The last several decades have seen an increase in unhealthy lifestyle epidemics, such as poor nutrition, smoking, frequent alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise. As a result, chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are more prevalent than ever, and are creating a significant burden on workplaces across the country. Many business are noticing that poor lifestyle choices are contributing to increases in health-related work expenses, reduced productivity, and more frequent days of missed work.
Although the impacts of health and wellness on the workplace are evident, many employers still resist the idea of implementing a workplace wellness program because most of the benefits are intangible or not immediately apparent, making them hard to measure where the bottom line is concerned. Understandably, it’s difficult to convince someone with a budget to invest money into a program from which there isn’t an abundantly clear and scheduled return.
According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, employers receive an average of $3.48 back for every dollar spent on employee wellness. Based on the fact that almost 90 percent of all health care costs are preventable, that number appears conservative. The dollar amount comes from the combined benefits of basic employee health, increased moral and happiness, increased productivity, reduced annual healthcare premiums, and reduced absenteeism.
Having a wellness program in place also contributes to the image and employee retention aspect of a business. Wellness programs are an attractive employer benefit for potential quality recruits, and fostering the kind of healthful, happy environment they tend to afford may keep strong employees around longer.
Even though the benefits of a workplace wellness program are clear, Employee Benefits News (EBN) recently conducted a survey of 245 benefits managers, administrators, and human resources professionals, which found that only 44 percent of those included were running a wellness program. Considering evidence supporting the effectiveness of successful implementation, that number seems rather low. The time to develop a workplace wellness program is now. Such a program oriented on employee health is a considerable tool in creating a long-term worker asset management strategy.
The two essential components of a successful workplace wellness program are implementation and longevity. Before you can implement, you want to determine the needs of your unique workplace. This involves scrutinizing the overall attitude and preference of your employees and may be achieved through information-gathering techniques such as confidential surveys, suggestion boxes, or one-on-one interviews.
Once needs have been identified, you need to determine the wellness program activities most appropriate for your employees. It is often recommended to include a combination of education programs and physical activity. Based on the employees’ needs and your long-term business goals, some examples may include monthly nutrition workshops, lectures from local health experts (like nutritionists, gym trainers, or health practitioners), walk-and-talk meetings, on-site fitness centers, vending machines with healthy snack options, and company sports teams. As you prepare to launch your program, remember to properly communicate the program and its resources to your employees with posters, newsletters, and bulletins. Your program can be tweaked and altered as you monitor and evaluate results and employee response over time.
Finally, in order to see that desired return on your investment into a workplace wellness program, it’s important to encourage employees to see their wellness goals all the way to the end and to maintain them for the long term. The most common method of achieving wellness longevity in the workplace is to implement incentive programs. Reasonable monetary rewards, company merchandise (like clothing or mugs), paid time off, and contributing to healthcare savings accounts are all good ways to encourage your employees to sustain their health-driven efforts and help your wellness program succeed.
With the holiday season underway, this is the time of year when it’s important to shed additional light on the safety hazards involved with large crowds. Crowd management has been of particular interest since the 2008 death of a retail worker who was trampled during a Black Friday retail event. Since then, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has paid extra attention to the development and distribution of crowd management training and guidelines.
Effective crowd management focuses on both the safety of attendees and employees and the protection of your business’ physical assets. Hazards during the assembly of a large crowd are presented by the crowd itself and the establishment. Common hazards associated with the crowd include crushing (between people and against fixed structures), aggressive behavior, surging and swaying, trampling underfoot, and hazardous behavior such as climbing structures and throwing objects. Hazards associated with the establishment can include slips, trips, and falls, equipment failure, fire sources, structure collapse, choked crowd movement (due to congestion near restrooms or food/drink venues, for example), moving vehicles or equipment sharing space with pedestrians, and obstructed entry and egress.
Proper planning is key in managing a crowd. Before an event, businesses should perform a thorough hazard assessment to determine safety risks in the establishment. Respond to any known safety hazards appropriately; remove obstructions from walkways and supply extra garbage receptacles to reduce the amount of potential floor debris, for example. Hire and/or schedule additional general work staff and members of security/law enforcement as necessary. Also contact your local fire and police departments to ensure your establishment meets all public safety requirements, and that all permits and licenses are obtained.
