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Alex Zielinski

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How Relevant Are Your Safety Programs?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 @ 09:52 AM

In our training classes we often say that safety programs and documentation are "living and breathing." Meaning, a safety process or an aspect of your emergency action plan gets developed and implemented and it gets revisited, often. No program should be developed with the intention that all of your work is done for the next ten years regarding safety. Safety and emergency programs should be evaluated and re-evaluated. Ask yourself if they are effective or if they are meeting the needs of the employees. Often times a business relies on programs developed "years ago" but that program didn't incorporate the new hazardous material process that the company now manages. Having a safety program in place may afford you the opportunity to scratch an item off of your To-Do list but if it isn't effective, if it isn't relevant, who's interests are being served?

How Relevant Are Your Safety Programs?Safety within your organization should be viewed holistically--emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. While each part of your program, such as fall protection, confined space, hot work, annual employee health screenings, and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements are each vital to your operation, it is the way in which the overall purpose of your safety program works together through these programs.

An example: Your company will begin a new process which includes a chemical that has never been used on your site, "Chemical X." Prior to the arrival and use of this new chemical the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) has been evaluated alongside a job hazard analysis (JHA) or job safety analysis (JSA). This is a very simplified work process but without becoming too elaborate these two documents will help you establish PPE requirements and engineering controls for employees who handle the new chemical. The safety of the employee does not rely solely on these two documents, they must receive the training on the chemical and the PPE they will be using. However, that is not the end, a medical surveillance program may be required, the results from which the effectiveness of your PPE, engineering controls, and other practices can be evaluated.

In short, you're not just sitting in another training class this year, you aren't just being forced to undergo another physical--each piece of the safety puzzle comes together, relying on the other programs, to maintain and improve worker safety on a daily basis. Remember, this is only effective if your programs are updated, evaluated, and maintained. Knock the dust off your safety programs this year, ensure they still apply, and that they're still relevant.

Safety Training Services provides a full range of OSHA compliant industry training and services. If you are unsure how compliant your programs might be contact us today, we can help develop and implement a complete safety program and training that meets your needs.

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Tags: jha, safety program, safety process, jsa, safety consulting

Hazwoper Training: The Spill Kit - Where is it? What's in it?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Mon, Dec 26, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

The greatest safety plans are the ones that are constantly evaluated and updated based on their effectiveness. There may be no greater illustration of this than the handling of hazardous chemicals. Day-to-day tasks may be easy to plan and train for--all of your employees have HAZWOPER training and they're kept safe using engineering controls and PPE.

Hazwoper TrainingWhat about spills? What is your plan when the drums start leaking or the forklift driver pierces a tote? A bulk delivery driver is delivering a tanker full of hazardous materials to your site storage tanks, now the trailer is leaking, what can you do?

Employees trained in the HAZWOPER training standard can respond to a spill and dramatically reduce the impact of the hazard. By comparison, your on-site team can respond faster to hazmat problems within your facility than a fire department of off-site hazmat response team. The quicker the response to the chemical spill, the more likely you'll protect employees and limit damage or contamination to the workplace.

Do you have a spill kit?

You have a plan, you have training, you have PPE, and you have the tools to confine or contain the spill. When was the last time you inspected your hazmat response equipment? Spill kits stored outdoors are subjected to extreme cold, heat, and UV damage when stored in the sun. What was once a functional response kit can very quickly become dry-rotting absorbent pads, frozen emergency response guidebooks, and chemical gloves that can be penetrated by the chemicals they were designed to protect you from.

There is no governing regulation regarding inspection frequency but some regular inspection process should be developedChicago Hazwoper for your site and equipment. There is no universal expiration date for hazmat response equipment and each piece of equipment is different. At all times manufacturer guidelines should be followed.

While breakdown from exposure to the environment can be problematic, your spill kit may be opened and used by employees to clean up ordinary leaks and drips. An empty kit or missing and damaged equipment is useless when there is a spill. Inspections are a great opportunity for response team familiarization and to ensure your facility is ready to respond to a chemical emergency.


