In Florida, Halloween Safety Focus Is On Drivers

“Keep the party off the road” is the message that the Florida Highway Patrol is giving to the public for they Halloween festivities this year. From Oct. 25 through Nov. 4, the Patrol joins thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies to launch the crackdown on impaired drivers.

“The Patrol continues to make driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement a priority,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “In an effort to get impaired drivers off the road, troopers will be vigilant throughout the state with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crack down.”

These are some of the tips recommended to stay safe this Halloween:

Plan a safe way to get home before the festivities begin.

Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get home safely.

Remember, friends don’t let friends drive drunk.

To view the news release, visit


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Halloween Safety

Halloween Jack o Lanterns

With Halloween right around the corner, it is important to always consider these basic principles to help keep your children and everyone else safe when trick-or-treating or out and about:

Halloween Jack o Lanterns

  • Young children should always go trick-or-treating with an adult.
  • If your child goes with friends plan their entire route and make sure you know what it is.
  • Make sure that all costumes are flame retardant and stay clear of lit jack-o-lanterns.
  • Always check your child’s candy before they eat it.
  • Provide your child with a cellular phone if possible.

In addition you should instruct your children on the following rules:

  • Be cautious of strangers.
  • Accept treats only in the doorway. Never go inside a house.
  • Visit only houses where the lights are on.
  • Walk, Do not run.
  • Cross the street at the corner or in a crosswalk.

For more information visit

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Bucket Truck Safety

Bucket Truck Image
Bucket trucks are complex and require specialized training to operate. In order to ensure your safety, and the safety of others working in the area, it is important that you know the risks you face.

By Trevor Reschny, CSP

Few pieces of equipment are as complex and create more dangers to the operator than a bucket truck. If you have bought one, or even rented one, you’ll know that the user guides and repair manuals are easy to locate. On the other hand there is no “training manual” for bucket truck operators.

Power tools, scaffolds and even ladders typically have free sources for self-study training, with much emphasis on safety. But for some reason nothing is available that addressed the safe usage of a bucket truck.

OSHA does provide a basic outline but it is short on specifics. In addition each work environment has its own issues regarding safe practices and fall protection but all require safety guidelines, training and periodic recertification.

Bucket Truck Image

Common Hazards

Strains and injuries caused by improper lifting and climbingInjuries common while using a bucket truck include:

  • Falls from as little as five feet, which can result in broken bones
  • Tip-overs and collapses, endanger personnel in the bucket and on the ground
  • Being struck by falling objects (mostly endangers workers on the ground)
  • Getting caught between equipment and fixed structures (especially fingers)
  • Being knocked out of a bucket when the truck is struck by another vehicle
  • Electrocution or physical injury due to electric shock

Damage and injuries occur when:

  • Inspections are not performed according to the manufacturers recommendations
  • The truck is not properly positioned and secured for use
  • The operator is not fully aware of objects around, above and below the bucket
  • Tools and parts are not secured in their proper place
  • The manufacturers limits are exceeded

Driving and Locating the Truck

  • A bucket truck is one of the most complex forms of aerial lift devices. Driving a bucket truck to the site and positioning it correctly requires special skill and knowledge. Even a small truck weighs over four tons and cannot stop on a dime. The first time you have to stop your truck suddenly you’ll realize why bucket trucks are notorious for rear-impact collisions.
  • A three ton lift places the center of gravity of the truck very high; observe tip-over signs on curves and exit ramps. Heavy trucks easily get stuck off-road, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Bucket trucks have poor rear visibility and should not be backed up unless you finds it absolutely necessary and have a spotter. You should also want to install a backup-alarm to warn anyone in the vicinity that a dangerous operation is being performed. Placing the truck in the ideal location takes knowledge of the boom length, manufacturer’s limits, and surface conditions.

Training Requirements

  • OSHA establishes mandatory requirements for training and certification by employers. OSHA defines training requirements in 29 CFR 1910.268.
  • The regulation says: Employers shall provide training in the various precautions and safe practices described in this section and shall ensure that employees do not engage in the activities to which this section applies until such employees have received proper training in the various precautions and safe practices required by this section.”
  • If you are not trained and qualified on a piece of equipment you should not use it. Using unqualified operators carries the risk of higher costs, lost time and increased liability.

