A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

December 23, 2013

Illinois Bans Handheld Devices for All Drivers Starting January 1

hands free only in Illinois
Illinois Hands-Free Device Sign
An Illinois law prohibiting driving while using handheld cell phones and similar electronic communications devices goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014. The law allows hands-free devices.

House Bill 1247 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle on any road in Illinois while using a mobile phone or other electronic communication device. The bill makes exceptions for two-way radios and hands-free devices, including those with headsets that can initiate a call using a single button or a voice command. Fines for first offenses are set at $75. For subsequent violations the fines are $100, $125 and $150.

Related to the new hands-free law, House Bill 2585 increases penalties that can be imposed on drivers whose use of an electronic device while driving causes an accident. If the accident causes great bodily harm, the driver can be sentenced to up to one year in prison, and a fatal accident can result in a prison sentence of one to three years. Current law only allows these drivers to be charged with traffic violations., based in Chadwick, IL, has developed a variety of signs and labels to remind Illinois drivers of the new law. Options include post- and surface-mount signs, self-adhesive labels and clear stickers to mount on vehicle windows.

December 20, 2013

Top 13 Workplace Safety Articles of 2013

One of our business goals is to provide resources and information to help make your workplace safer, and your job a little easier. These were the 13 most popular articles on the CONNECTION blog in 2013. Use the link in each title to read more:

1. Chemical Advisory on Ammonium Nitrate Issued by OSHA, EPA and ATF

The September advisory addresses hazards associated with solid ammonium nitrate storage, handling and management. This advisory contains information on:
  • Recent and past accidents involving AMMONIUM NITRATE (AN)
  • AN hazards and management
  • Appropriate steps for community emergency planning and proper emergency response.
2. Free Reference Card Compares NFPA 704 Diamond and OSHA GHS labels
OSHA and NFPA worked together to develop a “Quick Card” showing the differences between the the NFPA and GHS hazard identification systems. OSHA does not necessarily see a conflict between HCS and NFPA 704. OSHA has indicated that the GHS numbers are not relative ratings of hazards but are used for the purpose of classifying hazards into categories for proper labeling and training information.
OSHA launched two new web resources to help companies keep workers safe from potentially dangerous chemicals:
  • Transitioning to Safer Chemicals is a toolkit to help businesses eliminate or reduce hazardous chemicals. The toolkit includes methods, tools and guidance to eliminate hazardous chemicals or find substitutions. 
  • Permissible Exposure Limits – Annotated Tables presents existing Z-Tables with other selected occupational exposure limits, and includes side-by-side comparisons.

December 14, 2013

OSHA Local Emphasis Program Targets Hazardous Chemicals in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri

NFPA, EPA labelsOSHA has launched a local emphasis program in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri for programmed health inspections of industries known to use hazardous chemicals and who have reported release of such chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The emphasis program will focus on industrial sites that are known to have released EPA-monitored hazardous chemicals. Industries will be selected for inspection based on site-specific chemical release data from the EPA's TRI Explorer database, which lists industry establishments that have released chemical quantities equal to or exceeding 100,000 pounds. Chemicals reported to the EPA that have been released into the environment include ammonia; barium, chromium and copper compounds; hydrochloric acid; hydrogen fluoride; lead and manganese compounds; N-hexane; styrene; sulfuric acid; and nitrate, vanadium and zinc compounds.

OSHA has created a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. 

December 13, 2013

Top November 2013 OSHA Fines Exceed $3 Million

OSHA issued 13 6-figure citations with a total proposed value topping $3.1 million in November. Whistleblower and construction citations were common. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions.

$1,070,123 for firing whistleblowers at a North Carolina trucking company

    Caution This Vehicle Makes Wide Turns
  • A whistleblower complaint alleged that four truck drivers were terminated for participating in an inspection audit of the company facilities, which was conducted by the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. From Feb. 28 through March 1, 2012, the four employees were interviewed on-site by the FMCSA. On March 8, following the audit and subsequent citations issued against the company, the workers suffered adverse retaliation by company officials, including termination, layoffs and removal of employee benefits.
  • The order includes preliminary reinstatement of employees, back wages, interest, compensatory damages of $215,657 and punitive damages of $675,000. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at

$313,000 for willful and serious safety violations following fatal June building collapse in Philadelphia

  • Safety violations include three willful per-instance violations following a building collapse that killed six people and injured 14. Demolition construction standards violations include egregious violations for leaving a wall without sufficient lateral support, and two willful violations alleging the failures to demolish the building from the top down and to have an engineering survey by a competent person on the possibility of collapse prior to starting the demolition. 
  • Serious violations included failure to provide: employees with hard hats when there was a possible risk of head injury; fall protection for employees working on surfaces at least six feet high; training on fall hazards; and adequate personal fall arrest systems; failure to inspect stairs and maintain them in a clean, safe condition; failing to protect employees from falling through holes and to provide fall hazard training.

