A One-on-One Interview with NFPA’s New President Jim Pauley Pt. 2

October 31, 2014 by


Continuing where we left last week, here is the remainder of our one-on-one sit down with New President of the NFPA Jim Pauley.

Q: Although the numbers are improving, each year, fires kill and injure hundreds of employees and cost U.S. businesses
billions of dollars in property damage.
What actions are needed to dramatically reduce the incidence of workplace fires in this country?

A: While fires in the workplace are trending in the right direction, it was just over one year ago that the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion and fire devastated a local community.

Fires in the office or industrial or other commercial buildings we work in aren’t always of the same magnitude as West, Texas, but they nonetheless cause death and injury, as well as direct and indirect economic loss.

Addressing fire safety issues at work needs to start at the top — a culture of safety as part of the organization’s commitment to worker safety.

It is easy to say, “That’s an OSHA thing or the inspector will see that” — but those people are not there 24 hours a day. They may only appear once a year or even less frequently.

Empower employees to speak up and to look for basic fire hazards — exit doors propped open; clutter or storage in exit stairs; extension cords or power taps that are overloaded or showing signs of wear and tear.

Develop and set your own in-house guides to identify these hazards. Make the people that are there every day the inspectors.

Q: Are there specific areas where most
companies fall short in their fire prevention efforts?

A: There is a tongue-in-cheek saying that notes there are three main causes of fire: men, women and children.

To illustrate this point, nearly 30 percent of fires in office buildings are caused by cooking equipment. The human element cannot be overlooked.

Written policies around use of coffee makers, hot plates and microwave ovens can help attack that one problem area.

Q: The regulations pertaining to fire safety and property protection are numerous and quite complex. Do most small to midsized organizations need outside help — say, in the form of consultants — to facilitate

A: I wouldn’t necessarily say in the form of a consultant, except perhaps for certain complex buildings. However, an investment should be made in robust programs that address inspection, testing and maintenance of building systems, including fire protection systems.

The building fire protection systems, along with HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, require periodic checks. These preventative maintenance programs, usually conducted by an outside specialty contractor once a year or so, can catch and remedy a lurking ignition source or a system component that might be on the brink of failure.

Q: Finally, if you could offer employers one piece of advice regarding fire safety, what would that be?

A: One of NFPA’s flagship codes, NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® was developed because of a workplace fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in 1911 in which 146 workers perished.

NFPA 101 addresses the brick-and-mortar concepts — construction and materials, layout and configuration of exits, system requirements and some of the inspection items mentioned before.

The code also addresses the need to have an emergency plan. Company management needs to have procedures nailed down before something happens.

Even when all of the systems work the way they are intended, a plan needs to be developed so all of the building occupants know what actions and responses they need to take should a fire occur.

Following these basic ideas means everybody does come home — and everybody goes back to work the next day.

Why Has Lock-out/Tag-out Remained an OSHA Top 10 Violation?

October 30, 2014 by


Failure to establish program(1910.147(c)(1)), Failure to develop procedures for energy control(1910.147(c)(4)(i)), Failure to conduct employee training(1910.147(c)(7)(i)), Failure to conduct periodic inspections(1910.147(c)(6)(i)), and Failure to have adequate procedures(1910.147(c)(4)(ii)). Year over year lock out tag out has remained one of the most cited violations by OSHA, so why do you continue to make the same mistakes expecting a different outcome? Perhaps the root cause of the continued noncompliance is as simple as not knowing what exactly it takes to become compliant. Let’s break it down a litter further.

When creating a compliant lock out tag out program for your facility you should pay close attention to:

  • Clearly and specifically outlining the scope, purpose, authorization, rules, and techniques to be utilized for the control of hazardous energy, and the means to enforce compliance
  • Outline proper procedures for each machine individually
  • Steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking and securing machines
  • Steps for the placement, removal and transfer of lockout devices
  • Specific requirements for testing a machine or equipment to determine and verify the effectiveness of lockout devices
  • What hardware will be provided by the employer for isolating, securing or blocking of machines or equipment from energy sources.
  • All Lockout devices and tagout devices are specified for a singular use

With such an intricate system it is easy to over look a step within the process. As a means of double checking your work, make sure that after you have created an effective plan for your facility that you seek out additional opinions from employees, an OSHA consultation, or other managers. Be sure to train your employees thoroughly on the protocol you have put into place and keep a regular routine of reviewing and updating your procedures to make sure you never fall behind with new updates to compliance regulations.

