Category: Safety Tips

OSHA Top 10 Mini-Series: Hazard Communication

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Hazard Communication

OSHA Top Ten List of Cited Violations for 2018

Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Authority publishes its list of the Top 10 Most Cited Violations according to Federal OSHA. As of September 30th 2018, the top two most frequently cited standards following OSHA worksite inspections are violations relating to the Fall Protection Standard (29 CFR 1926.501) and the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR.1200). In 2018, there was a whopping 7,216 citations for Fall Protection, while over 4,000 Hazard Communication citations were recorded. Both of these standards frequently fall in to the Top 10 category, and violations often result in what could be considered easily preventable injuries. We will therefore be dedicating the next two articles to focusing on firstly on the Hazard Communication standard, and secondly examining the Fall Protection standard to give our readers important insights into compliance with both regulations.

Hazard Communication: What is it?

As a small business owner, you will most likely come across chemicals in the workplace, whether it be in the office or at a worksite.  Chemicals may range from cleaning fluids, paints and pesticides, to more obvious hazardous chemicals such as chlorine or ethanol.  Chemicals are as prevalent in the workplace as they are diverse, and with many beneficial and oftentimes innocuous applications, it is difficult to always see the adverse effects that they may cause to people.  However, employers should be aware that chemicals may pose health threats as well as physical hazards in the workplace and should therefore be documented carefully to avoid injuries or environmental/property damage.  Wherever workplaces use or store hazardous chemicals, they must have a written hazardous communication program in order to inform employees how the OSHA standard is applied at that facility.

What is a Hazardous Chemical and Do I Have Any at My Workplace?

It is important to note that prior to 2012, there were two systems for classification of chemicals in the United States.  As of 2012, the Hazard Communication Standard was updated so that its system of classification is aligned to the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  These two systems are often referred to in Hazard Communication so it is important to be aware of both systems.

Chemicals are classified as hazardous where they pose a risk as either a physical or health hazard.  These risks may include for example- flammable liquids, combustible dusts, carcinogenic materials or asphyxiants. Employers who receive chemicals that are considered hazardous must also receive information about the chemical to determine the risks it may pose.  This information may be provided in the form of labeling, or may also be found on the chemical Safety Data Sheets (SDS).  Chemicals fall into a variety of hazard classes, and may be further subdivided in to hazard categories under the Hazard Communication Standard (see infographic below).  Hazard classifications are typically completed by the manufacturer of the chemical, while the end user (you) is responsible for being aware of the hazards of a particular chemical as identified by labeling or the SDS.

Safety Services Company - HazCom Chart

What Should Be Included in a Hazard Communication Program?

As highlighted above, employers who use, transport, store chemicals, or maintain any working environment where employees may be exposed to hazardous chemicals must have a written hazard communication program. Also termed ‘Right to Know’, employees have the right to be aware of any chemicals that they may be exposed to that can pose a threat to their physical safety or health. It is also beneficial for employers to maintain a hazard communication program in order to manage their workplace, substitute hazardous chemicals for less harmful ones where possible, and reduce the likelihood of worker injury resulting in increased worker’s compensation costs. Small businesses looking to create a Hazard Communication program should follow as a guide these six steps in order for it to be effective:

  1. Obtain a copy of the OSHA Hazard Communication standard and read/understand its requirements
  2. Create a written Hazard Communication Plan
  3. Label all chemical containers
  4. Create a folder with the most up-to-date SDS documents for all chemicals onsite
  5. Train employees on chemical hazard identification
  6. Periodically review and update Hazard Communication Program

1. Understand CFR 29 1910.1200: Hazard Communication Standard

This standard can be accessed online and provides specific information on what should be included in the program, how containers should be labelled, information on Safety Data Sheets and also includes requirements for training.  Some worksites have limited applications under the hazard communication standard so it is important for employers to clearly understand the scope of the standard and how it directly applies to their business.

2. Create a Written Hazard Communication Program

Employers should create a written hazard communication program that specifies how they intend to comply with 1910.1200 by documenting their compliance with the standard. This includes how they will incorporate warnings and labels for the hazardous chemicals as well as how employees will be informed and trained on hazards and how to manage them where possible.  The plan should also identify key individuals responsible for managing the program. The plan should include an inventory of all hazardous chemicals at the worksite, how the employer will inform employees about hazards including those posed by non-routine tasks, and what considerations will be taken for multiple worksites.

3. Label All Chemical Containers

Labeling is a crucial step in any Hazard Communication Program. Labels should include a product identifier (product name), signal word (identifies the hazard severity), hazard statement, a pictogram depicting the type of hazard, and the contact information of the chemical manufacturer or responsible party.

Pictograms are an easily identifiable way of displaying to an observer the hazards associated with a particular chemical.  Some common symbols include:

Safety Services Company: HazCom Symbols

OSHA also provides a quick reference guide to the Hazard Communication Standard for labels and pictograms that provides a concise look at how this exercise should be completed for all chemicals at a workplace.

4. Create a Folder with the Most Up-to-date SDS Documents for all Onsite Chemicals 

All companies should maintain a Safety Date Sheet (SDS) folder that contains the SDS documents for all chemicals onsite.  This folder should have the most up-to-date SDS for a particular chemical on file and should be periodically reviewed to ensure that old SDS documents are removed and new chemicals have an SDS on file. SDS documents contain the following sections, organized in such a way that important emergency response information is provided first and technical chemical and manufacturer information is documented in later sections:

  1. Identification
  2. Hazard(s) identification
  3. Composition/information on ingredients
  4. First-aid measures
  5. Firefighting measures
  6. Accidental release measures
  7. Handling and storage
  8. Exposure control/personal protection
  9. Physical and chemical properties
  10. Stability and reactivity
  11. Toxicological information
  12. Ecological information
  13. Disposal considerations
  14. Transport information
  15. Regulatory information
  16. Other information

SDS document folders or inventories should be kept in a central location that is easily accessible to workers and should be maintained in English. Some companies choose to have this information electronically, but it is wise to keep paper files on location in case of a power outage as companies should always have these files available to employees.

