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

December 11, 2017

NIOSH Shares Advice for Holiday Driving - On and Off the Job

Along with celebrations, the holidays bring increased vehicle traffic. Workers who drive as part of their job may share the roads with fatigued or impaired travelers, and in dangerous weather conditions. Many workers are themselves holiday travelers, and some may be driving a company vehicle approved for personal use.
 
Every winter NIOSH shares ways that employers can keep their workers safe while working in cold weather conditions. Use the following tips for on- and off-the-job driving: 
  • Give workers information about: road construction/closures, bad road conditions, and other driving dangers.
  • Provide workers with a driver emergency kit checklist that includes: ice scraper, blanket, flashlight, batteries, flares, jumper cables, first aid kit, bottled water, and nonperishable snacks.
  • Set policies that allow drivers to consult with their supervisors to adjust driving hours if they have trouble seeing at night, and to stop driving if they are too tired or the weather is bad.
  • Set policies that prohibit operating a vehicle under the influence of substances that could affect the ability to drive safely.
  • Give workers general information about the possible effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications on their driving. Your company’s health and wellness program may be able to help you locate and distribute this information.
  • Remind workers: Buckle up: every trip, every person. It only takes a second.
    - Do not drive if you are fatigued. Stop and take breaks as needed.
    - Keep alert and aware of your surroundings. Other drivers may be impaired, fatigued, or rushing to reach their destinations.
    - Tell your supervisor when you expect to arrive at a destination, and contact your supervisor to confirm your arrival.
The bottom line: Don’t let safety take a holiday.

Workplace Driving Resources:

 

December 5, 2017

FMCSA Promises Electronic Log Device Guidance Before Dec. 18 Deadline

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says it will provide guidance intended to ease the transition to electronic logging devices before the Dec. 18 implementation date.

The guidance will include a 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities, formal guidance specifically addressing the existing Hours-of-Service exemption for the agricultural industry and guidance on the “personal conveyance” provision. FMCSA says it will also provide guidance on the existing 150 air miles hours-of-service exemption. The guidance is designed to allow transport companies to make the most of the exemption.

From July to November, FMCSA conducted a public education and outreach campaign about ELD implementation. The effort included driver presentations and panel discussions. The original final rule requiring ELDs was published in December, 2015.

FMCSA and its enforcement partners say they are prepared for the Dec. 18 implementation. The forthcoming announcement represents the agency’s desire to implement the ELD rule in a manner that improves safety without impeding commerce.

“FMCSA has listened to important feedback from many stakeholder groups, including agriculture, and will continue to take steps to ease the transition to the full implementation of the ELD rule,” said an FMCSA Deputy Administrator. Formal publication of the guidance is expected shortly, and will include a public comment process.

ELD Resources:

November 29, 2017

Workplace Safety News & Notes - November 2017

Here's a collection of workplace safety news from around the web this month:

OSHA Extends Electronic Reporting Deadline to December 15

To allow affected employers additional time to become familiar with the new electronic reporting system, OSHA has extended the date by which employers must electronically report injury and illness data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to December 15, 2017 - a 2-week extension. Unless an employer is under federal jurisdiction, the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically: California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Establishments in these states are not currently required to submit their summary data through the ITA. Similarly, state and local government establishments in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and New York are not currently required to submit their data through the ITA. Read OSHA's announcement.


Deadline Near for New Tennessee Firearms Signs

Tennessee updated its law governing signs to prohibit weapons at certain meetings in July, 2016. The law (39-17-1359 Prohibition at certain meeting - Posted notice - Handgun carry permit holder) specifies sign size, language, text size and image. Old signs must be replaced by January 1, 2018. ComplianceSigns offers a Tennessee Firearms sign or label that meets the new requirements.


NIOSH Advice on Retail Worker Safety and Health During the Holidays

This week NIOSH posted a refresher for retail employers and employees who are on the front lines of the holiday shopping frenzy. The short article addresses employee stress and fatigue that commonly occurs from working long hours and additional shifts, as well as crowd management and violence. Being prepared and having plans in place can help reduce anxiety and assure that employees feel safe, supported and confident. The article includes links to a variety of resources.


New OSHA Fall Protection Rules Now in Effect

Late last year OSHA published new standards for walking-working surfaces and fall protection in general industry workplaces. Much of the rule took effect in January, but OSHA gave employers additional time to comply with some provisions. Inspections and certifications of permanent anchorages used in rope descent systems were required by November 17, 2017. Read more here.

OSHA Resumes Regular Enforcement in Florida and Georgia

OSHA has resumed normal enforcement throughout parts of Florida and Georgia after temporarily suspending most programmed enforcement actions following Hurricane Irma. In the hurricane’s aftermath, OSHA provided compliance assistance and outreach to employers and workers involved in the cleanup and recovery operations in the two states.


