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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

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

The Simple Steps to Ladder Safety & How to Prevent Falls from Ladders

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

Do you need to reach something higher than chest/eye level? Do you need a ladder? Do you know how to choose the correct one suited for the task at hand? These preliminary questions were brought up in a previous article I wrote on the subject of ladder safety where I covered some basic information. But seeing as falls from ladders still make up nearly a third of the deaths in the construction industry every year, this article today will cover how to avoid injuries by following some ladder safety tips, ladder "do's & don'ts", and some requirements for training.


Three simple steps to prevent falls:

Plan. Provide. Train.


Ladder Safety Fail - Falls can be prevented.

Deaths resulting from ladder falls are preventable, falls from ladders can be avoided and many lives can be saved each year simply by following safe work practices. Specifically, falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. As said before, these are preventable. A ladder is a tool just like any other, it is made as safe as possible and if used within the scope of its instructions, no harm should befall you. Be sure to take the time to properly understand how to select, set up, and move about on a ladder safely with these safety tips.

  • Read and follow all labels or markings found on the ladder.
  • Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. 
    • If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
  • Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
  • Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
  • If you intend to work on a less than stable and level surface, be sure to  secure the ladder (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
  • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface.
  • Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
  • The ladder’s load rating includes all of the weight it is supporting.
    • This includes yourself and the weight of any tools or equipment.

DO's and DON'Ts of Safe Ladder Use:

DO: Maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) when climbing/descending a ladder.

DO: Face the ladder when climbing up or descending.

DO: Keep the body inside the side rails.

DO: Use extra care when getting on or off the ladder at the top or bottom. Avoid tipping the ladder over sideways or causing the ladder base to slide out.

DO: Carry tools in a tool belt or raise tools up using a hand line. Never carry tools in your hands while climbing up/down a ladder.

DO: Extend the top of the ladder three feet above the landing.

DO: Keep ladders free of any slippery materials.

Step Ladder Safety Fail

DON'T: Use a ladder on soft ground or unstable footing.

DON'T: Exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating.

DON'T: Tie two ladders together to make them longer.

DON'T: Ignore nearby overhead power lines.

DON'T: Move or shift a ladder with a person or equipment on the ladder.

DON'T: Lean out beyond the ladder’s side rails.

DON'T: Use an extension ladder horizontally like a platform.

DON'T: Place a ladder on boxes, barrels, or unstable bases.

Check, Maintain and Store Ladders Well

Before using a ladder, check it carefully to ensure there are no visible defects and that it is in good working condition. Check the ladder according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Maintain and store the ladder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Training Requirements

Step Ladder Safety Fail - Use only on stable surfaces

Employers must train all employees to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways, and instruct them to minimize these hazards. For example, employers must ensure that  each employee is trained by a competent person in the following areas, as applicable:

  • Nature of fall hazards in the work area;
  • Correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling the fall protection systems to be used;
  • Proper construction, use, placement and care in handling of all stairways and ladders; and
  • Maximum intended load-carrying capacities of ladders used.

Note: Employers must retrain each employee as necessary to maintain their understanding and knowledge on the safe use and construction of ladders and stairs.

Tags: fall protection in construction, fall safety, ladder safety, osha general industry training

OSHA Violations 2013, Detailed: Serious vs. Willful

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

In a previous article, we covered the 'Top Ten Violations' by Federal OSHA for FY 2013. I have wanted to come back to this topic once a bit more information was revealed, and what do you know? I recently came across an article from the National Safety Council (NSC.org) that not only had my previous list of "Most Frequently Cited" from last year, but it also included the top five sections cited under each OSHA Standard. As an added bonus, I have also included the "Top 10 Serious Violations" and the "Top 10 Willful Violations." Of course, both of these are for FY 2013 as well. 

Before I jump into the numbers, I wanted to help our readers fully understand what the difference between these types of violations. I have included below the definitions as stated by OSHA.

TYPES OF VIOLATIONS

osha 10, osha training, osha safety topics, osha courses, osha general industry trainingSERIOUS: A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.
WILLFUL: A willful violation is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.

