A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

June 25, 2012

New Indiana Smoking Law Takes Effect July 1 - Are You Prepared?

Starting July 1, 2012, the majority of Indiana businesses will be required to be smoke-free. Smoking will not be allowed in a place of employment, public places, state-owned vehicles and school buses. The Indiana smoking ban law, HEA 1149, prohibits smoking within eight feet of public entrances and requires signs with language to that effect. has developed signs to meet state requirements and help Indiana businesses comply with the new law. Business owners will find a large selection of Indiana No Smoking signs at

Any business not exempt from the law must post signage, remove indoor ashtrays and other smoking receptacles and direct any person who is smoking to put out the cigarette, cigar or other lighted tobacco item. Any outdoor smoking must be at least eight feet away from a public entrance.

Workplaces exempt from the state law include bars, taverns, membership clubs, tobacco retail shops, cigar bars, hookah bars, casinos and satellite or off-track betting facilities.

Owners, managers or other persons in charge of a place of employment or public place are responsible for making sure all employees and customers comply with the law; failing to comply is a Class B infraction. Three or more infractions are considered a Class A infraction. An infraction is a violation of a law that does not subject the person to a criminal conviction or jail time.

Transitioning to a smoke-free business requires planning and education. To help employers have a smooth, controversy free start, the Breathe Easy Indiana toolkit is available for FREE. The kit includes resources to educate employees and customers about the new smoke-free air law and what's expected.

For more information check these links:

June 15, 2012

Top Workplace Safety News This Month - June 2012

  • Office workers feel unprepared for workplace emergencies.
  • New Mexico tops state-by-state injury death rate list.
  • Two 10-year studies show government inspections reduce injury rates and costs as much as 26 percent.
  • Overexertion is the 3rd leading cause of injuries in the U.S.
  • New office signs store debuts: Customer Comments - June

Here's what some of our customers are saying about us this month:
Looked at other sign companies and none offered as wide a range or as reasonable a price as ComplianceSigns.
Jon, Baltimore, MD

Thank you for your product. Your price was great, your delivery was great, and most important - your product quality was beyond my expectations, excellent durability and very creative. Thanks to "Made in America."
Christian, Edmond, OK

This sign is going up on the front gate post. The quality is fantastic and the images and words are sharp, clear and easy to read. First-rate product!
Beth, GA

June is National Safety Month - Are You Ready?

June is National Safety Month, and new safety studies show a lot of room for improvement. Accident potential is still high in many areas, and employees don't feel prepared for some emergencies. Communication is a key factor, and safety signs are an easy way to help keep your workplace accident- and injury-free.

Also this month, I'm proud to introduce you to, a new store we created that's dedicated to office signage needs. We focused on easy customization and developed many new designs, then made it easy to find just what you need. When you need nameplates, room signs or other signs for office, retail or public spaces, I hope you'll take a look.

Have a safe month
Paul Sandefer, President

National Safety Month Resources

Accidents signEach June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to educate and influence people about the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. Each week of National Safety Month carries a theme that brings attention to critical safety issues. 2012 weekly themes are:
  • Week 1: Employee Wellness and PALA+ Challenge
  • Week 2: Ergonomics
  • Week 3: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Week 4: Driving Safety
The NSC has prepared a variety of materials and resources to help employers spread the word about a variety of safety topics.

What's New at - June

We added dozens of new signs to the store, and also launched an entirely new online store dedicated to your office sign needs! (Details below)
Indiana No Smoking sign
Indiana No Smoking signs meet state requirements for enclosed public spaces and places of employment in Indiana. Signs are required at all public entrances and must be in place by July 1, so there's still time to order signs, window decals and even sublimation-printed metal-and-wood plaques with appropriate language. See Indiana No Smoking signs and get more information on the new rule here.

New Pet / Animal Handling signs with messages including invisible fencing, curb your dog, leashes and more were added to our big existing selection, which includes dog park rules, animal rescue and many more topics. See all our animal handling / pet signs here.

