OSHA: Inhalation of very small (respirable) crystalline silica particles puts workers at risk for silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease. OSHA recently released a proposed rule to protect workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, and to bring the currently 40 year old permissible exposure limits into the 21st century. To see a comparison of a 2013 video on the hazard and a film clip from 1938, and to learn more about how you might be affected by Silica in the workplace, follow this link: OSHA.GOV/Silica.
GHS - do you have it? OSHA requires that all employers with chemicals in the workplace have Globally Harmonized System - Hazard Communication training by December 1, 2013. That's only 2 more months! There's an online course that can help you. We know it's good - we wrote it. Check it out here: hazmatschool.com/HazardCommunicationwithGHS.
CDC: September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. One area that we don't often think about is the transportation of children with special needs during emergencies. Moving people with special needs is often difficult. Add to it an emergency situation, and it might spell disaster. However, the same Emergency Preparedness rules apply - be informed, make a plan, get a kit. To read more, click here: CDC.GOV PreparednessforSpecialNeeds
NFPA: A currently "hot" topic is the issue of active shooters in the work place. An interesting aspect of this is the role played by the fire service in mass casualty shootings. There is interesting information in the following article about Incident Command and Unified Control. You can read more on the topic here: NFPA.ORG FireServiceInMassShootings
Fire Prevention Week: The NFPA promotes the National Fire Prevention Week with free ebooks for children and teachers, and information for the whole family. This year's topic is Preventing Kitchen Fires - the room where more fires start than any other room! Find more information on the NFPA Fire Prevention Week page, here: NFPA.ORGsafety-information/fire-prevention-week. We will highlight some fire safety and prevention tips in our weekly safety tips during October. Are you signed up to receive the free tips? If not, you can sign up here: SCM-safety.com TipoftheWeek.
Ron Ganttis a 2013 National Safety Council's Rising Star of Safety: The NSC's Annual Congress and Expo will be held this week. One of the events is to recognize a group of Young Professionals of the safety world who are Rising Stars. Ron Gantt, CSP, ARM, CET - SCM's Vice President will be recognized at this event. Please help us congratulate Ron! If you want to learn more about this conference, follow this link: NSC Congress and Expo.
Paul Gantt is now a Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)! He recently added this to his list of accomplishments. Paul has long been a construction trainer, consultant and expert witness - he just now has the certification to prove it.
SCM-safety.com: Our newly updated website is live! And it is alive with new features and some old favorites. The information about our services is clearer and easier to follow. You can sign up for our classroom training (schedule is below) online (linked: http://www.scm-safety.com/class-schedule/) - or still call our office at 925-362-2265 for personal service. Current safety related news, updated daily, are available on our news page: http://www.scm-safety.com/industry-news/. You can still find the weekly safety tip of the week - linked here: http://www.scm-safety.com/tip-of-the-week/. And of course, you can meet our SCM Team, find information about our online courses, or order a copy of our textbook. Our personal favorite feature is our new blog (http://www.scm-safety.com/blog/) - details to follow (next paragraph).
SCM Safety Blog: We now have a weekly blog on current safety related topics. Unlike our safety tip of the week or newsletter, it is not emailed to you, but is posted on our website regularly. We have printed a recent blog in this newsletter for your convenience. Bookmark this page to follow along and read more: http://www.scm-safety.com/blog/
SCM Classroom Training:
The following training programs will be held at the SCM Training Center in San Ramon. Call 925-362-2265 to register or use this link to register online:
Oct 4th - HAZWOPER Refresher: 8 AM to 5 PM $165
Nov 1st - Hazardous Waste Handler (RCRA/Title 22) 8 AM to Noon $125
Dec 6th - HAZWOPER Refresher: 8 AM to 5 PM $165
Dec 9th to 11th - HAZWOPER 24 hour: 8 AM to 5 PM each day $495
Dec 9th to 13th - HAZWOPER 40 hour: 8 AM to 5 PM each day $595
Dec 12th to 13th - HAZWOPER 16 hour: 8 AM to 5 PM each day $195
NOTE: 10% discount for returning students and ABAG members
Like to play poker? Want to support needy children at Christmas? SCM hosts our annual Santa Poker on Saturday, December 7 at Casino de Gantt in Alamo, CA. Free Food served at 5, Cards dealt soon after. All proceeds go to provide Christmas for children who might not have one otherwise.
SCM is a proud support of:
Children's Skin Disease Foundation
Bring Change 2 Mind
FIRE PLANS -
PREVENTION OR PROTECTION
Preventing the Second Fire
October is National Fire Prevention Month. Your children may be bringing home information about it. You might even put up a poster in your workplace. But what does fire prevention mean? Prevention is, according to dictionary.com, "the act of preventing; effectual hindrance." So what we are talking about here is hindering or preventing a fire from starting.
The same site gives the definition of protection as "the act of protecting or the state of being protected; preservation from injury or harm." Using that definition, protection from injury or harm implies or suggests that something that could cause injury or harm is already present. In other words, fire protection has two messages. Preventing the fire from starting and also protecting us from the effects of that fire. We sometimes call this the "second fire." Some of what we do in our programs protects us by preventing the first fire from starting, and then some of our actions prevent that fire from having as devastating effects as it might otherwise have. Consider that an alarm system or an automatic fire sprinkler don't prevent the first fire from starting. Instead, they prevent the consequences of that first fire from occurring.
And, OSHA requires that you have a fire prevention plan in 29 CFR 1910.39, where it says, "An employer must have a Fire Prevention Plan.... A Fire Prevention Plan must be in writing...." Want to make sure we got that right? Here's the link to the regulation: 29 CFR, Part 1910.39.
