Archive for the ‘respiratory-protection’ Category

Eliminating The Top 10 OSHA Safety Violations from Your Workplace in 2016


Every year on the last week of September the NSC Conference has a big unveiling of the year’s 10 OSHA Top Violations, but when you look at the hard facts, much of those top ten OSHA safety violations have remained unchanged for quite a few years running. If these are the most troubling violations leading to injury and death year over year, why hasn’t there been more of an effort to make a change? Why wouldn’t we eliminate these workplace safety hazards from continuing to be a danger to workers? Where is the ball being dropped? Is it with OSHA, or with individual companies?

Here are some helpful tips that will help you eliminate top 10 OSHA safety violations from your workplace in 2016.

Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501), 7,402 total violations

Fall protection has been at the top of OSHA’s list for 5 years in a row, with much concern and attention paid to the impact it has on the safety of workers specifically in the construction industry. When working at heights of 10’s or even 100’s of feet in the air it is critical to ensure that your workers not only have the right fall protection supplied to them but that they also know how to properly use it before any work begins. Incorrect implementation of safety precautions and fall protection safety signs are just as dangerous if not worse than having none at all.

Want to learn more about fall protection?  Read Don’t Fall Out Of Compliance: What You Need To Know About Fall Protection

Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), 5,681 total violations

2016 will bring with it the final GHS deadline in June 2016. While it has been a long and difficult process to implement protocols all the way up the supply chain and stick to deadlines, once all is said and done, GHS compliance will have a great impact on osha safety standards and safety for workers who interact with dangerous substances on a regular basis.  Through cost reductions, productivity improvements and decreased instances of injury and illness GHS will begin saving a total of $745 million annually across all industries it has impacted.

Want to learn more about GHS? 

Read more about Symbols of Danger: Understanding GHS Pictograms

Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451), 4,681 total violations

In another issue specific to the construction industry, 72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents identify the planking or support giving way or slipping, or being struck by a falling object. Ensuring that scaffolding is erected properly before work begins goes a long way in protecting workers in addition to having regularly scheduled assessments,  proper implementation of osha safety signs and fall protection guardrails in place for those who will be working on or around scaffolding areas.  Enforcing PPE rules for those who will be working in these areas is also crucial when it comes to preventing struck by hazards caused by falling objects.

Want to learn more about Scaffolding? Read A Guide to Scaffold Use In The Construction Industry.

Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134), 3,626 total violations

2016 may become a year of big changes when it comes to respiratory protection as it concerns permissible exposure limits and the passing of OSHA’s workplace safety long awaited Silica rule. Outside of reducing the levels of acceptable exposures, when it comes to providing protections against chemicals that cannot be eliminated from work processes, selecting the proper respiratory protection can prove to be tricky. The most important step to selecting the correct respiratory solution for your workplace starts with have a good understanding of the substance you are trying to protect against. Not all respiratory protection is created equally and each workplace safety hazards come with its own rules and solutions for protecting your workers against them. Choose wisely and make sure your solutions properly fit your workers.

Want to learn more about respiratory protection? Read up on Respiratory Protection: Compliance Myths

Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147), 3,308 total violations

Number 5 on the 10 OSHA Top violations, Lockout Tagout often is an area that can easily become overwhelming for those in charge of keeping their procedures up to snuff. If one little thing changes, the whole procedure may need rewriting. However, never fear technology is on your side with many different procedure writing software’s and services available it is easy to get someone out to your facility and assist you in creating a plan that is sustainable and can be easily maintained.

Want to learn more about Lockout/Tagout? Read Are You Creating Effective Lockout Tagout Procedures?

Powered Industrial Trucks, General Industry (29 CFR 1910.178), 3,004 total violations

Forklift safety is only one piece of the pie when it comes to creating an effective powered industrial trucks safety plan. Realizing that these trucks are interacting with humans the battle of man -vs- machine is important to keep in mind (HINT the loser is always man). When creating a game plan to keep all workers safe consider the physical conditions of your facility; how pedestrian traffic will interact with truck traffic, and also if there are any hazardous areas that should be deemed off limits to forklifts such as areas that are enclosed or have little ventilation. Lastly, make sure that OSHA safety signs are properly implemented in your facility.

