Dec. 18, 2013
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OSHA renews alliance with Scaffold and Access Industry Association to protect workers from scaffold hazards
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today renewed its alliance with the Scaffold and Access Industry Association to provide information and training to protect the safety and health of workers who use scaffolds and lift equipment. Through the alliance, OSHA and SAIA will work to reduce and prevent fall and caught-in-between hazards and issues related to frame, mast climbing and suspended scaffolds and aerial lift equipment.
“Worker injuries and deaths from scaffolding hazards can be prevented when employers provide training on safe set up and use of equipment,” said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “By renewing our alliance with SAIA we will expand our outreach to employers and workers and provide important training to protect workers in the scaffold and access industry.”
Through the alliance, OSHA and SAIA will focus on reducing and preventing fall and caught-in-between hazards; address potential hazards associated with mast climbing scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, and aerial lift equipment; and emphasize the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The alliance members will also use injury and illness data in selected industries to help identify areas of emphasis for alliance awareness and outreach activities.
Founded in 1972, SAIA is a national trade organization that advocates worker safety in the scaffold, aerial lift and access industry worldwide. The organization represents 1,000 member companies that employ more than 200,000 workers.
For more information, visit the OSHA-SAIA Alliance page. The agreement will remain in effect for five years.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
OSHA renews strategic partnership with electrical transmission and distribution contractors, associations to reduce worker injuries, deaths
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today renewed a national strategic partnership with employers, workers and professional associations in the electrical transmission and distribution industry to reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths among linesman and other electrical workers. The partnership includes ten of the nation’s largest electrical transmission and distribution contractors, an electrical industry labor union and two trade associations, representing about 80% of the industry.
Since its establishment in 2004, there has been a noticeable reduction in the injury, illness and fatality rates among the partners’ workers, which include close to 26,000 workers. Fatalities among these workers have dropped from 11 in 2004 to 1 in 2013.
“By working on common goals through the partnership, partner injury, illness and fatality rates have been reduced,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this national partnership, the partner companies and associations looked at factors causing fatal incidents and other serious injuries and implemented changes to reduce and prevent the number of fatalities not only within their own companies, but in the industry as a whole. We look forward to seeing even greater outcomes of this partnership in the future.”
The partnership has developed and implemented best practices that directly correspond to key hazards and operations associated with injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the industry. These practices include fall protection, the use of specific insulating protective equipment and the implementation of safety checks. The partnership also has trained more than 33,000 workers and supervisors through industry-specific courses developed by the partners. OSHA and industry partners are in the process of expanding these courses to provide industry-wide training.
Members of the partnership include Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Davis H. Elliot Co. Inc., Henkels & McCoy Inc., MasTec Inc., MDU Construction Services Group Inc., Michels Corp., MYR Group Inc., PLH Group, Pike Electric LLC, Quanta Services Inc., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Edison Electric Institute and the National Electrical Contractors Association. For more information, see OSHA’s Web page on the partnership.
This is one of several national partnerships. OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program helps encourage, assist and recognize the efforts of partners to eliminate serious workplace hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health. Most strategic partnerships seek to have a broad impact by building cooperative relationships with groups of employers and workers. These partnerships are voluntary relations among OSHA, employers, worker representatives and others including trade unions, trade and professional associations, universities and other government agencies.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Moving machine parts have the potential for causing severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, and blindness, just to name a few. Also machine guarding and related machinery violations continuously rank among the top 20 of OSHA citations issued. Here are the top 4 issues we find in the field:
#1 Missing Machine Guard
1910.212(a)(1) General requirements for all machines—Machine guarding. Types of guarding—One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.
#2 Bench Grinder Tongue Guard out of Adjustment
1910.215(b)(9) Guarding of abrasive wheel machinery. The peripheral protecting member (guard) shall be provided and adjusted within 1⁄4 inch of the wheel to contain and deflect fragments away from the operator.
#3 Bench Grinder Work Rest out of Adjustment
1910.215(a)(4) Abrasive wheel machinery—General requirements. Work rests—on offhand grinding machines, work rests shall be used to support the work.… Work rests shall be kept adjusted closely to the wheel with a maximum opening of 1⁄8 inch to prevent work from being jammed between wheel and rest.…
#4 Point of Operation Machine Guarding
1910.212(a)(3) General requirements for all machines—Machine guarding. Point of operation of machines whose operation exposes an employee to injury shall be guarded.… Special hand tools for placing and removing material shall permit easy handling of material without the operator placing a hand in the danger zone.
