Our Blog

  • How to Establish a Safety Program

    Obviously, you want your company to be safe. But what if you don't have a formal safety program in place? Where do you begin? How do you bring the entire company on board and help your employees catch the vision? We are often asked these same questions.

    If your company is starting from scratch, establishing a safety program can seem like a daunting task. But it is very important. That's why we've put together this blog post - to help you easily implement a solid safety program.

     

    construction worker leaning against orange cone

     

    1. Develop a plan of action that includes both management and employee involvement.

    It's essential to develop a program that will meet the needs of everyone within your organization. However, a binder filled with procedures is not going to help your employees stay safe. That's why we recommend employee safety representatives are part of the process. This will encourage their continued support and participation.

    2. Designate a health and safety representative.

    As with any good plan, you will need to assign someone to take this responsibility. This individual must have authority to do the job and the ability to work and interact with employees at all levels within the company. Choose someone that has the knowledge of both the facility and general safety requirements. The designated person should be credible knowledgeable about the operations. Management must give adequate resources (time, authority, money) to develop an effective program.

    3. Determine the health and safety requirements of the specific workplace and operations.

    In order to succeed, you need to figure out the established requirements associated with your company's location, operations and equipment. This will help you develop a hazard assessment strategy, pinpoint hazardous areas and procedures (causing significant injury or illness) and provide the background for correction and control strategies.

    To aid with this, you will need to look into:

    • OSHA laws, regulations, and standards
    • Equipment manuals
    • Chemical inventory
    • Employee capabilities
    • Accident and injury/illness history
    • Existing safety and health materials

    4. Conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace 

    Your ultimate goal is to identify and prevent hazards. Develop an initial plan for assessing the workplace with a comprehensive safety and health survey. During the initial survey, you will want to identify any hazardous situations and all violations of laws, regulations or standards.

    Effective strategies for an initial workplace survey include:

    • Floor plans
    • Storage areas
    • Processes
    • Equipment & Pedestrian pathways
    • Job hazard analysis

    Step 5: Correct identified hazards.

    Once identified, you should promptly correct all hazards.  This will build credibility of your company's health and safety policy. Financial resources may be required to correct some hazards. Every reasonable effort must be made to provide adequate funding to protect the workplace safety and health of your company. If a complete correction of a hazard is delayed, interim measures may be necessary in some instances. 

    Step 6: Keep the workplace hazard-free.

    Once hazards are corrected, ensure that the workplace remains hazard-free. Rules and procedures should be clearly stated and understandable. Although it is not always required, work rules and emergency procedures be in writing. 

    Once the procedures are established, it is important to develop a means for enforcing them. Enforcement is particularly important initially, when management will experience the most resistance to the new rules and procedures.

    Step 7: Train Employees in Safety and Health.

    We strongly recommend training employees in safety and health. Train employees about how company’s safety and health program will benefit them and they will make the program work. Retraining is wise (we recommend annually), since health and safety are long-term commitments. Similarly, training should be required for all new employees.

    Step 8: Keep the program up-to-date and effective.

    At this point, most of your hard work is done. However, it's important to maintain the new, safer environment you've created. Don't forget to document all the work you've done so it can be reviewed to determine program effectiveness down the road.

    By following these easy 8 steps, you are well on your way to establishing a safety program. Have questions? Give us a call, we're happy to help. 

     

     

    Read More

  • ISA GC Networking Event of the Year Booth Winner

     Thank you to those who stopped by our booth!

    ISA 2014 Post Event Thank You Letter for Hubspot2 resized 600

    Read More

  • OSHA likes Fall Hazards according to 2013 data.

    OSHA recently unveiled the Top 10 most cited OSHA violations of Fiscal Year 2013. (October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013).  All of the 2012 hazards remained on the 2013 list.  Some of the hazards moved up and a few fell from 2012 to 2013.  The top four OSHA violations remained the same and in the same order.  The following is a complete list of the top 10 most cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA. 

     

     

    Standard

    2013 Total Violations

    2012 Total Violations (Rank)

    1. 1926.501 - Fall Protection

    8,241

    7,250 (1)

    2. 1910.1200 - Hazard Communication

    6,156

    4,696 (2)

    3. 1926.451 - Scaffolding

    5,423

    3,814 (3)

    4. 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection

    3,879

    2,371 (4)

    5. 1910.305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods

    3,452

    1,744 (8)

    6. 1910.178 - Powered Industrial Trucks

    3,340

    1,993 (7)

    7. 1926.1053 - Ladders

    3,311

    2,310 (5)

    8. 1910.147 - Lockout/Tagout

    3,254

    1,572 (9)

    9. 1910.303 - Electrical, General Requirements

    2,745

    1,332 (10)

    10. 1910.212 - Machine Guarding

    2,701

    2,097 (6)

    Total Violations

    42,502

    29,179

     

    The OSHA violations list remains largely unchanged since 2011, with only minor differences in the order of the 10 standards.
    While the violated standards are not surprises, the most significant change from 2012 to 2013 is the number of violations.  To quantify the volume of 2013 OSHA citations, the 10th most cited standard in 2013 was cited more than the fourth most cited standard in 2012.  The volume of citations demonstrates OSHA’s rising enforcement efforts during the current administration. 