 

 

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Violations for FY 2013

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) – 8,739 
    • Residential construction [(b)(13)] – 4,733
    • Unprotected sides and edges [(b)(1)] – 1,696
    • Roofing work on low-slope roofs [(b)(10)] – 912
    • Steep roofs [(b)(11)] – 656
    • Holes [(b)(4)] – 328
       
       
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 6,556 
      • Maintaining a written hazard communication program [(e)(1)] – 2,469
      • Providing employees with information and training [(h)(1)] – 1,561
      • Chemical container labeling [(f)(5)] – 701
      • Maintaining Safety Data Sheets [(g)(8)] – 611
      • Obtaining or developing Safety Data Sheets [(g)(1)] – 496
         
         
  • Scaffolding (1926.451) – 5,724 
      • Protection from falls to a lower level [(g)(1)] – 1,589
      • Planking or decking requirements [(b)(1)] – 788
      • Point of access for scaffold platforms [(e)(1)] – 871
      • Foundation requirements [(c)(2)] – 632
      • Guardrail requirements [(g)(4)] – 376
         
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 4,153 osha 10, osha training, osha safety topics, osha courses, osha general industry training
      • Medical evaluation general requirements [(e)(1)] – 705
      • Establishing and implementing written respirator protection program [(c)(1)] – 650
      • Covering situations when respirator use is not required [(c)(2)] – 510
      • Respirator selection general requirements [(d)(1)] – 342
      • Ensuring respirators are fit tested [(f)(2)] – 332
         
  • Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 3,709 
      • Use of flexible cords and cables [(g)(1)] – 1,004
      • Conductors entering boxes, cabinets, or fittings [(b)(1)] – 821
      • Identification, splices and terminations [(g)(2)] – 703
      • Covers and canopies [(b)(2)] – 577
      • Temporary wiring [(a)(2)] – 194
         
         
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 3,544 
      • Safe operation [(l)(1)] – 905
      • Refresher training and evaluation [(l)(4)] – 575
      • Avoidance of duplicative training [(l)(6)] – 377
      • Taking truck out of service when repairs are necessary [(p)(1)] – 336
      • Maintenance of industrial trucks [(q)(7)] – 304
         
  • Ladders (1926.1053) – 3,524 
      • Requirements for portable ladders used for accessing upper landing surfaces [(b)(1)] – 1,866
      • Ladder use only for its designed purpose [(b)(4)] – 482
      • Not using the top or top step of step-ladder as a step [(b)(13)] – 268
      • Marking portable ladders with structural defects with tags noting them as defective [(b)(16)] – 215
      • Employees shall not carry objects or loads that could cause them to lose balance and fall [(b)(22)] – 107
         
  • osha 10, osha training, osha safety topics, osha courses, osha general industry trainingLockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 3,505 
      • Energy control procedure [(c)(4)] – 996
      • Periodic inspection [(c)(6)] – 653
      • Energy control program [(c)(1)] – 651
      • Training and communication [(c)(7)] – 580
      • Lockout or tagout device application [(d)(4)] – 169
         
         
  • Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 2,932
      • Installation and use of equipment [(b)(2)] – 814
      • Space around electric equipment [(g)(1)] – 670
      • Guarding of live parts [(g)(2)] – 347
      • Services, feeders, and branch circuits [(f)(2)] – 327
      • Examination of equipment [(b)(1)] – 280
         
         
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,852
      • Types of guarding [(a)(1)] – 1,815
      • Point of operation guarding [(a)(3)] – 662
      • Anchoring fixed machinery [(b)] – 214
      • Exposure of blades [(a)(5)] – 79
      • General requirements [(a)(2)] – 73

    Top 10 Serious Violations Federal OSHA issued in FY 2013

    1. osha 10, osha training, osha safety topics, osha courses, osha general industry trainingFall Protection (1926.501) – 7,492
       
    2. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 5,213
       
    3. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 3,761
       
    4. Ladders (1926.1053) – 3,162
       
    5. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,923
       
    6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,832
       
    7. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,588
       
    8. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,539
       
    9. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 2,365
       
    10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 2,204

    Top 10 Willful Violations Federal OSHA issued in FY 2013

    1. Fall protection (1926.501) – 73
       
    2. Excavations (1926.652) – 34
       
    3. Lead (1926.62) – 25
       
    4. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 23
       
    5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 20
       
    6. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 19
       
    7. Guarding Floor and Wall Openings and Holes (1910.23) – 18
       
    8. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 17
       
    9. Process Safety Management (1910.119) – 14
       
    10. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 10

    Remember, in the safety world, if you think you have a problem....chances are you do! This is where Safety Training Services can help! We will train (and/or retrain) you and your employees on OSHA compliance & other safety-related courses. Our site or yours, our hands-on courses will provide you with appropriate training to keep you safe and consistent to OSHA requirements.
    Let me see  the classes!

