Nailing Down Gun Safety

Nail guns are used every day on many construction jobs.  They boost productivity but also cause tens of thousands of serious injuries each year.  Nail gun injuries are common—one study found that 2 out of 5 residential carpenter apprentices experienced a nail gun injury over a four-year period.  Injuries from use of nail guns hospitalize more construction workers than any other tool-related injury.  Research has also found that the risk of a nail gun injury is twice as high when using a multi-shot contact trigger as opposed to using a single-shot sequential trigger nail gun.  Furthermore, studies have shown that training in the proper use of the nail gun being used is essential in reducing the likelihood of injury.  Since training is usually not required for operating a nail gun, it may be a challenge to find.  You can contact your local community college or hardware retailer about training they may provide.  Training by an experienced user can also be helpful.  At the very least, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the precautions listed below.

Safety Tips for Nail Gun Operation:

  • Use only a nail gun with a sequential trigger mechanism.  NOTE:  Appearance alone won’t tell you if the gun you are using is equipped with a contact or sequential trigger.  Both triggers look the same, but operate differently.  With sequential nail guns, the tool will fire only one nail when pulling the trigger.  With a gun equipped with a contact trigger, if you keep the trigger pulled while pushing the gun against a surface, the gun will continue to fire.  Using a sequential nail gun will reduce incidence of injuries without affecting speed of operation.
  • Never aim or fire the gun towards you or anyone near you.
  • Do not press the trigger unless the nose of the gun—the contact element—is pressed firmly against the work material.
  • Don’t ever hold your finger near the trigger when carrying the nail gun, even though the trigger is the tool’s center of gravity.
  • Clear jams, load/unload and adjust the nail gun only when it is disconnected from the air supply.
  • Avoid nailing into knows or metal since nails are more likely to ricochet.  Dense materials such as laminated beams are also difficult to nail.
  • Don’t remove or bypass safety devices, triggers or contact springs.
  • If a nail gun is not working correctly, tag it and take it out of service.  Defective tools are dangerous.
  • When operating a nail gun, keep as much distance as you can between your free hand and the nail gun.
  • When climbing or descending a ladder, put some distance between you and the nail gun.  Point the nose of the tool away from you and others and don’t drop it by the air hose.
  • When attaching the nail gun to the air supply, pull the collar back on the air hose while pointing the front of the nail gun away from you and others.  Push down, then release the collar.  Wear your personal protective equipment not just when operating the nail gun but when attaching the gun to the compressor.  Place the gun in front of you on a work surface or the ground to give you more leverage.

Remember, injuries resulting from nail gun use hospitalize more construction workers than any other tool.  Be safe and don’t get nailed!

If you would like more information on nail gun safety, contact Trevor Reschny at 800-788-7036 or email him at

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Slip, Trip, and Fall Safety

Slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents.  They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.

How do falls happen?

Statistics show that the majority (66%) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 34% are falls from a height. This article will focus on “falls on the same level” (slips and trips).


Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips are:

  • wet or oily surfaces
  • occasional spills
  • weather hazards
  • loose, unanchored rugs or mats
  • flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have same degree of traction in all areas


Trips happen when your foot collides (strikes, hits) an object causing you to lose the balance and, eventually fall. Common causes of tripping are:

  • obstructed view
  • poor lighting
  • clutter in your way
  • wrinkled carpeting
  • uncovered cables
  • bottom drawers not being closed
  • uneven (steps, thresholds) walking surfaces

How to prevent falls due to slips and trips?

Both slips and trips result from some a kind of unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground or walking surface. This shows that good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces (flooring), selection of proper footwear, and appropriate pace of walking are critical for preventing fall accidents.


Good housekeeping is the first and the most important (fundamental) level of preventing falls due to slips and trips. It includes:

  • cleaning all spills immediately
  • marking spills and wet areas
  • mopping or sweeping debris from floors
  • removing obstacles from walkways and always keeping them free of clutter
  • securing (tacking, taping, etc.) mats, rugs and carpets that do not lay flat
  • always closing file cabinet or storage drawers
  • covering cables that cross walkways
  • keeping working areas and walkways well lit
  • replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches

Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or training on techniques of walking and safe falling will never be fully effective.


