Category: Contractor Management

Walking Working Surfaces: Know the OSHA Rule Update

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Walking Working Surfaces OSHA Rule

On November 17, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Final Walking Working Surfaces Rule, for the purpose of better protecting workers at risk of falls from heights or on the same level. The Rule updates and clarifies standards, and adds training and inspection requirements. It will incorporate technology advances, best practices, and national consensus standards. OSHA updated “1910 Subpart D – Walking-Working Surfaces” (also known for covering “slip, trip, and fall” hazards) and added personal fall protection system requirements to “1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment.”

The rule will affect a variety of workers in the General Industry, from painters to warehouse workers. It will not have an effect on Construction or Agriculture standards.

The idea is to get General Industry caught up to the fall protection procedures already in place in Construction and improved upon by industry best practices. These changes also affect the fall protection elements throughout the General Industry regulation such as: “Subpart F Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle Mounted Work Platforms”, “Subpart I Personal Protective Equipment”, “Subpart N Materials Handling and Storage”, and “Subpart R Special Industries.”

OSHA Estimates

Annually, an average of 202,066 serious injuries and 345 fatalities occur as a result of falls from heights or the same level. By implementing this Final Rule, the agency hopes to prevent at least 5,842 serious injuries and 29 fatalities on average per year among affected workers. Employers are currently required to install guardrails as their primary method of fall protection; the Rule will allow those same employers to select their own fall protection system from an approved list of options to address specific fall hazards with targeted solutions.

The Final Rule

Will allow non-conventional fall protection methods in some situations, like low-slope roofs. Additionally, it will replace outdated General Industry scaffold standards with a requirement to follow the more current Construction scaffold standards, as well as phase out a dangerous exception for the outdoor advertising industry that allows qualified climbers to forego fall protection.

The General Industry

Will see updates to fall protection requirements in specific situations, such as hoist areas, runways, areas above dangerous equipment, wall openings, repair pits, stairways, scaffolds, and slaughtering platforms. Standards involving the performance, inspection, use, and maintenance of fall protection systems will see upgrades as well.

Under circumstances where fall protection is required (such as when individuals are working 4 feet or more above a lower level, or on runways, near wall openings or stairways, etc.), there are now numerous additional protection options. Here are some examples:

Guardrail System

A barrier along on unprotected side of a walking working surface.

Safety Net System

Stops falling workers before they hit a lower level or obstruction

Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)

A device (or combination of devices) which stops a fall before worker hits a lower level. It uses a body harness, anchorage, connector and even a combination of a lanyard, deceleration device, and lifeline. Body belts are not a PFAS.

Positioning System

A device which allows an employee to be suspended on a vertical surface and work hands free using a body harness or body belt.

Travel Restraint System

Eliminates the ability of falling off an unprotected edge using an anchorage, anchorage connector, lanyard, and body support.

Ladder Safety System

Eliminates or reduces the possibility of falling off a fixed ladder using a carrier, safety sleeve, lanyard, connectors, and body harness. Cages and wells are not a ladder safety system.

Rope Descent Systems

OSHA will mirror its current Powered Platforms standard by codifying Rope Descent Systems (RDS) used by window washers using a roof anchorage, support rope, descent device, carabiners, and a chair to perform work while suspended. Also, the Final Rule includes a 300-foot height limit for RDS use, and requires building owners to ensure in writing that anchorages have been tested, certified, and maintained to support 5,000 pounds per worker.

Ladder Safety Requirements

According to OSHA, 20 percent of workplace fatalities and injuries are a result of falls from ladders. To help remedy this, the Final Rule addresses fixed ladders, portable ladders, mobile ladder stands, and platforms. Current standards regarding the use of ladders in emergencies, or those which are an integral part of or are designed into a machine or equipment, will not be affected.

Fixed Ladders: These are permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment. The Rule will phase in requirements for ladder safety systems or PFAS on fixed ladders which extend more than 24 feet, and phase out cages and wells.

