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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.


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

Why is Fall Protection Important? Because Deaths Are Preventable!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

"Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry."


fall protection training, fall protection, what is fall protection, fall safety, fall protection construction, osha safetyAccording to the last data available (2013), there were 796 total fatalities in the construction industry. Let's round that off to 800, for the ease of digesting the numbers. Out of that number of fatalities, 294 were fall fatalities. Let's round that to 300 (again for ease of use in digestion of the numbers). So that gives us 300 fall fatalities out of 800 fatalities (within the construction industry), which means 3 out of every 8 deaths were from falls! Not only is that unfortunate due to it meaning 37% of the deaths in the construction industry are from falls alone, but also because those deaths are preventable. Yes, one could argue that ALL falls and fall injuries (including deaths) are preventable!

OSHA has provided us three simple steps to preventing more falls, fall injuries, and fall fatalities, you may have heard them before:

  • Plan

  • Provide

  • Train

"PLAN ahead to get the job done safely."

Working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, can be done safely. It is important for employers to plan ahead by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment is needed to complete the job or task. Include safety equipment when estimating the cost of a job any be sure to have any other necessary equipment or tools available at the job site. 

OSHA Example: "In a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)."

"PROVIDE the right equipment."fall protection training, fall protection, what is fall protection, fall safety, fall protection construction, osha safety

To protect workers who are six feet or more above lower levels and are at risk for serious injury or death if they fell, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job. This includes the correct choice of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear; and note that there are different individual types of ladders, gear, etc. that are to be used for certain situations or jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely.

OSHA Example: "For roof work, there are many ways to prevent falls. If workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it's still in good condition and safe to use."

"TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely."

Training workers on how to recognize hazards, care for and safely use ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems (and any other equipment necessary for the job) can prevent falls. 

OSHA Example: "When you know your rights, and when employers act responsibly to prevent hazards, the result will be fewer worker deaths, injuries and illnesses. Training and education are key in making this happen."

To Prevent Employees from Being Injured from Falls, Employers Must:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).

  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.

  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat or acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.

  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety and harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

Falls from roofs can be prevented!

  • Wear a harness and always stay connected.

  • Make sure your harness fits.

  • Use guardrails or lifelines.

  • Inspect all fall protection equipment before use.

  • Guard or cover all holes, openings, and skylights.

Falls from ladders can be prevented!

  • Choose the right ladder for the job.

  • Maintain three points of contact.

  • Secure the ladder.

  • Always face the ladder.

  • Guard or cover all holes, openings, and skylights.

Falls from scaffolds can be prevented!

  • Use fully planked scaffolds.

  • Ensure proper access to scaffold.

  • Plumb and level.

  • Complete ALL guardrails.

  • Ensure stable footing.

  • Inspect before use (by competent person).

fall protection training, fall protection, what is fall protection, fall safety, fall protection construction, osha safety

Getting to a 'Competent Person Status' is easy! STS has both a fall protection awareness level and a competent person level training course available!

The duties and responsibilities of the competent person for fall protection include:

  • Immediate supervision, implementation and monitoring of the fall protection program.
  • Preparation and implementation of:
    • Fall protection and prevention plans
    • Fall arrest rescue plans and procedures
  • Identify hazardous and dangerous conditions in the workplace and take prompt corrective measures to correct them.
  • Conduct fall hazard survey and prepare survey and assessment report.
  • Inspection and installation of approved fall protection systems.
  • Compliance with fall protection and prevention plans and fall arrest rescue plans.
  • Ensure end users/authorized persons working at heights and using fall protection equipment are adequately trained.
  • Supervise the selection, installation, and inspection of non-certified anchorages.
  • Supervise the installation, use, and inspection of certified anchorages, under the direction of the qualified person for fall protection.
  • Have knowledge and understanding of fall protection systems and equipment.
  • Conduct inspection and accident investigations.
  • Have full responsibility and authority to implement the fall protection.

Click below for more information on Fall Protection Training. We offer this training at our facility or yours! Don't wait until "something happens," get appropriate safety training today!
Click for more info on   Fall Protection at STS!

