Author Archives: Stefanie Valentic

International Organization for Standardization Sets Publication Date for ISO 45001

Companies will be able to purchase a hard copy of ISO 45001 beginning on March 12, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).ISO, the Switzerland-based organization, along with support from ASSE, developed the new global standard in an effort to provide a framework that could work across any company.“ISO 45001 is one of the most significant developments in workplace safety over the past 50 years, presenting an opportunity to move the needle on reducing occupational safety and health risks,” said Vic Toy, U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) chair, in a statement. “The goal was to create a widely accepted standard that can produce a highly effective safety and health management system for an increasingly interconnected world, regardless of an organization’s size, location, supply chains or nature of work.”The voluntary consensus standard provides a framework that companies can use to increase employee safety, reduce workplace risks and improve business outcomes worldwide, according to ASSE.ASSE served as the administrator of the U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The multi-year process included input from more than 75 countries across six continents.The outcome over time will be safer and healthier workplaces around the world as companies adopt the groundbreaking standard to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Organizations looking to acquire the new global standard after it is published should visit ASSE’s ISO 45001 web page.ASSE has taken initial steps to pursue adoption of ISO 45001 as an American national standard, according to the organization. If the effort is successful, the document would be titled “ISO/ANSI/ASSE 45001-2018.” The organization currently is creating training and professional development materials in response to significant interest from occupational safety and health professionals.“Better management of risk is needed by businesses in every industry to not only protect their human capital, but to achieve growth and sustainability objectives while improving their bottom line,” said Kathy A. Seabrook, TAG vice chair, in a statement. “ISO 45001 is a tool to help organizations do just that.”Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Fines Plastic Manufacturer After Worker Fatality

On the evening of Aug. 16, 2017, 45-year-old Eva Saenz was working near a plastics recycling machine when she became caught and pulled into the equipment’s rollers.Despite other workers alerting emergency services, responders pronounced her dead on the scene. Now, ABC Polymer Industries LLC, the Helena, Ala.-based plastics manufacturer for which she was employed, is facing $195,144 in citations after an OSHA investigation.The agency inspected ABC Polymer’s facilities immediately following the fatality and cited the company for numerous violations.“Employers must comply with required safety and health standards to protect workers from exposure to hazards,” said OSHA Birmingham Area Office Director Ramona Morris. “This company’s failure to install machine guarding equipment has resulted in a preventable tragedy.”The company received one willful citation for failing to provide machine guarding to protect workers from caught-in and amputation hazards.ABC Polymer Industries also was cited for numerous repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations, which include:Failing to evaluate all powered industrial trucks every three yearsLack of specific safety procedures to shut down or isolate stored energyFailing to install a rail system on both sides of an open platform.The company has 15 business days to respond to the citations and proposed penalties, either in the form of compliance, requesting an informal conference or contesting the findings.Saenz’s spouse, Crescensio Pablo, filed a lawsuit against ABC Polymer Industries, seeking worker’s compensation benefits, according to news reports.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Fiberglass Pipe Manufacturer Faces Fines After Finger Amputation

Mobile, Ala.-based fiberglass pipe manufacturer RPS Composites Alabama is facing a dozen safety and health violations after a worker suffered a finger amputation.OSHA,which opened an investigation immediately after the incident, discovered numerous machine safety hazards the company failed to address.“Employers must evaluate their workplace to ensure employees are provided appropriate training, and the equipment they use is properly guarded to prevent amputation hazards,” said Joseph Roesler., OSHA Mobile area office director.A lack of machine guarding caused a worker's safety-gloved hand to become caught and pulled into a pipe-winding machine, which led to the amputation. OSHA investigators found 10 serious and two other-than-serious violations for exposing employees to struck-by and caught-in hazards by failing to install proper machine guarding; failing to train employees on how to control energy sources and allowing combustible dust to accumulate.RPS Composites, which faces $74,833 in proposed penalties, has 15 business days to respond to the citations, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Top 5 Laboratory Safety Tips [Photo Gallery]