A practical bucket truck safety course should:

  • Place emphasis on factors that may seem trivial but are not
  • Provide specific examples of dangers unique to the equipment
  • Supply you with handouts, checklists and references to use at your work

Fall Protection

  • While it is rare for an employee to fall out of a bucket, it is more common that one will bounce out when another vehicle hits the aerial lift truck.
  • OSHA regulations for fall protection are not clear when it comes to bucket trucks. Once you get more than six feet off the ground, personal fall protection is mandated by OSHA’s construction industry standard (1926.501).
  • The question is do we put someone in a body belt or a full body harness? As long as the person cannot fall farther than two feet, the belt is acceptable. If they could fall farther than two feet, a full body harness and lanyard are required. In a practical sense if you restrict the employees fall to two feet, then their lanyard cannot be more than two feet long. This would seriously restrict movement in the bucket, which is not always feasible. As a consequence, most people use a full body harnesses with a six-foot lanyards or a small self-retracting lanyard (SRL).
  • Oh yea…never belt off to an adjacent pole, structure or other equipment, except in an emergency.

Pre-Use Safety Check. Check the following each day before using a bucket truck:

  • Maintenance records that are up to date, or your knowledge of same
  • Wheels and tires. Check tire pressure
  • Fuel, engine oil levels and hydraulic fluid level
  • Hydraulic fluid, oil, fuel and cooling system leaks; listen for air leaks
  • Look for loose or missing parts, rust and deteriorating welds
  • Test ground level controls first, then all bucket controls before you go up
  • Safety devices such as railings, bucket door catches and redundant catches
  • Personal protection equipment: snaps that don’t stick; age of your hard hat
  • Any other items specified by the manufacturer

Check the Work Area

  • Never work on a slope that exceeds the limits specified by the manufacturer.
  • Check the area for soft spots, holes, drop-offs, bumps, and debris.
  • Check for overhead power lines, trees, building overhangs, etc.
  • Before moving the truck be sure that the boom is cradled and tied down and that all other equipment is secure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

You should wear the following personal protective equipment:

  • Hard hat
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves appropriate for the work being done
  • Personal Fall Arrest
  • Other equipment based on your tasks (i.e. Chain saw= Chaps, eye and face Protection)

Operating a Bucket Truck

  • Set outriggers, brakes, and use wheel chocks, even if you are working on a level slope. Automatic transmissions should be placed in park; manual transmissions in low gear.
  • If working near traffic, set up work zone warnings with cones, ropes and signs. (Refer to MOT requirements) (Link to
  • Close and latch the bucket or platform door and attach the safety chain.
  • Stand on the floor of the bucket or lift platform. Never climb on anything inside the bucket to extend your reach.
  • Do not climb on tool brackets in the bucket or lean over the railing.
  • Never exceed the manufacturer’s load capacity limit. This includes the combined weight of the worker(s), tools and material.
  • Establish and clearly mark a danger zone around the bucket truck.
  • Never move the truck with workers in the elevated platform unless the equipment has been specifically designed and certified for this type of operation.
  • Use particular care when positioning the basket between overhead hazards, such as joists or under an overhang. If the basket moves, the worker in the bucket could become crushed between the rails and the fixed structure.

Emergency Escape

  • If you have a fleet of bucket trucks you can extract a stranded worker by dispatching another truck when the manufacturer’s provided backup systems fail.
  • You should be concerned with escaping from a bucket when working alone and the lift fails. There are several methods used when stranded in the bucket:
  • Auxiliary Power or Backup Pump
  • Emergency Lowering Valve or Holding Valve Bleeding
  • Escape Ladder or a Controlled Decent Rope
  • Lower Controls (with and without an incapacitated worker)

One last thing…You Must Know

  • How to drive the truck safely on the highway
  • How to locate and prepare the truck for aerial lift use
  • How to inspect the equipment before using it
  • Hydraulic equipment function and hazards
  • Insulating factors of the truck, if any
  • How to put on personal fall arrest equipment (PFAS)
  • How to operate the boom from the bucket and from the ground
  • Clearance above, below and alongside the bucket while using it
  • Emergency procedures for equipment failure and accidents

Remember bucket trucks are complex and require specialized training to operate. In order to ensure your safety and the safety of others working around you, it is important that you know the risks you face.

For more information or to take our bucket truck operator course, visit

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Four Workers Are Found Dead After Garage Collapse in Florida

Four workers who were working on a five-story parking garage in Doral, Fla. were found dead after the building collapsed on Oct. 10. The fourth fatally injured worker was found on Oct. 16.

Media reports have stated – without certainty of whether it was the root of the accident or not – that a crane struck the garage a few days prior to the collapse.

The President and CEO of Ajax Building Corp. along with the project’s contractor have pledged to find the cause of the tragedy.

