Walking-Working Surfaces: November 2017 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:

Do I need to inspect the walking -working surfaces in my facility?

Answer:

Yes, according to OSHA’s revised walking-working surfaces rule. OSHA’s definition of a walking-working surface is any horizontal or vertical surface on or through which an employee walks, works, or gains access to a work area or workplace location. The employer must inspect the surfaces, regularly and as necessary, to ensure they are maintained in a safe condition. If a hazardous condition is recognized, the condition is to be corrected or repaired before an employee uses the surface again. If the correction or repair cannot be made immediately, the hazard must be guarded to prevent employees from using the surface. Hazardous conditions may include sharp or protruding objects, loose boards, corrosion, leaks, spills, snow, and ice. For more information on the revised rule, see Subpart D of 29 CFR 1910.

Brought to you by Ohio BWC safety consultants.

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OSHA Violence Requirements: October 2017 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:

What does OSHA require regarding violence in the workplace and active shooter programs and training?

Answer:

OSHA does not have a specific standard on violence in the workplace or active shooter/ active aggressor situations.  However, under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” An employer that has experienced acts of workplace violence, or becomes aware of threats, intimidation, or other indicators showing that the potential for violence in the workplace exists, would be on notice of the risk of workplace violence and should implement a workplace violence prevention program combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training.

There are many options to start on this journey.  The BWC has a half day violence in the workplace class and your BWC consultant or local law enforcement can help you create a policy.  Training can be done in-house, online or with your local law enforcement.  There are many companies that focus on security and violence in the workplace if you are interested in seeking other outside help.  Two well known training programs dealing with active shooters are:  The Department of Homeland Security’s: Run, Hide, Fight and the ALiCE method offered by the ALiCE training institute.

Brought to you by Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Insect Repellent & FR Clothing: August 2017 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:

Spray Safe: The Rules for Insect Repellent and FR Clothing

Answer:

With every new bug season, come swarms of new questions as to how to properly use insect repellent while wearing FR garments.

DEET is the active ingredient in many well known, and often used, insect repellents (liquids, lotions, sprays, wristbands, etc.). It is used to ward off biting pests such as mosquitoes and ticks – insects that may or may not be carrying far peskier diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.

The problem for those who work where there are arc flash and flash fire hazards? DEET is HIGHLY flammable. Any flame resistant clothing sprayed with it has the potential to ignite and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition hazard.

Do not spray DEET on your FR clothing.  Ever.

Brought to you by Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Securing a Machine Guard: July 2017 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:

What options do I have to secure a guard to a machine?

Answer:

You are required to attach guards to machines with bolts, screws, allen screws or other similar means requiring a tool to remove them.  Your other option is to install electrical interlocks which will cause the machine not to run if the guards are removed.  The availability of this option is dependent on the type of equipment and controls that are in place.  Keep in mind that your guard must not allow employees to reach around, under, over, or through the guard to access the hazard.  For more information, please see OSHA 29 CFR 1910.212 and ANSI B11.19 – Performance Requirements for Safeguarding.

Please contact your local BWC safety consultant if you are unsure if your machine is guarded properly.  They can perform a machine guarding assessment and offer recommendations to protect your employees from equipment hazards.

Brought to you by Ohio BWC safety consultants.

 

 

 

Anti-Fatigue Matting: June 2017 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:

I know there are not “standards”…but are there any recommendations concerning anti-fatigue matting for an employee who stands in one area a given length of time?

Answer:

There are no standards, but there here are some good recommendations:

  • First, check shoe wear – always recommend tuft gum sole, and heel – both provide support and are slip and chemical resistance
  • If you have an employee standing in an area more than one hour straight, a mat or other measures should be employed.
  • Or if an employee stands 50 % of the time on a job, a sit stand should be provided (if appropriate) or a foot rails to rest lower extremities, are a good option.
  • Anti-fatigue matting should be at least 1 inch thick – with tapered edges
  • Also mating needs to be placed on a preventative maintenance program for wear and tear issues.
  • Be sure the mat is easy to clean
  • Anti-fatigue mats are engineered to make the body naturally and imperceptibly sway, which encourages subtle movement of the leg muscles. This promotes blood flow and prevents stagnation in the veins – and, incidentally, burns more calories! So, what you’re looking for in a mat is one that’s not so hard it discourages muscle movement, but not so springy it requires too much energy to maintain balance, creating a different kind of stress.

There are 2 key words for prolonged standing risk factors – is the type of posture and repetition being completed by the employee.

The monthly Safety and Hygiene Corner is written by Ohio BWC experts for local Ohio Safety Council programs.