June is National Safety Month and there are many things we
can do as employers and employees.
In the workplace Ergonomics is an important key to safety.
This month is a good time to identify and abate musculoskeletal disorders
(MSDs.) These include strains, sprains and tears, inflammation, pinched nerves
and spinal disc problems. Here are some things we should all know about
ergonomic programs and practices:
1. Visit the OSHA web page. There are grants to
train workers about hazards and hazard abatement; training courses through the
OSHA Training Institute, booklets on ergonomic programs, especially for
computer workstations, and videotapes on general industry situations.
2. Ergonomics Best Practices Conferences: Designed to provide examples of practical and
inexpensive programs; Intervention lectures.
3. Enforcement: Employers are required to provide
working conditions that are free from known hazards that can cause an employer
physical harm. Employers are keen to follow this policy not only to avoid
fines, but because it is in their best interest to keep their staff on the job.
4. Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreements: Where
companies have been cited for musculoskeletal disorder violations, they have
agreed to enter into a settlement whereby they would agree to follow
Meatpacking Guidelines that OSHA has set up.
Thermoplastic padlocks are designed exclusively to satisfy
CFR 1910.147 Lockout:Tagout regulations. They are durable, lightweight and are
non-conductive. Thermoplastic is an excellent insulator preventing the flow of
electricity. Static electric charges can remain in equipment even after the equipment
has been shut down. Using thermoplastic padlocks for lockout:Tagout use means
that the padlocks can be used around heat or electrical equipment with little
concern that electronic sparking will occur. In addition, the key retaining
feature insures the padlock will not remain unlocked. The key cannot be removed
while the padlock is open. A very important fact when equipment is being
repaired and lockout procedures are in place.
The OSHA Regulation CFR1910.1200 “Toxic and Hazardous
Substances” is intended to address comprehensively the issue of classifying the
potential hazards of chemicals and communicating information concerning hazards
and appropriate protective measures to employees, and to preempt any
legislation or regulatory enactments of state, or political subdivision of a
state, pertaining to the subject.
Toxic Industrial chemicals are manufactured, stored,
transported and used throughout the world. They can be found in the form of
gas, liquid or solid state. The hazards they contain include carcinogens,
corrosives and reproductive hazards. Toxic chemicals can also be highly
flammable, combustible, explosive or reactive.
Safety Foundation International (EDFI) has designated May as National Electrical
Safety Month. On average, there are more than 300 deaths and over 4,000
injuries per year caused by Electrical Hazards in workplaces here in the United
States. Over 60% of the injuries are due to electric shock, the remainder
caused by electric burns. Electric shock is caused by either direct or indirect
contact with a conductive part that is energized. Electrical arcing, explosions
or fire result in burns. Toxic gases released as a result of fire as well as
the burning of electrical equipment often leads to severe illness or death.
Protective Equipment regulation, CFR 1910.136 has a very comprehensive set of
requirements when addressing employee’s foot protection. It states that “The
employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when
working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or
rolling objects piercing the sole, and where such employee’s feet are exposed
to electrical hazards. The ruling continues with the statement that protective
footwear must comply with The American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM)
regulation “Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective
Footwear. And, by definition, that standard meets the qualifications
established by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulation.
Materials in the form of solids, liquids or gases can be a danger to all living
things, property and our environment.
Because they are used in the manufacture and the shipment of all types
of products they are very closely regulated. Within the regulations are the
specifications for the clear labeling of these materials to announce their
presence and thus to avoid the possibility of injury or damage. Developed by
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Hazardous Material Symbols
have become the international standard involved in identification labeling.
Each hazardous material has its own specific symbol, colors, borders and
printed information to help readily identify the danger one may encounter when coming
in contact it. Besides the ANSI standard, many federal, state and local laws as
well as international laws require Hazardous materials to be identified. Here
is a listing of some of the basic Hazardous Material Symbols:
A number of various chemicals, hot or cold water as well as
steam can cause serious injury to a worker performing maintenance. According to the OSHA regulation 1910.147, “The
Control of Hazardous Energy” (Lockout/Tagout) all sources of energy to include,
hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and thermal must be locked out during a
maintenance operation. To help satisfy that requirement, devices have been
developed to insure that both liquids and gases are securely locked out.
