Tag Archives: OSHA

Heat Illness – A Real Menace

30 Jun

Heat Illness

Workplace Safety Measures and Heat Illness Tools

Now approaching the summer season heat and as employers begin to return to work (RTW) after months of COVID-19 quarantine, they may be out of shape, out of practice on workplace safety procedures, and will be required to re-breathe hot air through face coverings.
As employers focus on COVID-19 RTW efforts, it is vital that they remain aware of risks of safety rule violations, injuries, and heat illness.
Prepare Employers & Employees for a Hot Summer:
  1. Have a Written Heat Illness Plan and a post a copy where outdoor employees are working. If you have not updated your plan in the past three years, it will not be compliant with Cal/OSHA’s current rules. Our CalWorkSafety & HR, LLC team can help you quickly update.
  2. Memorize these three words: Water – Rest – Shade. Ideally, workers require cool water as often as possible, but they may need sports beverages containing balanced electrolytes if they are sweating for several hours at a time. Employers should ensure workers can access shaded or air-conditioned rest areas to cool down as needed.
  3. New and temporary workers are most at risk. The body takes time to build a tolerance to heat (more than 70% of outdoor heat fatalities occur during a worker’s first week of working in warm or hot environments); building tolerance is called “acclimatization.” Our Heat Safety experts help companies create a Heat Illness Prevention Plan to ensure all employees are fully trained and acclimatized in the 1st work week.
  4. Indoor workers also suffer from heat illness. Kitchens, laundries, warehouses, foundries, boiler rooms and many other indoor work environments can become dangerously hot. Click below to view Cal OSHA’s workers High-Risk occupation list.
  5. Use engineering controls or modify work practices to protect employees. By increasing ventilation using cooling fans; scheduling work at a cooler time of the day; rotate job functions among workers to minimize heat exposure. Refer to the Best Practices OSHA resource.
  6. Familiarize everyone at your workplace with the Signs and Symptoms of Heat Ilness from CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention): and ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency. This includes:
  7. Common heat exhaustion signs present: dizziness, headaches, cramps, sweaty skin, nausea and vomiting, weakness, and a fast heartbeat. Heat stroke symptoms may include red, hot, dry skin; convulsions; fainting; very high temperature and confusion. Also: Pair workers with a buddy to observe each other for early signs and symptoms of heat illness … as well as Employees should call a supervisor for help if they believe someone is ill – and 911 if a supervisor is not available, or if someone shows signs of heat stroke. CalWorkSafety & HR offers training materials to help you!
  8. To help calculate the heat index at your worksite download the iPhone or Android device application – which provides specific recommendations for planning work activities and preventing heat illness based on the estimated risk level where employees are working.
  9. Ensure workers and supervisors know the location where they are working and how to direct emergency responders to your work site if needed.
  10. On high heat days, keep extra watch on workers health and stress need to drink water frequently and use cooling off breaks if needed – When the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool Features offers a visual indicator of the current heat index and associated risk levels specific to your current geographical location; Precautionary recommendations specific to heat index-associated risk levels; An interactive, hourly forecast of heat index values, risk level, and recommendations for planning outdoor work activities in advance; Editable location, temperature, and humidity controls for calculation of variable conditions and Signs and symptoms and first aid information for heat-related illnesses.
The Bottom Line
As Workers continue to Return to Work After a Prolonged
Absence Due to COVID-19
Employers should be more vigilant in refreshing employee training, especially as it relates to heat illness prevention and other safety requirements. Return to work may necessitate generalized retraining on core safety rules. We know that you will face challenging decisions during this national crisis. Please be assured that we are here to help you meet your evolving needs and thrive.

OSHA Inspections Are Serious Business

23 Sep

Starting this summer, Cal/OSHA has added over 40 new inspectors to its staff and their impact is already being felt.

The primary reasons employers are receiving inspections are being in a high hazard industry, having an experience modification of over 125 making them a high hazard employer, having had a serious injury which resulted in an employee being hospitalized or death, or a complaint being filed.

Not Too Hot to Handle: Tips for Preventing Heat-Induced Illnesses and Injuries

28 Jul

Late July brings some of the hottest temperatures of the year around the country, certainly we are feeling it in Southern California. So it’s a good time for some refreshing refresher training on how your workers can beat the heat. Also, we have Cal/OSHA regulations requiring a written plan for dealing with heat illness, training, providing water and shade for all outdoor employees, including truck drives and dock employees.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns that heat-induced occupational illnesses, injuries, and reduced productivity can occur with excessive exposure to a hot work environment.

Heat-induced disorders include:

Transient heat fatigue,
Heat rash,
Fainting,
Heat cramps,
Heat exhaustion, and
Heatstroke.

Aside from these disorders, heat poses the threat of injuries because of accidents caused by slippery palms as a result of sweating, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Severe burns can also occur as a direct result of accidental contact with hot surfaces and steam.

NIOSH has assembled a number of handouts and other resources with information on heat-induced occupational illnesses, injuries, and reduced productivity, as well as methods that can be taken to reduce risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides helpful tips as to how individuals can avoid heat-related illness. That advice includes:

Take extra care of new employees, as they have not become “acclimatized” meaning their bodies have not adapted to working in heat. All of us need to adjust when temperatures or humidity rise suddenly.

Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him or her how much you should drink while the weather is hot. Drink a cup of water every 15 minutes during the peak working and hot times.

Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar: These actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Cool off when needed, even a few minutes spent in shade or a cooler are can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Take a break in shade whenever feeling heat stress, even if it is only a short while. Do not wait until the official rest break.

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

Infants and young children
People aged 65 or older
People who have a mental illness
Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

Why It Matters

Heat illnesses can be very serious—even deadly.
Your workers need to know how to protect themselves from the heat both on and off the job.
As the summer wears on, workers may think they’ve gotten used to the heat and not be as cautious; continue to give them frequent reminders and brief training sessions all summer long to keep everyone safe.

Don Dressler Consulting can help you with writing your heat illness prevention plan, training materials, posters and other ways to keep your employees safe and OSHA compliant.

Just check our websites: http://www.dondressler.com and http://www.calworksafety.com

Federal OSHA Top 10 Citations Reported – Up 56% in 2013

3 Oct

Fall protection is once again the top OSHA-cited workplace safety violation with more than 8,000 citations. Fall protection is the annual leader in the OSHA Top 10 Violations list, which was announced Oct. 1 at the annual National Safety Congress in Chicago. The 2013 Congress marks the 100th anniversary of the National Safety Council’s charter.
The 10 top OSHA violations (along with the associated OSHA standard) are:

There were 42,502 violations in the OSHA Top 10 in 2013, a 56.3% increase from the 27,186 in the OSHA Top 10 in 2012.
This year’s Top 10 list differs only in the order of finish and in the number of violations. The first four remain unchanged from 2012, but there were almost 1,000 more citations in 2013 for fall protection than in 2012. Wiring methods moved from eighth to fifth on this year’s list, which machine guarding dropped from sixth to tenth.
“Today’s presentation reminds us that it’s very important to learn from the past and address these top violations to help make our workplaces safer,” said National Safety Council president and CEO Janet Froetscher
OSHA top violations in 2013

Federal and State OSHA Agencies Issued Over $ 2 Million in Fines in Recent Weeks

29 Aug

Companies across the nation in the past several weeks have  received OSHA citations and fines at a record pace, including a Hawaii food warehouse fined $251,000, a petroleum industry manufacturer fined $141,000, a Texas wood manufacturer fined over $148,000, a grain farm fined $127,000 for grain bin hazards and a Texas cabinet maker fined over $267,000 for combustible dust hazards.  Continue reading

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.

Fire Safety – Let’s All Learn from West, Texas

21 Apr

fire
The tragic fire and explosion of the fertilizer plant recently in the town of West, Texas should remind all of us of the importance of fire prevention and planning for fire safety. Such fire safety plans are also a requirement of OSHA.
Even if it were nor a compliance issue, it is a real, human issue. A fire department in America responds to a fire, somewhere, every 16 seconds!. Approximately 10,000 employees are injured every year on the job in work related fires. (Not to mention the approximately $4 billion a year in property losses to business from fire).
What does OSHA require:
1. A written plan
2. Identification for your business of the sources of fire hazard including storage of potential ignition sources
3. Some type of alarm system
4. Names and titles of persons responsible for maintaining equipment and systems to prevent and control fire
5. Names and titles of persons responsible for controlling flammable or combustible waste materials
6. Housekeeping procedures to control waste materials
7 Training of employees about fire hazards and what to do in case of emergencies
8. Maintenance plan for equipment and system.
Your own business may need fire extinguishers or other specific control systems, depending on location, facility design, etc.
If you need any help in preparing or updating your fire safety plan, contact your local fire department or email :DonDressler1@hotmail.com

If you need help in preparing

When A Work Related Injury Occurs

25 Oct

REPORT ALL INJURIES – TO YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURER. IF THE INJURY IS LIFE THREATENING – CALL 911
Once the injured worker is stabilized and sent to an MPN (Medical Provider Network) doctor, immediately call your Insurance Company to report the injury.
THE FIRST 24 HOURS ARE IMPORTANT
There are two key steps that must be followed once the injury is reported and treatment initiated.
1. EMPLOYEE CLAIM FORM (DWC-1)
You must provide the injured worker with the Employee Claim Form (DWC-1) within 24 hours of being notified of the injury. You must also provide the Medical Provider Network Notice (MPN Notice For Employees) within 24 hours of claim notification to the injured worker. MPN Notice For Employees
2. LOG OF WORK-RELATED INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Employers with 11 or more employees, except those industries classified as retail, service, finance and real estate are required to track records of work related injuries using the Cal/Osha Form 300.
RETURN TO WORK
Almost all injured workers can return to work the next day after an injury and do some type of activity. The difference to you as an employer is claims costs is tremendous. The average cost of a workers’ compensation claim, IF the worker comes back the next day is about $700. IF THE WORKER DOES NOT RETURN THE NEXT DAY COSTS AN AVERAGE OF $11,000!

New YouTube Video Available For Safety Training For Your Workers Regarding Heat Illness

20 Aug

The summer is not over, and employers have a continuing obligation under OSHA, particularly California employers under the Cal/OSHA heat illness prevention rules, to train employees about the dangers of heat illness and how to protect themselves. You have a new tool to help in that effort: an on line video on YouTube.com presented by Don Dressler Consulting and www.CalWorkSafety.com.

Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnrwrewOaGE.  This is a fast paced information packed video using power point material designed for your employees on the very first day on the job.