condition.

Curt L., B&G Glass Reading, PA

What's New at ComplianceSigns.com - March 2012


There's always something new at ComplianceSigns.com. We added more than 300 new signs and labels to our store in the past month. Accessible picnic area signHere's a sampling:
                      
New ADA Tactile + Braille signs on a variety of topics, including: accessible entrance, exit and picnic area; volume control and TDD telephone identification; and attendants for disabled persons. All are available in 27 colors, and include Grade 2 Braille.


Lift Van Parking signs
to identify spaces reserved for vehicles with wheelchair lifts.
 
Playground No Smoking signSchool / Playground / Facility No Smoking signs with a variety of messages, from "Young lungs at play" and "Keep butts away from where we play" to "Tobacco free property" and "This is a tobacco free workplace."

We also created more Restroom Rules signs and a $500 Parking Fine sign to meet West Virginia accessible parking regulations.

 What's next? Look for new Food Safety signs, additional language options for Concealed Carry/Weapons signs and more in the month ahead.

Resources for Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Eye Wash safety signDespite OSHA eye protection rules, more than 25,000 workplace eye injuries occurred in 2010 that required time away from work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help reduce that number, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared March "Workplace Eye Wellness Month" and provided new resources to help employers reduce the risk of sight-threatening workplace injuries.
 
PBA says 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented through proper eye protection. To help achieve that goal, PBA recently launched the Eye2Eye program to help safety directors build a network of employees who value on-site safety and are committed to peer education. With Eye2Eye, select employees complete a multimedia training program to become certified Eye2Eye Safety Ambassadors, a role designed to bridge the gap between safety managers and employees. The paid-membership program includes a peer-based, interactive curriculum and a community-oriented forum.

PBA also offers the Healthy Eyes Educational Series for lunch-and-learn presentations in office settings. It offers downloadable modules for formal presentations or informal one-on-one sessions. Each module includes a guide and slide show on a variety of eye health and safety topics. Related fact sheets are also available to use as handouts.
"We've worked with industry experts to put together the most comprehensive programs to help save sight in the workplace, and we encourage everyone to participate in protecting their eyes today," said PBA President Hugh Parry.         

March 17, 2012

NIOSH Launches Healthcare OH&S Surveillance Network


Slippery floor caution signThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just launched a new electronic occupational safety and health surveillance system. The Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) is designed to serve as a surveillance resource for U.S. workplaces. It will be used to analyze and report workplace-specific injury and illness events among workers, helping NIOSH spot trends and trouble areas.

The first version of OHSN is limited to the healthcare sector, but NIOSH envisions OHSN will be expanded to other industry sectors in the future. The OHSN Healthcare Sector Component focuses on non-infectious occupational safety and health issues among healthcare personnel, starting with a Traumatic Injury Module.

The module will track three high-risk, preventable types of events that can lead to injuries or musculoskeletal disorders among healthcare personnel:                    
  • Patient handling and working in awkward postures
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Workplace violence
It may be expanded in the future to collect data on other topics, such as contact dermatitis and work-related asthma.

Key Workplace Safety Factors: Worker Perception and Work-life Balance

Thinnk Safety signImproving work-life balance and worker opinions of safety could reduce injury rates nearly 40 percent, according to just-published research. University of Georgia researchers examined safety climate perceptions among a diverse sample of occupations and worker groups. Results show U.S. worker perceptions of safety in the workplace and the work-life balance established by businesses significantly influence on-the-job injury.

Companies that run in a smooth and effective manner with minimal constraints on worker performance can decrease injuries 38 percent as worker opinions improve, according to survey results. A worker's perception of a positive safety climate can decrease injuries by 32 percent. "Actions taken or not taken at the organizational level can either set the stage for injuries or help prevent them," said the main author.

Work-family interference also was established as a significant risk for occupational injury. In situations where work interferes with family life, or family demands affect job performance, the risk for injury increased 37 percent.

The study was conducted by a professor of health promotion and behavior and a graduate student who previously worked 12 years as a workplace safety consultant. Results were published online in January and are included in the February issue of the Journal of Safety Research.                 

March 16, 2012

New ANSI / ASSE Standards for Fall Protection Devices


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved two Fall protection signs at ComplianceSigns.comAmerican Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) standards addressing fall protection. The standards are part of the Z359 Fall Protection Code, which will be updated in the months ahead.

The new Z359.14-2012, Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems, establishes requirements for the performance, design, qualification testing, markings and instructions, inspections, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of self-retracting devices. It also classifies them according to performance.

The revised Z359.4-2012,Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components, establishes similar requirements for connectors, harnesses, lanyards, anchorage connectors, winches/hoists, descent control devices, rope tackle blocks and self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capability comprising rescue systems utilized in pre-planned self-rescue and assisted-rescue applications.                     

Are Music Headphones a Workplace Hazard?

Ear protection safety signWe've all heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Now recent studies document the dangers of distracted walking. An article published in the January issue of Injury Prevention concludes that headphones used with handheld devices may pose a safety risk to pedestrians, especially in environments with moving vehicles. 

Another study found that 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for cell-phone related incidents, including falling off bridges and walking in front of moving traffic. (Accident Analysis and Prevention, August, 2013)

It's not hard to imagine the same is true in work environments such as construction sites, warehouses or loading docks.