Portable Ladders: Portable ladders are either self-supporting, or lean against a structure. The changes incorporated by the Rule focus on performance language rather than specification and design requirements. Examples include ensuring rungs and steps are slip resistant and that ladders are not placed on unstable bases, such as boxes or barrels.

Training

Employers who use personal fall protection and work in high hazard situations must be trained by a qualified person about fall and equipment hazards and fall protection systems so they can correctly:

  • Identify and minimize fall hazards
  • Use personal fall protection systems and rope descent systems
  • Maintain, inspect, and store fall protection equipment and systems

Retraining is required whenever:

  • Change in workplace operations
  • Change in equipment
  • A worker can benefit from additional training because of a lack of knowledge or skill

For help ensuring your business is prepared to incorporate the changes found in OSHA’s Final Rule, please visit www.safetyservicescompany.com.

Call (877) 849-1149 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

 

Hiring a Safety Consultant to Handle your ISNetworld® Account

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If you are looking for help with ISNetworld® compliance, a quick google search will yield the names of numerous companies offering downloadable safety programs and monitoring services to assist you. But how do you know if these companies are qualified to help you with both ISNetworld® and OSHA safety requirements? And how do you choose one among the many choices?

Here are some tips and red flags to look out for:

  1. Avoid ISNetworld® consultants who only provide cookie cutter, downloadable safety programs and no real safety advice.   Although a cheap downloadable program may solve your ISNetworld® compliance problem in the short run, it is not enough.  A professional safety consultant will provide customized safety plans that fit your company’s operations and will advise you on implementation so that the ultimate goal of a clean safety record for your company is achieved.  If you are audited, the cheap downloadable plan that was never implemented will not be sufficient to keep your company in compliance, so it’s best to do it right the first time.
  2. Make sure you understand the scope of the services to be provided.  There are many levels of ISNetworld® consulting available in the market place.  Some companies just provide data maintenance and document processing services, which means that they simply take care of drafting downloadable safety programs and handing it back to you. Other like Safety Services Company will offer turn-key, full service safety management services for your company.  Make sure you understand what you are getting when you sign on with your consultant, and that they are qualified to provide the level of support your company needs.
  3. Check your potential consultant’s references and reputation.  Referrals from your industry peers are a great source of names of potential consultants, as well as local safety organizations, such as your local chapter of the American Association of Safety Engineers.  If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for client names and references at Safety Services Company we have more than +5000 happy clients, and we will gladly share one of their stories. Your ISNetworld® compliance grade directly impacts your company’s bottom line, so make sure the consultant you are hiring is competent.
  4. Remember that safety management is about more than just your ISNetworld® compliance. A good safety consultant can help you understand and comply with other requirements as well, improve your safety record, and maintain your company’s reputation on a quarterly and yearly basis, thus making you a safe company to do business with andfor Owner Clients to hire.

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, PICS®, Complyworks® and CQN®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or PICS Auditing®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS® , SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and PICS Auditing®.

6 New Things You Must Know About ISNetworld®

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Contractor Management

What is ISNetworld?

Bringing any third party auditor account to a 100% score can be a daunting and time consuming task. Understanding the 6 Common Questions about ISNetworld is our way of giving you a piece of free advice and hopefully aid you in effectively maintaining your account. However, we know this requires time, money, and close attention. But the benefits of properly utilizing a third party auditor more than outweigh the cons!  Read on to find out: What is ISNetworld?

1.    What are RAVS?

RAVS stands for the Review and Verification Services section of your account. Here, you upload your safety program. Generally, most accounts can have anywhere from 16-40 programs that need to be custom written and submitted for review. We are experts at creating these programs and have the most experience with clients on ISNetworld. With our industry knowledge, we customize each program for your company to comply with your ISNetworld account. Safety Services Company can take care of all of your RAVS needs, call our RAVS Compliance experts now.

