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Is Your Company Prepared For A Workplace Emergency?

14 Sep

New & Revised Cal/OSHA Emergency Evacuation Regulations . . . 

  1. Identify procedures for emergency evacuations, including types of evacuations and exit routes
  2. Procedures for any employees who remain to operate critical operations before they exit
  3. How you account for all employees after emergency evacuation.
  4. Preferred means for reporting fires and other emergencies.
  5. Names or titles of persons to contact for more information

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Alarms
  • Hazard evaluation
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Training
  • Exit routes

Natural Disasters:

A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulting from natural processes of the Earth; examples include floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other geologic processes. A natural disaster can cause loss of life or property damage, and typically leaves some economic damage in its wake, the severity of which depends on the affected population’s resilience, or ability to recover and also on the infrastructure available.
Although there is often little that can be done to prevent a natural disaster, people can take steps to reduce the effect that it has on themselves and their property. Whether at work or at home, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Workplace Violence:

Workplace violence has emerged as an important safety and health issue in today’s workplace. Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. A workplace may be any location either permanent or temporary where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes buildings and surrounding perimeters such as parking lots, field locations, clients’ homes and traveling to and from work assignments.
This violence can be verbal threats or bodily harm, striking, pushing and other aggressive physical acts. In addition verbal harassment such as offensive language, gestures, disorderly conduct (shouting, throwing or pushing objects and slamming doors). OSHA has strict guidelines on dealing with workplace violence. Training and education ensures that the company and all staff is aware of potential security hazards and ways of protecting themselves.
Evacuation: Sound the Alarm:
  • Alert others
  • Get out of danger
  • Activate alarm
  • Follow reporting procedure
Emergency Contacts:
  • Emergency coordinator
  • Response teams
  • Fire department
  • Police
  • Ambulance
Evacuation: Assignments:
  • Coordinators
  • Evacuation assistants
  • Shutdown
  • Medical
  • Fire/Hazmat
Evacuation: Preparedness:
  • Evacuation routes
  • Assembly area
  • Drills
  • Fire exits
Evacuation: Procedures:
  • Signal
  • Get to safety
  • Shutdown
  • Emergency duties
  • Evacuation
  • Assembly area
Key Points to Remember:
  • Be prepared for all types of emergencies
  • Prevention is easier and safer than emergency response
  • Know evacuation routes, emergency procedures, and assignments
  • Take fire drills seriously and participate actively
  • If you have questions, ask your supervisor

Reminder: 

Safety & Emergency Prevention Are Vital

Employers must have a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP).
If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us!
We welcome and appreciate your feedback. Send questions on this topic and one of our expert team members will contact you. Cal Work Safety has the background & experience on this issue.
Call:  949-533-3742
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Celebrate National Safety Month This June

5 Jun
Join the National Safety Council (NSC) and thousands of organizations across the country as we work to raise awareness of what it takes to Keep Each Other Safe. Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.

Week 1: Stand Up to Falls

Home is the place where we feel most safe, so it may come as a surprise to hear that falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the U.S., second only to poisoning. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

Eliminating tripping hazards
Prevent falls at home—and at work—by removing the sources of tripping:
  • Secure electrical and phone cords away from walking areas, such as hallways or in front of your desk
  • Use non-skid rugs and be sure to tape them down to prevent rolling
  • Keep drawers and cabinets closed when you’re not using them
  • Wear proper footwear, paying special attention to outdoor conditions
  • Clean up any spills immediately and include warning signage if necessary
  • Refrain from walking while distracted – stay focused on your surroundings
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in your workspace
  • Don’t carry more than you can handle—large loads can obstruct your vision and affect your balance
Preventing falls in your bathroom
Falls can happen anywhere, but in your home, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places. According to the CDC, about 235,000 people over age 15 visit the emergency room each year due to a bathroom related-injury. Older adults are especially susceptible. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80 percent of senior falls happen in the bathroom due to slippery floors and surfaces.
Keep loved ones of every age safe:
  • Place a non-slip mat both inside and outside of the tub
  • Plug in nightlights in and around the bathroom for increased visibility
  • Clean up any condensation or puddles on the  oor
  • Place non-slip decals on the bottom of your shower or tub
  • Keep shampoo, soap and other bath products higher up to avoid bending
  • Install grab bars by the toilet and in or near the shower and tub to assist older adults
  • Make sure the bathroom door swings outward in case of a fall
Make your home safer by starting at the source. Remove tripping hazards around your home and ensure your bathroom is slip-free to eliminate the risk of falling.

Week 2: Recharge to Be in Charge (Focusing on Fatigue)

Like many Americans, you might feel that you’re not getting enough sleep. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. It is also estimated that 37 percent of the U.S. workforce is sleep deprived. We need proper sleep to recharge our stamina, face the day and avoid injuries at home and at work.