Tags: fall protection, construction industry, deaths are preventable, osha safety

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease: 5 Things You Need to Know Now

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 @ 01:00 PM

“The real preventative power lies with real changes to your lifestyle – which can reduce the risk for heart disease by as much as 80 percent.”

--American Heart Association

If you have yet to see our previous article on heart disease and how it is killing millions every year, read it here. I wanted to close out February with an additional article covering ways to reduce your risk as well as provide assistance to those who have previously experienced heart issues.

Now that we know how serious it is to be preventative about heart disease, and why weUnhealthy Heart Food - Donut should stay vigilant about avoid certain things if we have previous issues, did you know that there are certain foods & food ingredients that influence heart behaviors? For example, hydrogenated oils are believed to be not good for the heart. These are generally found in chips, crackers, store bought pastries (things like doughnuts, muffins, etc.), and other baked foods. These hydrogenated oils increase cholesterol in the body which in turn, increases risk of heart attack. If you have already experienced a heart attack, these would be foods to generally avoid in order to remain healthy in the long term.

Meat lovers, bad news. Certain sausages, pastrami, hot dogs, and even smoked turkey can be harmful to heart patients. The reason is the nitrates which can damage blood vessels in the body. These can cause hardening and narrowing of the arteries, and this is what causes heart strokes and serious heart problems.

The jury is still (in my opinion) on diet sodas. Some studies will claim that they may increase heart attack risk, and others claim it does not. To be safe, you may choose to drink fresh, squeezed juice, lemon water, (iced) tea or certain health drinks (learn to read labels!).

Red meat has many health benefits, however due to its saturated fat content, can be something to limit for those who have already undergone heart treatment. Studies show that women especially are more prone to heart attacks due to a high consumption of red meats. Think about instead filling the gap with more white meat or fish. Beans, legumes, non-fat dairy, tofu, and nuts are other good choices to help keep you sated in lieu of too much red meat.

Talk to Your Doctor About Heart Issues

Also, pre-packed foods such as canned spaghetti, soups, and frozen dinners can contain high amounts of sodium used to enhance flavor and taste. This are things a person with an unhealthy heart should really never eat. Too much sodium damages the blood vessels and may increase the chance of heart attacks. Replace eating these items with homemade soups, and of course fresh vegetables and fruits are a great alternative.

It should be stated that as individuals, we may handle these things differently from one another. What works for one, may not another, and vice versa. This makes it very important to use this information as a guideline as opposed to written rule, and it is recommended you get in touch with a physician, health professional, or your healthcare provider to suggest an appropriate diet.

In addition to certain foods, there are a number of ways to lower the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Those individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, or diabetes are at an increased chance for heart attack or stroke. These are some ways to lower that risk.

The first thing is probably the most obvious, exercise! Simply doing a moderate and reasonable each day is a helpful, preventative measure and can lower risk by 30%-50%! By moderate amount, think 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Those last two days? Strength train! It may sound difficult, but you only require 30 minutes a day. Two 15 minute walks? One light half hour jog? A few simple sets on a pair of dumbells? All within the realm of reality in a given day and will help with not only preventative heart measures, but reasonable weight loss as well. In fact, if overweight or obese, just losing 5-10% of your weight improves cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

130,000 Americans die every year because they don't take their heart medicine the way the doctor told them.

Take you heart medicine the way it prescribed. If you or an individual you know need help, determine what keeps you (or them) from taking it such as side effects, cost, or simply forgetfulness, and ask your doctor for help.

5 Things You Need to Know About Heart DiseaseHeart Exercising with Weights

  1. Following a good, healthy diet can lower heart disease risk by 25% 
  2. Moderate alcohol consumption helps the heart.
  3. Eating chocolate more than once a week lowers the risk of heart disease by almost 40% and of diabetes or stroke by about 30%
  4. Smoking drastically increases your risk of heart attack and stroke (even secondhand can hurt*)
  5. Getting your teeth cleaned every 6 months may lower your risk of heart attack by 24% and of stroke by 13%**

*: Every year about 46,000 people die from heart disease related to their exposure to 2nd hand smoke.

**: Dentists may be able to spot signs of heart disease (such as swollen gums or loose teeth) before you or your doctors notice other symptoms. This allows for faster treatment.

