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Preventing Ladder Accidents and Injuries- March is National Ladder Safety Month

The American Ladder Institute (ALI) has announced March as National Ladder Safety Month. It is designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities. ALI believes ladder accidents are preventable. Beginning with thorough safety planning, proper training, and finally continuous innovation in product design. The more people learn about proper ladder safety, the wider the message spreads and accidents are prevented.

Themes of Ladder Safety Month

  • Week One: Training and Awareness
  • Week Two: Inspection and Maintenance
  • Week Three: Stabilization, Setup, and Accessories
  • Week Four: Safe Climbing and Positioning

Nearly every home and workplace has at least one ladder. While ladders are great pieces of equipment, they pose a serious threat to safety if not used correctly. They should mainly be used for simple access jobs for a short duration. If at all possible, an alternative can be used in place of a ladder, such as scaffolding or an elevated work platform. However, if ladders are the only option, ladder safety tips and precautions should be taken.

Goals of Ladder Safety Month

  • Decrease number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities
  • Increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI
  • Increase the frequency that ladder safety training modules are viewed on www.laddersafetytraining.org
  • Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly “Top 10 Citations List”
  • Increase the number of in-person ladder trainings
  • Increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged or obsolete ladders

OSHA offers three steps: “Plan.Provide.Train.” to prevent falls from ladders. Plan ahead to Get the job done safely. Provide the right extension ladder for the job with the proper load capacity. Train workers to use extension ladders safely. In addition OSHA recommends a list of “dos” and “do nots” for safe ladder use.

Safe Ladder Use—DO:

  • Maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) when climbing/descending a ladder.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up or descending.
  • Keep the body inside the side rails.
  • Use extra care when getting on or off the ladder at the top or bottom.
  • Avoid tipping the ladder over sideways or causing the ladder base to slide out.
  • Carry tools in a tool belt or raise tools up using a hand line.
  • Extend the top of the ladder three feet above the landing.
  • Keep ladders free of any slippery materials.

Safe Ladder Use—DO NOT:

  • Place a ladder on boxes, barrels, or unstable bases.
  • Use a ladder on soft ground or unstable footing.
  • Exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating.
  • Tie two ladders together to make them longer.
  • Ignore nearby overhead power lines.
  • Move or shift a ladder with a person or equipment on the ladder.
  • Lean out beyond the ladder’s side rails.
  • Use an extension ladder horizontally like a platform.

There are many ways for your company to participate in National Ladder Safety Month this March. Ideas include hosting a ladder safety training event, using the hashtag #LadderSafetyMonth on social media, and becoming a National Ladder Safety Month sponsor. At National Safety Compliance we have a variety of training materials and posters to help equip workers to stay safe while using ladders.

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Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here, and safety hazards don’t take a vacation. Keeping workers safe is everyone’s responsibility all year long. In a helpful video the US Department of Labor offers nine tips for protecting workers during the holidays. Additionally, OSHA provides resources on their website to help with holiday workplace safety.

Employers must ensure that all workers are trained to recognize and prevent job hazards and implement safe work practices. Making safety a priority begins with excellent training and education. These elements of a strong injury prevention program help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers get hurt. During the holidays, when the number of temporary workers is typically higher, it is important to ensure that new workers have the required skills and knowledge to safely do their work. Evidence shows that those who are new on the job have a higher rate of injuries than more experienced workers.

9 tips to protect workers this holiday season:

provided by the DOL
  • Train workers in a language they speak and understand.
  • Provide hands-on training on properly using equipment.
  • Wear bright, visible clothing for delivery and warehousing workers.
  • Proper stack materials and making sure workers stand clear when doors are opened.
  • Create a staffing plan that reduces workplace stress.
  • Have an emergency plan for crowds.
  • Mark entrance and exit locations clearly.
  • Encourage workers to report safety and health concerns.
  • Remember that seasonal workers have the same rights as full-time workers.

OSHA’s website features guidance for specific industries as well as resources that are applicable to any industry. These include warehousing safety, forklift safety, package delivery, trucking, crowd management, and temporary or seasonal workers. The most important thing to remember is that all employees have the right to a safe workplace and as employers, it is our responsibility to provide that safe workplace.

