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
Integrate Safety into the Hiring Process
Onboard and Continuously Train Employees
Conduct a Job Safety Analysis
Implement an Accident Analysis Program
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:
Employees to receive prompt, quality medical care.
Keep employees at work, allowing the company to get meaningful, productive work done while the employee recovers.
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.
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 Program. This 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:
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.
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.
While it might appear obvious that any elevated surface with unprotected edges poses a fall risk if not properly secured with fall prevention systems (fall arrest systems), there are many factors that need to be considered when ensuring a workplace is safe from fall risk.
These factors include:
What causes the risk?
Where is the risk and/or are the multiple places that pose a fall risk?
Is there currently fall prevention in place?
Is that fall prevention compliant with current local, state and federal regulations?
Are there materials being used that increase the risk of fall?
While this is not an exhaustive list, it demonstrates the many details that go into properly preventing falls from an elevated surface in the workplace. And with the increasing risk of severe—or even fatal—injuries resulting from falls in the workplace, it is imperative that fall prevention is not left to chance or to an outdated or unregulated system.
Falls Are Costly in More Ways than One The greatest cost from falls is undoubtedly the injury or even death of workers. The mental and physical toll a severe fall can take on an employee and their coworkers can be incredibly steep and lead to more far-reaching consequences, including feeling unsafe at, or distrusting of, the workplace. This can lead to decreased productivity and increased employee turnover.
In addition to the mental and emotional costs of a fall is the financial cost, which can add up quickly for employers. In fact, according to the CDC, workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with occupational falls in the U.S. have been estimated at $70 billion annually. For any workplace, the cost to compensate a worker for a fall—plus pay any potential fines for unsafe or lacking fall prevention—is reason enough to invest in proper fall prevention education and systems.
Industries Most at Risk for Falls Certain industries have a much higher risk of fall from elevated surfaces than others, including construction and extraction, agriculture, electrical/utility trades, transportation, materials moving and cleaning and maintenance. In fact, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014, 261,930 workers in these industries (both government and private sector) missed one or more days of work due to a fall injury.
For example, electricians scaling an electric pole to repair damage caused by a lightning strike needs proper equipment to keep themselves safe for the duration of their work. Similarly, a janitorial staff person who is going to climb onto a ledge to clean a window needs proper equipment and to follow the appropriate safety measures to prevent a fall.
Ultimately, all workplaces that have employees working on elevated surfaces need to be aware of the risk of fall and how to prevent it. This is key to ensuring worker safety and business regulatory compliance.
What is most important, though, is not thinking of fall prevention from elevated surfaces with unprotected edges as a problem with a one-size-fits-all solution. No two workplaces are exactly alike, which means that their fall prevention systems need to be tailored to their specific needs and causes of risk. Without proper educational tools, creating and maintaining fall prevention is no simple task.
Fortunately, there are some foundational fall prevention systems that businesses can customize to their unique needs to instill more safety and risk mitigation in their workplaces.
Common Sources of Fall Risk in Workplaces: Elevated Surfaces and Scaffolding As previously mentioned, elevated work surfaces pose a major threat to worker safety due to the risk of falls.
Examples of these surfaces can include:
This list does not touch on all elevated work scenarios that create a fall risk for workers, but it helps give a general idea of just how prevalent this risk is. According to OSHA standards, fall risk is present in any situation where someone is working in a location more than six feet off the ground. However, this does vary by industry, and some industries or workplaces need to have fall protection in place when workers are four feet off the ground or more.
Out of the list above, scaffolding is one of the greatest sources of fall risk, particularly in construction, maintenance or warehouse work. Scaffolding is a temporary, elevated work surface that holds people, materials or both. Scaffolding is most commonly used in construction and maintenance work but provides worker assistance in several industries.
There are two general types of scaffolding:
Suspended scaffolding: one or more platforms suspended overhead by rope or other non-rigid supports
Supported scaffolding: one or more platforms suspended from the ground by rigid support frames made from materials such as metal or wood
While it may seem odd that a tool meant to help workers accomplish tasks safely off the ground is actually the source of many workplace falls, it makes sense when one understands the intricacies of building sound scaffolding and realizes they vary by industry like construction, general workplace, so forth.
