Archive for Safety Standards

Company Recieves 14 Citations from OSHA

OSHA fined Integrated Laminate Systems a total of $49,000 after a February inspection found 14 violations including one related to employees being exposed to methylene chloride at the company’s production facility located in Cinnaminson, N.J.

“Methylene chloride exposure can have very serious health effects, such as cancer and cardiac distress,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s area office in N.J. “It is vital that the company takes immediate action to insure that employees have a safe and healthful work environment.”

The amount of methylene chloride employees were being exposed to were 1.02 to 1.28 times the permissible exposure level of 25 parts per million.  The company could have avoided the fine if it would have identified and evaluated the respirator hazard in the workplace and conducted air monitoring for employees, establish a respiratory protection program, required employees to wear the appropriate chemical coveralls and hand protection along with a supplied air respirator when working with chemicals, provide eyewash stations and showers and provide medical surveillance to employees working around methylene chloride.

Other violations the company received included employees being exposed to a crushing hazard while traveling on a work platform attached to a powered industrial truck, Class I flammables dispensed into containers that were not electrically interconnected to the nozzle and the use of flexible cords and cables as a substitute for fixed wiring.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.

OSHA’s Free On-Site Consultation

Do the myths about workplace safety have you worried about your company? Are you looking to improve your workplace health and safety standards? OSHA offers a free on-site consultation service that is available to small/medium-sized business and companies with high-hazard work environments. OSHA will help employers identify workplace hazards, offer advise on how to comply with OSHA standards and regulations and aid in developing a safety and health management system. Don’t worry, the consultation is NOT related to enforcement and companies will not be penalized or cited.

In addition to recognizing and improving workplace hazards and protecting workers from injury and illness, OSHA will train employees how to take responsibility for their own safety and their coworkers’ safety. OSHA will also train facility managers and improve their understanding of workplace hazards and how to comply with federal and state safety and health requirements.

Experts believe that a company with a well-managed safety and health system will result in better managing and help improve overall employee morale. In addition, OSHA believes that an exemplary workplace safety and health management system makes financial sense since the cost of preventing an accident is far cheaper than the costs that accompany an accident.

Visit OSHA’s How to Get Started page for more information on improving your workplace today.

New Residential Fall Protection Rules

As many of you know, the new rules for residential fall protection are now in effect. This new directive states that people working in residential construction must use conventional fall protection and can no longer use other methods such as slide guards instead when working at heights of over six feet.

Roofer Fall Protection Kit
Titan Roofer Fall Protection Kit

OSHA is aware that implementing these changes may be difficult for some contractors. Last week OSHA announced a three month phase-in period for this directive to give contractors time to comply to these standards. Sites found violating this directive between June 16, 2011 and September 15, 2011 will NOT be fined if they are in compliance with the old directive. They will be issued a hazard letter with recommendation of how to comply to the directive.

As this is one of the biggest changes OSHA has made in recent years, it makes sense to go over a few of the details in this new directive.

  • Residential Construction is defined as a structure that will be a home or dwelling and is being constructed with predominantly wood frame materials and methods.
  • Your fall protection plan must be site-specific and in writing.
  • Acceptable fall protection options include guardrails, safety nets, a personal fall arrest system, or a personal fall restraint system.
  • Other fall protection methods may be used as long as they are allowed under OSHA standards. (i.e. using warning lines on low-sloped roofs.)
  • OSHA presumes that conventional fall protection on a site is feasible. Contractors must pre-plan and consider how to implement conventional fall protection whenever possible.
  • This directive applies to states with federal-run and state-run OSHA programs.

This is a lot to deal with, but there is help! For small and medium-sized businesses, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program provides free and confidential advice. Now is the time act and avoid fines and  more importantly injuries.

OSHA’s Residential Fall Protection Page: http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html

On-Site Consultation Program: http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html



Breaking News: OSHA Revises Fall Protection Requirements

According to a new study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the number one cause of work-related deaths in the construction industry. Approximately 40 workers a year die as the result of falls from residential roofs.  This has prompted OSHA to revise it’s Fall Protection Requirements [CFR 1926.501(b)(13)] to include the residential construction industry. Under the new guidelines, all residential construction employees working at a height of 6 or more feet above ground level must have a conventional fall protection system such as a personal fall arrest system.  If a traditional fall protection system is not feasible, employers must have a specific fall protection plan for each job site.