December 5, 2013

OSHA Seeks Comments on Process Safety, Explosives, Spray Finishing and More

non-hazardous waste, universal waste
Hazardous Waste Labels
OSHA just announced a request for information seeking public comment on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards, as well as other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents.

The RFI is in response to executive order 13650, which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security, issued in the wake of the April 2013 West, Texas, tragedy that killed 15 in an ammonium nitrate explosion.

OSHA is asking for comments on these standards:

November 25, 2013

November Workplace Safety News and Notes

OSHA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Silica Rule
OSHA has extended the public comment period for an additional 47 days on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica.The new deadline to submit written comments and testimony is Jan. 27, 2014. Public hearings are scheduled to begin March 18, 2014.
Read more here.

NIOSH Posts New Cleaning and Custodial Services Resources
NIOSH has posted a new topic page on cleaning and custodial services. The page describes hazards associated with cleaning tasks and lists links to NIOSH blogs, publications and topics with recommendations for reducing exposure to those hazards. The topic page also lists additional resources. Visit the new page.

California Adopts NIOSH Recommendations on Hazardous Drug Exposures
On October 9, California's governor signed a bill (AB 1202) requiring the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to adopt NIOSH recommendations for reducing exposures of healthcare workers to hazardous drugs. California is the second state to adopt NIOSH recommendations as state requirements, following Washington in 2012. Get info on the California law here,
or Review the NIOSH recommendations here.

New Lead Poisoning Prevention Brochures
The Nebraska Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance Program recently developed and published two new brochures on lead poisoning prevention. The worker-focused brochures, Preventing Lead Poisoning in Adults and Lead Dust Clean-Up and Control, describe risk factors and health information and provide recommendations for reducing lead exposures. They are available for download here.

November 18, 2013

Prepare for National Hand Washing Awareness Week: December 1 - 7

how to wash your hands
Proper Hand Washing
Instructions Sign
December 1 to 7 is National Hand Washing Awareness Week, a time to emphasize the importance of proper hand washing and awareness to kids and adults alike. Many resources are available to help promote good hand hygiene in the workplace.

Proper hand washing makes good business sense, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash you hands." Hand washing is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to prevent the spread of germs and keep employees healthy. Sick employees are less productive even when they come to work, and may spread illness to other workers.

The CDC reports that a recent study promoting clean hands in corporate environments resulted in:
  •  Fewer employee illnesses
  •  Less use of sick days

Safety Tip: Protecting Workers from Abrasive Blasting Hazards

Abrasive blasting operations can create a variety of hazards, including high levels of dust and noise. Abrasive materials and the surfaces being blasted may contain toxic materials (e.g., lead paint, silica) that are hazardous to workers. A new OSHA fact sheet gives information on abrasive blasting materials, health hazards and worker protection. Here are some tips from OSHA:

Before beginning work, identify hazards and work to eliminate them. Train abrasive blasters and support personnel on blasting health and safety hazards, how to use controls, personal hygiene practices, safe work practices and the use of PPE and respirators.

Engineering Controls
  • Use a less-toxic abrasive material (see below)
  • Use abrasives that can be delivered with water (slurry) to reduce dust
  • Use barriers and curtain walls to isolate the blasting operation from other workers
  • Use blast rooms or blast cabinets for smaller operations
  • Use restricted areas for non-enclosed blasting operations
  • Keep coworkers away from the blaster
  • Use exhaust ventilation systems in containment structures to capture dust

November 14, 2013

OSHA Proposes New Workplace Injury / Illness Tracking Rule

Digital Safety Scoreboard
Tracks Accident-free Days
OSHA has issued a proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The announcement follows the Bureau of Labor Statistics' release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012.

"Three million injuries are three million too many," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. "With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards... The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer's obligation to transmit these records to OSHA."

November 13, 2013

NIOSH Issues New Recommendations for Nanomaterials

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued new recommendations for controlling worker exposures to engineered nanomaterials during manufacture and industrial use. The new recommendations give guidance that employers and workers can apply now, while research continues for better understanding of nanomaterial characteristics.

