A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

March 31, 2014

Groups to Study Worplace Safety Impact of Marijuana

No drugs
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) have announced they will collaborate to study workplace health and safety issues associated with worker impairment from the use of marijuana and other drugs.
Citing changing societal attitudes toward marijuana, including its increasing use for medicinal purposes and new state-decriminalization laws, ACOEM and AAOHN leaders said the occupational health profession can play an important role in helping the U.S. workplace prepare for the potential impacts of these trends.
“Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana and two states have approved its recreational use by adults,” said AAOHN President Pam Carter, RN. “With growing advocacy, other states seem ready to follow. Mainly because of

March 20, 2014

March 2014 Workplace Safety News and Notes

in case of fire use stairway
NFPA Offers Free Guide on High-rise Building Safety
The High-Rise Building Safety Advisory Committee has recently completed and publish
ed a new document related to developing emergency action plans for high rise office buildings. While procedures for high-rise fire evacuation have been developed and adopted by major fire and emergency services throughout North America, there remains considerable variation in practice in the field. This guide can be used to develop emergency action plans that are required by many occupancies in other NFPA codes such and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®. Read more and download the guide here.

OSHA Wants to Extend Crane Operator Compliance Deadline to 2017
OSHA proposes to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement from November 10, 2014 to November 10, 2017. OSHA issued a standard on

March 18, 2014

Safety Coaching: Game Plan for Motivation

Sports teams at any level, from pee-wee to the big leagues, need a coach to focus on the big picture, coordinate roles and change strategy to achieve success. In just the same way, worksite teams need leadership to achieve a higher level of safety. A manager, foreman or supervisor who performs his or her job like a "Safety Coach" will respect the “players” and provide the right expertise at the right time. 
Play It Safe! ( baseball players ) Safety Banner

Nobody comes to a job site planning to get hurt. Unfortunately, just as a baseball or other team may make mental mistakes in a key game, workers sometimes get complacent, get sidetracked or take dangerous shortcuts. That’s when it’s time for the safety coach to call a timeout, step in, and remind everyone how to get back on the right track.

The safety experts at Safety Management Group recently published an article with some good coaching advice on motivation, encouraging safer actions and building credibility with your team. It also discusses what coaching is not - to help you better understand this important role. Read more here, then browse worksite safety banners here.

April is Distracted Driving Month - These Resources Will Help Protect Your Employees and Your Business

no dialing no texting no talking while driving

This article has moved to our new blog.

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5 OSHA-Approved Ways to Improve Safety in Your Construction Zone

Contributed by James Turner, HR manager for a mid-size construction firm.
Boost your peace of mind and create a more efficient team by committing to a safer 2014. These five OSHA-approved steps will guide you toward improving your construction work zone's safety.

1. Use signs, barriers and other means to clearly indicate the work zone. 

CAUTION Entering Construction ZoneWhen everyone, including workers and passers-by, can clearly see where the work zone begins and ends, the chance for an accident decreases. Use barriers and signage to demarcate the work zone, and if working on a private residence, use signage and plastic tape to mark off work areas from break areas. Keep passageways free of clutter to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

2. Implement a hazard communications program if you work with chemicals.

Material Safety Data Sheets and SDS located hereA hazard communications program should outline what chemicals will be used, where MSDS sheets are located, how the chemicals will be stored, labeled and transported, and what protocol should be followed for cleaning up a spill, disposing of the chemical and working with it. Always inform all employees, contractors and subcontractors when they will be working with hazardous chemicals.

March 17, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Reach $2.7 Million in February 2014

OSHA issued 14 6-figure citations in February with total proposed fines topping $2.68 million - including a single half-million fine for machine guarding violations. Repeat and willful violations contributed to the high dollar value of these fines, and machine guarding and LOTO were common citations. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions:
$560,000 for willful machine guard violations at Texas rubber manufacturer
  • Following an incident where a machine operator's arms were crushed, OSHA issued eight willful violations for failing to provide one or more methods of machine guarding to protect workers from hazards created by rotating parts while operating manual lathes and other equipment.
$290,000 and SVEP for training violations following drowning at Florida marine construction company
  • Three willful citations for the employer's failure to: Ensure workers performing underwater diving operations had adequate experience and training to perform the work safely; Provide employees engaged in diving operations with two-way voice communications for emergency assistance; Ensure the designated person-in-charge was trained and had experience with planning, performing and overseeing dive operations safely. This was the company's second fatality in five months.
  • 12 serious violations include failing to provide members of the dive team with CPR training; assess the hazards of underwater conditions to include tidal current, underwater obstructions, limited visibility and marine traffic; and inspect the air compressor, filters or regulators. OSHA also cited seven additional violations.
$279,400 and SVEP for combustible dust, amputation and other hazards at Georgia lumber manufacturer
  • Three willful safety violations failure to implement basic safety procedures that would prevent equipment from starting up or moving during maintenance; caught-in and crushing hazards from unguarded rotating chains and sprocket wheels; and electrical hazards.
  • Two repeat violations for improper housekeeping and unclosed electrical panels, as well as 17 serious safety and health violations, many related to improper lockout/tagout program.

New OSHA Guidance on Recording Temp Worker Injuries and Illnesses

we have worked 365 days without a lost time accidentOSHA just released a new educational resource that focuses on requirements for recording temporary worker injuries and illnesses. The new Recordkeeping Bulletin explains requirements of staffing agencies and host employers and addresses how to identify who is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illnesses of temporary workers on the OSHA 300 log. 

"The Recordkeeping Bulletin is the first of many materials we are releasing and helps clarify which employers are responsible for reporting injuries and illnesses," says OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. In recent months, OSHA has received and investigated many reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, many of which occur within their first week on the job.

March 6, 2014

Indiana OSHA Receives "Scathing" Report from Federal Investigators

Report All Accidents
A 19-page report from OSHA describes a long list of problems with the agency's Indiana counterpart, including mishandled complaints, blocked investigations and stifled whistle-blowers. The news is covered in a front-page article in today's Indianapolis StarAccording to the article:
"The findings confirm problems first reported in The Indianapolis Star about the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to implement inspection quotas that inspectors said deterred complex investigations"

March 5, 2014

Why Respirators and After-market Parts Don't Mix

Respirator required in this area sign
Do supplied-air respirator users at your workplace ever swap original hoses with different sized hoses? A recent notice from NIOSH says it's a bad idea. Here's why:
  • Using non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) hoses that are sized differently can result in too little or too much breathing air being delivered to the facepiece.
  • Hoses that have not been subjected to NIOSH-approved quality assurance program may have other performance features that are not compatible for proper performance of the respirator.
  • Respirators are approved by NIOSH as a single unit. Replacing NIOSH-approved parts, components and accessories with non-approved parts manufactured by another company voids the NIOSH approval.
  • A modified configuration may void the manufacturer’s product warranty.
  • Using non NIOSH-approved respirators places the employer at risk of citation and fines by OSHA, because OSHA requires the use of NIOSH-approved respirators.
If you have any questions about the device you are using, you may contact NIOSH at or call 412-386-4000.