Safety Net | October 2020

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What We Have Learned So Far in 2020: Navigating Crises 08.03.2020 | EHS Today by Chris Stevens

From the corner office to the shop floor, 2020 has been an exceptionally tough, black-swan-event year, and we’re only halfway through it. The sheer amount of disruption, both good and bad, has turned our kitchen tables into 8-to-5 desks and conference rooms, and many parents into teachers overnight. With summer in full swing, and college students adjusted to their remote internships, the new normal is starting to feel more like “business as usual.” As we reflect on the year so far, there are some key lessons learned and tips to navigate future crises.

SAFETY FIRST. Austin employees have worked 3,668,293 hours without a Lost Time Accident through 08/2020.

1. EMBRACING DIGITALIZATION The pressure to become a digitally focused company has surpassed critical mass as a significant amount of the workforce shifted to working from home in recent months. With the frequency of disruptive events on the rise, we can no longer have the mentality of if a disruption may occur, but rather when. To address these shifts head on, companies will need to embrace plugging the digitalization wave into most, if not all, of their business systems. Most importantly, it is more than just collecting data, but rather, shifting entire systems and processes to digitally enable work to continue regardless of working location. From a manufacturing standpoint, adopters of systems that enable the integration into digital manufacturing services will reap benefits such as increased speed to market, automated quoting systems, on-demand production, consistent quality when using a single supplier with in-house production capabilities, and more.

2. BUILDING A DISRUPTION RESPONSE PLAN This is similar to business continuity planning but with an added mindset of determining what change in business or social norm would have the largest impact on the business. Business continuity has long focused on fires and natural disasters, or financial troubles, but few have a page on a global supply chain freeze. In recent months, however, the top-down push for COVID-19 responses and policies have moved through the supply chain requiring companies to have a plan. This introduces a great opportunity to develop teams and general responses to events happening around the world to ensure a rapid response. In the future, responses will need to be hours, not weeks, as time is critical in ensuring the safety and health of employees, as well as the outlook of the company.

3. SCENARIO PLANNING In the early 1970’s, Shell starting asking challenging questions like “what if,” to understand how different world events and disruption would influence the future. This all started long before IoT and AI were in the picture; however, over time the data has allowed them to ask larger questions and play out more scenarios. This culture of asking the difficult questions will be key in preparing companies for potential disruptions and global crisis that await us on the horizon. Leaders will not only have to ask what might derail their company, but what skills does the company have that can be easily pivoted as new opportunities come into view.

For example, a plastic packaging company shifting to produce face shields, or a commercial airline using standard routes to move medical supplies, showcase how applying already developed skills in a different way. At Protolabs, throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen this firsthand, working with companies like tire manufacturer Michelin to make face shields, aircraft manufacturer Beta Technologies to produce ventilator components, and many more; to date we’ve produced roughly 8 million custom parts for our customers as we work to fight COVID-19 together.

4. BUILDING AN EXTENDED ONSHORE NETWORK OF SUPPLIERS The shift to reshore many of the long and complex supply chains has opened the opportunity for future growth in the manufacturing industry. However, failure to recognize the fundamental issues and challenges without investing in the long term can lead to a short-term boost, only to revert back to sending work to low cost countries and long supply chains. Finding and developing regional partners reduces the risk of longer complex logistics that are more susceptible to global shifts and gives the needed agility for rapid changes.

5. PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE – HACKATHON The general idea of a hackathon is to attack a problem head-on in a short period of time, and they are a common practice in technology-driven companies— but they can offer value to any organization. What is often overlooked and undervalued is the methodology in which hackathons instill certain behaviors and practices on a company culture. Establishing clear roles, responsibilities, and guidelines for a hackathon ensures that everyone knows what the others are responsible for and thus allows them to focus all their effort on the problem. This same approach should be applied to internal teams and supply chains, putting different scenarios into play. Understanding the “why” behind the actions allows for organizations to increase the depth of learning while even potentially coming up with a new disruptive approach.