For a general idea of requirements for fall-safe scaffolding, here are a few factors to consider:
Has the scaffolding been constructed according to manufacturer instructions?
Are guardrails properly placed on unprotected edges?
Are the platform bases sufficiently strong enough to support the workers and materials that will be on them?
Keep in mind that this is in addition to the scaffolding being able to support its own weight.
Weight-bearing requirements for supported and suspended scaffolding types differ, so one must make sure they understand the requirements for their specific scaffolding type.
Is the scaffolding regularly maintained between uses?
Proper take-down and set-up procedures must be followed every time.
Is the person selecting and constructing the scaffolding appropriate for the task?
This is only scratching the surface of scaffolding use. To ensure proper protocols are being followed and maintained, it is important to have the proper tools and education at your disposal to get the job done correctly and safely to mitigate fall risk.
Common Fall Prevention Tactics There are several measures one can take to help prevent falls in the workplace. To determine the best measures to take for any given work environment, there must first be a thorough review of the potential fall hazard (like an elevated work surface with unprotected edges) to make a fall prevention plan best tailored to that specific situation, project and work zone.
While completing this review, it’s important to consider:
How far off the ground will someone be working?
Will there be more than one person working simultaneously?
What materials will be used (if any) and need to be accounted for?
Will there be potential for increased slip risk due to environmental factors, such as outdoor work or the types of material being used?
Will any dangerous machinery be used?
Will this be a workspace that requires scaffolding or ladders for support?
Once a review is complete, planning for fall prevention can begin. Some simple, yet effective, fall prevention tactics are:
Keep the workspace clear and free from clutter: This is especially important while working on elevated surfaces, as a trip and fall could result in much more severe injury than from the ground.
Properly secure all unprotected edges: For any height more than four to six feet from the ground, if a worker trips and falls, there must be something in place to stop that person from falling off that location.
Utilize safety harnesses and lines: When unable to use a ladder or scaffolding for support, a properly fitting harness and line are needed.
Incorporate fall hazard warning signage: Keep workers on alert with signs indicating fall risk. This can help reduce the chance of accidental falls from workers simply not paying attention.
Inspect fall prevention equipment before each use: Like any equipment, fall prevention equipment can lose effectiveness over time. Regular and thorough inspections can help ensure its efficacy or if it needs to be replaced.
It is important to note this list only just scratches the surface of all the detailed regulations around fall prevention for worker safety. For example, installing a guardrail on a surface with unprotected edges might appear straightforward, but many factors need to be considered, and standards met, to ensure it will truly protect workers from a fall. Additionally, there are different regulations for different industries, which brings in another layer of complexity to the task of preventing falls.
What’s Next in Fall Prevention? Seeking expert, professional help—instead of trying to piece together a fall prevention system—is the safest choice for workers in any industry. National Safety Compliance (NSC) is a great partner for all things related to safe working environments, offering many resources to help businesses stay up-to-date on the latest in fall prevention tactics and regulations.
NSC’s Fall Protection Bundle includes everything a business needs to understand and implement proper fall prevention protocols. Utilizing a video kit, training booklets and an in-depth manual, this bundle will help businesses keep their workers safe, while helping to reduce time and money lost due to worker accidents and injuries.
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:
Educate stakeholders, especially workers and employers, about heat hazards in the workplace.
Prevent heat illness by creating an awareness campaign that increases the public’s knowledge about this issue.
Highlight the dangers of heat; and
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:
Bakeries, kitchens, and laundries
Construction – especially, road, roofing, and other outdoor work
Electrical utilities, boiler rooms
Iron and steel mills and foundries
Mail and package delivery
Oil and gas well operations
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.
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
Water. Rest. Shade. Message
Modified Work Schedules
Monitoring for Signs and Symptoms
Emergency Planning and Response
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In recent years, the Department of Labor, DOL for short, has renewed its commitment to enforce labor laws, promoting the safety and health of American workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA for short, was created in 1970 to ensure safe and healthy conditions for all workers. It is OSHA’s responsibility to set and enforce safety standards that employers must comply with in order to provide employees with the safest workplace possible. Just last month, OSHA issued two memorandums indicating that they are stepping up their focus on the enforcement of labor laws. In Fact, both memorandums were issued by OSHA’s Directorate for Enforcement Programs.
