A Year In Preparedness: Tips for Preparedness Through All Seasons of Safety

September 2, 2015 by

EmergencyPreparedness

When you think preparedness what do you think of? First thing that pops into my head is hurricane season, evacuations, wild fires; national preparedness month is September which falls in line with that way of thinking, but where does that leave your preparedness plan for the rest of the year?  Preparedness really should be a yearlong, continuous effort; awareness of your local conditions and the steps your facility can take to protect your business assets against any dangers.

Winter, summer, spring and fall, they all bring with them causes for concern.

Fall: Leaves change, compliance stays the same? As summer says farewell, many start preparing for the back half of the year. Pushing to finish out strong and don’t forget inventory, leading to higher stress levels, longer hours and quite possibly more mistakes? Minds are tired, and rushed; a dangerous cocktail when it comes to protecting against real hazards that pop up when corners are cut. It’s almost the holiday season so we rush to get everything done, and work on.

Winter: the biggie. Blizzards, icy condition, and the sheer weight of snow pile up and where to put it all, as temperatures plunge to new found lows. Driving is dangerous and heck even walking is a hassle. Muscles are achy, people are sick and more often than not just in a cold mood. Still we find ways to deal and work on.

Spring: Hibernation to full court press. It’s been a long cold hard winter no doubt, but here comes rain, and a lot of it. When’s the last time you backed up your important files. Leaky roof, slips, trips, and falls, and processes in need of maintenance all in the name of “spring cleaning”. As your facilities prepare for a summer that passes in the blink of an eye, there is so much work to do to get production moving. In the name of driving revenue we prepare and work on.

Summer: Hot, Hot, Hot! We’re talking heat stress, and driving dangers behind the wheel and on the sidewalk. Working in direct sunlight leads to total body exhaustion, not to mention heightened risks for skin cancer, dehydration at the very least. All of this while more people are driving, it is the prime time for road work, and therefore more accidents on the roads, recently hitting dangerous highs not seen since 2007.  It’s summer though and the sun is out, so we suck it up enjoy it while it lasts and work on.

Before you know it you’re back at where you began and it’s time to do it all again. The point being there is no single time in the year when a facility should focus on “preparedness” because it is marked on a calendar.  In every safety meeting make it a point to go over preparedness tactic for your facility and the season of safety that you are in.

How are you keeping your facility prepared all year round?

 

Workplace Safety News Roundup

August 25, 2015 by

Workplace Safety News

Keeping track of new OSHA regulations and taking advantage of supplemental safety training and reading materials makes a big difference in the success of the programs you implement in your workplace. Seeing what others are doing both for the better and worse help mold an all encompassing safety initiative. Here is a sampling of some of the news buzzing around workplace safety this month.

OSHA final rule sets new process for making changes to State Plans

A new rule from OSHA aims to streamline the process of implementing changes to State Plans. An identical proposed and final rule were published in the Aug. 18 Federal Register. The rule eliminates references to standards that no longer apply, and deletes provisions that require State Plans to keep paper copies of approved programs and submit multiple copies of proposed State Plan documents to OSHA. Other rights and responsibilities of State Plans remain unchanged.

For more information click here

A New Standard for Beryllium

On Aug. 6, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a long-awaited measure aimed at protecting workers from harmful exposure to beryllium by proposing to dramatically lower the amount of beryllium allowed in the air that workers breathe. The proposed rule − which would apply to about 35,000 workers − is significant for many reasons, but two are especially noteworthy.

Read More Here

Company Ordered to Pay $536K for Retaliating Against Injured Worker

OSHA has ordered a  freight railroad to reinstate an employee and pay him $536,063 for retaliating against him after reporting a knee injury. The company  must reimburse the worker for back pay, damages and attorney’s fees. The company disciplined the worker after he reported his injury in November 2010. The employee then filed a Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) anti-discrimination complaint with OSHA in February 2011. The company fired him in August 2011. OSHA says the company violated federal laws protecting whistleblowers.

Read More Here

Texas worker injured after being denied safety equipment; employers cited

Despite his request for a safety harness, a temporary worker without fall protection on a roof later fell 12 feet through the roof. His fall resulted in his hospitalization with fractured arms and severe contusions.  The employer waited three days to report the injury, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found. Federal law requires employers to report such incidents within 24 hours.

Read More Here

Driver and Pedestrian Tips: Give Safety The Right of Way

August 19, 2015 by

shutterstock_257420494

What are some things that really make you crazy while out on the road: people cutting you off, traffic jams, distracted drivers, or worse-drunk drivers? While you are worrying about all of these, are you keeping in mind crosswalks and intersections where pedestrians may be crossing the street or walking along side your vehicle?

“Man versus machine” is never a fair fight and can easily turn fatal. Here are some pedestrian safety tips to keep in mind. Use these road safety tips for pedestrians and drivers next time you go for a drive/walk/ or ride.

