Workplace Safety News Roundup

July 28, 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.

ASSE Foundation Awards $300,000 Grant to Study Workplace Fatigue

The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to a University of Buffalo researcher who proposes the development of a sensor-based, real-time assessment system that will enable safety practitioners to better monitor workplace fatigue. Studies have shown that fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment than drugs or alcohol.

Would you find this type of system beneficial in your workplace? Read more here.

OSHA Issues Temporary Enforcement Policy for Confined Spaces in Construction

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced a 60-day temporary enforcement policy of its Confined Spaces in Construction standard, which becomes effective Aug. 3, 2015. The agency is postponing full enforcement of the new standard to Oct. 2, 2015, in response to requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard.

Are you breathing a sign of relief at your facility? Find out more here.

Safety Innovations of 2015 so far

The safety world is always changing, evolving, finding new ways to protect. Check out these new products, published in the July 2015 issue of EHS Today, that are designed to keep you even safer than before.

Lifting Equipment Safety Tips

Unless you’re superman, you’re not going to be lifting heavy pallets anytime soon. Enter the forklift. Forklifts are great tools for businesses that need them. But, they can also be very dangerous. Safety is the primary concern around these heavy machines, so understand when they need to be inspected and fixed.

Do you use forklifts at your facility? Read more for helpful safety tips.

Another Visit from OSHA after 4 are now dead

In November 2014, a worker was overcome at a chemical manufacturing facility when a supply line unexpectedly released more than 20,000 lbs. of methyl mercaptan when she opened a drain on a methyl mercaptan vent line. Two co-workers who came to her aid also were overcome. None of the three wore protective respirators. A fourth co-worker – the brother of one of the fallen men – attempted a rescue, but was unsuccessful. All four people died in the building.

Read more about this safety incident.

Why Your Safety Program Is Failing

July 27, 2015 by


Everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done. Does this sound like the current status of your safety program. What is going wrong? Playing the blame game is not the way to get it headed in the right direction. Stop saying “they” and start saying “we”. Encourage a joint effort feel from the beginning. Making decisions in a bubble without any worker input, and then blaming others is a sure fire way to handicap your programs’ long term success right off the bat.

Here are some other issues that your program may be experiencing without you even noticing:

How You’re Speaking to Your Workers:  Is your delivery leaving much to be desires? Most people don’t enjoy intimidation tactics when trying to get them to change their habits. If your workers feeling like they are being made to do something, or what you are presenting to them is just another set of rules to follow, your message may fall on deaf ears. However, when determining your plan of attack, don’t go too far in the other direction either. Making safety protocol out to be a big joke won’t allow the severity of its importance to show through.

How You’re Evaluating Accidents: While there may be a “most likely” explanation as to how an accident happened on the job, that does not mean that the situation doesn’t warrant a full and thorough investigation. While it may seem like less paperwork upfront to have an open and shut case, in the long run all of those accidents will begin to pile up. With a thorough investigation from the beginning hopefully that will eliminate the need for continued investigations in the future.  This includes near misses which are often overlooked, under reported, or completely ignored.

How You’re Handling Corrective Procedures: Trying to change course and keep a problem from happening again should not including shaming and blaming. If a worker causes a safety breech it should be addressed, but also should be handled in the appropriate way. Being unusually harsh, judgmental and rude to workers will make others less likely to come forward in the future and will destroy worker buy-in to your safety program.

How You’re Receiving Worker Feedback: When workers come to you with safety questions or concerns, how are you handling them. Are you making a concerted effort to address their concerns or are you just pushing them aside? These workers are the ones that are on the job, interacting with these hazards on a daily basis. Their say should be heavily considered when making safety decisions that will most directly impact their well being. If you are sensing a pattern in the feedback you are getting try beginning your process with a risk assessment to help prioritize your objectives. Having concrete examples that you can share with your workforce to show them that you are not only hearing their concerns but looking into how to alleviate their concerns.

Traffic Trivia: Do You Know Your Traffic Safety Facts?

July 21, 2015 by

traffic safety sign

Driving is second nature, you have to drive to get anywhere in most areas. But just like you, everyone else has to drive to get to those same places, and there lies the problem. Parking traffic control can often become compromised when tensions rise and tempers flare as people continue to sit in traffic, which perhaps not surprisingly brings us to our traffic safety facts:

Times of Danger

The most dangerous hours on the roads on weekdays are the rush hours from 7:00 to 9:00 am and from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, however crashes are nearly twice as likely to be fatal during non-daylight hours. This might suggest that accidents occurring during rush hour times are those of frustration and mishandling of traffic safety sign that could perhaps be easily avoided.


