Tag Archive | "hazards"

Health & Safety Watch: NSC Lists 7 Common Workplace Hazards

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Health & Safety Watch: NSC Lists 7 Common Workplace Hazards

Posted on 26 April 2018 by cradmin

The National Safety Council (NSC) employs a team of consultants who visit worksites to run safety audits. They have seen a great many different types of hazards, but a few are spotted over and over again. In the agency’s magazine, Safety + Health, three NSC consultants relate the top seven workplace hazards in hopes that you can correct as many as possible before an accident occurs or you are visited by OSHA enforcement.

  1. Heights – Falling hazards are the most frequently cited by OSHA. This includes not wearing fall prevention PPE, not having proper railings, improper ladder use and non-compliant scaffolding. It is also important to have a written fall protection program.
  2. Housekeeping – Many worksites have unnecessary clutter blocking emergency exits, electrical panels and fire extinguishers. Trash, clutter and spilled liquids can also create slip-and-fall hazards. Time could be set aside at the beginning or end of shifts for cleaning.
  3. Electrical – Although blocked circuit-breakers and electrical panels are common, another electrical hazard often seen are related to the overuse or improper use of extension cords. Extension cords can create both trip hazards and shock hazards, especial when daisy chained together.
  4. Forklifts – Just like standard trucks and automobiles, one of the leading causes of forklift accidents is distracted driving. When forklift operators try to work too fast, they start taking shortcuts, such driving with too large a load. It is critical for employers and supervisors to react with authority when such instances are noticed.
  5. Lockout/Tagout – Lockout/tagout looks great in a written safety program, but often, operating procedures are ignored. This usually occurs for three reasons: complacency, rushing and being unfamiliar with the equipment. Even if all procedures are followed, injuries can still occur because of faulty equipment.
  6. Chemicals – A control system must be in place for all chemicals purchased and used. In addition, each employee must know how and when to use these chemicals. Sometimes chemicals are over ordered, which leads to expired, unstable substances. Injuries can also occur when chemicals are transferred between containers.
  7. Confined Spaces – Confined spaces are extremely hazardous. Employees can get stuck, or they may be exposed to a dangerous atmosphere. In most cases, a permit is required to access confined spaces. This is where planning really pays off.

While the above list is not comprehensive, checking your worksites for these hazards can prevent injuries, illnesses and even fatalities. For further information and for a free safety consultation, contact federal OSHA, your state’s OSHA or another state safety authority.

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Effective Safety Planning Part 3: Workplace Hazard Assessment

Posted on 25 November 2015 by cradmin

risk_assessment-780x780Over the past few months, we have been exploring how to create an effective safety plan for you and your employees. According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), developing and executing a comprehensive safety plan requires four key steps. Our last Health & Safety Watch focused on the first of these steps, management commitment and employee involvement, and this month, we delve into the second step of OSHA’s four-point workplace program: workplace hazard assessment.

For further information on job safety analysis, this article from Professional Safety, pub shed by the American Society of Safety Engineers, may help you get on track. In addition, OSHA Publication 3071 Job Hazard Analysis is one of the most useful resources on the subject.

Defining Job Hazards

OSHA defines a hazard as anything that has the potential to cause harm. Hazards are most often associated with job activities and conditions that, if left unchecked, may cause an injury, illness or even death. Before hazards can be abated, however, they must first be identified, acknowledged and defined.

The recommended method for discovering and categorizing workplace hazards is to conduct a series of job hazard analyses (JHAs). This standard practice uses job tasks to pinpoint safety hazards and where they could occur. This takes into account all of the factors that are involved in workplace injuries: employees, tasks, tools and conditions. Once hazards have been clearly identified, steps can be taken to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury or illness.