Pedestrians:

  • Over 2/3 of pedestrian accidents happen outside intersections. Always use crosswalks and obey safety rules for pedestrians.
  • Use sidewalks where available. If there isn’t one, make sure to walk in the shoulder facing traffic and stay alert.
  • Wear clothing that makes you visible to traffic; neon colors, reflectors, flashlights. They are all great options.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption before or during your journey.
  • Don’t be unpredictable in your movements; it is much easier for a person to change direction than it is for a vehicle to stop or swerve to avoid your erratic movements.

Drivers:

  • Pedestrians are very hard to see especially when traveling at high speeds. Keep your eyes on the road, and drive defensively.
  • Never pass a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk. Chances are they are stopped because someone is crossing. Make sure to know the meaning of pedestrian crossing signs.
  • If you know you are passing a high foot traffic area such as schools, parks, or centers of town–slow down.
  • Eliminate distractions that take your eyes away from the road. Pedestrians don’t have to be in the middle of the road for your driving to endanger them. A slight swerve into the shoulder is sometimes all it takes.
  • Obey all posted pedestrian crossing signs including crosswalk signs, school zone signs, speed limit signs, stop signs and any other pedestrian safety signs as key indicators for the road ahead of you.

For more information on pedestrian road signs and statistics visit: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PedestrianSafety/

Harness the Fall Protection Safety Basics: What All Safety Managers Need to Know

August 13, 2015 by

personal protective equipment safety signs

Fall hazards are a serious issue, and I’m not just talking the daily tumble we all take rolling out of bed in the morning. In any case if we all know falls are a clear and present danger, why isn’t anything being done to better protect those in harm’s way? Year over year, OSHA announces fall protection as the most cited violation, and year over year even with OSHA’s fall protection requirements, the dangers remain the same.

Mobility of the hazard

Some of the issues may have to do with the mobility of the hazard. Workers at heights have to constantly assemble and disassemble, move to different sites and start the process all over again. Think of it this way, if you had to go to work, build your desk and chair, and then take it apart every day before you left, over time you might start to cut corners. It’s human nature, we’re lazy! But now think of this, if your life was on the line to build that desk would that change the approach you took? Absolutely! Now what if it was someone else’s desk/ life that was in your hands. It is difficult to pinpoint the root issue but it doesn’t hurt to remain well versed on the basics and to understand what is personal protective equipment.

Falls don’t only happen at heights; climbing a ladder or even walking on an uneven surface can result in serious injuries.

The most common situations that cause fall injuries include unstable walking or working surfaces, slick or slippery walkways, clutter, unsafe ladder usage, unguarded edges, wall opening or floor holes.

Fall injury costs

Fall injuries sure are expen$$$$ive!  They cost an estimated $70 billion annually in workers’ compensation and medical costs. WOWZERS! All tasks that involve working at any height should consider the available forms of fall protection equipment and which will best suit the job: PPE, fall arrest system, guard rails, personal protective equipment safety signs etc.

Successful fall reduction plan

The big question is now: What will it take to have a successful injury reduction plan complying with OSHA ppe requirements when it comes to workplace falls? It’s not a blink of an eye solution, an all encompassing action plan. The most important key to your plan will be how effectively you are able to engage you employees to retain the information they need to protect themselves and stop others from making dangerous mistakes. They can’t protect themselves from what they are not aware of.

Looking to find some more information about fall protection safety tips? Click here.

OSHA Compliance Update: Walking and Working Surfaces OSHA New Rule

August 7, 2015 by

OSHA Walking Working Surfaces Compliance

What have you been working on since 1990? The year the Simpsons aired for the first time, the Hubble telescope was placed into orbit, and the first navigation system was installed in a car. While all of that was happening, OSHA published the proposed rule addressing slips trips and falls in the workplace. Since then the issue of falls in the workplace has remained one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities. Noticing the need for an update OSHA reopened the rule for comments in 2003 which lead to a second proposed rule being published in 2010. After more than 2 decades in the making OSHA’s final rule on walking and working surfaces is set to be finalized, currently under final review by the white house.

View rule process here.

The New Rule

The new rule will specifically address floor and wall openings, stairs, ladders, scaffold, and elevated platforms. It will specifically impact the current regulation 29CFR 1910 Subpart D. The hope is that when this final rule is published it will provide more clarity, understanding and compliance flexibility in addition to consistency between construction, maritime, and general industry standards.

Changes

Some of the new expected changes will include the ability for businesses to choose from options when providing fall protection, clearly outlined methods of use for the different types of fall protection, and detailed expectations for training of workers around identifying fall hazards, addressing fall hazards, and properly protecting against fall hazards including the limitations of the provided methods of protections.

Check back with Emedco when they make it official for more information.

To view the proposed standard in its entirety click here


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