In general any machine part, function, or process that might cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it could injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be either controlled or eliminated.
Here are some general requirements and suggestions for Safeguards:
- Prevent contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, and any other part of an operator’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts. A good safeguarding system eliminates the possibility of the operator or another worker placing parts of their bodies near hazardous moving parts.
- Secure: Operators should not be able to easily remove or tamper with the safeguard, because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be made of durable material that will withstand the conditions of normal use. They must be firmly secured to the machine.
- Protect from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts. A small tool dropped into a cycling machine could easily become a projectile that could strike and injure someone.
- Create no new hazards: A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard such as a shear point, a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface that could cause a laceration. The edges of guards, for instance, should be rolled or bolted in such a way to eliminate sharp edges.
- Create no interference: Any safeguard that impedes an operator from performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden or disregarded. Proper safeguarding may actually enhance efficiency since it relieves the operator’s apprehensions about injury.
- Allow safe lubrication: If possible, workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point, will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance operator to enter the hazardous area.
Keep in mind that guards are engineering controls which eliminate the hazard at the source and do not rely on the operator’s behavior for their effectiveness. With that said even the most elaborate safeguarding system cannot offer effective protection unless the operator knows how to use it and why. Specific and detailed training is therefore a crucial part of any effort to provide safeguarding against machine-related hazards.
If you would like to arrange a machine guarding assessment of your facility contact Randy Free. 407-353-8165 or email him at rfree[at]safetylinks.net
Contractor Griffin Campbell Charged with Third-Degree Murder for Philadelphia Building Collapse
Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on Nov. 25 announced his office was charging 49-year-old Griffin Campbell with six counts of third-degree murder in addition to manslaughter and other charges for his role in the deadly building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets in June. A second contractor already is in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing for six counts of involuntary manslaughter, among other charges.
One-minute training sessions on how to do hands-only CPR delivered via kiosks placed in shopping malls, airports and other public places could save lives. This was the finding of new research presented at an American Heart Association (AHA) Resuscitation Science Symposium held in Dallas, TX, over the weekend.
A team from the University of Arizona came to this conclusion after carrying out a short study based around an AHA Hands-Only CPR training kiosk that was installed at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport earlier this year.
Hands-only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) does not require giving the kiss of life, which can put some people off who might otherwise be prepared to try resuscitation.
If ambulances come quickly, experts believe that instructing people to just “push hard, push fast” saves more lives. That is the idea behind the new guidelines released by the AHA in 2010 that permit the use of simpler hand-only or compression-only CPR in some cases instead of conventional CPR.
However, hands-only CPR may not be the best approach for rural or remote areas where the waiting time is more than a few minutes for an ambulance.
To read the full story, visit http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268958.php.
If you do excavation work you know how much a trench box costs to buy or rent. But do you know how much the alternative costs?
The OSHA trenching and excavation regulations require trench boxes or other shoring to be used if the sides of the trench cannot be properly sloped. The slope depends on the kind of soil. From an excavation safety perspective there are three soil types including Type A, Type B and Type C. In almost every case the soil in Florida is Type C because of the high sand and water content.
This means that your trench or excavation must be sloped at a 34 degree angle (one and a half feet back for every foot deep). This may not seem so bad but consider this. A 5 foot deep and 3 foot wide trench would have to be sloped so that the opening would be 18 feet wide! An excavation that size takes a tremendous amount of time and energy and as a result is often done improperly.
Aside from the safety concern you might also be surprised that sloping often costs more than using trench boxes or other shoring equipment. The cost of removing soil and moving it away from the edges of a trench can be very expensive and will typically exceed the cost of boxes or shoring. This is particularly the case in long, narrow trenches (such as pipelines) where shoring and boxes can be used over and over as the trench is dug and filled but sloping requires extensive soil moving along the entire length of the trench.
For instance, the chart below compares soil removal quantities and costs for a two-mile trench that is 5 feet wide and 15 feet deep.
If you want more information on trenching and excavation contact Randy Free at 407-353-8165 or email him at rfree(at)safetylinks.net
A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2012, which estimates three million workers were injured on the job in 2012, has made an impact on OSHA’s proposed rulemaking.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has have recently proposed a rule to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.
“Three million injuries are three million too many,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels says. “With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.”
The proposed rule was developed following a series of stakeholder meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA is proposing to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. The first proposed new requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA.
The public has until February 6 to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html.