Common Hazards at Fabrication Shops

  • Toxic, flammable and corrosive chemicals
  • Electrical shocks and fires
  • Ergonomic strains and sprains
  • Falls
  • Heat, smoke and fire
  • Machinery and equipment with moving parts
  • Noise
  • Being struck or struck against objects

Steps to a Successful JHA

A successful job hazard analysis includes five general steps:

  1. Get everyone involved. Employee involvement is crucial to a successful JHA because each person has a unique perspective, understanding and way of performing his or her assigned tasks. This will help prevent oversights and give employees a chance to think about their own safety.
  1. Review the company’s accident history. You can discover a great many hazards simply by taking a look at accidents that have occurred in the past. If detailed reports have been kept, you will also learn what the employees were doing at the time and how the accidents happened. If hazard controls had been present, accidents are indicators that
  1. Perform a preliminary job review. Call in each JHA OSHA Advisor 7employee for a safety interview, asking them about the hazards they already know exist. Talk about ways each hazard can be eliminated, and if it can’t be eliminated, how it can be controlled. If any of these hazards pose an immediate threat, employees should not perform any associated tasks until steps have been taken to improve their safety. This is a great way to show how committed you are to workplace safety.
  1. Outline the steps and hazards for every task. Just about every job in a fabrication shop can be broken down into tasks, and each task can be broken down into steps. Rather than relying on each employee to write down the tasks and steps, they should be observed by a third party. There is no need to get overly detailed with long lists of steps, but be meticulous enough to ensure that all of the JHA OSHA AdvisorX 7basic steps are included. The next time the task has to be done, have someone else complete it to see if anything is done differently. You will also want to review the steps with employees so that nothing is accidentally omitted.
  1. List and prioritize all hazards. Make a list of all the hazards you have found in descending order of consequences and likelihood. The hazards that are most likely to occur and have the most severe consequences should be made a priority and eliminated or abated before unlikely hazards with mild consequences.

For a sample JHA form, click on the image to the right.

How to Identify and Analyze Hazards

When identifying and analyzing workplace hazards, you must be able to answer all of the following questions:

  • What is the hazard?
  • Where can it occur?
  • Who could be affected?
  • What are the consequences of the hazard?
  • How could the hazard occur?
  • What could trigger the hazard?
  • What are the factors that contribute to the hazard?
  • What are the chances the hazard will occur?

The answers to these questions should be documented precisely and consistently.

Tips for a Worksite Analysis

  • Perform routine safety inspections.
  • Have a comprehensive survey done by a third-party safety or compliance organization.
  • Create a system for conducting a change analysis when tasks change or new tasks are added.
  • Seek professional safety advice for new equipment and procedures.
  • Let employees know that you want them to report unsafe or dangerous conditions immediately.
  • Conduct a thorough investigation when an accident occurs.

Bonus Tip

If you are unsure whether you are in compliance with all federal and state health and safety laws, contact the OSHA office in your state or the federal OSHA office to schedule a free consultation.

If an OSHA compliance officer visits while you are scheduled for or in the midst of a consultation, he or she is legally bound to wait until you have had a chance to learn about and remedy any potential infractions. However, this does not work in reverse. If you are first visited by an OSHA officer, you cannot schedule a consultation until after the case has been closed.

Next month, we continue our six-part series in Health &Safety Watch with Effective Safety Planning Part 4: Hazard Prevention and Control.

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Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable

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Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable

Posted on 17 April 2015 by cradmin

With all of the attention the countertop industry continues to receive regarding silica exposure and the impending regulation changes,  we thought sharing this video produced by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) with the help of DuPont and Water Treatment Solutions, would be a good idea. “Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable” contains excellent information on preventing this terrible ailment. However, it also recognizes that no single video can cover every given situation and that each particular circumstance should be assessed and precautions taken according to the variables present, with erring on the side of caution being the wisest path. We recognize that the countertop industry has done an excellent job of addressing this disease largely through the information sharing and efforts of organizations such as the MIA and we here at CountertopResource.com would like to recognize them for their efforts. However, we feel for those who have suffered needlessly through this terrible and preventable ailment, and urge you all to be always mindful in all situations, whatever your capacity in a facility or operation in which there is the risk of silicosis, and put safety at the forefront.

A Spanish version of the Silicosis video can be found here.

You might also be interested in this video on the hazards of silica exposure.

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