5. Train Employees on Chemical Hazard Identification

Employees must be trained on the various hazards of chemicals onsite. Employers should therefore create a training that is effective in identifying hazardous chemicals in their workplace, the hazards associated with those chemicals, and the ways in which workers can protects themselves. Employees should also be informed of typical locations where these chemicals may be present as well as the methods of identifying a potential release of the chemicals. Training should also brief employees on the general requirements of a hazardous communication program and the forms of labeling and SDS files that are used and kept onsite.

6. Periodically Review and Update Hazard Communication Program

The use of chemicals at a workplace is a dynamic operation that can change quite frequently depending on the type of operations at a particular site. Therefore, it's critical that employers review their hazardous communication program periodically to ensure that it is up-to-date.  To do this, employers must consider:

  1. Determining if there are any changes to 1910.1200 and if any changes are required to their hazardous communication program
  2. Responsible persons are fulfilling their tasks under the program
  3. SDS inventory is up-to-date
  4. Training is up-to-date
  5. Procedures are accurate
  6. Labeling of all containers is accurate
  7. The program is effectively communication chemical hazards

OSHA provides many resources for small businesses to comply with the Hazardous Communication Standard.  For the most up-to-date information, visit their website to learn more.

To see how we can solve your company's hazard communication needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Prevent Heat Stress in the Workplace

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Prevent Heat Stress in the Workplace

It was recently reported in the news that based on global temperatures, July 2019 was the hottest month on record, with temperatures exceeding the previous record set in July 2016.  This means that for workers in industries such as construction, food and beverage and other jobs that require active work in hot or humid conditions, the risk of illness from heat exposure is not only high, it has also increased in recent years.  Daily temperatures, particularly during the July and August months, have continued to break records in last ten years compared to historically recorded temperatures.

To address these concerns, Heat Illness Prevention Plans are included in OSHA-approved State plans across the United States plans and companies must comply with these regulations.

Companies are required to do their part to protect workers from heat stress.  But how can this be achieved and what should you know? What procedures, processes or personal protective equipment (PPE) can you put in place to ensure that your workers are kept safe? Heat stress in the workplace must be managed by taking precautionary steps and limiting employee exposure to exceedingly high working temperatures.

In order to prevent heat stress from occurring, it is important to understand the body’s response to heat.  Where a person’s body is exposed to prolonged elevated temperatures, the body turns on its cooling mechanism in order to generate sweat and release heat externally.  Blood rushes to the skin surface and profuse sweating ensues, but if the body is unable to reduce its core temperature quickly enough, this core temperature begins to rise. Workers should not be placed in situations where there core body temperature is allowed to rise above 38⁰ Celsius, the temperature above which persons begin to exhibit signs of heat illness. 

Heat stress can manifest in several different ways and it is important to recognize the symptoms. 

All employers should understand the signs of each type of heat illness, and the appropriate level of first aid that should be provided. The table below, taken from the OSHA website on Heat-relates illness and First Aid, provides a snapshot of four types of heat illnesses and the first aid measures to be taken.



First Aid

Heat stroke

  • Confusion or hallucination
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Very high body temperature
  • Red, hot, dry skin (or excessive sweating in some cases)
  • Call 911

While waiting for help:

  • Place worker in shady, cool area
  • Loosen clothing, remove outer clothing
  • Fan air on worker; cold packs in armpits
  • Wet worker with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses, or ice if available
  • Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible
  • Stay with worker until help arrives
Heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Clammy skin
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Extreme weakness
  • Pale Complexion
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Have worker sit or lie down in a cool, shady area
  • Give worker plenty of water or other cool beverages to drink
  • Cool worker with cold compresses/ice packs
  • Take to clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve within 60 minutes.
  • Do not return to work that day
Heat Syncope

  • Light-headedness, dizziness and fainting
  • Have worker sit or lie down in a cool, shady area
  • Give worker plenty of water or other cool beverages to drink
Heat cramps

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain
  • Usually in abdomen, arms, or legs
  • Have worker rest in shady, cool area
  • Worker should drink water or other cool beverages
  • Wait a few hours before allowing worker to return to strenuous work
  • Have worker seek medical attention if cramps don't go away
Heat rash

  • Clusters of red bumps on skin
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, folds of skin
  • Try to work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible
  • Keep the affected area dry


Understanding the signs and symptoms are important, but prevention is key.

There are several methods that companies can employ to prevent worker heat stress. 

  1. Provision of Cold Beverages:
    1. Ensure that cold water is available to employees working outdoors or inside hot and humid environments in amounts that are sufficient to prevent dehydration.
    2. Offering employees drinks such as Gatorade should also be considered as these drinks include electrolytes that are lost during sweating. Gatorade restores electrolytes such as potassium so that further dehydration can be prevented.
  2. Provision of Fruits: Companies can supply fresh fruits such as bananas and apples to help restore electrolytes along with replenishing the water intake as highlighted above.
  3. Allow for Acclimatization: New workers unaccustomed to working in hotter climates should be given up to two weeks to acclimatize to their new working environments prior to being given a full workload.
  4. Shaded or Air-conditioned Areas: Remind workers that if they begin to experience the first signs of heat stress, they should leave the work area immediately and move to a cool, shaded location. If possible, workers should relocate to an air conditioned building in order to prevent worsening signs of heat stress.
  5. Rest: Heat stress may cause persons to feel lightheaded and faint. Remind employees to take frequent breaks and rest with their legs slightly elevated if they experience dizziness.
  6. Clothing: Cool, breathable clothing should be provided to workers in hotter climates where heat stress is a concern.  In cases of imminent heat stress, clothing should be loosened in order to cool the body down more quickly.
  7. Provision of Cooling Systems: Where possible, provide adequate ventilation to employees working in warehouses or enclosed buildings, or where employees are working outdoors. This may be in the form of extractor fans (to release hot air externally), installing spot coolers in key operational areas, and providing heat barriers around furnaces.
  8. In Cases of Imminent Heat Stress, Use Cold Compress: Use cold water or cold ice compresses/ice packs. Place these on the affected person to speed up the cooling process if an employee begins to show signs of heat stress in addition to relocating them to a shaded area and sitting them down to rest.