     

    Falls pose the greatest threat for workplace accidents and OSHA citations. 

    describe the imageSince fall protection violations have topped the list for the past two years, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) – Construction Sector to launch a campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about fall hazards in construction.  The campaign addresses the serious safety concern of falls from heights and ensures workers receive the education, training and fall protection equipment needed to stay safe when working at height. 
    Falls are the most common source of injuries and fatalities in construction. What can employers do to protect workers from falls and stay in OSHA compliance?


     Frequent fall citations include:

    • the failure to install and use guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems
    • the failure to prevent falls from roofs and open sides and edges
    • the failure to cover holes

     

     What does the OSHA fall safety stand  require?
    describe the image
    • evaluate worksites to identify fall hazards, including leading edges, roof lines, holes, excavations, openings in walls (including large windows) and skylights.
    • Provide fall protection if employees are exposed to fall of six feet or more.
    • Provide protection from falling objects for employees who are working below other workers.
    • Provide fall protection systems for each type of fall hazard.
    • Examples: guardrails, hole covers, safety nets, fences and personal fall arrest systems.
    • Conduct training of employees on the proper selection, use and maintenance of fall protections systems.
    If conventional fall protection systems are not feasible, employers may develop a fall protection plan.  The fall protections plan, written by a qualified person, must document why conventional fall protection systems are not feasible and what alternate measures the employer will take to prevent falls. 

    Falls can be prevented! 

     

    fall protection collage

     

    Training is one of the first steps a company can take to avoid OSHA citations and workplace accidents.  Providing effective training will reduce hazard creation and exposure, plus OSHA requires employers to train their workforce.  Another important tool to avoiding OSHA and injury is conducting periodic site safety audits.  This audit identifies site hazards, unsafe conditions and unsafe acts. Taking swift action to mitigate the hazard or unsafe act will lower the injury exposure and OSHA citation exposure.  We will be discussing how to conduct an effective safety audit and what to do with the data once it’s collected. This topic will be discussed in our March blogs. 
     

    links for OSHA and Fall Protection Assistance:

     

    OSHA Fall Protection Subpart

    Fall Clearance Calculator

    Safety Training

    OSHA etools for Fall Protection 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

    Read More

HEAT STRESS - Protecting Workers

Friday, July 29, 2011

Source: cdc.gov

OVERVIEW:

Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam.

Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.

Prevention of heat stress in workers is important. Employers should provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.

TYPES OF HEAT STRESS:

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Throbbing headache
  • High body temperature
  • Confusion/dizziness
  • Slurred speech

 

First Aid

Take the following steps to treat a worker with heat stroke:

  • Call 911 and notify their supervisor.
  • Move the sick worker to a cool shaded area.
  • Cool the worker using methods such as:
    • Soaking their clothes with water.
    • Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water.
    • Fanning their body.

 

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Workers most prone to heat exhaustion are those that are elderly, have high blood pressure, and those working in a hot environment.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Nausea
  • Clammy, moist skin
  • Pale or flushed complexion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Slightly elevated body temperature
  • Fast and shallow breathing

 

First Aid

Treat a worker suffering from heat exhaustion with the following:

  • Have them rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Have them drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Have them take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.

 

Heat Syncope

Heat syncope is a fainting (syncope) episode or dizziness that usually occurs with prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting or lying position. Factors that may contribute to heat syncope include dehydration and lack of acclimatization.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat syncope include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

 

First Aid

Workers with heat syncope should:

  • Sit or lie down in a cool place when they begin to feel symptoms.
  • Slowly drink water, clear juice, or a sports beverage.

 

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps usually affect workers who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture levels. Low salt levels in muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

Symptoms

Muscle pain or spasms usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs.

First Aid

Workers with heat cramps should:

  • Stop all activity, and sit in a cool place.
  • Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
  • Do not return to strenuous work for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Seek medical attention if any of the following apply:
    • The worker has heart problems.
    • The worker is on a low-sodium diet.
    • The cramps do not subside within one hour.

 

Heat Rash

Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat rash include:

  • Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters.
  • It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.

 

First Aid

Workers experiencing heat rash should:

  • Try to work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible.
  • Keep the affected area dry.
  • Dusting powder may be used to increase comfort.