Proper training is the starting place and at National Safety Compliance, we offer many training courses and resources to help you provide the training needed.

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OSHA’s 2023 Top 10 Released

During the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo in New Orleans, Eric Harbin, OSHA’s Region 6 administrator, announced for the 13th consecutive fiscal year, Fall Protection – General Requirements is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard. Fall Protection was followed by Hazard Communication and Ladders.

As a whole, the Top 10 cited standards remain unaltered from 2022. While the number one spot remains firmly in place, the other spots saw some shifting this year. Notably, Powered Industrial Trucks moved into the top five and Respiratory Protection, which had previously been fourth, fell to seventh.

Top 10 Most Cited Standards for 2023

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 7,271 violations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 3,213
  3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,978
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,859
  5. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 2,561
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,554
  7. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,481
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 2,112
  9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 2,074
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,644

While progress is constantly being made to keep workers safe there continues to be the same type of citations year after year. Understanding these violations and the associated risks is essential for preventing accidents and creating safer workplaces. Lorraine M. Martin, NSC President and CEO, challenged industry leaders at the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo, “As a safety community, we must come together to acknowledge these persistent trends and identify solutions to better protect workers.” Paying attention to this list of violations can highlight areas that workplaces can improve safety and prevent future accidents. These are key areas in need of improvement.

Interestingly, the overall quantity of violations for the top 10 increased in 2023. Since OSHA’s out there and busier than ever employers and employees need to focus on making safety a top priority. All companies should seek to prevent worker injuries and as a bonus avoid OSHA fines. Whatever the safety training need, at National Safety Compliance we offer training for all of your staff from industrial worksites to office personnel with our easy and comprehensive training programs.

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Equipping New Employees to Embrace Safety

Research shows that more than one-third of workplace injuries occur within the first year of employment. Those injuries account for one-third of workers’ compensation claim costs. “Safety training programs and practices should start before an employee’s first day and continue throughout the employee’s time at an organization,” said Chris Hayes, of Travelers Insurance. Clearly, it is critical that employers have clearly communicated practices and safety training programs in place. New employees must know who to go to with safety questions and concerns. Further, it is imperative that they are empowered to stop work with out fear of reprisal.

5 Ways to Equip All Employees

  1. Integrate Safety into the Hiring Process
  2. Onboard and Continuously Train Employees
  3. Conduct a Job Safety Analysis
  4. Implement an Accident Analysis Program
  5. Continue Supporting Employees Throughout Their Careers

It is vitally important to show new employees that your company takes safety seriously. For example, consider making it part of the performance evaluations for supervisors. “The most common mistake is not including risk and safety/health goals in the performance evaluation process for managers,” Scott Smith, director of safety management at Selective Insurance. “Having risk and safety/health goals for managers that impact their performance evaluation sets expectations and establishes the organization’s safety culture.” Another “significant, commonly observed mistake is management’s failure to intervene when they observe employees failing to follow sound risk management or safety,” he added. 

Additionally, how you manage injuries can significantly impact your business. Employers should be prepared before an injury takes place. Including having a plan that helps injured employees return to work as soon as medically appropriate. For example, a transitional duty program can help employees remain engaged and connected at work during their recovery.

When workers are injured, it might be possible to temporarily assign them to different tasks that are less physically demanding. “There are pros and cons to having an injured employee perform in a light-duty position while recovering,” Smith said. “They can stay engaged in the business during this interim period, which might help with overall absenteeism and maintain positive employee morale, as remaining workers will see the employee returning to work.”

A Transitional Duty Program Can Help in 3 Ways:

  1. Employees to receive prompt, quality medical care.
  2. Keep employees at work, allowing the company to get meaningful, productive work done while the employee recovers.
  3. The employee, employee’s medical provider, employer and insurance professional to work together to help the employee to return to work as soon as possible.

Following an injury on the job, it is important to have a plan for returning employees to work as soon as they are medically able to return.