Want to learn more about forklift safety? Read Forklift Safety Best Practices: How Workplace Conditions Affect Safety Operations

Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053), 2,732 total violations

Ladder safety seems like a no brainer when you get down to it. Make sure it is in working order, that it is clean, and that it has secure placement before use. However, there is no way to account for the unexpected. A number of things could go wrong while climbing to heights at which a fall could prove fatal.  Ladder safety should not be overlooked and starts with having a clear understanding of the basic principles. But a workplace should always have fall protection safety signs in place and a backup plan when unexpected hazards emerge such as wind, flying objects, animals, ladder malfunction etc.

Want to learn more about ladder safety? Read Step up: Best Practices of Ladder Safety

Electrical (Wiring) (29 CFR 1910.305), 2,624 total violations

The misuse of cord and cables, uninsulated wiring and extension cords are where this violation saw the most offenders, with the silver lining being the number of total incidences for this standard are trending downward from 2014 to 2015. Other good news from OSHA shows that they are revisiting these OSHA safety standards for updates after 40 years of being untouched and on the books. Changes made to this 40 year old rule are thought to be able to save an additional 20 lives per year while preventing 118 other injuries.

Want to learn more about Electrical (Wiring)? Breaking Down the Regulation

Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212), 2,540 total violations

Losing an arm or eye because of exposure to blades, getting caught in a machine, or particles flying off of a machine are all causes for concern when it comes to machine guarding. When production timelines are tight, these are the times that machine guarding accidents are most likely to occur. When chaos ensues workers are more likely to begin to cut corners and could land themselves in a very dangerous situation. With the proper OSHA safety signs implementation and guarding in place facilities are able to eliminate the possibility of these life altering injuries from occurring. Protecting workers from points of exposure and improving anchoring of a fixed machine are two ways to improve any machine guarding safety plan.

Want to learn more about machine safety? An Introduction to Machine Guarding

Electrical, General (29 CFR 1910.303), 2,181 total violations

Improper installation or use of tolls and equipment are main concerns for the Electric Standard to round out the 10 OSHA top violations. As with the wiring regulations, OSHA is also putting a fresh set of eyes to this standard as well in hope to continue to drive incidents and violations because of this standard down.

Want to learn more about Electrical Safety? Preventing Facility Hazards: Electrical Safety Tips You Need to Know

It goes without saying that OSHA will have a busy year ahead of it in 2016 and with fines increasing by 80% and inspectors performing longer and more comprehensive audits, it is in the best interest of all facilities to do everything within their power to comply before OSHA safety violations occur or even worse—before injury or fatality occurs.

Need help assessing the safety needs around your facility? We can help. Click here.

Q&A: Creating the Best PPE Safety Program


PPE should be considered the last line of defense when it comes to protecting workers from the unavoidable hazards of their jobs, but let’s face it many companies rely on PPE to get the job done. When selecting, training your workforce and implementing a proper PPE Protection Plan, make sure you have answers to all of the important questions before making any decisions.

Q: What are critical components to any successful PPE program?

                A: A successful PPE program starts with a proper assessment of the hazard area to ensure that your selection of PPE is correct. While all areas of your facility should be assessed on a regular basis, if there is one in particular that has a high number of accidents and injuries and requires PPE while performing task, start with a hazard assessment to pinpoint an exact solution. Then move on to selecting the right PPE. Not all PPE is created equally make sure that the specification needed for the job are met by the piece of protective wear that you are selecting. Once your PPE is selected be sure to train your workers on its importance, the proper way to use it, and follow up with fit tests, proper care, and inspections to make sure that if the quality of the PPE deteriorates that it is replaced in a timely manner.

Q: How often should PPE programs be updated?

A: At the very least your PPE program should be audited and updated on an annual basis to remain in compliance with OSHA regulations. However, many safety authorities recommend making regularly scheduled updates throughout the year or as needed.

Q: Does PPE have to be tested/inspected?

                A: Outside of annual updates, PPE must be regularly examined by a qualified worker to make sure that it is still performing to the standard it should be as stated on manufacturer labels. Simple maintenance should be done by the user such as cleaning and proper storage.

Q: How should PPE be stored?

                A: All PPE does not have the same storage instructions. As a rule, the specific piece of PPE your workers are using should be stored according to the instructions that came with it. Depending on the type of PPE if not stored properly it could deteriorate more quickly due to exposures to elements like dirt, sun, heat, cold etc.

Q: Is it ok to share PPE?

                A: In general it is not a good idea to share PPE among coworkers. Outside of the obvious issues around the spread of germs and infectious disease, PPE often requires fitting it to the specific user. Unless specifically stated in manufacturer instructions it is advised against sharing PPE. Only having one user will also help in keeping clear maintenance and replacement records.

