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OSHA's Top 10 Cited Violations Revealed

Posted 5:43 PM by

OSHA just released a list of their most cited 2017 violations and some of them may surprise you. 2017 saw a decrease in electrical violations and an increase in fall protection violations from 2016. 

 

 

 

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Let's Hear It For Safe Roofing!

Posted 6:38 PM by

 

Great example of safety in the field by one of our clients in Indianapolis. Here, our clients are wearing a fall protection harness and using cut-resistant gloves while using a cutting tool. That's what we like to see! Photo by: Ryan Bruner, safety consultant
 

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OSHA's New Silica Rule: Don't Be Left in the Dust

Posted 6:25 PM by

OSHA’s New Silica Rule: Don’t Be Left in the Dust

By: Mark Williams, Safety Consultant 

Beginning September 23, 2017 the long awaited OSHA silica standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) update will go into effect. The new standard has been redesigned with the purpose of providing workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica with the maximum protection possible. The standard is set up to allow employers to use predetermined compliance solutions (outlined in Table 1) or to design their own for their particular workplaces and job functions. With the new standard, employers must make some key changes to their silica policies in order to maintain OSHA compliance and provide their workers a safer environment in regard to silica exposure.

The update reduces the permissible exposure limit of crystalline silica from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an 8-hour TWA to 50 micrograms over the same. OSHA has put together a chart “Table 1” on recommended control practices for a list of commonly performed tasks known to expose workers to silica. For employers following the control methods in OSHA Table 1, no further air quality testing is required unless it is noted the Table 1 control method is not effective and noticeable amounts of silica dust are still present. For employers that elect to utilize alternative control methods, industry-wide objective data must be available demonstrating exposure levels are below the levels mentioned in the standard. If such data is unavailable, exposure assessments must be conducted to prove exposure levels are below the action level. Exposure assessments must be conducted and reviewed to determine if the control method is effectively reducing workers’ exposure to below the action level of 25µg/m3 .   

Where results do not reveal exposure levels are below the action level, employers must conduct ongoing assessments to monitor workers’ exposure levels and compare results while instituting other effective control methods.

Regardless of the exposure control method of choice, all construction employers affected by this standard must complete the following core steps:

 

·Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks which expose employees to respirable crystalline silica and the methods the employee plans to use to protect workers.

·Designate a competent person who will implement the exposure control plan.

·Train employees on effective practices to limit exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

·Adjust housekeeping practices to minimize worker exposure to silica dust by eliminating dry    sweeping and compressed and using a HEPA-filtered vacuum system or wet method.

·Provide medical exams to employees that are exposed to silica dust to such an extent that they  must wear a respirator 30 or more days a year.

·File and maintain records of workers’ silica exposure and any related medical treatment.

 

For more information on what this new rule means for your industry or company or assistance with compliance, contact Safety Resources, Inc.  

 

References:

 

OSHA.gov. OSHA Fact Sheet “OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule: Construction.”

Slowey, Kim. “What contractors need to know about OSHA’s new silica rule.” constructiondive.com. 22 Aug. 2017.  

 

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Are You Ready for OSHA's New Silica Rule?

Posted 2:15 PM by

OSHA’s NEW Crystalline Silica Rule for Construction

Is your Company Prepared?

Construction employers must comply with all requirements of the standard by September 23, 2017.

OSHA has issued a new standard to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica in order to allow employers to tailor solutions to the specific conditions in their workplaces.  About two million construction workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in over 600,000 workplaces. OSHA estimates that more than 840,000 of these workers are exposed to silica levels that exceed the new permissible exposure limit (PEL).

The construction standard does not apply where exposures will remain low under any foreseeable conditions; for example, when only performing tasks such as mixing mortar; pouring concrete footers, slab foundation and foundation walls, and removing concrete formwork.

The standard requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers. It provides flexible alternatives, especially useful for small employers. Employers can either use a control method laid out in Table 1 of the construction standard, or they can measure workers’ exposure to silica and independently decide which dust controls work best to limit exposures to the PEL in their workplaces. You can view a complete version of Table 1 at https://www.osha.gov/silica/SilicaConstructionRegText.pdf

Regardless of which exposure control method is used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:

·Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve  exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work  areas where high exposures may occur.

·Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.

·Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers where feasible alternatives are                available.

