byline

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

May 22, 2012

Top Workplace Safety News This Month - May 2012

  • May is Electrical Safety Month - New employer tools are available from ESFI
  • OSHA launches heat-stress campaign including heat index mobile app
  • NIOSH teams up for construction fall-prevention effort - many materials available for employers
  • New estimate places U.S. workplace injury / illness costs at $250 billion
  • Learn how to manage asbestos exposure

National Electrical Safety Month Asks Workers: How Do You Know?

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is raising awareness of potential electrical hazards and the importance of electrical safety through National Electrical Safety Month.

electrical safety signsThis year's campaign includes a workplace electrical safety awareness program, How Do You Know? The new program was developed to help employers determine if their workforce is properly protected from electrical hazards. It encourages employees to take a proactive approach to electrical safety and provides tools to improve electrical safety in the workplace. How Do You Know? includes a video series and an electrical safety self-assessment.

The campaign also features a program for home electrical safety that educates consumers about emerging electrical technologies - electric vehicles, solar power, wind power and smart meters - and how they relate to existing electrical systems.

Another new component of this year's campaign is a promotion that lets people test their National Electrical Safety Month IQ with an online quiz that can be shared via social networks.

ComplianceSigns.com Customer Comments - May

Here's what ComplianceSigns.com customers are saying to us this month:

The selection of products and color choices is the main reason I have made this website my primary source for my ADA signage. Everything I have ordered has been of high quality and easy to install.
- Justin, San Diego

Website is easy to use and order. Signs are shipped and delivered in just couple days, right when you said they would. Very nice.
- Jim, Columbus OH

This was the perfect sign for our color scheme. I loved the fact that there were so many colors to choose from and many available sizes. No regrets, I would recommend this sign and this company to everyone!
- Debbie, Ashtabula, OH

What's New at ComplianceSigns.com - May

We've added nearly 450 new signs and labels at ComplianceSigns.com this month. Here's a list of some key items:

table signs
Engraved Acrylic Dining / Restaurant Table Signs. Available in 12 colors, these signs identify reserved tables, types of drinks (coffee, decaf, lemonade, etc.), or table numbers. Perfect for restaurants, cafeterias, churches and banquet halls. There's also a clear acrylic stand to hold them in style. See them here.

Fire Safety Multi-mount Signs. Our 2-D projection and 3-D triangle projection signs stand out from the wall for easy viewing. We've added 51 new signs on our Fire Safety pages.
Browse fire safety signs here.

enter and exit signsEnter and Exit signs. You'll see 49 new signs on our Exit & Entrance pages. We have a great selection, including projection- and ceiling-mount signs, ADA Braille, VA Code and Life Safety, and Automatic Door labels.

New signs were also added in these categories:
Environmental Hazard, Parking, No Trespassing, Lifting / Material Handling, Oxygen, First Aid, and even an Illinois baby safe haven sign. Next month, watch for new signs related to machine safety, swimming pool safety and more.

New Safety Sign Reviews at ComplianceSigns.com

ComplianceSigns.com is pleased to announce an exciting addition to our website - YOU!  We are currently implementing a customer review system that will let you read and share comments, ratings and even post photos of your safety sign installations.

Product Reviews tabWe know that selecting the right safety sign can be a challenge, and we believe that adding customer product ratings and comments will help our customers feel confident with their choices. It also gives you an easy way to let us know what we're doing right or what we could do better.

Beginning this month, our new review system will automatically send a product review email to anyone who makes a purchase at ComplianceSigns.com. You should see the review request about 10 days after your purchase. The email will show thumbnail-size images of the safety signs you ordered, with a link next to each image that takes you to a product review page on our website.

Product Review pageThe review page is easy to use - just check appropriate boxes, add your comments and submit. The whole process takes about a minute. There is also an unsubscribe link if you prefer not to participate.

"We've conducted satisfaction surveys for several years, and 99 percent of our customers say they'd buy from us again," says e-Commerce Production Assistant Shelly Williams, who manages the review program. "Now our customers can directly share their safety sign experiences with each other."

Customer reviews will begin appearing on the site this month, and if you replied to our email request in recent weeks, your comments will likely be included. Look for a review snapshot box next to safety sign images, or select the Product Reviews tab in the description area to read reviews.

