Archive for October, 2010

Maintaining Hard Hats-don’t overlook it!

October 15, 2010

Most people don’t think of Hard Hats very often, we definitely take them for granted.  They are heavily used daily yet are an understated piece of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). The International Safety Equipment Association( ISEA) points out that they have done a good job protecting workers in a variety of work environments. They will provide a reasonable service life if given a little care and regular inspection.  To learn more about head protection regulations, click on:  ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009 Standard, OSHA 1926.100 for Construction and  OSHA 1910.135 for General Industry.

MSA VGuard Standard and Full Brim Caps

Here’s a little Hard Hat 101. There are two basic parts to it: the shell and the suspension, which work together as a system. Both need regular inspection and maintenance. The shell is rigid, light and is shaped to reflect a falling object. The suspension’s main purpose is to absorb energy. The suspension system inside the helmet is as important as the shell itself. It holds the shell in place on your head and holds it away from your head for free air flow. For that reason, it is important that the suspension be in good condition to perform that function. Over long periods use, the suspension can become damaged and worn.

Here are some ISEA recommendations:

1) Wearers should inspect the shell regularly. When cracks (even as small as hairlines), become noticeable, the helmet should be replaced because experience has shown, these cracks will spread and widen once they begin to form. Look for signs of abuse such as scratches or gouges. Shells exposed to heat, sunlight and chemicals can become stiff or brittle. There also can be visible craze pattern- it can be dull in color or have a chalky appearance. Be sure to replace these helmets also.

Also, never alter or modify the shell other than in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions to permit the use of accessories. Such accessory attachments may reduce the limited protection provided by the helmets. If it is necessary or desirable to use the numbers or symbols in the helmets for identification purposes, the ISEA recommends the use of reflective marking tape. Only the helmet manufacturer should paint the helmet to avoid the problem of the solvents in the paint that can make the helmets brittle and more susceptible to cracks

2) Replace the hard hat if it has sustained an impact from an object, even though no damage may be visible.

3) Whenever the fitness of a hard hat is in doubt, it should be taken from service immediately and destroyed.

4) Look closely at the suspension for cracking, torn adjustment slots, fraying material or other signs of wear, especially at the suspension lugs. Common causes are: by hair oils, perspiration, and normal wear.  It should be routinely replaced at least once a year under normal wear conditions.

5) The service life of the protective headgear can be lengthened by cleaning the suspension and shell as part of a regular inspection program. A wet sponge or soft brush with mold detergent and water will remove dirt and stains from the suspension and shell.

6) Employees should not carry anything inside the helmet. A clearance must be maintained inside the helmet for the system to work. In the event of a blow to the head, the space must be used to help absorb the shock of the blow.

Emedco has a large selection of complimentary products to go with your hard hats such as  Hard Hat Labels, Hard Hat Signs and other Personal Protective Equipment. More is added everday at!


Recognize Employees for Safety-Related Accomplishments

October 11, 2010

As 2010 winds down – it’s amazing it went by so fast- it might be a good time to start thinking about ways to recognize employees for their safety-related achievements over the past year. Recognition doesn’t have to include parties and expensive rewards. Instead, think about ways to thoughtfully show employees that safety is important and their efforts are appreciated.

Looking for ideas? Well I just so happen to have a few.

  • Certification Wallet Cards & Hard Hat Labels: Recognize employees for specific safety achievements, such as completing forklift safety training or being accident free for a certain number of years. You can also give them to employees for simply contributing to keeping the workplace safe all year. Employees can wear the hard hat labels or put the wallet cards with their badges as a sense of pride for their achievements.
  • Recognition Pins with Certificates: Give employees specialized pins related to some aspect of safety. Pair it with a personalized certificate to enhance the importance of the award.
  • Personalized Safety Signs: A fun and interesting way to recognize an employee may be to order a customized safety sign. Lots of companies allow you to customize safety signs. Why not put their name on one with a special message and recognize them that way? It will stand out and make the employee feel appreciated.
  • Safety Team Membership: If your facility has a safety team, consider making your top safety performer a member of that team for the following year. Not only will they feel pride for their achievements, but you’ll benefit from having a new member to add a different perspective to the team and serve as a connection to those working in your facility day to day.

If you have any interesting or unique ways you recognize employees for safety-related accomplishments, I’d love to hear them.  Sharing best practices and ideas is one of the best ways to we can ensure employees work safely and actively participate in our safety programs.

Posted by got2 love safety

OSHA Record Keeping: What Employers Get Wrong

October 6, 2010

I recently read an article on EHS Today that discussed common errors that employers make when keeping records of OSHA-related incidents at their facility. Written by one of the nation’s top OSHA law attorneys, Arthur Sapper, the article walks through the top ten errors made and provides guidance on how to avoid or deal with these issues.

The top ten errors include:

1. Misunderstanding OSHA-recordable work restrictions
Oftentimes employers assume an injury is not recordable as a work restriction if the employee can still perform useful work. If a worker is unable to perform a part of their job that was normally done at least once a week, the injury is recordable.

2. Assuming that light duty work is not a recordable restriction
A doctor’s requirement that an employee “work light” can be a recordable restriction. The only way it is not recordable is if the physician states that the employee may perform all routine work functions and work a full shift.

3. Not giving proper weight to the employee’s account of an injury
Do not discount an employee’s account of an injury just because there were no witnesses present.

4. Excessively relying on the employee’s failure to immediately report an incident
Do not always assume that because an employee did not immediately report an incident that it did not occur.

5. Misunderstanding OSHA’s regulations on reporting a workplace aggravation of a non-occupational injury
Take extra care in determining if an on-the-job incident caused a flare up of a previous off-the job  injury an employee had.  OSHA’s regulations on the point can be misleading.

6. Being influenced by non-OSHA record-keeping criteria
Don’t confuse recordability with compensation. Ensure the person doing the record keeping can focus strictly on OSHA criteria.

7. Not categorizing common first aid procedures as recordable medical treatment
Medical treatment is recordable unless it listed as an exception in OSHA’s regulations.

8. Incorrectly reporting use of prescription medication
Be aware that a physician’s recommendation for an employee to use non-prescription drugs at prescription strength is recordable.

9. Avoiding recordable cases
In some cases, employers try to avoid a recordable case by seeking the opinion of a second physician. OSHA has certain rules about the reliance on a second physician’s opinion.  Pay attention to those guidelines.

10. Not tracking later events
Employers should develop a system for recording subsequent events as a result of an injury, such as extended time away from work or follow-up doctor appointments in relation to the injury. Don’t get lazy.

This is just a brief overview of the top 10 errors. To read in more detail, check out the the full article, online.

What are pipe banding tapes?

October 5, 2010

Pipe Banding TapesSo you want to stay in compliance with ANSI pipe marking standards  but don’t want to purchase pipe markers to put all over your facility. What are your other options?

Try pipe banding tape. Pipe banding tapes are simple, self-adhesive tapes that you can easily wrap around pipes in your facility to identify pipe contents. They are available in colors that correspond with ANSI’s pipe marking color recommendations.

Some banding tapes are simple  solid colors, while others also include arrows so that you not only indicate pipe contents, but also the direction of flow – which is another aspect of ANSI’s pipe marking recommendations. Arrow banding tape is available in both flat and reflective materials so you can see the pipe marking in areas with varying levels of light.

Next time you want to mark a pipe in your facility, try pipe banding tape and let me know what you think. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Happy pipe marking.


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