Changing or modifying walking surfaces is the next level of preventing slip and trips. Recoating or replacing floors, installing mats, pressure-sensitive abrasive strips or abrasive-filled paint-on coating and metal or synthetic decking can further improve safety and reduce risk of falling. However, it is critical to remember that high-tech flooring requires good housekeeping as much as any other flooring. In addition, resilient, non-slippery flooring prevents or reduces foot fatigue and contributes to slip prevention measures.


In workplaces where floors may be oily or wet or where workers spend considerable time outdoors, prevention of fall accidents should focus on selecting proper footwear. Since there is no footwear with anti-slip properties for every condition, consultation with manufacturers’ is highly recommended. Properly fitting footwear increases comfort and prevents fatigue which, in turn, improves safety for the employee.

What can you do to avoid falling at work?

You can reduce the risk of slipping on wet flooring by:

  • taking your time and paying attention to where you are going
  • adjusting your stride to a pace that is suitable for the walking surface and the tasks you are doing
  • walking with the feet pointed slightly outward
  • making wide turns at corners

You can reduce the risk of tripping by:

  • keeping walking areas clear from clutter or obstructions
  • keeping flooring in good condition
  • always using installed light sources that provide sufficient light for your tasks
  • using a flashlight if you enter a dark room where there is no light
  • ensuring that things you are carrying or pushing do not prevent you from seeing any obstructions, spills, etc.

If you would like more information on slip, trip and fall safety, contact Trevor Reschny at 800-788-7036 or email him at

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How To Determine If You Are A HazMat Employee

According to DOT, a HazMat employee is defined as a person who is, “employed on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis by a HazMat employer and who in the course of such full-time, part-time, or temporary basis directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety.”  More so, this includes a person or employer that uses one employee on temporary, part-time, or full-time basis and practices one or more of the following:

  • Loading, unloading, or handling hazardous materials
  • Tests, repairs, modifies, marks a package or a packaging component that is marked, represented, or sold as for use in transporting hazardous materials
  • Prepares and organizes hazmat for transportation
  • Responsible for safety of transporting hazardous materials
  • Operation of vehicle that is utilized to transport hazmat

To summarize, if you are involved or responsible for the packaging, handling, or even simply completing paperwork for the transportation of hazardous materials, then you are considered a HazMat employee.

Training and the Hazmat Law

The Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. § 5101 et seq.) is the basic statute regulating the transportation of hazardous materials (hazmat) in the United States. This law requires the training of ALL hazmat employees. The purpose is to increase a hazmat employee’s safety awareness and be an essential element in reducing hazmat incidents.

Each Hazmat Employer Must:

  • Train and Test
  • Certify
  • Develop and retain records of current training (inclusive of preceding three years) for each hazmat employee (during the period of employment and 90 days thereafter)

Training Must Include:

  • General awareness/familiarization
  • Function-specific, training
  • Safety
  • Security awareness
  • In-depth security training, if a security plan is required
  • Driver training (for each hazmat employee who will operate a motor vehicle)

Initial Training

  • A new employee, or an employee who changes job functions, may perform hazmat job functions before completing training, provided the employee does so under the direct supervision of a properly trained and knowledgeable hazmat employee; and the hazmat training is completed within 90 days of employment or change in job function.

Recurrent Training

  • Is required at least once every three years. The three year period begins on the actual date of training.

Training Records Must Include

  • Hazmat employee’s name
  • Completion date of most recent training
  • Training Materials (Copy, description, or location)
  • Name and address of hazmat trainer
  • Certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested

Safety Links offers several DOT courses such as DOT Hazardous Materials and DOT HazMat 101. For more information regarding these courses click the links above or call us at 800-768-7036.

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Now Offering: Utility Worker Traffic Control course

We are happy to announce that we are now offering a Utility Worker Traffic Control course. This course was designed for utility companies that opt out from taking the the MOT Intermediate and/or MOT Advanced courses as well as to replace the FDOT MOT Restricted Activities course that was discounted on July 15, 2014. After completion of this 8 hour course, students will receive a Safety Links certificate and a “basic” flagger certification from the FDOT MOT Administrator. 

If you would like more information regarding this course, click here, or contact Fran at 407-705-3899.

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Skid Steer Loader Safety

Spring is here…swimming pool installers and landscaping companies are getting busy as home owners want to beautify their property. One piece of equipment regularly used for these projects is a skid steer loader…a “jack-of-all-trades”. With the many attachment options, these units can be found doing many tasks. From earthmoving to landscaping, skid steers help operators get the job done!