Construction companies have until June 16, 2011 to comply with the new regulations. Don’t panic – we’ve got you covered with our Fall Protection Kits, which come with everything you need to be compliant! Check out our complete line of Fall Protection Products today!

NFPA 1901 – Safety Standards

This post is meant to give a brief overview of these requirements. To learn specifics and more in-depth requirements, visit NFPA website. As of January 1, 2009, the NFPA 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus requires that all Fire Apparatus Vehicles must have Public Safety Vests that meet ANSI/ISEA 207. To learn more about ANSI/ISEA 207 approved Safety Vests click here. NFPA 1901 includes additional safety standards that are required for Automotive Fire Apparatus’ to be equipped with in order to maximize firefighter capabilities and minimize risk of injuries.

NFPA Standards for Fire Apparatus applies to contracts signed on or after January 1, 2009. In addition to ANSI/ISEA 207 Public Safety Vests, NFPA 1901 safety standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

Public Safety Vests:

  • One vest for each seating position
  • Five-point breakaway feature – two at the shoulders, two at the sides, and one at the front (NFPA)

Vehicle Data Recorder:

  • Capture data once per second in 48 hour loop
  • Minute by minute summary stored for 100 engine hours
  • Software to download information (NFPA)

Vehicle Stability:

  • Requires one of the following:
  • Remain stable to 26.5 degrees in both directions on tilt table
  • Calculated center of gravity no higher than 80% of vehicle height
  • Have a vehicle stability system (NFPA)

Additional Equipment:

  • One traffic vest for each seating position
  • 5 fluorescent orange traffic cones
  • 5 illuminate warning devices
  • 1 automatic external defibrillator (AED)
  • Step ladder or multipurpose ladder (must meet ANSI A14.2 or ANSI A14.5) (NFPA)

Diesel Particulate Filter – if provided:

  • Regeneration process must be activiated by two methods:
  • Automatically by the engine system
  • Manually when initiated by activiation of a switch
  • Switch required that will inhibit DPF regeneration
  • Icon to indicate that the DPF requires active regeneration (NFPA)

Low Voltage Electrical

  • 45 amps on minimum continuous electrical load
  • Ground lighting and surface lighting
  • Driving/crew compartment interior lighting
  • Compartment lighting at floor with no shelves, dividers, or equipment (NFPA)

Seat Belts:

  • Type 1 – Lap Belt 60 inches
  • Type 2 – Pelvic and upper torso 110 inches (NFPA)

Retroreflective Striping:

  • At least 50% retroreflective strippping in a chevron pattern sloping downward at a 45° angle
  • Each strip 6 in. in width (NFPA)

Aerial Devices:

  • Minimum rated capacity constant throughout entire operating envelope
  • Interlock required to prevent operating into an unstable position
  • An indicator to allow the operator to determine maximum extenstion (NFPA)

Foam Systems:

  • Required to be tested and certified by final installer at 3 specific test points (NFPA)

Air Systems:

  • Compressor required to have air quality monitoring (NFPA)

Trailers:

  • Type I – remain connected to tow vehicle and are dependent on each other for required electrical power and conspicuity
  • Type II – allow separation from tow vehicle after arrival and are not dependent on the tow vehicle for electrical power
  • Type III – open trailers designed to transport other vehicles, equipment, or containers that will be used off the trailer. (NFPA)

Public Safety Vests – ANSI 207 Vest Requirements

About the Standard:

ANSI 207 Public Safety Vest standard was created in response to public safety user group’s demand for high visibility safety vests that differentiate Police, Fire, EMS and EMS personnel from other non-related personnel: Red is for Fire Officials, Blue is for Law Enforcement, Green is for Emergency Responders, and Orange is for DOT Officials.