    Tags: osha 10 general industry, osha 30 general industry, osha 10 construction industry, osha 10 class, osha violations 2013, osha general industry training, osha violations, osha 30 class

    OSHA Violations - Top in 2013 & Other OSHA Facts

    Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 @ 12:45 PM

    OSHA’s Top 10 Violations for 2013
    (& Other Interesting OSHA Facts)

    • Federal OSHA has 10 regional offices and 90 local area offices.Osha compliance, osha classes, osha safety, osha training

    • They had a budget of $563,658,000 in FY 2013.

    • They conducted 40,961 Federal inspections in FY 2012.

    • 4,383 workers were killed on the job in 2012.

    • That's 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers

    On average, more than 84 a week or nearly 12 deaths every day.

    • This is the second lowest preliminary total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992.

    • Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 16 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012.

    • Out of 3,945 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2012, 775 or 19.6% were in construction.

      • The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.

      • These "Fatal Four" were responsible for nearly three out of five (56%) construction worker deaths in 2012.


    Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 435 workers' lives in America every year.

    • osha falls, osha violations, Falls – 278 out of 775 total deaths in construction in CY 2012 (36%)
    • Struck by Object – 78 (10%)
    • Electrocutions – 66 (9%)
    • Caught-in/between – 13 (2%)

     

     

    OSHA’s Top Ten Violations for 2013

    The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013):

    1. Fall Protection (1926.501) 8,241 violations (No Change) (991 more than 2012)
       
    2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) 6,156 violations (No Change) (1,460 more than 2012)
       
    3. Scaffolding (1926.451) 5,423 violations (No Change) (1,609 more than 2012)
       
    4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) 3,879 violations (No Change) (1,508 more than 2012)
       
    5. Electrical, Wiring Methods (1910.305) 3,452 violations (Up 3) (1,708 more than 2012)
       
    6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) 3,340 violations (Up 1) (1,347 more than 2012)
       
    7. Ladders (1926.1053) 3,311 violations (Down 2) (1,001 more than 2012)
       
    8. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) 3,254 violations (Up 1) (1,682 more than 2012)
       
    9. Electrical, General Requirements (1910.303) 2,745 violations (Up 1) (1,413 more than 2012)
       
    10. Machine Guarding (1910.212) 2,701 violations (Down 4) (604 more than 2012)

     

    OSHA is Making a Differencesafety, safety training, osha 30 class, osha 10, osha 10 training
     

    • Since 1970, workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled.
    • Worker deaths in America are down–on average, from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 12 a day in 2012.
    • Worker injuries and illnesses are down–from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.5 per 100 in 2011.

     

    Don't become a statistic!

    osha training standards, osha 10 general industry, osha-10, osha violations 2013So what should you do, now armed with this knowledge? Well, first thing is get up and simply take a look around your office/plant/factory. Do you see any of these standards violated? In the safety world, if you think you have a problem....chances are you do! If you do not know you have violations or do not know how to look for them, that's perfectly understandable--you are not alone. This is where Safety Training Services can help!

    Your next step should be to identify these issues. Have you found them to be problems in training (or lack thereof)? Or retraining (annual refresher courses)? Unsatisfied with previous training/trainers? Remember, ignorance is bliss....until you get a visit from OSHA. We will train (and/or retrain) you and your employees on OSHA compliance & other safety-related courses. Our site or yours, our hands-on courses will provide you with appropriate training to keep you safe and trained consistent to OSHA requirements.

    Maybe your issue is equipment? Whether you need new, used, rentals, servicing or just to figure out what equipment to use for a specific job, speaking to one of our professionals in our Technical division will help you find the right tool for the job in whatever capacity necessary. 

    Or simply Contact our safety consultants at (219) 554-2180 and found out how we will help identify problems and conduct a safety-related gap analysis for your company. 

    Tags: osha 10 general industry, osha 30 general industry, osha 10 construction industry, osha 10 class, osha violations 2013, osha general industry training, osha violations, osha 30 class

    Office Safety: Everyday Ergonomics

    Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 11:45 AM

    Today's blog article comes with a great infographic to sum up its information. Courtesy of the Editors at Best Choice Reviews. They write great articles on a multitude of subjects from fitness to personal shopping to electronics/technology. Check them out!