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Tags: hazard assessment, ppe, hazmat training, safety plans, hazwoper

Is It Safe To Heat Your Home With Your Oven?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Thu, Dec 08, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Temperatures have just started to plummet this winter but already firefighters have observed kitchen ovens being used to warm homes. 

When used correctly your home appliances are very safe but this is an incredibly dangerous practice. Should you heat your home with your oven? NO!

If you have a gas oven you are putting yourself at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. Without a carbon monoxide detector there is no way to know if this gas is building up in your home.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to other illness and cause fainting, headaches, and dizziness. In large qunatities carbon monoxide can be fatal.

An electrical stove is not a better alternative to heat your home. An unattended electrical stove has the potential to burn children, pets, or even to start fires.

Your oven is inefficient at heating a home, it was not designed and built for this purpose. The purchase and safe use of a space heater is much more effective at heating areas of your home.

To learn more about home heating & fire safety and preventing fires in your home, please visit the National Fire Protection Association.

Chicago & Northwest Indiana Fire Extinguishers - Protect your home! If your home or business is in Northwest Indiana, Chicago, or the Chicagoland area and you have questions about fire extinguishers, fire extinguisher training, or in need of a fire extinguisher recharge, contact us today!

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Tags: home safety, fire extinguishers, fire safety, fire safety chicago, holiday safety, fire safety northwest indiana

Developing Industrial Rescue Skills

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Fri, Dec 02, 2016 @ 09:02 AM

Working in a confined space presents unique challenges and hazards to the employee. When an emergency occurs in a confined space or at heights, a timely response by a competent rescue team is essential to reduce the impact to employees and to property. One method for meeting OSHA's requirement is to establish an on-site confined space rescue team. An on-site team can be present directly beside the confined space or at the job site. This on-site team drastically reduces the response and rescue time you may experience from an outside rescue team such as local fire department.

How can you maintain your team's ability to respond?

OSHA requires that your rescue teams conduct rescue exercises annually. Confined space rescuers must also have access to the spaces, or representative spaces, to which they will be expected to enter. Any standby rescue team must also be informed of the hazards of the space and have the same training for entering a confined space.

According to the CDC, "rescue procedures should be practiced frequently enough to provide a level of proficiency that eliminates life-threatening rescue attempts and ensures an efficient and calm response to any emergency." Industrial rescues do not occur daily but injuries and fatalities do occur.

  • From August 2009 to September 2013, there was an average of 42 deaths related to confined spaces each year (OSHA).
  • Between October 2014 and October 2015, there were 48 catastrophic fatalities related to confined spaces (OSHA).

Meeting OSHA's requirements for rescue will keep your rescue team compliant but will one industrial rescue exercise a year keep your team proficient?

There is no prescribed standard in the U.S. for frequency of industrial rescue training. Technical rescue teams, fire departments, and standby rescue personnel train with varying frequencies--weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. While your confined space rescue team members may have additional production responsibilites within your day-to-day operation, it is important that they be highly proficient in various rescue methods to extract co-workers; don't let them become a group on paper who simply satisfies a permit requirement.

In its recommendations the fire service on the training of rescuing trapped firefighters, the National Fire Academy states that the physical, mental, and psychological stresses associated with rescue are immense (NFA). The most expertly conducted rescue operation may place team members under extreme stress. Deaths and serious injuries occur in confined spaces and encountering them is something your team must be prepared for.

Consider how these factors impact your employees if they are expected to perform a confined space rescue of a co-worker. For the worker needing rescue from a confined space, and for the worker who is part of the confined space rescue, time is of utmost importance. These additional stressors dictate that rescue teams train beyond the OSHA requirement.

If you are interested in establishing an industrial rescue training program for your facility, conducting annual rescue refresher training, or implementing an industrial rescue team at your facility, contact us today! Our highly trained staff can assist in team development and ongoing or new employee training.

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