Remember, unusual symptoms such as shortness of breath, changes in heart rhythm, or exhaustion may be signs that you need to talk to your doctor. Don't just hope they just go away, there is a lot a doctor can do for heart problems, but only once they know!

Running is Good Preventative ExerciseHow to Recognize a Medical Emergency

1.) When brain is affected, should be treated as medical emergency.

2.) Weakness, numbness, vision loss on one or both sides of the body, dizziness, confusion, trouble speaking, severe headache, loss of consciousness (fainting/passing out), or seizures

3.) Breathing problems (not after a run; but with "no reason")

4.) Heart problems (some feel like indigestion, others are the worst pain ever)

5.) Be sure to call 911 or go to the emergency room (especially if nothing makes it better; rest, position, or movement). Don't hesistate to call!

Should I Take Aspirin During a Heart Attack?

Aspirin is blood thinner and also helps prevent blood clots from forming. This can be helpful during a heart attack. In fact, research shows that getting an aspirin early in the treatment of a heart attack can significantly improve your chances of survival. It’s important, however, to first call 911, as aspirin won’t treat your heart attack by itself.

NOTE: Taking aspirin isn’t advised during a stroke. Because most strokes are caused by clots (or in some cases, ruptured blood vessels) taking aspirin can make bleeding strokes more severe!

CPR: Are You Prepared?

  • Research shows 80% of cardiac arrests happen in the home. CPR isFirst Responder Training is Important necessary (AED is great too!)

  • For those untrained in CPR, you can use Hands-Only CPR.
  • If an adult collapses that you can't wake, call 911 and start chest compressions.
    • Heel of hand in center of chest, place other hand on top, interlace fingers, push hard & fast
    • Use AED if available
  • Remember CPR is most successful when done asap, first determine if necessary.
    • Only when person is unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally.

Taking a CPR class could help you save someone's life. If you are interested in any combination of first aid, CPR, or AED training, consider taking a safety training course from Safety Training Services.

Tell me more about your First Aid Training!

Heart Disease: America's Most Efficient Killer

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 @ 01:30 PM

February is American Heart Month and this year, I wanted to not only bring up awareness of issues surrounding this, but also discuss how to be proactive and how to react to these situations, as some can come abrupt and with little to no warning.

The American Heart Month tradition began in 1964. In a Proclamation by Lyndon B. Johnson, he stated that "it is essential to the health and well-being of our nation that our citizens be made aware of the medical, social, and economic aspects of the problem of cardiovascular diseases, and the measure being taken to combat them."

"I urge the people of the United States to give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood vessel diseases, and to support the programs required to bring about its solution."

In an interest to follow this tradition, I will first and foremost discuss heart attacks and suddensafety training chicago, first aid training, aed training chicago, safety training illinois, american heart month, what is a heart attack, what is sudden cardiac arrest, heart disease, cpr training cardiac arrest, as well as decipher the differences between them. As I stated earlier, in addition to bringing up awareness of the two, we will also discuss the symptoms, signs, and how to help others during an incident involving these heart problems.

Well, the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest begins with the human circulatory system. As you are surely aware, the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body via electrical impulses from the brain. This knowledge helps to understand this difference; a heart attack is when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating unexpectedly.

Heart Attack - Circulation Problem

Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Electrical Problem

Sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack are, in fact, linked. A heart attack can lead into sudden cardiac arrest, as heart attacks are a common cause. Other heart conditions can also lead to sudden cardiac arrest, including cardiomyopathy or ventricular fibrillation. Remember, time is of the essence, and fast responses mean better survival rates. Knowing the signs and symptoms of these heart issues will help be proactive and ready if and when you find yourself in one of these situations.

Generally, heart attack symptoms start slowly and can gradually continue for hours, days, even weeks, but can also (with less frequency) be both immediate and intense. The heart usually does not stop beating during a heart attack.

  • Chest pain

  • Radiating pain

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, cold sweats

    • (These are more common in women, but can occur in men as well)

safety training chicago, first aid training, aed training chicago, safety training illinois, american heart month, what is a heart attack, what is sudden cardiac arrest, heart disease, cpr trainingIf you are in a situation in which someone around you is experiencing what you believe to be a heart attack, you have about five minutes to call 911 (or other local emergency response number). This is because every minute is important for a heart attack victim. Having emergency services show with an ambulance is one of the best ways to handle the situation, the emergency responders and can give treatment as soon as they arrive, and treatment can continue in the ambulance rather than if you drove them to the hospital yourself.

