A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

February 19, 2015

Workplace Safety News and Notes - February '15

Here's a collection of recent workplace safety news and resources from around the web:
Still No Electronic Reporting for New OSHA Recordkeeping Rule Report All Accidents sign
As this newsletter is issued, the electronic reporting form for workplace injuries is not live on the OSHA website. As of January 1, 2015, all employers must report:
  - All work-related fatalities within 8 hours.
  - All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours.
Visit the OSHA Recordkeeping Updates page for more info on the new regulations.

Deadline Approaching for GHS-compliant Safety Data SheetsGHS labels
We're less than 5 months away from the June 1 deadline when all safety data sheets (SDSs) and labels must comply with the new HazCom 2012 standards. This deadline requires companies that manufacture hazardous chemicals to provide GHS-compliant labels and SDSs to downstream users. Manufacturers may not ship products lacking GHS labeling from this point forward. Distributors are under the same obligation but have been granted an extra six months to allow for the depletion of existing inventory. This article from the January OH&S magazine has details.

Safety Podcasts from CCOHS Include Winter Driving Tips and Workplace Violence
This month's Health and Safety To Go! podcasts from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) address timely tips for winter driving and identifying and taking action against workplace violence. Browse the podcast library here.

New Ebola Resources from OSHA
OSHA biohazard signOSHA has developed two new fact sheets related to worker safety and the Ebola virus: PPE Selection Matrix for Occupational Exposure to Ebola - Guidance for common exposure scenarios; and: Safe Handling, Treatment, Transport and Disposal of Ebloa-Contaminated Waste. And speaking of OSHA, do you have the required Job Safety and Health - It's The Law poster? This mandatory poster is available in in English, Spanish, Chinese, Nepali, Korean, Polish and Portuguese. Learn more here.

Three Ways to Increase Warehouse Safety for the Future
With OSHA regulations becoming increasingly stringent, manufacturers need to make sure warehouse safety remains top-of-mind. A recent article by Scott Stone of material-handling company Cisco-Eagle takes a look at three areas organizations can consider to improve warehouse safety now and in the future:

  • OSHA forklift signIntelligent Devices for more efficient and productive industrial operations.
  • Automation offering increased safety for workers, such as forklift-free operations or vision-guided vehicles in the future.
  • Talent Investment. As skilled Baby Boomers retire over the next 20 years, companies can create a knowledge transfer process to effectively capture the safety knowledge of the retiring workforce and transfer it to younger workers.

February 16, 2015

Seven Elements of Successful Emergency Planning

severe weather, storm shelter, evacuationWhat will your workers do when a welder’s torch sets off a fire in a renovation project? How should workers at a construction site react when the sky takes on the greenish cast that suggests a tornado may be developing? What happens if a noxious chemical is released in an office building?

Anticipating and preparing for scenarios like these is the goal of an emergency action plan. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have penned an article to help you prepare for these situations - or others you might encounter. Although every worksite presents a unique set of hazards, the seven steps outlined in the article will give you a solid framework for your own plans, including:

  • Determine correct actions
  • Create rally points
  • Verify safe routes
  • Drill (or don't!)

Safety Tip: Beware Carbon Monoxide Dangers

carbon monoxide may be present
Bilingual carbon monoxide
safety sign
Every year hundreds of workers experience carbon monoxide poisoning, especially during the winter months with closed buildings and increased use of furnaces, space heaters and generators. Fuel-burning tools also add to the risk. But you can take steps to stop this silent killer. Start with these tips from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Know the Symptoms:

Some initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of the flu, without a fever. But they can quickly worsen as carbon monoxide interferes with oxygen supplies to the brain and heart. The most common symptoms of exposure are headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. Prolonged or high exposures may lead to convulsions, coma and death. Large amounts can overcome workers in just minutes with few or no warning signs. Another hazard of carbon monoxide: It is extremely flammable and easily can ignite in air.

Identify Common Carbon Monoxide Sources:

  • Carbon monoxide is produced when natural gas, coal and other carbon fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane or wood are not burned completely. Internal combustion engines are a common workplace source of carbon monoxide.  

February 13, 2015

Top OSHA Fines Pass $3.1 Million in January 2015

OSHA released details on 16 significant fines in January. Proposed fines total $3.1 million, compared to $3.3 million in December. The average significant fine in January was just less than $200,000. Common citations included fall protection and chemical hazard violations.

$511,000 and SVEP following a fatal fall by a Missouri steel worker

In July, a 22-year-old apprentice ironworker fell more than 30 feet to his death while standing on a 9-inch-wide steel girder at a Kansas city construction site. On the job for just a few weeks, the worker was not provided fall protection.

OSHA inspection found that the steel subcontractor violated its own safety manual and a signed contract with the site's general contractor regarding fall protection. In addition, the company allowed workers to climb scissor lift guardrails to access the steel frame and decking and allowed them to climb the rails of the aerial lift basket. A total of seven willful violations were cited.

February 11, 2015

New Engineering Controls Resource Takes Aim at Workplace Hazards

Do not operate machine without guards in place
Machine guards and their proper usage are a
key engineering control for
keeping workers safe from mechanical hazards.
Recently NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, created an online resource page focused on helping employers and employees in workplaces where hazardous conditions are present. By removing hazards or creating physical separation from them, engineering controls can prevent both occupational injury and disease. 

Visitors to this new page can read about a variety of engineering control topics in blogs, articles and other publications. Some might best begin by taking advantage of the chance to request a health hazard evaluation. A few of the other tools and resources available here are:
  • A hierarchy of engineering controls, including a gauge of their effectiveness
  • Hazard prevention through design
  • The technique of control banding (assessment and management of workplace risks)

February 9, 2015

Crane Power Line Safety Cards Available from NCCCO

Crane Safety Electrocution Hazard sign
The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has developed Power Line Safety cards to help crane operators understand and apply federal OSHA’s new guidelines for operating cranes around power lines. The cards, issued in conjunction with the Florida Crane Safety Alliance, also provide references for best practices based on both consensus standard ANSI B30.5 and OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC. 

Now in their second printing, the laminated cards fold to the size of a credit card for easy use. The cards feature a "compliance flowchart" with the latest OSHA requirements of 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC on one side. The flowchart takes operators through an extensive decision tree to determine exactly which precautions are necessary according to OSHA requirements. Table A from OSHA “Minimum Clearance Distances” rule is also included for easy reference. 

The other side covers items to check before starting to lift, including: