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Common Safety Issues for Lawn Care Companies

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, May 22, 2019 @ 01:45 PM

Today's blog article comes from Carmen Dexter at LawnStarter.com. They "bring you the best lawn services, all at the click of button." Whether you are a lawn care professional or simply looking to become more informed on common safety issues faced by those in lawn care services, please enjoy this article.

Thank you again LawnStarter for providing this information!

 

Common Safety Issues for Lawn Care Companies

By Carmen Dexter

Riding Lawn Mower Fire

Source


Landscaping is dirty work! It’s also dangerous. More than 6,000 people are injured while mowing their lawn each year, and a number of those accidents involve children. Many of those kids end up losing a limb or worse. That’s why so many homeowners hire a professional for lawn care. But even the seasoned landscaper isn’t immune from the hazards of the industry.

 

About 13,000 injury or illness cases in the landscaping industry are reported to the government each year. Some are preventable … if you know what to do to keep disaster at bay.

 

 

Motor Vehicles

Two landscaping trucks collide in Harwich, MA

Source

Landscaping is one of the country’s most dangerous jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and traffic is a major hazard. Accidents happen while transporting equipment to a job site or working near traffic. Lawn care workers have died after falling out of the back of the truck they were riding in. Equipment not properly secured in a vehicle has fallen on a crew member. A car struck a landscaper, and the driver said he didn’t see him.

 

Take steps to avoid these accidents:

● Never transport workers in a truck’s cargo area.

● Make sure equipment is secure before moving.

● Encourage all workers to practice safe driving.

● While working near the street, landscapers should wear bright clothing and safety vests.

Know the address of your work site. If there’s an accident, emergency crews need to know where to go, as quickly as possible.

 

 

Equipment

using-a-chainsaw-to-cut-logs-752x500

Source

 

Contact with machinery or equipment is high on the list of accidents for lawn care workers. Operating mowers, trimmers, shredders, chippers, rotating blades, and chainsaws requires concentration. A few extra steps beforehand can help prevent injury. Dress in close-fitting clothing and leave the jewelry at home. Wear nothing that could get caught in the equipment. Keep clear of blades when working and maintain tools regularly to keep them in good working condition. Put on sturdy boots, gloves, safety goggles, and earplugs. Also, remove debris from the lawn before you start mowing. Pick up rocks, bottles, and anything that could get caught in the mower and thrown around.

 

 

Heat/Sun Exposure

Exposure to the sun

Source

 

The long hours landscapers spend in the sun can lead to heat stress or even skin cancer. Heat sickens thousands of outdoor workers each year by causing excessive sweating. That can bring about cramps, exhaustion, or heat stroke. Lawn care companies can help prevent these illnesses by providing plenty of fresh water for employees, allowing breaks as needed, and offering shade if possible. Workers can help themselves by frequently drinking small amounts of water and wearing a hat. It's also important to avoid caffeine and large amounts of sugar, as they can lead to dehydration.

 

Pesticides

DIY-Organic-Pesticide-Sprays

Source

One danger endemic to the landscaping industry is exposure to pesticides. These chemicals can enter the body by mouth, through the skin and eyes, or as vapors inhaled into the lungs.

 

Pesticides can cause a variety of health problems, depending on the person and the level of exposure.

 

Take these steps to protect yourself:

● Wear protective clothing.

● Don’t spray above your head, where the drops might fall back on you.

● Stay out of areas that have just been sprayed.

● Close container lids tightly.

● Use caution when handling pesticide containers.

● Bathe and put on clean clothes as soon as you get home.

 

These are some of the main safety issues facing lawn care companies and their employees. Accidents happen, and the best way for a company to avoid problems and reduce their severity is to train workers, provide a safety manual, and insure themselves so that everyone is covered.

4 Things You Didn't Know About Hazmat Training

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 03:28 PM

hazmat training

The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard requires employers to provide training to employees who provide emergency response services during releases of hazardous substances, 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6). The level of training the employer must provide depends on the role the employee will perform in a response.

  1. What's the difference in the level of hazardous material (hazmat) training?

  2. Does OSHA allow computer based training for hazmat refresher training?

  3. Does OSHA allow you to break up hazmat training over different dates/times?

  4. What does OSHA do if I don't get my annual hazmat refresher training?

The difference between a hazmat responder and a hazmat technician

Employees must be trained to the first responder operations level if they will be part of the initial response for the purpose of protecting persons, property, or the environment from the effects of the hazardous substance release. Employees who respond for the purpose of actually stopping the release must be trained as hazardous materials technicians.

Responders at the operations level must receive at least eight hours of training or have sufficient experience to objectively demonstrate certain competencies listed in the HAZWOPER standard.

Hazardous materials technicians must receive at least 24 hours of training at the operations level and satisfy certain additional competencies listed in the standard. [See 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6)(ii) and 1910.120(q)(6)(iii)]

In addition, the HAZWOPER standard requires that operations and technician level employees "receive annual refresher training of sufficient content and duration to maintain their competencies, or shall demonstrate competency in those areas at least yearly." 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(8).

It is important to note that training required under 1910.120(q) is dependent upon the anticipated duties and functions of the responder. Training and competencies must be consistent with each employee's anticipated role. For example, certain course topics could be suitable for operations level or hazmat technician refresher training, however they may not provide proper refresher training for personnel assigned as incident commanders (individuals who assume control of the incident scene).

Furthermore, an employee trained as a hazmat technician for responses to certain types of emergencies (e.g., agricultural emergencies) may not be adequately trained to respond to other types of emergencies (e.g., chemical releases or spills).


