Respirator Selection

Respirator Image

Respirator Image

Selecting a respirator is a very difficult task to accomplish. Under protecting your staff can lead to injury or illness while over protecting staff can be uncomfortable and very costly.

To select a respirator you must first assemble the necessary toxicological and safety information for each respiratory hazard. This typically starts with a walk through survey and an MSDS review. To determine the potential level of exposure the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that air sampling be conducted. While air monitoring is obviously the best option, a good industrial hygienist or safety professional will likely use a combination of air sampling and exposure modeling to make reasonable estimates of exposure.

After the potential exposures have been determined the next step is to compare the results with allowable levels of the particular contaminant (s). For comparison purposes you should consider using the NIOSH-REL’s, OSHA-PEL’s, and ACGIH- TLV’s, just to name a few.

Now comes the hard work! Based on the potential or measured exposures you’ll have to determine if your staff requires an air purifying respirator, or an atmosphere supplying respirator; whether they will need a full mask, half mask, or other type of face piece; whether they will need filters cartridges or some combination of the two. Finally you’ll have to ensure that a full respirator program has been instituted including medical evaluations, fit testing, training, cartridge change out schedules, etc.

Although this may seem difficult with some guidance along the way you will be able to ensure your staff is adequately protected! For more information on respirator selection visit the new NIOSH Respirator Information Page or contact Trevor Reschny, CSP at Safety Links Inc.

 

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What do you do if someone contacts a live electrical wire?

Electrical Wire Safety

Electrical Wire Safety

If you see a person come into contact with indoor electrical wires, do not touch the person. Attempt to switch the power off, if possible. If you cannot shut off the power, use a non-conductor (dry wood, rope, board, broom handle) to separate the person from the current.

If the person has come into contact with outdoor wires call 911 and then the power company immediately.

Do not attempt to touch the person or to try to free the person from the wires. Stay at least 100 feet away from any downed wires at all times.

After the person has been separated from the electrical source, you should:

  • Check his breathing. If the person is not breathing, start CPR.
  • Treat the victim for shock. Keep him lying down. If the victim is unconscious, lie on his side to allow drainage of fluids. Cover him enough to maintain body heat.
  • Do not move the victim if you suspect neck or spine injury.
  • Treat burn by immersing in cold water. Do not apply grease or oil. For severe burns, cut away loose clothing and cover the burned area with a sterile dressing.

To inquire more about general safety, contact us at 407-353-8165 or email us at info@safetylinks.net

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Is your profession in the deadliest workplace professions range?

According to a recent study by eTraining, a workplace safety education firm, you may face a higher danger on your job depending on the amount of driving involved rather than the specific type of profession you hold, such as being a sheriff or hunter, for example. The good news, however, shows on the graph which states that as the OSHA budget has increased, fatalities have certainly decreased.

In the study, it shows that all combined transportation incidents, including highway incidents, aircraft incidents, and other, make up a total of 49% of all multiple fatalities in the workplace. This is compared to the 20% of incidents that happen from fires and explosions, 17% from homicides and 13% of other uncategorized accidents.

And which states rate as the highest of this 2010 study? Texas tops the chart with the most workplace fatalities with a total of 456, California is next with 302, Pennsylvania is third with 219 and Florida in fourth with 215.

It’s important to remember, though, that falls are still the highest occurring incident in the construction industry, with electrocutions, being struck by an object, and caught-in/between as shown in the “Fatal Four” chart. According to eTraining, eliminating all of these four most common categories in construction would save 431 workers’ lives in America every year.

At the end of the page it shows 2011’s most frequently violated OSHA standards. Follow this link to view the study: http://etraintoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Workplace-Fatality-Data1.jpg.

To inquire about safety consultation or training for your staff, call us at 407-353-8165 or email us at info@safetylinks.net.

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Professional Safety Development

Type in Safety Certification into a search engine and you’ll get a plethora of options.

In fact there are about 300 certification programs and titles available in the United States in safety, health, environment and ergonomics fields.  With so many options you have to question, which ones are better? Getting the best certification possible is especially important in today’s economy because many employers and government organizations rely on the certification process to select employees or award contracts.

Program Accreditation:

Of course many of the “not so accredited safety certifications” realize the importance of accreditation so they have aligned themselves with accreditation groups which are themselves, not accredited.The first thing you need to look at is the programs accreditation. Accredited peer certification programs set standards and evaluate people against the standards.  The standards include minimum requirements for education/training and experience and demonstrated knowledge and skill through examinations.