6. INVESTING IN YOUR EMPLOYEES A profound shift has occurred this year as company doors have closed, revenue streams have dried up overnight, and supply chains have been uprooted, but the inspirational stories that have emerged that highlight how people have risen to the challenge is truly

amazing. As we continue to understand what the aftermath of notably the most disruptive year in recent history, companies must take a moment to thank employees for their resilience in a time of great uncertainty. As leaders, now is a great opportunity to reflect internally, understand any skills gap and invest in digital training opportunities to ensure your team is ready to rise once again to the next challenge.

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HOLD? A black swan event of this magnitude is not something many could predict, let alone prepare for. However, events like this are a reset button for entire industries to rethink and retool “business as usual.” Many people are still left collecting unemployment and wondering what

taking the valuable lessons to better

Construction, Agricultural Workers At Higher Risk Of Knee Osteoarthritis: Study

prepare ourselves for the next crisis.

08.11.2020 | Safety + Health

tomorrow looks like, but as industry leaders it is our responsibility to lean forward in

Companies that embrace digitalization to provide agile supply chain solutions are

Sydney — Workers in the construction and agriculture industries

better prepared for any potential crisis as

face an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis, in part because of the

they retool and reinvest in employees to

rigorous physical demands of the job, results of a recent study led by

take on the challenges we face together.

researchers at the University of Sydney suggest.

With a decade of experience in the

The researchers analyzed 71 studies with more than 950,000

medical device industry, Chris Stevens

participants to examine relationships between on-the-job exposure,

is a senior R&D engineer at Protolabs,

knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement. Findings show that,

where he focuses on developing

compared with occupations that involve low levels of physical

and implementing innovative digital

activity, agricultural workers are up to 64% more likely to develop knee

manufacturing processes to support the

osteoarthritis, while builders and floor layers are up to 63% more likely to

needs of the company’s plastic injection

be affected by the condition.

molding customers, predominantly focusing on the medical industry. Prior to Protolabs, Stevens worked in varying roles at some of the leading medical device companies in the world. He holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota, and a B.S. in Plastics Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Workers in these sectors who routinely engage in “heavy lifting, frequent climbing, prolonged kneeling, squatting and standing” are especially vulnerable, the researchers noted. Also at increased odds: metal workers, miners, cleaners and service workers. Noting that knee osteoarthritis is “the most common joint disorder worldwide,” Xia Wang, lead study author and musculoskeletal researcher at the university’s Royal North Shore Hospital, said in a July 8 press release that “tailored preventive strategies need to be implemented early on to adapt the aging workforces in many countries that push for longer employment trajectories.”


5 Ways to Build a Culture of Safety for the Long Term 08.24.2020 | EH&S Today by Chuck Pettinger A series of positive short-term actions and changes in safety

and processes, lack of environmental hazards, safeguards

processes can make a long-lasting difference.

against drug and alcohol abuse, and intolerance for

“Workplace safety” has become a buzz-phrase in 2020, as

workplace violence.

the pandemic has made safety concerns related to the

Among the companies I work with, some appear to be well

spread of COVID-19 a top priority for most business leaders.

on their way to achieving this culture. Others are making

Advocating for all aspects of workplace safety—from

changes and will get there at some point. Still others have

maintaining public health to changing practices and

a long journey ahead, and may never make it without

processes to predicting injuries, near-misses, property

altering their style, thinking, and/or approach.

damage, and other leadership issues—is what I do for a

Here are some signs (i.e., leading indicators) that I see in

living. My title is process change leader, and for more than

corporations successfully building a culture of safety.

two decades, I’ve worked with global organizations in manufacturing, oil and gas, and other industries to help build a culture of safety at their place of business. Safety is all about people, and building a culture of safety is about instilling behaviors that become the norm. It is not something accomplished in a short time frame—typically, it takes five to 10 years and requires executive sponsorship as well as buy-in from the rank and file. And it is evidenced by a companywide resistance to precarious conditions and

1. MORE EMPOWERED AND ENGAGED EMPLOYEES The “culture” of an organization is a theoretical construct, a quality of environment developed over time. When I visit companies, I tend to focus more on the organizational “climate”—the things happening on a day-to-day basis that are impactful and can be viewed as proxies for the overarching culture.

risky behavior. But positive short-term actions and changes

I’ve found that a climate is most positively affected by a

in safety processes and systems can, over time, contribute

high level of engagement between leaders and employees.

to building this culture.