Companies should also remind employees to:

  1. Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake as these drinks can cause further dehydration.
  2. Limit strenuous activities outdoors during the hottest hours between 11:00am to 3:00pm.
  3. Refrain from smoking, which can constrict blood vessels and can inhibit the body’s ability to acclimatize to heat.

New PPE technologies can also bring added comfort to workers in hot and humid environments.

Other options that companies can explore are new Personal Protective Equipment technologies such as cooling vests or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) where respirators are required.  PAPRs provide constant airflow and are perfect for employees working in humid, hot environments.  Cool air from PAPRs can also extend to the upper torso for increased comfort of workers.

Heat stress should not be taken lightly.  At the Safety Services Company, we encourage companies to engage in monitoring environmental conditions to provide a safe and comfortable working environment for all of their employees.

To see how we can solve your company's heat stress prevention needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Safety Services Company Awarded Construction Tech Review’s Top 10 Safety & Compliance Providers

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Safety Services Company awarded top 10 compliance solutions providers by Construction Tech Review

Top 10 Safety and Compliance Solution Providers - 2019

Safety Services Company, a leading provider of safety and compliance training products and services, is proud to be named as one of the Top 10 Safety and Compliance Solution Providers 2019 by Construction Tech Review magazine, in Safety and Compliance 2019. Construction Tech Review offers a unique platform allowing decision makers to share their insights on construction technology and vendor solutions such as Safety Services Company, news, case studies and more.

Click here to read the entire report.
To be granted this award, Construction Tech Review’s distinguished panel of CEOs, CIOs, VC, Analysts, and the Editorial Board, review hundreds of technology providers and shortlist the ones at the forefront of tackling the challenges to help CIOs in choosing the right solution for their enterprise. The final 10 companies identified exhibit immeasurable knowledge and in-depth expertise in delivering innovative storage technology solutions, enhancing speed, security, and accuracy of applications. Safety Services Company is one of only 10 to make it through this process.

The construction sector is witnessing fluctuations in numerous ways. Construction Business are becoming smarter and it’s significant to recognize that technology is changing the design, procurement, and engineering operations of the construction projects. Safety and Compliance management is also essential for any business as it helps to build a company’s brand reputation.

When it comes to the protection of employees in the construction and oil and gas industries, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) must religiously maintain compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. But staying ‘OSHA legal’ is no longer enough. Organizations need to look beyond OSHA regulation compliance and create a safer standard of care to protect their employees from workplace injuries, accidents, and physical harm. Safety Services Company is a one-stop-supplier of topnotch safety and compliance products such as safety manuals, training kits, posters, online training, and safety meetings that helps construction and oil and gas businesses keep pace with the evolving OSHA regulations. As Dan Hurdle, the CEO of Safety Services Company describes it, “Unlike the other players in the safety and compliance space, we stand out in the market by addressing businesses’ and contractors’ compliance needs for both OSHA and third party auditor (TPA) platforms.” The company’s team of safety professionals, who create and update the content in its products, diligently customizes the content for a contractor to align with a customer or owner client. While the team constantly monitors the accounts of contractors on TPA platforms, Safety Services Company helps clients meet their compliance requirements with both TPAs and OSHA, saving them time and money.

Click here to download the full report.

About Construction Tech Review

Construction Tech Review offers a unique platform allowing decision makers to share their insights on construction technology, vendor solutions, news, case studies and many more.


To see how we can solve your company's safety and compliance needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Preparing for Hurricane Season: Your Essential Guide

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Preparing for Hurricane Season: Your Essential Guide

With the onset of the hurricane season, which for the Atlantic Basin extends from June 1st to November 20th, it’s critical that individuals and employers alike fully prepare for any adverse weather situations they may be exposed to. But what do you need to know to protect yourself, your family and/or your business? Is there a list of essentials that can help you weather a storm and what should you be considering in terms of hurricane, storm or flood insurance? In this article we break everything down for our customers, so they have the tools and the opportunity to safely prepare for the hurricane season.

What Should You Do if Your Area will be Directly Impacted by a Hurricane?

If evacuation is not mandatory and you plan to remain in your home with family, preparation is key to weathering the storm.

Essential items to stock include but are not limited to the following:

1. Water: One gallon per person per day for 3-7 days stored in non-breakable or decomposable containers.

2. Food: Maintain a 3-7 day supply of the following types of foods:

  1. Canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  2. Food for infants and toddlers such as formula and powdered milk
  3. High energy foods such as protein bars, other types of granola bars etc.
  4. Staples such as salt and sugar

3. First Aid Kit: Ensure that your First Aid Kit is stocked with a minimum of the following:

  1. Adhesive bandages, various sizes
  2. Bandage strips and "butterfly" bandages in assorted sizes
  3. Elastic wrap bandages
  4. Eye shield or pads
  5. Large triangular bandages
  6. 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing
  7. Conforming roller gauze bandages
  8. Sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
  9. Roll 3″ cohesive bandage.
  10. Germicidal hand wipes, antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer
  11. Large medical grade non-latex gloves.
  12. Adhesive tape, 2″ width
  13. Anti-bacterial ointment
  14. Instant cold/hot packs
  15. Scissors
  16. Tweezers
  17. CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
  18. Super glue
  19. Rubber tourniquet
  20. Aluminum finger splint
  21. Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
  22. Duct tape
  23. Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  24. Plastic bags, assorted sizes
  25. Safety pins in assorted sizes
  26. Eyewash solution
  27. Thermometer
  28. Sterile saline for irrigation, flushing
  29. Syringe, medicine cup or spoon
  30. First-aid manual
  31. Hydrogen peroxide

NOTE: Most First Aid kits can be purchased with the majority of these items.

4. Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs:

  1. Aloe Vera gel
  2. Calamine lotion
  3. Anti-diarrhea medication
  4. Laxative
  5. Antacids
  6. Antihistamines
  7. Hydrocortisone cream
  8. Cough and cold medications
  9. Personal medications that do not need refrigeration
  10. Auto-injector of epinephrine, if prescribed by your doctor
  11. Pain relievers (Tylenol etc.)
  12. Inhalers
  13. Prescription drugs
  14. Denture and contact lens needs
  15. Insulin

5. Tools and Supplies: Essential tools should be kept in a kit that can be easily moved as required.

  1. Emergency preparedness manual
  2. Plastic or paper cups, plates, and utensils and containers
  3. Plastic garbage bags, ties
  4. Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  5. Flashlight and extra batteries
  6. Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  7. Fire extinguisher
  8. Pliers
  9. Tape
  10. Lighter or matches in a waterproof container
  11. Aluminum foil
  12. Paper, pencil
  13. Needles, thread
  14. Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  15. Whistle or horn
  16. Plastic sheeting

6. Sanitary Items, Essential Bedding and Clothing: Pack these items in a bag in case evacuation is required on short notice.

  1. Toilet paper, towelettes
  2. Soap, liquid detergent
  3. Feminine supplies
  4. Diapers and bottles
  5. Personal hygiene items
  6. Plastic buckets with tight lid (for personal sanitation if required)
  7. Disinfectant
  8. Household chlorine bleach
  9. Sturdy shoes/rain or work boots
  10. Rain gear
  11. Blankets or sleeping bags
  12. Hat and/or sunglasses/gloves, prescription glasses

7. Important Documents and Items: These items should be kept together, preferably in plastic Ziploc bags or water-tight containers

  1. Cash/change
  2. List of shelters including pet-friendly options
  3. Deed and documentation for House and Vehicles
  4. Wills
  5. Passports
  6. Birth, Marriage and Deaths Certificates
  7. Social Security documents
  8. Driver’s License and Personal Identification Card
  9. House Insurance and Life Insurance Policies
  10. Important contracts
  11. Immunizations records
  12. Credit Card Documents
  13. Any other important documents
  14. Inventory of household items with photos
  15. Photos or mementos

8. Entertainment

  1. Books or Board games and other games that do not require batteries or electricity

Key Considerations

  • Keep a list of Emergency phone numbers, including contact information for your doctor and veterinarian, local emergency services, emergency road service providers and the poison help line (800-222-1222).
  • Consider trimming any overgrown trees and clear drains at the start of the hurricane season to prevent any damage or clogging during a storm.
  • Consider taping windows before an impending storm with duct tape in an ‘X’ shape to prevent their shattering if they break.
  • Purchase sand bags where possible and know how to use them.
  • Remove any furniture, loose items, items attached on the roof that can become projectiles.

How Should Pets be Handled During a Hurricane?

Planning for pets must be a key part of any preparation for an impending hurricane. Where evacuation is mandated, determine which shelters, hotels or boarding facilities (veterinary clinics) are available so pets can be accommodated. Some further considerations include:

  1. Purchase food and litter (if required) and set aside enough bottled water to be used specifically for pet needs.
  2. Set aside carriers and ensure that each pet has its own carrier in an easily reachable location
  3. Leashes and collars should be purchased, particularly identification collars
  4. Consider having pets microchipped
  5. Pets should be up to date on vaccinations
  6. Keep a current photo of your pet(s)

Do You Have Insurance and How Will it Protect You?

There are many different types and the level of coverage provided depends on the type of policy purchased. Therefore, when choosing flood insurance once should consider the following:

  1. Flood insurance is added to a regular homeowner’s policy
  2. The policy should cover the cost to rebuild your entire home
  3. A hurricane deductible may need to be paid based on a percentage of the value of your home. Take a note of the deductible as there may be a ‘special rate’ and a higher deductible applied
  4. Hurricane insurance is different from flood insurance, but a hurricane policy will cover water and wind damage provided that it was caused by the hurricane
  5. Homeowners should be aware of ‘anti-concurrent’ clauses in their policies- This means that if a home is subject to a wind storm (for which they are covered) and then a flood (which they are not), the claim can be denied, even if the wind is what caused damage to the house
  6. Hurricane insurance is specific to the house and does not apply to vehicles but may include food spoilage if it is considered in the policy
  7. Determine if the insurance policy you are covered under will cover your home for the type of water damage it may experience. For example, if the policy covers flood, but not overflow/discharge or sewer/water backup, then the claim may be denied
  8. Renter’s insurance may cover the cost of evacuation, including hotel, airfare and gas
  9. Insurance companies may suspend the issuance of new policies during and after a storm is due to hit a particular area, so do not wait until a storm is on its way to apply for it!

Where Can You Get Recovery Assistance?

In the aftermath of a hurricane, individuals may find it difficult to recover from its impacts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide relief efforts to help rescue and recover persons, but when the immediate dangers from a storm have subsided, financial relief may be necessary.

Recovery Assistance is provided by visiting FEMA’s Individual Disaster Assistance page or calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 in order to receive financial assistance in the form of tax relief or loans. You may also qualify for D-SNAP, the disaster supplemental nutrition assistance program that can provide families with a debit-type card with one month’s worth benefits to be used for grocery supplies.

To see how we can solve your company's safety preparedness needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Contractor Management and Safety Culture

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2 Man on Construction Site during Daytime

Contractor Management and Safety Culture

Nowadays, outsourcing is a common practice.  Often, this work can be done off site, with little to no risk imposed to that company.  However, there are many instances where work required by a company necessitates bringing contractor employees onsite. When this is done, it's the responsibility of the hiring company to ensure the safety and health of the contractors is managed.  So how is this done? 

Evolution of Contractor Management

Contractor management has evolved significantly. Industries have become increasingly more aware of the dangers in not addressing contractor employee risk through training and adherence to company protocols.  Historically, the view of contractors and their safety was not given much consideration beyond ensuring work performed met the standards required in terms of quality.  Nonetheless, over time it became evident that while companies were investing time in training and informing their own employees about safety risks onsite, contractors were not benefiting from the same knowledge. This led to a higher rate of incidents among this pool of workers.