Skid steer loaders are manufactured with safety features to prevent unexpected or inadvertent movement of the loader arm and hydraulics when the operator is not in the cab. Operators should read the owner’s manual and demonstrate that they understand the safe work practices when operating the skid steer loader. Operators should be provided with at least an annual refresher safety training, and always document training just in case OSHA pays you a visit.

Common safety features of a skid steer loader include the seatbelt to prevent the operator from being thrown about inside or falling out of the skid steer loader.  Other features include Falling Object Protective Structure (FOPS), Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS), and a Control Interlock System. The FOPS and ROPS protect the operator from falling objects and injury due to accidental rollovers. Control Interlock Systems and/or operator seats used on some machines typically activate a safety interlock system that is intended to prevent inadvertent movement of the machine’s controls when the operator is not seated.

When safe work practices are not followed, mishaps are bound to occur. The most common types of incidents from skid steer usage include:

  • Running over bystanders, including children or the operator

  • Entrapment or crushing, which can happen when the operator or helper is caught between an attachment and the frame of the skid steer

  • Entrapment of the operator when a load rolls or drops onto him or her while he or she is in the operator station

  • Rollover when the skid steer is operated on a steep slope or uneven terrain

  • Tipping due to a heavy load or attachment in the front

  • Falls while improperly mounting or dismounting the skid steer

  • Injection injuries caused when pressurized hydraulic fluid is injected into a person’s body

  • Crushing/pinching injuries to hands and fingers due to improper hooking/unhooking of an attachment

While OSHA does not have a standard requiring employers to use control interlock systems or seatbelts on skid steer loaders, it is important for employers to understand that under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act (section 5(a)(1)), employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards that would likely cause death or serious physical harm.

For example, performing maintenance or repair operations while a skid steer loader is energized creates the recognized hazard of crushed-by and/or caught in-between. OSHA may cite an employer for a violation under the General Duty Clause if the employer does not take feasible, effective measures to abate such hazard.

The following practices will minimize hazardous situations associated with operating and maintaining skid steer loaders:

  • Read and understand the operator’s manual before using the piece of equipment.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance recommendations and specifications.

  • Lower the bucket or attachment so that it is flat on the ground.

  • Do not leave the operator’s seat while the engine is on.

  • Never attempt to activate the controls unless properly seated with the seatbelt fastened and the seat bar (if equipped) lowered. Keep all body parts inside the cab while operating a skid steer loader.

  • Never modify, bypass, disable, or override safety systems, and never operate equipment in which safety systems have been modified or are not working properly.

  • Equipment with modified or malfunctioning safety systems should be taken out of service until repaired or replaced.

  • Do not permit riders on the skid steer loader, in the bucket or attachment, or in the operator’s compartment unless the compartment is designed to accommodate a second rider.

  • Keep bystanders at a safe distance from the work area.

  • Establish a routine maintenance and inspection program in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Inspect the skid steer loader to ensure that all safety systems are functioning properly prior to operating the equipment.

  • Do not attempt maintenance or other work while lift arms or attachments are raised without using an approved lift arm support device. Replace protective guards and shields after repairs or service.

  • Operators must be trained on the proper inspection, use, maintenance, and repair of skid steer loaders according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Supervisory personnel must be trained to identify hazards, such as safety systems that have been bypassed, disabled, or that require maintenance.

Safety Links offers an interactive course to provide participants with a general understanding of the safe and efficient operation of a skid steer. After the course, participants will be able to identify specific health and safety hazards associated with operating a skid steer.

For more information on this and many other courses, contact Fran Soto at 800-768-7036 or

Article written with the assistance of:;;

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Student Paper: Compare and Contrast Traditional Safety Techniques

As a professor at Seminole State College I like to feature students work periodically. Amerys, one of my students in the Bachelors of Construction Management program, wrote a paper worthy of sharing.

The assignment was to compare and contrast the “traditional safety techniques” still used in many organizations (i.e. enforcement, rules, manuals, etc…) with the “modern safety management methods” used by world class safety performers (i.e. Metrics, Accountability, Score Cards, etc…). Then the students were to explain how measuring safety performance has changed since we started using “modern safety management methods”.

Here is her response:





A group of old safety techniques that are not systematically applied or implemented at all and do not reach all the components of a safety system.

Address hazards in the worksite, reach the management system and assess human behavior, through a new and effective approach.