    Anyways, today's subject will be "Everyday Ergonomics." Thank you again Best Choice Reviews for providing this information!

    Everyday Ergonomics

    Ergonomics is the science of efficient work. Use our guide to promote health and focus at home, on the road, and in the office.

    Commuting
    The average commute is 25.5 minutes, or 51 minutes a day. And 8.1% of Americans commute for an hour or more both ways.[1] That’s a long time to mistreat your back and neck.

    Train or bus?[5]
    Essentials:

    • Loose clothes
    • Comfortable shoes
    • Feet flat
    • Use railing to balance

    Car?[4]
    Essentials:

    • Base of your spine touching back of the seat.
    • Rolled towel, or some form of support filling the gap between mid rib cage area and seat
    • Don’t slump
    • Lift your back up
    • Adjust headrest and tilt head back onto it
    • It takes time to adjust to sitting correctly. With practice it will feel comfortable.

    Back pain is the second most common reason for missed work. Don’t ruin your day before it starts.[9]

    Work
    Workplace health is a marathon, not a sprint. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t an “industrial athlete.” Let us coach you into the right place.

    Work-space: [7][6][10]

    • Monitor 15 degrees above eye level horizon is easiest on eyes and neck.
    • Tilt monitor back slightly.
    • Feet flat on floor.
    • Lower back supported.
    • Monitor one arms’ length away.
    • Forearms and hands in straight line.
    • Should be comfortable to look at the center of the screen for prolonged periods.
    • Lighting should only be as bright as the room’s lighting.
    • Avoid glare from the sun.

    Habits:[8]

    • Get up and walk/ stretch at least once an hour.
    • Talk to colleagues in person instead of sending intra-office emails.
    • Take the stairs.
    • Hold “walking meetings.”
    • Walk to a farther bathroom.

    The Average worker spends 5 hours 41 minutes sitting at work. Leading to higher rate of sedentary lifestyle, decreased mental stability, and increased muskulo-skeletal problems.[11]
    Almost 60% of work related injuries can be avoided with proper ergonomics. Why risk it?[9]

    Luggage 

    • Push, don’t pull rolling bags.
    • Use bags with two straps to spread weight equally across body.
    • Choose longer straps when using single strap bags and drape across body on the opposite shoulder.
    • Only carry what you need.

    Manual Labor [3]

    • Use knee pads for prolonged kneeling
    • Mix up repetitive actions
    • Store heavy items within reach (see “work zone”)

    Core concepts

    In 1700 Ramazzini, a Paduan professor of medicine, outlined the importance of neutral posture and the “work zone” in maintaining muskulo-skeletal health. [12]
    We’ve known about ergonomics for hundreds of years. It’s up to you to change.

    The Neutral Posture [2]
    The position where each joint is resting. Least tension on nerves, muscles, tendons, and bones.
    Often seen in astronauts under conditions of weightlessness.

    Fingers: gently curved, not spread apart.
    Wrists: in line with forearm
    Forearms: With thumb up.
    Elbows: Bent from 90-110 degrees. Close to torso.
    Upper Arms: hangs straight down
    Shoulders: resting. not up, down, forward, or back.
    Neck: balanced on the spinal column.
    Spine: an ‘s’ shape. Upper region bends out. Lower region gently bends in.
    Lower body: hip and knee joints slightly bent.

    The greater the deviation from the neutral posture, the greater the risk of injury and discomfort.
    Cumulative trauma disorders develop over weeks, months, or years from the repeated stress on a particular body part. Start changing your habits now.
    Repetitive motion disorders are muscular ailments.
    Examples: Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Dequervain’s Disease,Tendinitis, Trigger Finger

    The “work zone” [3]
    The best work zone:

    • Never do heavy lifting outside of it.
    • As far forward as your wrist with arms slightly bent.
    • As wide as your shoulders.
    • Upper level at about heart height.
    • Lower level at about waist height.

    The “ok” work zone:

    • As far forward as your hand with arm outstretched.
    • A foot to either side of shoulders.
    • Upper level at shoulder height.
    • Lower level at fingertips when arms relaxed at sides.

    If you could make the choice to live without pain. Wouldn’t you make the choice everyday?

