WHMIS 2015
Final Employer Countdown – WHMIS 2015 Compliance
Clock and calendar countdown

TIME TO CONSUME OR RE-LABEL EXISTING WHMIS 1988 CONTROLLED PRODUCT INVENTORY

The final stage in the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015 is drawing to a close. Consequently, employers in Canada have an obligation to ensure that any “leftover” stock at the workplace is identified under the WHMIS 2015 GHS-based classification and hazard communication protocols.

Note that, while the majority of Canadian jurisdictions require all provisions of WHMIS 2015 to be in place as of December 1, 2018, there are currently two exceptions.

Employers under the Federal jurisdiction have the ability, under the Canada Labour Code, to continue to use stock in the workplace with WHMIS 1988 labels/MSDS until May 31, 2019 (Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulation – SOR/2016-141, s. 77(b)).

Also, as of November 9, 2018, Nova Scotia has yet to publish an update to the 1989 WHMIS regulation.

ONTARIO CLARIFIES O.REG. 860- WHMIS 2015 REQUIREMENTS FOR EXISTING WHMIS 1988 STOCK

In an amendment published on e-laws November 2 (to appear in the November 17, 2018 Edition of The Ontario Gazette )- effective December 1 employers must re-label any existing inventory of hazardous product received under WHMIS 1988 regulations.

This amendment affects O.Reg.860 sections 8, 10, and 18. Also a new s. 13 has been added; and the obsolete (transition) s. 25.1 is revoked at Dec.1. Terminology for labels has been modified in recognition that SDS or labels normally provided Continue Reading…

ICC Top 10 List
OSHA’s Top Ten Most-Cited Standards for 2018

It is the end of October. This is the signal for many exciting things. First, autumn is well under way; no more temperatures in the high 90’s. Second, pumpkin spice everything is available. My personal favorite though is plain old pumpkin pie. Finally, OSHA publishes their list of top ten most-cited standards for the previous fiscal year. This is always announced at the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo. The timing fits with OSHA’s fiscal year that runs from October 1 through September 30. So, without further delay….

Most-Cited OSHA Standards for Fiscal Year 2018

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements: Standard 1926.501 with 7,720 violations
  2. Hazard Communications: Standard 1910.1200 with 4,552 violations
  3. Scaffolds/Scaffolding: Standard 1926.451 with 3,336 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection: Standard 1910.134 with 3,118 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout: Standard 1910.147 with 2,944 violations
  6. Ladders: Standard 1926.1053 with 2,812 violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks: Standard 1910.178 with 2,294 violations
  8. Fall Protection: Training requirements: Standard 1926.503 with 1,982 violations
  9. Machine Guarding: Standard 1910.212 with 1,972 violations
  10. Personal Protective Equipment and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection: Standard 1926.102 with 1,536 violations

Here are some things I notice about this year’s list.  First of all, the top five are the exact same ones and in the exact same order as last year, and all the way back to fiscal year 2014. The next four on the list are the same as well. The only difference is the order of them going back through Continue Reading…

OSHA Electrical Shock
May is National Electrical Safety Month

National Electrical Code infographic

Here are three new acronyms for you to keep in mind during the month of May. There is NEC which is for the National Electric Code.  Next is ESFI an acronym representing the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Finally, there is NESM used for National Electrical Safety Month which just so happens to be in May.  Now that we know what they stand for, let’s talk about what they do or mean.

The NEC is a standard used for safely installing wiring and equipment. Many people know it as NFPA 70 – a part of the National Fire Protection Association. While not a legally binding standard it is used by many to set safe practices for those using or working with electricity. The NEC is updated every 3 years and is usually adopted by a state or city.

ESFI is a foundation that was created in 1994 to promote electrical safety in all areas of life including the home and workplace.  They work with corporations and the public to prevent electrical fires and injuries.  This is done by providing educational tools, materials and resources.  They have information on general electrical safety, electric shock drowning and overhead power lines.

Check out their website at https://www.esfi.org/.
There is even a kid’s page at http://kids.esfi.org/

National Electrical Safety Month – NESM is observed every year in May. This year’s theme is “Understanding the Code that Keeps Us Continue Reading…

Countdown to WHMIS 2015 Deadline: Training Requirements

WHMIS 2015 update man working at oil refinery

WHMIS 2015 Training Requirements

Next in our WHMIS 2015 countdown series, we will discuss training requirements under the new regulation.

With the WHMIS deadline fast approaching and workplaces updating their labels and safety data sheets, one must not forget that employees will need to understand what the changes all mean.

In Canada, if a workplace uses hazardous products, then the worker must be educated and trained on the hazards of those products. This would apply to workers who are exposed to the products during their day to day work routine, anyone who stores, handles or disposes of hazardous products, supervisors or managers who meet the above criteria, and anyone involved with emergency response.

Education vs Training

What is the difference between education and training? Let’s look at the definitions, courtesy of CCOHS:

Education
Refers to general or portable information such as how WHMIS works and the hazards of the products. For example, you will learn about the hazard classes (e.g., why a product is called a corrosive, and what information you can find on labels and SDSs).
Training
Refers to the site- and job-specific information to employees that will cover your workplace’s procedures for storage, handling, use, disposal, emergencies, spills, and what to do in unusual situations.

Suggested topics for education and training include:

  • Information on the supplier label, such as the signal word, hazard and precautionary phrases and pictograms; what do they mean?
  • Information on the workplace Continue Reading…
PHMSA
PHMSA & OSHA Make a Video Together – an Oxymoron?

