The Work of Miners Photographed

Earl Dotter Photography

Earl Dotter Photography

This morning, I stumbled upon a great online photo display on a specific photographer’s work, Earl Dotter, who spent most of his life documenting the work lives of Americans for more than 30 years now.

The image shown here represents what most of his work’s focus has been, which is rigorous hazardous work. He started his career in the late 1960’s, when many miner regulations were not in place, as they are today. He gained more interest in coal miners and their work lives during an assignment to the Cumberland Plateau Region of Tennessee.

In 1972, he was later offered to work for the United Mine Workers in America Journal, where he focused on capturing many coal miners’ struggles, from dangerous daily tasks to their struggle with “black lung” cases and workers’ rights.

One of his most impacting and praised works, THE QUIET SICKNESS: A Photographic Chronicle of Hazardous Work in America, is a collection of vivid portraits and images of coal miners that does an excellent job at capturing an honest look at the hard work and dangers involved. He later on branched out and began to document other occupational subjects, as well.

One thing is for sure. Viewing Dotter’s images can definitely leave an impacting reminder to all safety leaders of their purpose: to protect all workers from health and safety hazards. If you’d like to see more of his work, take 5 minutes to view Dotter’s work through his website at

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Need Fire Extinguisher Training for Your Crew?

Who requires fire extinguisher training?

OSHA requires fire extinguisher training for your staff if they are expected to user fire extinguishers. Here is what the OSHA regulations say:

1910.157(g)(1) Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, the employer shall also provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage firefighting.

1910.157(g)(2) The employer shall provide the education required in paragraph (g)(1) of this section upon initial employment and at least annually thereafter.

Our hands-on approach includes instruction on the following topics:
  • Overview of the fire protection equipment
  • Review of proper procedures and fire evacuation routes
  • Emergency preparedness training
  • Alertness to fire hazards
  • Review of the types of fire extinguishers and their proper use
  • Identification of the classes of fires and how each is fought
  • Hands on extinguisher practice
Watch a preview of one of our hands-on classes held in Orlando, FL:


To register for a class or schedule onsite training, visit

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Foot Wear Safety

A common question we often receive from our safety partners is: When and where is foot protection required?

The OSHA standards for foot protection are performance-based. In other words they do not specifically explain when foot protection is required they only state that “each affected employee shall wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole…”  For that reason it is important to review the type of hazards your employees face in addition to the policies of your customers.

In any case, all safety foot wear must have the proper approval. OSHA originally referred to the ANSI Z41 standard however in 2005, the ANSI Z41 standard was withdrawn and replaced by two new American Society of Testing Material (ASTM) International Standards. The new ASTM standards are F2412-05 Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and F2413-05 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection.

So you are probably still wondering when and where is foot protection required…

Typically safety footwear with impact protection would be required for:

Carrying or handling materials such as packages, objects, parts, or heavy tools that could be dropped; and, for other activities where objects might fall onto the feet.

Similarly safety footwear with puncture protection would be required:

Where sharp objects such as nails, wire, tacks, screws, large staples, scrap metal, etc., could be stepped on by employees, causing a foot injury.

Some occupations (not a complete list) for which foot protection should be routinely considered are:

Shipping and receiving clerks, carpenters, electricians, mechanics and repairers, plumbers, drywall installers and lathers, welders, laborers, landscapers, window installers, timber cutting and logging, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers.

Keep in mind that OSHA does not state that approved foot protection is required for these areas/activities; rather, they give you the responsibility for determining what foot protection is necessary and when it is necessary!


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Fourth of July Fireworks, Be Safe Not Sorry

Everyone enjoys fireworks and around this time of the year, patriotic flashing colors coming from our neighbors’ yards and shooting up in the sky cannot seem more appropriate. However, if you are one of the many Americans who celebrates the Fourth of July this way, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that some fireworks can be dangerous. So when you go out this weekend to pick out Tuesday’s firework line-up, it is highly recommended that you only buy consumer fireworks from a licensed store or stand.

Consumer fireworks regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are packaged in bright colors and have safety warnings on the packaging. Typical consumer fireworks include fountains, cones, sparklers, fire crackers, bottle rockets and multiple tube products.