As opposed to the generally gradual continuance of heart attack symptoms, sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. As I stated earlier, this is an electrical malfunction in the heart which causes irregular heartbeats. This malfunction causes the heart to cease pumping blood to the main organs (brain, lungs, etc.). Within seconds, a person can lose their pulse and consciousness. Again, time is of the upmost importance, as there is only a two minute window to treat the victim before death can (and most likely will) occur.

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness

  • No response to tapping on shoulders

  • Does nothing when you ask if they're ok

  • No normal breathing

If you experience these (above) signs in a potential cardiac arrest victim,

1. You must first shout for help and have them call 911 (or your local emergency response number).

2. Have said help grab you an automated external defibrillator (AED)(if one is available).

3. Check breathing; give CPR if necessary.

4. Use AED as soon as it arrives (turn it on and follow the prompts).

5. Follow the prompts for CPR & AED usage until an emergency responder or more advanced help arrives.

The good news is that sudden cardiac arrest is reversible in most cases. If it is treated within asafety training chicago, first aid training, aed training chicago, safety training illinois, american heart month, what is a heart attack, what is sudden cardiac arrest, heart disease, cpr training
few minutes with CPR and an AED, the survival rate of the victim increases exponentially.

  • Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 350,000 lives each year.
  • An estimated 382,800 people experience sudden cardiac arrest in the United States each year.
  • Approximately 92% of those who experience sudden cardiac arrest do not survive.
  • It is estimated that 95% of victims who experience sudden cardiac arrest die before they reach a hospital or some other source of emergency help.
  • If a sudden cardiac arrest victim receives defibrillation through an AED within the first minute, the survival rate is 90%.
  • For every minute that passes without defibrillation, survival decreases by 7-10%.
  • 30-50% of sudden cardiac arrest victims would survive if AEDs were used within five minutes.
  • If defibrillation is delayed more than ten minutes, the survival rate is less than 5%.

It is easy to see how important it is to have ready access to an AED. It is essentially a necessity as a proactive solution to these unexpected heart issues. There are plenty of places to get your hands on an AED and some training to supplement it. Safety Training Services is a one stop shop for AED training, sales and rentals.

Tags: sudden cardiac arrest, aed training, heart attack, February Heart Awareness, American Heart Month, cpr training, heart disease

Winter Driving Dangers & Safe Driving Tips

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Winter driving can be dangerous, as the winter season brings additional potential hazards not found (as much at least) in other seasons. Generally, when you want to drive somewhere, you simply get into your vehicle and go. In the winter, what might normally be a 5 minute trip, may take double the time (or more!) due to unforeseen circumstances in the weather. Preparation is the key to overcoming these issues. Knowing that we cannot control the weather, or even other drivers on the road, we must plan ahead when braving the roads during winter.

As OSHA puts it, there are “Three P’s” to safe winter driving:

PREPARE for the trip; PROTECT yourself; and PREVENT crashes on the road.

Preparation is, once again, paramount to overcoming winter driving issues. In addition to the freezing (sometimes sub-freezing) temperatures, things like rain or snow quickly make short trips into long “adventures.” There is simply no place for hurriedness while driving in the winter months. But how do you prepare before the trip? Use the information below to help you.

Winter driving safety quote

Maintenance of your vehicle

Things to check/do:

  • Tires

    • Be sure to check the treads of your tires to be sure they are "winter ready." Treads with low or insufficient depth sacrifice your vehicle's traction and mobility. Have a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle, or check regularly somewhere. Also, now is a great time to check your spare.

  • Battery

    • Vehicle batteries lose charge as the temperature drops. Sub-zero temperatures can cause batteries to require twice the normal amount of current to start an engine.

  • Windows & Lights

    • Between frost, snow, and ice, keeping your windows clear is sometimes a task. Be sure to have good wipers installed and refill your washer fluid regularly. Also, be sure to inspect your vehicle's lights/bulbs for any repairs/replacements needed.