For more information on lock out tag out standards visit: http://1.usa.gov/1F3Inny

Workplace Safety News Roundup

October 28, 2014 by


A lesson in chemicals workers breathe in the workplace and their lasting effects

OSHA devotes most of its budget and attention to responding to here-and-now dangers rather than preventing the silent, slow killers that, in the end, take far more lives. Over the past four decades, the agency has written new standards with exposure limits for 16 of the most deadly workplace hazards, including lead, asbestos and arsenic. But for the tens of thousands of other dangerous substances American workers handle each day, employers are largely left to decide what exposure level is safe. As a result, many workers have been put at risk and have suffered long lasting effects from their daily tasks reaching far beyond the workplace.

OSHA cites Company over LOTO and Confined Space violations leading to long time workers death

A 48-year-old supervisor was fatally injured when he was struck by a metal door while performing maintenance at a Miamisburg company. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the company for 10 serious violations, many involving OSHA’s confined space and lockout/tagout standards* for the control of machinery and moving parts.

OSHA continues outreach campaign to educate employers to reduce struck by vehicle incidents

In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration have involved vehicle accidents that struck employees in the workplace. Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional vehicles, forklifts, semi trucks and other moving industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. OSHA is continuing its Regional Emphasis Program in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska with the goal of educating employers and workers about the hazards associated with these vehicles and preventing tragic incidents.

Lack of Qualified workers, What can be done?

It may seem hard to believe but, despite national unemployment rates that often hover near double digits, many industries are experiencing worker shortages; workers who are well-trained and qualified. Some industries report that, despite an abundant labor pool, they still have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates to fill.

The Spread of Disease in Your Workplace

October 23, 2014 by


The Ebola virus is capable of posing severe, life-threatening risk, but it is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the likelihood of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low at this point in time. A person must first have been in close physical contact with an infected patient, their blood or bodily fluids and secondly have active symptoms themselves in order to spread Ebola onto others. Even though Ebola might not pose an immediate threat in your workplace at the moment there are sure fire ways to cut down on the potential for the spread of germs and harmful bacterias throughout your workplace.

Preventative actions:

  • Get vaccinated for flu season.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve.
  • Keep frequently touched common surfaces clean
  • Avoid sharing phones, desks, office supplies, computers, or other work tools and equipment. If you must use a coworker’s equipment, consider cleaning it first with a disinfectant.
  • Avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with coworkers and others who may be ill.
  • Stay in shape. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and relaxation.
  • Participate in any training offered by your employer.
  • Stay at home if you begin to develop symptoms.

Last year it was SARS and Swine Flu, this year Ebola and Enterovirus are on our radar; however germs and bacteria are always around and can just as easily cause illness and spread. This year’s current events should act as a reminder of how important it is to foster a clean and healthy workplace at all times throughout your facility not just when it is making headlines.

For more information on Ebola, and other infectious disease protocol visit:



A One-on-One Interview with NFPA’s New President Jim Pauley Pt. 1

October 21, 2014 by


When Jim Pauley became president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in July 2014, it seemed a natural evolution for a man whose career has been steeped in codes and standards-related activities. With more than 65,000 members, the NFPA is the world’s leading authority on fire safety, having developed hundreds of fire prevention protocols adopted by facilities across the globe.

As he settles into what could arguably be described as his most challenging role to date, Pauley took time to answer some questions regarding fire safety in the workplace.

Continue reading for this weeks first installment in this 2 part series.

Q: You became president of NFPA in July 2014. What inspired you to take on this challenging role?

A: The mission and the passion of the people at NFPA is really what brought me here. I had been involved with NFPA for more than 20 years as a member, committee member, committee chair and customer. I had great respect for the organization.

As the search for a new president got underway, I realized that being able to lead such a great organization was really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Q: The NFPA is a very large, multi-faceted organization. Where do you plan to focus your efforts as you settle in to your new position?

A: We are a large, multi-faceted organization, but our mission is very straightforward — “Reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life.”

That mission provides the focus. I describe it in two simple ways: First, everybody comes home — our first responders, our electrical workers and the general public. Second, everybody has a home to go back to.

Are we making people safer at home? Have we educated them about the devastating impact of fire at home and how to prevent it?

Q: In broad terms, how does the NFPA help companies address fire safety?

A: I believe we do that in two ways.

First, through our codes and standards — we have many of the best practices and technical details about how to protect a commercial or industrial location from fire.

Second, we have many programs and materials that companies can use to educate their own employees about the hazards of fire both at work and at home.

Check back next week for the second half of this interview when Jim Pauley answers questions on necessary preventative action to reduce workplace fires, common pitfalls, and help breaking down NFPA Regulations.

*Excerpts taken from Robi Garthwait’s interview with Jim Pauley



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