Get Answers to Dust Mask Questions

A recent article in EHS Today answers common questions about proper fit, training and evaluations of disposable dust masks / respirators. It addresses voluntary- and required-use masks, when to replace respirators, dust mask selection and limitations, and required training. Read more here.


New OSHA Shipyard and Maritime Fact Sheets

OSHA has released four new fact sheets on protecting workers from common hazards found in the shipyard and maritime industries. The subjects covered are: pedestal crane safety; housekeeping safety; fire and rescue in shipyard employment; and safe baggage handling.
See these fact sheets and others.


Upcoming Safety Webinars Presented by OH&S

Dec. 7 - Reducing the Annual Cost of Hearing Conservation Programs
Dec. 13 - Practical Tips for Implementing New OSHA Fall Protection Regulations
Available On-Demand:
     - Executing a Confined Space Rescue
     - Effective Dust hazard Analysis
     - NFPA 70E Changes for 2018
     - Respiratory Protection Equipment selection, Use and Care
Learn more or sign up.

November 20, 2017

3 Cost-Effective Ways to Help Keep Your Employees Safe

Jacksonville, Florida, restaurant worker Dania Fadeley and her co-worker were recently robbed at gunpoint by two men while walking to their cars after work, reported a local news station. Fadeley’s cash, credit cards and phone were stolen. Surveillance cameras caught the robbery, and police are currently looking for the suspects. Fadeley feels a lack of lighting in the area is contributing to crime, and her employer has talked to the Jacksonville City Council about increasing police patrols in the area.

Fadeley is grateful that she only lost her valuables. Many victims aren’t as lucky, in fact, the Justice Department has much grimmer statistics. Here are three cost-effective steps you can take to keep your employees safe in the workplace.

Secure Your Parking Lot and Perimeter


Property protected by video surveillance
As Fadeley’s case illustrates, company parking lots are one of the biggest safety risks for workers. Securing your parking lot and building perimeter is your first line of defense.

Install ample lighting to deprive criminals of concealment opportunities and make employees feel safer, recommends insurance provider Thomas-Fenner-Woods. Make sure your lighting is adequate to cover all areas of your outdoor perimeter, including corners and building entrances. Keep landscaping features such as trees and shrubs maintained to prevent these from being used as hiding places.

Another step you can take to make your company parking lot safe is invest in a commercial security monitoring service. A hybrid system provides the benefits of technology with a professional guard at a much lower cost than an on-site guard. Guards are professionally trained to contact law enforcement for quick response around the clock, and video is recorded just in case it’s needed by law enforcement later.

Post security and video surveillance signs at lot entrances and around the perimeter to make criminals think twice before attempting anything unlawful in your parking lot. Security notice signs are a proven deterrent to criminal activity, and also provide peace-of-mind to employees and visitors. Mount them on posts, fences or parking garage walls as needed.

Provide Secure Storage for Employee Valuables


Secure Storage
Employee valuables such as smartphones, wallets, purses and jewelry can be a target for thieves and a source of anxiety for workers. Taking steps to protect valuable items can deter thieves and make employees feel more secure.

Encourage workers to leave valuable items at home or locked out of sight in their cars. Provide a secure, visible location to store valuables to help protect items that are brought into the workplace. Standard factory locks on desks and file cabinets are easy for thieves to break into due to standard keys and vulnerability to picking, cautions security firm Silva Consultants.

File cabinets used to secure low-value to medium-value items should be fortified with slide bars and high-security padlocks, while high-value items should be stored in burglary-rated files or safes.

Implement Safe Workplace Policies


zero tolerance for profanity threats violenceMake employees feel safe at work by implementing strong policies to protect against workplace harassment, bullying and violence. An effective policy should be documented in writing and communicated to all workers as part of your on-boarding procedure. Specify how workers should report concerns about workplace harassment, threats or other security issues, and include the option of reporting concerns anonymously to a supervisor. Your policy statement should also describe what steps your company will take to protect employees.

The Society for Human Resource Management provides an online sample workplace violence policy you can use as a template. Talk to your company’s legal team about the wording of your own policy.



November 16, 2017

OSHA Sets 2018 Compliance Date for Crane Operator Certification Requirements

OSHA has issued a final rule setting November 10, 2018, as the date for employers in the construction industries to comply with a requirement for crane operator certification. The final rule became effective November 9, 2017.

OSHA issued a final cranes and derricks rule in August 2010. After stakeholders expressed concerns regarding the rule’s certification requirements, OSHA published a separate final rule in September 2014, extending by three years the crane operator certification and competency requirements. This one-year extension provides additional time for OSHA to complete a rulemaking to address stakeholder concerns related to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.

OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) recommended delaying enforcement of the certification requirement and extending the employer assessment responsibilities for the same period.

Crane Safety Resources:

 

November 9, 2017

How to Protect Workers from 2017-18 Seasonal Flu

It's THAT time of year again! No, not just family dinners, seasonal decorations and gifts. It's flu season! The time of year when people head indoors and share germs and end up feeling miserable. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say there are many influenza viruses that constantly change. Fortunately, some basic precautions can help people avoid the flu and stop it's spread in the workplace. 

Here's important information from OSHA and the CDC on how to protect workers whose jobs involve contact with coworkers and the general public. This information provides a baseline for infection control during a seasonal flu outbreak, but it may not be enough to protect workers during a pandemic.(There are different specific recommendations for Healthcare workers.) 


Basic Flu Precautions for Most Workplaces


Encourage Workers to Get Vaccinated

Encourage workers to get the seasonal flu vaccine when it is available. Consider hosting a flu vaccination clinic in your workplace. Vaccination is the most effective means of preventing flu. Vaccines take time to become effective, so early vaccination is important. Don't wait until people are sick to hold a vaccination clinic.

Encourage Sick Workers to Stay Home

Encourage sick workers to stay home. The CDC recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100 F or lower), without the use of medication. Not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms could include a runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Develop flexible leave policies that encourage workers to stay home, without penalty, if they are sick. Discuss other human resource policies with staff, including administrative leave transfer between employees, pay policy for sick leave, childcare options, and what to do when ill during travel.

Develop a Policy for Workers and Clients Who Become Ill in the Workplace

Develop a policy on how to deal with workers and clients who may be ill with the flu and communicate it to your workers. Determine who will be responsible for assisting ill individuals in the workplace and make sure that at least one person can serve as the "go to" person if someone becomes sick in the workplace. Consider how to separate ill workers from others, or give them a surgical mask to wear until they can go home.

Promote Hand Hygiene and Cough Etiquette

Post handwashing signs that tell workers, visitors, and clients the steps for proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Workers, visitors, and clients should have easy access to supplies such as:
  • "No touch" wastebaskets for used tissues;
  • Soap and water;
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs;
  • Disposable towels;
  • Cleaning and sanitation materials.


Keep the Workplace Clean

Frequently clean all commonly touched work surfaces, work areas, and equipment (e.g., telephones, doorknobs, lunch areas, countertops, copiers, etc.). Use your standard cleaning agents and follow the label directions. No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended by CDC. Provide disinfectants and disposable towels for workers to use to clean their work spaces and surfaces and to keep work areas clean. 

Educate Workers About the Flu

Train workers about how flu can be transmitted in the workplace and what precautions they can use to prevent transmission. Provide information about the following:
  • Signs, symptoms, and complications of the flu
  • Policies and procedures for reporting flu symptoms, using sick leave, and returning to work
  • Vaccination
  • Any required work practices
The CDC has identified groups that have a higher risk for complications from seasonal flu (e.g., elderly, pregnant women, small children, persons with asthma, etc.). Inform workers that some people are at higher risk of complications from flu and suggest that they talk to their doctor about their own risk and what to do if they become ill.

Address Travel and Sickness While on Travel

Reconsider business travel to areas with high illness rates. The CDC recommends the following measures for workers who becomes ill while on travel:
  • Advise workers who become ill while traveling or on temporary assignment to notify their supervisors.
  • Workers who become ill while traveling and are at increased risk of flu complications and others concerned about their illness should promptly call a healthcare provider.
  • Advise workers to check themselves for fever and any other signs of flu-like illness before starting travel and to notify their supervisors and stay home if they feel ill.

Following these precautions can help protect your workers - and your business - from the flu this year.


Seasonal Flu Resources for the Workplace:



November 7, 2017

Staying Safe During Disaster Cleanup

Following a natural disaster, the difficult - and dangerous - work of cleanup, restoration and recovery begins. Beyond obvious hazards of debris piles and flood waters, there are a wide range of potentially dangerous materials and activities often associated with disaster recovery. Here are some tips from OSHA on staying safe:

Stay Out of Flood Waters

Even though it may be tempting to wade in flood waters, flooded areas may be deeper than they look, and water levels can rise unexpectedly. Flood waters can also contain dangerous debris that can cause cuts and puncture wounds. Water is sometimes also contaminated with chemicals and germs that can make people sick. Stay out of flood waters unless it is absolutely necessary to evacuate an area.

Avoid Electrical Hazards

Workers can expect to find standing water anywhere in a flood zone. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Never enter flooded areas or touch electrical equipment if the ground is wet. Assume any downed electrical lines are energized and don’t come within 10 feet of them. Repairing downed electrical lines is a task that should be left to trained utility workers.