The document includes details for reactor operations and cleanout processes, small-scale weighing and handling of nanopowders, intermediate and finishing processes and maintenance tasks. It also includes recommendations for evaluating the performance of control technologies.

The new publication, "Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes," is available at the NIOSH website:

November 6, 2013

Top OSHA Fines in October Exceed $1.2 million

Following the October government shutdown, it looks like OSHA came back with a vengeance. Of 15 published violations in October, eight include proposed fines above $100,000, for a total of more than $1.2 million.

$280,880 for Varied Safety Hazards at New Hampshire Construction Site
Employers from 5 states cited for cave-in, scaffold, electrical, fall and other hazards.
Caution Wear Mask, Danger Wear Respirator
  • 31 willful, serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards related to cave-in, fall, scaffold collapse, crushing, lead and electrocution hazards. One willful citation, with a $49,500 fine, was issued for allowing a worker to wear a tight-fitting respirator over facial hair while the worker removed lead-containing paint. workers in two excavations that lacked cave-in protection; exposing workers to scaffold collapses due to an inadequately braced scaffold.
  • Serious citations included: assembling and using cranes on unstable ground; a 100-foot fall hazard through an unguarded wall opening; failing to train workers to install fall protection systems; allowing workers to be close to an energized electrical panel; uncovered and unlabeled floor holes; not performing air monitoring and determining lead exposure levels when removing lead-containing paint; not keeping work areas clear of debris; defective rigging equipment; unguarded grinders; failing to protect workers against loose rocks falling into the excavation hole; overloaded outriggers; storing excess supplies on a scaffold and lack of toeboards; exposed live electrical wiring, unlabeled electrical panels and not closing unused electrical cabinet openings effectively; arc flash and blast hazards; not ensuring use of personal protective equipment.
$153,900 for LOTO, Confined Space, Dust and Noise Hazards at New Jersey Concrete Company

October 30, 2013

Listening Sessions Announced for Chemical Safety and Security Executive Order

Danger acid area, NOTICE Label all drums, Warning, Safety First
The U.S. EPA, Department of Homeland Security and OSHA have scheduled public listening sessions beginning next week to receive input on White House Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.

In these sessions, the group will share an overview of various sections of the Order and the progress made to date on each. The group hopes to hear from chemical producers, chemical storage companies, agricultural supply companies, State and local regulators, chemical critical infrastructure owners and operators, first responders, labor organizations representing affected workers, environmental and community groups, and consensus standards organizations. Attendees will have an opportunity to provide individual input on the process and the specific areas in the EO.
The first session will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Texas City, Texas. Future dates include:
  • November 15, Washington, DC
  • November 19, Springfield, IL
  • November 25, Webinar
  • December 4, Hamilton, NJ
  • December 11, Orlando, FL
  • December 16, Webinar
  • January 7, 2014, California
  • Week of January 20, 2014, Houston, TX

Learn more and register for listening sessions here.
Browse chemical safety signs and labels at

October 24, 2013

New Hazardous Chemical Resources from OSHA

Danger acid area, Notice label all drums signs
Browse chemical safety signs
Today OSHA launched two new web resources to help companies keep workers safe from potentially dangerous chemicals.

"There is no question that many of OSHA's chemical standards are not adequately protective," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. "... simply complying with OSHA's antiquated PELs will not guarantee that workers will be safe," he said. "We know that the most efficient and effective way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is by eliminating or replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives whenever possible."

To address these problems, OSHA has created two new resource websites:

Transitioning to Safer Chemicals is a toolkit that will help businesses improve worker well-being by eliminating or reducing hazardous chemicals. While many chemicals are suspected of being harmful, OSHA's exposure standards are out-of-date and inadequately protective for the small number of chemicals that are regulated in the workplace. The toolkit includes methods, tools and guidance to eliminate hazardous chemicals or find substitutions.

Permissible Exposure Limits – Annotated Tables presents existing Z-Tables with other selected occupational exposure limits. It includes side-by-side comparisons of OSHA PELs for general industry with California OSH PELs, NIOSH recommended exposure limits, and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist threshold limit values. The site is a convenient source for up-to-date workplace exposure limits.

