A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

April 23, 2012

Top Safety News This Month - April

  • Safety incentive programs now under OSHA scrutiny.
  • 20,000+ young workers were injured or killed in 2010. Here's what you can do to help.
  • New OSHA NEP targets nursing and residential care facilities.
  • Plan to promote workplace safety during North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, May 6-12.

April 22, 2012

Workplace Safety is a Moving Target

Just when you thought workplace safety couldn't get any more complicated, OSHA is now looking at safety incentive programs as a source of potential violations. But as crazy as that sounds, their arguments do make some sense. Clearly, "safety" is a moving target, and what works for one site or employee group may not work for another.

Young workers are a good example. A recent study shows many thousands of young workers are injured or killed every year, and they need specialized safety training and supervision to help keep them safe. You'll find information on these topics and more in this month's Connection.
Have a safe month
Paul Sandefer, President

OSHA Inspectors Advised To Review Safety Incentive Programs

Days Without Accident SignYour next OSHA visit just might include a review of your safety incentive program - because OSHA has noticed that some safety practices and incentive programs could discourage workers from reporting injuries, and thus violate whistleblower and recordkeeping rules.

A March memo advises field compliance officers and whistleblower staff about common policies with the most potential for discrimination. OSHA has also observed that the potential for unlawful discrimination under these policies may increase when management or supervisory bonuses are linked to lower reported injury rates.
Inspectors have been instructed to pay close attention to situations where:
  • Employers establish programs that unintentionally or intentionally provide employees an incentive to not report injuries. For example, an employer might enter all employees who have not been injured in the previous year in a drawing to win a prize, or a team of employees might be awarded a bonus if no one from the team is injured over some period of time.
  • Employers have a policy of taking disciplinary action against employees who are injured on the job, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the injury.
  • An employee who reports an injury or illness is disciplined, and the stated reason is that the employee has violated an employer rule about the time or manner for reporting injuries and illnesses.
  • An employee reports an injury, and the employer imposes discipline on the ground that the injury resulted from the violation of a safety rule by the employee.
Learn more with these links:

What' s New at - April

You'll find more than 450 new signs and labels at this month. Here's a list of some of the key items:
VA Code and Life Safety signsDept. of Veterans Affairs Code & Life Safety Signs. These signs for fire doors, exits, area of refuge, work safety and more meet Department of Veteran's Affairs design standards. 
Animal Handling and Pet signs.
These new signs include Dog Park Rules, several Beware of Dog options, Pet Exercise Area signs and window stickers alerting firefighters there are pets inside.

Crane Hand Signal Training materialsCrane Hand Signal Posters and Training Materials.
We've added multi-page training card and instructor sheet sets showing universal hand signals for crane operation and movement for: helicopters, cranes, material handlers and material placement. Each card shows a crane signalman with bright red gloves demonstrating universal hand positions and motions, with each signal described in detail.
DOT Placard Brackets. We now offer two styles of DOT placard holders; one with a backplate and clip, and a backless version for use on smooth-sided trailers.

You'll also find new items for Food Safety / Kitchen signs, Alternate Energy labels, Parking signs, Vehicle Fuel Station signs, OSHA / ANSI header labels and much more.

April 21, 2012

OSHA Resurrects NEP for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities

First Aid SignOSHA just announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. Through this NEP, OSHA will target nursing homes and residential care facilities for three years in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and injuries.

The new NEP is not significantly different than a 2002 NEP that ended in 2003, except the new program includes workplace violence. The program applies to all general industry nursing and residential care facilities covered under NAICS codes 623110, 623210 and 623311.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American industries in 2010 - more than 2 times higher than all private industry as a whole. The data show most injuries were attributed to overexertion and slips, trips and falls. At the same time, approximately 2,130 workplace assaults were reported by persons in nursing and residential care facilities.

For the new NEP, OSHA will target facilities with a days-away-from-work rate of 10 or higher per 100 full-time workers.