Employees should be trained in crowd management procedures and your company’s emergency response plan. Designate employees to stations throughout the establishment so they are able to focus on a particular zone and do not become overwhelmed, and assign key members of management to make snap decisions and contact emergency responders if necessary. An emergency plan needs to cover potential dangers such as fire, overcrowding, crushing, and fire. Employees must be able to maintain communication with one another throughout the event – two-way radios are generally sufficient. Ensure there is plenty of visible signage to indicate important locations such as entries, exits, and restrooms.
The use of barriers may be a necessary addition to your crowd management controls. Barriers serve a number of purposes, such as managing the behavior of a crowd, controlling the flow and movement of lines, preventing overcrowding, general security, and shielding attendees from safety hazards. While barriers are effective and generally recommended, be sure to take their own hazards into consideration. Factors to consider are loads on the barrier (crowd pressure and wind), the size of the audience, topography, and layout.
Events that conclude without incident are the result of professionalism and trained personnel, but emergencies can arise regardless of how well you’ve prepared. Employees should know who to contact for emergency medical response, and should follow emergency responder instructions regardless of company policies. First-aid kits, Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and fire extinguishers should be located throughout the establishment, and employees should be trained on their uses.
If you’ve seen how successfully Learning Management Systems (LMS) have changed the way businesses are training employees these past few years, you probably want to know how your business can get in on the action. Before you can make the jump, however, you’ll be want absolutely sure that transitioning to eLearning is the right move and worth the initial investment. A great place to start in making that sort of decision is getting to understand what benefits come with an LMS, and where you can expect to see cost savings and a return on investment.
First, let’s take a look at some of the core benefits provided by an LMS:
Centralized Learning: This is often considered the most significant benefit of implementing an LMS as your primary training deployment method. Centralized learning means that all aspects of training, its courses, user performance, and development tools are available at any time, from anywhere, from the same online location. Any number of learners or administrators can log in to the system for training, review, or customization at the same time. Centralized learning also means that training is delivered consistently, presenting the same content to all users with zero fluctuation.
Customization: Businesses are ever-growing entities, with new procedures, equipment, job titles, and compliance requirements being introduced all the time. The ability to quickly adapt to these changes in training needs is important, and the customization tools offered by an LMS can help achieve that. Businesses can introduce new material and target it for department-specific training at any time without the burden of orchestrating a scheduled face-to-face training program for large numbers of employees.
Progress Tracking and Reporting: LMSs provide administrators with consistently-updated results of employees’ training efforts. Using these results, management can identify who engaged in what training, and where improvement is needed. Progress tracking fosters further value in that it can identify employees who have demonstrated advanced proficiency in their position and may be best qualified for promotion, thus maximizing the potential of your current workforce.
Reduced Administrative Costs: Depending on the number of employees in your business, it can require quite a few members of staff to oversee and manage your workplace safety program. Employees with the knowledge and skills to administer training initiatives can most likely be better allocated to other positions where those skills can increase productivity. An LMS requires far fewer employee hours to micromanage than a traditional training program.
Usability: The best LMSs out there have a user interface that is intuitive and easy to use. There is very little in-person training involved when getting the system up and running and fully integrated into the workplace. The system usability doesn’t change, so as policies and procedures continue to grow, there isn’t any backtracking involved where relearning the interface is concerned.
Simple Expansion: An LMS makes introducing new training material very, very simple, and drastically reduces the complications of distribution. Because everything is centrally located, any new course material added or updates incorporated to existing material is available to all users as soon as it’s added.
Extensive Training Libraries: When purchasing an LMS from Safety Services Company, businesses not only receive the system itself, but access to hundreds of courses spanning numerous industries across the country. The development of training programs becomes a non-issue, as we either have what you need or will create custom solutions to meet your training needs. There is no need to worry about contracting and hosting a qualified trainer, which can be very costly, every time you need to deploy new training.
Mobile Learning: Most LMSs are designed to be accessed from any internet-capable technology, from desktop computers to smartphones. Trainees often respond best to small chunks of learning accessed at brief, convenient intervals, as opposed to traditional classroom training in 60- to 90-minute sessions. This can be achieved through the use of mobile electronic devices, letting employees undergo training during downtime, on their work commute, or at home. Mobile accessibility also eliminates the need to interrupt productivity for training, as employees can choose the most convenient times to complete it without abandoning time-sensitive work activities.
