Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

A workplace injury, no matter how severe is something that is easily preventable by following safety procedures at all times, the proper way. From mopping the floor, to navigating scaffolding on the side of a building, the employer’s job is to train their employees to always work safely, following the proper guidelines. The following situations have been taken from true stories that show that even a split second of not following the rules, led to severe injury and even death for some employees.

 

Scaffolding Fall

A 22-year-old ironworker was three stories up on some scaffolding, it was time for lunch and he started working his way around the building to come down. He unclipped his safety harness temporarily since it was just a short 1.5 foot leap to the next spot. That spot was wet and caused him to slip and fall 33 feet, straight to the ground. He suffered 18 broken bones, a broken pelvis, collapsed lung, and dislocated three fingers. Miraculously he survived, and even walked again, which many people can not say they’ve been so lucky. No matter how heavy, or inconvenient fall protection may be, it is SO important to wear it properly at all times, to avoid falls like this.

Conveyor Belt “Shortcut”

A young woman worked in a paper mill during college, and had been learning the ins and outs of the job and seen a lot of her other coworkers take a shortcut through the mill that required stepping over the conveyor belt that runs through the whole building. If everyone else did it so often, it must be okay, so she decided to take the shortcut. Her foot stepped right into the wrong place, where the conveyor belt collided and she was dragged along the ground to a point where her foot was being pulled through a hole no foot would ever fit through. Screaming for help, a fellow coworker was able to stop the belt and rescue the worker. The maintenance crew had to disassemble the machinery around her foot to free her. The damage was so severe she had her leg amputated from the knee down. This is a prime example of why safety training is not only important, but it’s important to hold your coworkers responsible, and speak up if anything seems unsafe or out of the ordinary. Do not follow the crowd if something seems unsafe.

Tragedy at Disney

In March of 2019, a 58-year-old man passed away while working a job at Disney’s Epcot Center. He was in an elevated cherry picker, attempting to load it into a pickup truck, when he was witnessed tumbling from the basket to the ground. He was found deceased from head trauma by rescue workers. It was found he was NOT wearing any safety equipment. This is a tragic loss, and a terrifying scene for onlookers to witness. A cherry picker is a device that elevates a person in a basket with a mechanism not unlike a forklift that will bring them in a basket to reach higher areas. A safety harness should always be worn and attached to the basket at all times. This small and effective safety measure would have saved his life.

Forklift Fatality

An employee in Wichita, Kansas was fatally crushed by part of a forklift at a drywall company facility. After an OSHA inspection, it was found the hydraulic boom hosit cylinder came loose from its supporting slings and landed on the employee. Serious violations of forklift, machine guarding, and control of hazardous energy standards led to proposed fines of $77,604 to the company via OSHA representatives. “Employers must take proactive steps to ensure that suspended and supported loads are properly secured at all times, and that employees are kept clear of such loads,” said OSHA’s Wichita Area Director Ryan Hodge. “Companies should implement a comprehensive safety and health program that addresses recognition of hazards, safety precautions, and safety training.” View the news release for more information.

Crane Collapse

Another citation was given by OSHA this year to a contractor working on a New York construction site who failed to ensure an employee was trained, competent, and knew of the weight limits for a mini-crane that ended up overturning and falling four stories on the construction site, gravely injuring two ironworkers. The supervisors were charged with assault in the second degree for their severe negligence in supervising this team that could have cost the lives of many workers. Kay Gee, OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office Director said, “This employer knowingly put workers at risk by failing to ensure that the crane was operated by a competent person, effective training of employees, knowledge of equipment’s limits, and correct operation of equipment are critical to preventing injuries.”

Employers need to ensure their employees make safety their #1 priority, are trained thoroughly, and pass all necessary checks before operating any machinery or taking part in an hazardous workplace activities. In the same way, employees need to hold their employers accountable for safe practices, and following OSHA compliance. Never be afraid to speak up, or refuse to use unsafe equipment. It could save your life.

 

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

If you work in an industry that requires safety inspections and OSHA compliance workspaces, you may often visit sites that require these things, or you work for a company that does these things. OSHA standards are divided into four basic categories based on different industries. They include general industry, construction, maritime, and agriculture. If your company lies within any of these categories, it’s very important to know that a company has gone through the proper steps to create an OSHA compliant workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 says, “To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.” No one should ever be injured, fall ill, or die because they were trying to get a paycheck.