Introducing for Office Signs and More is our new sister store! Now you have new source for a huge variety of standard and custom office signs, with enhanced features that make custom orders a breeze. The new store includes hundreds of new signs, designs and colors to meet your demanding signage needs for office, retail and public spaces. is:

  • Easy - Creating custom office signs has never been easier - you can do it all right there, anytime.
  • Fast - Quickly search, select and order all types of signs for professional and medical offices, schools, restaurants, retail stores and more.
  • Convenient - Set up your own custom workspace to save recurring orders and check your order status.
The store also carries many of the same top-quality printed, engraved and Braille signs you've ordered from, so you can order all your office signs in one place. Visit the new store today to find signs for banks, education, medical, retail spaces and more.

Office Workers Not Prepared for Workplace Emergencies

Emergency Contact signLess than 25 percent of office workers say they are are prepared for basic emergency procedures such as medical emergencies or hazardous material exposures, according to a recent survey. Half of workers surveyed said they participate in safety drills only once every few years or never, and nearly half are unsure if their company has an emergency communication plan.

The survey of small business managers and office workers, conducted by office supply giant Staples, found that managers were far better informed of workplace safety preparedness than office workers. For example, nearly 70 percent of managers say their company has an emergency communication plan. Managers also were almost 50 percent more likely than non-managers to be able to locate safety-related supplies such as defibrillators, eye wash or dust masks.

More good news: When it comes to fire, more than 70 percent of both managers and office workers felt their company was somewhat or very prepared. But the gaps in office workers' awareness of safety plans and emergency preparedness point to the need for better communication.

New Report Ranks States on Injury Deaths and Prevention Potential

Half of States Rank 5 or Lower on 10-point Scale

A new report of state-by-state injury death rates also includes a report card scoring states on injury prevention policies and practices. New Mexico has the highest rate of injury-related deaths at 97.8 per 100,000 people, while New Jersey has the lowest rate at 36.1. The national rate is 57.9 deaths per 100,000 Americans. The best injury prevention scores were earned by California and New York, while Ohio and Montana were lowest. Montana was has the second-highest injury-related death rate, at 86.5.

The study, The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report, was released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Injury prevention rankings were determined based on 10 key strategies shown to reduce injuries and save lives, including laws regarding seat belts, drunk driving and motorcycle helmets, as well as incidence of domestic violence, prescription drug abuse and concussions in youth sports.
State Injury Death Rates:

Injury Death Rates

Injuries - including those caused by accidents and violence - are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and 44, and are the third leading cause of death nationally. Approximately 50 million Americans receive medical treatment for injuries each year and more than 2.8 million are hospitalized. Every year, injuries generate $406 billion in lifetime costs for medical care and lost productivity. 
The report concludes that millions of injuries could be prevented each year if more states adopted, implemented and enforced additional research-based injury prevention policies. 

Two Long-Term Studies Confirm: Safety Inspections Reduce Injury Rates, Costs

Days Without Injury signTwo separate studies that looked at 10 years of workplace injury data have reached the same conclusion: government safety inspections significantly reduce workplace injury rates and costs. Injury rates declined as much as 20 percent and injury costs were reduced 26 percent.

The newest study was conducted by an environmental management expert at Harvard Business School with help from economists at the University of California-Berkeley and Boston University. They studied California workplaces that had been inspected between 1996 and 2006, and compared them to firms that were not inspected. Analysis showed companies undergoing random inspections experienced:
  • 9 percent decline in workplace injuries in the four years following inspection
  • 26 percent decline in cost of injuries - including medical treatment and missed work
  • No effect on employment, total earnings, sales or the survival of the company
"Our study suggests that randomized inspections work as they're meant to, improving safety while not undermining the company's ability to do business," says study author Michael Toffel.

Washington state's Division of Safety & Health reached the same conclusion in October, when it released results of a study of inspection data and workers' compensation claims from 1998 through 2008. This study found significant reductions in claims and claim costs following a safety inspection or safety consultation, with the greatest impact from inspections with at least one citation. In those cases, worker injury claims were reduced as much as 20 percent over similar worksites that were not inspected.

Safety Council Promotes Ergonomics Week

The National Safety Council (NSC) has released helpful information and materials on preventing ergonomic injuries, such as overexertion, as part of National Safety Month. According to the Injury Facts 2012 Edition, overexertion is the third leading cause of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for about 3.2 million emergency department visits.