According to Rich Ives, vice president of business insurance claims at Travelers Insurance, “We stress to our customers the importance of maintaining contact with the injured employee, checking on how they are feeling and setting up a modified duty program as they recover,” he added. “By focusing on what they can do, rather than on their pain or limitations, conversations about their return to work can help an injured employee stay engaged, feel productive and look ahead.” 

At NSC we provide a safety orientation course that is an excellent resource for new hires in any industry. It is designed to foster positive safety attitudes and raise awareness of potential workplace hazards and emergencies. Safety in the workplace starts with having the right attitude about safety and taking the right steps to prevent safety incidents. This training course is designed to make you aware of just a few of the possible hazards which you might encounter at work. It is a quick overview to provide you with some basic understanding of each area and to set you on the right path towards a safe and healthy work day. We also offer safety orientation courses specific to janitorial, construction, foodservice, and healthcare industries.

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New for 2023: Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training

Providing food safety training helps employees handle food responsibly. Food safety incidents put customer’s health in jeopardy, damages a company’s reputation, and costs your business money. This can threaten the long-term health of a business. National Safety Compliance has just released a new Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training ProgramThis training is designed to give your staff a clear understanding of proper food handling and personal hygiene techniques to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Health Codes
  • Your Personal Hygiene
  • The Steps to Handling Food Safely
  • Other Safety Rules When Handling and Preparing Food


Some benefits of proper food safety and personal hygiene training include, cutting down on waste, reducing the risk of food poisoning, employees gaining a better understanding of their job. This understanding will lead to improvements in work habits and practices. Our Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training Course is versatile. It includes everything you need to train new employees or to use as a refresher course for current employees. The training video and documentation are available in several formats to meet your ever changing training needs.

Included in the training course:

  • 22 Minute Training Video
  • Employee Quiz & Answer Key
  • Training Certificate
  • Wallet Cards
  • Power Point® Presentation and more.

Formats available:

In order to uphold high standards of personal hygiene and cleanliness, businesses must provide adequate food safety training to every employee who handles food. Proper training will ensure that everyone is aware of what they need to do, and how they need to do it. Food safety and personal hygiene training should not be one and done, it needs to be ongoing.

Our course is suitable for:

  • New hire orientation
  • Refresher / annual training
  • Train the Trainer
  • Class sizes from 1-100+

The World Health Organization estimates that illness from unsafe food causes 420,000 deaths per year. Safe food handling saves lives. Additional benefits of following proper food safety protocols include reduced economic loss, increased uptake of nutritious foods, and reduced environmental impact from food loss and waste. At NSC we offer affordable, reliable food safety & personal hygiene training.

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Beat the Heat with “Water.Rest.Shade.”

Every day, millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in their workplaces. Although illness from exposure to heat is preventable, every year, thousands become sick from occupational heat exposure. Sadly, some cases are fatal. Hazardous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors. As a result, OSHA is sponsoring a “Beat the Heat Contest” to raise awareness of the dangers and hazards of heat exposure in both indoor and outdoor workplaces.

OSHA’s Beat the Heat Contest has four main goals:

  1. Educate stakeholders, especially workers and employers, about heat hazards in the workplace.
  2. Prevent heat illness by creating an awareness campaign that increases the public’s knowledge about this issue.
  3. Highlight the dangers of heat; and
  4. Motivate employers and workers to take action to prevent heat illness.

Tragically, every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions. To combat this, OSHA created a Heat Illness Prevention campaign in 2022 to educate employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat. Whether you work outside, or inside in a hot and humid environment, you’re at risk of enduring a heat illness. “Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments, so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Working together, we can ensure workers know their rights and employers meet their obligations in order to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat.”

Some industries where workers have suffered heat-related illnesses:

  • Agriculture         
  • Bakeries, kitchens, and laundries
  • Construction – especially, road, roofing, and other outdoor work
  • Electrical utilities, boiler rooms  
  • Fire Service
  • Landscaping       
  • Iron and steel mills and foundries
  • Mail and package delivery           
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and gas well operations          
  • Warehousing

What are heat illnesses? A heat illness is one caused by high temperatures and humidity. In a warm environment, the human body relies on its ability to get rid of excess heat to maintain a healthy internal body temperature. Heat dissipation happens naturally through sweating and increased blood flow to the skin. If heat dissipation does not happen quickly enough, the internal body temperature keeps rising and the worker may experience symptoms that include thirst, irritability, a rash, cramping, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.