Pitfalls of Conflicting Views

When work is kept in-house, companies are able to more carefully control all aspects of an employee’s job activities to guarantee work quality and consistency.  Unfortunately, there are many times where specialized knowledge for a particular job is required and a company’s only option is to outsource this work to other businesses who are trained and competent to complete these tasks.  When this occurs, a greater risk is incurred through the loss of control in outsourcing the work. Problems can arise with conflicting views on the importance of safety, the level of risk that each company is willing to absorb, and the procedures used to complete a job that may put a contractor employee in harm’s way.

Safety Program Evaluation

So how can hiring companies keep all of their workers safe while onsite? One high-level way is to understand a potential contractor’s safety program.  Prior to starting work, evaluate contractors from the proposal stage.  A prequalification matrix that incorporates safety is a simple method to quickly understand a contractor’s approach to safety and eliminate unsafe practices before any agreement to perform work is completed. 

Risk Assessment

The second way to approach contractor safety is to complete a risk assessment with your company’s safety team as well as the contractor company team to ensure all parties are examining the risk involved with a job.  To complete a meaningful risk assessment, the persons doing the work must be included in the risk assessment.  It's not sufficient to have just any representative in the risk assessment, even if that representative belongs to the safety department of the contractor company.  The persons performing the task must be present to outline all job activities and how they will be performed so that risks can be properly captured and mitigated.

Orientation Process

Prior to contractors entering and working on a particular site, they must be required to complete a company orientation that specifies any safety concerns, important EHS policies and procedures, as well as emergency response factors such as muster points and escape routes in the event of an emergency.  This is crucial as contractors should be provided with the same level of basic knowledge about a company’s safety practices as employees.


Finally, hiring companies must always monitor work while underway and complete a post job evaluation. Most importantly, monitoring work can help new contractors who may be unfamiliar with a new site by guiding them from the start to follow EHS procedures. Standards can become stale in the mind's of contractors, therefore by monitoring performance, companies emphasize the day-to-day importance they place on safety.  Additionally, evaluating work after it is completed will allow a company to point out any deficiencies that need to be corrected prior to signing off on work completion. With these tools, companies are creating a safety culture inclusive of all of its workers.

To see how we can solve your company's contractor management and safety culture needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Process Safety vs. Personal Safety

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Process Safety Management vs. Personal Safety

Process Safety vs. Personal Safety

For anyone working in safety or in a high-risk industry such as a refinery or manufacturing plant, you’re probably heard the term process safety. In several key ways, process safety is different from occupational health and safety, so why should you know the difference? How can it affect workers onsite if you are already focusing on personal and behavioral safety? Today, we’ll break down the differences so you can understand how these different schools of thought can have a measurable impact on the overall safety of your site.

Personal Safety

Personal safety, also known as occupational health and safety, deals with the individual worker or employee. To mitigate risks, most companies practice this type of safety by ensuring all employees understand the risks of their job duties, along with any inherent risks in their work environment, and wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE). This multidisciplinary field strives to protect the health and safety of workers, but may also protect customers, other employees not directly related to the job at hand, as well as other persons who may interact with the worksite and its environment.

The concept of occupational health and safety gained prominence in the 20th century as a result of health concerns arising among factory workers subjected to poor working conditions. Moreover, the field has evolved rapidly in recent decades, especially with the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), as well as a wide range of laws aimed to better maintain safe and healthy working environments for employees.

Process Safety

On the other hand, process safety is an even more recent development in the field of safety. Process safety is primarily aimed at putting in place controls to mitigate the risk of major and potentially catastrophic events in the workplace. These can include fires, explosions, or even accidental chemical releases. While the tools used to achieve both personal and process safety may be the same in some cases (e.g. LOTO and the Permit to Work), in other cases the methods of mitigating risk are vastly different. For example, a layers of protection analysis is a process safety-specific tool while PPE is typically viewed as a personal safety control.

Incident Frequencies

Some principal differences between process safety and personal safety are the frequency which these incidents occur and their outcomes. Process safety incidents, though they can be catastrophic and cause significant loss of life or grievous injury, occur much less frequently than personal safety incidents. Most worksites won’t experience a major process safety incident, and minor process safety incidents tend to occur at a lesser rate than their personal safety counterparts.

Furthermore, process safety events tend to concentrate on preventing hazardous releases of chemicals, energy, or any other hazardous material that can threaten a company’s operations and cause serious damage to person or property. Conversely, personal safety is designed to prevent more common incidents, such as falls, manual handling incidents, or personal injury from contact with biological, chemical or electrical agents.

Mitigation Systems vs. Behavioral Changes

Another key difference between process safety and personal safety is that process safety tends to focus on mitigating risks through the inherent design of a system, whereas personal safety focuses on enforcing behavioral changes in individual workers and teams in order to prevent incidents. Additionally, process safety is tasked with examining the impact of hazards on all workers, the environment, property, along with any reputational risks that may be experienced by the company.

Which is Most Important?

When it comes to process safety vs. personal safety, both are crucial in maintaining overall safety, with neither safety discipline being more significant than the other. Companies should strive to strike a balance between both process and personal safety in order to prevent incidents, small or large, from impacting their operations.

To see how we can solve your site's process and personal safety needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Marijuana Regulation at Work: Your Responsibilities

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Marijuana Regulation at Work

Understandably, marijuana regulation at work has been a topic of much discussion in the media and at the state and federal regulatory levels over the past few years. With 8 states that have approved the use of recreational marijuana and 18 states permitting the use of medical marijuana, it’s critical for companies operating in these areas to understand their legal responsibilities and how to deal with cannabis use at worksites. Today, we’ll clarify the complex rules applied at the state and federal levels to provide this much needed clarity to companies and ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.

State and Federal Usage Regulations

For starters, there’s a wide variation in the allowance of cannabis use from state to state, and at the federal level, marijuana is still considered to be a Schedule 1 drug. Due to this gray area, companies with high risk operations may still be required to prohibit its usage, even if its use is allowed at the state level.

Recreational use of marijuana is currently permitted in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.

Controlled Substances Act

At present, the US Department of Justice reserves the right to prosecute those persons who distribute marijuana, even for medical reasons. However, the Justice Department has deferred its right to prosecute and instead expects states where cannabis use is legal to strictly adhere to and enforce the laws surrounding its usage. At this time, marijuana remains on the Schedule 1 list of drugs under the Controlled Substances Act due to its possibility of dependency and lack of accepted medical use at the federal level.