Ever wonder when you will actually need the training your employer sits you through? For a Florida employee on work travel, it happened while out to dinner with a coworker in South Carolina.
The two men were sitting down next to a man and his wife, who they had been chatting with for a while, when he suddenly started chocking on a chunk of meat. The man’s employer, Duke Energy, wrote an article in their internal newsletter about this proud moment where Distribution Field Manager Chris Misturak saved this stranger’s life.
Safety moments can happen anywhere — even in the middle of a long trip.
Returning from storm-repair work in Maryland earlier this month, Chris Misturak and Dan D’Alessandro stopped at a restaurant in Florence, S.C.
Traveling ahead of other employees, they were reserving seating for 50 crew members when they decided on an early dinner. Their experience turned into a different type of “daily special.”
Placing their orders, D’Alessandro, an operations manager with 25 years at the company, and Misturak, a 14-year-veteran distribution field supervisor, struck up a conversation with an elderly couple in the booth across the aisle.
They were in town to visit the local VA hospital, where the 77-year-old man was to get treatment. The couple got their main course as the two employees dug into their salads.
Misturak then noticed the elderly man take a drink of water only to have it dribble down his chin. He began to turn red. “Are you all right?” Misturak asked. The man could only point at his throat. He was choking on a piece of meat. Misturak is trained in first aid, and knew exactly what to do.
Knowing what to do
D’Alessandro picks up the story: “This was a big guy – 6-foot-1, 300 pounds — and he was wedged into the booth. Chris was up before I knew what was happening. He drags the guy out of the booth and stands him up. He speaks to him calmly as he grabs him from behind, tells him what he was doing and uses the Heimlich on him. He hit him three times before that piece of steak came out.”
The whole thing was over in less than a minute. When the waitress returned — having run into the kitchen to seek help — it was clear no one on the staff would have known what to do. “Chris counseled them that as a restaurant, they need to know the Heimlich,” said D’Alessandro.
The couple offered to pay for dinner. Misturak politely declined, “In America, a handshake is thanks enough. So, just shake my hand. I’m just glad I was here.”
Hours later, the two employees still felt the adrenaline rush from that moment when an ordinary day turned into something special. D’Alessandro added: “No doubt Chris saved that man’s life.”
Almost everyone I know does it or at least has done it. Whether you take a quick glance at your phone to view an incoming email, or a brief look to enter new directions into your GPS, we all seem to have a strange double standard when it comes to distracted driving. We view these behaviors as acceptable for us but unacceptable for others. Just imagine the advice you would give your teenager when he or she starts driving. Then take a critical look at what you do behind the wheel. Is there a difference?
Despite the public outrage and the national emphasis highway safety officials have put on distracted drivers we still do it. In fact we still do it a lot! I was recently sitting at an intersection waiting to make a left turn. Out of the 10 vehicles which passed in the opposite direction all but one was visibly talking on the phone. Although not a scientific study by any means, I am sure if you did the same on your way home from work today you would find similar results. These unprecedented rates of distracted driving are the reason why there are increasing numbers of serious injuries and deaths.
Now I am not trying to change the way the world operates. I would be naïve to think I could. I am merely trying to change the way you and your commercial fleet drivers perceive the risk of distracted driving. Regardless of what the public perception is, the distracted driving epidemic is not only being fueled by texting teens, it is also being fueled by a growing number of adults who drive while simultaneously conducting business using their smart phones.
Most adults have the idea that they are superior drivers and therefore, better able than teens to multitask behind the wheel. But recent multi-million-dollar judgments against corporations whose adult employees killed or injured other drivers and/or their passengers while using cell phones or smart phones show that adults can be just as distracted when using hand-held communication devices as younger, less experienced drivers.
Running red lights at full speed, swerving into oncoming traffic and rear-ending stopped vehicles are the three distracted driving behaviors currently producing the most severe injuries and fatalities. Distracted driving crashes are typically higher force and produce more fatalities and more serious injuries than other types of collisions since distracted drivers often make no effort to stop or otherwise avoid the collision. This coupled with the alarming number of distracted drivers on the road makes distracted drivers (in my opinion) more deadly than drunk drivers, who, even with their slowed reaction time, sometimes manage to partially brake and lessen the impact of the collision.
So what can be done?
Studies have shown that drivers freely admit that distracted driving carries a substantial risk, but the dilemma is that these same drivers continue to engage in distracted driving behaviors when they get behind the wheel. Why? It’s simply because the likelihood of a collision seems remote to the driver. After all, if they really knew they would be in a collision today they would undoubtedly pay extra attention when driving. Drivers simply don’t believe it will ever happen to them.