The four most common heat illnesses include:

  • Heat rash, which is a stinging skin irritation that turns your skin red.
  • Heat cramps, which are painful spasms in your muscles.
  • Heat exhaustion, which is caused by too few fluids and long hours in high temperatures, causes heavy sweating, a fast and weak pulse and rapid breathing.
  • Heat stroke happens when your temperatures rise above 106 degrees very quickly -within minutes. This is a life-threatening illness.

Heat illness is serious, but we can work together to prevent it.

Employer’s Responsibility

Employers can keep workers safe in the heat. Employers should create plans to protect workers from developing heat-related illnesses. Keeping workers cool and well-hydrated are the best ways to protect them when working in hot environments. If you or your employees are working in a hot work environment, it is vital to understand how to address heat-related illnesses to keep everyone safe.

Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. The first step in prevention is for employers and workers to recognize heat hazards. Management should commit to:

  • Protect new workers.
  • Train all employees to recognize heat hazards.
  • Determine whether total heat stress is too high.
  • Implement engineering and administrative controls to reduce heat stress.
  • Provide sufficient rest, shade, and fluids.

Unfortunately, most outdoor fatalities occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance (acclimatization) to the heat gradually over time. Lack of acclimatization is a major risk factor for fatal outcomes. Our bodies sweat to cool ourselves. Sometimes, sweating isn’t effective enough.

In fact, OSHA encourages water, rest, & shade as prevention as well as treatment for heat-related illness. In addition, engineering controls such as air conditioning, can make the workplace safer. Other options include making changes to workload and schedules. For example, scheduling work for the morning or shorter shifts with frequent rest breaks in the shade. Encourage workers in warm, humid environments to drink hydrating fluids. At a minimum, all supervisors and workers should receive training about heat-related symptoms and first aid. The best scenario in workplaces at high risk of heat illnesses would be a formal Heat Illness Prevention Program.

Heat Illness Prevention Program key elements include:

  • A Person Designated to Oversee the Heat Illness Prevention Program
  • Hazard Identification
  • Water. Rest. Shade. Message
  • Acclimatization
  • Modified Work Schedules
  • Training
  • Monitoring for Signs and Symptoms
  • Emergency Planning and Response

Worker Information

It is important to understand workers’ rights and vital information about heat illness. Clearly, some workers are more susceptible to heat-related illness. Personal risk factors include medical conditions, lack of physical fitness, previous episodes of heat-related illness, alcohol consumption, drugs, and use of certain medication. Management should commit to preventing heat-related illness for all employees. In accordance with their heat tolerance levels. Measurement of heart rate, body weight, or body temperature can provide individualized data to aid decisions about heat controls.

Training workers before work in extreme heat begins is just the first step in keeping workers safe. Additionally, tailoring the training to worksite conditions is key. Employers should provide a heat stress training program for all workers and supervisors that include the following:

  • Causes of heat-related illnesses and steps to reduce the risk.
  • The importance of acclimatization.
  • Recognition of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and administra­tion of first aid.
  • The importance of immediately reporting any symptoms or signs of heat-related illness.
  • Proper care and use of heat-protective clothing and equipment.
  • The added heat load caused by exertion, clothing, and per­sonal protective equipment.
  • Effects of other factors (drugs, alcohol, obesity, etc.) on tolerance to occupational heat stress.
  • Procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat-related illness.
  • Procedures for contacting emergency medical ser­vices.

While heat related illnesses are dangerous, they are also preventable with the right knowledge and plan in place. Employees can be prepared and protected while working in less than perfect environments. At NSC, we are here to help. Our Heat Stress Training Program encourages employees to have a positive attitude about heat fatigue safety, learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion and how to recognize if their body is overheating to prevent heat fatigue.

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The ABC’s of Hazardous Material Identification and Handling 

A person holding a pen and a clipboard. With safety sign graphics floating.