Almost all road accidents are the result of human error across the board. The most common errors are:

  • Failing to check all angles and to look properly before proceeding – this is where traffic sign meanings are highly needed.
  • Failing to judge another person’s path or speed
  • Aggressive driving, road rage
  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Drunk driving
  • Fatigue
  • Losing control of the vehicle
  • Being reckless , hurrying
  • Speeding
  • following too closely
  • Inexperience
  • Distracted driving

Added Protection

With the introduction of the seatbelt in 1968, despite human error more lives began to be saved with the added protection from impact. Seatbelts when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injuries during a crash by 61%. Unfortunately, young adults 18-34 are less likely to click it than adults aged 35 or older.

Speed is a Factor

2/3 of all crashes where people are killed or injured happen where speed limits are 30mph or less. As the speed of impact goes up so does the probability of being fatally injured.

This is especially the case when pedestrians are involved; the risk quickly escalates:

  • Hit by a car at 20mph = Only 1 out of 10 pedestrian injuries will be fatal
  • Hit by a car at 30mph = about 50% of pedestrians won’t survive
  • Hit by a car at 40mph = 9 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed

These stats show us that safety can be managed if you know your traffic signs and carefully observing the causes and factors involving accidents on the road. Have you heard of pedestrians surviving near fatal car accidents? They’re very lucky-statistically speaking.

Facility Maintenance Checklist: Essential Guidelines for Preventive Facility Maintenance

July 17, 2015 by

Facility Safety Checklist

How long has that sandwich been in the fridge? Does the fire alarm even work? Is the lighting adequate? Big or small, these concerns throughout the workplace should not be avoided. Some may take longer than others to fix, but once implemented with regular facility maintenance–should be easy to keep up with.

It doesn’t always have to be during a formal walk through to make note of fixes. On your way back from lunch or on your walk to a meeting, notice if there are areas that are consistently out of order and require improvement. Voice your observations to your safety manager to better address and improve the current facility maintenance checklist in your workplace.

Here are common facility maintenance questions to ask:

  • Does it seem like there is an excess of paper, trash and other debris lying around. Check and see if there is a routine cleaning schedule and make sure to include it in your facility safety checklist.
  • Have production procedures changed recently? Ask yourself if the proper protocol was followed including training in facilities preventive maintenance, observation, positive reinforcement, correction, and evaluation.
  • If there is an emergency situation do you know what to do? Have there been drills for these types of situations.
  • Were you provided drawings of evacuations and exit routes, including areas of assembly? If layouts have changed, have these facility safety signs been updated?
  • As you walk around your facility, are areas clear of overstocked boxes and tripping hazards?
  • If there are hazardous chemicals in your facility, has a properly updated GHS program or workplace safety sign been instated?
  • Is eye protection available and worn during operations that cause flying particles, liquid chemical splashes or dangerous light radiation?
  • If respiratory protection is required, has the employer established and implemented a written respiratory protection program with site-specific procedures?
  • Is there a system in place for shutting down machinery before safeguards are removed and maintenance is started? Is there a system in place for when machines are re-energized to ensure all safety precautions are properly reinstalled? OSHA department of facility maintenance sets perfect guidelines in ensuring careful observance in facility safety.

Once you answered this basic safety checklist, you’re on your way to a cleaner, safer workplace. Your facility maintenance and safety manager will appreciate having an advocate in you as well.

Driving Deaths Are Up: Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

July 13, 2015 by

traffic safety

Get your motor running, head out on the highway, watch out for crazy drivers, and whatever distractions come your way! Let’s get right to it, driving is becoming a problem in a major way. People are in a hurry and sacrificing others’ safety while they’re at it. “Molly” can wait for a response about dinner, “Sal” from the next site will see you soon enough, and alert big boss “Mark” of your status before you get out on the road, it’ll be better for everyone in the long run.

Traffic related deaths have been at a steady increase for the past 6 months and are set to keep going up up and away all summer long. More driving, more traffic, more hassle. It’s easy to lose your cool but think of the alternative, ain’t nobody got time to become a part of that statistic.

Some quick tips to keep you out of harm’s way and keep you partying all summer long:

  • Cliché but true: DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE, eyes on the road, don’t even make phone calls if you can avoid it
  • Long day ahead? Make sure your car is as up for the challenge as you are
  • Traffic is the worst: if your think it’ll be a busy travel day, take the road less traveled
  • Find a happy place: Don’t let road rage get the best of you, if anything it will make the drive even longer and dangerous depending on who you’re messing with
  • Going out? Designate a DD or call an Uber
  • Wear a seatbelt!


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