Using computer-based training as refresher training

Computer-based training may meet some refresher training requirements, provided that it covers topics relevant to workers' assigned duties. It must be supplemented by the opportunity to ask questions of a qualified trainer and by an assessment of hands-on performance of work tasks.

hazmat refresher training

In OSHA's view, self paced, interactive computer-based training can serve as a valuable training tool in the context of an over-all HAZWOPER training program. However, use of computer-based training by itself would not be sufficient to meet the intent of the standard's various training requirements. Their position on this matter is essentially the same as their policy on the use of training videos, as the two approaches have similar shortcomings. OSHA urges employers to be wary of relaying solely on generic "packaged" training programs in meeting their training requirements. Training required under HAZWOPER includes site-specific elements and should also to some degree be tailored to workers' assigned duties.

In order for the training to be effective, trainees must have the opportunity to ask questions. This requirement could be met by providing a telephone hotline so that trainees will have direct access to a qualified trainer. The trainees' mastery of covered knowledge and skills must also be assessed. It is not clear whether "validation of course-work completion" as described in the advertisement you enclosed means that this particular computer-based training program actually assesses whether workers have mastered the covered material.

Hazardous waste operations can involve many complex and hazardous tasks. It is imperative that employees be able to perform such tasks safely. Thus, auditing of worker performance is required for all types of HAZWOPER training. In the case of refresher training, this requirement for auditing of worker performance could be addressed during periodic safety meetings.

Traditional, hands-on training is the preferred method. The purpose of hands-on training, for example in the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment, is two-fold: first, to ensure that workers have an opportunity to learn by experience, and second, to assess whether workers have mastered the necessary skills. The employer may determine that hands-on training is unnecessary for a given refresher course. However, if an employer elects not to use hands-on training in their refresher course, the employer must first assess the employees' skill level, and ensure that workers remain competent in their current and any newly assigned duties.

In conclusion, it is possible in some cases to use computer-based training in meeting the refresher training requirements of 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(8), provided that the computer-based training covers topics relevant to workers' assigned duties and is supplemented by the opportunity to ask questions of a qualified trainer, as well as an assessment of worker skill degradation through auditing of hands-on performance of work tasks.


hazmat refresher

Refresher training done over different dates/time

Refresher training may be given in segments so long as the required 8 hours have been completed by the employee's anniversary date.

We also point out that 8 hours is a minimum requirement; many employers will find it difficult to cover all topics listed in the training requirements in the minimum allowable time. The competencies to be covered during training sessions may demand more than 8 hours. When developing training, employers must structure their refresher training based on the employee's expected job duties.


Consequence of missing your annual refresher training date

If the date for refresher training has lapsed, the need to repeat initial training must be determined based on the employee's familiarity with safety and health procedures used on site. This means if you haven't kept up your skills, you may need to repeat a full hazmat training course. If a full course is deemed not necessary, the employee should take the next available refresher training course. And as OSHA states it, "There should be a record in the employee's file indicating why the training has been delayed and when the training will be completed."

--From osha.gov

Looking to send employees  to hazmat refresher training   around Chicagoland?   Click for more information!

Tags: hazmat training, hazmat refresher

OSHA Training for Construction Industry

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 @ 08:43 AM
OSHA training for construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers Outreach Training for 4 industries: Construction, General Industry, Maritime, and Disaster Site Work. OSHA has done well over the years to expand the reach of their programs to help workers become more knowledgeable about workplace hazards and their rights. Specifically, OSHA's Outreach Training Program provides training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of these workplace hazards. 

The construction industry deserves a little extra attention as it accounts for about 1 in 5 worker deaths. The Focus Four hazards (falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between) are especially dangerous. In fact, according to OSHA, eliminating the Focus Four would save over 600 workers' lives in America each year.

Here are OSHA's top violations as they relate to the construction industry and how you can learn more about/avoid them!

 


Construction Top Violations

1926.501 - Fall Protection

1926.451 - Scaffolding

1926.1053 - Ladders


Fall Protection

Designed to protect employees on walking/working surfaces with an unprotected side or edge above 6 feet.

Top 5 sections cited:

1926.501(b)(13) - Residential construction.
1926.501(b)(1) - Unprotected sides/edges.
1926.501(b)(10) - Roofing work on low-slope roofs.
1926.501(b)(11) - Steep roofs.
1926.501(b)(4)(i) - Holes and skylights.


Scaffolding

Employers are bound to protect construction workers from falls and falling objects while working on or near scaffolding at heights of 10 feet or higher.

Top 5 sections cited:

1926.451(g)(1) - Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 ft above a lower level shall be protected from falling to that lower level.
1926.451(e)(1) - When scaffold platforms are more than 2 ft above or below a point of access. Cross braces shall not be used as a means of access.
1926.451(b)(1) - Working levels of scaffolds shall be fully planked or decked.
1926.451(g)(1)(vii) - Personal fall arrest systems or guardrails systems.
1926.451(g)(4)(i) - Guardrail systems shall be installed along all open sides and ends of platforms.


Ladders

Covers general requirements for all ladders.

Top 5 sections cited:

1926.1053(b)(1) - Portable ladder access.
1926.1053(b)(4) - Shall be used only for the purpose for which they are designed.
1926.1053(b)(13) - The top or top step of a step ladder should not be used as a step.
1926.1053(b)(16) - With structural defects.
1926.1053(b)(22) - An employee shall not carry any object or load that could cause the employee to lose balance and fall.


 

OSHA training for construction @ STS

Now that you are aware of these heavily cited topics related to the construction industry, you can take steps in avoiding them. Your first might be to attend, or send your employees to attend a 10-hour OSHA training for construction. In this training, one will learn more about OSHA (and why we have the standards we do), health hazards in construction, personal protective and life-saving equipment, the Focus Four hazards (huge topic in construction), as well as some other construction related topics. For more information, or to attend our next OSHA 10 hour training for construction, click the button below. If you are in need of any other OSHA related safety training, visit our Training Services page to see what else Safety Training Services can offer you & your company.

Click to register for OSHA 10 (Construction)

Our next 10-Hour OSHA for Construction will be on Thursday, June 29, 2017! 

Tags: OSHA, construction industry, osha construction

Who Needs Electrical Safety Training?

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, May 26, 2017 @ 10:56 AM

As we close out May and therefore Electrical Safety Month, I wanted to share a bit of information for those not familiar with the training requirements for avoiding electrical hazards. Even if you are familiar with the requirements, allow this to serve as a quick reminder to verify that you are in compliance with your relevant OSHA standard.

For many of those in industry who face the risk of injury from electrical shock or other electrical hazards, you must be trained so that you are knowledgeable of these hazards and how to avoid them. Some occupations have a higher risk due to the nature of their job. In fact, OSHA has detailed out the typical occupational categories of employees that face a higher than normal risk of electrical accident. This includes the following:Electrical Safety Training

  • Blue collar supervisors*
  • Electrical and electronic engineers*
  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers*
  • Electrical and electronic technicians*
  • Electricians
  • Industrial machine operators*
  • Material handling equipment operators*
  • Mechanics and repairers*
  • Painters*
  • Riggers and roustabouts*
  • Stationary engineers*
  • Welders

*Workers in these groups do not need to be trained if their work or the work of those they supervise does not bring them or the employees they supervise close enough to exposed parts of electric circuits operating at 50 volts or more to ground for a hazard to exist.

Need Electrical Safety Or Arc Flash Training? Click for more info!

For those who are on this list, but do not follow the expection list just above, training may be a necessary need to assist these employees in avoiding electrical hazards and a knowledgeable understanding of the potential of this energy. As you may surmise, proper precautions must be taken to guard against these hazards. Too many employees, too often, are victims of injuries (or worse) because they fail to take these proper precautions to guard against such hazards. Failure to recognize the hazard of contact with energized electrical equipment can be a fatal mistake. 

Necessary Training Requirements for Electrical Safety &
Avoiding the Risk of Electrical Shock:

29 CFR 1910.332
www.OSHA.gov

  • Employees must be trained in and familiar with safe work practices that pertain to their job assignments or relate to their safety. [(b)(1-2)]
  • Are qualified employees permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts? If so, be sure they are trained in the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electric equipment. [(b)(3)(i)]
  • Qualified employees must be trained in the skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts. [(b)(3)(ii)]
  • Qualified employees must be trained in the clearance distances specified in the standard, and in the corresponding votages to which they will be exposed. [(b)(3)(iii)]

Qualified employees are those permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts. Those not not deemed qualified persons, but whom risk similar electrical hazards, shall also be trained in and familiar with any electrically related safety practices. The different training requirements for qualified and unqualified employees are outlined below for reference.

"Qualified" employees must (at a minimum) be able to:

  1. Identify live electrical parts
  2. Know their voltages
  3. Follow proper safety procedures for working on or near exposed live parts
  4. Know proper PPE to be used
  5. Know the importance of using insulating and shield materials as well as insulated tools

Training for "Unqualified" employees should cover (at a minimum):

  1. The risks of energized equipment
  2. How to protect themselves and others when they work around electricity
  3. What tasks can be done only by qualified workers
  4. To always respect warning signs and barriers designed to protect them from live parts

Once again, as Electrical Safety Month comes and goes with the month of May, there is no better time to access your electrical safety needs. If you are in need of either electrical safety training or arc flash training, or simply have a question regarding these topics, contact Safety Training Services today. We look forward to assisting you with your electrical safety & training needs!

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

Tags: electrical safety, electrical safety training

Do You Know the Safety Qualities of a Work Boot?

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 09:07 AM

Do you know the safety qualities a work boot must have?

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employees need to have protective footwear when working in places where they are exposed to the risk of foot injury. This may be due to falling, rolling or piercing objects and/or electric shock. There are many set standards that must be met for a pair of work boots to be considered safe.

Are you looking for a pair of safety boots? Do you know the qualities that these boots must possess? Here we will explain to you what these work boots safety standards are. It is very important that the boot you buy has the right qualities. This way it will serve you for a long time and keep you safe always.

The safety standards that the boot must meet will depend on the kind of job it is that you do. The industry safety requirements differ from one industry to the other and you need to be aware of what applies to you. You can learn about this in the infographic you will find here. When you spot a boot that you like, be sure to look at the specifications indicated under the sole, inside the shoe and in the ASTM labels. It is this information that will tell whether the boot is safe for use or not. With that said, here is what people in different occupations should look for in boots.

Looking for OSHA-related safety training?  Safety compliance issues? STS can help! Click for more information

Construction and heavy duty industry workers

Look for boots that have a green triangle symbol. This symbol means that the boot has grade 1 sole and class 1 toe cap. These are resistant to punctures and will stand the prolonged exposure there is in these industries. The sole can walk well in rough places as well as protect you from pierce injuries whereas the shoe cap is capable of protecting the toes in case something heavy falls on the foot.