Researchers from the University of Maryland identified 116 reported deaths or injuries of pedestrians wearing headphones between January 2004 and June 2011. Over half the pedestrians were hit by trains - even though horns or sirens sounded in 29 percent of these incidents. If these pedestrians didn't hear a train, how many earbud-wearing workers won't hear verbal directions - or the backup beep of a forklift?

MP3 players have become standard-issue items for much of today's population, but portable music players are nothing new. Workers have long used music to combat the boredom of monotonous tasks. OSHA issued a memo regarding use of music headphones back in 1987:
"Use of Walkmen in noise environments in excess of Tables G-16 and D-1 is a violation. Use of Walkmen over required ear protection is a violation. Use of Walkmen in occupational noise less than Tables G-16 or D-1 is at managerial discretion unless its use causes a serious safety hazard to warrant issuance of a 5(a)(1)."
Loose earbud cords could also become caught in machinery or pose an electrical hazard similar to metal jewelry. The Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Division has declared music devices a potential hazard because they "impair a worker's ability to hear surrounding sounds. This is especially true if the user is working around moving equipment or in circumstances where a worker must be able to hear warning sounds. Furthermore, because these devices compromise the user's general alertness and concentration, they may be considered a hazard at any workplace."

As with most workplace safety issues, there are many elements to consider. A clear policy governing use of MP3 players is your best bet.

Workplace Safety News and Notes - March

2012 NFPA Standards Directory Now Available. The 2012 NFPA Standards Directory, which contains the current and new Regulations, Convention Rules, and Guide for Conduct, is now posted at www.nfpa.org/regs. Download the pdf here.

30 Million Small Gas Cylinders Recalled as Fire Hazard.
Millions of Map Pro, Propylene and MAPP gas cylinders are being recalled by manufacturer Worthington Cylinders Wisconsin, LLP. The seal on the cylinders can leak after torches or other equipment are disconnected from them, posing a fire hazard. The cylinders are approximately 3" in diameter and 11" tall and are either yellow or black in color. They were sold alone and in torch kits from October 2004 through January 2012 at various distributors and retailers in the U.S. and Canada. The cylinders and torch kits have a variety of brands and labels, including Ace, Bernzomatic, Craftsman, NAPA and more.
Read the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice for full details.

Workplace Eye Safety Checklist

Although workplace eye injuries may be declining (from 27,450 in 2008 to 25,230 in 2010), eye safety experts estimate 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented with proper eye protection. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical eye injury results from the eye being rubbed or abraded by foreign matter such as metal chips, dirt particles and splinters; or by these types of items striking the eye.
Eye Protection safety sign
Workers most at risk of incurring an eye injury are in the manufacturing, construction and trade industries. Use this NIOSH Eye Safety Checklist to help prevent eye injuries in your workplace:

1. Create a safe work environment:

  • Minimize hazards from falling or unstable debris.
  • Make sure tools work and safety features (machine guards) are in place.
  • Make sure workers (particularly volunteers) know how to use tools properly.
  • Keep bystanders out of the hazard area.
2. Evaluate safety hazards:
  • Identify the primary hazards at the site.
  • Identify hazards posed by nearby workers, large machinery, and falling/shifting debris.
3. Wear the proper eye and face protection
  • Select the appropriate Z87 eye protection for the hazard.
  • Make sure the eye protection is in good condition.
  • Make sure the eye protection fits properly and will stay in place.
4. Follow good work practices
  • Brush, shake, or vacuum dust and debris from hardhats, hair, forehead or the top of eye protection before removing the protection.
  • Do not rub eyes with dirty hands or clothing.
  • Clean eyewear regularly.
OSHA cautions employers not to rely on personal protective equipment (PPE) devices alone to provide protection against eye hazards. Use PPE in conjunction with guards, engineering controls and sound manufacturing practices.

Electrical Safety: Are You in Compliance?


Companies are being cited and fined for non-compliance with electrical safety guidelines and posted on the OSHA website every month. Having the necessary personal protective equipment on-hand is not enough. Workers must be educated and have a good understanding of the importance of NFPA 70E. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have prepared an article outlining key points of OSHA and NFPA guidelines and training recommendations.

Find Safety Signs Fast at ComplianceSigns.com

What's the fastest way to find the sign you need at ComplianceSigns.com? Just type a word or two into the orange Search box at the top of every page. In a second or two you'll see all the signs that match that term, as well as several ways to narrow your search results.
Search tool at ComplianceSigns.com
In the left column of the page you'll see headings for:
  • Safety Standard
  • Product Group 
  • Primary Application
  • Background Color
  • Language
  • Construction
  • Special Mounting Options
Beneath each heading are several options to choose from. With just a couple clicks you can refine your "forklift" search to show only English + Spanish, surface mount OSHA Caution signs, for example. That narrows your choices from 370 signs to just the 27 you're really interested in. 

Or type additional words in the search box, and you'll see results that meet your criteria. To reorder a sign, just enter the sku number in the Search box. Either way, it's fast and easy to find the signs you need.

Top 5 Workplace Safety Links in February

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