207 public safety vests are designed shorter to allow quick access to belts and tools. Many of these safety vests feature (but are not mandatory to the standard) loops, pockets, badge holders, mic tabs and ID panels to meet the user’s need for functionality while still offering an effective high visibility garment. Unlike the ANSI 107, Public Safety Vests have no classifications – It’s just the Public Safety Vest Standard (PSV).

ANSI 207 requires 450 square inches of background material and 201 square inches of reflective material. Please note ANSI 207 vests do not meet the requirements of ANSI 107 and therefore do not currently meet the requirements of 23 CFR 634. For more information about ANSI 107 click here.

The DOT/FHWA has proposed a number of changes that will affect 23 CFR 634. Of the most immediate concern is that they propose allowing ANSI 207 vests for emergency responders. This change did not go into effect in time for the November 24 deadline and is not likely to go into effect until the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2009.

NFPA 70E – Arc Flash Standard for Electrical Safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created NFPA 70E, a standard for Electrical Safety in the workplace. This standard is designed to protect workers around any device capable of generating arc flash by requiring arc flash protective clothing for their corresponding Hazard/Risk Category. The information below is a high level overview.

NFPA 70E Requirements:

The NFPA published the latest edition of the NFPA 70E standard in 2009. It requires employees to wear flame resistant protective clothing that meets the requirements of ASTM F1506 wherever there is possible exposure to arc flash. It also requires employers to perform a flash hazard analysis to determine the flash protection boundary distance. For additional requirements please review the NFPA70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace 2009 Edition.

Why should I comply with NFPA 70E?

The NFPA 70E is not only recognized by OSHA but can save your life! Numerous arc flash burn injuries and deaths are caused each year by arc-flash explosions. Wearing proper arc flash protection can minmize the likelihood of inuiry and fatality. OSHA has confirmed that garments which meet the requirements of ASTM F1506 are in compliance with OSHA 29 CR 1910.269 Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution, with regard to garments not contributing to burn severity.

23 CFR 634 Standard – Current News

Worker Visibility Final Rule goes into effect November 24!

High Visibility is one of the most prominent needs for workers who must perform tasks near moving vehicles or equipment. The need to be seen by those who drive or operate vehicles or equipment is recognized as a critical issue for workers safety. Each year more than 100 workers are killed and over 20,000 are injured in the highway and street construction industry. That’s why the FHWA established rule, 23 CFR Part 634.

The FHWA Final Rule states that all workers who are within the public right-of-way of a Federal Aid higway must wear ANSI 107-999 Class 2 or Class 3. This requirement will apply to all emergency responders as well. This means that class 1 , NON-ANSI garments and Public Safety Vests are no longer acceptable apparel for these workers. The FHWA believes that this rule will improve visibility of workers within the Federal-aid highway right-of-way, thereby reducing these numbers.

ANSI/ISEA 107 Standards

ANSI Approved ClothingAbout the standard:

ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 is the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel established by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

This standard provides guidelines for the use of high-visibility safety apparel (shirts, rainwear, outerwear and safety vests) for construction, utility, police, emergency medical services, fire fighters and airport ramp ramp workers. ANSI/ISEA 107 is intended to improve workers visibility during the day, in low-light conditions and at night. It also provides guidelines to help purchasers select the appropriate garment based on assessment of worker hazards and tasks, complexity of the work environments or background, and vehicular traffic and speed.

Not sure about the differences between all classes? See which class is required for your job.

Class 1 – For workers in occupations that permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic. When work backgrounds are not complex. When Pedestrian workers are separated from traffic. Examples, parking lot attendants, shopping cart retrievers, warehouse workers, and delivery vehicle drivers.

Minimum requirements for Class 1:

■Background Fabric – 217 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 155 square inches

Class 2 – For workers who require greater visibility under inclement weather conditions. When work backgrounds are complex. When tasks divert attention from approaching vehicle traffic. Examples, roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews, railroad workers, school crossing guards, airport baggage handlers, law enforcement personnel, accident site personnel, emergency response personnel, high volume parking and toll-gate personnel.