Warehouse with chemicals

PHMSA vs OSHA

George Carlin will always be a favorite comedian for people of a certain age. One of his best-known bits is on oxymorons. An oxymoron, is basically a set of contradictory terms that work together. While not the greatest of explanations, let’s have George give you some examples to make the point.

This concept came to mind on the heels of the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) joint video on labeling. Those two organizations are just that, 2 different organizations, yet they released a joint video? It sounded like a setup to a bad joke. Turns out I was wrong.

The video does a great job of explaining the focus of each organization and goes a long way to clearing the air. There are references to the regulations used by each, but not a lot of time is spent on “regulatory language” or the details of either one. 

Comparing PHMSA vs OSHA

Here is my version of the comparisons between the two and how closely the align based on the video.

PHMSA OSHA Take Away
Regulates hazardous materials in transport Regulates hazardous chemicals in the workplace Both want people to be safe.
Uses the Hazardous Materials Regulation Uses the Hazard Communication Standard Both have a set of “rules”.
Defines Hazardous Material as those that pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce Defines Hazardous Chemical as Continue Reading…
OSHA Update
2 Million Plus Workers Get Protection From Deadly Dust! (Part 2)

Silicosis and OSHA Standards

As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.

Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.

Crystalline silica (respirable) is hazardous to workers who Continue Reading…

OSHA Labeling
Disney, Dwarfs and Workplace Labels

It was recently announced that Disney was re-releasing the classic animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The commercial started with the dwarfs singing their classic song “Heigh-Ho”. In this tune, the cute characters of Dopey, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy and Doc all sing about coming home from working all day digging in the mine. To remember these characters, watch and listen here.

As the scene starts, I can’t help but notice there are no OSHA workplace labels anywhere. In the new OSHA Hazard Communications Standard 1910.1200 there isn’t much guidance on how to handle workplace labeling. The regulation states “the employer shall ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged or marked”. The regulation goes on to say use the same information that is found on the shipped containers or use a “Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.”

Many Employers may feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what to have in a workplace after reading the regulation. Let us help. We offer the GHS Workplace Labels (Orange System).

Orange System GHS Workplace Labels Available Continue Reading…

Safety
Clark Griswold and Portable Ladder Safety

As it is the time of year to begin taking down holiday decorations, the topic of portable ladder safety should be addressed. There are various ways to teach and model proper safety techniques in the use of these types of ladders. One of the best is by using humor and my personal favorite is Chevy Chase playing Clark Griswold in the National Lampoon’s movies. Chase’s use of slapstick or physical comedy often has the desired effect of teaching people the best ways to NOT do a task.

Let’s put together one of the classic scenes from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and apply OSHA’s Ladder Safety Requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1053 to it to see just how bad Clark Griswold is at safety. To view the scene, click here. To view OSHA’s Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card™, click here.

So, here is the comparison. Below is the requirement as listed on the Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card™ followed by how Clark is in violation of it.  See if you can find any I missed in my assessment.

  1. Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.

VIOLATION: This one is questionable, but given Clark’s way of working it is doubtful the yellow safety sticker on the side of the ladder was checked before it was removed from the garage and set into place.

  1. Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before Continue Reading…
HAZCOM 2012
More Hazard Communication Issues

An inquiry was made by the American Coatings Association, which they asked OSHA to clearly outline the import of materials and the export of materials in sealed containers for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) responded with a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) on November 23rd, 2015 which further clarified the responsibilities of US companies when importing or exporting materials that require attention under the 29 CFR 1910.1200

In regard to import OSHA’s guidance in the LOI states the responsibility falls on the importers to assure compliant labeling when the material becomes under their control. Once in their control, importers must follow the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(4) where applicable. Importers must also assure compliance with HCS 2012 prior to shipping within the United States. In this LOI, OSHA encourages the review of their CPL-02-02-079 Section X.F.2h compliance directive which entails information for materials packaged for shipment prior to June 1st, 2015.

OSHA’s guidance for export in this LOI for sealed containers is that if prepared for direct shipment outside the US and are inside a USDOT approved shipping container, the manufacturer can label the container for the destination country. A HCS compliant label must be affixed to the outside package or be attached to the shipping papers as well. The container would also have to be labeled according the appropriate regulation for Continue Reading…

OSHA, Newspapers, & Pictures – Electrical Safety

A few weeks ago I posted a blog regarding Fall Prevention. In it there was a reference to Arthur Brisbane, a reporter who in 1911 used the expression “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” As a follow-up to that blog, here is another one where a picture is worth a thousand words.

Last weekend allowed me the chance to see the musical “Matilda” at The Fox Theatre in downtown St. Louis. As I walked to the main doors I could hear water splashing against the ground. Upon closer inspection the source of the sound was found. Take a look at the following picture.

exposed wires - electrical safety

Again, you can imagine the conversation held after seeing this. There were lots of shocking comments, and stories about the stupid things we did as children in regards to electrical sockets. There were even a few regarding “the show must go on” but, it got me thinking. Just how is electrical safety handled in the workplace or in construction areas?

Upon arrival to work on Monday, I did some checking. The Top 10 OSHA Violations for 2015 is out and two of the top ten for 2015 include electrical issues. One is for “Electrical – Wiring Methods” and the other is for “Electrical – General Requirements”. If you look back over the past five years, some aspect of electricity is listed on every one.

Per the Continue Reading…