Ergonomic conditions are disorders of the soft tissues often caused by factors such as overexertion while lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or reaching, among other causes. Ergonomic conditions are best dealt with when caught early. Signs of ergonomic conditions include:                    
  • PainSafe Lifting sign
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Tenderness
  • Clicking
  • Loss of grip strength
Education is the best tool to prevent ergonomic injuries. The NSC has prepared a poster, fact sheet, 5-minute safety talk in English and Spanish, and even a crossword puzzle to help. 

Workplace Safety News & Notes - June

Michigan OSHA Offers Updated Residential Fall Protection Tool.
Residential contractors could find Michigan OSHA's revised residential fall protection sample plan very helpful. The plan was recently revised to comply with OSHA's revised directive. It includes a slide presentation with definitions and photos showing acceptable fall protection systems, as well as unacceptable practices. It includes the text of the Michigan regulation, a sample job hazard analysis, and the MIOSHA revised enforcement policy. The full document is available here (pdf).

Hurricane Safety signUpdated Hurricane Season Preparation Tools Now Available.
National Hurricane Preparedness Week was observed May 27-June 2 and served as a lead-in to the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting 9-15 named storms this year. Hurricane hazards include storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes and rip currents. Here are several resources related to hurricane safety:

Feds Recommend Blunt-Tip Suture Needles to Reduce Needlestick Injuries.
A new joint safety communication document from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, NIOSH and OSHA strongly encourages health care professionals to use blunt-tip suture needles rather than standard needles when suturing fascia and muscle, to decrease the risk of needlestick injury. The paper cites published studies showing blunt-tip needles reduce the risk of needlestick injuries by 69 percent, with the slight difference in cost balanced by the economic savings associated with needlestick injury prevention. Read the full statement here

Webinar: Implementing NFPA 70E for Arc Flash Safety.
Arc Flash safety signApplying NFPA 70E to real-world situations can be confusing and at times overwhelming. Lewellyn Technology will present a webinar on June 20 with practical information you can begin to apply immediately at your workplace, including: How OSHA and NFPA 70E work together, what changes occur when implementing NFPA 70E at your facility, proper use of Personal Protective Equipment and more. Learn more here.

Safety Tip: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Falls result in more than 8.7 million emergency room visits each year in the United States. But most falls are preventable. The National Safety Council encourages you to find fall hazards in your workplace and home to prevent injuries and keep others safe around the clock. Here's how:
Wet Floor safety sign
  • Keep floors and stairs clean and clear of clutter
  • Maintain good lighting both indoors and on outdoor walkways
  • Use non-skid mats in potentially slippery places, like bathrooms
  • Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas
  • Install handrails on stairways, including porches
  • Use a sturdy step stool when climbing or reaching for high places
  • Never stand on a chair, table or surface on wheels
  • Arrange furniture to provide open pathways to walk through
  • Wear sensible footwear
  • Periodically check the condition of outdoor walkways and steps and repair as necessary
  • Remove fallen leaves or snow from outdoor walkways
  • Be aware that alcohol or other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicine, can affect your balance and increase risk of falling.
  • To identify hazardous areas:
    • Conduct floor safety audits
    • Review incident reports to identify and eliminate hazards 
    • Identify liquid storage areas and keep spill materials handy
    • Ask employees where floors are rough or uneven
    • Ask vendors for advice, especially floor care services
    • Ask your insurance carrier for a slip/trip/fall checklist

Common Safety Myths - Do You Believe?

The popular TV program "Mythbusters" puts commonly held myths to the test by subjecting them to rigorous scientific testing. The show attempts to provide definitive answers to myths that are generally assumed to be true despite the lack of evidence.

The construction industry has many commonly held myths about safety. Although they're not the type of myths that would be likely to attract the attention of the "Mythbusters" crew, debunking them is important for the safety of workers, because such misinformation can get in the way of truthful, practical efforts that make workplaces safer. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have prepared an article that touches on a dozen of the most common myths, so you can put your own beliefs to the test. Read more here or browse construction safety signs here.

Top 5 Workplace Safety Links in May

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