2.   What are T-RAVS Then?

T-RAVS is the training portion associated with the Review and Verification Service for ISNetworld. Safety Services Company can help you, every step of the way, with your T-RAVS. We can provide you with the forms, guidance on the best way to train your workers, and we upload the documentation to ISNetworld. Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

3.   Wait, MSQ What?

This is very similar to pre-qualification questionnaires some of the many owner clients may have sent you before you started working for them. The MSQ however is composed of over 2300+ questions that go over your work industry, safety programs, OSHA statistics, DOT, certifications, Drug & Alcohol, and many other components. This Questionnaire is completed to best reflect your business and how it measures up to the standards set by your client. Our industry experts have extensive knowledge in completing these questionnaires based on the types of work you perform. Get Started Now so we work with you to meet you client’s requirements and expectations establishing a well-documented MSQ that properly reflects your company.

4.    How do we train Employees on ISNetworld?

It is critical that your workers understand the minimum legislative requirements regarding the safety issues in the areas they work. ISNetworld and your upstream clients want to increase the level of safety and decrease the occurrence of accidents. The ISNetworld RAVS process is a facilitator to that. Safety Services Company is available to assist you with the field implementation of any new policy, Contact one of our Training Experts today.

5.   I received an ISNetworld Letter?

This suddenly lands in your mailbox, “We are pleased to announce (COMPANY) has recently established a business relationship with ISNetworld to further enhance our contractor/supplier management program. As a result of this action, contractors/suppliers and their subcontractors performing services for (COMPANY YOU WANT TO KEEP WORKING FOR) are required to become subscribers to ISNetworld.”

What is ISNetWorld? We know there can be many questions as to why you received this letter and what happens from here. After receiving your ISNetworld® Letter we are here to help you through the process of getting ISNetworld® compliant!

6.   How fast can you get me compliant with ISNetworld?

If you would do all of the ISNetworld compliance by yourself we highly recommend hiring a full-time employee to take care of it, alternative you can take advantage of Safety Services Companies Compliance Service Specialists that are trained to maintain your ISNetworld account for you 24/7 saving you time, money and resources. Finally, use your account to its full capacity – be safe, and make more money!

What is ISNetworld? We know. Call (888) 998-6430 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, Avetta®/PICS®, Complyworks® and CQN®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or Avetta®/PICS Auditing®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS® , SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and Avetta®/PICS Auditing®.

Understanding “Quarterly Updates”

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Quarterly Updates

Most third-party prequalification websites (ISN® * (via their ISNetworld® * database), PICS® , PEC Premier® , BROWZ, ComplyWorks®, Veriforce, Textura or Others.) revise their standard questionnaires fairly regularly. These are known as “updates”.  The frequency at which they happen are variable depending on the third-party auditor.  ISNetworld® is the largest third-party auditor, and we will be taking a look at what a quarterly update is and how it can affect your score.

What is a quarterly update?

At the end of each quarter, ISN® takes initiative and takes a couple days to revise their Management System Questionnaire™ (MSQ™) to ensure that it is up to date with the most current legislative requirements and other important information as requested by Owner Clients.  During this time, the MSQ™ will be inaccessible until the revisions have been made.  The table below details how the quarters are split up during the year.

Table 1

Quarter 1 January, February, March
Quarter 2 April, May, June
Quarter 3 July, August, September
Quarter 4 October, November, December

 

Multiple changes can happen during a quarterly update.  New questions may be added, obsolete questions removed, and new requirements may be populated.  With each quarterly update, every ISNetworld® account will have to answer statistical questions such as concerning the number of employees, hours worked, injuries, time away from work, and other important information for the past three months.  This can be expected and prepared for in advance – this will always be added during a quarterly update.

Note: Keeping track and utilizing this feature can make it much easier to document your OSHA 300/A Logs or statistics at the end of the year!  All of your statistical information will already be uploaded to your account – all you will have to do is add up the statistical information for each quarter and document them!

How can a “Quarterly Update” affect my grade?

After the quarterly update has been completed and the statistical information has been entered, there are a few different items that can affect your grade.  These may affect your grade in a positive or negative manner.