So what? Why are we talking about fire prevention plans? Because we at SCM have experience in talking and consulting with many clients that (a) many do not realize they need to have fire prevention plans and (b) if they do know they need a plan, many are confused about what is required.
Most of us agree that fires are hazardous. We don't have to touch too many things that are hot or get to close to a barbecue or campfire to know that we could get burned. OSHA's primary concern is to keep workers safe. So they want to prevent a fire from happening. So an OSHA required plan will include what they think will keep you and your workers safe. If you think about it, if you want to keep someone safe, not having a fire is more effective as it eliminates the hazard.
What are those things that OSHA requires? We are going to list what is required in the regulation, with brief explanations of what meeting that requirement looks like. These are all taken from 29 CFR 101.39 (c), minimum requirements for a Fire Prevention Plan.
1. What could cause a fire at your workplace? List what you have that is flammable or combustible. If you are not sure, read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
a. A subpoint to this one is to describe how you are going to store and handle these materials so that fires don't get started. This is the prevention stage, so is more effective.
b. A second part of our planning is to identify how are you going to protect the workplace if a fire does get started - the effects of what we called the "second fire." This could include the placement of fire extinguishers, maintenance of our automatic fire sprinkler systems and ensuring that our exists are open and clear. These are essential parts of our fire protection systems that prevent the effects that a fire might otherwise have. This might also include no smoking rules, particularly in some states, such as California with more stringent rules about smoking.
2. Procedures to control accumulation of waste flammable and/or combustible materials. This could be solvents left over from cleaning processes, or oily rags. Are oily rags a hazard? Only when they spontaneously combust! Have you seen that happen? If not, here's a great video clip on youtube, produced by ABC News.
|Linseed Oil and Spontaneous Combustion|
3. Procedures for maintenance of safeguards that control heat-producing equipment.
4. The name or title of who is responsible to manage your fire prevention plan. Why is this important? Because if someone is not assigned the task, then it belongs to Nobody, Anybody, or Everybody.
5. Information - your employees need to be trained on these prevention tools. We have reviewed the training programs for some that believe they have trained on fire prevention by showing a video on how to use an extinguisher. Well, that's one small subpoint, but not the whole plan. Your Fire Prevention training plan should include ALL of these points. There's not a lot of them, but there's more than just fire extinguisher training.
6. Not in the above plan, but a component of your Emergency Action Plan is Protection - having posted Evacuation Plans and training your staff that should a fire start, evacuate the area, notify the fire department, and only attempt to extinguish a fire if you:
a. Have the right extinguisher for the type of fire
b. Know for sure the fire department is on the way
c. Have an exit immediately available at your back
d. The fire is no bigger than you are
Benjamin Franklin was a wise man. He once wrote about fire prevention that "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." We would offer that the "cure" was protection. We might paraphrase what Ben said as this - "The easiest fire to control is the one that never started." Your Fire Prevention Plan should be designed to do just that - prevent fires from starting.
A Depressing Statistic for an Occupational Safety Professional
Recently we were helping one of our clients with an annual event they have where they bring in family members of the employees and celebrate their culture (they really do have a great culture there). They have a barbeque, games, tours of the facility so the family members can see what they do there, and some presentations on safety with the hope of making people safer both at home or at work.
At SCM, although we are safety professionals, we often spend most of our time dealing with safety and health issues at work. There are lots of reasons for this that we don't need to get into in this blog. However, while researching for the barbeque we found some interesting statistics. Bear in mind that the client we were dealing with is a chemical manufacturer that essentially makes battery acid. So this is a high hazard industry we're talking about. But when you compare how safe the employees are at home and at work its not even close - the employees are much more likely to be hurt or killed while at home than at work!
Lets take a look at some numbers. The most recent firm data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is for 2011 (they just released the preliminary numbers for 2012, but the final numbers won't be released for another few months). In 2011 BLS reported 4,693 occupational fatal injuries in the US. That's almost 13 people per day dying at work. During that same year, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported 122,777 accidental deaths. This includes both occupational and non-work related. If you do the math that means about 96% of all accidental deaths are NOT work-related, and although about 13 people die at work every day in the US, over 323 people in the US die every day outside of work from accidents!
I must say that this is depressing for a safety professional. For all the efforts we expend to make people safe at work, doing risk assessments, training, prevention through design, audits, applying the hierarchy of controls with care, all of this could be meaningless the next time the employee takes a vacation and gets into a horrible auto accident (the leading cause of accidental death), they accidentally overdose on prescription medications (poisoning, the second leading cause of accidental death), or they fall from their ladder while putting up Christmas lights (falls, the third leading cause of accidental death). And this doesn't even include the hundreds of thousands of disabling injuries people get at home as well. If the human cost is not enough to convince you, the home accidents cost businesses billions of dollars in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
Clearly we have a problem here and, unfortunately, there's no clear solution. However, as safety professionals, we have to admit that our message of integrating safety into our daily lives isn't sinking in. There's many reasons for this, but the bottom line is that, as Abraham Lincoln says, "we must think anew, we must act anew." We have to start preaching safety 24/7 and we have to lead by example. In our trainings we should stress how the concepts relate both to home and work safety. Some organizations (like the one mentioned above) provide PPE and other safety equipment to employees for home projects, with the understanding that if you use it at home you'll use it at work. You can even provide employees with a home hazard checklist (like this one http://emilms.fema.gov/IS909/assets/07_HuntingHomeHazards.pdf)
and give incentives and rewards to employees who complete the checklist.
Whatever we do, we have to keep in mind that if we truly care about the safety of our employees, our care doesn't stop at the organization's front door. We need to think about how we can protect ourselves and our families wherever we go.