Monday, July 4, 2016

Avoid Use of PVC Pipe and Water Hose Clamps With Compressed Air

Compressed air is a common source of power for tools and equipment utilized in many shops and at construction sites. And while we constantly fret about the hazards associated with many of the tools that are powered by the compressed air, we give very little thought to the piping systems and hoses we utilize to distribute the compressed air from the compressor to the tools. So allow me to alert you to three very common hazards (and OSHA violations) that I see when conducting workplace safety audits for customers around the country . . .

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Five Most Prevalent Myths About OSHA's Excavation Standard

My favorite class to teach is the Excavation Competent Person Training Course. Perhaps that is because it is one of the more relatively complex topic in the federal OSHA standard, and a lot of people seem to misunderstand what is (and is not) required to comply with the regulations. So I thought I’d address the top five most prevalent myths and misconceptions that seem to pop up repeatedly during the classes that I have taught, as well as during site inspections and interviews conducted as an expert witness in lawsuits involving trenching and excavation fatalities.

 MYTH #1“A protective system is not required to . . .
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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Do Not Overlook This One Last Deadline for GHS / Haz-Com

When OSHA updated their Hazard Communication (aka Haz-Com) standard back in 2012, many employers jumped into action so they could meet the mandatory deadline for training their employees about the new GHS criteria for labeling containers and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). And most employers have been assembling the new SDS’s that are issued by product manufacturers and distributors.  And hopefully everyone has updated their in-house container labeling systems to reflect the requirements in the updated Haz-Com standard. But there is one more deadline that employers have hanging over their heads, and it’s coming up VERY soon.
OSHA has given employers a deadline of June 1, 2016 to . . .

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Who Should Be The Next Director of OSHA?

When Donald Trump is sworn into office next January, one of his Presidential duties will be to nominate someone to serve as the new head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The last time this post came open, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), of which I have been a Professional member since 1992, endorsed the current director of OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, for that post. However, I do not recall anyone from the ASSE asking me for my opinion about Dr. Michaels or any other nominee for that matter.  So what I want to do right now is to get an early jump and provide my input for the ideal candidate to endorse when this job comes open. 

Right now I am sure many of you are probably saying out loud . . .

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Are Trenches Regulated as Confined Spaces?

I teach a lot of excavation competent person training classes, and more times than not I get the following question: “Trenches and other excavations are permit-required confined spaces, right?”

While a trench or other excavation may seem to fit within the definition of a confined space per the Federal OSHA permit-required confined space entry standards, the answer is “No, trenches and other excavations are not regulated by OSHA as permit-required confined spaces." However, employers are still required to follow certain precautions spelled out in the OSHA excavation standard (Subpart P) that are similar to those required when we conduct work inside a permit-required confined space; we just don’t have to utilize a permit.

First of all, why do I say a trench or other excavation is not regulated as a permit-required confined space?  Because Federal OSHA . . .

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Two Common Violations of a Vague OSHA Electrical Standard

The OSHA electrical standard I am about to discuss sounds very vague when you first read it, to the point it is very easy to ignore the deeper meaning. But beware - this particular OSHA standard can be violated in so many different ways. So I felt compelled to give examples of the two most common ways I see this OSHA electrical standard violated in this month’s blog.

The standard I am referring to is . . .
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Are There OSHA Requirements to Secure Pallet Racks?

Last month I asked readers for ideas we could discuss on the blog. And I was very pleased with the response. One follower submitted this commonly-asked question to be discussed:

QUESTION:  Where do I find the requirement to anchor pallet racking?

ANSWER:  You will not find that requirement specifically stated in the federal OSHA standards. About the closest thing you could cite from the OSHA regulations would be Subpart N – Material Handling and Storage, paragraph 1910.176(b) – which states that “materials shall not create a hazard”.  But that would be a stretch at best. 

There is, however, an appropriate reference document that could be (and often is) used by OSHA in conjunction with paragraph (5)(a)(1) of the OSH Act of 1970 (also known as the General Duty Clause) to cite employers for pallet racks and other types of industrial steel shelving (like pipe racks, bin storage racks, and parts shelves) that are not adequately secured from falling over. And that document is . . .

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