DOT Workplaces

With conflicting applications of the law on marijuana use both recreationally and medically, where do companies stand in terms of applying the laws to their operations and to avoid discriminating against their employees? The guidance given to employers, particularly those in the construction and energy sectors as well as other high-risk industries, is to prevent employees from working while impaired through the use of marijuana. To clarify, marijuana use has been largely prohibited for companies whose work is covered by federal regulations, such as the Department of Transportation or those under federal contracts. This means that employees with professions under DOT should not be found to be under the influence of marijuana, such as:

  • Pilots
  • Bus and truck drivers
  • Subway operators
  • Ship captains

Note, this list is non-exhaustive and can extend to maintenance personnel for vehicles in aviation, marine and land transportation as well as other professionals under DOT.

Medical Use

For those employees who have been prescribed marijuana for medical purposes, it is unlikely that the Americans with Disabilities Act could apply in this case because cannabis is still considered illegal at the federal level. However, employment laws may vary by state, so it’s best practice to seek further legal advice before introducing policies and procedures that enforce a zero-tolerance policy to marijuana use. Ultimately, it is an employer’s responsibility under OSHA to provide a safe place of work for all employees and to avoid allowing employees to work on a job site where the risk of injury can be high while they are impaired due to improper usage. Therefore, companies instituting drug and alcohol policies as well as drug screening for employees may well be within their right to do so in order maintain workplace safety.

Marijuana Policies

Regardless of your state of operation, it's best to have a clear policy on marijuana use both onsite and offsite in order to avoid any situation that may compromise a safe working environment. In general, companies should outline a limit of 5 ng/mL of THC in serum or plasma in their drug procedure and inform employees that persons will be obliged to submit to a drug screening test upon hire, at regular intervals throughout their employment as well as in the case where impairment is suspected.

To see how we can solve your regulatory safety needs, check out our products and services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Technology-Based Improvements in Occupational Health and Safety

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Technology-Based Improvements in Occupational Health and Safety

As HSE professionals, we’re always looking for a way to continually improve the health and safety of our worksites. One of the ways this can be achieved is through using new innovations in technology that not only make work easier and more efficient, but help professionals reduce the number of incidents at a worksite through data analytics as well as useful tools to prevent injuries. Today, we’ll look at some of the new technologies that are completely revolutionizing the health and safety sector that can be easily applied to your business.

Digital Recordkeeping for Safety Data

For companies with many worksites or those with a centralized recordkeeping system, one way to give HSE professionals quick access to useful data that can inform decisions, is through utilizing computer-based technologies. Instead of old-fashioned paper documentation, companies can choose to shift to tablet or phone devices with apps that can record audits, safety inspections, and incident observations, then transmit this real-time data to a centralized database.

Additionally, safety professionals can access these databases to review trends for particular incident categories, contractor companies or worksites, while also allowing them the ability to efficiently filter the data and look at historical trends to quickly identify the root cause of an incident and prevent future incidents from occurring. In addition to storage and access to an organized database of EHS information, safety programs that apply risk management and assessment filters to particular scenarios allows for decisions to be made in the field that can alter work practices in order to prevent future risk.

Journey Management for Incident Reduction

Businesses that employ a vast number of vehicles as part of their day-to-day operations will benefit from using journey management software to carefully track their employees and the safe use of their vehicles while in operation. Journey management software provides a diverse range of features, such as GPS tracking of vehicles including speed limit compliance, check-in reminders for employees as well as risk assessments that can be conducted for each planned trip prior to its undertaking. Any serious risks during the journey can be managed through escalation alerts with real time dashboard data, journey mapping and audit logs.

Virtual Reality Simulation for HSE Training

Traditional training methods are generally carried out by an in-person trainer using a mixture of oral and visual presentations of data. However, studies have found that employees learn better through hands on instruction, by doing and carrying out activities during training rather than listening to information that is being presented to them. In this sense, virtual reality simulation trainings can be beneficial because it allows employees to be virtually present in a particular site that they will work in and presents various safety scenarios that the employee might encounter. Virtual and augmented reality glasses are growing rapidly in popularity and as their usage becomes more prevalent, the overall cost of employing these tools in training is becoming more accessible and less expensive.

Smart Safety Clothing

Safety clothing has evolved significantly as awareness of potential risks and hazards at worksites has increased. One of the emerging trends in safety clothing is the incorporation of new digital tools to improve worker safety based on more significant incidents experienced in the construction industry. For the prevention of falls for example, safety vests may include an air bag collar to protect workers and may come equipped with vital signs monitors. Some hard hats incorporate LED lights as beacons as well as work lights for nighttime use. Instead of traditional batteries, these tools can be charged kinetically or through solar power. Other trends include clothing that can monitor vital signs through heart rates and temperature in order to alert workers or their supervisors to fatigue risks as well as narcotics use.

To see how we can solve your safety needs with innovative technologies, check out our services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Safety Services Company: Innovative Changes Lead To Impressive Results

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Safety Services Company: Innovative Changes Lead To Impressive Results

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At Safety Services Company, we recognize that a key aspect of an excellent safety program is a solid focus on continuous improvement. That’s why we’ve spent several years diligently working hard in order to improve customer experiences for those who choose us for their safety compliance and safety training needs. As a leading provider of safety and compliance training products and services in North America, we admit that to do our best, we needed to re-examine the way we do business. There is always room for growth and Safety Services Company is committed to progress through strategic continuous improvement. Therefore, in order to promote the enhancement of safety and the well-being of our customer’s employees, we looked to our own company to see where we could increase employee satisfaction and provide a better human service experience.

As part of our continuous improvement process, we strive to employ only the brightest minds and talented employees who are passionate about the needs of our consumers and corporate social responsibility. To do this, in 2016 we appointed Dan Hurdle as our Chief Executive Officer, a visionary man driven and inspired to create exceptional customer experiences through a highly motivated, engaged, and empowered workforce. With the development of a corporate culture that fosters loyalty in its employees, our team at Safety Services Company is encouraged to provide only the best customer interactions conducted with courteous professionalism for all our clients.