Minimum requirements for Class 2:

■Background Fabric – 775 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 201 square inches

Class 3 – For workers and vehicle operations whose high task loads place them in danger. When wearer must be conspicuous through the full range of body motions at minimum 1,280 feet. When wearer must be identifiable as a person. Examples, roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews and emergency service personnel.

Minimum requirements for Class 3:

■Background Fabric – 1240 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 310 square inches

Arc Flash Protection

Arc Flash ProtectionEvery year, more than 2,000 workers are treated in burn centers with severe arc flash injuries. The flash is immediate, but the results can cause severe injuries that last months, years – even a lifetime. In some cases, they may cause death. Fortunately, arc flash hazards can be reduced by following safety precautions and using the proper Arc Flash Protection recommended for each application.

What is Arc Flash?

Arc Flash is the result of a rapid release of energy due to an arcing fault between a phase bus bar and another phase bus bar, neutral or a ground. During an arc fault the air is the conductor. Arc faults are generally limited to systems where the bus voltage is in excess of 120 volts. Lower voltage levels normally will not sustain an arc. An arc fault is similar to the arc obtained during electric welding and the fault has to be manually started by something creating the path of conduction or a failure such as a breakdown in insulation.

The cause of the short normally burns away during the initial flash and the arc fault is then sustained by the establishment of a highly-conductive plasma. The plasma will conduct as much energy as is available and is only limited by the impedance of the arc. This massive energy discharge burns the bus bars, vaporizing the copper and thus causing an explosive volumetric increase, the arc blast, conservatively estimated, as an expansion of 40,000 to 1. This fiery explosion devastates everything in its path, creating deadly shrapnel as it dissipates.

The arc fault current is usually much less than the available bolted fault current and below the rating of circuit breakers. Unless these devices have been selected to handle the arc fault condition, they will not trip and the full force of an arc flash will occur. The electrical equation for energy is volts x current x time. The transition from arc fault to arc flash takes a finite time, increasing in intensity as the pressure wave develops. The challenge is to sense the arc fault current and shut off the voltage in a timely manner before it develops into a serious arc flash condition.

Did you know?

The temperature of an arc flash can reach 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit – about four times as hot as the surface of the sun.

Arc Flash Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment, or PPE is designed to protect employees from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Besides face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, and safety shoes, PPE also includes a variety of devices and garments such as goggles, coveralls, work gloves, vests, earplugs, and respirators.

In order to select the proper PPE, incident energy must be known at every point where workers may be required to perform work on energized equipment. These calculations need to be performed by a qualified person such as an electrical engineer. All parts of the body that may be exposed to the arc flash need to be covered by the appropriate type and quality of PPE. Proper PPE for welding can include Flame Resistant clothing, arc flash kits, helmet or headgear, face shield, safety glasses, gloves, shoes, etc. depending upon the magnitude of the arc energy.

Industry Standards – Four separate industry standards establish practices for the prevention of electrical explosion incidents:

OSHA 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910, Subpart S

This regulation states, in part, “Safety related work practices shall be employed to prevent electric shock or other injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contacts” .OSHA also addresses the qualification of workers exposed to electrical shock hazards and the provision for protective equipment appropriate for the work to be performed. OSHA enforces safety practices and cites to the NFPA requirements.

NFPA 70e-2004, National Electrical Code

Section 110.16 requires that companies place a warning label on electrical equipment likely to constitute an electrical safety hazard. This field marking can be generic or very specific, whichever the company selects. Future revisions of the NEC standard may require more detailed information on this label.

NFPA 70E-2000, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Workplaces

NFPA 70E can be considered the “how to” standard behind OSHA enforcement. It provides the detailed actions companies must take to be in federal compliance.
Specifically:

■Safety program with defined responsibilities
■Calculations for the degree of electrical safety hazard
■Training for workers
■Tools for safe work
■Warning labels on equipment

IEEE Standard 1584-2002, Guide for Electrical Safety Regulation

In order for the warning labels to carry enough information to show the danger zone for electrical safety conditions, companies must determine that area within which only qualified workers should enter – the protection boundary. IEEE 1584 provides a method to calculate the incident energy in order to specify the level of PPE required for workers.