OSHA
OSHA Workplace Safety During the Holidays

There are numerous holidays in the months of November and December.  Just a quick look at Wikipedia confirmed at least 47 holidays for Christian, Secular, Hindi and Buddhist celebrations.  Each has its own traditions, decorations and food.  Given that large number, OSHA has some advice to keep workplaces safe during this time of year.  Don’t think this doesn’t apply to you and quit reading.  Think about the increase risks for personnel in warehouses and offices, on transportation teams, retail workers, etc.  E-Commerce is at an all time high which adds another layer to this busy season.

In the most recent Quick Takes Newsletter, there is a link to multiple resources which can be used for worker safety.  The link to reach those resources is https://www.osha.gov/holidaysafety.html.  I browsed through a few of the topics and here are just a few of the highlights.

  • Warehouse Safety Pocket Guide.  There are 10 OSHA standards that could apply to workers in a warehouse.  The standards include hazard communication, electrical safety, personal protective equipment (PPE) and forklifts.  There are also the hazards associated with loading docks, conveyors and charging stations to consider.  This guide provides a nice overview of the possible hazards and solutions for workers in the warehouse.
  • Safety Practices Once Tractor Trailer Drivers Arrive at a Destination.  While just a short 1-page resource, the information is a nice reminder not only for Continue Reading…
ICC Top 10 List
2019 Top Ten OSHA Violations

Top Ten lists are often the topic of very enjoyable discussions. Whether its movies, music, sports teams, or restaurants. However some top ten lists aren’t based on entertainment value and taste, some are based on more serious topics. As the year comes to a close, the National Safety Council and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for the 2019 fiscal year.

Once again, Fall Protection – General Requirements is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard in the most cited violations of 2019. This makes nine years in a row that Fall Protections has topped this list. Although there is some good news with that as the number of citations for fall protection was 7,720 last year and dropped down to 6,010 for the 2019 fiscal year. The rest of the preliminary list of OSHA’s Top 10 violations for the fiscal year 2019 also remained mostly the same from last year, with only one minor change. Lockout/Tagout, which was ranked No. 5 in 2018, is now No. 4, switching places with Respiratory Protection. Below is the 2019 most cited violations per OSHA.

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 6,010 violations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 3,671
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,813
  4. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,606
  5. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,450
  6. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,345
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 2,093
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,773
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,743
  10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye Continue Reading…
Safety
Staying Safe this Fall

If you have followed my blogs for any length of time you know that both my husband and I work in safety fields.  This means we drive our friends a bit nuts when we are together about staying safe.  They, in turn, humor us by attempting to do things safely when we are around.  It is a system that works well for us all.  Recently while together the conversation moved to the change in seasons.  Many look forward to a lessening of the heat and humidity in St. Louis while others lament the loss of daylight and snow.

That conversation got me to thinking.  Are there things that we, as normal, everyday people, should do to stay safe this fall? After some research on the websites for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Safety Council (NSC), and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), it turns out there are things that should be done during the fall to stay safe.  Below is a compilation of suggestions for your consideration.

Fall Safety Tips

  • Practice Safe Driving.  At this time of year, it is dark or twilight when people go to work and come home.  This is also an active time for many animals.  People are generally more active as well with the cooler weather.  Do not drive after you have been drinking at say a Halloween party.
  • Furnace readiness.  If needed Continue Reading…
Fire Safety
Fire Prevention Week 2019

Anyone that has taken a training class with me discovers my secret love of superheroes.  There is just something about them that makes life fun.  They show up in all sorts of places during training.  From signatures on shipping documents to addresses on packages, it is just a little something to make training a little less boring.  I bring this up because the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 6th-12th as Fire Prevention Week.  This year’s theme is – Not every hero wears a cape.  Plan and Practice Your Escape.

According to the NFPA website, some home fires can limit a family to only one or two minutes of time to get out and reach safety.  Let that sink in for just a little bit. Two minutes is not a lot of time to make life saving decisions.  This is why the goal of this year’s week is to have people make their own home escape plans AND to practice them. 

There are tons of resources on the NFPA site to help you.  Simply go to  https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Fire-Prevention-Week to see all of the options.  There are videos, activities for children, games and safety tip sheets. Many of these are free to download and use. In an effort to learn more about this year’s theme, I downloaded the Escape Planning Tips sheet on the website.  Continue Reading…

Superstitions in Reference to Safety – Take 3

Another Friday the 13th is upon us.  This is the third time we will look at a few superstitions to see if there is any benefit to us in regards to safety.  Keep in mind I am using superstition in a broad sense. For this blog, a superstition is any idea or belief that may not be entirely rational or scientific but is still used today.

Superstition #1:  Holding Your Breath While Passing a Cemetery

Death is always an odd subject that triggers varied reactions in people.  For many it is a sad time due to the loss of a loved one or friend.  A wake and funeral are held to honor their passing.  For others it is a chance to celebrate someone’s life, like the Second Line Parades in New Orleans.  For this particular superstition, you are supposed to hold your breath to prevent recently passed or evil spirits from possessing you to live life again.

