Safety Whitepapers


Spilling the Truth on Bloodborne Pathogen Safety

Summary

Bloodborne pathogens are defined as microorganisms in the blood or other body fluids that can cause illness and disease. These microorganisms are transmitted through the eyes, skin, nose or mouth, also known as mucous membranes, or under the skin by means of puncture. Exposure can result from cuts or puncture wounds caused by sharp objects, such as blades, needles, or knives. There is also risk of exposure in a situation where blood or body fluid is splashed on open cuts or mucous membranes.

The most common diseases caused by exposure are hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People who carry bloodborne pathogens may not be aware that they are infected.

In March 1992 OSHA adopted a bloodborne pathogen training policy (CFR 1910.1030) designed to limit exposure to blood and other bodily fluids at the workplace. The policy was initially tailored for hospitals, funeral homes, nursing homes, clinics, law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, and HIV/HBV research laboratories. However, the standard grew to cover any employer where there is a reasonable chance of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Compliance with the standard requires employers to have in place a policy and training plan dealing with the hazards of bloodborne pathogens, vaccination, handling and more. Through independent studies OSHA has confirmed employers who have a safety and health training program in place experience a 52 percent lower rate of “injury with days away” than employers without a program.

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Inoculating Your Business Against Drug/Alcohol With a Substance Abuse Prevention Program

Summary

A well kept secret of drug users in America is they are largely employed. Of the 16.6 million adult illicit drug users in 2002, 12.4 million (74.6 percent) were employed full or part time. [1] Most binge and heavy alcohol users were also employed. Among the 51.1 million adult binge drinkers, 40.8 million (80 percent) are employed either full or part time [1]

The economic and human costs include: losses in productivity, employers paying out claims, lost days on the job, and reduction in productivity. Substance abuse causes: accidents, injuries and death, time off, tardiness, dismissal, more drug use, theft, and poor performance. Addressing these problems with a Drug Free Workplace Program (DFWP) has proven to improve performance for employees and employers. In addition, 12 states provide mandated insurance company discounts when an DFWP is in place, and employers everywhere may be eligible for insurance discounts.

Our Drug Free Workplace Program training kit provides: a manual with a comprehensive written policy, an employee assistance program, a controlled drug testing procedure, a 13-lesson employee program, a 6- lesson supervisor program, certificates of completion, all the necessary publications, forms and records. Please read further for a detailed account of the problems of substance abuse, how a prevention safety manual helps businesses and how Safety Services Company can provide you with your DFWP.

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Breaking down OSHA’s HAZCOM Requirements

Summary

Chemicals are a part of everyone’s life. There are five to seven million different chemicals known in the world. At least 400 million tons of chemicals are produced worldwide each year including agricultural chemicals, food additives, pharmaceuticals, fuels for power production, chemical consumer products, etc.

The frightening reality is for the vast majority of these chemicals, little or nothing is known about their possible immediate or long-term effects on the health of the workers who produce them or use them. According to OSHA, each year illnesses from exposure to these chemicals kill nearly 50,000 people.

To help protect workers, OSHA requires employers to establish a comprehensive hazcom safety training program addressing workplace specific chemicals. These policies are proven to reduce the likelihood of injury and save employers billions.

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Untying Material Handling and Rigging Regulations

Summary

Rigging is a critical part of shipyard and construction employment. Rigging is used to lift heavy materials to heights with cranes and other devices. Riggers also act as signalman. Improper rigging of a load or a rigging failure can expose riggers and other workers nearby to a variety of potential hazards.

Annually about 50 riggers are killed when loads have slipped from the rigging, or when the rigging has failed. To protect workers against accident, OSHA has a series of strict rigging requirements. These requirements call for you to maintain rigging equipment, properly train employees and more.

By cutting down on accidents through an effective program, your company can not only improve its profitability, but remove the risk for a costly OSHA fine or lawsuit.

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Forklift Training and Certification

Summary

Forklifts, also known as Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT), are used in numerous work settings, primarily to move materials. Each year in the United States, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents. Forklift overturns are the leading cause of these fatalities representing about 25% of all forklift-related deaths.

In order to reduce the potential for a forklift related accident OSHA requires employers to certify employees in the proper operation and maintenance of forklifts, and train those who may come into contact with lifts on hazards and best practices.