Safely Remove Debris


November 3, 2017

Important NFPA 70E Changes for 2018

2018 edition of NFPA 70E
Like many other workplace safety items, electrical equipment and safety device technologies evolve and change almost constantly. That's why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) releases an updated version of its NFPA 70E: Standards for Electrical Safety in the Workplace every three years. And 2018 brings a new, updated version intended to help you comply with OSHA 1910 Subpart S and OSHA 1926 Subpart K. 


What's New in the 2018 NFPA 70E


The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E reflects the latest information about the effects of arc flash, arc blast and direct current (DC) hazards, and recent developments in electrical design and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The 2018 NFPA 70E emphasizes the need to use the hierarchy of risk controls, by moving it from an informational note into the text of the Standard. NFPA 70E now explicitly states that the first priority must be the elimination of the hazard.

October 31, 2017

3 Ways to Rework the Working Culture for Better Results

For over a decade American vacation habits have been on the decline. Taking proper time off from work has been a challenge for a vast number of American workers and their employers. Vacation time has been notoriously left unclaimed and when on vacation, many employees have an “always on” mentality, which means they’re working remotely, instead of truly embracing rest and relaxation.

In 2016 alone, 662 million vacation days were left on the table, according to research from Project Time Off. Employers, CEOs and managers all have a responsibility when it comes to empowering staff members to take time off. Project Time Off also found that more than a quarter of their survey respondents feared that taking a vacation or time off from work made them appear less dedicated to their job and duties. Business leaders can help rework the working vacation culture in America - and improve business results at the same time. Here are three ways to get started.

October 26, 2017

Workplace Safety News & Notes - October 2017

Here's a collection of workplace safety news from around the web:

OSHA Enforcing Crystalline Silica Standard in Construction

The 30-day enforcement phase-in of OSHA's respirable crystalline silica standard for construction is now over, so inspectors are free to issue citations for employers not in comnpliance with the new rule. OSHA has also published a silica compliance guide to help small businesses comply with the new requirements. Read more about the new silica rules.
 

Hallowen Safety Tips

Check out these tips from the CDC to help make Halloween and other fall festivities fun and safe for employees, trick-or-treaters and party guests. Get Halloween Safety Tips.
 

New No-Cost Respiratory Protection Program Training Available

NIOSH and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) recently released a new, no-cost Respiratory Protection Program Training. The program includes a respiratory protection course and accompanying resources for occupational health professionals who want to learn more about OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard and the role of the respiratory protection program administrator. Learn more at the AAOHN website.
 

Deadline for New OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces Rule is Nov. 17

October 19, 2017

Workplace Hearing Loss - What You Need To Know

Noise area may cause hearing loss use proper protection
Hazardous noise in the workplace affects some 22 million U.S. workers, and NIOSH reports that some 10 million workers incur permanent hearing loss annually. If workers must raise their voice to speak to someone an arm's length away, noise levels may be loud enough to damage hearing. October is Protect Your Hearing Month - a good time to review your hearing protection program and to remind workers that noise-induced hearing loss is preventable.

Work Related Hearing Loss is a Major Problem

Among workers exposed to occupational noise, 23 percent have reported difficulty hearing, 15 percent reported tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and nine percent suffered both conditions. That makes noise-related hearing loss the most common work-related injury in the U.S. Hearing loss disability costs businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers' compensation. Workers with hearing loss often have trouble localizing sounds or hearing warning signals and have an increased risk of accidents. Tinnitus can disrupt sleep and concentration, increasing fatigue, impacting alertness, degrading performance and potentially increasing risks for accidents on and off the job.

October 17, 2017

OSHA: Raised Pallet Work Platforms Can Be Deadly

Safety harness required
OSHA is warning employees and employers about the dangers of using a pallet raised by a forklift as a work platform. This potentially deadly combination is sometimes used to perform tasks such as reaching upper levels of shelves or storage racks. A new OSHA FatalFacts sheet details the death of a warehouse worker who died after falling seven feet from a raised pallet, and also gives advice to avoid such incidents in your own facility.

At this particular warehouse, it was common practice for workers to place one foot or both feet on a pallet and move inventory on the top shelf while a coworker lifted them to the top shelf using the forklift. The featured worker slipped on the pallet while moving inventory and fell. He died in a hospital a few days later.

October 12, 2017

Fatal Traffic Crashes Increased in 2016 - What Can Employers Do?

According to a recent DOT announcement, 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from calendar year 2015. The number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads in 2016 increased by 2.2 percent, and resulted in a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles travelled - a 2.6-percent increase from the previous year.