True accreditation of peer certification programs provides an independent, third-party evaluation of many factors which contribute to ensuring candidates, certificate holders, employers, government agencies and the public that a certification program operates fairly, openly and effectively.

The two organizations most commonly awarding accreditation in the environmental, safety, and health fields are the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) administration of the ISO 17024 standard. Both organizations evaluate peer certification boards for compliance with national and international standards.

If the certification you are looking at is not accredited by at least one of these two entities you may want to look elsewhere!

What Safety Certifications are best?

When shopping for a safety certification, it is imperative to review the quality of the program. Holding accredited certifications and demonstrating competency through quality certification programs can open doors to employment, advancement, leadership, contracts and compensation.

There are generally speaking 6 certifications which are well respected in the safety, health, environment and ergonomics fields.

  1. OHST/ CLCS- The OSHT or CLCS are technologist level certifications offered by the Board Of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). An Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) or a Certified Loss Control Specialist (CLCS) is a person who performs occupational health and safety activities on a full-time or part-time basis as part of their job duties. These certificate holders do not require a college degree and the certification requirements are less stringent than some of the other certifications listed below. For more information click here. http://www.bcsp.org/ohst_clcs.
  2. Like the OHST/ CLCS, the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification is offered by the BCSP as a technologist level certification for individuals who demonstrate competency and work part-time or full-time in health and safety activities in the construction industry. For more information click here.  http://www.bcsp.org/chst.
  3. CHMM- The Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) certificate is offered by the  Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). This certificate offers the hazmat industry’s premier accredited professional credentials and required a Baccalaureate degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university in hazardous materials management, environmental science, one of the physical sciences, or a related field.  For more information click here.  http://www.ihmm.org/4. CIH- The Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) designation is provided by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). The CIH is the premier occupational hygiene certification in the world. CIH’s required at least a Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, engineering, physics or an ABET accredited program in industrial hygiene or safety. For more information click here.  http://www.abih.org/.
  4. CPE- The Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) designation is offered by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). CPE’s required at least a master’s degree and three years of practice in human factors/ergonomics. For more information click here.  http://www.bcpe.org/.#mce_temp_url#
  5. CSP- The Certified Safety Profesional (CSP) credential is the mark of the safety professional. Like the Professional Engineer designation for engineers or the Certified Public Accountant designation for accountants, the CSP certification marks individuals who have met educational and experience standards and passed rigorous examinations validated against the practice of hundreds of safety professionals. No other safety certification holds the same level of demand by employers and government agencies. Also no other safety credential has the same impact on salary.  CSP’s required at least a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of professional experience. For more information click here.  http://www.bcsp.org/csp.

In summary, as the need for certified safety, health, environment and ergonomic professionals increases so does the importance of your certification. Obtaining an accredited certificate will identify you as a source of expertise, and enhance your reputation and professional credibility.

If you would like more information on obtaining the OHST/ CLCS credential visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/safety-management-courses/ohst-prep-.

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Putting Out A Fire on Electric Vehicle With Water?

Did you know?…

When it comes to a hybrid or electrical car fire, you can actually put it out with WATER?

Surprisingly enough, the Emergency Response Guide (ERG) from the NFPA states explains why. It states that the electrical circuits in HEVs or EVs are “isolated from the vehicle chassis with no direct connection to the ground”. Because of this, a circuit cannot be completed by a fire stream, through the person or firefighter, and into the ground. Where as normally, when you are in the path between the electrical source and the earth or ground you complete the circuit, causing electrocution.

Read more about it from the original NFPA blog at http://nfpa.typepad.com/evsafetytraining/2012/08/wait-a-secondare-you-sure-i-can-use-water-to-put-out-an-electric-vehicle-fire.html.

For information on NFPA 70e / Arc Flash courses, visit us at https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/safety-courses-for-all-industries/arc-flash.

 

 

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Safety Tips for Working With Ammonia

Ammonia

Ammonia

The article below focuses on the dangers of working with ammonia and gives some helpful tips to remember to stay as safe as possible.