Light industries

These are the areas where the boots will not be exposed to too much impact. For these, look for a yellow triangle which indicates that the shoe has grade 2 puncture resistant sole and class 2 toe cap. These are weaker compared to boots with green triangle but if you work in an industry that is not heavy duty they will help you.

Workers who handle electricity

If you handle electricity on a day to day basis and risk an electric shock, you need to get boots that have a white square with an omega (orange) symbol. This shows that they are insulated and will protect you from electrocution.

Those susceptible to static charges

If you are one of these you should buy boots that have a yellow square with the letters SD written in green. These shoes will protect you from static charges.

Those who work in forested areas

Look for a sign that looks like a fir tree on a white background. This boot can protect from sharp objects that can cut like chainsaws.

By referencing the infographic below, you can see what these symbols look like and mean. For a wealth of more information about work boots & their safety standards, take a look at the aboutboot website: http://www.aboutboot.com/work-boot-safety-standards/. Be sure to check the boot you buy next before taking it home.

Article written by
Richard K.
aboutboot.com

Safety Boot Infographic

 

Tags: work boot, safety boot

OSHA's Top 10 Violations for 2015 and Trends for 2016

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

OSHA recently announced this fiscal year's preliminary list of their "Top 10" most frequently cited workplace safety violations. Below, you will find the list as well some insight on OSHA's new approach to inspections and trends for 2016. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing blog articles written with the intent of showcasing these top violations, and how to avoid them.

The "Top 10" for FY 2015 are:Fall protection is still the most cited OSHA safety violation

  1. Fall Protection (Construction) 
    • Standard Cited: 1926.501 - 6,721 violations
    • Violations up (6,143 in FY 2014)
  2. Hazard Communication
    • Standard Cited: 1910.1200 - 5,192 violations
    • Violations up (5,161 in FY 2014)
  3. Scaffolding (Construction)
    • Standard Cited: 1926.451 - 4,295 violations
    • Violations up (4,029 in FY 2014)
  4. Respiratory Protection
    • Standard Cited: 1910.134 - 3,305 violations
    • Violations down (3,223 in FY 2014)
  5. Lockout/Tagout
    • Standard Cited: 1910.147 - 3,002 violations
    • Violations up (2,704 in FY 2014)
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks
    • Standard Cited: 1910.178 - 2,760 violations
    • Violations up (2,662 in FY 2014)
  7. Ladders (Construction)
    • Standard Cited: 1926.1053 - 2,489 violations
    • Violations up (2,448 in FY 2014)
  8. Electrical-Wiring Methods
    • Standard Cited: 1910.305 - 2,404 violations
    • Violations down (2,490 in FY 2014)
  9. Machine Guarding
    • Standard Cited: 1910.212 - 2,295 violations
    • Violations up (2,200 in FY 2014)
  10. Electrical-General Requirements
    • Standard Cited: 1910.303 - 1,973 violations
    • Violations down (2,056 in FY 2014)

Remember, these are what causes the majority of injuries and deaths as well as what a compliance officer would look for most often during inspections.

Also, OSHA had announced that it will change the way it approaches inspections. The plan was to (starting this month, October 2015) emphasize quality over quantity. The idea was that OSHA would then be able to tackle more complicated, time-consuming inspections and therefore more impactful inspections. There is a bit of pressure under the current system to make the numbers, and hopefully with a new system, more meaningful and effective inspections can occur and lead to improved worker safety.

The last piece to note is about enforcement trends. As the number of inspections may change going into 2016 due to the changes in their approach to inspections, the trend of paying higher fines per citation has been continued into 2015 and may very well continue into 2016 seeing as the new system of inspections will focus on these more impactful inspections. Also to note on that subject is OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) which saw an almost 25% increase from 2014 to 2015, and continues onwards to today. Lastly, many more OSHA inspections are brought about by employee complaints, as OSHA has reached out to employees directly and allows easier access for them to go online and reach out to OSHA. Unjustifed complaints come in, due to disgrunted employees or whatnot, but this can be reduced by creating good safety culture within their workplace. Expect this trend of more concerned employees reaching out to continue.

Tags: osha training, osha most cited, OSHA, osha compliance, osha top violations, osha safety, osha general industry training, osha safety topics, osha violations, osha safety training, osha violations 2015

Safety Training--An Easy Way to Save Thousands In 2016!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Sep 01, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Safety training is an important part of any business. Not just for those going into confined spaces or other hazardous atmospheres, but for those going into a formal office, a hospital, or anything in between. Safety training is a phrase often used to describe the training materials designed to teach occupational safety and health standards developed by various safety governing entities such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), ANSI (American National Standards Institute), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), or DOL (Department of Labor). Employers in the United States have a legal responsibility to educate employees on all workplace safety standards and the hazards their employees may face while working on the job. Proper safety training, whether through the employer or a third-party contractor, meets this requirement. 

What are the benefits of safety training? Well, appropriate safety training can be linked to a reduction in the following:

  • the number of injuries and deaths
  • property damage
  • legal liability
  • illnesses
  • workers' compensation claims
  • missed work

For safety training to be successful, participants must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the standard and how it applies to their specific job. If presented correctly by a qualified trainer, it can promote a strong culture of safety in the workplace, one where veteran employees follow proper safety rules & guidelines and assist in promoting the same for new hires. This is achieved by both good, safety-conscious employees and solid trainers who keep employees engaged and keep their training program relevant and not too generalized.

