Archive | June, 2013

The Importance of an Accident Investigation

30 Jun

I was reminded this week of the importance of a prompt and through investigation of every work injury. In this instance, a landscaping worker was using a “weed whacker” when he stepped on a spot covered by a board, which gave way, and he fell knee deep into a metal lined hole.  His knee was severely injured. I received the “Supervisor’s Report of Injury”, a witness’s statement, and even a photo of the hole.  (We have been working to improve accident reporting to always include photos for this client – so we can use the photos for both the investigation and for safety training.)

It was only when I went to the accident scene myself, the next day, that I understood more about the hazards of this job. First, in talking with the supervisor, I learned that the employee involved was walking backward using the “weed whacker” at the time of injury. (Your mother always told you to watch where you are walking).  But also there are numerous other slight holes in this area or “ruts” from rain, raised stumps from trees which have been cut down, etc. There are lots of ways a slip or fall could occur.

Only by actually seeing the location did I fully understand some of the actions that need to be considered to prevent this type of injury at this location.

Wishing you a safe summer

Heat Illness A High Priority for OSHA

23 Jun

While it is still too early to tell what the 2013 summer weather will be, we can look back on 2012 as the hottest year for California is recorded history.  Despite the hot weather last year, Cal/OSHA investigated 3 occupationally related heat deaths (but none in agriculture), but also 48 heat related illnesses.  Overall, Cal/OSHA conducted almost 3,900 inspections in enforcing its heat illness program standards.

Cal/OSHA issued 1,069 citations in 2012, primarily for lack of written plans to deal with heat illness (788), lack of employee training regarding heat illness (246) and lack of provisions of water (101).

All during 2013 Cal/OSHA will again be conducting vigorous enforcement, so employers need to be aware and prepared for compliance. Key requirements are:

1.       Water – 1 quart of water per hour per employee is the law.  Have the water as close to the employees as possible.

2.       Shade – available upon request. No more than a 2 minute walk from employees when the temperature is 85 F or higher, sufficient for 25% of employees to relax without sitting on the ground.

3.       Training – taught the dangers and symptoms of heat illness, BEFORE working outside. Informed of what to do when experiencing heat illness and how to summon emergency responders to work site.  Supervisors require additional training.

4.       High heat – when temperatures are 95 F or higher, frequently remind employees to drink water, observe new employees, maintain communications with employees.

For more complete information, see http://www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html

You can also email DonDressler1@hotmail.com with any questions or for a sample heat illness prevention plan.

Prepare for Hazardous Materials – GHS Compliance Training

13 Jun

Take action now to prepare for your obligation as an employer to train your employees about new rules regarding hazardous chemicals in your work, and the training MUST be done by December 1, 2013.

This obligation applies to virtually every employer in America, unless you only by cleansers, bleaches, detergents, etc. at consumer grocery stores and the like.  If you obtain cleaning products from a commercial supply source, or inks for your printers, solvents, etc. not to mention other chemicals for your work – you are covered by OSHA’s rules regarding Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Communications. 

This OSHA rule, known as” Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” was adopted to be consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), Revision 3. The transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, safety data sheets and employee training.

Under the recently adopted GHS, what have been known as Material Safety Data Sheets, (MSDSs) will change to a new 16-section SDS format. Manufacturers have until June 1, 2015, to comply with the new SDS format. But employers must train all employees on these new Safety Data Sheets and this system by December 1, 2013

OSHA regulations also require employers to have a written hazard communication program which describes how chemical labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets and employee information and training will be met.  Contact us at Don Dressler Consulting, www.DonDressler.com for help.

Employee Wellness – an important theme for National Safety Month

8 Jun

Every June, the National Safety Council (NSC) celebrates National Safety Month “to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.”
National Safety Month’s overall theme this year is “Safety Starts with Me,” which is the principle that everyone in the workplace is responsible for safety, not just management or safety professionals. So it’s important to train your employees on how to stay safe.
One of this year’s important theme’s is Employee Wellness.
Getting and staying active has reached “motherhood and apple pie” status. It’s hard to find a downside to pursuing a more active, less sedentary life. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.” Getting fit can help to:
• Control weight.
• Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
• Reduce the risk of some cancers.
• Strengthen bones and muscles.
• Improve mental health and mood.
• Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls in older adults.
• Increase your chances of living longer.
While no one believes physical activity is a magic bullet, it’s hard to deny this impressive list of benefits.
For more information about National Safety Month, visit: http://www.nsc.org/nsc_events/Nat_Safe_Month/Pages/home.aspx?VanUrl=nsm