    Citations

    1. http://www.census.gov/hhes/commuting/files/2012/ACS-20.pdf
    2. http://www.oehc.uchc.edu/ergo_neutralposture.asp
    3. https://www.osha.gov/ergonomics/guidelines/retailgrocery/retailgrocery.html#stocking
    4. http://www.wikihow.com/Sit-in-a-Car-Without-Back-Pain
    5. http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/gfx/uploads/member%20area/Posture%20sheets/Mind%20your%20posture%20-%20commuting.pdf
    6. http://ergocanada.com/ergo/monitors/monitor_height_guidelines.html
    7. http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/sr/dohs/Documents/ORS_Ergonomics_Poster_Rd5.pdf
    8. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alisongriswold/2012/06/12/to-work-better-just-get-up-from-your-desk/
    9. http://www.nclabor.com/osha/etta/A_to_Z_Topics/ergo.pdf
    10. http://www.gatoroffice.com/monitor_ergonomics.htm
    11. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210203.htm
    12. http://ergonomenon.com/ergonomics-articles/bernardino-ramazzini-the-first-ergonomist-and-what-have-we-learned-from-him/

    Tags: safe work environment, general safety tips, office safety, general office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, osha general industry training

    Ergonomics: Office Biotechnology and Improving Your Quality of Work!

    Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

    History

    Since the beginning of mankind, humans have adapted a sense of using the right tool for theErgonomics, Office Safety job. In ancient times, it was tying rocks or bones to sticks for use as a hammer or sharpened to make hunting easier. Essentially, they established that using crude items could be used to make life easier. Ergonomics is just that, an applied science (not just a buzzword for marketers!) of work. That is, it’s intended to maximize productivity of workers by reducing/eliminating fatigue or discomfort. The literal definition of ergonomics, as Dictionary.com states, is “the study of the relationship between workers and their environment.” Also known as “biotechnology,” and first coined by Wojciech Jastrzebowski in 1857.

    However, these early adoptions were merely used to optimize tasks. Ergonomics has since evolved into learning how to include worker safety and health by addressing muscle force, cardiovascular activity, maximum weight, etc. This is seen by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 19th century in which he used his “Scientific Method” (AKA ergonomics) to assist coal workers in tripling their productivity by designing shovels that were lighter and smaller. Also in the 1900s Frank and Lillian Gilbreth further expanded Taylor’s methods by coming up with the “Time and Motion Studies.” This was meant to reduce the amount of unnecessary motions required to perform a task. With this approach, they reduced the number of motions bricklayers used (from 18 to 4.5) and allowed them to increase productivity from 120 bricks per hour to 350.

    “Formal” ergonomics is generally credited to the development of more complicated machinery in WWI and WWII. As aircrafts, tanks and other complex machines were being developed; human errors were piling up, resulting in catastrophes. Non-combat casualties were an outcome of bad engineering and design. This begged the necessity of better results through better designing, and the most “modern” form of ergonomics (how we know it today) is now becoming the norm.

    Office Ergonomics, Office Safety

    Engineers and psychologists are working together in collaboration to improve our daily lives through better design. A multi-disciplinary approach has been taken to include anthropologists, industrial engineers, cognitive scientists and physiologists in order to understand the human operators and to design systems and machines to fit said user.

    Today, most of us know ergonomics in a workplace context. As the average worker in America works for about 8 hours a day, the need for ergonomic office furniture and practices is of the upmost importance. The idea is to be sure that as technology and design make our homes safer and more comfortable, and in the case of the workplace, to increase productivity, increase comfort and prevent injuries and fatigue.

    Hazards Associated with Ergonomics

    Back injuries - Common back injuries include sprains, herniated disks and fractured vertebrae. Lower back pain is often the result of incorrect lifting methods/habits and poor posture.

    • Tips include:

      • Properly train employees on appropriate lifting techniquesBack injuries, office safety

      • Utilize material handling equipment (carts, dollies, hand trucks)

      • Encourage stretching for employees to reduce muscle strain

    Carpal tunnel syndrome - A nervous system disorder causing parethesia (limbs falling sleep), pain and numbness. Carpal tunnel can be caused by environmental factors such as heavy manual work or work with vibrating tools. There is even a small amount of clinical data to suggest that lighter, repetitive tasks can cause it. This includes activities when frequent/constant wrist flexion is needed or when there is pressure against the underside of the wrist.

    • Tips include:

      • Use of ergonomics equipment (includes ergo chairs, mouse pads, wrist rests, etc.)