But what happens when you neglect safety training at your workplace? In addition to a potential increase of the things listed above, here are a few times employers have felt the sting in their financial bottom line as well. Below, I have itemized OSHA citations reported in Jun-Aug 2015 for infractions of neglecting safety training for their employees. It's much cheaper to hire someone to do your training if you are unable to handle it yourself than to wait until OSHA hits you with related fines.


Company: Bigston Corporation
Inspection Site: Elk Grove Village, IL
Date of Findings: March 5, 2015

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1910. 134(k)(1): The employer did not provide respirator training that would ensure each employee could demonstrate knowledge of items in section (i)-(vii).

Penalty: $4,200.00

Source


Company: Grimco Inc.
Inspection Site: Akron, OH
Date of Findings: June 3, 2015

LOTO-Safety-Fail_01

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1910.147(c)(7)(i): The employer did not provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.

Penalty: $7,000.00

Source


Company: Wilbert, Inc.
Inspection Site: Bellevue, OH
Date of Findings: February 2, 2015

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1910.174(c)(7)(i): The employer did not provide adequate training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program was understood by employees.

Penalty: $7,000.00

Source


Company: D.R. Diedrich & Co.
Inspection Site: Milwaukee, WI
Date of Findings: February 2015

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1910.174(c)(7)(i)(A): Authorized employee(s) did not receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation.

Penalty: $6,300.00

Source


Company: Ansley Metal Fabrication and Repair
Inspection Site: Donalsonville, GA
Date of Findings: March 26, 2015

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1926.761(b): The employer did not train each employee exposed to a fall hazard in accordance with the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.761.

Penalty: $4,900.00

Source


Company: New Homes Construction, Inc.
Inspection Site: Medford, NJ
Date of Findings: February 12, 2015

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1926.503(a)(2): The employer did not assure that each employee exposed to fall hazards was trained by a competent person qualified in the areas specified in 29 CFR 1926.503(a)(2)(i) through (viii).

Penalty: $3,080.00

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1926.1060(a): The employer did not provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways, as necessary, which would train each employee in the procedures to be followed to minimize hazards related to ladders and stairways.

Penalty: $3,080.00

Source


Company: Elite Storage Solutions, LLCFire_extinguisher_ad_4x6x
Inspection Site: Monroe, GA
Date of Findings: January 28, 2015

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1910.147(c)(7)(i): The employer did not provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.

Penalty: $7,000.00

Type of Violation: Serious

29 CFR 1910.157(g)(l): An educational program was not provided for all employees to familiarize them with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting. The employer expected employees to use extinguishers to use extinguishers to fight incipient level fires, but did not implement a training program for the use of fire extinguishers.

Penalty: $5,500.00

Source

As you can see, the above fine amounts aren't generally high enough amounts to warrant closing up your company's doors, but they will certainly impact your profitability. Even more important is the realization that after paying the fine, you still have to pay for the training as well. Which can effectively double the initial cost if you were to train your employees in the first place. That number wouldn't even have taken into consideration the potential increase of compensation claims, property damage, missed work, injuries, legal liabilities and everything else discussed earlier. Keep in mind too that OSHA has made it easy to anonymously tip them off to an unsafe workplace. One phone call or email can now much more easily give an inspector a reason to visit. You must always take employee complaints seriously. In the case of the last two sources, you can see that having two fines for training can add up. If you expect your employees to use the provided fire extinguishers, you must train them in proper usage and be sure to have someone designated to check them monthly. Last of note is the company that did not have a qualified person train their employees; be sure if you are training your employees yourself, or in-house, that you (or whomever is doing the safety training) is qualified to do so. You may decide it be best to hire an outside person or company to do your safety training, but again, be sure they are at a qualified level to conduct the training. If you have any questions about this subject, feel free to contact us here at Safety Training Services by clicking below!

Click here to  contact STS

Tags: osha training, safety, safety training, training, osha safety training, osha violations 2015

(Too) Common Scissor & Forklift Sights, Made Right!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 @ 09:55 AM
      This blog article will be what is normally known as, "short but sweet." If you are unfamiliar with that term, ultimately what it means is that there is a small, digestable amount of content here but the effects of it are well received. I have, in recent memory, come across a few pictures and topics that I wanted to discuss with a community who values safety and believes that a good safety culture can prevent accidents, incidents, injuries, and fatalities.

      As an instructor of aerial work platforms (AWPs) & powered industrial trucks (PITs), I have the privilege of being able to visit many different workplaces. In doing this I see a lot of sites and because of this, I am able to fully understand how these lifts are being used in the field. In operator training we learn about how to safely operate the machine, however we couldn't hope to cover every instance of do's & don'ts that can come up. So I have decided to write this article as an extension of the training we provide in our forklift and scissor & boom lift training courses. All of these pictures/scenarios should be thought of as laterally applied to all makes/models of the specific lift (scissor or forklift, respectively).

      I have chosen four scenarios related to scissor lifts and forklifts that will showcase real applications (some not so safe) of these lifts to raise awareness both of the hazards of this type of usage but also why they are dangerous and what to do/use as an acceptable alternate.

Without further ado, here is the first scenario.