  • Fluids

    • Check coolants and oil levels as well, and flush/refill as necessary.

Things suggested to keep in vehicle; for an emergency:

Jumper cables
Sand (for weight; kitty litter also works
Snow brush/scraper
Flares (some sort of warning device is handy)
For long(er) trips: Also remember food, water, medication, cell phone & charger(s)

Driving safety quote

Winter Weather Driving Tips

  • Allow plenty of time
  • Check the weather
  • Leave early if necessary
  • Familiarize yourself with the maps/directions
  • Let someone know your route and arrival time
  • Remember to steer into a skid
  • Know your brakes;
    • Antilock – Stomp!
    • Non-antilock – Pump!
  • Stopping distances are longer on snow and ice (usually double that or more of “normal”, black ice is especially dangerous)
  • Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space (carbon monoxide can be a factor)
  • Keep your car filled with gas during winter!

Prevent crashes

  • Be responsible! Never mix drugs and alcohol with driving.
    • If you going out to drink, plan for a sober driver!
  • Slow down and increase distances between cars.
    • No one’s time is more important than another’s. Stay a safe distance and decelerate to switch lanes, instead of speeding up to “cut” others off.
  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road!
  • Avoid fatigue – get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.

For more safety tips and safety news, subscribe to the Safety Training Services Safety Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Looking for OSHA, HAZWOPER, forklift, or other safety training courses? Look no further than STS; where we offer "Real Experience. Real Training. Real Results."

Show me the classes!

Tags: winter driving, winter safety, driving safety, safety tips

Enter By Permit Only: 13 Confined Space Hazards That Can Kill

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

A "confined space" as defined by OSHA, is a space that is large enough so that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Examples include (but are not limited to) boilers, tanks, vessels, stills, silos, mixers, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, vats, and pits.

Permit required confined space entryA permit required confined space is a confined space that requires a special permit to enter. These usually contain (or have the potential to contain) a hazardous atmosphere, an engulfment or entrapment hazard, or physical hazards. If any other serious safety or health hazard are present, it may also be classified as permit-required. Some companies even take a step further than the OSHA requirements and choose to treat every confined space onsite as a permit required confined space and follow all processes and procedures pertaining to those types of entries. 

Confined spaces are considered one of the deadliest places in the workplace because of the potential for danger. Many different types of hazards are found in confined spaces. Atmospheric issues can arise, which aren't always apparent. Oxygen is a basic necessity for life, but if there is too much or too little in a confined space, atmospheres can become deadly. Flammable or toxic gases/vapors are sometimes invisible to smell or see, and without proper equipment you would not be able to tell otherwise. Residue of previous chemicals can be left behind, the configuration of the space, the nature of the work, external hazards, and even outside hazards (animals, insects, noise, etc.) are examples of potential dangers surrounding confined spaces and why they are considered dangerous. Confined spaces are also prone to changes in the level of safety at any given time. Perfectly normal, common work conditions can quickly turn into an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) atmosphere with some help from the hazards listed.

Confined Space Hazard Types

  • Oxygen Rich

    • Example: Oxygen is greater than 23.5%

  • Oxygen Deficient

    • Example: Oxygen is lesser than 19.5%

  • Flammable Vapors/Gases

    • Examples: Possible chemical reactions, combustible dust

  • Toxic Atmospheres

    • Examples: Carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide

  • Corrosive Atmospheres

    • Examples: Hydrochloric acid, ammonia

  • Physical Hazards

    • Examples: Ladders, scaffolding, wet surface, poor lighting

  • Mechanical Hazards

    • Examples: Mixing vessels, falling objects

  • Surface Hazards

    • Examples: Slips and falls

  • Noise Hazards

    • Example: Grinding work and loud environments may interfere with communication and delay rescue or emergency services if needed

  • Vibration Hazards

    • Example: Woodworking tools

  • Engulfment Hazards

    • Example: Entrapped by contents of a confined space

  • Temperature Hazards

    • Examples: Heat stroke or heat stress, burns from hot surfaces, and freezing from extremely cold surfaces

  • Electrical Hazards

    • Example: Hazards from equipment taken into the space

confined space training at safety training services


Confined Space Rescue

Where a system of entry permits is in place, a rescue plan is required. It will list the personnel and equipment required to be at the worksite before entry is allowed. Special equipment such as tripod hoists, harnesses, and others may be required to extricate a worker from a toxic environment, without unduly endangering rescue personnel.