After your quarterly statistics are added in, the most crucial aspect is ensuring that you have a safe workplace.  New incidents and injuries will definitely hurt your Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) for the previous 3 years.  However, if you have had incidents and injuries in the past but have worked incident-free, your TRIR will naturally become lower.  Most, if not all, Owner Clients will take a very serious look at a contractor’s safe hours worked when considering them for a project.

New questions added to the MSQ™, depending on the Owner Client, may appear in your GAP report.  These should be addressed as soon as feasibly possible to ensure that your account does not fall into an unfavorable grading.  Keep a close eye on any additional questions!

RAVS® revisions commonly happen during quarterly updates as well – meaning you may have to revise existing policies and procedures or write new programs.  These have a major impact on most Owner Client’s grading scales.  Some Owner Clients may keep you off of a project until the new policies are written.  These should take a high priority on any contractor’s “to-do” list.

How can Safety Services Company help?

Safety Services Company can review every aspect of your company’s statistical information, safety program, EMR, TRIR, and information based on the answered questions of the MSQ™ and provide a Contractor Improvement Program tailored specifically to your organization.  These improvement programs don’t focus on problems, but instead identify effective solutions and assign responsible parties to ensure that they are upheld.

Additionally, Safety Services Company’s Global Compliance Solutions department offers a multitude of cost-effective solutions when dealing with the requirements of any third-party prequalification outfit.  Our staff can produce comprehensive and compliant safety programs, effective safety training material, and perform continual maintenance on your ISNetworld®, PEC®, PICS Auditing®, ComplyWorks®, CanQual®, and many other third-party prequalification accounts.  Why worry about your account and give yourself undue stress when your time can be better spent managing your business?

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, PICS®, Complyworks® and Canqual®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or PICS Auditing®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS®, SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and PICS Auditing®.

How to Effectively Maintain Your Third-Party Auditor Account

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Maintain

 

In many industries, to work with Owner Operators (also known as Owner Clients), such as Chevron®, BP®, Shell Oil Company®, Pfizer® and many others, you must be qualified by a third-party auditor. Third-party auditors, e.g. ISN® * (via their ISNetworld® * database), PICS® , PEC Premier® , BROWZ, ComplyWorks®, Veriforce, Textura or Others. These auditors review, verify, and grade potential contractors and determine the eligibility of the contractor to work on their jobsites.

Most third-party auditors grade contractors based on the following elements:

  • Statistical Information: OSHA 300/A Logs, OH&S Statistics, TRIR, TRF, etc.
  • Health, Safety, & Environmental Program: Safety Manual, Safety Management System, HSE Manual, etc.
  • Insurance Documents: General Liability, Automobile Liability, Limits, Workers’ Compensation, Experience Modification Rates, etc.
  • Safety Training Programs: Weekly safety meetings, safety training videos/online courses, etc.
  • Questionnaire Information: Found in the MSQ™, PQF®, SSQ®, or equivalent

It is important to Maintain Your Third-Party Auditor Account to remaining eligible to work with these important Owner Operator companies. So, how can a company most effectively maintain these accounts? Below are 5 key best practices to ensure your ISNetworld®*, RAVS®, PEC Premier® , ComplyWorks®, CQN® , or other online accounts are kept at their highest possible score.

1.    Monitor

Consistent monitoring of your account is the backbone of effective maintenance. You should log into your account at least once a week. Many changes can happen between quarterly updates, such as the addition of new requirements, expiration of insurance documents, and renewal notices—just to name a few! Consistent monitoring and a hands-on approach will be very helpful when the more extensive third-party auditor quarterly update requirements come around.

2.    Review

In addition to monitoring your account on a regular basis, it’s important to be proactive with your safety programs. Most important, your safety program should fall in line with and meet the requirements of your health and safety administration (OSHA for the United States, OH&S for Canada, HSE for the UK and Australia). Review the applicable codes and federal regulations and make sure your safety programs are compliant. After this is done, thoroughly review your Owner Client safety program requirements—they may actually be stricter than the legislative standards!