October 20, 2013 Customer Reviews - October 2013

Here's what customers are saying about this month:

The fire marshal did an inspection of our warehouse and this is the first time in 30+ years of having a painting company that they asked us to install a sign like this on our building. Your company was the only one I found that had the exact sign we were looking for.WPP - Alexandria, VA. 10/1/2013

Very good product
FH - Whitewater, WI. 10/1/2013

FAST delivery - Appears very durable. I like the protective wrap, to prevent scratching.
Feed Jake - Des Moines, IA. 10/3/2013

October 18, 2013

October Workplace Safety News and Notes

NIOSH Launches Center for Motor Vehicle Safety
Signs: lights on for safety, idle free zone, turn off engine

The Center coordinates a NIOSH initiative to prevent work-related motor vehicle crashes. Researchers are working to better understand crash risk factors by: Surveying long-haul truck drivers, taxi drivers and law enforcement officers; Collaborating with other federal agencies to develop a linked database; and Working with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to identify best practices. Learn more about the center here or download a fact sheet (pdf).

Workplace Inspections Podcasts from CCOHS
This month's Health and Safety To Go! podcasts discuss effective workplace inspections, and also feature an encore presentation on work-related asthma. The inspection podcast will discuss how regular, thorough, workplace inspections by a trained inspection team can help keep workers healthy and safe. See the complete list of podcast topics here.

Sign: Fall protection requiredASSE Releases Update of Z359 Fall Protection Code
The American Society of Safety Engineers has released the newest version of ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection Code Version 3.0, helping safety managers create an effective and comprehensive fall protection management system.  Learn more here.

New NIOSH Data and Statistics Gateway
The NIOSH Data and Statistics Gateway is a NIOSH scientific data repository where NIOSH-generated public-use research datasets valuable for the public, industry, and the scientific community are available for download. The Gateway also provides convenient access to surveillance, statistics, and other collections of NIOSH data focused on occupational safety and health. Access it here.

WARNING Combustible Dust AreaNilfisk Offers Online Combustible Dust Resource Center
This vacuum manufacturer has a full resource center with news articles, white papers, videos and webinars to learn about handling combustible dust. The website also provides information on OSHA and NFPA regulations. Visit the site here.

October 17, 2013

Workplace Fatalities Down in 2012 Overall. Transportation Tops Incidents List.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary count of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. in 2012 is 4,383, down from 4,693 in 2011. The 2012 total is the second-lowest preliminary total since the survey was first conducted in 1992. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2012 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 in 2011. Overall, fatal occupational injuries are down nearly 25 percent since 2006.

Key preliminary findings of the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries include:
  • Transportation incidents accounted for 41% of workplace fatalities, making them the #1 cause.
  • Workplace Violence, Contact with Objects, and Falls caused nearly half of all fatalities.
  • Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5 percent to 775 in 2012 from 738 in 2011.
    • The increase in fatalities in 2012 follows five consecutive years of declining fatal injury counts in the construction sector. Fatal construction injuries are down 37 percent since 2006.

Real Safety Begins With Real Values

Take care of our most valuable asset... YOU! We have worked 365 days accident free
When trying to make a worksite a safer place, many employers take an approach that’s similar to the one used by OSHA: they set strict rules and dole out penalties when those rules are violated. Others view safety as something more than just another set of rules. They recognize the value of maintaining a safe workplace and want to ensure that everyone goes home healthy every night. They know that increased safety usually translates into better morale, less turnover, higher productivity and better profits.

These companies understand the value of creating and maintaining a safety culture that goes beyond regulations and equipment to provide a clear sense that safe practices are an important part of everything the company does. What are the most important factors in developing a positive safety culture? The safety experts at Safety Management Group have written an article that explains. 

Read the article here, then browse safety banners and safety scoreboards at to help build your safety culture with employees.

October 16, 2013

Top OSHA Fines Total $3.8 million in September 2013

September was another big month for OSHA, which issued 14 6-figure citations with a total proposed value of 3.78 million. Common citations included LOTO, fall protection, machine guards and obstructed exit hazards. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions.