Whether you are looking for confined space training or rescue, Safety Training Services is here to assist you! Find more information on our confined space training class via our Training Services Page or if you are interested in our Stand-by Rescue Teams, check out our Rescue Services Page for more information!

Tags: confined space hazards, confined space training, confined space rescue

Farm Safety in the USA [Infographic]

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

Safety is a top priority in any industry, and the farming and agriculture industry is no different. Today, we will take a look at how hazardous the industry is and how at risk farmers are for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries people can work in. Almost 2 million people are directly employed in the agriculture industry so it is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. Every week there are people injured and even killed in the USA on farms and in agriculture related industries. One stark statistic is that every day approximately 167 agri-workers suffer a lost-work-time injury. Through implementation of safer work practices and measures however, these numbers could be greatly reduced. Education and training is a major element that can assist this.

This infographic (Credit: farmerjournal.ie) covers the area of farm safety and agriculture in the USA and examines some interesting and startling statistics associated with it. It also gives some recommendations on how some of these accidents and fatalities can be avoided in the future.farm safety, safety training

Tags: safety training, confined space training, safety hazards industry training, farm safety, safety hazards, 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.

Interested in Fall Protection or Working-At-Heights Training?  Click here for more information!

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

Somehow I Manage: Workplace Safety Training Guide by Michael Scott

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

Chances are you don’t work at one of the top ten deadliest jobs, but that doesn’t mean you can brush off safety. Safety in an office setting is just as important as any other environment because the potential for injury can be just as great. Being struck by lightning at your desk may be improbable, but its not impossible. With that being said, lets look at some more common workplace injuries:

Lifting – If lifting isn’t part of your every day job, chances are you’re not going to be thinking of safety when it’s time to move the heavy printer from one room into another. Without proper awareness, you may just grab it and start moving, seriously damaging your back in the process.

Tendon Injury – Most office workers are at their computers for 8 hours a day, sitting in the same position and going through the same motions the entire time. This could cause tendon injury or carpal tunnel syndrome, leaving you unable to do much of anything. Take breaks to prevent muscle tightness. Get up and walk around, and don’t forget to stretch your fingers.

Stress – According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job. Increased stress leads to health problems and can even cause heart attacks. The NYPD even automatically classifies all employee heart attacks as “work related injuries.”

Toppling Objects – Do you work in a cluttered office? If so, you may be in more danger than you think. Workers will often dangerously overload shelves due to lack of space. It’s only a matter of time before that old fax machine falls off of its overcrowded bookshelf and onto someone’s head.

There are several things you can do to prevent office injuries, many of which are included below in an infographic provided by www.resultsyoudeserve.com. If you are also a fan of the NBC show "The Office", you probably know all about Michael Scott and his hilarious yet sometimes cringeworthy antics. You may also be familiar with the episode 'Safety Training' from season 3. This episode must have been a catalyst for this infographic about real office safety issues that companies everywhere need to be aware of. It’s presented from the perspective of Michael Scott and includes quotes and pictures from the show as well as plenty of educational information about the dangers of the workplace:

Click here for infographic

Infographic Credit: “Michael Scott’s Guide to Surviving Your 9-5” from Katherman Briggs & Greenberg.

Tags: safety training tips, workplace mental health, office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, safety training topics

8 Great Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Office or Home

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Indoor air quality can impact the health, comfort, well-being, and productivity of building occupants, and therefore, is a major concern to businesses, managers, and employees.

indoor air quality, air quality, health and safety,As Americans we spend up to 90% of our time indoors and many of us spend much, if not most, of our working hours in an office environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted studies that show how indoor environments sometimes can have levels of pollutants that are actually higher than levels found outside.

Pollutants in our indoor environment can increase the risk of illness. Indoor air pollution is an important environmental health problem, as shown by several scientific studies. And although,  severe indoor air quality problems may not be an issue in most buildings, even well-run buildings can sometimes experience times of poor indoor air quality.