Don’t have scientific, behavioral or practical foundations, and are solely based on habits or traditions. They don’t evolve, and the system is usually accepted as it is.

Are based on education, assessment, observation, prevention and control, and outline responsibilities and support positive reinforcement.

Employ tricks and give rewards for following important regulations.

Plan, organize, and set goals, control and guide safety rules as a business function.

Usually get unwanted results like unreported injuries. Safety is considered separate from other worksite functions and in some cases is even viewed as a source of punishment or as the sole responsibility of a determined person.

Create a positive environment because they involve everybody in the worksite in the safety process and minimize dangerous work environment and risks.

Create distrust between workers and the management because the former are blame for breaking rules.

Create trust. The employees are expected to know and take the necessary precautionary measures to create and keep a safe workplace and they contribute to solving problems.



None of the aforesaid methods can eliminate the risk of injuries completely.

Both are supposed to achieve safety in the workplace and a positive safety culture.

If either one of these methods is not working, it means that there are problems in the management system and/or in the participation of the work force.

Both methods should imply actively identifying and controlling workplace hazards (including those generated by behavior), staff involvement and feedback, and regular supervisions, but the approaches are very different, so the results from them are vary from each other.

Measuring safety performance is not just complying with specifications anymore. Keeping records of injuries (measuring of failures) and historical records are not reliable indicators any longer because whether a particular event results in an injury is often a matter of chance, so it will not necessarily reflect whether or not a hazard is under control. Good safety performance statistics could be the result of few employees being exposed to the hazard or events not reported.

It is more productive to recognize were action is required and with what level of immediacy, provide solutions, and get feedback. At the time of measuring, the important things are those that impact health and safety (no just collecting excessive data), and the design of the process to measure the performance must include a representation of employees to stimulate ideas and team work.

Every worksite have unique characteristics, even in the same industry, thus the performance strategy must applied accordingly. In a hypothetical construction worksite, leading activity indicators to measure safety would be:

  • To check if the construction planning and cost control is effective, because usually when one construction activity gets behind schedule or exceeds the budget is when safety starts to get compromised in order to get on track again. Planning and knowing which activities will be going on simultaneously or in which order activities will occur would prevent accidents and rule breaking.

  • Management labor and direction, including leadership, clear communication, integrity and most importantly motivational skills.

  • Effectivity and frequency of supervisions and applications of long term solutions.

  • Objectivity in correcting and eliminating hazards and dangerous conditions.

  • Fulfillment of First Aid Requirements and emergency procedures trainings.

  • Observation of labor force and its risky behavior at all times and circumstances.

  • Safety education at all levels.

Results measures, although not preemptive, can give some general ideas about a company’s risks and its safety performance projection into the future. Some of them are:

  • Evaluations of results in periodic form and over time.

  • Ratio of accidents and incidents reported, in function of hours worked, and how they were followed up.

  • Reduction or increment in medical treatments, lost-time injury or sick days.

Student Bio: Amerys has a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from ISPJAE, University of Havana Cuba, and an A.S. Degree in Architectural Design and Construction Technology and A.A. Degree, both from Seminole State College. She has worked in architectural, construction and surveying and mapping companies and as a Lab assistant teacher for Autodesk AutoCAD and Autodesk Land Development Desktop at Seminole State College where she is attending to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree.

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Effective Communication & Effective Listening

Effective communication and effective listening go hand-in-hand, but we find ourselves, and others, listening less…and less. This is due to not only lack of time, but quite often we’re occupied with our high-tech gadgets and social networking.

At work, effective communication and listening skills help ensure understanding, build relationships, solve problems, resolve conflicts, and improve productivity. Being able to communicate effectively helps form highly efficient teams in the workplace…it helps employees and managers work together harmoniously. And what’s the result of a team that works well together? A highly productive, reliable and responsible team.