$1.3 Million for Willful Violations Causing Worker Death at South Dakota Manufacturer
  • A worker was fatally crushed in a machine after management instructed and authorized workers to bypass the manufacturer's barrier guard in order to adjust the machine to keep it running. OSHA conducted two concurrent safety and health investigations at the company in February 2012, which resulted in 66 violations. Because the willful violations cited caused the worker's death, the case was referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota for criminal prosecution.
  • The company agreed to: increase the size of its safety and health department; implement a companywide safety and health program; provide incentives for managers and workers to report safety issues and make safety recommendations; and to hire a qualified third-party to review guarding and lockout/tagout for all plant machinery and to audit the abatement of all identified hazards. The company will also report quarterly to OSHA for three years on safety progress and reportable illnesses and injuries, and redesign the safety systems and procedures on the radiator core machine involved in the fatality.
$336,000 and SVEP for Willful, Repeat and Serious Fall Hazards and Safety Violations by Massachusetts Contractor
  • Two repeat and four serious citations issued due to trusses not adequately braced during installation, workers exposed to falls of up to 12 feet, additional fall and struck-by hazards and uninspected and untagged rigging at a worksite in Plymouth.
  • At the Reading site, two willful citations were issued for lack of fall protection exposing workers to falls of 10 to 20 feet while framing exterior walls, making final deck attachments, constructing leading edges and receiving construction building materials.

October 15, 2013

Site Offers Driver Fatigue Resources

truck safety signs: do not tailgate, this vehicle makes wide turns
Many off-the-job factors can contribute to driver fatigue, including physical health, the demands of busy personal lives, time-of-day, scheduling and stress. All these can be addressed through educational opportunities available through the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP). 

The NAFMP is designed to address the issue of driver fatigue with a comprehensive approach that includes:

  • How to develop a corporate culture that facilitates reduced driver fatigue
  • Fatigue management education for a variety of audiences
  • Information on sleep disorders screening and treatment
  • Driver and trip scheduling information
  • Information on fatigue management technologies
  • Guidance on health and wellness, time management, vehicle technologies and scheduling

October 7, 2013

Train Employees How to Respond to Driving Emergencies

Today the first day of Drive Safely Work Week, an annual event designed to remind employees about safe driving practices. It's sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). BLR® Safety has prepared a post with driver safety training tips that can ensure your workers are prepared for driving emergencies including failed steering or brakes, skids and blown tires. Here are some highlights:

Blown Tire:
  • Hang on to the steering wheel.
  • Don't brake suddenly. Hard braking can send your car out of control.
  • Ease off the gas. Coast until you have control of the car, then brake gently to stop.
Skids or Hydroplaning:
  • Make no sudden moves. Don't brake hard or jerk the wheel.
  • Ease off the gas. As you slow, you'll feel contact with the road again.
  • Steer gently.
Brakes Fail:
  • Downshift so the engine will slow the car.
  • Keep trying the brakes. If you have ABS, apply steady pressure. If not, pump them.
  • Shift into neutral and apply the emergency brake.
Visit the BLR post for more details on all these and other situations. And always wear your seat belt. You can't control your vehicle if you don't stay behind the wheel in an emergency.

October 1, 2013

OSHA Announces Top 10 Violations of 2013

Fall Protection safety signs
PPE Fall Protection Signs
Once again, Fall Protection tops the list of OSHA's most-cited workplace safety violations. The Top 10 violations were announced today on the Expo floor at the 2013 National Safety Council Congress & Expo.

“We appreciate our colleagues at OSHA sharing their most recent data as we look toward Leading Safety into the Future,” said National Safety Council President and CEO Janet Froetscher. “Today’s presentation reminds us that it’s very important to learn from the past and address these top violations to help make our workplaces safer.”

The preliminary figures for the FY 2013 Top 10 are:

Standard                                                                    Total Violations

1.  1926.501 – Fall Protection                                          8,241
2.  1910.1200 – Hazard Communication                         6,156  
3.  1926.451 – Scaffolding                                               5,423
4.  1910.134 – Respiratory Protection                             3,879
5.  1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods                       3,452
6.  1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks                       3,340
7.  1926.1053 – Ladders                                                  3,311
8.  1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout                                        3,254  
9.  1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements            2,745
10. 1910.212 – Machine Guarding                                   2,701

(Data Source: OIS Standards Cited Report Dated 9/13/13)

New OSHA Safety Certificate Program for Public Workers

OSHA has just launched a new certificate program to train public sector employees to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities among workers in state and local governments. The Public Sector Safety and Health Fundamentals programs are available in construction and general industry, with courses including occupational safety and health standards, safety and health management, accident investigation, fall hazard awareness and recordkeeping.

Participants must complete a minimum of seven courses totaling at least 68 hours to earn a certificate. OSHA has created a new web page dedicated to this certificate program. The page provides course descriptions and prerequisites, program information and instructions on how to apply to the program.

The certificate program is administered by OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, which are non-profit organizations authorized by OSHA to deliver occupational safety and health training.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that state and local government workers suffered 5.7 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers, compared with 3.5 in the private sector, in 2011.