Being compliant is only the first step to preventing accidents and injuries in the laboratory. Laboratory workers are exposed to a variety of different hazards each day including sharp objects, pathogens and dangerous chemicals.In addition, working with chemicals could lead to fires and explosions if the right precautions aren't taken.Workrite Uniform Co. has released five basic tips aimed at reminding safety professionals what steps they should take to protect workers. View the slideshow to see Workrite's suggestions.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Motor Vehicle Deaths Top 40,000 in 2017 [Photo Gallery]

National Safety Council releases preliminary estimates based on tracked fatality trends. Motor vehicle fatalities fell 1 percent in 2017 from 2016, but this does not mean America’s roads are safer, according to the National Safety Council.Preliminary estimates from the NSC show a year-over-year decrease to 40,100 from 40,327. However, the 2017 numbers are 6 percent higher than the number of deaths in 2015, signaling the steepest two-year increase in 50 years."The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year," said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman in a statement. "This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety."Estimates show that 2017 could be the second straight year that motor vehicle deaths topped 40,000. Overall, the NSC reports that 4.57 million people were seriously injured in crashes, about 1 percent lower than 2016 calculations.The organization has been tracking fatality trends for nearly a century. Data is collected every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and additional information is gathering from the National Center for Health Statistics, such as deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways as well as parking lots and driveways.To encourage safer roadways and driving, the NSC recommends a list of precautions motorists should take. The suggestions are included in the slideshow.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Oregon OSHA Plans Two-Day Safety Conference

Employers, safety professionals and workers are invited to attend a two-day conference in Eugene, Ore. from March 5-6.The 18th biennial Cascade Occupational Safety and Health Conference, organized by state-run Oregon OSHA, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services as well as several other partners, aims to revitalize attendees' commitment to on-the-job safety and provide an outlet to develop relationships with other workplace safety and health advocates.“Fear of not achieving a zero incident or accident rate compels people, by our very nature, to practice aversion rather than achievement,” said Joe Estey, keynote conference speaker and principal performance improvement specialist Lucas Engineering and Management Solutions in Richland, Wash.On Mon., March 5, Estey will present “Mythical Metrics: Why Zero Gets You Zero.”  He will draw out best practices from participants and share his experiences of organizations that have moved beyond measuring safety by numbers to managing the safety process, and sustaining operational excellence."It’s time we embrace and practice a productive safety mindset based upon doing something – safety in action – rather than avoiding something – safety through inaction," he said.Oregon OSHA listed the following workshop topics that attendees can participate in:Basics in starting a safety programGeneral industry walking-working surfaces and fall protectionHearing conservation and noise controlHazard identification for safety committeesStress management and physical activityConfined space and industrial rescue: How much and how?The registration fee for both days is $185, or $95 for single-day attendance. The conference will be held at the Hilton Eugene, 66 E. 6th Ave.For more information, go to's block ads! (Why?)