Getting good sleep
To be alert, well-rested and at your best, follow these tips:
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every day
  • Create and follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—even on weekends.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light
  • Keep your bedroom temperate – neither hot nor cold
  • Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable and support restful sleep
  • Avoid eating right before bed
  • Remember that bedtime is for sleeping, not reading or watching TV
  • Avoid using electronic devices before bed which can inhibit sleep
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
We all have busy lives and sleep is often the first thing many of us cut back on to accommodate our schedules. In the long run, this can be dangerous. Sleep deprivation has been shown to raise the risks of depression, obesity and heart disease, and has an adverse effect on reproductive health. Lack of sleep can also lead you to experience short bursts of sleep lasting anywhere from a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds, known as microsleep. Individuals who experience microsleep lose awareness and consciousness during the episode, which can be dangerous especially on the road.
  • Plan to take regular rest breaks and rotate drivers when travelling long distances
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you drowsy while driving
  • If you feel drowsy, pull over when it is safe to do so
  • To combat drowsiness, have a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink and stretch your legs by taking a short walk
  • If you need more rest, take a quick nap if it is safe to do so
  • If you are too tired to continue driving even a er a break, don’t drive. Stay at a hotel or call someone—a loved one, friend or even a cab or ride-sharing service—to get you to your destination safely
Don’t get sidelined by fatigue. Get plenty of sleep to recharge and stay healthy and avoid dangerous situations like driving when drowsy.

Week 3: Prepare for Active Shooters

Preparing for the worst can be difficult. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a situation with an active shooter – they can be unpredictable and unfold quickly. Because an active shooter behaves erratically, they have no pattern and their victims are random—being prepared can be your best defense.

Responding to an active shooter situation
Active shooters can appear in public places such as movie theaters and shopping malls or in private workplaces. No matter where you are, remain as calm as possible and remember:
  • Be aware of any possible danger in your environment
  • Identify the two nearest exits
  • If you can flee, do so immediately—leave belongings behind
  • If you cannot flee, hide in an area where the shooter can’t see you
  • If you are behind a door, try to lock or block entry to it
  • Silence electronic devices
  • As a last resort, try to incapacitate the shooter. Keep moving and be distracting. In close range situations,  fighting increases your chance of survival.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can do so safely
Wait for law enforcement to arrive
Law enforcement will usually be required to end the situation. Comply with law enforcement and allow them to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
There are several ways you can assist:
  • To the best of your ability, be prepared to provide 911 and law enforcement with your location, the number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), the number and type of weapons used by the shooter(s) and the number of potential victims
  • When law enforcement arrives, remain calm and follow all instructions
  • Don’t scream or yell
  • Keep your hands raised, visible and free of any objects
  • Evacuate the area quickly—do not stop law enforcement to ask questions or for help
Facing an active shooter can be unimaginable, but being prepared might save your life. Remember to stay alert and as calm as possible. Try to run first, hide if you cannot flee safely and fight only when you have no other choice.

Week 4: Don’t Just Sit There (Focusing on Ergonomics)

If you have back pain, you’re not alone. About 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain issues at some point in their lives, and 31 million will experience low-back pain at any given time. Most of these cases are not caused by serious underlying conditions, but from actions like improper lifting technique.

Lift safely
Prevent strains, dislocations and muscle tears. When lifting, make sure you:
  • Stretch and warm up before you perform any lifting
  • Keep your back straight and bend your knees – remember to never twist or bend your back
  • Are on solid ground with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep the box or object close to your body
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Limit the amount of weight you carry – separate boxes or make two trips instead of carrying more than you can handle
  • Ask for help to carry heavy, bulky or large loads
  • Keep pathways clear of tripping hazards
Ergonomics for the home office worker
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option to help employees maintain a better work-life balance. Convenience and flexibility are great, but don’t leave ergonomics at the office.
Make sure:
  • Chairs have proper lumbar and arm support, and can be adjusted for height
  • Feet are flat on the ground or a footrest
  • The viewing distance from your eyes to the monitor is at least 18 inches
  • Your keyboard and mouse are at approximately elbow height
  • Lighting is sufficient enough that you don’t have to strain, but not too bright where glare is an issue
  • To take short breaks. Look away from your screen every 15 minutes, take microbreaks in between bursts of heavy typing and don’t forget to take a rest break every 30 or 60 minutes. Get out of your chair, stretch and move around.
By making ergonomics part of your routine at work and at home, you can keep your body free of strain and pain.

The mission of the National Safety Council is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Join us as we help #KeepEachOtherSafe this June and throughout the year. For any questions regarding workplace safety, contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com today!