The Return on Investment of a Learning Management System
Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of an LMS can be tricky, because safety training doesn’t have an immediate reward involved (it’s difficult to measure the effects of a workplace injury on the bottom line when the injury is only hypothetical). Actual numbers will also depend on a variety of factors unique to your business, such as specific needs (why you’re investigating an LMS to begin with), number of employees, type of training and industry (one business may have different compliance requirements than another), and how geographically diverse the business is (i.e. is there more than one location? Is travel often necessary for training?).
Start by looking at how an LMS will offer immediate savings over traditional training methods – savings that are visible as soon as implementation begins:
Fewer costs for training travel and training equipment and facilities, since training is all completed online
More training efficiency, as an LMS lets management customize training to target an individual rather than delivering prepackaged training programs which may include information not pertinent to a given employee
Eliminating unnecessary training systems and equipment because an LMS is hosted online in a central location
Less time spent away from work activities. This means greater productivity and fewer distractions
No more trainer fees or costs to create, store, and deliver training supplies and materials. Cost savings are produced further by the fact that updates, such as those provided by Safety Services Company, are automatic and reflect changes to safety regulations and compliance
Better scheduling efficiency, since employees can access training remotely, rather than attending a formal training class where several employees are away from their jobs at once
Safety Services Company is North America’s leading provider of safety and compliance training products and services. There is no limit to how we can help transform the way you achieve compliance and increase the potency of your workplace safety culture. Learn more about our Learning Management System and other safety-related services here.
Occupational hearing loss affects millions of workers across the country. This type of injury can severely limit an individual’s ability to function normally, and reduces their quality of life. Businesses can expect to see a negative impact on productivity and profit as well as an increase in lost-time and workers’ compensation claims, leading to numerous additional hidden costs. Not only is it in your best interest to limit noise exposure in order to protect your bottom line, it is your duty and responsibility to provide your employees with a safe and healthful workplace.
How Does The Ear Work?
Sound begins by hitting the outer ear. When this happens, vibrations move towards and touch the ear drum, which transmits them to the middle and inner ear. Once at the middle ear, three bones (the malleus, the stapes, and the incus – also known as the hammer, stirrup, and anvil, respectively), take the vibrations and amplify them towards the inner ear. Within the middle ear, the cochlea, a spiral-shaped section of the ear filled with fluid and hair-lined cells, take the vibrations and translate them into nerve pulses by way of movement of the microscopic hairs. This translation becomes the sound we hear. When extremely loud noise makes its way into the cochlea, these hairs can be damaged or destroyed, resulting in hearing loss.
Measuring Noise Exposure
When measuring noise, we observe unites of sound pressure levels called decibels (dB). This term originated in the early 20th century based on measuring telephony power in the United States, through the Bell system of companies. A decibel is one tenth of a bel, named after Alexander Graham Bell. The version of the measurement we use for occupational noise exposure is the A-weighted version (dBA), which gives less weight to very low and very high noise frequencies has a stronger correlation with noise-related hearing damage. Decibels are further measured on a logarithmic scale, meaning that a small difference in the number of decibels corresponds with a massive difference in actual noise, and thereby potential for hearing loss. Dangerous decibel levels require monitoring, planning, and controls to keep noise from causing worker injury. Any noise with a decibel measurement over 85 dbA is considered hazardous.
What Kind of Damage Can You Expect?
Workers exposed to high levels of noise can expect the potential for permanent hearing loss, even if the exposure is infrequent. Hearing lost in this way is irreparable; there are currently no surgical or auxiliary options available today which can repair loss caused by damaged or destroyed cochlear hair cells. Singular incidents of extreme noise exposure may also lead to short-term hearing loss or changes in hearing (e.g. an individual may feel like their ears are plugged, or hear a persistent ringing). While often temporary to a matter of minutes or hours, frequent exposure can easily lead to these symptoms being permanent. Furthermore, those with noise-related hearing loss may be unable to understand speech or recognize sounds at higher frequencies.
Physiological damage aside, excessive noise can also increase stress in afflicted individuals, both physically and psychologically. It can inhibit the ability to communicate effectively, and increase the potential for dangerous incidents by making it difficult to concentrate or hear important safety or warning alarms and signals.