In 1989, the EPA reported that improved indoor air quality can result in higher productivity and fewer lost work days. It is also estimated that poor indoor air may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.

All of the occupants of a building can have a great influence on indoor air quality. Something as “everyday” as heating food in a microwave or using the photocopier can generate odors and pollutants. Once we understand and are aware of indoor air issues, we can help prevent these problems.

8 ways to improve the indoor air quality in your office: 

Don’t block air vents.

Don’t smoke in building or within 8 feet of any building doorway.

If you have office plants, maintain them.

If you make/see a water spill, clean it up. Water can lead to molds & fungi.

Stay on top of garbage! Dispose of it promptly and regularly.

Don’t leave food out. Store it properly!

Avoid bringing things into the building that has potential to release harmful odors or contaminants.

If you suspect an indoor air quality problem, contact your building manager immediately!

Indoor air quality is a constantly changing interaction of complex factors that affect the types, levels, and importance of pollutants in indoor environments. It is not an easily defined concept, as there are many factors that affect comfort or perception of indoor air quality. Some of the factors include:

  • Sources of pollutants or odors
  • Design, maintenance, and operation of building ventilation systems
  • Moisture and humidity
  • Occupant perceptions and susceptibilities

Controlling indoor air quality involvespollutants, biohazards, biological, indoor air quality integrating three main strategies.

The first is managing the source of pollutants. You can do so by either removing them from the building or by isolating them from people through physical barriers, air pressure relationships, or by controlling the timing of their use. Secondly, you may dilute pollutants and remove them from the building through ventilation. Lastly, use filtration to clean the air of pollutants.

Minimizing people’s exposure to pollutants is an important goal of an indoor air quality program. Sources of pollutants can be indoor or outdoor. This includes, but is not limited to, building maintenance activities, pest control, housekeeping, renovation or remodeling, new furnishings or finishes, and building occupant activities.

Some of the key categories are:

  • Biological contaminants

    • Allergic responses to indoor biological pollutant exposures cause symptoms in allergic individuals and also play a key role in triggering asthma episodes for an estimated 15 million Americans.

  • Chemical pollutants

  • Particles

indoor air quality, air quality, health and safety, pollutants, biohazards, biological,Some pollutants can cause both short and long term health problems. For example, prolonged exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can cause lung cancer, and short term exposures can result in irritation and significant respiratory problems for some people, particularly young children.

It is also important to control moisture and relative humidity in occupied spaces. The presence of moisture and dirt can cause molds and other biological contaminants to thrive.

Besides the factors that directly impact the levels of pollutants to which people are exposed, a number of environmental and personal factors can affect how people perceive air quality. Some of these factors affect both the levels of pollutants and perceptions of air quality.

  • Odors
  • Temperature - too hot or cold
  • Air velocity and movement - too drafty or stuffy
  • Heat or glare from sunlight
  • Glare from ceiling lights, especially on monitor screens
  • Furniture crowding
  • Stress in the workplace or home
  • Feelings about physical aspects of the workplace: location, work environment, availability of natural light, and the aesthetics of office design, such as color and style.
  • Work space ergonomics, including height and location of computer, and adjustability of keyboards and desk chairs
  • Noise and vibration levels
  • Selection, location, and use of office equipment

Ask your supervisor or office manager who to talk with if you have a concern about any of these factors. If you do suspect that your building has an indoor air quality problem or if you or others at your office are experiencing health or comfort problems that you suspect may be caused by indoor pollution, remember the following:

  • Inform the building management of your concerns. Be sure to follow the proper channels.
  • Talk with your doctor or other health care provider, and report your problems to the company physician, nurse, or health and safety officer.
  • Cooperate with management during any indoor air quality investigation. Your input can aid in the sometimes difficult process of identifying and solving problems.

If you have any indoor air quality questions or other safety & health related questions, please leave us a comment below or contact us by clicking here. If you are looking for safety training related to this (or any other subject), check out our Training Services page to see what we currently have scheduled. Lastly, if you need monitors for air quality testing or personal monitors for employees, our Technical Services has safety equipment for sale or rent!

Tags: biohazards, pollutants, health and safety, biological, indoor air quality, air quality, ways to improve air quality