Sincerely Stefanie: Technology is Distracting

I’m always on-the-go. From work to running to grocery shopping, there’s always some place I need to be.Luckily, my vehicle has a variety of features such as built-in navigation, vehicle speed warning and a back-up camera to get me to my location safe and sound.If I begin to select a destination while my car is in drive, a warning indicating the navigation feature should not be in use displays on the screen. My vehicle beeps when my car gets too close to an object and also when I’m not wearing a seat belt. However, I’m still not 100 percent safe if I choose to ignore those warnings.“Our complacency is killing us,” says Deborah A.P. Hersman, National Safety Council (NSC) president and CEO. “Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true. The U.S. lags the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven’t done it.”Despite measures such as “infotainment” dashboards and hands-free technology, the NSC found that 53 percent of drivers think they must be safe when those very features actually are distracting.“With some state laws focusing on handheld bans, many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device. But, in fact, these technologies distract our brains even long after you’ve used them,” the organization states on its web site.So why haven’t we done anything yet? Could it be because we always are traveling, that we don’t have time to stop and think about what we are doing before we take action? Or is it because emerging technologies are distracting drivers instead of keeping them out of harm’s way?Regardless, the fact remains that Americans spend a significant time on the road. AAA estimates we spend on average about 17,600 minutes driving each year.“The amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office,” says Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “It’s clear that traveling by car remains a central part of American’s lives.”Recent NSC survey results indicate how much risk U.S. drivers are willing to take. Although 83 percent believe that getting behind the wheel is a safety concern, 64 percent of those surveyed admit they are comfortable speeding, and 47 percent of respondents text either manually or through voice controls.With an increasing number of states legalizing marijuana, driving while impaired could become more problematic in the future. In fact, 13 percent of drivers said they have no qualms about driving while impaired by marijuana, and 10 percent even indicated they would drive after they have had too much alcohol.In the end, reducing these preventable accidents needs to be a team effort. Americans need to step back and realize that multitasking while driving is not the answer. In addition, the NSC provides the following measures that need to be taken to get to what it calls the “Road to Zero” for traffic fatalities:• Mandate ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers and better education about the nature of impairment and when it begins.• Install and use automated enforcement techniques to catch speeders.• Extend laws banning all cell phone use – including hands-free – to all drivers, not just teens; upgrade enforcement from secondary to primary in states with existing bans.• Upgrade seat belt laws from secondary to primary enforcement and extend restraint laws to every passenger in every seating position in all kinds of vehicles.• Adopt a three-tiered licensing system for all new drivers under 21 – not just those under 18.• Standardize and accelerate into the fleet automotive safety technologies with life-saving potential, including blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive headlights.• Pass or reinstate motorcycle helmet laws.• Adopt a comprehensive program for pedestrian safety.As 2018 begins, let’s reflect on the previous year with a quote from my July 2017 column:The bottom line is true of all safety initiatives: taking ownership. Be cognizant of what you’re doing while you’re driving. Make a playlist; indicate your destination in your navigation or select a radio station before you leave the driveway. Set up an automatic text to send to someone who contacts you while you’re on the road. If you’re a passenger, don’t be afraid to point out distracting behavior. Make a commitment to drive safe during your commute, on the job and while you’re out and about after work and during weekends. Let's block ads! (Why?)

President Trump Releases 2019 U.S. Department of Labor Budget [Photo Gallery]

Job creation and security are the focus of the $10.6 billion in proposed discretionary spending. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released the details of President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for the agency.The request, which totals $10.9 billion, targets investments and reforms aimed at securing the American workforce.“The President’s budget provides a fiscally responsible framework to advance the Department of Labor’s mission of ensuring all Americans have access to family-sustaining jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in a statement. “From addressing the skills gap through apprenticeships to prioritizing workplace safety, this budget reflects a strong commitment to the American workforce. It also includes important reforms to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to maximum effect.”Worker safety laws and compliance assistance comprise a significant portion of the budget, which includes the following allocations:$549 million to OSHA to help ensure workers are safe on the job, providing $135 million for federal and state compliance assistance activities to enhance employer outreach and training$230 million for the Wage and Hour Division to protect wages and working conditions in U.S. workplaces, including a funding increase of $4 million to educate employers on how to comply with the law$376 million for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), reflecting a strong commitment to enforcement, compliance assistance, training, and innovative technologies to protect the safety and health of the nation’s miners.$190 million for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, providing a $2 million increase to provide interpretive guidance, enforcement, oversight activities and compliance assistance$47 million for the Office of Labor-Management Standards to administer safeguards for labor union democracy and financial integrity, including a funding increase of $3 million to re-establish the International Compliance Audit ProgramAdditional highlights for the FY 2019 DOL budget can be viewed in the slideshow.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Q&A: PPE in Construction