September 30, 2013 Customer Reviews - September 2013

ComplianceSigs.comHere's what customers had to say about in September:

Product exceeded my expectations! - Really liked the opportunity to design a sign that fit our needs. Great Quality metal sign.
xoxo - Iowa, 02-Sep-2013

Thanks - Recently was told I needed to put a sign (oxygen in use) on my front door. I live in an apartment and I didn't want to put up just any old sign. The one I received from you is perfect.
Gerbear - Corvallis OR, 02-Sep-2013

I would buy this again - Person on phone very helpful and friendly.
BILL - Cushing,Ok, 03-Sep-2013

Love My Compliance Signs - I like that I can order various types of mounting from magnetic and adhesive to screw attachments. These signs fit my needs perfectly.
yarddawg - Fresno, CA, 04-Sep-2013

September 26, 2013

Drive Safely Work Week Materials now Available in Spanish

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) today announced the 2013 Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) toolkit is now available in Spanish.

Drive Safely Work Week will be nationally recognized October 7-11. This year's campaign theme is "Gear Up for Safe driving - Mind, Body, Vehicle."  The free toolkit is available to download from NETS' Website at

September 24, 2013

How to Protect Your Feet from Workplace Injuries

NOTICE sfety shoes required in this area sign
PPE Foot Safety Sign
Do your feet ever hurt? The human foot and ankle contain 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. So, it's no wonder injuries to the foot can be especially painful - and slow to heal if you work on your feet all day. That's why properly fit and protective footwear is so important on the job.

A recent post at the SafetySmart blog identifies common workplace foot injuries as:
  • Struck by a falling object. Even a lightweight object can cause a painful injury to a foot.
  • Run over by moving equipment such as a handcart or pallet jack.
  • Stepping on a sharp object. Nails sticking out of boards and broken glass are common examples.
  • Struck by a tool such as a power saw.

  • The post goes on to give suggestions for avoiding foot injury. It's a good read for anyone who works on their feet.

    September 18, 2013

    September 2013 Workplace Safety News and Notes

    Farm Safety and Health Week Materials Available
    Caution farm animals, agrucultural machinery, private farm signs
    Farm Safety Signs

    The agriculture sector accounted for 475 deaths in 2012 with a fatality rate of 21.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers - the highest of any industry sector. National Farm Safety & Health Week, Sept. 15-21, emphasizes the importance of worker safety in the agricultural industry. Farm Safety and Health Week has been observed annually since 1944 during September as farmers prepare for harvest. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety has posted informational safety and health materials on its website at

    Drive Safely Work Week is October 7-11.
    Toolkit Available for Download at No Cost.

    October 7–11 is Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW). This year's DSWW toolkit provides easy-to-use Web-based resources for employers, including downloadable graphics and activities tailored for each day of the campaign week. Download the kit here.

    No cell phone use while driving - It's the law sticker
    No Cell Phone Label
    Illinois Bans Hand-held Cell Phone Use while Driving in 2014
    The Illinois governor has signed into law two bills aimed at combating distracted driving: one prohibits the use of all hand-held mobile phones while driving on Illinois roads, and the other increases penalties on drivers whose behind-the-wheel use of an electronic device leads to a crash. Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, fines for a first offense are $75. Penalties increase by $25 for subsequent offenses to a maximum of $150. Calls made to report an emergency situation are exempt from the law. Read more here.

    Follow the Signs to a Safer Workplace

    "Workplace safety signs and tags prevent accidents. Select and place them with care." That's good advice from Safety.BLR in a recent blog post by Chris Kilbourne. He goes on to identify key issues with workplace safety signs and tags, including:
    • Identifying all hazards
    • Selecting appropriate signs
    • Using proper wording
    • Positioning signs carefully
    • Identify safety and fire protection equipment
    • Using tags properly and effectively
    Perhaps most important is the advice to review your sign and tag program whenever new hazards are introduced.

    Safety Tip: Lockout / Tagout Procedures

    Machine Locked Out, Do Not Open safety tag

    This article has moved to our new blog.

