Archive for April, 2010

Understanding Padlock Keying Options

April 30, 2010

OSHA Regulation 1910.147 is the standard for the Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout).  It’s a very important regulation with serious consequences if it’s not understood and followed. One of the components is the use of padlocks  in your lock-out/tagout program. As you know, there are many choices when it comes to padlock selection. Top brands such as Master® and American Lock® offer various color choices, keying options, materials, shackle lengths and diameters to suit your needs.  Here are the basic steps to selecting a padlock:

Step 1: Select a brand- Master® or American Lock® are the highest quality padlocks on the market.

Step 2: Determine the number of people or departments included in your Lock-Out program to decide which keying and color options you’ll need.

Step 3: Know what you are locking out. The power sources and the hardware used determines the best shackle length and diameter you should choose.

A user-friendly Keying Option Chart diagram will help you better visualize your choices.  These are the differences that you need to keep in mind:

Individually-Keyed- each padlock is keyed differently for maximum security for individual users

Master-Keyed- each padlock is keyed differently and can be opened by a master key (sold separately) for supervisor control.

Keyed-Alike- all padlocks are keyed the same. The same key opens all padlocks.

Keyed-Alike by Color- all padlocks of the same color are keyed the same. Same key opens all padlocks of that color only.

 

Keyed-Alike Sets- padlocks within the same set are keyed-alike, but are keyed differently than other sets.

Master-Keyed Sets- padlocks are individually keyed with a master-key that opens any lock within that set.

Besides padlocks,  Emedco has a large selection of other high quality lock-out and electrical  products to keep you compliant.  For example, Lock-Out Signs and Labels, Tags, Lock-Out DevicesGroup Lock Boxes, Cabinets, Stations & Storage and Lock-Out Training.  Make Emedco your One-Stop Safety Source- Your Way, Today, Guaranteed!

-Donna Kolody

What's the best way to reduce workplace injuries?

April 29, 2010

We all agree that reducing workplace injuries and keeping employees safe is important. But there are different schools of thought on how exactly to achieve that. On one hand, some feel that more regulations and stricter fines are the most effective way to ensure employees are protected. On the other, some think that creating a workplace committed to safety is the more effective.

Those who support the idea of stricter fines and more regulations will be happy to know that in the near future OSHA will be introducing a new program to help protect workers in all types of jobs. The program is called the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

This program is designed to concentrate OSHA’s effort more specifically on the repeat offenders – companies that are obstinate and show a lack of concern for safety laws and regulations. The program will  increase the number of OSHA inspections at those companies as well as increase fines for repeat offenders. Hopefully this program pushes companies to comply with safety regulations out of fear of harsher  fines and penalties.

In a recent news release announcing the program OSHA stated that: “For many employers, investing in job safety happens only when they have adequate incentives to comply with OSHA’s requirements. Higher penalties and more aggressive, targeted enforcement will provide a greater deterrent and further encourage these employers to furnish safe and healthy workplaces for their employees.”

This reasoning supports the idea that greater fines and penalties are the way to reduce workplace accidents and injuries.

So, okay. That makes sense. But is there more we need to do? Fines and penalties may serve as motivation to ensure workers are safe, but that is reactionary rather than proactive.  We can’t sit back and assume that inspections and fines are going to fix everything.

This is where the other side of the debate comes into play. Making employees committed to safety is an important part of maintaining an injury free workplace. If employees take ownership of the safety program and feel that they play an integral part in developing and maintaining that program, then they are more likely to follow all safety regulations. It may even cause employees to start suggesting safety improvements that they feel are important.

Overall, I don’t feel that either approach will solve the workplace injury issue. I think a combination of fines and regulations paired with a stronger sense of ownership for safety in one’s workplace will help reduce the number of workplace injuries and accidents.

What do you think?

Posted by got2 love safety

Stylish evacuation marking

April 28, 2010

Every building is required to mark evacuation routes in case of an emergency – why not do it with style?

Emedco has a line of Interior Decor Signs that not only glow in the dark for safer evacuations, but contain braille for the visually impaired.  Basically you’re getting 3 signs in 1!

Why these signs are great:

  1. Interior Decor signs are Emedco’s upscale sign, perfect for offices or really any place that has a nicer image than the inside of  a warehouse.
  2. Adding Grade II Braille makes these signs compliant with ADA which improves the safety of the visually impaired who work or visit your building.
  3. Glo-Mor glow-in-the-dark material lights these signs up for over 6 hours and they meet 5 safe evacuation regulations.

The Glo-Mor Braille Interior Signs cannot be scratched or defaced, and they are safer in an emergency than standard non-glow signs.

Should your business be awarded based only on price?

April 28, 2010

We all know what the downturn in the economy has had on the bottom line.  One of the most notable effects has been how purchasing managers switch to different vendors with cheaper products.  But the question that comes up is:  Do the new materials really cost less in the long-term?

When a new vendor is chosen, there will inevitably be a change in the material itself.  Does your new product have the same durability as what you are used to getting?  Steven Toth, a Health and Safety Coordinator at Aero Instruments and Avionics in North Tonawanda says, “while a low price is nice, if it doesn’t work or has to be repeatedly replaced, it’s not a good value.”  He purchases plastic duro-tags from Emedco because the tags don’t need frequent replacing.  In fact, he hasn’t had to replace his eyewash inspection tags for 3 years!

Work with your purchasing and quality assurance teams when making these decisions.  The time and money your company spends to research and try out new vendors may not make it cost-effective in the long-term.

-BDust

Hazard communication labels: What are your options?

April 28, 2010

Many companies use chemicals as an integral part of the way they make products, provide services or keep their facilities clean. To protect workers from potential chemical hazards, OSHA requires employers to label each chemical in their facility with the identity of the chemical and the appropriate hazard warning.

There are multiple labeling formats you can choose from to ensure you are in compliance with OSHAs’ regulations. Your options?

1. National Fire Protection Association Format (NFPA):
The NFPA format for hazard communication labels, signs and tags is the most common format available. This format’s signature graphic is the four-color diamond. The colors on the diamond indicate the type of hazard, while the numbers, letters and/or symbols indicate the severity of the hazard.

Color reference is as follows:

  • Red = Fire Hazard
  • Yellow = Instability/ Orange = Physical Hazard
  • Blue = Health Hazard
  • White = Specific Hazards or Protective Equipment

In addition to the standard NFPA label, there are two other NFPA formats – each featuring slight modifications.

The first is the Target Organ format. This format includes diagrams or check boxes where you can  indicate specific areas of the body that the chemical could have an effect on, such as the skin, lungs, eyes, etc.

The second is the Personal Protection format. This format features check boxes or icons where you can designate required personal protective equipment that must be used when handling the chemical, such as safety glasses or gloves.

2. Color Bar Identification System
Unlike the NFPA format hazcom label, the color bar identification system format does not feature the diamond symbol. The color bar format is set up exactly how it sounds, 3-4 color bars that indicate types of hazards and the severity level of that hazard.

Whichever format you choose, just ensure your chemicals are clearly and accurately labeled in your facility to avoid injuries and protect your employees.


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