This means that most people feel they are a vital part of the

Yes, that includes organizations taking steps to protect their workers from being infected by the Coronavirus. But it also means the employees themselves stepping up to avoid spreading it to their colleagues. Workplace safety encompasses all factors that impact the safety, health, and well-being of employees—including safe working conditions

organization. Such interaction is conducive to leaders and employees willing to work together to create safety rules, guidelines, and practices, and then focus on identifying gaps in the processes and systems that make following those principles more difficult. By actively engaging your employees proactively, you will achieve true empowerment.

2. A GREATER EMPHASIS ON PROACTIVE MEASURES AND SAFETY METRICS Many companies focus mostly on what I call “lagging indicators”: the injury rate, the number of incidents, property damages, work stoppages, and so on. These are important to track, for sure. But they all come after the fact. World-class cultures are more predictive and not reactive. How about putting a higher priority on leading indicators, such as: • What are our training rates and number of people trained?

This way, people become motivated from the inside out by hearing less about the rules and more about their personal safety. They’re likely to not only do what you ask but also make safer decisions after that. People are much more motivated to do things they believe in rather than doing something simply because it’s a rule. For example, forcing them to wear their glasses because of the rules may persuade them to do just that—but only that. Focusing on their safety above and beyond the rules may motivate them to wear not only their glasses, but also their gloves and face coverings, and maintain six feet of distance from others, to set a safe example for

• What is our score on our corporate audits?

their co-workers.

• How quickly are we closing out open issues? • Are we providing feedback to employees?


• Are we as leaders taking the initiative to have positive

I see a lot of signs posted at the companies I visit, and some

safety conversations? Moreover, many companies use safety walks as opportunities to “shame and blame” people caught in the act of doing something risky. This “managing by the

yell at you with red zeroes with lines through them and the word “NO!” sprinkled throughout. Is it necessary to be condescending to employees to get the desired behavior? In world-class safety cultures, I think not.

rules” also is not proactive and may not induce long-term

Let’s take a common sign in the current pandemic: “Wash

change. In fact, the fault-finding and top-down safety

your hands.” This tells you precisely what you are supposed

“management” may instead create a culture of fear

to do. Or “Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.” Adds

and avoidance. In general, people are more motivated

some detail, but ditto.

to achieve positive outcomes, rather than to avoid

How about, “Wash your hands for 20 seconds to save your

negative results.

family, friends, and co-workers from getting COVID-19”?

Building a culture of safety requires a proactive approach,

This type of message may motivate best; it helps them

with most of the learning provided on the front end.

internalize why they are washing and realize they’re doing it


also for co-workers, family, friends, and their communities. In my college days, I worked at a large manufacturing company, where I helped research the behavior related

A manager might tell his or her crew member, “I need you

to handrail use. This company had a picturesque central

to wear your safety glasses because it is an OSHA rule.” This

courtyard with a fountain in the middle and a marble

type of “safety management” is what I call focusing on

staircase that led down to it. In the brisk morning hours, the

safety from the outside in; it signifies caring less about the

steps, layered with dew, would often become slippery.

person and more about making sure they’re following the rules. It also dwells more on the “what I need you to do” rather than the “why it makes sense to do it.” More impactful “safety leaders” value creating safety conversations. They might show more empathy by saying something like, “Hey, I know it’s hot in there, and those glasses are fogging up and making it hard to see. But I don’t want to see you get hurt or lose your eyesight. So

Using a handrail to navigate these steps was the behavior we sought. But in tests we conducted, we observed only 30% of the users were doing so. Three different buildings at this company led to the staircase, which allowed us to test three different signs. Which one do you think engendered the most handrail use? “Please use the handrail when going up and down the stairs.”

let’s make sure you wear your glasses to keep you from getting hurt and set a safe example for others.”