The term hazardous materials, or hazmat for short, may signify chemical suits, gas masks, and decontamination processes. Many people assume hazardous materials are exclusive to very specific industries, like chemical plants or laboratories.  

In reality, hazardous materials are all around. They are found in most workplaces, and most people have some in their homes. Household cleaning products like bleach, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and solvents are all classified as hazardous materials. Even pressurized items like aerosol cans and propane gas canisters are considered hazardous materials.  

We all work and live around hazardous materials every day. So, it’s important to know the ABC’s of how to identify and handle them – especially for unfamiliar materials. Even if a hazardous material doesn’t appear to present an imminent threat, improper handling or storage can create a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.  

To stay safe in the workplace, or anywhere hazardous materials can be found, it’s critical to keep these three “ABC” reminders in mind. 

A – Awareness of Classification Levels 

B – Be Informed for Proper Identification  

C – Careful Handling, Storage, and Disposal 

Awareness of Classification Levels 

At the most basic level, a hazardous material refers to any substance or mixture that possesses properties capable of causing harm to human health, the environment, or property under the right conditions. That being said, the term eludes definition to an extent; best practice is to assume that all unknown materials are potentially hazardous. 

In the U.S., hazardous materials are officially classified and managed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), working in conjunction with organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

DOT separates hazardous materials into nine different hazard classes based on their common properties and risks. There are hundreds of different materials that fall into these different categories.  

Each hazard class (which has its own subdivisions) includes specific regulations and requirements for packaging, labeling, marking, and documentation to ensure safe transport and storage. Hazard classes also have specific requirements for storage and disposal. While this is not the only classification used in the workplace, it’s the most commonly used one throughout the U.S. 

While these classes have unique requirements and regulations, they are not necessarily distinct when it comes to real-world application. Many materials fall into different classifications in different circumstances. For example, gasoline is primarily classified as a Hazard Class 3 due to its flammable nature. At the same time, it can also fall under Hazard Class 6 due to being a toxic substance. 

Hazardous Material Classifications  

  • Class 1: Explosives – This class includes materials that can rapidly release gasses, heat, and energy, causing an explosion. This class is subdivided into six divisions, including mass explosion hazards, projection hazards, and minor blast or fire hazards. All fireworks and ammunition fall under Class 1.  
  • Class 2: Gasses – This class includes all gasses, including those that are compressed, liquefied, or dissolved. Within this class, there are three divisions: flammable gasses, non-flammable gasses, and toxic gasses. Nitrogen, chlorine, and methane all fall under Class 2. 
  • Class 3: Flammable Liquids – Class 3 covers all flammable liquids, which are defined as liquids with a flashpoint below 100°F (or 140°F for construction materials). Gasoline, diesel fuel, paints, and certain solvents all fall under Class 3. 
  • Class 4: Flammable Solids – Class 4 covers solids that can easily ignite. This class is composed of three divisions: flammable solids, spontaneously combustible materials, and materials that emit flammable gasses when in contact with water. Matches, safety flares, magnesium, and white phosphorus are all Class 4. 
  • Class 5: Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides – Oxidizers and organic peroxides make up Class 5 of DOT’s hazardous materials classification. Oxidizers are substances that facilitate or support combustion, while organic peroxides are thermally unstable and can decompose. Hydrogen peroxide and ammonium nitrate fall under Class 5. 
  • Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances – This wide-ranging class includes materials that are toxic or pose a risk of infection. They are divided up into two types: toxic substances and infectious substances. Pesticides and herbicides, lead compounds, and biological samples are all considered Class 6. 
  • Class 7: Radioactive Materials – Perhaps the least likely to be encountered on a daily basis, Class 7 includes radioactive materials that emit ionizing radiation and require special handling and transport precautions. It’s divided into three types, based on levels of radioactivity and associated risks. Uranium, plutonium, and other radioactive materials all fall under Class 7.  
  • Class 8: Corrosive Materials – Corrosive materials are substances that can cause damage to people and materials they come into contact with through chemical reactions. Common examples include acids, bases, and certain cleaning agents. Many household cleaners are Class 8.   
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods – This catch-all category includes a variety of different materials, from lithium batteries and asbestos to other environmentally hazardous substances. Officially, all materials that have anesthetic, noxious, or other similar properties that could cause discomfort are Class 9.  