Hats, gloves, fall arrest systems, boots. The wide world of personal protective equipment (PPE) could be intimidating to safety managers when a tight budget and limited resources come into play.When it comes to the construction industry, carefully selecting the right PPE in order to protect workers from the most common injuries plaguing workers, such as struck-by incidents and falls, and training them is crucial.In a recent report, research firm Global Market Insights forecasts an uptick in the purchase of safety gloves and protective clothing as economic growth continues globally.The firm cites awareness campaigns and mandatory compliance as the biggest components to the increase of protective clothing use through 2023. Just as with hand protection, strict safety regulations imposed by OSHA, NIOSH, NFPA, and others will be the principal global protective clothing market growth driver, the firm writes.Because of the burgeoning array of choices available, EHS Today reached out to safety managers at some of America’s Safest Companies to find out what processes they use to purchase and distribute PPE to their workers.EHS Today: How do you choose which PPE you provide to your workers?Cole Davis, corporate safety director, Nova Group: Based on comfort and practicality. No one glove fits all tasks so we have a glove use matrix chart as well as a respiratory use matrix chart to help folks understand what PPE is used for specific applications. Our parent company also offers discounted pricing on certain gloves and has corporate pricing available on some. I always have American flag patches and/or stickers added to each full brim hard hat and vest because we work on military bases and they appreciate seeing that. As well as badge clear opening so folks can put their badge in their vest and it can be seen at all times.Steve Lopez, senior safety officer, Rummel Construction: Our first consideration is the nature of the hazard and application of the Hierarchy of Controls (Elimination, Substitution, Engineering, Administrative and PPE). If we determine PPE is necessary, then we generally choose from available options that demonstrate effectiveness, practicality, compliance with industry consensus standards, quality, fit and cost.Joe Corvello, corporate director, health, safety & environmental, American Bridge Company: PPE assessment is developed based on the JHA’s established for activity of work. Selection is based on fit/comfort and affords to best safety to the individual.EHS Today: What PPE do you provide? Cole Davis: We provide all that OSHA requires including discounts on prescription eye wear ($75/year per ee.) and occasionally safety toed boot gift cards. Always provide fall protection and every style of glove for each application. We provide bottled water on 90% of our projects.Steve Lopez: Our “minimum” PPE issue upon hire is a hard hat that meets the ANSI Z89.1-2009 standard for Type 1, Class E protection, safety glasses that meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1-2010 standard (or side shields or overglasses for those that wear prescription eye glasses), a safety vest that meets the ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 standard for Class II, Level II garments, ear plugs with a NRR of 33 decibels, and work gloves that meet the EN388 standard for level 5 cut resistance and level 4 puncture resistance. Although we require work boots that extend over the ankle, long trousers, and shirts with sleeves (4” minimum), our company does not provide them. All other provided PPE is determined by the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), and selection would follow the process as stated.Joe Corvello: Standard PPE for all site workers: Safety glasses, gloves, hard hat, high-visibility vest/jackets, safety boots, and hearing protection. Personal fall protection (harness and lanyard) are issued to those working at height. Cut resistant, abrasion resistant, and thermal protection (welding and cutting). Anti-vibration is used as required.EHS Today: How do you manage the process of providing PPE to your employees?Cole Davis: The safety person (SSHO) typically has a closet or a shed of some sort with a lock and key and issues to each person.Steve Lopez: Although we provide the “minimum” PPE to each employee upon hire during the hiring process, we ultimately place the responsibility on the employee’s supervisor to acquire and provide PPE as necessary. Our company maintains a central supply of PPE to support the needs in the field.Joe Corvello: Project management / safety determine the level of PPE to be provided based on PPE assessments, selection and availability, and cost to some degree.EHS Today: Do you include PPE in your training (how and why to use it, etc.)? If so, how?Cole Davis: Yes, this is a common topic and is also covered in our OSHA 10-hr. training each person is required to attend.Steve Lopez: Once a new employee arrives on the jobsite for the first time, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to train them in the purpose, inspection, fit, limitations, and care of their PPE as part of their new employee safety orientation training (NESOT). For specialized PPE, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), our safety professionals will be involved in the training. All training is documented.Joe Corvello: PPE training is part of our Employee Safety Indoctrination provided to all new employees. Specific PPE training (fall protection, SCBA, respiratory and emergency response) are provided as required.EHS Today: How do you track injury trends?Cole Davis: We develop “Safety Flashes” for each near miss and accident and injury that occurs. We submit claims and injuries into a database called Origami which our parent company Quanta requires us to use. This provides charts and graphs, etc., of body parts injured, by what mechanism, etc.Steve Lopez: We have an old-fashioned system that seems to work well. We document our incidents (injuries, illness, equipment & property damage, third party claims, near misses, etc.) on a quarterly summary tracking sheet and evaluate them after each quarter for trends. We also require reporting all incidents, no matter how minor, to the safety department.Joe Corvello: All injuries are tracked and analyzed for trends. Any trends indicating improper use off PPE, failure to use PPE, or inappropriate PPE protection, Corrective Action are developed to address any trends.EHS Today: Have you recently made changes in your PPE based on OSHA, ANSI standards or on injury trends you’re seeing?Cole Davis: Yes – we were experiencing a rash of dust and/or debris entering eyes during chipping/grinding operations. We then required the use of spoggles, goggles or mono goggles to be worn when doing these specific operations. This was also prior to the new silica standards requiring a vacuum system so we may be able to loosen our PPE now but will evaluate.Steve Lopez: No recent changes have been made to our PPE based on regulatory standards or trends; however, we often make changes into the way our employees work. For example, our hand injury prevention campaign puts more emphasis on hand placement rather than the work glove for injury prevention.Joe Corvello: The new silica standard in construction has impacted some of our PPE. All workers exposed to silica dust in an open air environment wear P-95 or P-100 dust mask. Anti-vibration, use of vibration reducing grip tape on jackhammers have seen a reduction in exposure, allowing workers to work longer periods.Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA, Carthage Specialty Paperboard Reach Settlement