Engineering controls are the most preferred option in any hazard-mitigation hierarchy. They essentially involve eliminating a hazard altogether through displacement, replacement, installations, or other physical changes. Where noise is concerned, engineering controls take the source of noise and either eliminate it or, somewhere along its path, intercept it and reduce it below hazardous levels before it reaches the worker. Examples include selecting equipment which generates less noise as the same efficiency, installing barriers such as walls or insulation between the source and the worker, maintaining noise-generating equipment (e.g. proper lubrication) to eliminate preventable noise, and isolating the noise altogether.
Administrative controls involve modifying procedures, schedules, or behaviors in order to reduce hazard exposure as much as possible. These controls fall just below engineering controls in terms of effectiveness and desirability. Some examples of administrative controls which can reduce noise exposure include scheduling workers in limited, short shifts to work in noisy situations, positioning work at a long distance from loud noise sources, providing quiet rest areas for reprieve and relief, and scheduling work which generates excessive noise while the fewest workers possible are on site.
Personal Protective Equipment
Although personal protective equipment (PPE) is the least effective control method for mitigating hazards, it should always be used in conjunction with the others. Workers involved in operations where noise levels are above 85 dBA should wear ear plugs or other noise-reducing or –cancelling devices, so long as they don’t interfere with the worker’s ability to work safely and communicate properly.
Hearing Conservation Programs
Developing a thorough, comprehensive hearing conservation program is essential in any business’ efforts to prevent hearing loss, protect existing hearing, and convey crucial information to workers in the form of knowledge and training. Employees from the top down need to know how to operate a workplace in such a way that everyone involved with noisy work is properly safeguarded. Employers need to measure and monitor noise levels in the work place, give workers access to hearing exams, and provide workers with necessary PPE and training.
Workplaces with strong hearing conservation programs see more productivity and fewer losses through injuries and lost-time claims. To learn how Safety Services Company can assist you with creating such a program, or perfecting an existing one, visit www.safetyservicescompany.com.
The burden of protecting employees from and responding appropriately to sexual harassment is one which falls upon the employer. It is part of an employer’s larger responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace. Although there is a clear legal obligation involved, squashing workplace sexual harassment can protect an employer from its harmful business implications such as low morale, decreased productivity, and the high costs of litigations.
Workplace sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome verbal or physical advance of a sexual nature which creates an offensive, intimidating, or hostile work atmosphere. Guilty parties may be supervisors, managers, co-workers, and even outside sources such as vendors and customers under certain circumstances. Basically, any conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace can be defined as sexual harassment if even a single employee is made to feel uncomfortable. Keep in mind that employers are still responsible for managing sexual harassment even outside of the workplace should it occur in a work-related capacity (such as a work party or other function).
In general, workplace sexual harassment falls under two categories:
Quid Pro Quo: This is when the harasser makes employment decisions based on the victim’s favorable reaction to the sexual harassment. It is quid pro quo if an employer explicitly or implicitly suggests submission is a condition for employment (e.g. “I will hire you if you sleep with me”), or uses how the victim responds as a factor in their current employment (e.g. “You turned me down for a date, and so you will not receive this promotion”).
Hostile Environment: Most reported cases of sexual harassment fall under this category. When someone in a work environment shows conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome touching, speaking, requests, or advances, or the display or sharing of sexual material, it has the potential to turn the environment into one which feels hostile to other employees. While these type of sexual harassment does not directly affect a victim’s employment or potential opportunities, it is a tremendous offense against respect and dignity, and to the individual’s ability to perform work to their best ability. It may also indirectly affect their employment in that they may choose to resign and seek employment in a less toxic environment.
Although the overwhelming majority of workplace sexual harassment claims are made by women (over 90 percent of Canadian women say they have experienced sexual harassment at work at some point in their careers), it is not gender neutral. Men can also be harassed by women, and both can be harassed by the same sex.
Common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:
Demanding physical affection, even if it’s not explicitly sexual (e.g. hugs, or kisses on the cheek)
Ignoring rejection and persisting that an individual goes on a date with you
Making sexual comments about someone’s clothing, actions, behavior, or physical attributes
Making jokes of a sexual nature
Requesting sexual favors in exchange for a reward or benefit (e.g. I’ll work your shift for you if you kiss me)
Insulting someone with gender-related derogatory words
Commenting on someone’s behavior because it does not conform to gender stereotypes (i.e. an effeminate man, or vice versa)
Discussing sexual encounters or prowess amongst your coworkers
Taking pornographic images (real, cartoon, or otherwise) and posting them at work, sharing them online to a work-related bulletin, or e-mailing them to coworkers
Let’s look at a couple of real-world scenarios:
Scenario 1: Someone in your workplace jokes that a female co-worker, recently promoted to a higher position, obtained her advancement by way of “sleeping her way to the top.” Perhaps she isn’t aware of this gossip, but it can still have a devastating impact on her image and status amongst her peers – you must put an end to it.