Respiratory Protection: Compliance Myths!


Respiratory protection continues to gain attention and concern in the court of public opinion as issues like permissible exposure limits, silica, and beryllium  come to the forefront of OSHA rule proposals for updates or new regulations. While these changes from an enforceable standpoint may not take effect for quite some time, the accountability still falls to safety managers, to make sure their workers are being properly protected, regardless of what outdated regulations imply. Workers continue to come forward who are now suffering the serious effects of not being properly protected while working in the presence of harmful chemicals or debris.

In doing your part to protect your workers from devastating respiratory diseases later on in life, learn from these common missteps when selecting the right respirator for the job.

One Size Fits All. Not true, and in fact one size does not fit most either. All employees need to be fitted specifically for their face. Those who have beards, wear glasses, or need to wear other pieces of PPE, all of these factors must be considered to make sure they are being properly protected. Fit tests should be performed on a yearly basis to make sure there has been no changes, or need for adjustment.

As long as you have one on you’re fine! The respirator you choose can’t just be any old respirator laying around. It has to be suitable for the contaminant you are trying to protect against. Not all respirators are created equally. If protecting against a known contaminant refer to the SDS sheet that should come with all chemicals. If protecting against an airborne contaminant, test your environment to determine the severity and the correct type of respirator that is necessary. Once your contaminants have been identified then proceed to select the correct filter, cartridges and canisters.

They last forever! Think again. The use, storage, inspection, cleaning, disinfection, and repair of respirators all are determining factors in how long a respirator will remain acceptable for use. The more contaminant and time that a respirator is used the quicker it will deteriorate.  Some respirators have replaceable filters while others are disposal meant for single use. Know the type of respirator you are using and be sure the properly inspect it before each use. If soiled or damaged play it safe and get a new one.

Put it on your face and go forth and conquer! Not everyone can wear respirators. Breathing through a respirator is often times more difficult. People with existing breathing conditions such as asthma or emphysema may find themselves unable to catch their breath. In addition those with claustrophobia may have difficulty.

For more information on understanding respirators and how to select the right one click here.

Get Familiar with Respirator Types

The first respirator has been traced back to the first century when Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79) described the use of animal bladder skins to protect roman miners from red lead oxide dust. Needless to say we’ve come a long way in terms of respirator technology but the goal remains the same: prevent harmful particles from being inhaled. Respirators today come in a variety of forms.


Nowadays, there are 4 popular kinds of respirators separated by how they work: mechanical filter respirators, chemical cartridge respirators, powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) and self-contained breathing apparatuses(SCBA).


Safety Threads: All PPE is NOT Created Equally


For every dollar spent on PPE OSHA estimates $4 are saved in costs from work-related health care and productivity losses. A coating, a textile structure, or interweaving of common place threads are all that stand between you and a life altering injury. Do you know exactly what goes into making these superhuman products? When developing products that will protect against hazards such as, a chemical spill, a fire, abrasion, or general workplace injury. There are many different approaches that go into protecting the end user.

Here are some important terms to know to help you better select your safety options in the future. When it comes to the selection of materials the rates below can differ depending on weight, density, weave, elasticity, and even color.

  •  Permeation rate: the rate at which the chemical will move through the material. For example a more tightly woven material will provide greater protection than a fabric you can see right through. The higher the permeation rate the less protective the material.
  • Breakthrough rate: the time it takes a chemical to permeate completely through the material. Breakthrough is measured using a standardized test ASTM F739
  • Degradation: measurement of the physical breakdown of a material due to contact with a chemical. The slower the rate the more protective the product is. Signs of degradation include swelling, stiffening, wrinkling, changes in color and other physical deterioration.
  • Inherent: materials that have resistance built into their chemical fiber structures. This can never be worn away or washed out. For example aramid fibers are lightweight and extraordinarily strong, with five times the strength of steel on an equal-weight basis.
  • Treated: materials that are made resistant by the application of chemical additives. These treatments wear over time and will no longer provide protection. For example polyethylene coatings are applied to materials to increase their ability to repel liquids, as well as dry particulates

It is important to remember that just because a product is certified doesn’t mean it is the best cost effective option. Naturally products with a longer breakthrough rate made up of inherent materials will cost more than treated products.

No industry is completely safe whether you work in healthcare, manufacturing, construction, mining, chemical handling; all of these industries come with their own set of dangers. Keep in mind, there is no single solution to protect against all hazards, make sure the product you are selecting matches the hazard you are protecting against.