...continued on next page 5

“Caution, the stairs may be wet. Please use a handrail when going up and down the stairs.” “Set a safe example for your co-workers. Use the handrail when going up and down the starts.” All had a positive impact. The first one raised usage to 40%, and the second one to 50%. But the third sign was the clear winner; it more than doubled the use of the handrail to 65%, according to our study. Following this same approach about employees setting an example and impacting an entire group or organization should get you the best results when it comes to signs – and conversations – about wearing PPE and other safety practices.

5. SAFETY THAT IS MADE CONVENIENT People are often driven by what is quickest, most comfortable, and most convenient. Asking employees to wash their hands before going to the break room—when the restrooms are some distance in another direction—may not be quick or convenient. Putting temporary hand-washing stations on the way to the break room, for example, will make it easier to do the safe thing. Likewise, rerouting walkways so that workers walk in only one direction, and providing markers so that they know they’re staying six feet apart from each other, are other ways to achieve desired results. These are signs that demonstrate a company’s commitment to a safer workplace and building a world-class culture of safety. Safety is about people. Having conversations rather than dictating rules. Helping employees look out for each other and focus on the “why,” not the “what.” It takes time to build a culture of safety, but it usually pays off! By following these suggestions, we all can help reach our vision of eliminating death on the job by 2050.

Workplace Exposure To Silica, Beryllium May Have Links To Sarcoidosis: Study 08.26.2020 | Safety + Health Nieuwegein, The Netherlands — On-the-job exposure to silica, beryllium and certain other metals may be linked to the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis, results of a recent study led by Dutch researchers suggest. For people who have sarcoidosis, inflammatory cells collect and grow in parts of the body – typically the lungs and lymph nodes – and can potentially damage organs. The cause of the disease isn’t known, “but experts think it results from the body’s immune system responding to an unknown substance,” the Mayo Clinic states. No cure for the disease exists, but treatments are available. In certain instances, sarcoidosis clears up on its own. For the study, the researchers assessed the potential exposures to silica, beryllium, aluminum and zirconium among 256 sarcoidosis patients and 73 control patients who had obstructive sleep apnea, using the results of a questionnaire on work history. Patients with OSA were used as controls because “there is no relationship between environmental triggers and development of OSA.” Results show that the sarcoidosis patients had a higher percentage of workplace exposure to silica or the other

Chuck Pettinger, Ph.D., is a process change leader

metals – 32.4% (or 83 out of 256), compared with the

for Predictive Solutions (www.predictivesolutions.

control group’s 24.7%. After the researchers examined the

com), based in Blacksburg, Va. Predictive Solutions is

immune system reactions to silica and the other metals

a division of Industrial Scientific, a Fortive company.

in 33 sarcoidosis patients and 19 control patients using a

Monte Enbysk of Fluke Reliability contributed to

lymphocyte proliferation test, more than 21% of the former

this article.

group showed reactions to the materials compared with none of the latter group.

As Pandemic Continues, Don’t Lose Sight Of Common Worker Safety Hazards, Experts Caution 09.01.2020 | Safety + Health Silver Spring, MD — As the United States approaches six months of adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees mustn’t overlook longtime safety hazards such as falls and electricity. That was the message from Rodd Weber, a Las Vegas-based corporate safety director at The PENTA Building Group, during an Aug. 13 roundtable webinar hosted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. “I’m not saying to back off of that [attention to COVID-19],” Weber said, “but I would just caution everyone to don’t become so focused on COVID that you lose sight of the fact that we have plenty of other hazards that could literally kill somebody at any given time on a jobsite … much quicker than COVID ever will. And probably, we need to be paying attention a lot more to some of those things. And there certainly has been a distraction this year on some of those issues. “So, I would just encourage everyone not to take it easy on the COVID stuff, but don’t lose focus of our … hazards that are out there with regard to safety.” In a July 16 CPWR webinar on contact tracing basics and applications in construction, Travis Parsons, associate director of occupational safety and health for the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, also spoke about how the complexities of the pandemic have helped create distraction. “Us in the construction industry all know that there’s a lot of uncertainty going on right now,” Parsons said. “We have a lot of workers that never stopped working – essential workforce. We have a lot of workers now that are returning to work. We have differences depending on your geography, what state you’re in and what the protocols are, so there’s a lot of uncertainty.”