    Please use this link to read it:

    September 17, 2013

    Top OSHA Fines Total $4 Million in August 2013

    OSHA was very busy in August, issuing 15 6-figure fines with a proposed total value of more than $4 million. Common citations included LOTO, fall protection and electrical hazards. Here are some details of the cases, which are still pending final decisions:

    $1.14 Million for Willful Fall Protection Hazards at Ohio Steel Plant
    • 15 willful violations of OSHA's fall protection standards. Violations included lack of fall protection while working on girders 66 feet above the ground and 30-foot falls due to missing and damaged guardrails. Workers were also exposed to falls of up to 30 feet above a slag pit and 20 feet above an electric arc furnace and molten steel ladle. OSHA discovered a history of failing to address fall hazards, including two workers seriously injured in falls in 2012, and willful fall hazard violations in 2011.
      Danger - confined space area entrance permit required
    • One repeat violation for failing to post danger signs indicating existence and location of permit-required confined spaces in the melt shop. The same violation was cited in August 2009. Eight serious violations include tripping hazards, use of electrical panels not suitable for wet locations, lack of personal protective equipment, failing to evaluate potential hazards in confined spaces and failure to train workers on hazards and issue entry permits for those spaces. The company will remain in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
    $317,000 and SVEP for Willful Machine Guarding Violations at an Illinois Metal Fabricator
    • Three willful violations include: bypassing machine safeguards on two laser-cutting machines and the failures to lock out sources of hazardous machine energy. Two additional serious violations include unguarded open-sided floors and platforms causing a fall hazard. After the incident, OSHA found other employees exposed to amputation hazards while operating a power press brake because the guard had not been set up properly. OSHA issued a willful violation for this hazard.
      Warning Do not operate without guards
    • Six serious citations were issued for failing to: inspect powered industrial trucks before service and to remove them if they are damaged, mark the load capacity of lifting devices, provide training on hazardous energy control procedures and implement an effective lockout/tagout program to protect workers during machine servicing. OSHA also cited the company for work areas with potentially hazardous accumulations of powder coating dusts and for failing to implement an effective respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures.
    $293,450 for Repeat Electrical and Health Violations at Guam Shipyard
    • 46 serious violations include electrical hazards; lack of guardrail protections; failure to establish and implement a lockout/tagout program; lack of a respiratory protection program; failure to maintain good housekeeping practices; and failure to check, inspect and maintain portable fire extinguishers. Workers were also exposed to metal fumes without respiratory protection.
    • Seven repeat violations included inadequate guardrails and fall prevention; lack of eye protection and electrical wiring hazards.

    Do You Really Know How Your Employees View Safety?

    Safety and Teamwork - Two Great Work Habits
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    When your company talks about workplace safety, do your employees roll their eyes? Are higher-than-normal recordable injuries are driving your worker’s comp costs through the ceiling? Even if you answered "no", you should consider a Safety Perception Survey to "check the oil" of what employees think of your safety efforts, according to a new article from Safety Management Group in Indianapolis.

    A safety perception survey is a research tool that delivers a candid appraisal of worker attitudes about safety and their employer’s safety culture. For companies that have never analyzed what employees think about safety efforts, it can be revealing. For companies with well-established safety cultures, surveys verify that measures are working while calling attention to potential areas of concern.

    Companies will usually see some very clear conclusions from a safety perception survey, but in many cases, the survey will also call attention to issues that deserve additional study. Safety perception surveys are most effective when they’re part of an ongoing process.

    The safety experts at Safety Management Group have prepared a helpful article that explains the process and how it can provide excellent data for fine-tuning your safety program and enhance your overall safety culture. Read the full article here, or browse thousands of safety signs at

    NIOSH Factsheet Helps Employers Prevent Work-Related Vehicle Crashes Among Young Drivers

    Driver In Training
    From 2003 to 2010, 843 workers ages 16 to 24 died in motor vehicle crashes at work. These incidents accounted for 22% of all workplace fatalities in this age group. In 67% of these incidents, the young worker was driving the vehicle involved in the crash. To help curb these numbers, NIOSH has developed a new set of factsheets to help young drivers stay safe on the job.

    Two new NIOSH documents identify risk factors and provide recommendations on how to prevent motor vehicle crashes on the job. "Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers - What Employers Should Know" will help workers, employers and parents understand and address the risks that can lead to crashes among young drivers. The workplace factsheet gives information about Federal and state laws that cover workplace driving, offers recommendations for preventing motor vehicle crashes among younger workers, and provides links to Internet resources.