According to the DOL, OSHA “has issued new enforcement guidance to make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.”
The first memorandum, Application of Instance-by-Instance Penalty Adjustment, gives OSHA Regional Administrators and Area Office Directors the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations.” This includes cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions. Specifically when the language of the rule supports a citation for each instance of non-compliance. The purpose of this change is to encourage OSHA personnel to apply the full authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act where increased citations will in fact discourage non-compliance.
Conditions Where Instance-by-Instance Citations May Apply:
The second memorandum, Exercising Discretion When Not to Group Violations, states that it is “intended to reiterate existing policy that allows Regional Administrators and Area Directors discretion to not group violations in appropriate cases to achieve a deterrent effect.” Instead they should cite them separately, with the goal of effectively encouraging employers to comply with the the OSH Act.
This updated guidance covers enforcement activity in general industry, agriculture, maritime and construction industries, and becomes effective 60 days from Jan. 26, 2023. Since the current policy has been in place for more than 30 years and applies only to egregious willful citations, these aggressive changes make it clear that OSHA is focused on deterring employers from ignoring their responsibilities to keep workers safe.
Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health explained the changes this way, “Smart, impactful enforcement means using all the tools available to us when an employer ‘doesn’t get it’ and will respond to only additional deterrence in the form of increased citations and penalties. This is intended to be a targeted strategy for those employers who repeatedly choose to put profits before their employees’ safety, health and wellbeing. Employers who callously view injured or sickened workers simply as a cost of doing business will face more serious consequences.”
OSHA has delivered remarkable progress in improving the safety of America’s work force. Workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities have fallen dramatically over the years. OSHA has tackled fatal safety hazards and health risks by establishing common sense standards and enforcing the law against those who put workers at risk. OSHA standards and enforcement actions have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries and illnesses. Looking to the future, OSHA is renewing its commitment to protecting workers by promoting best practices that can save lives.
OSHA’s general duty clause states, “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees; shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act. Furthermore, each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.” With this in mind, keeping up with all OSHA standards, rules, regulations, and orders can be a daunting task for both employers and employees. Two helpful resources to ensure workplaces are informed and in compliance are our OSHA 29 Regulation books.
Our published OSHA 29 CFR 1910 General Industry Regulations and CFR 1926 Construction Regulations books provide quick and easy access to critical safety guidance at all times. Clearly, this important reference will help employers and employees both quickly identify potential safety concerns and hazards on any job. In order to best serve the needs of everyone, we provide the updated books in two types of binding and in electronic formats. With accessibility in mind, perfect bound book includes 2-color tab end of the book displaying both regulation title and number. Additionally, our premium version of the book is ideal for those that take notes and highlight on their regulations. It’s bound in a loose-leaf, 3-ring, 2″ binder with tabs and it allows for easy navigation to the regulations you use most. These updated books contain all changes to the standards through January 1, 2023.
Two-color layout makes navigating and reading regulations easier
Includes all 1910 regulations
1903 regulations covering inspections, citations and penalties,
1904 regulations covering record keeping and reporting occupational injuries and illness
Easy-to-find regulations changes for the period between book releases
Easy-to-find OSHA interpretations icon shows which page and which regulations have interpretations to reference
Contains OSHA Form 300 and OSHA’s Cancer Policy
Most Frequently Cited Standards preceding relevant Subparts
Workplace compliance is challenging. For this reason, National Safety Compliance is working hard to help employers and employees meet this requirement and stay safe at work. Staying on top of compliance begins with being aware of all the safety standards that apply to your workplace. Which is why NSC has compiled our 1910 and 1926 regulation books. Given that there is so much information to keep track of, having OSHA regulations accessible and aesthetically pleasing benefits everyone.
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:
Types of Hearing Loss
Effects of Excessive Noise Exposure
Evaluating Noise Exposure Levels
Hearing Conservation Program
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.
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
Employer’s trade associations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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