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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com

August 26, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - August 2014

Here's a collection of recent safety news and resources, with links to more information:

OSHA SVEP Grows 23 Percent From Last Year
As of July 1, there were 423 sites in the OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), compared to 343 last year, according to an article by Jackson Lewis PC in the National Law Review. Five additional sites successfully contested the violations that put them on the list. The SVEP "concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations,” says OSHA. Construction and manufacturing firms and small employers make up a majority of the SVEP list. Read the article here. 

Download the Top 10 Presentations from the 2014 NFPA Conference & Expo
Sign-in to NFPA's web site for free access to the most popular educational session papers from the 2014 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas:

  • NFPA 99-2015, Health Care Facilities Code, Changes
  • Concealed Spaces Requirements in NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
  • Photovoltaic System Fire Hazards
  • NFPA 101-2015, Life Safety Code, Changes
  • NFPA 1730 and the Identification, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Fire Prevention Program
  • Fire Alarm Requirements of the Model Codes and How They Work With NFPA 72
  • NFPA 99-2012, Health Care Facilities Code: Emergency Management and Security
  • Sprinkler Technology: Storage Protection
  • Sprinkler Protection of Storage Occupancies--Varied Design Approaches
  • NFPA 652: A Proposed New Standard on Combustible Dust Safe Practices
The downloads are available at the NFPA conference blog.

Language Barriers and Safety Barriers

There's no question that immigrants helped build America, from the trans-continental railway to the skyscrapers of both coasts. Many spoke no English, but they learned just enough to do their job. In today's safety-conscious workplaces, language barriers create serious challenges for safety professionals. A big part of managing safety involves communicating rules and hazards to workers, but how effective can that be when there’s a language barrier - or multiple languages - on the same worksite?

The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis offer some good advice in a recent blog post that outlines simple steps you can take to improve understanding for everyone on your worksite. And remember this: Immigrants aren't your only concern. Illiteracy rates are higher in the U.S. than many people realize, so some English-speaking workers may not be able to read safety materials. Read the full article here or browse international bilingual safety signs here.

August 25, 2014

5 Confined Space Myths: How Many Do You Believe?

Caution confined space Hazardous atmosphere Entry by permit only
When it comes to workplace safety, it seems that misinformation is just as common as sound advice. Add various safety regulations to the mix and it's easy to see why people get confused. Confined spaces are a good example. OSHA identifies more than 20 industry sectors with a variety of types of confined spaces. Nearly any area that physically hinders worker activity or has hazardous air or other conditions can be considered a confined space. 

With so many industries and space configurations, it's no wonder workers are sometimes unsure of confined space rules. An article in the August issue of OH&S Magazine attempts to set the record straight. Take a look at these confined space myths and see which ones you or your workers might believe:

Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers

If I'm driving in an unsafe manner, please call _____
The NHTSA has estimated that some 100,000 reported drowsy-driving crashes every year result in more than 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in losses. Commercial drivers are at increased risk for drowsy driving because of their long hours and overnight schedules. But being awake more than 20 hours results in impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit in all states.

Sleepiness or Fatigue Creates:
  • Impaired reaction time, judgment and vision
  • Problems with information processing and short-term memory
  • Decreased performance, vigilance and motivation
  • Increased moodiness and aggressive behaviors

But drowsiness in the cab isn't just related to how long a driver has been on the road.

August 21, 2014

New NIOSH Report Helps You Assess Posture to Prevent MSDs

Observation-Based Posture AssessmentNIOSH has released a new report that can help occupational safety and health practitioners conduct improved posture assessments in the workplace - which can help prevent and control occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Observation-Based Posture Assessment: Review of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement describes a research-based approach for assessing torso and arm posture; discusses enhancements including digital video, computer software, training, and the use of visual cues; and provides general guidelines for video recording and analysis of workers' posture. The report is a joint effort between NIOSH and the Canadian Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders.

The report includes tips for recording and analyzing posture:
  • Record the task from multiple views and encourage the worker to avoid loose-fitting clothing.
  • If possible, shoot one of the views perpendicular to the plane of the joint movement.
  • Zoom in on limb segments so the joint of interest is as large as possible on the screen.

