A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

June 29, 2015

4 Tips For Staying Safe When Working Outside

Construction workers
There are many benefits to working outside. Instead of being tied down to a desk job, you get to stay active throughout the day and breathe fresh air instead of the stale office air conditioning. But outdoor jobs also have inherent risks, like overheating, sun exposure, back issues and more. To stay as safe as possible when doing your outdoor job, consider the following four tips:

Protect your skin

To keep your skin safe from the damaging rays of the sun, wear sunscreen every day—even during the fall and winter. Choose a brand that has an SPF of 30 and is “broad-spectrum,” which means it will protect you against UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you start work and reapply it every two hours or so. Also, while you might be tempted to wear short-sleeved t-shirts and shorts during the summer, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and a wide-brimmed hat; this will further protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun.

June 25, 2015

Safety Tip: What to Know About Workplace Concussions

Hard hat area
In recent years, concussions in amateur and professional athletes have received significant media attention. But concussions can occur anywhere, including the workplace. The number of lost-time claims for work-related concussions has increased significantly in recent years, probably due to increased reporting and awareness of this injury. 

Yet there is a general lack of understanding about concussions and how they can be managed at the workplace. This information from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety can help you deal with and prevent concussions in the workplace - or anywhere.

What is a concussion?

trip hazardA concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt that causes the head and brain to move back and forth rapidly. It is possible to have a concussion due to whiplash, or rapid rotation, shaking or jerking of the head or even the body. On a worksite, falls, slips and trips, and vehicle collisions often produce injuries that can lead to concussions.

June 24, 2015

Avoid Common Safety Committee Pitfalls

safety committee
Once you've decided how to choose the right members for your safety committee and gotten them organized, you want to help ensure the committee's success. By understanding potential pitfalls and taking steps to prevent them, your safety committee can be highly effective with good prospects for success. 

The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have penned an article to help you navigate a variety of common challenges many safety committees face. Here's an overview:

Have a clear road map.  
Successful committees have clear missions, achievable visions – and well-thought-out meeting agendas. A common problem in any business is meetings that drag on forever and accomplish little in the process.

June 19, 2015

OSHA Issues 20 Fines for $3.8 Million in May

danger keep hands clear of machine
OSHA released details on 20 significant fines in May, 2015. Proposed fines total $3.8 million, compared to $2.8 million for just 17 cases in April. The top five fines contributed about half of the total. Common citations included machine guarding, LOTO, grain bin and fall hazards. Here are some details:

$822,000 and SVEP for repeat machine guard violations at a Pennsylvania manufacturer

Following a July 2014 amputation incident, OSHA issued 10 willful violations based on the company's repeated failure to guard machines and to provide annual audiometric tests.

June 12, 2015

How Safe is Your State? NSC Releases Top 10 List of Accidental Death Rates

We have proudly worked 365 days with zero accidents
As part of National Safety Month, the National Safety Council has released its annual list of states with the highest and lowest rates of injury-related deaths, which include poisonings, vehicle accidents and falls.

West Virginia has the highest rate for the third time in four years. The state’s rate of 77.2 deaths per 100,000 people is largely fueled by overdoses from opioid prescription painkillers. For the second straight year, Maryland has the lowest rate at 26.9, which is far below the national rate of 40.6.

“Someone dies every four minutes in the United States due to an unintentional injury,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The top states are the best-in-class at addressing these preventable deaths, but they've also created a blueprint so other states may address the issues that threaten longevity.”

Death Causes Vary by Age

Unintentional injury deaths have overtaken strokes as the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. The leading causes of accidental death by age groups are:
  • Age 5-24: Car crashes
  • Age 25-64: Poisoning (largely from opioid painkillers)
  • Age 65+: Falls

June 2, 2015

Vehicles Pose Potentially Fatal Danger at Construction Sites

Establishing specific construction traffic areas
helps minimize the chance of someone being hit.
Hazards to construction workers, and the liability of employers, often lurk just outside the areas where primary work activity is underway. “One in four struck-by-vehicle deaths involve construction workers, more than any other occupation.”* This startling fact calls for extra attention as we enter the summer months when construction activity is at its utmost.

A simple truck found in many people’s driveways and garages can present a deadly threat even when backing up at low speeds. That’s saying nothing of much larger vehicles like cement mixers, cranes, dump trucks and others commonly in transit around construction sites. Merely being struck isn’t the limit of the danger either. Workers could also be crushed due to an overturn, pinned between objects or hit by an apparatus attached to a vehicle.*