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Portable Generators

Whether keeping the lights on at a jobsite or powering tools in remote locations, the portable generator has found its way into most industrial applications. Like any tool, it is important to know the hazards and limitations to prevent mishaps. Review some of the suggested safety tips below and see how safe your practices are around generators.

  • Only run the engine outdoors with plenty of ventilation. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, an odorless gas which binds to hemoglobin in the blood, preventing oxygen from being transferred to the body. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, nausea and sleepiness.
  • Always shut down the engine prior to making or removing connections.
  • Never attempt to move a running generator.
  • Always shut down the engine and allow it to cool before refueling.
  • Never overfill the tank. Only fill within ½ inch from the top of the tank to allow for expansion.
  • Make sure that hot exhaust gases are never directed toward anything flammable or explosive. Keep the generator at least 3 feet from any buildings or structures.
  • Consider using a spark arrestor over the exhaust if operating in an area of dry grasses, brush or forest.
  • Be sure you know how to stop the engine quickly in the event of an emergency.
  • Familiarize yourself with the sound output ratings of your generator and wear hearing protection, if required.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near the generator while it is in operation.
  • Never attempt to connect power to a building unless a licensed electrician has installed an approved transfer switch.
  • Test and reset the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter monthly.
  • Remove all electrical connections and the negative lead to the battery before attempting any type of service to the generator.
  • Always make sure the system is properly grounded before operating. Never connect the generator output neutral to the ground or frame.
  • Know which parts of the generator become hot when running. These areas are not only burn hazards, but the involuntary jerk from touching a hot object could cause your hand to contact a high voltage area resulting in shock.
Questions to Generate Discussion
- Does your generator produce enough sound to require hearing protection?
- Why is it hazardous to refuel a generator while it is operating?
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Annual Adjustments to OSHA Civil Penalties

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor has announced adjustments to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) civil penalty amounts based on cost-of-living adjustments for 2021.

In 2015, Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment and Improvements Act to advance the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and to maintain their deterrent effect. Under the Act, agencies are required to publish “catch-up” rules that adjust the level of civil monetary penalties, and make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation no later than January 15 of each year.

OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $13,494 per violation to $13,653 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $134,937 per violation to $136,532 per violation.

Visit the OSHA Penalties page for more information. The Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2021 final rule is effective January 15, 2021, and the increased penalty levels apply to any penalties assessed after January 15, 2021.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Brandon Black - (515) 577-5198 or Brandon@IowaCSSI.com 
Michael Messer - (319) 572-3595 or Michael@IowaCSSI.com
Mark Wieland - (515) 577-7622 or Mark@IowaCSSI.com
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WORKSAFE is a partnership between Master Builders of Iowa and Iowa OSHA, with safety services provided by Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. For more information on the WORKSAFE program or for safety inquiries, please contact one of the CSSI safety professionals at info@iowacssi.com

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