New OSHA Campaign Targets Heat-related Illness and Death

OSHA Heat Safety PosterOSHA has kicked off a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. Every year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed - on average - more than 30 workers annually since 2003.

"It is essential for workers and employers to take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat, and become aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion before they get worse," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. "Agriculture workers; building, road and other construction workers; utility workers; baggage handlers; roofers; landscapers and others who work outside are all at risk. Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months."

Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps, but quickly can become heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple prevention steps are not followed.

OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, a workplace training curriculum and a web page with information and resources on heat illness. OSHA also has released a free mobile phone app that lets workers and supervisors monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish.
                   

NIOSH Launches Construction Fall-Prevention Effort

AFall Protection label new safety campaign from NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training encourages everyone in the construction industry to work safely and use the right equipment to reduce falls. Special emphasis and activity will focus on residential construction contractors and workers.

Falls are the number one cause of construction-worker fatalities, accounting for one-third of on-the-job injury deaths in the industry. To turn this problem around, we need to promote the use of fall prevention practices by contractors and construction workers. The campaign promotes three main messages:
  1. Contractors and workers can plan together, before every job, to work safely at heights
  2. Contractors must provide the right equipment for working at heights, and workers need to use that equipment.
  3. Contractors and workers need to be trained to use the equipment and to work safely.
A variety of campaign materials are available to raise awareness about construction falls and to provide practical information about fall prevention, including posters, fact sheets, training materials, stickers and more. New materials will be released on a regular basis over the course of the campaign. There is also an interesting interactive map showing the locations of fatal construction falls that occurred in 2011.

OSHA Regulations Related to Occupational Asbestos Exposure

As an employer or employee, there are many safety regulations that you are familiar with. But do you know how to properly manage and deal with asbestos exposure? According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos is considered a toxic substance and is subject to special regulations.

Asbestos Exposure Limits and Employee Notification
respirator labelAsbestos is a known carcinogen that can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. OSHA mandates that employees should not be exposed to more than "0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air as an 8-hour time-weighted average." In order to ensure this, employers are required to sample the air where work is taking place and prove that the concentration of airborne asbestos is within legal limits. The samples must be collected by a laboratory that follows OSHA guidelines for sampling.

All methods of air sampling and the results must be documented. The employer also has a duty to inform each affected employee in writing or by posting the results in a break room or general area where all employees can access them. This must be done within fifteen days of receiving the lab results. If the results show that the airborne fiber limit is over the accepted amount, the employer must also notify employees of the actions being taken to correct the problem.

Creating Regulated Areas

After identifying areas that contain excessive airborne asbestos fiber concentrations, these areas must be marked and access to these areas should be limited to authorized persons. These authorized persons must be provided with respirators that meet OSHA standards. Because of the dangers of inhaling and ingesting asbestos, no one is allowed to smoke, drink, eat, chew tobacco or gum or apply make-up in regulated areas. Proper ventilation should be installed in all of these areas as well.

Safe Asbestos Practices
Anyone working with or around asbestos must also be provided with and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This consists of disposable clothing, head and foot covers as well as eye protection and respirators. It is the employer's responsibility to make sure that all clothing is properly disposed of Asabestos safety signafter use and replace it when necessary.

After completing a work shift, employees are required to take showers before leaving the work place. In areas designated as break rooms or lunch rooms, ventilated, purified air should be made available to all employees.

In order to make sure that all people entering a potentially hazardous area are sufficiently warned, warning signs should be posted where they are clearly visible. In addition, warning labels should be used on all materials containing asbestos fibers.
Article contributed by Michelle Y. Llamas for the Mesothelioma Center.

News and Notes - May 2012

OSHA renews focus on laser hazards. Laser Warning sign
The Laser Institute of America has renewed its alliance with OSHA to reduce and prevent worker exposure to laser beam and non-beam hazards in industrial, research and medical workplaces. The Alliance will also share information on laser regulations and standards, effects lasers have on the eyes and skin, laser control measures and laser safety program administration. During the two-year agreement, the Alliance will develop fact sheets with questions for facilities that use lasers and will conduct Laser Safety Seminars for OSHA field staff. OSHA's Safety and Health Topics pages on Laser Hazards, Laser/Electrosurgery Plume, and Radiation provide information on how to recognize and reduce laser hazards, OSHA standards related to lasers and training on laser safety. ComplianceSigns.com offers a variety of Laser Safety signs and labels.