“When the investigative process commences, we want to work alongside OSHA’s investigators to secure the site and make it safe,” William Byrne, president of Ajax Building Corp. said in an Oct. 12 statement. He stressed that Ajax Building Corp. has 54 years of experience and maintains “core values based on quality, safety and family.”

To read the full story, visit EHS Today.

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OSHA-NIOSH Nail Gun Guide Now Available in Spanish

Nail Gun Image


A popular OSHA-NIOSH PDF document titled Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors is now also available in Spanish.

The document was originally created to help prevent work-related nail gun injuries that make up about 37,000 emergency room visits every year. The Spanish version will help increase awareness to a broader audience of the Spanish-speaking work force.

Important topics include unintended nail discharge, nails that bounce off a hard surface, and disabling the gun’s safety features.

To view the document in English, visit

To view the document in Spanish, visit


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OSHA’s Variances Page Is Enhanced

Are you familiar with OSHA’s variance approval process? If you are not, OSHA has recently updated their Variances page with two sections: Variance Program and Types of Variances.

According to OSHA, a variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under specified conditions. A variance does not provide an outright exemption from a standard, except in cases involving national defense as described in their page.

The different types of variances described in their page are:

1. Permanent

2. Temporary

3. Experimental

4. National Defense

5. Interim Order

6. Recordkeeping Variance

For more information or to view OSHA’s Variances page, visit

For safety consulting or OSHA training, call us at 407-353-8165 or email us at

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Incidents To Learn From – Eye Protection

eye protection image
Did you know?

eye protection image

Every day around 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces.

Not wearing eye protection, wearing the wrong type of protection, and removing machine guards are common problems in industry. On the bright side, the types of eye hazards we deal with are very easy to control.

How can eye injuries be prevented?

The solution is easy; don’t modify your equipment and always wear eye protection when using power tools and chemicals!

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Interactive Heat Fatalities Map & App by OSHA Help As Safety Reminder

Sun Image

Sun ImageWhile many parts of the country have felt the change of seasons already, Florida is not-surprisingly one that lags behind. For those of us in the sunshine state, working outside consists of high humidity and temperature levels until almost the end of the year.

If your job consists of outdoor work, however, it is very important to stay cool and hydrated at all times. As part of their Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, OSHA has now included a Heat Fatalities Map. The map shows examples of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. from 2009 to 2012. For each fatality, basic information about the type of workplace, work task, and work conditions is provided if available.

Another way to actively ensure heat-stress safety for you and all your employees, you can now download OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool App. This mobile app helps measure head index for your work site, displays risk levels, and provides protective measures for everyone at risk to follow.

To order any of OSHA’s materials that are part of this campaign, visit the website at, call OSHA’s Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page.

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Nail Salon Safety Supported by OSHA

Nail Salon

Nail SalonSecretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis promoted nail salon safety at OSHA Harwood grantee event on September 27 with Vietnamese nail salon workers and local community leaders in Falls Church, VA.

The OSHA Susan Harwood grantee Boat People SOS hosted the event. They are a national organization that provides assistance to workers for the Vietnamese-American community on workplace safety and workers’ rights.

For workers in the industry, there is a webpage by OSHA on nail salon safety with different resources including a guide called “Stay Healthy and Safe While Giving Manicures and Pedicures: A Guide for Nail Salon Workers” which is sectioned in three parts: chemicals, ergonomics, and biological hazards. You can view the document in both, English and Vietnamese.

For the English version, visit,

For the Vietnamese version, visit,

To order a free copy of the PDF File, call the Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page.

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Entering the Department of Labor’s Worker Safety and Health Challenge?

The Department of Labor has created a Workplace Safety and Health Challenge, a competition to develop tools that can help workers recognize and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. Everyone with some technology interest, including students, is encouraged to participate.

The deadline for submissions is November 30.

Successful entries could take many different forms:

  • Interactive and informative games, social or professional networking sites; or
  • Data visualization tools that teach young people about safety and health hazards.

All submissions can be designed for any of the following formats: internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.

There will be a panel of judges that will include Secretary Solis, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show “Myth Busters”.

The awards will be given in different categories:

  1. “Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award” of $15,000
  2. “Safety and Health Data Award” of $6,000
  3. “Workers’ Rights Award” of $6,000
  4. “People’s Choice Award” of $3,000 for the developer of the app that receives the most public votes on the website.

For more information on entering, watch a short video on YouTube, visit the challenge page, and read Dr. Michaels’ blog.

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