Effective Communicators:

– Provide detailed information

– Are realistic in expectations

– Are proactive, assertive and action-oriented

– Communicate choices instead of demands

– Are honest

– Listen

– Ask questions when unclear

Poor Communicators:

– Provide inaccurate or incomplete information

– Criticize others publicly

– Blame others when problems arise

– Use aggressive or threatening language

– Make sarcastic remarks

– Don’t listen

– Act bossy and negative

Effective Listeners:

– Face the speaker

– Be attentive, but relaxed

– Keep an open mind

– Try to picture what the speaker is saying

– Do not interrupt

– Ask questions when unclear

Poor Listeners:

– Check their phone/watch

– Are distracted

– Listen with preconceived judgments

– Miss out on body language

– Frequently interrupt to impose their opinions

– Do not ask for clarification


Employees are more receptive to feedback on poor performance and at-risk behavior when it’s done in a friendly, positive and respectful manner. In this manner, feedback will be accepted without resentment or retaliation. Personal praise and recognition for safe behavior and safety accomplishments should be provided.

To improve your communication/listening skills, be assertive, confident, action-oriented, express your opinions directly and honestly. Don’t forget to be respectful of others’ opinions, to listen carefully and thank them for their input.

Effective safety communication leads to improved safety performance and better morale.


Geller, E. S. People-Based Safety: The Source. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training Technologies Corporation

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NOW OFFERING: Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) Advanced

Safety Links is now offering MOT Advanced training for both on-site and open enrollment at our training facility in Orlando.

We are currently accepting students in our upcoming MOT Advance training that is scheduled to take place on February 6-7, 2015. If you would like to register for this course, click here.

For more information regarding this or all other MOT courses, contact Nikki or Fran at 1-800-768-7036.

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The 5 S’s: Sort, Shine, Set in Order, Standardize, and Sustain

The holidays have come and gone. Everyone is back to work. And while many have made “New Year’s Resolutions” to eat better, exercise more or spend more time with family, few have made resolutions to make their lives more productive on the job.

Did you know that the more organized you are at work, the more productive you are, thus happier you and your boss are?

Think about it…Workplace Organization.

How many times have been looking for an item and can’t remember where you put it? You look in your desk drawers, the filing cabinet, and your briefcase, but you still can’t find it! Then begins the dreaded task of asking your coworkers and even your boss, if they have seen what you’re looking for. Hopefully, either you remember where it is or someone finds it. Will this incident be followed by suggestions from your coworkers and/or boss on being more organized?

Well, we would like to put in our two cents as well. It so happens there is a program that focuses on organizing, cleaning, and creating a visually pleasing workplace. It’s called the 5S…developed by the Japanese and utilized by manufacturers worldwide.

The 5S’s are:

SORT – Start by deciding what things are necessary to have in the work area. By necessary, we mean items used at least once per month. Sort through everything in your area and decide what items are used frequently. Not only will you evaluate the equipment to do your job, but you will discover work surfaces that were unusable due to the “stuff” accumulated.

SHINE – In addition to daily cleanup, you must do in-depth cleaning. Create a checklist of daily or weekly cleaning activities to keep your area dust and clutter free.

SET IN ORDER– A place for everything and everything in its place. The secret to success is that the team agrees on the best locations for items in the workspace and how many of those items are required.

STANDARDIZE – Make the organization of the work space visual. Designate an area to keep pens, pencils, sticky notes, staples, etc. Designate an area for copy paper boxes or hand trucks and if necessary, use yellow tape to define an outline on the floor. If you work with tools, how about having a tool board with an outline of each tool so they are easy to find and know when they’re missing. Remember – there’s a place for everything & everything should be in its place.

SUSTAIN – Both management and employees must commit to the 5S system and continue to work through Sorting, Shining, Setting in Order and Standardizing. Also, remember that this is an ongoing improvement process. To sustain the 5S system, there should be periodic reviews of each work area.

Although the 5S system sounds like an easy way to get organized, it is! With continued commitment and dedication from everyone, the results will be worth it. Sooner than later you will start to notice improvements in efficiency and quality, reduction in accidents and best of all, everyone will be spending time doing value added work.

Safety Links offers a 4-hour course designed for all levels of employees working in the manufacturing and processing industries. The course can be customized to your site specific needs. Give us a call at 800-768-7036 with questions or for additional information.

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Spill Response Preparedness

Are you and your employees prepared on how to respond when faced with spills of hazardous materials and/or waste? Before deciding whether the 40 hr. or 24 hr. Hazwoper is suitable for your needs, you must determine the types of emergency situations that you may face.

In order to do so, several factors must be taken into consideration such as:

  • The types and quantities of materials at your site
  • The types of processes being conducted
  • The availability of local emergency resources
  • The potential impact on your employees and the community.


HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. Once you have evaluated and determined the potential emergency situations for your operations, the next step is to review OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.120, also known as the HAZWOPER standard.