Illegal explosives are often unpackaged and are wrapped with plain brown paper. They are very unlikely to have any safety warnings, or place of manufacture. Many of them are hand made in illicit factories. They go by names such as M80, Quarter Stick or Cherry Bomb.

Also remember to follow these basic rules:

  • Only use fireworks outdoors.
  • Children under age 16 should only use fireworks with ADULT SUPERVISION.
  • Always have a bucket of water, or water hose, nearby.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix!

Parents should pay special attention to children using sparkers. Sparklers reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Children should not touch the lit portion of sparklers, throw them or play games with them. Sparklers can be dangerous, if used improperly.

Watch a 6 minute video on fireworks safety at

For more information on safety tips, visit


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The best practice of “5-S”

5S Before

Among the world-class manufacturing technologies perhaps the most widely used is the 5-S system.

Originally conceived to create a clutter-free, well-organized, spic-and-span working environment in factories, 5S is now seen as a widely applicable concept regardless of industry and size of company.

Safety Links has almost 10 years of practical experience assisting our Safety Partners including government agencies, manufacturers, and even medical providers implement the 5-S system.

The principle behind 5-S is that in order to achieve high levels of quality, safety, and productivity, workers must have a conducive working environment.  Conversely, a cluttered, disorganized workplace demotivates employees and hinders any attempt to improve their efficiencies.5S Before5S After

Before & After

For more information about the 5-S System (Click Here) or call Trevor Reschny at 407-760-6170


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It’s hurricane season- Time to think about your business continuity plans

Although a disaster could affect your company at any time, the beginning of the hurricane season is a great time to further develop your Business Continuity, Contingency Planning & Disaster Recovery plans.

Developing a business continuity plan is an essential and unavoidable task. Although the creation of a sound plan may be a complex undertaking, it pays huge dividends in the event of an emergency. A great success story comes from one of our partners. In 2004 their Human Resources department would have lost the personnel records of over 1500 of their employees after a flood. Fortunately the vulnerability of their key business records was identified, and beginning the previous year they had digitized their paper records.

So what exactly is a Business Continuity Plan? In plain language, a Business Continuity Plan is how an organization prepares for future incidents that could jeopardize their core mission and their long-term competitiveness. These potential incidents include local incidents like building fires, regional incidents like hurricanes and national incidents like pandemic illnesses.

To start to develop or improve your plans follow these three basic steps.

Conduct Business Impact Analysis

The first step in a sensible business continuity process is to consider the potential impacts of each type of problem. After all, you cannot properly plan for a disaster if you don’t know the likely impacts on your business/organization.

A business impact analysis is essentially a means of systematically assessing the potential impacts resulting from various (unavailability) events or incidents

You should ask yourself “What do I do when we cannot use our facility?” or “What can I do now to better prepare my business unit to respond when our facility is unavailable?”  Why it is unavailable isn’t the issue. It could be as a result of a fire, tornado or massive power outage. Consider that your offices and all of the resources you have available for day-to-day operations are no longer available.

The business impact analysis is intended to help you understand the degree of potential loss (and various other unwanted effects) which could occur. This will cover not just direct financial loss, but other issues, such as reputation damage, regulatory effects, etc.

Develop Plan

Creation of a living business continuity plan is far from a trivial exercise. Every aspect of the plan must be carefully managed to ensure that it does not fall short when most needed.

Having stated this however, it is equally true that the creation of a plan is often made far more difficult than actually necessary.

Essentially your plan must describe what you are going to do in the event of an emergency and what you are going to do to limit your losses?

For example, how will you communicate with your employees and the press? How will you notify your customers and key vendors? How will you ensure that you have what you need to operate if something happens? This includes business information, records, statements, and so on.

In this plan you must also define who will be responsible for what, how will you train your staff and employees, in addition you must define how will you update and distribute the plan.

Plan implementation, maintenance and testing

Having developed your business continuity plan, it is sensible to actually implement it and to perform an overall audit… not just initially, but at regular intervals. This helps ensure that it remains current, and that it stands up to rigorous examination. This should also cover all the plan’s supporting contingency arrangements.

Various options are available. A common approach is to ‘brainstorm’ the plan, via intensive meetings and workshops.  Another is to hire specialist consultants – recognized experts in the field.