Carthage Specialty Paperboard Inc. has agreed to pay $175,000 in penalties and correct dozens of safety violations after contesting OSHA’s findings following an inspection.The agency discovered 62 health and safety violations at the company’s Carthage, NY facility and proposed $357,445 in fines. Carthage Specialty immediately challenged the citations.“The violations found during this investigation put employees at serious risk of injury or even worse,” said OSHA Area Director Christopher Adams in a previous statement. “This is a significant number of hazards for a single workplace. Carthage Specialty Paperboard must implement corrective measures to protect their employees’ safety and health.”OSHA began an investigation in response to a 2016 complaint that alleged workers were exposed to various hazards.  Inspectors found more than 20 instances of machinery lacking safety guards to prevent amputations. In addition, the machinery in the mill did not have safety locks to prevent the accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance, and workers did not receive required training or personal protective equipment (PPE) to work on electrical systems with up to 2,300 volts.Citations for exposing workers to struck-by hazards when the company failed to inspect cranes and hoists also were issued. Employees also entered confined spaces without prior atmospheric testing, or means to rescue persons overcome by fumes.In addition to paying $175,000 in fines, the settlement requires Carthage Specialty to enhance efforts to prevent hazards associated with machine guarding, lack of fall protection, hazardous energy control, confined space entry, emergency response as well as electrical and structural safety issues.“This settlement confirms that the company acknowledges the necessity of improving safety and health practices, as well as fostering a culture that supports safety among employees,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Robert D. Kulick in a statement.United Steel Workers (USW) and USW Local 276, which are third-parties to the case, also signed the agreement, according to OSHA.“This resolution reinforces the critical importance of the company’s planning for workers’ safety and health and making it an essential part of the mill’s day-to-day operations,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in a statement.Let's block ads! (Why?)