New Pool and Spa Safety Code Available from IC

Pool Rules signThe International Code Council (ICC) and pool safety organizations have joined together to publish the first comprehensive code to upgrade pool and spa safety, and meet the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. The new code is now available in soft cover and as a PDF download.

The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code™ (ISPSC), published by the ICC, establishes minimum safety requirements for public and residential pools, spas and hot tubs. ISPSC was developed with input from a wide range of industry experts, including the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), and was finalized through the Code Council's governmental consensus process.

The ISPSC combines relevant provisions of ICC Codes and APSP standards to create a consolidated document for pool and spa safety. Adoption of the ISPEC will allow code enforcement officials, health officials, designers and builders to more effectively ensure pools and spas are built safely.

The new standard:
  • Meets or exceeds Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act compliance. No Diving Sign
  • Refers to and integrates APSP ANSI standards.
  • Contains barrier, decking, lighting, circulation system, pump, accessibility, diving, sanitizing equipment, filter, and suction fitting provisions coordinating with the IBC and IRC.
  • Covers all types of aquatic vessels including residential and public pools, portable and in-ground spas, water parks, exercise spas and hot tubs.
  • Requires portable spas be certified to latest industry standards, eliminating the need to inspect inaccessible interior components.
  • Specifically addresses aquatic recreation facilities.
  • Includes the first energy standard for residential portable electric spas and for residential in-ground swimming pools and spas.
Learn more with these links:

April 20, 2012

New Report Calls for Better Standards and Supervision of Young Workers

Young Operator Safety SignIf you have employees under age 20, you'll be interested in a new report released by the Colorado School of Public Health, which states that thousands of American youth are killed or injured on the job each year, often due to poorly regulated work environments. The report, published in Public Health Reports, found that 88 youths under age 20 died from work-related injuries in 2010 while 20,000 missed work in private industry due to occupational-related illness or injury.

Young people comprise a significant part of the U.S. and Canadian labor force. More than 17.6 million workers under age 25 are employed in the U.S. In Canada, nearly three million workers between ages 15 and 24 were employed in 2010. A recent national U.S. study reported that 26 percent of workers younger than 18 worked at least part of the day without an adult supervisor and as many as one-third of them reported not having any health and safety training.

Think Safety Sign 
"We don't tend to think of child labor as a major issue in the U.S. but we should," said the study's lead author. "Laws governing the employment of youth ages 14 to 17 in this country are often very lenient and in the case of family farms virtually non-existent," she added. "From a fatality standpoint, farm work is the most dangerous occupation for kids."

The authors call for stronger federal monitoring of youth worker safety, including assuring that children working on farms are better protected. They are also encouraging more research into preventing workplace injuries among young people.

"Ultimately it's not the responsibility of 15-year-olds to ensure their safety - it's the responsibility of employers," said the author. The project was funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.

Get Ready for Occupational Safety and Health Week, May 6-12

May 6-12 is North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH Week), a time to raise awareness about occupational safety, health and the environment. It includes Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day (OSHP Day) on Wednesday of that week.
Hand PPE SignSponsored by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), NAOSH Week is a time to promote occupational safety and help educate the public about the positive benefits that safe workplaces provide for workers, their families, friends, businesses, local communities and the global community.

During NAOSH Week, and all year, ASSE and CSSE members, OSHA and NAOSH partners develop and implement activities to promote occupational safety aimed at preventing injuries and illnesses. Past activities have included fleet safety classes, ergonomic awareness events, distribution of catastrophe preparedness information, teen worker safety and roadway crash prevention brochures, teen worker safety courses, a PPE fashion show and much more.
Here are a few suggestions for NAOSH events at your business:
  • Sponsor a poster contest for your employees' children and enter them in the annual ASSE kids' 'safety-on-the-job' poster contest
  • Host a family safety fair or picnic for your company and their families
  • Launch a recognition program for safety suggestions that are put into use or enhance ongoing health and safety practices
  • Conduct an open house that focuses on health and safety. Involve suppliers. Invite local dignitaries, clients and colleagues.
  • Conduct safety training sessions for employees
 Use these links for more information: Customer Comments - April

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

Easy-ordering, very visible product, fast delivery! Quality products and service!
David M.
West Springfield, Mass.