Safety Services Company has excelled in improving our customer service, with average positive customer review ratings increasing 300-fold from 2016 to 4.5 out of 5 stars in 2019. With customer reviews that consistently highlight the company’s knowledgeable staff and swift resolution of all queries and concerns, it is no wonder we boosted our Better Business Bureau score by 190% in 12 months to A+ rating, and a 4.6 “Shopper Approved” rating from over 390 consumer reviews.

With a persistent commitment to customer satisfaction by CEO Dan Hurdle, the company has been able to change our workplace culture, and as a result, increased our sales by over 50% in the first 8 months of his tenure. As part of Dan’s initiative to improve the products and services offered by the company, Cassie Spaulding — an expert in her field — was brought on to further this concept and manage quality within the business in a way that reflects the excellence that our clients have come to expect when they work with us.

The dedicated hard work of the entire Safety Services Company team is reflected in these positive results and reviews, which have consistently improved over the last couple of years. The upward trends in positive reviews is no fluke ⁠— our company has meticulously worked to be at the forefront of quality-oriented safety training and compliance.

As a company, small business owner, or contractor, look no further than Safety Services Company for your safety needs. With top-quality services and speedy production and distribution of compliance and training materials, we’ve earned our reputation as the pinnacle of professionalism and a highly competitive provider in the safety service industry.

To see how we can solve your safety needs, check out our services here or call us at (866) 329-5407 today. 

Safety Glasses, Eye Protection & You

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Safety Glasses

Safety Glasses, Eye Protection & You

Welcome to Safe Friday, today we’re going to cover safety glasses, eye safety, and eye protection. Whether you’re an experienced professional, or new on the job, we’re going to offer something for everyone!

Every year thousands of workers injure their eyes or lose their sight, not because proper protection wasn’t available, but because they chose not to use it. Workers must use adequate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially harmful light radiation.

Essentially, exposure is defined as being within a distance of a hazard where injury could predictably occur. In the case of hazards created by flying particles, anyone within 15 feet of the source of the hazard is considered to be at risk, although this distance may increase depending on the hazard. These risks apply to everyone, including management personnel, supervisors, and visitors while they are in a hazardous area. This company provides eye and face personal protective equipment suitable for the work being done, and everyone is required to use it.

Protection will meet the following requirements:

  • Adequately protect against the particular hazard
  • Be reasonably comfortable when worn under working conditions
  • Fit snugly without interfering with your movements or vision
  • Be durable and kept in good repair
  • Easy to clean and disinfect
  • Be clearly marked with manufacturer’s identification, rating limits and precautions

Normal prescription glasses and sunglasses meant for everyday use do not meet the requirements for industrial strength safety glasses and don’t provide adequate protection.

Always wear eye and face protection when performing:

  • Metal-working operations such as grinding, cutting, and machining during fabrication processes
  • All hot-work including gas torch-welding, torch-cutting, brazing, electric stick welding, and wire-feed welding
  • Air-gun or other air-tool operations involving compressed air
  • Woodworking operations using power saws, routers, planers, sanders, lathes, or chippers
  • Operating any power tool, powder actuated tool, or machinery that discharges debris
  • Any power or pressure spray operations
  • Any other general or specialized chemical handling processes where the risk of splash of harmful material is present

Varieties of eye and face protection available include spectacles, goggles, welding goggles, welding helmets and full-face shields.

Note: The National Society for Blindness Prevention recommends that emergency eyewash stations and first aid instructions for eye injuries be placed in all potentially hazardous locations. It is also prudent to keep a bottle of quality eyewash in the first aid kit. Any delay or mistake in dealing with an eye injury could result in permanent damage or loss of sight.

Good vision is an asset we all take for granted. Don’t take any chances; always protect your eyesight.

First Aid for Eye Injuries

Your eyes are vital yet extremely sensitive and delicate organs. Eye injuries can be unbelievably painful; however, the pain pales in comparison to losing your sight due to an accident. It only takes a spark, a tiny piece of metal or a splash of chemical to cause a serious eye injury.

Wearing proper eye or face protection will minimize your chances of eye injuries. If, however, you do injure your eye, first aid treatment must be done with extreme care to prevent infection or further damage. Professional medical attention should always be sought following an eye injury.


  • To treat burns to the eyelid, wash the area with a sterile solution and then apply an antibiotic ointment or a strip of gauze saturated with petroleum jelly
  • To treat a chemical burn to the eye, use an eyewash station for 15 minutes. Keeping the eye open for flushing may be difficult, but it’s necessary. If an eyewash station isn’t available, flush the injured eye immediately and thoroughly with clean water. The longer a chemical remains in the eye, the worse the injury will be
  • For any burns to the eye or area of the eye, seek medical treatment as soon as possible 

Blunt Impact Injuries: A blunt impact injury forces the eye back into its socket, possibly damaging the structures at the front (the eyelid, cornea, and lens) or at the back of the eye (retina, nerves). A severe impact can also break the bones around the eye.

  • Blood leaking into the area around the eye from an impact injury causes a black eye. If a blood vessel on the surface of the eye breaks, the eye will turn red. Initially ice packs may help reduce the swelling and pain of a black eye, and by the second day warm compresses can help the body absorb the excess blood that has accumulated
  • Damage to the inside of the eye is often more serious. Any internal damage to the eye requires the immediate attention of a physician
  • If the skin around the eye has been cut, it may require stitches

Foreign objects: While getting dirt or dust in your eye is irritating, it usually doesn’t cause damage. Generally, such irritants will make your eyes water and the irritant should gather in the tear ducts

  • Gently flush with clean or sterile water. As you flush, roll your eyeball while lifting your eyelid. Any foreign object in your eye must be removed or it can cause damage by scratching or cutting the eye. If a foreign object isn’t easily washed out, get professional medical care
  • If a foreign object has pierced an eye, an ophthalmologist must be consulted immediately for emergency treatment

Take special care to resist the temptation to rub your eyes when they’re irritated; this may cause the irritant to scratch and/or damage the cornea. Inspect your eyewash station frequently to make sure that the station is sanitary and in proper working condition. If working in the field or an area where an eyewash station isn’t readily available, make sure your first aid kit has an eyewash bottle. Make sure you know how to use and apply of the eyewash.