    Business Resources for National Preparedness Month

    September is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA has prepared a website with resources to help your business survive a disaster. Recent events, from hurricane Sandy to wildfires and Colorado flooding, make it clear that disaster preparedness is serious business:
    • Up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster never reopen, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
      Emergency evactuation route floor label with right arrow
    • Customers expect delivery of products or services on time. If there is a significant delay, customers may go to a competitor.
    • Large businesses are asking suppliers about preparedness. Those without a plan risk losing business to competitors who do have one.
    • Insurance does not cover all losses and will not replace customers.
    • Disasters can overwhelm the resources of even the largest public agencies.
    • News travels fast, so businesses may need to quickly reach out to customers.
    As part of national Preparedness Month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has launched a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness levels. There's a lot a businesses can do to prepare for natural or man-made events, accidents and even widespread illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic. The place to start is the business section of FEMA's disaster preparedness website. 

    September 13, 2013 Customer Reviews - August 2013
    Here's what customers had to say about in August:
    I needed electrical safety labels for a standby generator. This site had a variety of labels that I could not find anywhere else.
    Gary O., 30 Aug 2013
    The purchasing process was quick and easy, the cost was the lowest of four locations and the delivery time was excellent. I will purchase from in the future.
    Ross F. - MI, 29 Aug 2013
    Have ordered from Compliance Signs for other projects and always get fast delivery and beautiful signs.
    Carolyn P., 28 Aug 2013
    Best part? I had to change the number of items ordered AFTER I had entered all my check-out info. When I when back to check-out, it was still there - YEAH - I didn't have to enter it all again, which is what happens at most on-line ordering sites. THANK YOU!
    Holly, 27 Aug 2013
    Everything was easy to find and there is a huge selection of stickers for all applications
    Michael B. - WA, 26 Aug 2013

    September 6, 2013

    Chemical Advisory on Ammonium Nitrate Issued by OSHA, EPA and ATF

    DANGER Explosive Materials sign
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a Chemical Advisory that provides information on the hazards associated with solid ammonium nitrate storage, handling and managementThis advisory contains information on:
    • Recent and past accidents involving AMMONIUM NITRATE (AN)
    • AN hazards
    • How to manage AN hazards
    • Appropriate steps for community emergency planning and proper emergency response.
    It is focused primarily on safe handling and storage of higher density, solid AN used in fertilizers. 

    The advisory includes a list of information resources, including relevant codes and standards, industry publications and applicable statutes and regulations that will help first responders and facilities handling AN better understand the hazards so they can effectively manage the risks.

    August 27, 2013 Named to Inc5000 Fastest-Growing List for 4th Year is on the inc5000 list for the 4th year
    For the fourth consecutive year, ComplianceSigns, Inc. has been named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., as ranked by Inc. magazine.

    To earn another spot on the annual Inc. 5,000 list, we achieved revenue growth of 121 percent over the past three years, an increase from 119 percent in 2012. ComplianceSigns ranks as the ninth fastest-growing manufacturer in Illinois, and 108th in the entire U.S. We appear to be the only safety sign manufacturer on the list.

    "Maintaining growth through the recent economic climate has been a true challenge," said company president Paul Sandefer. "Qualifying for this list four years in a row shows what fantastic people we have throughout our company. Their daily efforts to develop and produce top-quality products and provide excellent customer service are what keep our customers coming back - and keep our company growing."

    Many thanks to our loyal customers who helped us earn this recognition.

    August 26, 2013

    August Workplace Safety News and Notes

    OSHA Changes Recordkeeping Rules for Federal Agencies
    A new final rule from OSHA requires Federal agencies to submit occupational injury and illness information to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and OSHA on an annual basis. The BLS will use the data (which is already being collected) to aggregate injury and illness information throughout the Federal government. OSHA will then use the data to identify and target establishments with high incidence rates, much as it does for non-government organizations. The rule will also restate that volunteers are considered employees of federal agencies and explain how volunteers' injuries should be recorded in agency injury and illness logs.
    Read the final rule in the Federal Register (pdf).

    weapon free campus
    On-Line Course Trains Nurses about Preventing Workplace Violence
    NIOSH worked with nursing and labor organizations, academic groups and others to develop an online course designed to train nurses to recognize and prevent workplace violence. The multi-media training incorporates lesson text, videos depicting workplace violence incidents, testimonials from real nurses and lesson quizzes. Nurses can also receive continuing education credits for completing the online course.
    Learn more here.

    NFPA Report Gives Stats on Electrical Fires
    In 2011, some 16,400 non-home structure fires involved electrical failure or malfunction as a factor contributing to ignition. The NFPA Electrical Fires report provides statistics on home and non-home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in any equipment or involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment, with separate sections for each of the major types of home electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Trends, some risk comparisons and suggested safety tips also are included.
    Review the report here.