Scenario 2: A courier who delivers products regularly to your place of business makes unwelcome and persistent advances on the person who receives the deliveries. Even though the courier isn’t a direct employee of your business, as an employer it is your responsibility to intervene by speaking with the courier or using a different service.
What can you do?
A written sexual harassment policy is arguably the strongest tool you have as an employer. You’ll need to tailor it specifically to your individual workplace, but collecting employee concerns and reviewing previous reports with HR is a good place to start. Developing an employee handbook for employees to review upon hire will also equip them with necessary information and inform them of expectations from the get-go.
Your policy must clearly define sexual harassment. Establish commitment to zero tolerance, and inform employees of consequences should they fail to meet expectations. The policy should also include procedures for employees to follow when they need to file a sexual harassment complaint, and explain that all complaints will be thoroughly investigated. Assure employees that there is no risk for retaliation at any level for filing a complaint.
Additionally, use your policy to schedule sexual harassment training at least annually. Employees should be trained on the nature of sexual harassment and their right to a harassment-free workplace, as well as how to go about filing a complaint. Management and supervisors should be trained on handling complaints, recognizing sexual harassment across the spectrum, and how to properly intervene. Employee and management/supervisor training should be conducted separately.
For help developing a workplace sexual harassment policy, contact us here.
Violence in the workplace is one of those circumstances in which no one expects to ever find themselves. You know it happens. You read about it in the news but never think it could happen where you work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 14,770 workplace homicides between 1992 and 2012. In 2013, there were 397 homicide victims; and, those fatalities accounted for 9 percent of all workplace deaths that year. While roadway incidents, falls from heights, and struck-by injuries are more common where workplace fatalities are concerned, 9 percent is far too many and should be enough to get you thinking about safety in your own workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as “violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicides, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.” With numerous ways to encounter violence in and around the workplace, only the right tools and training can help minimize risk.
Never assume workplace violence is unlikely, simply based on the nature of your work environment. Incidents occur in occupations across all industries. To assess your risk, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suggests a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you work alone or with very few people?
Are you providing health care or health services?
Do you have coworkers who seem irritable or unstable?
Is money exchanged?
Do you work late-night or overnight?
Is your workplace located in a high crime area?
Does your workplace serve alcohol?
These conditions can increase the risk of workplace violence, but every workplace can provide a foundation for situational violence. Employees are human with unpredictable behaviors often brought on by unfavorable life circumstances. A coworker could be having problems at home, for example – divorce, loss of a family member, financial issues, etc. Unless you know what to look for, you may be unaware of how close they are to a violent outburst.
Workplace violence isn’t always related directly to a given workplace. Nearly 80 percent of workplace homicides come from outside of the business. Robberies, upset customers, domestic disputes that follow a coworker to the workplace, and violent events occurring in the vicinity are common.
Beyond the obvious impacts workplace violence has on its victims, there are business implications as well. Violent incidents cost businesses billions of dollars each year in necessary security increases, workers’ compensation, employee loss and downtime, damaged property, public relations, and psychological impairment.
So what can be done to reduce risk?
Not all workplace violence incidents can be predicted. Robberies, for example, can strike even in the safest, most affluent of neighborhoods. The best course of action is to develop a written workplace violence program which thoroughly details your business’ policies and procedures on the matter. For unpredictable incidents, you should implement a response and evacuation system and hold regular drills. These programs should include instructions for incidents that occur in and out of the work site (i.e. lockdowns indoors, or evacuations to an offsite location). Don’t forget to include zero-tolerance policies on workplace violence so employees know exactly what’s expected of them and the consequences in the event the policy(s) are not followed.
Some signs to watch for are irritability and poor response to criticism. Is your coworker experiencing problems at home? Consider establishing a reporting process for all employees and contractors to understand and follow. The process should include specific people designated as those to contact in the instance that a coworker in engaged in suspicious or dangerous behavior.