An arc flash occurs when electric current strays from the
path designed for it and instead travels through air to another electrical
conductor. The flash results in an uncontrolled voltage surge that can severely
injure a person or persons in close proximity.
Unintended conductors include dust, tools, water, corrosion,
faulty wiring to name a few. The arc
flash can be responsible for fire, for burns, flying objects, extreme blast
pressure, sound blast and heat. To protect against the possibility of arc
flashes, the National Fire Protection Association has developed a series of
four “Flash Approach Boundaries” to help limit the effects of the flash.
There are many many industrial situations where information
has to be inputted onto an informational tag. For example, lockout:tagout
procedures; maintenance order instructions; a specific valve number has to be
added; right-to-know information, biohazard announcements, just to name a few.
Often times the tag has to be written up immediately and placed in position. An
ideal way to do this is with a Pressure-Sensitive tag or as Idesco calls it – A
“P-tag.” That is because the tag can easily
have information added to it with either pen or pencil and can be sealed by
simply removing the release paper from the pressure-sensitive adhesive. No
heat-seal lamination is required.
Safety is the most important concern on the job. And Hard hats play an
important role in worker protection. They are a relatively inexpensive way to
protect against serious injury. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, OSHA has very strict regulations regarding the use of Hard Hats
for employees. Typical employees who must wear hart hats include but are not
limited to: carpenters, electricians, lineman, mechanic, plumbers, assembler’s
sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, timber cutters and loggers and
warehouse personnel. CFR 1910 135 (a)
(1) states that each affected employee shall wear protective helmets when
working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling
objects. Furthermore, 135 (a) (2) states that Protective helmets designed to
reduce electrical shock hazard shall be worn by each such affected employee
when near exposed electrical conductors which could contact the head.
Within the OSHA Lockout:Tagout regulation, 1910.147 is this prominent
Definition of an Energy Isolating Device: A mechanical device that physically
prevents the transmission or release of energy, including but not limited to
the following: A manually operated electrical circuit breaker; a disconnect
switch; a manually operated switch by which the conductors of a circuit can be
disconnected from all ungrounded supply conductors and, in addition no pole can
be operated independently; a line valve; a block and any similar device used to
block or isolate energy. Push buttons, selector switches and other control
circuit type devices are not energy isolating devices. This has led to a myriad
of circuit breaker lockout solutions. Factories throughout the United States,
in fact the world, now have a variety of lockout solutions for their single
pole and multi-pole circuit breakers.
Often times electrical equipment being used in a factory operation may suddenly shut down. This may be due to an internal power malfunction, a local power plant problem, a sudden jam in a gear, just to name a few. When this type of unintentional shut down takes place, it is extremely important to insure that the equipment does not suddenly start up again. Such an event may catch employees by surprise and lead to a serious accident. The Sensing Saf-Start device automatically “opens” the circuit once there is a sudden power loss. The circuit will remain “open” as long as the equipment power switch is “on.” Once the power switch is turned “off”, the Sensing Saf-Start device will then close the circuit. At that point, with everyone aware that the equipment can now be safely restarted, the power switch can be turned “on” and normal operation resumed.
In September of 1989, The OSHA Lockout:Tagout Regulation CFR1910.147 went into effect. It clearly stated that equipment being serviced had to be completely shut down and had to be both "Locked Out" and "Tagged Out" (with the tag firmly attached to the lock) clearly identifying the person or persons involved in that servicing operation. Furthermore, to insure the tag could not inadvertently slip off, tear off or somehow be removed from the padlock, both the tag and the device used to attach it to the padlock had to be strong enough to "pull" 50 pounds. And thus, the LockWrap(R) Padlock Label was created. The LockWrap acts as a tag and is wrapped securely around the padlock and cannot be removed.
(c) (5)(i) of Lockout Regulation CFR 1910.147 states that Locks, tags, chains,
wedges, key blocks, adapter pins, self-locking fasteners, or other hardware
shall be provided by the employer for isolating, securing or blocking of
machines or equipment from energy sources. Fuse holders and fuse panels are
types of energy systems that are difficult to lockout. In order to satisfy the
OSHA rule, devices have been devised that “blockout and “latchout” these energy
sources. These devices keeps the electrical energy systems “OPEN” with no way
for electrical energy to be reconnected. However, as there is no latch on these
devices, there not be a padlock to insure that these devices will not be