Great service from phone order to product delivery!
Erwin W., Goshen, Ohio

Every company in America could learn what real customer service is from Compliance Signs.
James K., Linden, Calif.

April Work Safety News and Notes

ANSI Approves Revised Vehicle Operations Standard.No cell phone vehicle safety signA comprehensive standard aimed at increasing commercial motor vehicle operations' safety developed by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) was approved recently by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The revised ANSI/ASSE Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, Z15.1-2012, standard will be effective August 20. The revised standard provides guidelines needed to address a wide range of safety management issues related to motor vehicle operations. Topics include occupant restraints, impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, fatigue and operational policies on vehicle business use. Read more here, or browse Vehicle Safety signs and labels here.
OSHA Finally Issues HazCom Standard Update to Match GHS.
OSHA 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.
Read the announcement here.

OSHA Seeks Comments on Vehicle Backovers and Reinforcing Concrete Activities.
These accidents are more common than you might think. Earlier this week a road construction worker died in Indianapolis after an excavator backed over the worker. OSHA will use the comments received to learn more about how workers get injured and what solutions exist to prevent injury and death, including possible regulatory action. Comments on this RFI must be submitted by June 27, 2012. Interested parties may submit comments at, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice for details.

App for NIOSH Lifting Equation Calculator.
A new mobile application calculates the risk OSHA Lifting Signassociated with manual material handling tasks.The certified professional ergonomists at Humantech developed the htLiftCalc application, available on iTunes, to perform the NIOSH Lifting Equation whenever and wherever needed. The app can be used at the job site to evaluate both existing and proposed lifting conditions to determine the Recommended Weight Limit (RWL) for a specific job or task, and it can identify those jobs or tasks that might require ergonomic intervention. Read more here, or browse Safe Lifting signs here.

Sleep and Work Risks for Workers.
Sleep is a vital biological function, and many Americans don't get enough. To coincide with National Sleep Awareness Week, the new NIOSH blog post: "Sleep and Work" summarizes the risks to workers, employers and the public when long hours and irregular shifts required by many jobs do not allow workers to get adequate sleep. Read more at the NIOSH Science Blog.

April Safety Tip: 5 Ways to Protect Young Workers

Young worker safety signMore than 20,000 young workers are injured or killed annually in the U.S. Here are some NIOSH recommendations employers can take to help protect young workers:

1. Recognize the Hazards
  • Assess and eliminate workplace hazards.
  • Ensure equipment used by young workers is safe and legal.

2. Supervise Young Workers
  • Be sure supervisors and adult co-workers are aware of tasks young workers may and may not perform.
  • Label equipment that young workers cannot use, or color-code uniforms so others know they are not allowed to perform certain jobs.
3. Provide Training
    Safety Label
  • Ensure young workers recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices.
  • Have young workers demonstrate their assigned tasks safely and correctly.
  • Ask workers for feedback about the training.
4. Know and Comply with All Laws
  • Research child labor laws and occupational health and safety laws and health regulations that apply to your business.
  • State laws may be more restrictive than Federal laws, and they vary considerably from state to state.
5. Develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program
  • Involve supervisors and experienced workers.
  • Let them share their experiences with young workers.
Related links:

Four Things Every Contractor Should Know About EMR

There's a small number that has a profound effect on every contractor's ability to be competitive and maintain profitability. This number also gives owners and construction managers insight into how a contractor makes key decisions about his or her business. But despite its impact and importance, far too many contractors do not have a solid understanding of what this number means, how it's computed and how their own decisions can impact it.

The number is your Experience Modification Rate (EMR), a multiplier insurance companies use to factor your company's workers comp history into your premium amount. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have published a new article that explains this very important number - and what you can do to influence it.
Read more here, then browse construction safety signs here.

Top 5 Safety Links in March

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