Be Informed of Proper Identification 

With nine different classifications and numerous subdivisions within each, it’s difficult for workers to fully understand every type of hazardous material and their unique regulations and requirements. 

While certain workplaces that regularly encounter a variety of hazardous materials require more robust identification training across all DOT classes – locations that employ first responders, truck drivers, and shipping personnel, for example – most workers do not encounter many unfamiliar hazardous materials on a day-to-day basis.  

Employers at workplaces like these should focus on providing employees with training and quick-reference information on hazardous materials specific to the job site. Being able to quickly identify a hazardous material will help keep employees safe. It can be the difference between maintaining a safe work environment and creating a perilous, and possibly deadly, situation.  

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are the best way to keep employees informed about known hazardous materials that are kept on site. SDS provide quick reference information for each chemical at a workplace, their hazards, and the best guidelines for managing each chemical or material. National Safety Compliance (NSC) offers a training course video to help organizations align with best practices for creating, maintaining, and interpreting SDS. Of course, SDS information is only as useful as it is available. Worksite management and leadership should ensure these sheets are easily accessible at all times.  

It’s important to have SDS on-site, so employees know about hazardous materials, but it’s difficult for every employee to memorize them. Furthermore, employees may also encounter new materials from time to time. This is why it’s critical to provide training on how to read chemical labels. 

All hazardous materials are required to be properly labeled based on their DOT classifications, and in some cases, their subcategories. These labels include standardized symbols, pictograms, or codes. To the trained eye, this information explains everything a worker needs to know about a particular material. They explain the possible dangers and also provide information on how to manage accidents involving materials, such as an accidental discharge or release. Finally, they also explain the requirements for storage and disposal.  

There are additional communication requirements for workplaces that regularly handle hazardous materials. For example, chemical manufacturers need to understand and comply with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. Organizations in these situations should use training materials specific to these requirements.   

Careful Handling, Storage, and Disposal 

When it comes to handling hazardous materials, the utmost caution should be used every time these materials are on the worksite – even if they aren’t being actively used.  

Storage and Labeling  

Hazardous materials should be stored in their original containers. Materials like corrosives can breach containers that aren’t designed for them, such as recycled food containers. Do not combine hazardous materials, including for storage.  

While the specific storage precautions should be taken based on each classification, most hazardous materials should be stored in dry, cool areas with good ventilation. Incompatible chemicals should not be stored near one another. Many hazardous materials can cause dangerous reactions when combined.  

Hazardous materials should be properly labeled. In fact, OSHA requires it: hazardous materials must be properly labeled based on their classification with SDS. Chemicals that are improperly marked or have missing labels should never be used. Workers should alert their manager if any potentially hazardous material is not properly labeled. If a material cannot be identified, it’s best to assume it’s hazardous. It’s a wise idea to take regular inventory of hazardous materials to ensure they are properly stored and labeled.  

Careful Handling 

Every hazardous material has its own requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) when being directly handled. Read labels carefully and follow all handling requirements.  

Always have PPE like face masks, gloves, and goggles, ready and available for use. These materials should be inspected regularly to ensure they are in proper working order. Any old or defective PPE should be immediately replaced. Replace PPE if it becomes damaged or worn, and do not reuse disposable PPE. Cleaning areas should be clutter-free and regularly inspected. In addition, it’s recommended that workplaces have hand-washing and eye-wash stations installed, in the case of an emergency. For full PPE training, check out NSC’s video kit. 

Proper Disposal 

While each hazardous material has its own disposal requirements, many have a special disposal process. It’s a safe bet that the hazardous materials at a worksite cannot be simply sent to the landfill.  

Certain chemicals must be treated as part of the disposal process. Many cannot be poured down the drain or into the sewer system. Some hazardous materials may even need to be sealed into special containers, whereas others need to be sent to special facilities for disposal. 