These numbers come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recently released fatal traffic crash data for calendar year 2016, collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Fatalities in crashes involving large tucks increased from 4,094 in 2015 to 4,317 in 2016. Of those deaths, just 17 percent were truck occupants. The remaining deaths were occupants of other vehicles (72 percent) or non-occupants (11 percent). 


October 10, 2017

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Crystalline Silica Standard in Construction

wear respirator in this area
OSHA Respirator Safety Sign
Enforcement of OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standard for construction went into effect on Sept. 23, but the agency announced a 30-day enforcement phase-in to help employers comply with the new standard. That gives employers about 2 more weeks of leeway on compliance. Compliance assistance will be offered to employers making good faith efforts to comply during the first 30 days, but citations may be considered for employers not making any efforts to comply.

The Respirable Crystalline Silica construction standard, 29 CFR § 1926.1153, establishes a new 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3, and a host of ancillary requirements. During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will carefully evaluate good faith efforts taken by employers in their attempts to meet the new construction silica standard. OSHA will render compliance assistance and outreach to assure that covered employers are fully and properly complying with its requirements. OSHA has also published a silica compliance guide to help small businesses comply with the new rule.

Silica Dangers


October 5, 2017

New No-Cost Respiratory Protection Program Training Available

NIOSH and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) recently released a new, no-cost Respiratory Protection Program Training. The program includes a respiratory protection course and accompanying resources for occupational health professionals who want to learn more about OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard and the role of the respiratory protection program administrator.

This training satisfies the annual Federal OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard's (1910.134 CFR) training requirements. You do NOT need to be an AAOHN member to participate in this free training or access the training resources.

Different programs are offered to meet needs of varied audiences, including:
  • Safety professionals in organizations required to follow OSHA's respiratory protection standard
  • Safety professionals in healthcare facilities
  • Primary or ancillary healthcare workers

Learn more at the AAOHN website.

October 3, 2017

How To Protect Workers from Solvent Safety Challenges

Highly flammable solvents in area
OSHA Solvent Safety Sign
Workplace hazards such as confined spaces, moving machinery, low clearances and hot surfaces pose significant threats to workers, and are typically marked with appropriate chemical safety signs and labels to draw attention to them. But there are other equally dangerous hazards that can easily go unnoticed until it's too late to take preventive action. These sneaky hazards are solvents - chemicals commonly used to clean up paints, greases and oils, or contained in liquids such as paint, pesticides and ink, to name a few.

Because solvents are so common at work and home, workers may not give them the safety attention they deserve. Yet solvent exposure can damage skin, eyes, internal organs and respiratory tissue - as well as cause fires and explosions. Clearly, workers need to be aware of

September 28, 2017

OSHA Fall Protection Training Requirements - What Are They?

Follow fall protection guidelines
OSHA just released it's preliminary list of top 10 most-cited safety violations of 2017. A newcomer on the list is Fall Protection – Training Requirements, which was cited 1,523 times by federal inspectors. But what exactly are the training requirements that employers are failing to meet? Here's an overview of Safety and Health Regulations for Construction, Fall Protection - Training Requirements (1926.503):

Training Program

The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.

September 27, 2017

OSHA Announces Top 10 Violations of 2017

fall protection trainedFall Protection Training has joined the preliminary list of OSHA's most-frequently-cited safety violations of 2017. The annual announcement came this week during the 2017 NSC Congress & Expo in Indianapolis.

OSHA’s Top 10 list has been quite consistent in recent years, with just the one change from the 2015, 2016 and new 2017 lists. Fall Protection - Training slid into the #9 position this year, bumping Electrical Wiring to #10 and pushing Electrical, General requirements off the list.

“If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline,” said Thomas Galassi, director of enforcement programs for OSHA. Galassi also urged employers to create a culture of safety at their companies.

Based on preliminary figures on Sept. 5, 2017, the Top 10 citations for fiscal year 2017 are:

September 25, 2017

September Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of current safety news from around the web:

NIOSH Offers Webinar on Aging Workforce Sept. 28

NIOSH is hosting a free webinar, Interventions and Promising Practices in the Aging Workplace, as part of the Productive Aging and Work webinar series and in observance of National Employ Older Workers Week. The webinar will provide an overview of interventions and promising practices for addressing the challenges and opportunities posed by an aging workforce. Date is September 28 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT. Continuing education credits are pending for this activity. Register here.

OSHA Proposes Extended Deadline for Crane Operator Certification

Certified crane operatorOSHA intends to extend the employer's responsibility to ensure crane operator competency and enforcement for crane operator certification to Nov. 10, 2018. OSHA issued a final rule in September 2014, extending the deadline by three years for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The final rule also extended by three years the employer's responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. Read more.