Improve Employee Safety Habits With These 3 Tips

22 May
This year’s theme for North American Occupational Safety and Health week was Make Safety a Habit. Check out these ideas from the workers’ compensation provider Texas Mutual Insurance Company to help improve employee safety habits.
  1. See something, say something. Empower your employees to speak up and review the methods in place to report concerns or hazards. Building an environment of open communication supports a safe workplace. You want reporting to become a habit. Recognize reporting and encourage employees to speak directly with their supervisor or safety representative.
  2. Be consistent. To keep safety top of mind, hold regular meetings and provide consistent training. Habits won’t become fully formed in a quarterly meeting, however. Provide resources and enforce the safety practices employees are learning.
  3. Encourage wellness. Safety and wellness go hand-in-hand. When employees hydrate, eat well, and stay active, they feel better, are happier, and likely will stay alert about safety on the job. If an injury does occur, a fit employee stands a better chance of recovering more quickly.

Do you have questions on how your business can improve Employee Safety Habits? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. We’re here to help!

Get Involved In Occupational Safety and Health Events This Spring

27 Apr

There is one overlooked question that people across North America should ask themselves: “Is my loved one safe at work today?” This spring, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is building on that critical question and encouraging people to get involved in one or more of several workplace safety campaigns that can make a difference in reducing risks.

“Too many of us take for granted that our families will come together and be safe and healthy at the end of the workday,” said ASSE President Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH. “That assumption is far from reality given the large numbers of occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities that occur. ASSE members, along with employers, workers and the public, should participate in campaigns to draw attention to the responsibility we all have to make workplaces safer and healthier.”

In 2015, there were 4,836 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The International Labor Organization reports that there are 2.3 million deaths globally each year for reasons attributed to work, with the biggest component linked to work-related diseases.

Many of ASSE’s 37,540 members worldwide – who develop and implement safety and health management programs for employers in every industry, every state and across the globe – will be involved in the following safety activities. They are seeking the support of company and community leaders in raising awareness of workplace risks. How will you get involved this year? Read more about the upcoming events below.

April 28, Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. Every year, events are held across the country to remember workers who have died on the job and honor them by continuing to fight for improved worker safety.

May 1-5, Construction Safety Week 

Led by an alliance of major construction firms and co-sponsored by ASSE, this week was created to raise safety awareness on construction sites across the country. Stand-downs and workplace presentations by executives, OSHA representatives and other stakeholders engage employees and offer important reminders about safe building practices. Learn how to get involved and find ideas for participating on the Safety Week website.

How You Can Get Involved in Construction Safety Week

•Engage leaders in your construction company to hold an event on your work site. This is an excellent opportunity to build a relationship with the C-suite.

•Host an event, such as a safety stand-down, that puts executives in front of workers talking about safety. This encourages their commitment and helps send a message throughout the organization.

•Use #constructionsafetyweek to share your initiatives in social media.

•Engage other stakeholders, such as a local ASSE chapter or OSHA office, in your event to help build cooperative relationships.

•Review Safety Week’s suggestions for events to build your own event.

May 7-13, North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, or NAOSH Week, occurs every year during the first full week of May. Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day (OSHP Day) falls on the Wednesday of that week. Created by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers and championed by ASSE, this key observance celebrates its 20th anniversary and encourages grassroots efforts at every organization in all industries to bolster workplace safety. Each year ASSE urges everyone to get involved in NAOSH Week in an effort to better educate the public about the positive benefits a safe workplace provides not only for workers, but for their families, friends, businesses, their local community and the global community.

May 8-12, National Safety Stand-Down

A campaign to prevent falls in construction, led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in partnership with ASSE and others. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Fall Prevention Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

Spearheaded by OSHA and co-sponsored by ASSE, this inaugural event aims to build a stronger connection between safe workplaces and sound businesses. Safety programs identify and manage workplace risks before they cause problems, improving a company’s bottom line. Safety and health programs include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.

Why Participate?

Safe workplaces are sound businesses. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started or energize an existing one.

Who Is Encouraged to Participate?

Organizations of any size or in any industry looking for an opportunity to show their commitment to safety to workers, customers, the public, or supply chain partners should participate.

How to Participate

Participating in Safe + Sound Week is easy. To get started, select the activities you would like to do at your workplace. Some organizations might want to host a public event. Examples of potential activities and tools to help you plan and promote your events are available. After you’ve completed your events, you can download a certificate and web badge to recognize your organization and your workers.

“There are many opportunities to play a role in achieving greater workplace safety, and our dedicated members are at the heart of it all,” Cecich said. “They utilize their passion and expertise to implement safety and health management systems at organizations in the United States and globally. But it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together, so everyone should take the time to make an impact on an upcoming safety campaign.”