Hazardous materials should be disposed of according to their specific label instructions and their classification. In some circumstances, there are also local regulations that apply. Before taking steps to discard any material, it’s critical to fully understand the disposal requirements based on the DOT classification and, if applicable, local, state, and federal regulations. To ensure compliance, keep records of all disposals. 

Next Steps 

There’s no time like the present to ensure a workplace is up-to-date with safety training, particularly when it comes to hazardous materials.  

NSC can serve as a partner for organizations looking to establish safety and compliance on all hazardous materials in the workplace. The HAZWOPER: Handling Hazardous Materials DVD outlines critical information regarding such materials, as well as what to do in the case of a spill, emergency or injury. 

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Updated for 2023: Hearing Conservation Training Course

Occupational hearing loss is preventable and hearing conservation programs work. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 22 million workers are exposed to damaging noise levels at work. Exposure to loud noise can kill the nerve endings in the inner ear and over time can result in permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss due to work hazards is known as occupational hearing loss. The good news is this type of hearing loss is 100 % preventable. To help prevent occupational hearing loss, OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program whenever noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). While many industries have a noisy work environment, some industries have an increased risk of exposure to dangerous noise levels.

Industries with an increased risk of excessive noise exposure include:

  • Entertainment/Music: noise from instruments, concerts, loudspeakers, and equipment
  • Airline: ground maintenance workers are particularly at risk
  • Farming/Agriculture: noise from tractors, power tools, and machinery
  • Mining: noise from drills, excavating, blasting, and operating plants
  • Manufacturing: noise from machines
  • Sports venue: whistles and cheering
  • Construction: noise from power tools and manual tools
  • Carpentry: noise from power tools and other tools
  • Military: noise from live fire, explosions, and aircraft noise

In workplaces where excessive noise is present, employers are responsible to monitor the level of noise exposure in the workplace, provide training and free hearing protection, conduct regular evaluations of the adequacy of the hearing protections in use, and provide annual hearing exams. One of the most important components of protecting workers is training. Even workplaces that do not have dangerously high levels of noise can put workers at risk if there is a loud (but not classified as dangerous) noise that continues for long periods of time. Employees must be aware of all the risks at their workplace so they are equipped to protect themselves at work.

The NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app is a helpful tool for monitoring noise exposure. It was developed by experienced acoustics engineers and hearing loss experts and is available to the public from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app was developed to help workers make informed decisions about their noise environment and promote better hearing health and prevention efforts.

Protecting workers’ health and safety should be a top priority for all employers. Hearing conservation programs have several goals which include preventing initial occupational hearing loss, preserving and protecting remaining hearing, and equipping workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices necessary to safeguard themselves. At National Safety Compliance our Hearing Conservation Training Course has been updated for 2023, it will help you prepare your employees to protect their hearing in any work environment.

Hearing conservation course topics include:

  • The Ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Definitions
  • Types of Hearing Loss
  • Effects of Excessive Noise Exposure
  • Evaluating Noise Exposure Levels
  • Hearing Conservation Program
  • Hearing Protection

A top priority for hearing conservation programs is reducing the amount of exposure to noise. Thankfully, there are several ways to control and reduce workers’ excessive noise exposure in the workplace. First, engineering controls involve modifying or replacing equipment or making related physical changes at the noise source or along the transmission path to reduce the noise level at the worker’s ear. Next, administrative controls are changes in the workplace or schedule that reduce or eliminate the worker’s exposure to noise. Finally, personal hearing protection devices that are provided to employees free of charge significantly reduce exposure to harmful levels of noise.

Our Hearing Conservation Training Course trains workers in the OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95 & 1926.52 & .101. Employees who take this course will understand the importance of a hearing conservation plan and should be able to apply its standards to workplace hazards and situations. Employers who take this course will have a better understanding of how to develop a training plan and what steps should be taken to protect their workers’ hearing. This training is also an excellent resource to train the trainer.

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10th Annual National Safety Stand-Down

The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. In addition to the annual event, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun a National Emphasis Program to prevent falls, which is the violation cited most frequently in construction industry inspections.