      • Taking proper breaks and stretches

      • Use keyboard alternatives (voice recognition, digital pens)

    Industrial/occupational noise - A hazard generally associated with heavy industries, in which sustained exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. However, it should be noted that OSHA identifies noise as "hazardous to worker safety and health" in many different places of employment (office work included) and by a variety of causes. Noise not only can cause hearing loss/impairment, but can be a factor in raising stress levels or even raising blood pressure. Lastly, it can impede concentration and be a factor in work accidents (office or otherwise).

    • Tips include:

      • Use earplugs or earmuffs

      • Be mindful of noise control strategies (architectural design, sound insulation/absorption, vibration damping, etc.)

      • If lighting *noise* is the issue, reduce light or retrofit fixtures

    Repetitive strain injury - RSIs are as OSHA states them, "injuries to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations,Ergonomics, office safety mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions."

    • Tips include:

      • Use ergonomics tools for specific tasks (clipboards for lots of writing, pliers for example, for electricians, ergo mouse for office workers, scissors for retail workers)

    Tendonitis - Is a hazard in which a tendon becomes inflamed generally due to overuse of affected limb. This is common in upper and lower limbs and is less common in hips and torso.

    • Tips include:

      • Find the cause

      • Stop the stress

      • Maintain a healthy body

      • Introduce variety

    How STS Can Help

    Safety Training Services, Inc. can help you in many ways with regards to providing you assistance with any office safety advice. Our toll-free number (877) 724-2744 is a free service to utilize if you have a quick question regarding ergonomics or any office safety topic. If you would like to take a step further in educating yourself or your workers on office safety, STS offers courses related to general industry OSHA topics (including ergonomics and office safety). This is a great way to help your employees to understand the importance of safety in the workplace. Click the button below for more information on our OSHA-related courses.

    Click here for our  OSHA-related Courses!

    Tags: general safety tips, office safety, general office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, osha general industry training, osha safety topics

    Ladder Safety: Do I Fall in Line?

    Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 09:30 AM

    "Falls are the leading cause of death in construction and every year, falls from ladders make up nearly a third of those deaths. These deaths are preventable. Falls from ladders can be prevented and lives can be saved by following safe work practices."

    --OSHA.gov

    Do I Need a Ladder?

    In order to answer this simple question, first you must ask yourself the following questions (as indicated by OSHA):

    1. Will I have to hold heavy items while on the ladder?
    2. Is the elevated area high enough that it would require a long ladder that can be unstable?
    3. Will I be working from this height for a long time?
    4. Do I have to stand on the ladder sideways in order to do this work?

    According to OSHA, if the answer to any of these questions is a "Yes," then you may want to revisit the idea and consider using something other than a ladder (scissor lift, scaffolding, etc.)

    Choosing the Right Ladder for the Job

    • Ladder SafetyEnsure the ladder is high enough for you to reach your work area without having to stand on the top rung.
    • When using ladders to access another level, secure and extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the landing point to provide a safe handhold.
    • The base of the ladder should be secured.
    • Wear proper footwear
    • Place the ladder on stable and level ground. DO NOT place it on an uneven surface.
    • Ensure that the ladder is fully extended before starting work.
    • Prevent passersby from walking under or near ladders in use by using barriers or getting your coworker to act as a lookout.
    • Do not work on the top rung of the ladder.
    • Ladder Safety - Improper UseMaintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
    • Do not carry any tools or materials in your hands when climbing a ladder.
    • Do not lean away from the ladder to carry out your task. Always keep your weight centered between the side rails.
    • Do not use ladders near doorways. If you need to use a ladder near a doorway, make sure that the door is locked.
       

    Ladder Maintenance

    Before use, visually check ladder for defects. Make sure there are no visible defects and that it's in good working condition. Always remember to maintain and store the ladder properly. Said information should always be found via manufacturer's instructions.
     
    After checking ladder, make sure not to use if ladder:
    • is faulty.
    • is bent.
    • is missing a step.
    • has spreader bars that do not have a locking device or mechanism.
       
    Ladder safety is so important because fall accidents CAN BE PREVENTED! Proper training gives an individual the knowledge and ability to get home safely every time.
     
    Safety Training Services, Inc. is available to meet and exceed your expectations on appropriate ladder safety training and other OSHA compliance training! Find out why how we can bring value to you and your company today. Click below for more information on our OSHA compliance training courses!
     
    Click here   for our Safety  Training Courses

    Tags: fall protection in construction, fall safety, ladder safety, general ladder safety, osha general industry training, osha fall protection general industry