Dress for Safety! Use PPE to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives!

Wherever there is modern industry, there is risk of accident and injury. And yet through this danger — some of it fatal — people literally build the foundations of modern society and economy.

It’s your responsibility as a business owner to attend to your workers safety as best as you can, and one of the best ways to do that is through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fall Protection

Protect yourself from construction’s top killer — a long fall!

Selecting the right kind of PPE can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why it’s usually simpler to match your choice of PPE with the threats your workers face.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) pays careful attention to every accident report, enforces safety standards, and regularly releases its own safety statistics. From their list of the top ten OSHA violations emerge the Fatal Four — the four most common causes of fatal accidents in the construction industry — and some PPE measures you can use to mitigate their dangers.


Spic-and-span: How to Clean Respirators

Investing in respirators is pointless if you can’t maximize their use. To effectively filter out air contaminants, make sure your respirators are squeaky clean.

North 7600 Silicone Full Face Respirator

TAKE HEED. Improper cleaning can damage your respirator mask.

As a universal rule, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If unavailable, you can adhere to these general guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to clean your full face respirator:


Ten For Safety: 10 Common Hazards Your Business Might Face

Miller Titan™ Harness/Lanyard Combo

Protect yourself from construction’s top killer — a long fall!

Through the construction industry, people literally build the foundations of modern society and economy. But construction is no lightweight craft. The risks construction workers face on the job are myriad; some of those dangers are even deadly.

That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which pays careful attention to every accident report and enforces safety standards, regularly releases its own safety statistics. OSHA standards set the tone for safety compliance, and making sure your sites and worker practices are in line with regulations isn’t just a good idea — it’s the law!

Check out the top ten OSHA violations, which are the most widely held potential causes of injury or fatal accidents in the country. When it comes to safety compliance, knowing which dangers your business should look out for helps you decide which items you need to invest in. Whether they are fall protection equipment or hazcom labels, it pays to know what your needs are.

Here are the ten most commonly cited violations of OSHA standards in Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013):


Danger is in the Air: Choosing the Right Respirators


Respirators defend you against hazardous fumes and particulates.

Most industries and businesses involve work processes and environments that are potentially dangerous to your respiratory system. Chemical plants, mining sites, and other similar facilities often produce by-products such as harmful fumes and excessive dust that, if inhaled, may pose health problems. Now, if you can’t ditch work, but coming in means facing loads of air-borne hazards, how do you protect yourself?

When danger is literally in the air, respirators are what you need, aside from safety signs. In fact, respirators and respirator signs are part of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard. As an employer, you are required to develop a respiratory protection program in your facility. If you still do not have one going on, you better start one now.

There are tons of things to remember though when it comes to choosing respirators. To help get you started and keep you on the right path, here are some points from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration you would remember well: (more…)

The Ins and Outs of Confined Spaces

In every aspect of life, you should know what you are getting into. Confined spaces are no different. Before you or your workers enter a confined space, you should be aware of the potential hazards and the ways to avoid them. Read the rest of this article before you barge into a confined space and risk your safety.

Confined Space Safety

Confined space products help you provide a secure and safe environment in areas with limited space.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines confined space as an enclosed area with limited means for entry or exit. If you look around, you will actually see a lot of confined spaces. You’d find storage bins, manholes, silos and mining sites, to name a few.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unfavorable natural ventilation in confined spaces could contain or produce dangerous air contaminants. This means it’s not ideal for you to stay inside a confined space for a long time. Other confined space hazards you might find are explosions, panic attacks, ear injury, and collapses, which are more common in mining sites.

So, how can you or your workers avoid these hazards? Follow these steps from the Mine Safety and Health Administration:

1. Test and monitor the atmosphere. Before you enter a confined space, test the external atmosphere for oxygen content, flammability, and toxic contaminants. Make sure the oxygen content is at least 19.5%, which is the MSHA standard. Use a safety belt if the air seems dangerous.

2. Purge and ventilate. To remove air contaminants, you need to purge the confined space by ventilating the area. You need to do this before anybody enters the site.

3. Conduct trainings. Identify the hazards involved. Familiarize yourself with the entry and exit procedures. Remember the location of the safety equipment and first aid supplies and how to use them.

4. Use safety signs. Remind people of the hazards by posting safety signs. Confined space signs should be posted in multiple locations within the area. Block the entrance when work is not in progress.

Danger Confined Space

Confined space signs clearly and effectively warn employees of confined space dangers.