3.    Update

In 2015 alone, Safety Services Company has made over 60 revisions to existing programs and written over 30 new chapters for the United States and Canada to meet the ever-changing RAVS®* on ISNetworld®*! That equates to researching and developing 2 new chapters and updating 5 current programs each month, not including the training to go along with them! Whenever a change is required in your programs, review the changes requested against what you currently have written. Changes in policy requirements can be quite extensive and take substantial amounts of time to properly research and write, so be sure to set aside the proper time and resource.  Brand new requirements may have to be written from the ground up if you do not already have a written policy on them. Owner Clients may require you to have programs that don’t pertain to your company specifically, but must have because they may be present on the job site.

Outdated account information that doesn’t meet ongoing regulation changes affects your third-party account score. A low score can be detrimental to your business and may even keep you off a job site— proper attention should be given to these changes and updates right away. A safety program is a living document; it should be updated each time there is a legislative or requirement change, and changes should be communicated to employees.

4.    Document (Correctly)

The most common mistake companies make when maintaining their accounts is incorrectly-submitted documentation, or mistakes on the company’s end. When filling out OSHA logs or submitting statistical information, be aware that not every incident is required to be recorded!  Learn the differences between recordable and non-recordable incidents, otherwise it may appear that your company has a higher Total Recordable Incident Rate than it actually does.

Always double check that your documents have been filled out correctly.  Training documents should include the type of training received, date, location, time, supervisor that held the training, and a list of attendees, with a supervisor’s signature. Insurance documents must have the same company name (exactly) that is on the account, and abide to all of the requirements and limits. OSHA logs reflect exactly what is entered underneath statistical information.  Experience Modification Rates can be obtained from your workers’ compensation provider.

5.    Implement

Most important, it’s not a matter of just having the proper policies and procedures, training, and documentation—but it must be implemented throughout the company. Some third-party auditors will actively come onto the jobsite to ensure you not only have the policies and procedures they are looking for, but that you are following them. Communication of the policies and training should be given to each employee so that everyone knows what to do.  Simply having policies and procedures doesn’t keep job sites safe—following them does.  Actions speak louder than words!

Keeping these five best practices (Monitor, Review, Update, Document, & Implement) in mind can help to maintain a positive score on any third-party auditor.

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, PICS®, Complyworks® and Canqual®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or PICS Auditing®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS® , SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and PICS Auditing®.

Top 5 Reasons to Maintain a 100% Score with Third Party Auditors

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Top 5 Reasons to Maintain a 100% Score

Bringing any third party auditor account to a 100% score can be a daunting and time consuming task.  Effectively maintaining them requires time, money, and close attention.  However, the benefits of properly utilizing a third party auditor more than outweigh the cons!  Below are five important reasons to keep your ISNetworld®, PICS® , PEC Premier® , BROWZ, ComplyWorks®, Veriforce, Textura or Others account at a 100% score.

1.    Visibility

When owner clients are beginning the contractor selection process for a project, they search for contractors who meet their requirements to the highest standard.  To put it in perspective, when you are looking at job résumés, would you hire an applicant that does not meet the requirements of your job description?  An owner client (or owner operator) will not hire a contractor that does not meet their requirements.  They are mandated to hire only the highest scoring contractors.  Keeping your Third Party Auditor account at 100% will ensure that you remain at the top of their eligible contractor list, giving you the most visibility!

2.    Accountability

After an owner client has connected themselves to your account, their requirements are mandatory.  As a contractor, the owner client will hold you accountable to meet the requirements they have placed on your account.  This is usually a major part of master service agreement (MSA) contracts as well!  If you do not meet the requirements that the prospective owner client has inserted onto your account, they may keep your company off the jobsite until the requirements have been satisfied.  Contractors are responsible for maintaining compliant accounts – and owner clients are much more likely to hire someone that they can count on!