NIOSH produces "Move It! Rig Move Safety for Roughnecks" video.
This 23-minute training and education video covers rig move safety for roughnecks in the oil and gas fields. It helps to make sense of the organized chaos that accompanies a rig move and highlights easy ways to lower the risk of being injured or killed when moving to a new location.
Watch online or order a DVD here.
                    
Cost of workplace injuries and illness reaches $250 billion.
New research puts the annual price tag for occupational injuries and illnesses in the U.S. at well over $200 billion, higher than generally assumed. The study of 2007 data estimated there were:
  • 8,564,600 fatal and non-fatal work-related injuries, which cost $192 billion
  • 516,100 fatal and non-fatal work-related illnesses, which cost $58 billion
The study also estimated 59,102 combined U.S. deaths from occupational injuries and diseases - higher than all deaths from motor vehicle crashes, breast cancer or prostate cancer the same year. Read more here.

NIOSH posts fatal injury cost fact sheets.
NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Web-based fact sheets are now available for these industry sectors:

Heat Safety Tips from OSHA

The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat during the summer months. If you work outside or in a kitchen, laundry or bakery you may be at increased risk for heat related illness. Here's how to take precautions:


  • Heat Exhaustion safety signDrink small amounts of water often
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing - cotton is good
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool shade
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large amounts of sugar
  • Work in the shade
  • Find out if your medications and heat don't mix
  • Know that equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress
There are three kinds of major heat-related disorders: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. You need to know how to recognize each one and what first aid treatment is necessary.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion: 
 - Headache, dizziness, or fainting
 - Weakness and wet skin
 - Irritability or confusion
 - Thirst, nausea or vomiting

Symptoms of Heat Stroke: 
 - May be confused, unable to think clearly, pass out, collapse or have seizures (fits)
 - May stop sweating


SMG Safety Advisor: Six Steps to Effective Interim Life Safety Measures


During a hospital's normal operations, a long list of Life Safety Measures protects the safety of patients, visitors, and those who work in the hospital. They include everything from exit signs and clear pathways to egress points, to fire protection systems and smoke barriers, to evacuation plans. But when construction, renovation, or extensive maintenance brings additional complexity to operations, a new level of safety activities must be added.

Life Safety signInterim Life Safety Measures (ILSM) are incorporated to address issues created by the work activity. ILSM have been identified by The Joint Commission and the National Fire Protection Association to compensate for hazards caused by Life Safety Code deficiencies or construction activity.

An effective ILSM program provides the necessary protection with zero disruptions to patient care and hospital operations. In our experience, the most practical programs involve six steps. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have prepared an article that examines each of those six steps and how they may impact the life safety of your patients, staff, and visitors.
Read more here or browse medical safety signs at ComplianceSigns.com.

ComplianceSigns.com Menu Focus: Safety Tags

If you need safety tags for lockout/tagout or other applications, just start at the Safety Tags tab at the far right of the ComplianceSigns.com top menu bar. It's your gateway to some 700 safety tags in a variety of formats on a wide range of topics. All our tags are made of flexible PVC plastic, include a metal grommet and cable tie, and meet OSHA 50-pound pull test requirements. Our main Safety Tags page presents three options:

  • lockout safety tagsLockout / Tagout Safety Tags that can be used with included cable ties or locks up to 3/8-in. diameter, to comply with OSHA 1910.147
  • Accident Prevention Tags with a variety of messages to use as temporary warnings to identify hazardous conditions or equipment that are unexpected or not readily apparent, such as defective tools or equipment. They are not a substitute for required accident prevention signs
  • BLANK Write-on tags that let workers create custom tags for any situation on-the-spot.                 
These easy-to-use tag selector pages will help you create the tags you need quickly and easily. Take a look today.

Top 5 Work Safety Links in April

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