A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

April 28, 2014

Drafting a Successful Safety Program

good housekeeping promotes safety - do your part pick it up
A good safety program helps to ensure your employees don’t get injured on the job - and keeps you on the right side of the law - by helping you have the right systems and programs in place.

The types of programs your business needs depends on your industry and the type of work you do. That’s why your first step in developing a safety program is to understand the rules or standards that apply to your industry. For example, if you’re in construction, CFR Part 1926 contains the federal laws related to worker safety. Most other industrial companies can look to CFR Part 1910 for regulations applicable to the safety of their employees.

April 22, 2014

NIOSH: Healthcare Workers Lack Awareness of Hazardous Chemical Safety

Warning Biohazard - Authorized personnel only
Biohazard safety sign

A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that healthcare workers who routinely come in contact with hazardous chemicals on the job lack training and awareness of employer procedures to adequately protect themselves from exposure.

Key findings include:

  • Workers administering aerosolized antibiotics were the least likely to have received training on their safe use (48% reported they were never trained), followed closely by those exposed to surgical smoke.

OH&S Shares 5 Steps to a Safer Worksite

CAUTION Prevent accidents Clean up spills
Housekeeping signs can help prevent accidents.
Slips, trips and falls (STF) were responsible for more than 308,000 non-fatal workplace injuries in 2012. Fall protection systems can help, but a recent OH&S blog post says a low-cost way to improve your STF injury rates is to take a good hard look at your organization’s housekeeping practices.

Effective housekeeping requires workers to maintain a clean, clutter-free, organized work site that eliminates or greatly reduces the risk of a slip, trip or fall. Good housekeeping practices are important for all businesses, but are especially important for the medical, construction, manufacturing and retail industries, where risks of STFs are highest. Prominent housekeeping safety signs that address trip hazards, wet floors or other housekeeping hazards can help get your message across to employees and visitors.

The OH&S post identifies 5 steps you can use to reduce or even eliminate serious injuries from STFs in your organization.

April 15, 2014

Security Signs Make Homes and Businesses Safer

private property silent alarms alert security of unauthorized entry
The most effective means of securing your property are often the least expensive ones. A little deterrence goes a long way. A burglar, when presented with the choice, will almost always take the path of least resistance because burglary is a crime of opportunity. So when spotting something as simple as a video surveillance sign or, even more basic, a no trespassing sign, intruders may look elsewhere for less complicated prospects. 

Below you will find a brief discussion of security signs, an explanation of why and how they are used, and advice on how to make them the most effective at warding off unwelcome guests. 

A Valiant Two-Dimensional Sentry
Security signs are like guards posted on duty at your home or business: they have the power to intimidate those not authorized to be on your property, simply by their presence. Signs, when combined with other boundaries such as fencing, enable you to mark your territory. And some - such as No Trespassing signs - are enforceable by law in some places, protecting you against legal retaliation if a person gets injured on your premises. 

April 8, 2014

OSHA Threatens Arizona Revised Fall Standards

DANGER fall protection required
State safety laws must be
at least as protective
as federal standards.
Arizona’s 2012 construction fall protection regulations require limited fall protection for employees working between six and 15 feet, but OSHA’s standard requires use of conventional fall protection starting at six feet. OSHA recently sent a letter to the Arizona Industrial Commission with a 1 1/2-page list of shortcomings.
The letter comes just as OSHA announced a "national stand-down for fall prevention in construction" in June as part of OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign. During the stand-down, employers and workers will be asked to pause their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and discuss topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety and roofing work safety. OSHA has also launched an official national safety stand-down website with information on how to conduct a successful stand-down. Afterwards, employers will be able to provide feedback and receive a personalized certificate of participation.

April 5, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Total Just $612k in March 2014

OSHA issued just four 6-figure citations in March, including some repeat and willful violations. Common citations included machine guarding, lead hazards and fall protection. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions:
$264,360 for 50 safety and health violations at an Atlanta food processor
  • Danger AmmoniaA direct employer and two staffing companies were cited for a variety of violations, including inadequate training for safe ammonia handling, unguarded machines and platforms, damaging noise levels, failure to provide properly fitted PPE, failure to follow the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard, blocked and mismarked exits in hazardous areas, failure to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures, and exposing workers to electrical hazards.

April 4, 2014

OSHA Final Rule On Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution

warning arc flash and shock hazard appropriate PPE required
On April 1, OSHA announced it would issue a final rule to revise the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard.
"This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels.
The updated standards for general industry and construction include:
  • New or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees

April 3, 2014

Tips for Backing Up Vehicles Safely

CAUTION entering construction zone
As construction workers head back outside, these tips shared by the National Safety Council can help prevent a too-common worksite tragedy: workplace backover deaths.
In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional OSHA Office have involved struck-by vehicle accidents in the workplace

Struck-by injuries and fatalities commonly are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving, powered industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently began collecting specific information on these fatalities and determined that across the U.S., 79 backover deaths occurred on the job in 2011.
The following OSHA recommendations can help prevent backover accidents:
  • Spotters: Using a spotter has been proven to keep workers safe. However, spotters also are in danger of being hit by a backing vehicle.