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Fall Protection Basics

Summary

Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations with cave-ins posing the greatest risk. In addition to the possible loss of life and injury, falls are costly to employers. Liberty Mutual recently estimated that on an annual basis fall related incidents cost employers in the U.S. nearly $100 billion.

To protect against the possibility of injury and death, fall protection must be provided at 4 feet in general industry, 5 feet in maritime and 6 feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery.

OSHA has a long list of regulations and requirements designed to protect employees and employers from the risks associated with falls.  These regulations include hazard assessments, hazard elimination, fall protection systems, training and more.

Meeting these training standards is proven to significantly reduce the possibility of fall incidents at the workplace.

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Earthmoving Equipment Hazards

Summary

Earthmoving equipment or heavy equipment refers to a set of large construction vehicles used to move soil, rock and other heavy objects. Due to the large nature of this equipment, when accidents occur they are often tragic. While OSHA does not have a specific regulation for each piece of equipment, the federal organization requires you to train your employees on the hazards of equipment, proper usage and more. This earthmoving safety training must be provided to both the workers using the equipment and anyone else who may come into contact with the equipment.

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Bringing Aerial Lift Safety Down to Earth

Summary

Nearly 250,000 crane operators, other industry workers, and non-construction working individuals are at risk of suffering serious injury or death in aerial lift accidents each year. An annual study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in 2010, revealed that the direct cost to employers from injuries in 2008 was $53.42 billion. Furthermore, the study concluded that accidents at the workplace were estimated to cost employers an additional $80 to $200 billion annually. To limit injury and death OSHA has instituted a strict policy dealing with aerial lifts.

Through this aerial lift training, OSHA requires implementing standard emergency procedures, training for usage, maintaining lifts properly, providing the proper personal protection equipment and more. These training policies have proven to reduce the likelihood of injury and save employers billions.

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Confined Spaces

Summary

Many workplaces contain spaces considered “confined” because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who must enter, work in and exit them.

A confined space by definition has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Examples of confined spaces include underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines.

In addition to standard confined spaces, OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area, which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress. (more…)


Shoring up Education on Excavation Hazards Safety

Summary

Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations with cave-ins posing the greatest risk.

Other excavation related hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and incidents involving mobile equipment. Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year.

To protect workers from the hazards of trenching and excavations OSHA instituted a series of requirements in 1971 and has updated the standard multiple times since.

Among the requirements are that employers use the proper protective systems, have in place a competent person and train employees on the dangers of excavations.

Here at Safety Services we offer a simple cost effective training solution to help your company meet OSHA’s requirements. (more…)


Getting a Grip on Hand and Power Tools Safety

Summary

Tools are such a common part of our lives that it is difficult to remember they pose hazards. All tools are manufactured with safety in mind but, tragically, a serious accident often occurs before steps are taken to search out and avoid or eliminate tool-related hazards.

As an employer you are responsible for the maintenance of your company’s tools, instruction on how to use tools, providing the proper personal protection equipment and ensuring this equipment is properly utilized.

If you do not have this policy in place you could face fines from OSHA, suffer lost productivity and endure a possible lawsuit.

To help protect your business we have developed a tool safety training program that addresses the tools in your industry. (more…)


Scaffolding Safety in the Workplace

Summary

Between 2005 and 2010, OSHA issued more citations for violations of scaffolding than any other regulation. These violations however, are not the only cost associated with scaffolding. Each year, there are more than 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths stemming from scaffold-related incidents. An annual study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in 2010, revealed workplace injuries cost employers more than $200 billion annually in total cost. The average injury cost more than $45,000.

In order to reduce the potential for scaffolding related accident OSHA requires all employers to certify their employees on the proper operation, maintenance, hazard training and more. These training policies are proven to reduce the likelihood of injury and save employers billions.

Read on for the full report on Scaffolding. (more…)


Lockout Tagout Hazards, Safety and Compliance

Summary

“Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)” refers to specific practices and procedures that safeguard employees from the unexpected energization, starting, of machinery, or the release of hazardous energy during maintenance.

The approximately 3 million workers who service equipment face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented.
Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

In a study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW), 20% of the fatalities (83 of 414) that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures. (more…)