OSHA compliance and workplace safety begin with the employer. Employers have a responsibility to create and maintain a safe work environment for themselves, employees, contractors, and visitors. Employers are responsible for providing the following:

  • A workplace free from serious recognized hazards
  • Safe, properly maintained tools and equipment
  • Necessary signage and labels on all potentially hazardous materials and areas
  • Updated operating procedures, and safety and health requirements
  • Safety training for all employees, in languages they can understand
  • Safety training on all hazardous chemicals, with accompanying safety data sheets
  • Post applicable OSHA posters in prominent locations for all employees
  • Keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses, and allow employees, current and former, access to that log

More information and responsibilities can be found here.

 

A few things to know about OSHA compliance

A small business with 10 or fewer employees is exempt from many of the OSHA rules and standards when it comes to recordkeeping and compliance. Industries considered low-hazard are also exempt such as, retail, finance, insurance, real estate.

 

Common Violations

The most common workplace violations after an OSHA inspection include, but are not limited to, the following:

Improperly Labeled Hazardous Materials

Hazardous chemicals that are flammable, carcinogenic, and reactive need to be properly labeled so hazards are visibly seen. This includes propane, chlorine, and other everyday items. This is especially important in laboratories and job sites where explosive materials need to be stored appropriately and safely. Hazard communication standards must be trained to all employees, and all appropriate signage, warnings, and labels must be posted to be OSHA compliant.

Scaffolding Not Meeting Standards

The complex scaffolding you see on sides of buildings of construction zones require proper construction with suspension ropes and appropriate counterweights. A study done by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that of all the scaffolding injuries, 72% of the workers slipped or their support gave way.

Slip and Fall Protection

One of the most widespread workplace concerns for safety is slip and fall protection. This stems across all varieties of industries, in both office settings and on-the-job sites. The OSHA standard requires employers to maintain safe walking surfaces and areas surrounding them, such as steps, handrails, elevator platforms, etc. Anywhere people are walking, needs to be free of cracks, change in elevation, spills, etc. The National Floor Safety Institute states that slips and falls account for over 8 million emergency room visits per year, are the primary cause of lost days from work, and are the leading cause of worker’s compensation claims. Preventing these from happening to both employees and visitors is key to protecting your company and its workers.

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection can also apply to multiple industries, not just those in laboratories or construction zones. Anything from dust, fog, smoke, sprays, dust from mixing dry ingredients, and solvent vapors – even from paint, can all cause sickness or death when inhaled. OSHA signage, labeling, and respiratory protection devices should always be used and displayed for all employees.

Electrical Problems

If you work at a business, this applies to you, unless you work in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity. This standard takes a lot of time to read through and determine what your site’s specific needs are to avoid electrical problems. The amount of electricity used, and types of electricity conducting materials vary per industry. Electrical wiring problems can stem from grounding circuits, temporary wiring, conductive materials, and more – and should be installed and maintained properly.

Non-Compliance Citations

Being cited for OSHA non-compliance is not only expensive, but can completely ruin a company’s reputation. OSHA defines five types of violations served for non-compliance. Serious, Other-Than-Serious, and Posting Requirements all cost $13,260 per violation. Failure to Abate also costs $13,260 but per DAY beyond the abatement date. Abate means to end or reduce something, so failure to end a violation will result in that fee per day until it is resolved. The third penalty is Willful or Repeated violation to the tune of $132,598 per violation. Ouch!

If you ever suspect a company is not following OSHA compliant safety practices and procedures, know that there are whistleblower protections through OSHA for anyone refusing to operate machinery deemed unsafe by safety standards, or reporting unsafe conditions to OSHA. It is always better safe than sorry. OSHA also provides support to businesses to ensure compliance. They offer free, confidential on-site consultation programs in all 50 states, D.C., and several U.S. territories. They will walk through and assist in establishing or improving the safety and health programs on the site.

First Response takes your safety very seriously and trains in OSHA compliant practices to keep your business safe, knowledgeable, and compliant. Contact us any time with questions or to schedule your in-house training that will leave a lasting impression with your employees.