3.    Financial Investment

As with all financial investments, close attention and care should be given to your account.  Almost every third party auditor requires some sort of financial transaction, from yearly subscriptions, initial start-up costs, or for certain features (such as an ISNetworld® subscription or PEC®’s Contractor Assistance Program® and Training Tracker™ subscriptions).  The worst thing that a contractor can do is pay for an account on a third party auditor website and not utilize it to its full capability.  No company enjoys throwing money down the drain.  Bringing your account to a passing score and maintaining that score can guarantee you a return on your initial investment costs!

4.    Greater Market Share

When you have a 100% compliant account, it can be easier to reach out to new markets and connect to new owner clients.  It is important to note that although owner clients cannot view what grades you have with other owner clients on ISN®, they are able to view your account and compare it to their requirements.  This means a prospective owner client can see how your programs stack up against their requirements.  Not all owner clients grade on the same criteria, but having an account that is at 100% compliance with one owner client can make it much easier to become compliant with another.

5.    Profitability

Ultimately, being highly visible, accountable, expanding your company to new markets, and investing in a third party prequalification account all lead to the most important reason of all: winning contracts and increasing profit.  Having a compliant account will definitely make you more desirable to prospective owner clients.  In fact, once an owner client finds a contractor that they like, and that meets their requirements, they will typically continue to use them for future projects – meaning consistent work from a great company!  It is not uncommon for owner clients to utilize third party pre-qualifiers for projects that venture into the multimillion dollar range.  With a compliant account, you can put yourself higher on the list of eligible contractors.  All this boils down to winning more contracts, completing more projects, and increasing revenue for your business.  There is nothing to lose!

These five reasons should be all the motivation a contractor needs to maintain a compliant account, and there are an abundance of other benefits as well!  Having a compliant safety program and trained employees means bringing safer operations and greater operational efficiency.

In fact, statistics show that direct and indirect costs of incidents add up.  For each dollar spent on direct costs, indirect costs can multiply 3 to 20 times more!  Indirect costs can be retraining employees, replacing or repairing equipment, higher insurance and worker’s compensation fees, etc.  However, statistics also show that for every dollar spent on safety and training, four more are earned in revenue.  Safer operations and greater operational efficiency equate to less time spent completing a job, increased productivity – and most importantly, the safety and health of all of your employees.

Why let your account deteriorate and bring you unnecessary stress when you can utilize it to its fullest potential and bring in exponentially increased revenue?  Use your account to its full capacity – be safe, and make more money!

*Safety Services Company is an independently owned company, specializing in compliance with Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, PICS®, Complyworks® and CQN®. Safety Services Company is in no way sponsored or affiliated with ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, or PICS Auditing®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, RAVS® , SSQ®, PQF® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation®, PEC Premier®, and PICS Auditing®.

Get Struck By Lightning Safety

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What Should You Know About OSHA Lightning Standards?

Storms are always a big threat to employees working outdoors.  They bring about harsh winds that may cause falling trees, downed power lines, swaying of scaffolds and erosions in trenches. The OSHA lightning standards are designed to keep your business and workers safe. While anyone can be a victim of this natural phenomenon, it’d be a costly mistake to take safety for granted.

Preventing Natural Electrifying Hazards

  • Always monitor weather conditions, especially when going outdoors.
  • Be prepared to shut down the job if thunderstorms are forecast.
  • Keep an eye on the weather throughout the day.
  • Stay tuned to the radio for updates on the weather.
  • If lightning threatens, seek shelter indooors.

Shelter Sites

Always seek the appropriate shelter immediately.  Here are examples of safe shelter sites:

  • Substantial buildings
  • Low ground — seek cover in clumps of bushes
  • Fully enclosed metal vehicles with the windows rolled up
  • Trees of uniform height

Unsafe Shelters

The following are unsafe areas to seek shelter in:

  • Electric/power poles
  • Electrical equipment
  • Heavy and road machinery
  • Solitary trees
  • High ground and caves
  • Water
  • Open fields
  • All outdoor metal objects, like gates and fences
  • High mast light poles
  • Metal bleachers

Determining Lightning Distance

You can determine the distance of lightning by listening carefully to the thunder that accompanies it.  If you hear thunder, the associated lightning  is at most 6-8 miles away.  The distance lightning can strike ahead of a thunderstorm can also be a number of miles.  If you hear thunder, immediately suspend activities while allowing enough time to seek shelter.