Alliance Formed to Protect Grain Handling Workers


September 20, 2017

NIOSH Studies 3-D Printer Emissions

Wear mask respiratory irritants in this area
Dust Mask Safety Sign
If your business uses 3-D printers, you'll be interested in a recent NIOSH study comparing emissions from 3-D and laser printers that found 3-D printers emit 14 chemicals that laser printers do not. Further, they found that 3-D printed items continued to emit chemicals after printing, raising questions about exposure in storage and other areas.

With the growing popularity of 3-D printers in the workplace, NIOSH wants to understand and address their potential effects on indoor air quality. A previous study by NIOSH and university researchers found that using the manufacturer-supplied cover on a 3-D printer decreased the amount of emissions containing ultrafine particles by two times, but the levels were still high.

For the current study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, researchers tested the most commonly used type of desktop 3-D printer, called the FDM, and two models of black and white laser printers. For the 3-D printers. They printed a hair comb using one of two types of plastic filaments, taking about 14 minutes to complete.

September 19, 2017

How to Comply with OSHA's Updated Walking-Working Surfaces Rule

Next Deadline is Near: November 17
Fall Protection Required


Late last year, OSHA published new standards for walking-working surfaces and fall protection in general industry workplaces. Much of the rule took effect on January 17, 2017, but OSHA gave employers additional time to comply with many of the provisions. For example:
  • Inspections and certifications of permanent anchorages used in rope descent systems must be completed by November 17, 2017.
  • New fall arrest or safety systems on fixed ladders longer than 24 feet aren't required until November 17, 2018.

September 14, 2017

OSHA Offers Worker Safety Resources for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup and Recovery

Emergencies like recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma can create a variety of hazards for workers in the impacted areas. The OSHA website has a variety of resources to help employers keep their workers safe when hurricanes and floods strike  - and during cleanup and recovery operations.

OSHA recently updated the Worker Safety and Health Resources for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup and Recovery page to provide information for employers and workers across industries, and for workers responding to emergencies.

Topics include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Floods
  • General response and recovery
  • PPE
  • Heat

September 12, 2017

NIOSH Releases New Software to Monitor Emergency Responder Health and Safety

severe weather shelter
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just announced the new ERHMS Info Manager™, a free software tool that tracks and monitors emergency response and recovery worker activities before, during and after their deployment to incidents such as natural disasters or other public health emergencies. 

ERHMS Info Manager software is designed to help emergency responder organizations implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework. The free software can be used by anyone involved in the deployment and protection of emergency responders, including: incident command staff, response organization leadership, health, safety and medical personnel and emergency responders.

Identify Exposures to Reduce Risks

NIOSH says significant gaps and deficiencies continue to exist in health monitoring and surveillance of emergency response workers, including police, fire, emergency medical personnel, cleanup, repair, restoration and recovery workers. The organization believes its new software can help.

September 6, 2017

ComplianceSigns Marks 8th Time on Inc. 5000 List

For the eighth consecutive year, ComplianceSigns, Inc. has been designated one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., as ranked by Inc. magazine, and has been honored as a Hall of Fame company.

With eight appearances on the list, ComplianceSigns has received the distinction of being named to the Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame, a milestone less than 10 percent of Inc. 5000 honorees ever achieve. We achieved revenue growth of 54 percent over the past three years to earn a spot on the annual list. We rank as the seventh fastest-growing manufacturer in Illinois and 114th in the entire country. 


We are among just three Illinois manufacturers who have made the Inc. list five times or more. Manufacturers comprise less than 3 percent of the entire 2017 list, and just 32 U.S. manufacturers have made the list five times or more.

Our overall rank is 4,536. ComplianceSigns was named to the Inc. Honor Roll in 2014 after appearing on the list five times. Read our Inc 5000 Award details, or view our Inc. profile page.

August 28, 2017

Boat Safety Tips for Work or Play

Whether you use boats for work or recreation, these boat safety tips from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will help you avoid trouble on the water and get home safely.

Operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness and speeding are the four leading causes of tragic watercraft crashes. The leading cause of death is drowning. Crash statistics indicate boaters who wear life jackets and take boater safety courses are most likely to stay safe on the water. Follow these basic safety tips to safely enjoy boating for work or pleasure.

No alcohol beyond this pointLeave Alcohol Onshore

  • Never use drugs or alcohol before or during boat operation. 
  • Alcohol's effects are greatly exaggerated by exposure to sun, glare, wind, noise and vibration.  
  • Watch a Boating Under the Influence video.