Scenario 1: Extension Deck Use

Scissor_Lift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_Incorrectly_Using_Extension_Deck_as_Hoisting_Device-Resize

      Taking a look at this picture, a few things come into mind. The chain & rope/webbing used could or could not be rated for the work load, the scissor lift isn't on the same horizontal platform as the trailer used for the wielding work, and of course, how can one be sure the trailer stays at an optimal horizontal level? One slip of the trailer forward and the beam is suspended and would most likely pull the lift over with it. That brings me to my most important point, using the extension deck as an overhead crane is not allowed by the manufacturer. The biggest hazard in a scissor lift is a tip over hazard and this type of use for a scissor lift creates a huge potential tip over hazard. As I said earlier, use the pictures here laterally across all makes and models. With that being said, I took the liberty to look up a few different scissor lift manuals and find out what their load limits are for the extension deck.

Genie GS-2032: Platform extended - Extension only 250 lbs or 113 kg
Genie GS-2632: Platform extended - Extension only 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3215: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3219: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3220: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3226: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 4620: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 299 lbs or 136 kg
Skyjack SJIII 4626: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 299 lbs or 136 kg
Skyjack SJIII 4632: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg

And of course, the Condor 2633 shown in the picture: Rated Work Load on extension deck only - 250 lbs.


      So the real question is if that steel beam is over 250 lbs.? I'd venture a guess and say that's correct with an almost certainty. This, again, creates a tip over hazard and thus, should be avoided. As a last note, these capacities are rated for a person and/or tools ON the extension deck, not hanging or fixed items attached to the deck. In fact, it clearly states in every one of these manuals that no objects should be attached (fixed or hanging) to any part of the machine.

Now onto the second scenario.

Scenario 2: Top Rail Use

Scissor_Lift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_on_Ladder_on_Top_of_Top_Rail-Resize

       This one is a bit more straight-forward, as many people seem to know that you are not supposed to use the top rail, specifically (as shown here) setting up a ladder on top of the top rail is quite dangerous. The stability of the machine is rated to a specific load weight and by climbing on or adding a ladder to the top rail you are creating more of a tip over hazard. Not to mention, there is a maximum side load force on that rail and by adding additional weight (as in a human or a ladder with a human) you can actually cause that rail to collapse under the weight and of course then a fall occurs. Since there is no fall protection necessary for a scissor lift, falling is not going to be a pleasant situation for anyone. Again, this one should be known to many, but unfortunately we see this scenario too often when an employee is trying to create an extra few feet (sometime inches) to reach whatever it is that they are working on. Frankly, if you can't reach what you are trying to work on with the scissor lift in question, you have two choices: either get a new lift (bigger scissor, boom lift, etc.) or don't do the job. Unfortunately, sometimes bosses don't want to hear this so you are caught in a predicament. Well, to help your protest, here is the citeable OSHA standard used to regulate such behavior:

"Employees shall always stand firmly on the floor of the basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket or use planks, ladders, or other devices for a work position." 

Now onto scenario three.

Scenario #3: Forklift Standing on Forks/Mast

Forklift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_Standing_on_Top_of_Mast-Resize 

      Once again, this is generally for the reason I spoke of earlier, which is an additional few feet or so to the task at hand. Having someone ride the forks like an elevator may also be used because a company/ the individual doesn't have access to a proper machine such as a scissor lift or even better in many cases, a boom lift. Either that or they are some ignorant operators enjoying what they think is a toy in which case, that calls into question whether they were properly trained in the first place. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss the former. Seeing this picture, I understand very well what they were attempting to do. It would be a good assumption to say that they didn't have a way to get to those stage lights and so the idea they settled on was to ride the forks to the top of the mast. This is a huge hazard, and the way to avoid is simply to have the correct tools for the job. Seeing as this is outside, a rented boom lift would solve this problem quite easily. Another option would be to purchase or rent an attachment for their forklift that would allow a person to "ride" on the forks. This is usually a cage or platform made for such purposes. Certainly, just about any other option than having a person try to balance themselves 20+ feet in the air on the mast of a forklift!

Onto our final scenario.

Scenario #4: Ladders on Forklift Forks

Forklift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_Standing_on_Ladder_on_Forks-Resize

      This last picture/scenario is another one that I have seen posted a few times before. Going along with the previous scenario, where we learned (or reaffirmed) that standing on the mast or the forks without the proper attachment is dangerous and a fineable offense from OSHA, propping a ladder up on the forks is more of the same with regards to hazards and "don't do's." First off, there is a stability issue. Wind is a factor, unlevel ground is a factor, the forklift that you no longer control is a factor. In fact, that is ultimately what I want to point out here. As I said, much of what I talked about in the third scenario applies here, however I am able to talk about one additional important factoid related to forklifts and aerial lifts in general, and that is the control of the machine via the operator. One of the biggest reasons scissor lifts were created to begin with is because they allowed for the operator to both drive and elevate themselves without needing a second person. If you had a ladder on top of a truck or van, even if it was 100% stable, you still have to come back down to ground level to move your working platform (the ladder), not to mention the additional hazard of someone else (even if accidentally) can come and move the vehicle while you are suspended in mid-air! These hazards were mitigated by the use of scissor lifts, where we can go up, for example, and fix a light bulb and then while still elevated, we can drive to the next bulb and finish a row in minutes instead of an hour of up, down, drive, up, down, drive, etc. This scenario is harking back to the "old, dangerous days" of having no way of controlling the working platform while elevated. If that ladder gives, you're hurting. If the forklift moves, you're hurting. If the wind picks up, you're hurting. And with no fall protection required on a ladder, you can imagine what the outcome would look like. Again, the use of an industrial scissor lift (industrial because this picture takes place outside) would a great option, or again, a boom lift would suffice. With a boom lift, you could be relatively far away from roads, trees, power lines, etc. and simply extend the boom platform right up to where you need to work, and you have all the control in the moving of both your cage/working platform, and the driving of the machine is also in your hands. 