 

Recommendations for Employers

Employers should take the following steps to protect workers from heat stress:

  • Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in hot areas for cooler months.
  • Schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day.
  • Acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments.
  • Reduce the physical demands of workers.
  • Use relief workers or assign extra workers for physically demanding jobs.
  • Provide cool water or liquids to workers.
    • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar.
  • Provide rest periods with water breaks.
  • Provide cool areas for use during break periods.
  • Monitor workers who are at risk of heat stress.
  • Provide heat stress training that includes information about:
    • Worker risk
    • Prevention
    • Symptoms
    • The importance of monitoring yourself and coworkers for symptoms
    • Treatment
    • Personal protective equipment

 

Recommendations for Workers

Workers should avoid exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible. When these exposures cannot be avoided, workers should take the following steps to prevent heat stress:

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.
    • Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing.
  • Gradually build up to heavy work.
  • Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity.
    • Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.
  • Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar.
  • Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.

 

CDC Resources

OSHA-NIOSH INFOSHEET: Protecting Workers from Heat Illness

MMWR: Heat-Related Deaths among Crop Workers, 1992-2006

CDC: Extreme Heat
Additional information on heat stress illnesses and prevention.
En Espaol

NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Hot Environments (Revised Criteria 1986)
This document presents the criteria, techniques, and procedures for the assessment, evaluation, and control of occupational heat stress by engineering and preventive work practices. Included are ways of predicting health risks, procedures for control of heat stress, and techniques for prevention and treatment of heat-related illnesses.

NIOSH: Working in Hot Environments
Workers who are suddenly exposed to working in a hot environment face additional and generally avoidable hazards to their safety and health. This publication discusses the safety and health consequences of heat stress.

OSHA-NIOSH INFOSHEET: Protecting Workers from Heat Illness

Health Hazard Evaluations

 

Other Government Resources

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Topics: Heat Stress
Provides a guide to information regarding the recognition, evaluation, control, and compliance actions involving heat stress.

OSHA Technical Manual Section III: Chapter 4 - Heat Stress
Provides descriptions of heat disorders, investigative guidelines, sampling methods, control, and PPE.

OSHA Sawmills eTool: Heat Stresses
Provides information on the hazards of heat stress and possible solutions or controls.

OSHA Quick Card: Heat Stress
Provides heat stress factors, symptoms, prevention tips, and first aid recommendations.
En Espaol

OSHA Fact Sheet: Protecting Workers from Effects of Heat   [PDF - 22 KB]
Provides information that will help workers understand what heat stress is, how it may affect their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.

OSHA Fact Sheet: Working Outdoors in Warm Climates   [PDF - 25 KB]
Hot summer months pose special hazards for outdoor workers who must protect themselves against heat, sun exposure, and other hazards. Employers and employees should know the potential hazards in their workplaces and how to manage them.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service: Heat Index

NOAA: Heat Wave - A Major Summer Killer   [PDF - 268 KB]
Provides general information regarding the recognition and control of heat stress.

Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA): Heat Stress - What to Do.
Provides documents related to heat stress in the mining industry.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Wildland Fire Safety - Heat Stress
This brochure focuses on the risks of heat stress, and what the firefighter should do to minimize those risks.

U.S. Army: Heat Index Calculator

Additional Resources

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists: Product Store - Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices
Purchase this document

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - Ergonomics of the Thermal Environment: Analytical Determination and Interpretation of Heat Stress Using Calculation of the Predicted Heat Strain
This document specifies a method for the analytical evaluation and interpretation of the thermal stress experienced by a subject in a hot environment. It describes a method for predicting the sweat rate and the internal core temperature that the human body will develop in response to the working conditions.
Purchase this document

ANSI - Ergonomics of the Thermal Environment: Medical Supervision of Individuals Exposed to Extreme Hot or Cold Environments
This International Standard provides advice to those concerned with the safety of human exposures to extreme hot or cold thermal environments.
Purchase this document

ANSI - Hot environments: Estimation of the Heat Stress on Working Man, Based on the WBGT-index (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature)
This document gives a method, which can easily be used in an industrial environment for evaluating the stresses on a individual. It applies to the evaluation of the mean effect of heat on man during a period representative of his activity but it does not apply to very short periods, nor to zones of comfort.
Purchase this document

NASD

  • NASD: Keep Cool
    Outdoor worker flyer about heat stress.
  • NASD: Dangers of Heat Stress
    Provides a script that can be used to deliver a 15-minute training session to employees. The text explains the impact that hot weather work can have on health, describes preventive measures, and touches briefly on first aid.
    En Espaol
  • NASD: Heat Stress
    A flyer that will enable the reader with information to be able to identify symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion, and know the emergency procedures for both.
    En Espaol

Texas A&M University - Texas Cooperative Extension: Coping with Hot Work Environments
En Espaol

Related Links

 

Contact Us:

Testimonials

John Orawiec, Safety Professional - Univ. of Illinios

"I had the opportunity to work with Jason Jones, Owner of Trinity Safety Group, in my capacity as an owner's safety representative. I found Jason to be thorough and forward-thinking. I whole-heartedly endorse Jason as a Safety Manager/Professional."