Eyewash Stations

Some worksites require extra eye protection because eye injuries are more likely to happen. Eye injuries are the most common preventable causes of blindness. You can treat many minor eye irritations by flushing the eye with water; however, more serious injuries require immediate medical attention.

  • Emergency eyewash stations are required at workplaces that expose workers to harmful chemicals. Accidents can still happen despite taking proper precautions. Emergency eyewash stations provide immediate decontamination. The first 15 seconds after exposure to a corrosive hazardous chemical are critical
  • Eyewash stations are designed to immediately flush contaminants out of the eyes after exposure. They should be located near high-risk areas and should have the ability to be immediately and easily activated

Washing the Eyes (first aid for chemical splash in the eye):

  1. Flush your eye with clean, lukewarm tap water for at least 20 minutes. Get into the shower and aim a gentle stream of water on the forehead over the affected eye or on the bridge of the nose if both eyes are affected. You can also put your head down and turn it to the side and then hold your affected eye open under a gently running faucet
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water. Thoroughly rinse your hands to be sure no chemical or soap is left on them. Your first goal is to get the chemical off the surface of your eye, but then you need to make sure to remove the chemical from your hands
  3. Remove contact lenses. Take them out if they didn’t come out during the flush
  4. Get emergency medical assistance. After following the above steps, seek emergency care or, if necessary, call 911. Take the chemical container or the name of the chemical with you to the emergency room. If readily available, wear sunglasses because your eyes will be sensitive to light. Protect your eyes while on the way to get help
  • Don’t rub your eye causing further damage. Don’t put anything on your eyes except water or contact lens saline rinse. Don’t use eye drops unless emergency personnel tell you to do so
  • Water doesn’t neutralize contaminants; it only dilutes and washes them away
  • The flushing or rinsing time can be modified if the identity and properties of the chemical are known.
  • A minimum 20-minute flushing period if nature of the contaminant is not known
  • A minimum 5-min. flushing time is recommended for mildly irritating chemicals
  • 20 min. flushing time for non-penetrating corrosives
  • At least 20 min. flushing time for moderate-to-severe irritants
  • At least 60 min. flushing time for penetrating corrosives

Non-penetrating corrosives are chemicals that react with human tissue to form a protective layer which limits the extent of damage. Most acids are non-penetrating corrosives. Penetrating corrosives, alkalis’, hydrofluoric acid and phenol, enter the skin or eyes deeply

Penetrating corrosives require longer water flushing (a minimum of 60 minutes) than non-penetrating corrosives. The total amount of water in self-contained systems should exceed the volume required to deliver water at the recommended flow rates and flushing times

Maintenance of Eyewash Stations: Test your stations weekly, make sure all parts are functioning. Flush water through the system so that contaminants do not accumulate.

Conclusion: In all cases, if irritation persists, repeat the flushing procedure. It’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible after first aid has been given. A physician familiar with procedures for treating chemical contamination of the eyes should be consulted after washing the eyes.

Emergency Eyewash & Showers

Workers who handle hazardous substances run the risk of getting them into their eyes or on their bodies, eyewash stations or showers (or both) must be provided in case this occurs. An eyewash or safety shower is considered a first aid measure, not a preventative one. A JSA will identify the hazards associated with chemical handling and the first-aid measures to use in an emergency.

Factors to be evaluated in a hazard assessment:

  • Chemical properties: The physical state, concentration, pH, and temperature of a chemical
  • Chemical-use patterns: How employees work with chemicals during handling, transfer, use, or disposal, including frequency and duration of use, and quantity of chemicals
  • Training: Evaluate training requirements based on hazard communication, SDS, and the measures employees can take to protect themselves, including PPE. Employees must be trained on the hazards associated with the material, the location of the eyewash and/or shower facilities, and the proper procedure for flushing the eyes and/or skin
  • Work-site conditions: Indoor outdoor sites, protection from freezing, fixed or non-fixed locations, and facility layout
  • Equipment: Plumbed units are preferred where a clean water source is available. Self-contained units are effective where there’s no water source available

Requirements for equipment:

  • Eyewashes: Units must be provided in fixed work areas or stations when a hazard assessment indicates that a worker may be exposed to a substance that can cause permanent tissue damage to the eyes or skin
  • Safety showers: A shower is required at fixed work areas or stations when substantial areas of the worker’s body may be exposed to large quantities of materials that are highly toxic by skin absorption
  • Hand-held drench hoses: A single-headed emergency washing device connected to flexible hoses and used to irrigate and flush the face or other parts of the body
  • Solution/squeeze bottles: Chemical solutions used as substitutes for water must be appropriate for the hazard, properly tested, maintained, and replaced before the expiration date. They can’t be used as a sole means of protection, or as a substitute for plumbed or self-contained equipment

Location of eyewash and/or shower: Generally, the distance from a worker’s location to the device should be less than 10 seconds walking distance. The determining factor is immediate eye irrigation within 10 seconds. The path must be unobstructed and can’t require opening doors or passing through obstacles unless others are present to help the exposed employee

Emergency eyewash and shower use:

  • Flush eye(s) with water for at least fifteen minutes. The eyes must be forcibly held open to wash, and the eyeballs must be rotated so the entire surface area is rinsed
  • To use drench showers, contaminated clothing must be removed immediately, and the skin flushed with water for no less than fifteen minutes. Clothing must be laundered before reuse
  • Always get medical attention regardless of the severity or apparent lack of severity. Explain carefully what chemicals were involved. Review the SDS to determine if any delayed effects are expected

An emergency eyewash station or shower can prevent accidents from becoming serious injuries, or minimize injuries resulting from a chemical accident. Eyewash or shower stations must be clean, sanitary and operating correctly.

We have complete eye protection and safety glasses solutions for all your needs. Call (877) 640-6571 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts.

Please join us next Friday for more safety and compliance tips!