August 20, 2014

Free Took Kit for Drive Safely Work Week 2014 in October

Seatbelts: PPE critical for ALL employees to stay safe
Drive Safely Work Week™ (DSWW) is an annual workplace safety campaign to remind employees about safe driving practices. This year's theme, "Driving Your Safety Culture Home," is designed to help organizations integrate elements of safe driving into their corporate safety culture. A free tool kit is available with ready-made materials and low-cost ideas to start, expand and sustain a road safety program.

The campaign website, www.trafficsafety.org, has lots of materials to help plan and promote your campaign, as well as presentations, fact sheets, posters, tent cards and more to address seat belt use, distracted driving and other

August 13, 2014

Free Webinar: Achieving Electrical Safety Compliance in the Workplace

Danger - arc flash and shock hazard
Arc Flash Safety Sign
All businesses need to address electrical safety, but many companies do not know all the facts about keeping their workers safe. Your company may be at risk for employee injury and death as well as fines associated with non-compliance. 

OH&S and Salisbury Assessment by Honeywell will present a free one-hour webinar regarding arc flash compliance on August 21 at 2 pm ET. This webinar is geared toward all businesses regardless of industry and will focus on best practices that companies should adopt to keep employees safe while maintaining full electrical safety compliance.

August 12, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Reach $2.6 Million in July 2014

OSHA issued 12 significant fines in July - up from 9 in June - with a proposed total of $2.59 million. Common violations included: lockout / tagout, fall protection and fire hazards. Most cases are still pending final decisions. Here are some details:


$816,500 for false abatement documentation, continued machine hazards at an Ohio manufacturer 

danger do not openA January SVEP follow-up inspection found false abatement documentation and that employees had been exposed to unguarded machines and unsafe maintenance procedures well after the employer's abatement claims. Nine willful citations were issued for failing to prevent the start up of multiple hydraulic presses and other machines while workers were performing set-up, service and maintenance inside the machines. The company also failed to develop proper lockout/tag out procedures and encouraged workers to use unsafe methods to stop machines for maintenance. 

Four repeat violations involve failing to train workers to properly stop machines before service and maintenance, which continuously exposed machine operators to laceration, amputation, burns and having parts of the machine strike or crush them. The company failed to have identifying information on devices to indicate hazards.


$305,100 for 16 serious, repeat, failure-to-abate violations at a Texas barge builder

When the company did not respond to several 2013 citations, a follow-up inspection was conducted in January 2014, revealing that several of the hazardous conditions had not been corrected. Three failure-to-abate violations were issued for continuing to expose workers to machine, struck-by and fall hazards. 

Four repeat violations were cited for failing to equip surfaces 5 feet or higher with guardrails and replace worn and frayed electrical cords. The remaining 12 violations included failure to train workers who were operating forklifts; to perform regular crane inspections and guard portable machinery; and to provide hearing protection for workers exposed to noise. 


$228,690 for repeat and willful fall protection violations at a Florida construction company

fall protection requiredOSHA inspectors observed employees at four work sites performing residential construction at heights up to 28 feet without using a fall protection system. The company has been cited seven times in the past two years for not providing fall protection for residential construction employees

A willful violation was cited for failure to provide fall protection systems, and a repeat violation was cited for allowing workers to use a ladder improperly. The company was cited for the same violations in May 2013. Serious violations included failing to provide fall protection training and allowing employees to access a second floor stairwell that was not protected by handrails on both sides. 

OSHA's fall prevention page has detailed information on fall protection standards. 

August 4, 2014

OSHA Launches Focused Enforcement Program in North Dakota

danger open trench
OSHA has launched an enforcement emphasis program in North Dakota that brings in additional inspectors to address the oil and gas and construction industries. The move is in response to recent increases in fatalities in the state.

Since January 2012, 34 North Dakota workers in these industries have died from work-related injuries. Of the 34 workers, 21 died while working on and servicing drilling rigs or conducting production support operations in the oil and gas industry. These workers are exposed to serious hazards, such as fires, explosions and equipment-related dangers, on a daily basis.