 

 

 

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere

A confined space in the workplace is defined as being a space that is large enough for an employee to enter, but with restricted means of entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Types of confined spaces include tunnels, boilers, manholes, pits, tanks, pipelines, etc. The conditions of confined spaces categorize them as hazardous and may be associated with causing serious injury or death to workers if proper safety precautions are not taken. Which is why this is not ordinary safety training, and you must hire a professional to train employees on confined space safety.

Confined space training will teach your team how to identify confined spaces, follow protocol, and how and when to use all safety equipment. Employees must never, ever go into a confined space, permit or non-permit, before receiving proper training. First Response provides actual hands-on experience in a mobile simulator to put your employees directly into those dangerous situations, without the risk. It’s important to maintain composure, professionalism, and seamless prevention procedures in these situations, and what better way than with hands-on exercises.

Determining Permit Space Entry

A professional, confined space safety trainer will know how to determine if a space is a permit-required confined space. Permit spaces have a long list of things that could cause immediate danger on anyone inside, and this must be determined before anyone enters, or in some cases, even goes near the confined space.

As defined by OSHA, a permit-required confined space will have one or more of the following;

  • contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress

The confined safety trainer will show employees how and where to spot these hazards in confined spaces. A non-permit confined space does not have those extra dangers like potential hazardous atmosphere or potential to be engulfed by material within the space.

Determining Dangers that can Lead to a Collapse

A confined spaces safety specialist is going to know how to spot slants, angles, and lose ceilings that have the potential to collapse. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviewed hundreds of unfortunate confined space deaths, and out of 670 confined space deaths, the most common types of hazards were atmospheric conditions and loose material.

Though asphyxiation remains one of the top risks and reasons of death, a collapse endangers all involved from workers trapped beyond the collapse, to the injured worker, and rescue workers. Fully assessing the confined spaces and knowing how to spot a dangerous location within the space are crucial to maintaining an accident-free zone.

Knowing the Importance of Atmospheric Testing

Confined space training discusses the importance of atmosphere testing and how it will reveal what equipment will be necessary to work safely in that hazardous environment. In a confined space incident in 2010, perilous mistakes were made by not tasting the atmosphere that affected both the confined space worker and the rescuers that came. Firefighter rescue came to the scene of a worker lying at the bottom of a deep manhole, assuming he had fallen by accident, they began lowering themselves down the manhole to rescue. It turns out the low 2% oxygen levels had initially made the worker pass out and fall headfirst down the hole, due to him not testing the air beforehand. Because this knowledge was also not known to rescuers, they passed out on their way down, and they required rescue themselves.

The NIOSH in their investigation of confined space-related deaths found that 60% of these fatal accidents are of the rescue workers. Taking these precautions and helping managers receive training to properly identify, protect, and execute these types of atmospheric conditions is what a professional confined space safety trainer can do.

Proper Securing Techniques

A large part of safety training for confined spaces is knowing how to enter and exit the area safely. Many confined spaces may have only the one entrance and exit, and knowing how to utilize that safely can be a difference between life and death. Confined space training will include efficient monitoring of the confined space and proper ventilation techniques. Both of which involve making sure employees know how to identify danger before they enter, while they are inside, and while they are exiting the confined space. Properly securing the space, and themselves if they are repelling or climbing must be taught by someone who knows how these insecure areas work, and what to do when they fail.

How to Compose Oneself in an Emergency

A major part of the safety training includes teaching managers and their employees techniques on how to avert panic and maintain composure in an emergency. Knowing what to do and how to do it when faced with a situation will help save you from serious injury and may even save your life. In a small space, panic can set in, and it can be difficult to remember how to react in this time safely. Workers should leave the training feeling confident that when faced with an emergency, they know how to breathe, concentrate, and let their training take over.

It is very important to receive confined space training from an accredited, professional team of trainers who know everything there is to know about working in a confined space. The First Response confined space training includes four hours of classroom time, followed by a one-hour hands-on training experience. The classes can be done year-round, and will leave you and your team with OSHA certified training. Let us be the ones to give you the training you need to perform to the best of your abilities, and as safely as possible.

Dan Corrigan
Dan Corrigan

Even after 23 years of conducting training, we continue to build our business one satisfied customer at a time. Interest is generated amongst your employees by creating a fun learning atmosphere