Please feel free to contact Safety Links if you need any assistance developing or evaluating your plan. Whether you are entirely new to business continuity management, or whether you have an established contingency plan already in place, we can help!

For professional assistance, give us a call at 407-353-8165 or email at to start your business continuity plan.

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Let’s Not Overlook the Young Workers!

CareerSafe Online, an organization dedicated to promoting and educating young workers in the secondary and post-secondary levels on safety, has announced “National Young Worker Safety Day” on June 25. This is a smaller part of the larger safety campaign “A Million Safer: A Young Worker Safety Initiative” which its ultimate goal is to help 1,000,000 students attain OSHA training by December of 2015.

In order to raise awareness, the new campaign focuses on calling all the country’s mayors to participate in this initiative in efforts to lower injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Within the age demographic, every two minutes one young worker is injuried in the workplace and every five days, one young worker is killed. Eighty percent of this statistic comes from high school-aged workers.

Municipalities are encouraged to learn more and get involved. If you would like to find out more about National Young Worker Safety Day, visit or to make a difference.

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Working Safely With Nanomaterials


Recently, the topic of working safety with nanomaterials has been gathering more attention. According to The International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 229, the definition of a nano-object is a material with one, two, or three external dimentions in the 1- to 100 nm size range. When arranged as a group, they are called nanomaterial. Basically, nano-particles are so small that they are able to penetrate cell membranes, integrate into larger molecules and sometimes even interfere with cell processes. This is expecially of concern when it could possibly be found in everyday cosmetics or grooming products that are highly under-regulated.


Resources with safety suggestions and methods for handling nanomaterial for research and development, however, are now easier to find. One of them by NIOSH, has been published as a public document with suggestions on engineering control and was created to be meant as an addition to an already established laboratory safety procedures and a chemical hygiene plan. A very thorough and easy to follow explanation of methods and suggestions, the main subjects to safely working with nano-particles in the document are as listed:

  1. Risk Management- This includes the below hazard identification, exposure assessment, and exposure control.
  2. Hazard Identification- Determining the type of danger a particle entails is part of this section. Also consider whether nanoparticles are hazardous by inhalation, dermal exposure, or ingestion.
  3. Exposure Assessment- Identifying different ways of potential exposure through tasks done also help to safely prevent danger. Dustiness, process, and quantity, duration, and frequency of tasks can influence the level of danger when exposed.
  4. Exposure Control- Some recommendations on control include elimination or substitution, isolation and engineering controls (such as containment or ventilation), administrative controls (employee training, labeling, storage), personal protective equipment (clothing, respirators, etc.), local exhaust ventilation,
  5. Other Considerations- This includes scenarios such as fire control and explosion to spills management.

To view the full PDF document, visit

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Top Risk Assessment Mistakes

Here is an interesting risk assessment article found in EHS Today. Lyon and Bruce Hollcroft, CSP, ARM, CHMM are directors of risk control at Hays Companies and were present at this year’s ASSE Safety 2012 Conference on June 5 at the Colorado Convention Center.

According to the duo, the following lists the top 10 mistakes when a risk assessment done:

  1. Failing to perform a formal risk assessment.
  2. Failing to define the purpose and scope of the assessment.
  3. Failing to understand organization’s acceptable risk level.
  4. Failing to assemble the best team possible to perform the risk assessment.
  5. Failing to use the best risk assessment technique.
  6. Failing to be objective and unemotional during the assessment.
  7. Failing to identify hazards and see combined whole-system risk.
  8. Failing to consider the hierarchies of controls or prioritize by risk.
  9. Failing to perform risk assessment during the design/redesign stage.
  10. Failing to communicate before, during and after the assessment.

“Figure out what you can share and share it,” Hollcroft said. “Failure to communicate is a huge shortcoming when we conduct risk assessments.”

To view the original article from EHS, visit

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It’s like a fully loaded Boing 737-700 crashes everyday in this country.

I read an interesting article yesterday about OSHA, safety and politics.  Although I don’t agree with everything in the article I do feel it makes some interesting points.  

What do you think about the article?

Please comment about it on our blog.

Now remember this conversation could get political so be nice!


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