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

November 25, 2014

Make a Driving Survival Kit Before Traveling at Thanksgiving

Before you drive over the river and through the woods or anywhere else at Thanksgiving, make time to assemble a driving survival kit that can save you trouble - or even save your life. Some of these items apply to cold-weather areas, but many are relevant for driving anywhere, anytime. These recommendations come from the Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety.

Use a coffee can or similar container with a plastic lid to store the following items:
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
  • Large plastic garbage bag
  • Pencil and paper
  • Red bandanna or cloth
  • Safety pins
  • Small candles and matches
  • Small, sharp knife and plastic spoons
  • Whistle
  • Plastic flashlight and spare batteries. Reverse batteries in the flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout. Warm batteries before using them. 

November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Safe Travel Tips - Kids and Carseats

Boy with suitcase
Whether you're traveling across town or across the country for Thanksgiving, this information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help ensure your trip is safe. The top 3 are easy:
  1. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
  2. Always buckle children in the car using an appropriate child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt.
  3. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let someone else drink and drive.
How to Keep Kids Safe in the Car
If you're traveling with children for the holidays, you may have to ride with people who aren't familiar with current child safety rules and recommendations. A ride home with Uncle Craig may sound like fun, but if he doesn't have appropriate safety seats, you're better off saying "No." In the United States, vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death among children. In 2012, more than 1,100 children died in crashes and more than 176,000 were injured. You can make a lifesaving difference. Here's how:

November 18, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - November 2014

Here's a roundup of current workplace safety news and links.

OSHA Urges Retailers to Protect Workers During Major Sales Events
restricted area authorized personnel onlyOSHA recently sent letters to major retailers to remind employers about the potential hazards involved with managing large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season when sales events attract a higher number of shoppers. Retailers are encouraged to use the safety guidelines, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers, provided in the OSHA fact sheet they received. Read more here.


National Safety Council Launches "Journey to Safety Excellence" Campaign 
The National Safety Council recently launched the Journey to Safety Excellence campaign - a workplace advocacy initiative focusing on continuous improvement to help employers make workplaces safer across the country. The campaign is designed to help save workers’ lives and help businesses save money. The Journey to Safety Excellence is a roadmap to help employers build a workplace that keeps people safe. It comes with free, practical tools collected from 100 years of NSC experience. Visit the NSC page here.

hazard communication symbolsOSHA HAZCOM Compliance Guide for Small Business
OSHA has issued a new guide intended to help small employers comply with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), acute illnesses and injuries due to chemical exposures in the workplace have decreased 42% since the Hazard Communication Standard was implemented. The OSHA guide provides useful information, including steps toward an effective Hazcom plan; a sample written program; a Quick Guide to Hazcom training, and more. Download the guide here (pdf).


November 17, 2014

Protect Workers from Frostbite

first aid kit inside
Snow and frigid temperatures have spread across the U.S., and many outdoor workers are not yet accustomed to the cold. Now is a good time to remind employees of the risk, symptoms and appropriate first aid response for cold stress. 

Extremely cold or wet weather is a dangerous situation that can cause occupational illness and injuries such as hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains. Here are some frostbite tips from NIOSH:

What is Frostbite?
  • An injury to the body that is caused by freezing, which most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.
  • Symptoms

Advice: Working Safely with Industrial Vacuums

Would your employeees know
this pipe label indicates
flammable fluids?

Everyone becomes familiar with vacuum cleaners at an early age. But because they regularly use vacuums at home, workers may not understand that vacuum systems in healthcare and industrial settings present some very real hazards. In these settings, when something goes wrong, the results can include shattering and flying glass, chemical splatters and even combustion.

Because there are varied types of industrial vacuums, supervisors need to ensure that employees fully understand the systems they use and any potential hazards associated with them. That includes understanding pipe marking standards for any workers who may be repairing vacuum lines. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have prepared an article that discusses industrial vacuum safety, including filtration, dealing with liquids, debris collection, cold traps and more. Read more on this important topic here, or browse a variety of housekeeping safety signs here.

November 14, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Exceed $1.7 Million in Oct. 2014

OSHA issued 10 significant fines in October with a proposed total of $1.77 million. The top three fines were issued for fall hazards, blocked exits and whistleblower violations. Other common violations included machine guarding, chemicals and falls. Most cases are still pending final decisions. Here are some details:

$355,300 for Willful Fall and Other Hazards at a Florida Roofing Company
fall protection requiredOSHA initiated inspections beginning in March 2014 as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction, and cited the employer for 12 violations, including failure to use available fall protection equipment, because they didn't have tie-down brackets.

Three willful violations, carrying $210,000 in penalties for failure to provide fall protection systems. Four repeat violations, with $108,900 in penalties, were cited for allowing workers to use powered nail guns without eye and face protection and for failing to extend ladders 3 feet above the landing surface for roof access. Three serious violations included using extension ladders improperly at two locations and failure to require employees to face the ladder when descending from the roof, and another violation for not clearing debris from the area around the bottom of the ladder.

November 11, 2014

New NFPA Program Helps Prepare Responders for Electric Truck, Bus and Commercial Vehicle Hazards

Electric Vehicle Charging StationNon-gasoline based fueling is becoming more prevalent on our roadways, and shows no signs of slowing down. Whether electric, hybrid or fuel-cell based, the new technologies bring with them new challenges for first responders arriving on the scene of transportation emergencies. Last month, this compelled the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to expand its training offered in the arena of electric vehicle (EV) safety.

Online training in the EV program now includes material on trucks, buses and commercial vehicles with electric technology to supplement offerings that cover EV passenger vehicles. The new multi-media courses cover a wide range of topics. Much of the focus is geared toward enabling responders to:

  • Assess situations involving any large vehicle on the road equipped with electric technology
  • Execute the most effective rescues possible in these emergencies
  • Neutralize additional potential endangerment and damage electric vehicles could cause via power down procedures
  • Deal with vehicle and battery fires as well as charging station incidents

November 7, 2014

BLS Delays 2013 Safety Data Release After Finding Errors in Previous Reports

Lost-Time Accident Sign
helps promote plant safety.
After finding errors in 2011 and 2012 safety data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has delayed the release of 2013 data. The 2013 reports on Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work have been delayed from their planned October 30 and November 14, 2014 release dates.

The BLS recently identified data errors in its reports on national 2011 and 2012 private-sector nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Press releases featured incorrect data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses:

  • Industry counts and frequency rates
  • Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.

November 1, 2014

How OSHA inspects cranes and derricks on construction worksites

WARNING before operating crane it is compulsory to extend the outriggeers
This week, OSHA issued a directive for enforcing requirements of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The new directive guides OSHA compliance personnel performing inspections where power-operated equipment covered by Subpart CC - Cranes and Derricks in Construction is present on a construction worksite.

These are the first 10 of 20 areas inspectors are now directed to review:
  1. Determine the adequacy of ground conditions beneath the equipment set-up area, such as the support/foundation, matting, cribbing, blocking, etc.
  2. Check for visible indications of repairs of the equipment.
  3. When overhead power lines are on the construction site, ask if the utility owner/operator was contacted and if the lines are energized. Obtain the voltage of the power lines (if known). Verify whether a work zone around the crane was demarcated and what encroachment prevention steps are being used.
  4. When a signal person is used on the worksite, verify the individual’s qualifications/documentation. Acceptable documents include both physical and electronic records.