Use and Maintain the Right Safety Equipment

Life jacket required
Have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard and one approved throwable device for any boat 16 feet and longer. The DNR recommends that everyone wear their lifejackets while on the water.
  • Have a fire extinguisher.
  • Have operable boat lights - Always test boat lights before the boat leaves the dock and carry extra batteries. 
  • Take emergency supplies - Keep on board in a floating pouch: cell phone, maps, flares and first aid kit.
Learn about some key equipment to keep you safe in this boating safety equipment video.

August 25, 2017

Workplace Safety News & Notes - August 2017

Here's a collection of safety news from around the web:

ISO Adopts New Arc Flash Symbol

arc flash triangle label
There was no single standardized graphic for an arc flash explosion hazard until ISO adopted a symbol meaning “To warn of an arc flash.” The new arc flash symbol has been registered in ISO 7010 Graphical symbols – Safety colors and safety signs – Registered safety signs. The symbol went through a three year registration process prior to its adoption into ISO 7010. ComplianceSigns.com has arc flash safety signs and labels with the new symbol.

September MSHA Initiative Focuses on Less-Experienced Miners


MSHA data show that less-experienced miners, both at a mine and at a specific occupation, suffer injuries at a higher rate than more experienced miners. To address this trend, the agency has launched a training assistance initiative to focus on younger workers. Staff from the agency’s division of Coal Mine Safety and Health and training specialists from Educational Field and Small Mine Services will visit coal mines through September 30 to focus on training of inexperienced miners. Learn more.

New Drive Safely Work Week Campaign on Distracted Driving Released
no dialing no texting no talking while driving


Drive Safely Work Week™ (DSWW) has been an annual campaign sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) for many years. Instead of a single campaign, DSWW is now delivered more frequently, with a tighter focus on specific behaviors. The current module targets distracted driving. A new campaign in October will feature impaired driving. All materials are available at no cost. See more on DSWW campaigns.

The Risks of Prolonged Sitting - or Standing - at Work


August 22, 2017

Learn How to Protect Your Business from Disaster

Emergency Response Plan
How quickly a business can get return to operation after a tornado, fire, flood or civil emergency often depends on emergency planning done well beforehand. Natural disasters can - and do - occur at any time, but up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a disaster never re-open. Your organization is more likely to survive if it plans carefully, puts emergency procedures in place and practices for all kinds of emergencies. These are the messages being shared during the 2017 National Preparedness Month in September.

Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can.


National Preparedness Month is designed to raise awareness and encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, workplace, organizations, businesses and places of worship. The month is sponsored by the Ready Campaign, a joint effort of FEMA and the Ad Council. Ready, and its Spanish-language version Listo, ask individuals and businesses to take four key actions:

  1. Stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses
  2. Make an emergency plan
  3. Build an emergency supply kit
  4. Get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies

August 21, 2017

NIOSH Launches Mobile Lifting Calculator App

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a new, free mobile application (app) that can help workers stay safe when manually lifting objects as part of their job. The app, NLE Calc, is based on the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation (RNLE), an internationally recognized standard for safe lifting.

The new app can assist workers in manufacturing, healthcare, retail and other industries where lifting is part of the job. NLE Calc determines a score based on the data you enter about your lifting task and provides recommendations to help you optimize the task, or perform it differently, in order to prevent injury.

Features of the new app:
  • Calculates the composite lifting index (CLI) for multiple lifting tasks
  • Uses equations approved by NIOSH ergonomists
  • Promotes better musculoskeletal health and prevention benefits
  • Raises workers’ awareness about their job tasks
  • Helps workers make informed decisions about the potential hazards to their musculoskeletal health
  • Serves as job design guidelines for manual lifting tasks
  • Can be used as a research tool to collect manual lifting data

August 15, 2017

5 Online Resources That Create a Safer Work Environment

Not that long ago, if company owners or foremen wanted to get information about workplace safety, they had to either purchase and peruse through heavy books filled with rules and regulations or schedule an appointment with a safety inspector. Now, thanks to the internet, construction site managers and others who are concerned about this important issue can access pertinent information from their desktop, smartphone or laptop.

Of course, the ComplianceSigns CONNECTION workplace safety blog is a good source for information that can make your workplace a little safer - and your job a little easier. We compile, curate and share information from a wide range of sources to save you the time of visiting dozens of sites. Here are four additional online resources that anyone who is interested in workplace safety may want to bookmark:

August 14, 2017

Study Shows Workplace Deaths Rising Among Older Workers

This department has worked __ days without a lost time accident
A study conducted by the Associated Press shows older people are dying on the job at a higher rate than workers overall, even as the overall rate of workplace fatalities decreases. In 2015, about 35 percent of fatal workplace accidents involved a worker age 55 or older.