Examine the resources available from a management perspective. Consider offering counseling services so stressed or overworked employees can safely and confidently discuss their misconduct and find a suitable solution. Also, fostering a positive, pleasant work environment can go a long way as a preventative measure.
Workplace violence is best addressed before it happens through knowledge and proactive measures. Safety Services Company can help. Contact us today for information on how we can help you create a violence-free workplace.
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.
January, February, March
April, May, June
July, August, September
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®.
Summertime is barbecue time, and having a cookout with friends is a summer tradition. Before you fire up that grill or smoker, here are some safety things to consider.
• Know your grill – Read the owner’s manual.
• Grills are for outside, only – Don’t barbecue in a trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide can kill you.
• Use in well-ventilated area – Set up your grill in an open area away from buildings, combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Avoid high traffic areas and be aware of wind-blown sparks.
• Keep your grill stable – make sure that all parts of the unit are in place and the grill can’t be tipped over.
• Use long-handled utensils (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.
• Don’t wear clothes that have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire.
• Use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
• Keep fire under control – To put out flare-ups, raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you need to douse the flames with a light spritz of water, take the food off of the grill first.
• Be ready in case of fire – Use baking soda to control grease fires and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
• Consider placing a grill pad or splatter mat under your grill – These will protect your deck or patio from any grease that misses the drip pan.
• Never leave a grill unattended once lit.
• Stay away from hot grill. – Don’t cook in an area where others are active. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.
• Don’t move a hot grill – It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.
Before you start using your gas grill, check it for gas leaks, hose deterioration, and burner obstructions. Use a soap and water solution to test for leaks. Clean your grill at least twice a year. The best times are at the start and end of your grilling season.
• Watch for rust
• If you refill your own tank, paint it to make it more rustproof
• When you buy or refill a cylinder, make sure you transport it in an upright position, and that it won’t shift or roll when you’re driving
• Once you’ve picked up a filled container, take it straight home. Don’t pick up a cylinder and then go shopping. If the outside temperature is in the
90’s, the inside of an enclosed car or trunk can reach 125 degrees in 20 minutes. Gas cylinders should never be stored in an area the reaches
over 120 degrees.
• Check the regulator, hoses, burner parts, and valve section to make sure there aren’t any
cracks or other damage
• Always turn off gas at the source, (tank or supply line), and make sure the grill is cooled
before inspecting any parts.
• Check owner’s manual for any additional maintenance requirements.
• Never connect or disconnect a cylinder when the grill is on or is hot.
• Never use a cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, or excessive rust.
• When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent a flash off from gas build-up.
• Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking.
• If a burner doesn’t ignite, turn off the gas. Keep the grill lid open and wait five minutes before trying to light it again. If the burners go out during operation, turn all gas valves to OFF. Open the lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight, using lighting instructions.
A charcoal briquette or wood burning grill or smoker can be lit using starter fluid, instant light briquettes, an electric starter, or metal chimney.
When using starter fluid to light charcoal briquettes or wood chunks form a pyramid and douse with lighter fluid. Wait until fluid has soaked in before lighting.
• Cap lighter fluid immediately and place a safe distance from grill.
• Never add lighter fluid to coals that are already hot or warm.
• Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other highly volatile fluids as a starter. They can explode.
Instant light briquettes
If you use instant light briquettes to start your grill, don’t use them with any other type of starter. Don’t add more instant light briquettes once the fire has been started. Add only regular charcoal briquettes if you need more.
Never use an electric starter in the rain and/or when standing on wet ground. Unplug and remove a hot starter with caution and be careful where you put it. Always cool starter completely before storing.
Chimney type starter
A chimney starter is used by placing charcoal in the chimney so that they stack on top of the grate. Once the all of the charcoal is glowing red with an ash coating, dump the charcoal into the grill.
One you’re done grilling, let the coals to burn out completely and let ashes cool at least 48 hours. Dispose of cold ashes by wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil and placing in non-combustible container. Be sure no other combustible materials are nearby. If you need to dispose of ashes before they’re completely cooled, place them in heavy-duty foil and soak with water completely before disposing in non-combustible container.
By taking a few simple precautions, you can be sure to have a safe grilling season, and that the only things that may get burned are your steaks.