When reviewing the HAZWOPER you will come across Sections B through P which covers hazardous waste operations such as clean-up procedures at hazardous waste sites or operations involving hazardous waste at treatment, storage and disposal facilities. Thus, you will notice that Section Q only covers emergency response.

It is important that you address appropriate issues when researching HAZWOPER issues and/or choosing a training provider that will best identify your needs. It is not uncommon for people to enroll in a HAZWOPER class to learn about spill response only to find out later that the class focuses on hazardous waste sites.

What is a Hazardous Substance?

When it comes to chemicals, a variety of definitions for “hazardous” exist. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is concerned with the hazards of materials in transport and orients its definitions of hazardous toward air transportation and other specific transport concerns. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned with the impact on the environment when materials are released or disposed and makes hazardous determinations based on environmental and human health risks.

OSHA is concerned with the hazards of materials to which workers might be exposed in the workplace. Any chemical that might present a health or physical hazard is defined as a hazardous chemical under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. Health hazards include any adverse health effect from irritants to corrosives or carcinogens.

The HAZWOPER standard applies to releases of hazardous substances. Although it is an OSHA standard, it does not use the Hazard Communication Standard for hazardous chemicals. The HAZWOPER standard traces its origin to an EPA law, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund), and derives its definition of hazardous substances from CERCLA regulations. The CERCLA definition is based on the substance’s potential impact on the environment and the community.

The basic idea is to include chemicals that would present a significant hazard to people or the environment if spilled or released. Chemicals that do not fall into one of these categories might still present a slight hazard to employees and emergency responders, but technically do not trigger HAZWOPER requirements.

Training requirements

The HAZWOPER standard establishes five basic training requirements related to chemical emergency response:

1.            First Responder Awareness Level

2.            First Responder Operations Level

3.            Hazardous Materials Technician

4.            Hazardous Materials Specialist

5.            On-Scene Incident Commander

First Responder “Awareness” Level training is required for individuals who are likely to witness or discover a hazardous substance release and who would take no action beyond notification of the proper authorities. Even if you do not have a spill team and do not plan to respond to spill emergencies, your employees might need First Responder Awareness Level training. This training potentially could include everyone from the machine operator to the security guard.

First Responder “Operations” Level training is required for individuals who respond to releases or potential releases as part of the initial response. They are trained to respond in a defensive manner to protect people, property and the environment. Defensive actions are those taken from a safe distance to keep the spill from spreading and to prevent exposures. Examples include covering drains, placing spill booms or barriers and barricading access points, all from safe distances.

Hazardous Materials “Technician” training is required for individuals who will respond to the release or potential release for the purpose of stopping the release. In other words, they are responding in an offensive manner. They usually will be close to the source of the release and, therefore, have a high potential for harmful exposures. Examples include over packing a leaking drum or collecting contaminated absorbents.

The investment in training, as well as in procedures and equipment, substantially increases when moving up to the “Technician” level of response. Technician level calls for at least 24 hours of training. Personnel also must demonstrate competency in several areas, including the emergency response plan, instrumentation, the incident command system, selection and use of personal protective equipment, hazard and risk assessment, containment and control, decontamination, termination procedures and basic chemistry and toxicology.

Hazardous Materials “Specialist” training is similar to the Hazardous Materials Technician training. The specialist however, is required to have greater knowledge of the chemicals to which he or she might respond, as well as to act as a liaison with governmental authorities. He or she also provides support to the hazardous materials technician. Again, at least twenty-four hours of training is required.

On-Scene Incident Commander training is required for any response beyond the First Responder Awareness Level. The role of the incident commander is to assume control of the incident scene. The incident commander must be someone on-site who is designated and trained to be in charge of the incident. The required training will vary with the level and complexity of the response. The minimum required training is 24 hours.

Remember, like all OSHA requirements, these training requirements are a minimum. Based on the nature of your facility and its hazards, additional training may be necessary. It is also important for each emergency responder to stay current. With that said all levels of HAZWOPER training requires annual refresher training or a demonstration of competency.

By allowing a HazMat team to respond to nonemergency spills, a facility provides an excellent way to maintain skills that would be needed in an emergency. Whatever you choose to do, you must remember to document the training and competency evaluations.

If you have any questions regarding Hazwoper training or if you would like to book a Hazwoper class at your site, click here 


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