This is not exactly a new trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported fatal work injury rates for workers 55 years and older were higher than the overall U.S. rate in 2010, and the rate for workers 65 years of age and older was more than three times the rate for all workers. Between 2006 and 2015 the rate of fatal accidents among older workers was 50 to 65 percent higher than for all workers.

The percentage of older employees in the workplace has increased some 37 percent in recent years, and experts on aging caution against stereotyping older workers, because people of all ages have a wide range of physical and mental abilities. There are steps employers can take to help improve safety for older workers, but recent research also shows younger workers benefit from increased safety efforts, as well. So perhaps the best approach is an increased focus on occupational safety for all workers, which can include prominent machine safety signs and other safety reminders.


August 3, 2017

National Safety Council: 97 Percent of Workers Report Fatigue Factors

Stay Alert Safety Banner
According to a new National Safety Council survey-based report, 43 percent of Americans say they do not get enough sleep and are at risk of fatigue that can reduce their ability to think clearly, make informed decisions and be productive on the job and at home.

Fatigue in the Workplace: Causes & Consequences of Employee Fatigue shows that 97 percent of Americans say they have at least one of the leading nine risk factors for fatigue, which include working at night or in the early morning, working long shifts without regular breaks, working more than 50 hours each week and enduring long commutes. More than three of four Americans say they feel tired at work, 53 percent feel less productive and 44 percent have trouble focusing. Fatigued employees are more likely to make critical safety errors that could lead to injury.

July 31, 2017

New OSHA Guide Helps Small Businesses with Silica Rule for General Industry and Maritime

Small Entity Compliance Guide
OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. Employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica are at increased risk of developing serious adverse health effects including silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

The guide describes the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in general industry and maritime from the hazards associated with silica exposure. Employer requirements include:

  • Assessing worker exposures
  • Using engineering and work practice controls to keep exposures below a specified safety threshold
  • Offering medical exams to certain highly exposed workers

July 26, 2017

2,000 New Signs and Labels at ComplianceSigns.com : Roll Labels and More

Hazmat, GHS and hard hat stickers on rolls
Last month we added some 2,000 new signs and labels to our online store, including:

These signs are proudly made in the USA and available in 6 sizes and 4 materials: aluminum, plastic, vinyl label or magnetic backing. All are backed by our Compliance Guarantee and Lowest Price Promise. See our most recent sign additions here.

July 25, 2017

New OSHA Fact Sheet on Confined Spaces in Residential Construction

permit required confined space do not enter
OSHA recently released a new fact sheet to help builders and remodelers understand provisions of the OSHA standard for Confined Spaces in Construction (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA) regarding spaces such as attics, basements and crawl spaces.

The standard applies to any space that meets the following three criteria:
  1. Is large enough for a worker to enter
  2. Has limited or restricted means of entry or exit
  3. Is not designed for continuous occupancy
A confined space that contains certain hazardous conditions may be considered a permit-required confined space under the standard.

According to the fact sheet, the vast majority of the standard’s requirements only apply to permit-required confined spaces. Attics, basements, and crawl spaces in a residential home will not typically trigger these requirements.

July 19, 2017

OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting Set to Go Live August 1

We have worked 365 days without a lost time accident
Federal OSHA says it will launch its long-delayed electronic Injury Tracking Application (ITA) on August 1. The web-based reporting form will allow employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. We'll see what happens.

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to Dec. 1, 2017, to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.

The data submission process will involve four steps:
  1. Creating an establishment
  2. Adding 300A summary data
  3. Submitting data to OSHA
  4. Reviewing the confirmation email.

Lockout / Tagout Inspections - What You Need To Know

Lockout power before removing guards
If your operation has lockout / tagout (LOTO) procedures in place, or if any LOTO is ever used, OSHA requires inspections of your procedure at least once every 12 months. But the OSHA compliance directive for control of hazardous energy is a whopping 136 pages of OSHA-speak.

Fortunately, the safety training pros at weeklysafety have penned an article that explains what kinds of inspections are necessary and outlines best practices for LOTO inspections. Here are some key points form the article.
  • LOTO inspection is are intended to ensure that the LOTO procedures in place are adequate. If they are not, corrections must be made.
  • The inspector cannot be the same person using the LOTO procedure during the inspection, so there must be at least two competent, authorized persons present during any LOTO inspection - one inspector and one worker following the LOTO procedure.
DANGER do not open
LOTO inspections should determine if:
  • Steps of the current LOTO procedure are being followed
  • Employees involved know their responsibilities as they pertain to the procedure
  • Current procedure is adequate to provide necessary protection, or what changes are needed if the procedure is not adequate
Don't limit LOTO training to specific machine operators or maintenance workers. All employees must know what LOTO means and what they should do if they encounter LOTO devices or signs while on the job.

Resources: