A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

February 25, 2013

Chemical Safety for Those on the Farm, from OHS Insider

Experts and statistics agree that farm tractor roll-overs are the biggest reason for deaths and injuries on the farm, but second is the danger from exposure to farm chemicals. March 13 to 19 is Agricultural Safety Week in Canada, followed by National Poison Prevention Week March 20 to 26 in the United States, making this a good time to consider chemical safety on the farm.

There are three major hazards from farm chemicals. These are anhydrous ammonia, toxic gases and pesticides. Canada's "OHS Insider" has prepared a helpful article with good information on farm chemical safety.

February 20, 2013

What's New at - February 2013

Would you believe that more than 1,850 new signs and labels were added to in the past month? It's true! That number includes signs for restrooms, shower / eyewash, credit card surcharges, accessible parking, automatic gates, PCB warnings, vehicle safety and many more. Here are some highlights:

Square ADA Braille Facility signs. These 9-inch acrylic squares include tactile and Braille information, plus the familiar pictogram image for restrooms or other facilities. They're available in 28 color combinations to meet your design needs.

Weapons signs on topics including concealed carry, state laws, weapons welcome and more. Available on a variety of sign materials, or as self-stick labels.

February 19, 2013

OSHA Reminds Employers of Carbon Monoxide Dangers

English + Spanish carbon monoxide safety sign
Carbon Monoxide Safety Sign
Recently, a worker in a New England warehouse was found unconscious and seizing, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Several other workers at the site also became ill. Warehouse windows and doors were closed to conserve heat, there was no exhaust ventilation and very high levels of carbon monoxide were measured at the site. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can include everything from headaches, dizziness and drowsiness to nausea, vomiting or tightness across the chest. Severe carbon monoxide poisoning can cause neurological damage, coma and death.

Sources of carbon monoxide can include anything that uses combustion to operate, such as gas generators, power tools, compressors, pumps, welding equipment, space heaters and furnaces.

How to Implement an Effective Drug Testing Program

All Applicants Are Screened for Drugs sign
There's a big difference between simply having a substance abuse testing program and having a program that is effective. Impaired employees are a danger to themselves and everyone else on your jobsite. Even when accidents don’t occur, employees who are working while under the influence of alcohol or other substances aren’t at their best. Their productivity is likely to be lower and they’re more likely to make mistakes that can impact your organization’s reputation for quality. But how can you implement a truly effective program? 

The safety experts at Safety Management Group have prepared a helpful article that reviews the key steps involved in implementing an effective drug testing program. If your organization already has a program in the place, compare it to the best practices outlined here to see if there are opportunities to improve its effectiveness. 

OSHA Whistleblower Complaints Reach New High

OSHA received and completed record numbers of whistleblower complaints in 2012. Nearly 2,800 whistleblower complaints were received, an increase of 20 percent from 2010 according to figures from the Whistleblower Protection Program. Of completed complaints, 60 percent were dismissed and 21 percent were settled.

Nearly two-thirds of settled cases dealt with OSHA statutes (382). Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) statutes were next, comprising 12 percent of settled cases. STAA whistleblower provisions were amended in July 2012.

February 18, 2013

February Workplace Safety News and Notes

OSHA Issues Targeted Inspection Plan for Federal Workers
OSHA has issued its 2013 inspection plan for federal agencies under its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG). OSHA will inspect all establishments reporting 100 or more cases where a worker was away from work due to injury during fiscal year 2012; 50 percent of locations reporting 50 to 99 cases; and 10 percent of those reporting 20 to 49 cases. The directive outlines procedures for programmed inspections at these worksites, and includes a new standard from U.S Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. Read more here, or review the notice here (pdf).
DOT hazard placard
Browse Hazmat Placards
Hazardous Materials Transportation Seminar March 5-6 in Oklahoma City
The DOT and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) invite anyone interested in hazardous materials regulations and transportation to attend a Multimodal Hazmat Transportation training seminar in Oklahoma City on March 5-6. The seminar begins with a general session that includes an overview of the DOT Hazardous Materials Program. The remainder of the two-day seminar consists of breakout sessions along three different tracks: Hazmat Basics, Safety and Compliance and Hazmat Essentials. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration and State Hazmat Enforcement will join PHMSA to answer your hazmat transportation questions. Learn more here.

Latest TWH In Action Newsletter Provides Health Protection / Promotion Resources

The quarterly issue of the NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) newsletter is now available. It

February 15, 2013

NIOSH Updates Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS) Web Tool

A new web tool is available to assist users of the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS). The system was created in 1992 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to characterize occupational injury and illness incidents. The system was redesigned 2010 and revised in 2012.

Industrial Hazard Signs
Now NIOSH has updated its OIICS web tool to provide graphical code tree interfaces and downloadable software applications for OIICS users. The tool also will help users develop a better understanding of national occupational injury and illness data released by BLS and NIOSH.

The OIICS includes four coding structures:
  • Nature: Principal physical characteristic(s) of the injury or illness.
  • Part of Body Affected: Body part / area directly affected by the identified nature of injury or illness.
  • Source and Secondary Source: Objects, substances, equipment and other factors that were responsible for the injury or illness incurred by the worker, or that precipitated the event or exposure.
  • Event or Exposure: The manner in which the injury or illness was produced or inflicted by the source of injury or illness.
NIOSH worked in collaboration with BLS to develop a web site and a downloadable software application as a resource for employers and others who use the OIICS. Users must understand the OIICS Coding Selection Rules to code or use OIICS data.

February 6, 2013

Rules OSHA is Planning for 2013

The Department of Labor's most recent regulatory agenda shows we should watch for final OSHA rules on confined spaces in construction, electric power transmission and slip, trip and fall prevention in 2013. Currently in the pre-rule stage are standards for:
  • Combustible Dust
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Reinforced Concrete in Construction and Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities
Proposed rules are expected for:
  • Crystalline Silica and Beryllium
  • Consensus Standards Update
  • Revocation of Periodic Records
Final rules are scheduled for:
  • Confined Spaces in Construction
  • Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems
  • Vertical Tandem Lifts
See the complete list for each stage at the Dept. of Labor site.

February 4, 2013 Customer Comments - February 2013

Here's what customers are saying about their ordering experience this month. Thanks for sharing!

I was having a hard time trying to find specific signs. I tried making custom signs on other vendor's websites and only ended up getting frustrated with lack of ability to make the signs the way I wanted them, not the way the websites wanted me to make them. Great job.
Greg T., 26 Feb 2013

Reasonable prices, great customer service. A live person who spoke clear English picked up my call immediately and helped me efficiently.
Metzler, 26 Feb 2013

Great assistance when requested language options.
Anabel M., 26 Feb 2013

Good prices. Easy web site to navigate.
Dick F., 25 Feb 2013

By far best prices and so many options!!!
Natalie M., 24 Feb 2013

Thank you for having a huge variety of ADA signs
Beth P., 23 Feb 2013

Safe Temporary Heat on Construction Jobsites

Propane Gas Safety Sign
As record-breaking cold grips much of the U.S., here are some safety tips for worksite heaters, from Compliance Consultants, Inc.

Many of the safety requirements for temporary heat may seem like common sense, but our safety consultants often see obvious safety hazards. Use these tips and contact your local fire department to determine requirements specific to your jobsite and location:
  • Spaces where heaters are used must be well-ventilated. Install CO detectors in the area to detect any buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Heaters cannot be left running when a jobsite is unattended. If heaters must be run overnight, fire watch personnel must be present.
  • Keep all flammable and combustible materials away from the heater. Do not lay coats or other flammable materials over or near a heater.