·Offer medical exams every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear    a respirator for 30 or more days per year.

·Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.

·Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

 

Table 1 matches common construction tasks with dust control methods, so employers know exactly what they need to do to limit worker exposures to silica. The dust control measures listed in the table include methods known to be effective, like using water to keep dust from getting into the air or using ventilation to capture dust. In some operations, respirators may also be needed. Employers who follow Table 1 correctly are not required to measure workers’ exposure to silica and are not subject to the PEL.

Alternative exposure control methods

Employers who do not use control methods on Table 1 must:

  • Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it may be at or above an action level of 25 μg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an eight-hour day.
  • Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit of 50 μg/m3, averaged over an eight-hour day.
  • Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL.
  • Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL.

 

 


 

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Happy Birthday Neil!!!

Posted 9:09 PM by

SRI throws the best birthday parties! We wish Neil Spaeth- one of our safety consultants- a very happy birthday. 

 

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Do you know where your utility installations are located? Knowing can save your life

Posted 4:26 PM by

The Importance of Utility Locates

By: Neil Spaeth, Safety Consultant

About Utilities

On a continual basis, utilities are involved in a vast majority of construction related activities including, but not limited to: excavation and trenching, the use of material handling equipment, crane lifts, and demolition. Per OSHA’s Excavation standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P, employers are required to:

- Determine the approximate location(s) of utility installations — including sewer, telephone, fuel, electric, and water lines. One common industry practice is to call 8-1-1, the “Call Before You Dig” number, to establish the location of any underground utility installations in the work area.

 

- Contact and notify the utility companies or owners involved to inform them of the proposed work within established or customary local response times.

 

- Ask the utility companies or owners to establish the location of underground installations prior to the start of excavation work. If they cannot respond within 24 hours (unless the period required by state or local law is longer) or cannot establish the exact location of the utility installations, employers may proceed with caution, which includes using detection equipment or other acceptable means to locate utility installations.

 

- Determine the exact location of underground installations by safe and acceptable means when excavation operations approach the approximate location of the installations.

 

- Ensure that while the excavation is open, underground installations are protected, supported, or removed as necessary in order to safeguard workers.

 

The Dangers of Not Knowing Utility Locations

Due to the continual efforts of improving or renovating existing properties, a number of hazards can present themselves if existing utility locations are not known prior to beginning work. This includes but is not limited to electrocution caused from underground electrical conduit and natural gas released into the atmosphere and surrounding work crews. In fact, if an operator or work crew is instructed to dig in an area in which utility locations are not known, the operator can subject themselves to an unexpected reaction leading to equipment failure or unstable soil.

 

In recent years, OSHA has stated that one of the leading causes of excavation or trenching related injuries is not providing a protective system. This includes pre-planning involving the location of nearby utilities. 

 

 

                                                  

 

Methods of Protection

        Locate Utilities

811 is an available resource with an office in each state. With proper pre-planning, 811 can provide services to locate the approximate location of each utility.

        Plan, Plan, Plan

Prior to beginning work, develop a site specific safety plan outlining each step including: locating each utility, digging methods, spotting and communication efforts. After this is developed, a good plan of action is to communicate this plan with the work crew prior to each day’s digging activities.

        Never Assume

A best practice to communicate to your work crews, particularly when dealing with utilities, is to ensure that the prior steps are being taken to protect each worker. This might include a company-specific practice involving Lockout / Tagout strategies, or the utilization of monitoring equipment while on the job site.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The importance of workers donning personnel protective equipment (PPE) takes on an added dimension with the threat from hidden utilities on the jobsite. Many manufacturing facility managers, owners, and employees are unaware of the fire hazards from combustible dust. These hazards are found in environments where workers can sustain life-threatening burns from natural gas explosions, flash fires, electrocution, and flying particle hazards related to pressurized equipment. PPE is a necessary precaution and strategy used as an added layer of protection. The most useful strategy in selecting the correct PPE is to conduct a workplace job hazard analysis of each job title to ensure each hazard is known, evaluated, and prevented.


 

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Nationwide Consulting

Posted 7:17 PM by

Did you know we offer consulting nationwide? One of our consultants captured some great photos while he was working with one of our clients in Portland, OR. 

For a list of services we offer nationwide, visit: http://www.safetyresources.com/services-page .


 

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