Or, if you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises”, you are in lightning’s electric field and it is close.

If lightning is extremely close to you and you are caught outside without shelter, immediately remove baseball cap and other metal objects and place them away from you. Put your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low in baseball catcher’s stance with hands on knees.

Wait at least 30 minutes from the last observed lightning or sound of thunder before resuming activities.

Be cautious in following a thunderstorm as the lightning may not be over.

Administer first aid, promptly, if a co-worker is struck by lightning. Remember, that it is safe to touch them as they do not carry an electric charge. Seek medical assistance immediately.

Call (877) 959-9893 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

Protect Your Business: PPE the Right Way

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Top 5 Advantages of Wearing PPE at Work

Yesterday we talked about the benefits of using head protection, eye and face protection and respiratory protection. Now it’s time we go into the importance of hand protection, safe footwear and hearing protection. It pays to know the right way to use and choose the best PPE for the job. Read on for the top 5 advantages of wearing PPE at work.

HAND PROTECTION

Did you know that every year, in the world of manufacturing, construction and service industry, about 150,000 injuries to the hands and fingers are reported? No wonder this is the case with virtually all jobs in these industries requiring the use of hands. But this fact does not justify such a large number of hand and finger injuries.

With the use of gloves, hazards are more manageable in tasks that involve working with chemicals, glass, sheet metal, electricity, hot materials and slippery objects. Of course gloves are specially designed according to the type of work you need to perform. Some may be made of leather or rubber, while others may be electrically insulated or nitrile coated.

Keep in mind that the risk of accidents are higher if you wear gloves while operating power tools or machinery that present the risk of entanglement. This has been the case of many incidents before that led to the loss of hands or fingers.

SAFE FOOTWEAR

Any kind of construction or manufacturing work calls for the need for proper footwear. Without it, slips, trips and falls are likely to occur. Worse, employees are more prone to ankle, impact and puncture injuries. Most specially designed boots, shoes, foot guards and leggings serve as your protection against chemicals, hot substances and slippery floors.

Whatever footwear you use, remember that it should fit properly and comfortably. Make sure also to keep your laces securely tied.

HEARING PROTECTION

Hearing protection is perhaps the PPE type most taken for granted.

Here is an excerpt from our collection of safety meetings:

Noise-induced hearing loss is the term for hearing damaged by excessive noise. People differ in their sensitivity to noise, however, and there’s no way to determine who is most at risk. Factors such as sound pressure (decibel level), frequency (hertz), and exposure time all play a role in determining whether noise is harmful or just annoying. However, you should consider your hearing at risk if noise affects you in one of the following ways:

  • Having to shout above noise to make yourself heard
  • Have ringing in the ears for several hours after exposure to noise
  • Have difficulty hearing normal sounds for several hours after exposure to noise

The best way to control noise in the workplace is making use of engineering controls. If this is not feasible, though, employers must provide their workers with proper hearing protectors. These come in the form of earplugs or earmuffs.

It’s important to note that earmuffs are more effective in reducing high-frequency noise, while earplugs are for reducing low-frequency noise. Both of these hearing protectors are used to control noise and not to eliminate it. That’s why they’re only effective if you wear them the whole time you’re exposed to hazardous noise.

This ends our two-part series on PPE. Remember to be always safe in your workplace by wearing the proper kind of PPE. Make sure also to maintain it well by referring to the safety program or training manual that comes with your PPE.

It won’t hurt to speak your mind so feel free to share with us your own tips about PPE or whatever thoughts you have related to safety.

Call (888) 658-3871 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts about the top 5 advantages of wearing PPE at work.

Helpful Links:

  • PPE and How It Can Save Your Life – Part 1
  • Remember Your Safety Gear
  • How Workplace Safety Applies to Every Business
  • Disregarding Safety Will Cost You Twice (and so much more)