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Emedco SAFETY MATTERS - APRIL 2013

Distracted on the Job!

It's no secret that with ever evolving technology, social media and smart phones, often times many can't fend off the urge for a status update during the workday. Technology is a large distraction within the workplace however it is not the only distraction to be mindful of.

Even the slightest distraction of just 2.8 seconds long doubles the likelihood that an employee will make an error. Increase the length of distraction to 4.4 seconds, and the number of mistakes triples.

In positions where those errors could mean serious injury or even death, it is important to have policies in place to help curb the likelihood of these dangerous occurrences.

One of the most obvious but often overlooked distractions many encounter at work is stress and pressure. When workers are under pressure to get a job done quickly, they often shift their focus to completing a task, leaving safety as an afterthought. Personal conflicts and coworker chit chat are other common distractions.

While ridding the workplace completely of these distractions is impossible and in some cases detrimental to team moral and creativity, providing and enforcing guidelines will help to maintain safety as a top priority.


Ease Your Compliance Confusion

The essentials of OSHA's Adoption of ANSI Z535.5 2011 Workplace Safety Sign Format

We've noticed some are still unclear on the basics of OSHA's adoption of ANSI Z535.5 2011 standard for workplace safety signage. To make sure everyone is clear on this OSHA addition, we are breaking down its main points.

This compliance addition gives facilities the option of switching out their ANSI 1967 workplace safety signs, tags & labels for the ANSI Z535.5 2011 format, if they prefer to do so.

Both ANSI 1967 and ANSI Z535.5 2011 signs are accepted as adequate safety and hazard notification.

ANSI Z535.5 2011 format differences:

  • Emphasize legibility, hazard avoidance, and hazard consequences
  • Allows those responsible for facility safety to take advantage of the ANSI Z535.5 2011 warnings technology
  • New signs, tags & labels are part of a national uniform system for hazard recognition

Before you decide which format to use, consider the following:

  • The severity of the hazard and the likelihood of exposure
  • The literacy level of your workforce
  • Language barriers and multilingual workforces
  • What sign format already exists in the workplace

Product Spotlight: Traffic Signs

IMAGE COLLAGE HERE

Traffic signs are a key indicator of road conditions ahead. Whether it be a parking lot, back road or major highway being mindful of the signs along your journey will help adjust your driving for road type/surface, access points, traffic volume etc. ahead.

Emedco has a variety of traffic sign options no matter what the location may be, easily customizable to fit your individual needs.

Some examples include: Temporary road closures, work zones, a change in the normal flow of traffic, one way roads, and school zones.


Workplace injuries to become public record under new OSHA rule

OSHA is kicking around a new rule that would essentially require employers who employ 250 workers or more, to electronically file every serious injury that occurs on their premises. For employers who employ at least 20 employees, the rule would mandate that they e-file all serious injuries on an annual basis.

Currently workplaces are required to keep an OSHA log to record workplace injuries and illnesses, however the logs are not adequate because they rarely leave the workplace premises. This rule change would allow OSHA to keep better tabs on more workplaces.

Employers are not as accepting of this rule and are skeptical of its motives, arguing that releasing this information publically is just a way to "name and shame" employers.

Given the pushback around this proposed implementation the public comment period has been extended and the outlook on its implementation is still uncertain.

To read more about this OSHA topic click here.

Disciplining an injured employee for violating a safety rule at work

Some employers are arguing that OSHA’s new 11 ( c ) whistle blower claim policy on disciplining an employee for violating safety and health rules at work undercuts the use of such discipline and encourages employees to consider possible claims for retaliation. Employers argue that this new policy encourages workers to challenge discipline under claims of whether the discipline was proportional to the infraction, whether it was applied consistently to other employees and whether it was based on a vague rule.

This leaves companies between a rock and hard place of wanting to enforce their safety policies to keep their workers safe while fearing that such enforcement may lead workers to retaliate if disciplined for their infractions. OSHA has inserted itself into employers’ discipline policies leaving them in a precarious position under the argument that as long as companies are prepared to be able to answer the questions above there should be no problem when it comes to discipline.

To read more about this OSHA policy click here.


OSHA cites Schwan's staffing agency and service company for health and safety violations totaling $264,360!

OSHA has cited Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc. for 32 serious safety and health violations at its Atlanta facility with proposed fines totaling $264,360. Schwan's manufactures frozen foods sold under several brand names, including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts.

Inspectors found that the employers did not provide adequate training for employees to work safely with ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical used in refrigeration. The employers also were cited for exposing workers to unguarded machines and damaging noise levels, and for failure to provide properly fitted personal protective equipment. Citations for blocked and mismarked exits in hazardous areas, failure to train workers on controlling hazardous energy through standard lockout/tagout procedures during maintenance and services, and exposing workers to electrical hazards were also handed out.

The Minnesota-based company employs approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. The Atlanta facility, which produces dough, cookies and pie crusts for popular products, employs approximately 494 workers.

To read more about this OSHA citation click here.