California Laws Important This Summer of 2015

10 May

California continues to lead the way in expanding the rights of employees and obligations of employers in the workplace in many areas. This should come as no surprise to employers and HR since the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) extends protections to almost 20 protected classes and California provides employees with more than one dozen types of leave.
Here are areas that California employers everywhere should take note of as summer 2015 approaches:
1. Paid Sick Leave
Cities around the nation have been active in enacting paid sick leave measures but so far, only three states, including California, have passed paid sick leave laws. Under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, covered California employers must provide paid sick leave to any employee working in California for 30 days at an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
The law takes effect on July 1, 2015, and it is critical that all California employers be aware of its stringent recordkeeping, notice and posting requirements and update their employee handbooks and paid time off policies accordingly.
2. Abusive Conduct
Awareness of workplace bullying is on the rise, yet no state has enacted a law specifically addressing abusive conduct in the workplace. However, under a new California law that took effect on January 1, 2015, covered California employers required to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors are now also required to include specific harassment training on abusive conduct.
Abusive conduct is conduct that “a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” It may include “repeated infliction of verbal abuse… verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.” The law does not create a private cause of action for abusive conduct, but it does require employers to revisit and revise their sexual harassment training to add an abusive conduct component. Don Dressler Consulting provides this training at your location for your supervisors and managers, as well as all employees, if requested.
3. Heat Illness
If you have any employees working out of doors, including truck or other vehicle drivers operating non-air-conditioned vehicles, the company must have a written heat illness prevention plan detailing how it provides training about heat illness, access to plentiful cool drinking water, cooling off periods for employees showing signs of heat illness, and emergency plans when illness occurs. Heat conditions can be a problem at any temperature, but specific rules apply at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and more stringent high heat rules apply at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Increased Protections for Immigrant Workers
With the US population becoming more diverse and immigrants entering the workforce at rapid rates, California has passed several measures in 2015 specifically providing increased protections for immigrants and foreign workers, including new laws:
• Prohibiting employers from reporting, or threatening to report, a worker’s (or the worker’s family member’s) immigration status or suspected immigration status to a government official because the worker exercised a right under the California Labor Code;
• Expanding the definition of an unfair immigration-related practice to include threatening to file or filing a false report or complaint with any state or federal agency;
• Prohibiting employers from discriminating, retaliating or taking adverse action against employees based on a lawful change of name, social security number, or federal employment authorization document;
• Making it a violation of FEHA for an employer to require an individual to present a driver’s license, unless a driver’s license is required by law; and
• Amending FEHA to specify that “national origin” discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of possessing a driver’s license issued by the state to undocumented persons who can submit satisfactory proof of identity and California residency.
To keep up to date with California law and to ensure you are in compliance, ask to be added to our The Bottom Line e-newsletter, produced by Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com.
You can sign up by sending us an email or going to our website at http://www.dondressler.com

Time To Complete Your OSHA 300 Summaries

28 Jan

It’s the time of year to be filling out your OSHA 300 Annual summaries – as they are to be posted between February 1 and April 30 of every year.
A new Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Appeals Board decision makes accuracy and thoroughness important. In a decision issued December 24, 2014 (Merry Christmas to you!) the Cal/OSHA Board upheld a citation for an oil service provider for failing to fully complete the log of workplace injuries.
Cal/OSHA regulations require employers to log all work injuries. In this case, the employer filled out the log, but failed to complete the part of the form indicating “the object which caused the injury” or column F of Form 300. In upholding a fine against the employer, the Board stated, “filling in Form 300 to record injuries means to fill in all of the information called for on the form.”
(Key Energy Services LLC 13-R4D3-2239, Dec. 24, 2014)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 300A, is the summary of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year. Unless you have 10 or fewer employees or fall within one of the industries normally excused from the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSH Act) recordkeeping and posting requirements, you’re required to post OSHA Form 300A (not the OSHA 300 form/log) annually from February 1 to April 30.

A complete set of Cal/OSHA 300 forms, including instructions, is available at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/reckeepoverview.pdf. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, and real estate sectors is posted on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov

If you need help either completing your OSHA Summary or in other OSHA compliance matters, our team of consultants at CalWorkSafety.com and Don Dressler Consulting are here to help. Check our websites at: http://www.CalWorkSafety.com and http://www.DonDressler.com

How You Can Make Safety Happen

7 Sep

Safety “happens” if you take the actions to make a hazard free environment. Don’t walk by an unsafe condition – or ignore someone’s unsafe act. It may be taking the time to pick up something from the floor, comment on a loose handrail or a missing machine guard. You may see someone bending at the waist to life a box.
As Carl Potter writes in I am Safe “Whatever it is, do what you can to take care of it yourself. If you can’t, let someone else in authority know about the situation.”
Why not start today? Set an example of responsibility to fix or respond to every safety hazard you encounter.

If you would like some help or specific ideas, just contact us at CalWorkSafety.com or Don Dressler Consulting. Visit our websites: http://www.calworksafety.com and dondressler.com.