Ammonia can be found in two different forms: ammonium hydroxide or pressurized gas. Most are familiar with the soluble one, ammonium hydroxide, as that is the liquid one. Exposure to ammonia is even more alarming when it is frequent because most people will become desensitized. The chemical is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs, which can cause harm from eye and respiratory irritation to swelling and accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Here are the tips listed in the article to be aware of:
  • Train employees to work safely with ammonia by following these general precautions and the safe work practices that apply in this facility:
  • Wear personal protective equipment. To work with liquid ammonia, you may need eye, face, and skin protection. To work with liquid or gaseous ammonia, you may require respiratory protection.Ammonia 2
  • Take hot work permitting precautions whenever hot work will be performed in areas where ammonia is present. If piping, vessels, or containers that have held ammonia will be welded, soldered, drilled, or cut, purge all ammonia first.
  • Use proper ventilation. Never work with ammonia in an unventilated area. Always ensure that you have adequate ventilation, and make sure that ventilation is nonsparking or explosion-proof.
  • Store ammonia separately from incompatible chemicals, away from heat and ignition sources.
  • Know what to do in case of a spill or leak. When you work with ammonia, know where the emergency escape respirators are located. If ammonia leaks or is spilled, put on a respirator, and leave the area immediately. Report the spill or leak so it can be appropriately controlled.
  • Know how to respond to splashes. Liquid ammonia can burn your eyes. Know where the emergency eyewash is stored in your work area and how to use it.
Why It Matters

On November 1, 2011, a hazardous materials release occurred at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, just south of San Clemente, California, prompting the immediate evacuation of the plant’s personnel—but it wasn’t a radiation release. The chemical that posed an immediate hazard to the health and safety of workers at the plant was ammonia. You can avoid this kind of incident in your workplace by training your workers on how to work safely around ammonia.

To view the original article, visit http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2012/08/03/training_safety_ammonia_hazardous_materials.aspx?Source=SDF&effort=19.

To learn more about Hazard Communication and working safety with chemicals, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/safety-courses-for-all-industries/hazcom or call us at 407-303-8165 to schedule an onsite class for your employees.

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How to Prevent & Respond to Workplace Violence

If you haven’t already done so, below is the release of the City of Houston’s 6-minute video on how to react to a workplace shooting. Plans to make the video public were made sooner, as a reaction of the Colorado public shooting and released shortly after. According to the video, there are three best ways to react in case of an encounter with a shooter: run, hide, fight.

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Run

  • When an active shooter is in your vicinity, run.
  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.
  • Evacuate whether others agree to or not.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe.

Hide

  • If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.
  • Lock and/or barricade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Turn out the lights.
  • Hide behind large objects.
  • Remain very quiet.
  • Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view, provide protection if shots are fired in your direction and not trap or restrict your options for movement.

Fight

  • As a last resort, if your life is in danger, fight back.
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons, such as using a chair or fire extinguisher to strike the shooter.
  • Commit to your actions.

Remember though, workplace violence CAN be prevented. For onsite training and planning, give us a call at 407-353-8165 or visit or Workplace Violence Page for more information.

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Do You Hire Subcontractors?

Subcontractors

In construction there are many contractors who then subcontract the work to other parties, who further subcontract the work… and so forth. Although your customers expect the job to be completed safely, the focus is typically lost within the tiers of contractors. In other words your safety program doesn’t help the people who are actually doing the work for your company.Subcontractors

Why do you conduct periodic quality inspections, post-job inspections, product standards training for your installers, etc.? The answer is to manage your quality. You manage your quality because you know that if your subcontractor’s quality is not adequate your company’s reputation is on the line.

What you might not understand is that if you hire a subcontractor and they create unsafe conditions, your company’s reputation, plus a whole lot of liability is also on the line.

So here are a few of misconceptions that are important for you to know:

  • I am not responsible because they are not my employee.

If you hire them as a sub-contractor you are always responsible no matter how many tiers! “In no case shall the prime contractor be relieved of overall responsibility for compliance with the requirements of this part for all work to be performed under the contract…the prime contractor assumes all obligations prescribed as employer obligations under the standards contained in this part, whether or not he subcontracts any part of the work. Ref. OSHA regulation 1926.16

FYI: OSHA and other regulators can and will fine you, the injury could be placed on your workers compensation plan if the subcontractor is uninsured, you can be sued if your subcontractor has an incident, or if you contractor creates a situation that results in an incident involving another company, or a member of the public.

  • I am protected because my sub-contractor agreement says they must follow OSHA regulations.

With respect to subcontracted work, the prime contractor and any subcontractor or subcontractors shall be deemed to have joint responsibility. Ref. 1926.16(c)

Where joint responsibility exists, both the prime contractor and his subcontractor or subcontractors, regardless of tier, shall be considered subject to the enforcement provisions of the Act. Ref. 1926.16(d)

  • I cannot communicate with my sub-contractors because they don’t speak English.

Some contractors have attempted to justify this by stating employee turnover, inexperienced workers, and language barriers make it nearly impossible to manage safety. These contractors however have failed to realize that if it is possible to train inexperienced non-English speaking workers to build walls, shingle roofs, or any other task for that matter, then it is possible to have them do those tasks safely.