So how can you change the behaviors of your drivers? The answer is actually simple. Adapt the proven principles of Behavior Based Safety (BBS) to your drivers. If you have had any experience with BBS you probably already realize that people take risks because of some sort of positive outcome. In the case of multitasking while driving the most obvious outcome is that they get more work done.
BBS focuses on providing other consequences (both positive and negative) which will work to outweigh the positive consequences inherent in distracted driving. You can do this by 1) defining critical driving behaviors, 2) making periodic observations, and 3) providing positive and negative feedback to the drivers.
Drivers who are randomly subject to unannounced follow behind’s, a periodic supervisor ride along, and are even subject to a random review of driver camera footage (if equipped) must constantly weigh the consequences of driving distracted with the consequences of the behavioral observation.
If you want to talk about how you can implement BBS principles with your fleet to achieve world class safety performance please contact me. I would be glad to discuss it with you.
Trevor Reschny, CSP. 407-760-6170 or email me at treschny[at]safetylinks.net
One of the goals to any emergency-spill response plan is to limit the amount of contamination spread from the site. Any person or piece of equipment involved in a spill cleanup process can be contaminated. Before entering the spill area, steps should be taken to ensure the equipment and workers leaving the site have been decontaminated. OSHA defines decontamination in the hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR1910.120 (a)(3), as the removal of hazardous substances from employees and their equipment to the extent necessary to preclude the occurrence of foreseeable adverse health effects.
Proper Setup of a Decontamination Area
An emergency spill-response site is broken down into the following areas (see diagram below):
- Hot Zone: Spill area, where all major spill cleanup operations will be performed.
- Support Zone: Location of the command post, which should be free of any contaminates. This area may be referred to as the Cold Zone.
- Contamination-Reduction Zone (CRZ): Buffer between the Hot and Support Zones and location of the Decontamination Corridor. This area may also be referred to as the Warm Zone.
- Decontamination Corridor: Area used to clean up workers and equipment leaving the Hot Zone. However, it is important to note that the Decontamination Corridor is not only used for cleanup. This area should be the only access point in and out of the spill work area.
The Contamination-Reduction Zone and Decontamination Corridor should be set up before work begins in the Hot Zone. Location of this zone depends on many factors:
- Levels of contaminate: Determine whether the desired area is safe for monitoring the contaminate.
- Wind direction: Determine wind direction to ensure airborne concentration of the contaminate; the work area should be upwind of the spill.
- Access and egress: Ease of access to the Hot Zone can reduce the amount of contamination spread.
- Weather: Inclement conditions can hinder decontamination. Set up indoors or use an encapsulated decontamination system when necessary.
- Topography: The Contamination-Reduction Zone should not be downhill from the Hot Zone, near streams or waterways.
- Proximity to hazards: Although it is important to be close to the spill, the Contamination-Reduction Zone should be a safe distance from any hazards to help ensure that decontamination workers are not harmed in case of an explosion or other chemical release.
Physical vs. Chemical Decontamination
You can remove contaminates through physical or chemical methods.
- Physical decontamination is the process of scrubbing, scrapping, diluting, absorbing or vacuuming contaminate off of a worker or equipment. This is commonly used if the contaminate is a particulate hazard that can be rinsed off easily.
- Chemical decontamination involves neutralizing, dissolving or degrading the hazard of the contamination to make it less harmful through decontamination solutions.
Proper Decontamination Procedures
Given that no two spill responses are the same, the equipment and setup of the decontamination site should be tailored to the specific hazards of the site. This might include variations on the method, number of steps required, and types of decontamination equipment used.
Regardless of these variations, there are a few general guidelines you should follow:
- PPE of the decontamination workers: Any workers who are involved in the decontamination process should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that is the same level of the Hot Zone workers, or at minimum, one level lower.
- Containment of decon solutions: Physical or chemical decon might require water or other decontamination solutions. In the cleaning process, the used solution might contain sufficient levels of contamination that would classify it as hazardous. Containment should be set up to collect this rinsate and it should be disposed of in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.
- Head-to-toe decon: Decontamination of any worker should begin at the head, working to the toes. Special attention should be given to areas that might be more soiled (hands, feet, etc.) and areas where contamination might collect, such as creases in the suit, underarms, etc.
If you want more information on HazWoper training or spill response plan development contact Randy Free. 407-353-8165 or email him at rfree[at]safetylinks.net
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