From a transport point of view, this probably isn’t too great of an idea and should never be done.  In fact, there are several published articles in medical journals stating the negative effects of holding your breath for too long.  Some of the negative impacts are issues with blood sugar, coordination and even neurological damage.  Imagine a truck driver holding his breath as he passes a cemetery, especially a large one that Continue Reading…

PHMSA Announces Public Meeting to Solicit Input for 2020 Emergency Response Guidebook

On May 7, 2019, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced there will be a public meeting scheduled for June 17, 2019 to solicit input on the development of the 2020 edition of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). During the June 17 meeting, PHMSA will discuss different ways to determine the appropriate response protective distances for poisonous vapors resulting from spills involving dangerous goods considered toxic by inhalation in the “green pages” of the 2016 ERG. PHMSA will also discuss new methodologies and considerations for future editions of the ERG and outcomes of field experiments including ongoing research to better understand environmental effects on airborne toxic gas concentrations and other updates that will be published in the 2020 ERG. The 2020 ERG will be published in English, French, and Spanish and will increase public safety by improving emergency response procedures for hazardous material incidents across North America. For more information on how to be a part of the public meeting visit the link below:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/05/07/2019-09299/hazardous-materials-public-meeting-notice-for-the-2020-emergency-response-guidebook-erg2020

PHMSA first published the ERG Guidebook in 1973 for use by emergency services personnel to provide guidance for first responders during the critical first 30 minutes of hazardous materials transportation incidents. Since 1980, PHMSA’s goal has been to provide free access of the ERG to all public emergency response personnel including fire-fighters, police, and rescue squads. PHMSA has distributed more than 14.5 Continue Reading…

Transport Canada Updates ERAP Requirements

On May 1, 2019, Transport Canada issued an amendment to Part 7 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG). This part covers the requirements for Emergency Response Assistance Plans, or ERAPs. Details can be found at http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/2019-05-01/pdf/g2-15309.pdf.

ERAPs are unique to Canada, and are intended to ensure support for local responders in catastrophic spills, such as the 2013 Lac-Mégantic derailment. Essentially, they require consignor of significant amounts of high-risk dangerous goods to establish a specific protocol, often involving an on-call response team, that can assist local responders in case of a release. Transport Canada must review and approve the plan before the consignor can offer or import affected shipments (although the approval only has to be issued once.)

The amendment has three main goals:

  • clarify ERAP implementation and reporting;
  • enhance emergency preparedness and response; and
  • make housekeeping changes that address smaller issues.

The amendment replaces all the text of Part 7, although unamended requirements will remain the same. Changes also occur in Parts 1, 3 and 8.

Clarifying Implementation of ERAPs

The original requirements of Part 7 didn’t go into any detail as to how an ERAP would be implemented – presumably it would be by emergency responders or by the person with control of the released material, but it’s never been established precisely. The amendment addresses initial notification of an accident requiring ERAP response, and clarifies that the person with the ERAP Continue Reading…

International World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was created in 1919.  It is a United Nation’s agency that sets standards, policies and programs for the work force.  Comprised of workers, employers and governments the main goals are to “promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.”  Each branch, if you will, has equal footing in regards to what programs and actions are implemented.  

Starting in 2003, the ILO started “International Worker’s Memorial Day” as a way to bring awareness to workers and the workplace including accidents, diseases, safety and health.  It has evolved into the “International World Day for Safety and Health at Work” and is celebrated every year on April 28.  This date also coincides with the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers. 

Since the ILO is celebrating 100 years of existence in 2019, they are looking back at what the past 100 years and using that experience to look at the current and future workplace.  The theme to this year’s event is “A Safe and Healthy Future of Work: Building on 100 Years of Experience”.  There is a fantastic video on the ILO site found here that focuses on this year’s theme.  The longer report covers the changes to the workforce overtime and what are some of the upcoming changes.  The numbers in it are staggering when viewed from a global perspective.  It is well worth the read and is free to download.

Thinking about how Continue Reading…

OSHA HazCom 2012
OSHA Stance on Wearable Lithium Batteries

Here’s the thing. I am a TV junkie. A huge amount of my time has been dedicated to researching new shows, setting them up on my DVR, and watching said shows. One that has my attention right now is “The Rookie” starring Nathan Fillion. In the show, he is a 40-year old rookie cop in Los Angeles. It has my attention for multiple reasons aside from the obvious. The main REGULATORY one is the fact that every officer on the show wears a body camera. It got me to thinking … surely those body cameras come with rechargeable batteries. If so, what happens when in the course of the show, one of those cameras is damaged? My brain then jumped to what about workers who wear battery powered devices.

Believe it or not, OSHA recently published in their newsletter an article called, “Preventing Fire and/or Explosion Injury from Small and Wearable Lithium Battery Powered Devices”. You can find the article at https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib011819.html.

In this article, they do a good job describing batteries and cells as well as how they work. There is also a lengthy section on lithium battery hazards including what can cause enough damage to create fire and explosion risks. These include such things as physical impacts, usage/storing at temperatures too high or too low and failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

As to ways to prevent injuries Continue Reading…

Skull and Cross Bones
National Poison Prevention Week

The main part of my job is to train companies, workers, handlers, and the like on how to manage hazardous materials or hazardous chemicals safely. This can be done under the umbrella of the transport regulations of 49CFR, IATA, and IMDG, or under the OSHA HazCom standard. However, not everyone is going to take one of my courses. Sad, but true.

Granted all of those folks do their jobs well and use marks, labels, placards, and safety data sheets to convey information about their products to other users. But it begs the question, how is the general public made aware of the “other” dangers or poisons out there? Think about the laundry pod scare recently to make my point.

Back in 1962, the first-ever National Poison Prevention Week was announced. In 2019, the week will be from March 17-23. Supported directly by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the goal is to promote safety tips and the emergency services provided by the Poison Control Centers in the US.

To emphasize just how important Poison Control Centers are, take a look at some numbers from 2016 taken directly from the AAPCC website at www.aapcc.org.

  • There were 2,700,000 cases managed by the centers.
  • Someone called the centers every 14 minutes.
  • Over $1,800,000,000 saved in medicals costs.

For this year’s event, people are encouraged to use the hashtags #NPPW19, #PreventPoison, and #PoisonHelp. Continue Reading…