The fact that these companies can produce a high quality job in an efficient manner proves that if held accountable, an inexperienced and non-English speaking workforce will perform a quality job safely and efficiently.

So what do you have to do to better manage your sub-contractors?

Here are some ideas to further manage you contractors:

Evaluation (Pre-hire Qualification). You could complete a pre-qualification safety evaluation of the company. This could include having them submit a copy of their written programs, inspection results, training records, etc.

Pre-qualification based on a numerical experience system. You can have them provide you with their incidence rates (based on their OSHA recordable cases) so that you could compare them against their industry average found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics webpage. This can tell you if they are having more incidents then should be expected for their type of work.

You can look at their workers compensation “Experience Modifier Rate”. This modifier can tell you how many workers compensation claims they have in relation to others in their line of work.  A modifier of 1.0 means that they are average in their industry. A modifier less than 1.0 means that they are better then average in their industry. A modifier greater than 1.0 means that they are worse than average.

Evaluation of Contractor Safety (After Hired)

Conduct pre-job briefing prior to site entry and at other times, as necessary, to ensure that employees are aware of site hazards.

You can have them provide you with ongoing documentation to prove their program is operation including: Recordable cases (Lost time, Restricted cases, etc), OSHA citations, Inspection results, incident reports, safety meeting summaries, responses to Corrective Action Reports, etc…

This will help you answer these crucial questions:

  • Is senior management committed to safety?
  • Is safety an integral part of project management?
  • Are safety and training improvement programs in place.

Conduct periodic safety inspections to show your commitment, and to hold your contractors accountable.

Training

Contractors have the responsibility to ensure that all employees and sub-contractors are properly trained. To do this you can:

Provide a safety orientation for new contractors so they can pass the information to their employees. This should include a review of:

  • Physical and chemicals hazards on site such as fire, explosion, falls, health (i.e. Silica), etc.
  • General safety rules and regulations.
  • Emergency reporting and response procedures.
  • Other day-to-day issues.
  • Involve your contractors in your weekly, monthly quarterly or periodic training sessions.

Continual Improvement

Guidelines must be created for contractors.

This could include company policies and standards, contractor safety rules and procedures. Then each contractor must be trained on it and they must pass the information down to their employees. (Hint: You may want documentation from them proving that they have actually provided the training to their employees).

You must learn from any mistakes or near misses. As such sub-contractors must report incidents and near misses so you can investigate them.

Most importantly like anything else safety must be measured and monitored. If you don’t do this you have lost accountability!

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Noise Levels & Risks Involved

Noise Testing

Noise Testing

In the following New York Times article, writer Cara Buckley takes a look at hazardous noise levels in NYC public places, the risks of exposure for their employees and the overall lack of enforcement. In it, it also states how even though most venues such as restaurants and bars in the city are obviously operating their businesses with employees exposed to noise levels that would easily require them to wear noise protection, complaints from workers are pretty much nonexistent. She does make it a point that part of the problem is a lack of awareness, not surprisingly. New York City is notorious for its loud noise level almost anywhere you go.

However, as an employer or employee, one should be well aware of the dangers that come with being exposed to long hours of noise in a long-term effect. Not only can it be annoying, but stress, communication interference, or even hearing loss can occur if safety measures never are taken. No matter the location, industry, or size of a business, all employers have an obligation to protect their workers from any of these possible debilitating hazards.

To view the article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/nyregion/us-standards-on-workplace-noise-trail-those-of-other-countries.html.

To inquire about noise testing and safety, visit us at https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/industrial-hygiene/noise or call us at 407-760-6170.

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OSHA Excavation Safety Video

Did you know that working in trenches kills an average of 40 construction workers in the United States every year? Employers MUST follow OSHA’s rules to protect workers in trenches and excavations.

One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car! Unless the trench is cut entirely into stable rock, protection against cave-ins must be used for all trenches more than 5ft deep. Always make sure a competent person is there to supervise and to remove any potential hazards throughout and at the beginning of every shift.

OSHA classifies each soil in a trench as:

  1. Stable rock – most stable
  2. Type A
  3. Type B
  4. Type C – least stable

Depending on the type of soil found at the site of the trench, different protective systems should be used for each trench project such as sloping, benching, shoring, and shielding.

Learn how to apply each protective system depending on its soil type for you and your employees in more detail as shown on the following video:

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To sign up for our upcoming open class on August 9, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/construction-safety-courses/excavation-competent-person.

For information on onsite Excavations/Trenching classes, call us at 407-353-8165 or email us at info@safetylinks.net.

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