“This national emphasis program aligns all of OSHA’s fall protection resources to combat one of the most preventable and significant causes of workplace fatalities,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We’re launching this program in concert with the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and the industry’s Safety Week. Working together, OSHA and employers in all industries can make lasting changes to improve worker safety and save lives.”

In fact, any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on Fall Hazards. Reinforcing the importance of fall prevention is another way to be proactive in reducing falls. Additionally, employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards, can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with employees about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals.

Past Stand-Down Participants Include:

  • Commercial construction companies of all sizes
  • Residential construction contractors
  • Sub- and independent contractors
  • Highway construction companies
  • General industry employers
  • U.S. Military
  • Unions
  • Employer’s trade associations
  • Institutes
  • Employee interest organizations
  • Safety equipment manufacturers

This event is open to anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace. Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity. For example, discussing job specific hazards, conducting safety equipment inspections, or developing rescue plans. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace.

OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist with this effort, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA approved State Plans, State consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the National Safety Council, the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the U.S. Air Force, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers.

OSHA offers some suggestions for a successful Stand-Down which include:

  • Try to start early. 
  • Think about asking others associated with your project to participate in the stand-down.
  • Consider reviewing your fall prevention program.
  • Develop presentations or activities that will meet your needs.
  • Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last.
  • Promote the stand-down.
  • Hold your stand-down.
  • Follow up.

It is important to decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises like a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc. can increase employee engagement. It is important to make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation. In Addition, make it positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes. At NSC we offer resources to help with Fall Prevention Training.

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Food and Kitchen Safety: Why It Matters

Food safety is important for many reasons, the number one reason? Everyone eats. Food that is handled improperly can make you sick. As a matter of fact, statistically 1 in 6 Americans experience some type of foodborne illness each year. The FDA states, “While the American food supply is among the safest in the world, the Federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually. And each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.”

However, the numbers may realistically be much higher, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in the United States alone, food poisoning causes about 76 million illnesses, 300,000 hospitalizations, and up to 5,000 deaths each year. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that foodborne illnesses can cause long-lasting disability and even death. Clearly, proper food handling is vital. According to DATA USA, 12.1 million Americans work in the restaurant industry, and an additional 140 thousand work in the food processing industry. Having a food safety training course is the starting place to ensuring food is handled in the safest way possible.

Four safe food handling steps include:

  • Clean: proper handwashing, keeping tools and surfaces clean and dry
  • Separate: keep meat and other ingredients apart from each other
  • Cook: properly check internal food temperature
  • Chill: monitor refrigerator and freezer temperatures


Following the food safety guidelines when handling and preparing food is a must. This includes washing your hands often, keeping meat separate from other foods, cooking food to the proper temperature, and appropriate food storage. All foodservice employees must be educated in the best practices for handling food.

Topics Covered in our Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training Program:

  • Understanding health codes
  • Hand washing & personal hygiene
  • Cleaning kitchen surfaces and spaces
  • How and why to separate foods
  • Proper cooking temperatures
  • Proper methods for chilling food
  • Additional safety rules

In addition to the obvious risks involved with foodservice, there are less evident risks that employers and employees should take into account. Safety training that highlights these hazards is also an important consideration. For example, some common risks in the kitchen include slips, burns, fire, electrical issues, improper handling of kitchen equipment. Accidents happen; however, excellent safety training can prepare workers with good hazard management skills. In addition to the Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training we offer a Food Service Safety Orientation Training Program that covers many kitchen hazards that workers need to navigate safely on a day-to-day basis.

Food Service Safety Orientation Training Program Topics:

  • Slips, Trips & Falls
  • Lifting & Posture
  • Fire Safety
  • Burns
  • Electrical Safety
  • Chemical Safety
  • Knives, Slicers & Other Sharp Items
  • Personal Protective Equipment & Clothing
  • Housekeeping
  • First Aid

The importance of food and kitchen safety cannot be overstated. Of course, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, elderly people, and the very young are at greatest risk of the most serious consequences from most foodborne illnesses. However, some organisms that cause illnesses actually pose serious threats to everyone. Additionally, accidents caused by a lack of training or awareness can be prevented. It is the responsibility of every employer to ensure that their employees have the resources they need to protect themselves and others.