      Now, I understand that some of these options may set one back more time and/or money. But I assure you the cost of training yourself or your employees properly to use of these machines, or the cost of renting/buying one of these pieces of equipment or an additional lift is leagues below the cost of a settlement, the cost of a life, the cost of a lawsuit, the cost of an OSHA fine, and/or the cost of the worker's compensation paid out to the affected party. There are direct and indirect costs to these, whether you know it or not, that make these the more expensive options! The cost of a rental boom is nothing compared to the millions or even billions (depending on your company) in just indirect costs alone! These are what you don't think of when in the moment and tell an employee or think to yourself, "It'll only take a moment." That moment is all that is needed for an incident to occur and a terrible fate to potentially follow. If you agree, share this article and help promote a good, solid safety culture at your workplace. If you disagree, tell me below why and I will be sure to take some time and discuss your thoughts with you. Thank you for reading!
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If you have a need for aerial lift or forklift training, or any other OSHA-related training, STS is ready to assist you in choosing the right training for your situation. We also offer PPE, air monitoring equipment, fall protection, first aid kits, AEDs, and many things in between! We are available to your company for consulting work, to assist you with any rescue team needs, as well as supplied air trailers available for rent! Contact us below to find out how our blended safety services can assist ANY company with safety or OSHA related needs.

Contact STS Today!

Tags: OSHA, awp training, forklift safety, aerial lift operator training, scissor lift safety, boom lift training, osha safety topics, osha violations

Safety Saves Lives: 6 Times a Hard Hat Saved Someone From Death

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 02:34 PM

Hard hats have only been around for about 100 years, and have only been required for about 50. In the very late 19th century mining workers wore leather caps to protect themselves from falling objects. Needless to say, safety was not on the frontline back then. It wasn't until the construction of San Francisco's Golden Gate that a safer environment for the worker was envisioned. This was the first area designated as a "Hard Hat Area" due to part to falling rivets. It was then that the mining helmet was transformed into a durable industrial hard hat. By the 1980's, the hard hat had gone through a few more phases until it became what we know it is now, the standard hard hat. 

safety_training_-_hard_hat_area

With the knowledge of where they came from out of the way, in no particular order, let's look at these 6 times a hard hat saved someone's life.

Story #1:

A 24-year-old man of Miami was working at a construction site, helping move a large sewer pipe via a huge pulley. The cable holding it up broke, and that huge pulley weighing several hundred pounds fell onto the worker's head. He suffered a large cut on his forehead and experienced back, leg, and head pain, but his hard hat prevented him from being severely injured or worse, death. (Source)

Story #2:

A salesman, alone and cutting down trees for firewood, was admittedly never a "hard hat guy." But his wife bought him a hard hat the year prior and insisted that he start wearing it. He was wearing it this day and I am sure he is glad he was, as a several hundred pound, 15 foot maple tree fell right onto his head after using the chainsaw to cut it down. He is certain that without that hard hat that day, he would not be around to tell the story. In fact, he is an advocate for all required PPE (personal protective equipment) necessary for the job. In his instance, gloves, chaps, and a hard hat are all part of what could save your life in a similar scenario! After a trip to the hospital for some stitches to address the small, but deep cut on his forehead, he was able to come out of the incident with but a simple battle scar.

hard-hat-saved-life

Story #3: 

A long distance runner from Oklahoma was on a disaster recovery trip in Texas helping with a church group who was there after a hurricane struck. This man was wearing a ball cap all week, cutting down trees with a chainsaw, when someone asked him to put on a hard hat. Again, all week he was in simply a ball cap, but this was the last day (probably one of the last trees, no less) when he decided he would put it on. The tree he was to cut (after putting on his hard hat) was in a seemingly perilous, or otherwise unsafe position and he made note of it. Put still, the tree had to come down and so he went to work on cutting his 'V' into the tree. As he started on the other side, the tree came tumbling straight down onto his head, and broke his pelvis, neck, and ribs. He had internal bleeding and a punctured lung. After fighting for his life for hours, and several operations within a week, he was unsure if he would ever be able to walk again. But after an emotional 13 weeks, he began to walk. Almost 10 years later, he just walked his daughter down the aisle. Today, he looks at the cracked hard hat that he was wearing that infamous day and remembers how it literally saved his life. (Source)

Story #4:

A power plant mechanic was tasked one day with working with a team to find a leaky pipe in a turbine pit. He, along with the other two in his team, had examined the pit from the outside only to find zero problems. This mechanic had volunteered to go into the turbine pit area and look at the other end for the leak. The way to get in, however, required some balance and stability. The mechanic was 6 feet tall and the narrow 4 foot ledge with only 4.5 feet of headroom had this guy ducking & bending to walk along the ledge. The short story of what happen next is that he bumped his head on a horizontal reinforcement piece on the ceiling of the generator apron he was walking on. The blow disoriented him enough to readjust the hard hat over his eyes and he fell 20 feet. In the process of the fall, he was bumped around and even lost his hard hat, but it stayed on him long enough to prevent serious injury or worse. A few gashes, bruises, and cuts appeared and his hard hat was shattered (both in front and back), but he was alive. After quick medical assistance, some rest at home, and a little physical therapy, he was able to retuen to work. The reason this particular accident is special is because the hard hat that fell off during this fall was held on momentarily by earmuffs during the blow which forced the hard hat to shatter. Regardless of the condition of the hard hat after the fact, the most important piece of information is that he was wearing it in the first place! (Source)

Story #5:

A 24 year old electrical contractor in Portland was working on a wind tower about 164 feet up when a 7 pound piece of plastic tubing fell from 65 foot above him and hit him on the head and shoulder. The man briefly lost consciousness and suffered spinal injuries while he was stretchered down a ladder and flown (in stable condition) to a hospital for medical care. This was another case where a person's hard hat probably prevented a fatality. (Source)

Hard-Hat-Protection

Story #6:

A demolition contractor was moving roofing materials from a platform onto the ground during the demolition of some old offices and warehousing. At roof height near him was a substantial piece of cast iron guttering which had been left unsupported for two days during the demolition. The guttering gave way and hit him and he broke his right arm, 7 ribs, and a vertebrae in his spinal column. He also received a cut to his head and punctured a lung. But again, for the sixth story on the subject, he survived due to the head protection he was wearing. (Source)

Truly, the hard hat is a revolutionary piece of safety history. These are just a few instances of when this wonderful, life-saving plastic helmet has proven itself to be a necessary part of any safety-conscious person's attire. Don't forget any other PPE needed for a specific job, stay safe both at home and at work, and always remember your hard hat!

 

 

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If you have a need for hard hats, or any other safety-related equipment, STS is ready to assist you in choosing the right equipment for your situation. Whether its PPE, air monitoring equipment, fall protection, first aid kits, AEDs, or anything in between, we are available to your company. We also offer OSHA related safety training, consulting work, and even are available to assist you with any rescue team needs as well as supplied air trailers available for rent! Contact us below to find out how our blended safety services can assist your company with any safety or OSHA related need.

Contact STS Today!

Tags: hard hat

New OSHA Construction Standard: 5 Requirements That Differ from General Industry

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

As you may have already heard, OSHA has developed a new construction standard for confined spaces. That standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA, will replace the previous single training requirement  for confined space work and instead be a comprehensive standard that is similar with the general industry confined space standard, but will address construction specific hazards and will improve enforceability of the new requirements.

Confined_Space_Rescue_Training_02

In this article, I will discuss a few more specifics from this new standard so as to raise awareness of the requirements, the hazards specific to the construction industry, and even touch on a bit of information about the standard covering permit-required confined spaces in general industry so you may see how the two are similar but different enough to warrant necessary training & knowledge specific to one or the other.

The new rule differs from the previous construction rule in that employers must now determine what kinds of confined spaces their workers are in,what hazards are present or could be present there, how to make those hazards safe, what training is required for workers, and how to rescue those workers if something were to go wrong. 

Confined Spaces in Construction: Crawl Spaces and Attics

Crawl Spaces and attics, under the new construction standard, can be classified as confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. Many times these spaces have one way in or out, are small but large enough for a person to enter, and are not generally built for continuous occupancy. With these facts, they are the very definition of confined spaces. If you are, for example, spraying in the attic, one could be exposed to hazardous atmospheres or low oxygen levels. Confined space hazards can include:

  • Atmospheric hazards
  • Electrocution
  • Standing water
  • Poor lighting
  • Structural collapse
  • Asbestos insulation
  • Heat stress
  • Mechanizal hazards
  • Slip, trip, fall hazards

Confined Spaces in Construction: Pits

Pits can also be classified as confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. Sump pits, valve pits, electrical pits, elevator pits, steam pits, etc. are entered for renovation work, installing equipment or cables, or simply just to verify the status of something in said pit. By changing the entry or exit or even changes in the air flow can allow these spaces to be classified as confined spaces or re-classify as a permit-required.

Confined Spaces in Construction: Sewer Systems

Sewer systems, whether sanitary, storm, or combined, are extensive and include many different components. Many, if not all, of these components can be classified as confined spaces. Of course, with some changes in the construction work, these can be permit-required as well. Continuous air monitoring is very important while working in sewer systems. Other hazards include:

  • Atmospheric hazards
  • Chemicals present
  • Drowning or engulfment
  • Electrocution
  • Slips, trips, falls
  • Falling objects
  • High noise and/or low visibility

So what are the differences between the general industry & the construction rule? There are five new requirements that differ from the general industry rule. You can find them below:

  1. More detailed provisions requiring Confined_Space_Rescue_Training_01coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite. This will ensure hazards are not introduced into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside the space.
  2. Requiring a competent person to evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.
  3. Requiring continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible.
  4. Requiring continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards.
  5. Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions listed on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.

 

In addition, OSHA has added provisions to the new rule that clarifies existing requirements in the general industry standard.

  • Requiring that employers who direct workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system prevent workers' exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout / tagout.
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local emergency services for emergency services arrange for responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time (because they are responding  to another emergency, attending department-wide training, etc.)
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the worker understands.

Finally, several additional definitions have been added to the construction rule. For example:

  • Entry employer - The employer who directs workers to enter a space.
  • Entry rescue - Clarifies the differences in the types of rescue employers can use.

The final rule will become effective on August 3, 2015.

Click for More Training Course Information! Get the jump on the new rule(s) by signing up for safety training courses through STS. Whether you come to our Highland facility or we come to yours, we can assist you and your employees in OSHA compliance throughout your workplace. We conduct training, sell/rent equipment, provide rescue teams, and are even available as an on-call consultant ready to assist you with any OSHA-related issues. For more information, simply contact us below and let us know how we can help you.

 

 

 

Tags: confined space training, confined space rescue, osha general industry training