Considerations for Effective EHS Management during COVID-19 09.09.2020 | EHS Today by G.C. Shah Safety leaders play a pivotal role in positioning their companies to deal with the changes underway due to the pandemic. Amid this unprecedented pandemic, an expression comes to my mind: “It hit me like a ton of bricks.” The immediate impact of COVID-19 has been, obviously, widespread and devastating, both from worker safety and economic points of view. Many industries have had to resort to severe budgetary cuts. This otherwise dismal picture has created challenges as well as opportunities for astute EHS managers. This article will present some considerations for EHS management in these difficult times.

BIG PICTURE It is heartening to note that companies have shown remarkable resilience in the face of nearly devastating circumstances. Companies and workforces have made remarkable adjustments in work patterns. “Brick-and-mortar” tasks like face-to-face meetings, travel, personal collaboration and paper reports have been replaced by their digital counterparts, such as virtual meetings and on-line collaboration. This pandemic shall pass and eventually (say, in a couple of years), the economy will rebound. In the meantime, consider the following strategic steps: • Resist making budgetary cuts reflexively. • Compassion. • Schedule turnarounds early, rather than late. • Digitization, collaboration and document updates. • Training.

BUDGETARY CUTS In the face of sudden economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, it is likely that a manager may have to respond ultra-quickly to demands from top management for budgetary cuts. However, a too-quick response could hurt EHS management near-term or in the long run. This could

Turnaround scheduling is by no means a simple task—it involves combined considerations of cost and safety/ environmental and market risk. Strategically, though, it might merit your consideration if you can meet your customers’ demands and can manage safety/ environmental risk.

even end up increasing overall risk to your plant.


Prioritize functional areas according their “safety criticality,”

As stated earlier, digitization has been taking place

or risk level. HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) would have

throughout all industries, although the pace of digitization

identified and classified findings according to risk level—

varies from one company to another. COVID-19 has

high risk, medium risk and low risk. Try to defer working on

accelerated that pace. This is not to say that digital

“low risk” items. The key is if risk is manageable, you can

transformation is a cake-walk. Consider the following points:

implement budget cuts without adverse impact on safety.

• Convert all safety documents (e.g., EHS procedures,

In communicating to top management, state your basis for

performance indicators, HAZOP records, reports,

budget cuts, e.g., take a risk-based approach.

OSHA records and others) to digital form. Of course,


this conversion has to be in alignment with

No matter how difficult times we experience, keep in mind that your workers are our strength. Encourage them. Listen to their concerns. Show empathy—not simply by words but by action as well. A number of companies have developed internal assistance for their workers.

TURNAROUND Although traditionally, the role of the EHS manager in turnaround planning has been peripheral, today EHS managers at plant levels play a pivotal role in planning. Companies schedule turnaround to align with reliability/ maintenance considerations and regulatory concerns. If a turnaround is planned for a year from now and market demand today is severely depressed, it may be worth considering taking the turnaround earlier. The reasoning is two-fold: • You will be able to meet customers’ demand for your products. • You will be prepared with reliable equipment when the economy rebounds. Of course, turnarounds do cost and present added risk— contract workers, their training, protocols for work and response to emergency, added equipment, and many other factors.

economic constraints. • For multi-site or multi-nation organizations, enhance online collaboration, while maintaining cyber security. • Develop performance indicators which include financial metrics or indices and share them with top management. • Make sure documents are updated periodically and are accessible easily. • Seek appropriate IT support.

TRAINING/TESTING Digitization will facilitate training—the focus should be on cost effectiveness. Consider: • If you have internal expertise, develop your own training and training. If not, seek help from seasoned professionals. • With outside trainers, seek arrangements by which future training may be conducted at lower rates. • Seek relevant “free” training from vendors, such as lockout/tagout, confined space entry and others. To sum up, this pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, as well as opportunities, for EHS managers. EHS managers play a pivotal role in positioning their companies to productively harness coming changes while minimizing risk.


Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to TenReduce StepsRisk All Workplaces Can Take to of Exposure to Coronavirus

Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus All workplaces can take the following infection prevention measures to protect workers:

All workplaces can take the following infection prevention measures to protect workers: 1. Encourage workers to 7. Regularly clean and

➊ stay home if sick.

1. Encourage workers to ➊ 2. Encourage respiratory ➋ stay home if sick. 2.

etiquette, including covering respiratory coughs and Encourage sneezes.including etiquette,

3. Providecoughs a place and to wash covering ➌ hands or alcohol-based sneezes. hand rubs containing at Provide a place to wash least 60% alcohol.

3. ➌ hands or alcohol-based

4. Limit worksite access ➍ hand rubs essential containing at to only workers,

leastif possible. 60% alcohol.

➐ disinfect surfaces,

7. equipment, Regularly clean and and other ➐ elements the work disinfectofsurfaces,

environment. equipment, and other

elements of the work 8. Use Environmental ➑ environment. Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning

8. chemicals Use Environmental with label claims Protection Agency against the coronavirus. (EPA)-approved cleaning 9. Follow the manufacturer’s chemicals with label claims instructions for use of all against and thedisinfection coronavirus. cleaning

➑ ➒

9. products. Follow the manufacturer’s workers to of all instructions for use 10. Encourage report any and safetydisinfection and cleaning health concerns. products.

➒ 4. ➎ Limit worksite access 5. Establish flexible worksites ➍ (e.g.,essential telecommuting) to only workers, ➓ (e.g., staggered shifts), Establish flexible worksites if feasible.

5. ➎ (e.g., telecommuting)

6. Discourage workers from ➏ andusing flexible work hours other workers’

(e.g., staggered phones, desks,shifts), or other if feasible. work tools and equipment.

6. Discourage workers from ➏ using other workers’ phones, desks, or other

10. Encourage workers to ➓ For more any information, visit report safety and or health concerns. call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

For more information, visit or 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)

-04 2020

and flexible work hours if possible.

Consider Comfort and Female Sizes When Selecting PPE 08.31.2020 | JJ Keller Safety Management Suite The requirements for selecting personal protective

“Employers should take the fit and comfort of PPE into

equipment (PPE) in 1910.132 require the employer to

consideration when selecting appropriate items for their

“select PPE that properly fits each affected employee.”

workplace. PPE that fits well and is comfortable to wear will

This requirement was added, at least in part, to ensure that

encourage employee use of PPE. Most protective devices

women have access to properly fitting PPE.

are available in multiple sizes and care should be taken

The provision on fit appeared when the regulation was

to select the proper size for each employee. If several

revised in 1994. At the time, items like safety shoes were not common in women’s sizes. A commenter to the proposed rule noted that women often had to wear PPE that was sized to fit men or accept the risks of not wearing PPE at all. OSHA agreed that if PPE was uncomfortable or poorly

different types of PPE are worn together, make sure they are compatible. If PPE does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed. It may not provide the level of protection desired and may discourage employee use.”

fitted, employees were less likely to wear it. Even if workers


struggled through the day with ill-fitting PPE, the items may

To be effective, PPE must also be used and cared for

not provide adequate protection. Therefore, OSHA noted the necessity that female (as well as male) workers be provided with PPE that fits properly.

FIT MAY NOT EQUAL COMFORT While fit is important, comfort of PPE should also be considered. Anyone who has bought new shoes knows finding a shoe that fits is not the same as finding a shoe that’s comfortable. Items like gloves or safety glasses raise the same concerns. An OSHA guidance on personal protective equipment (OSHA 3151-12R) recommends the following:

properly, which often requires training. In addition, employers must enforce PPE use. Often, enforcement falls to supervisors. However, reminders to wear PPE could go beyond a simple reprimand, and supervisors should be aware of potential issues involving comfort and fit. If an employee is not wearing PPE when required, supervisors might ask if the employee is experiencing problems with the PPE. It may be that a different size or style will offer more comfort, or that the item is worn or damaged. Rather than enforcing PPE use through disciplinary reminders, supervisors should work to encourage PPE use by eliminating problems such as improper fit.


Using Respirators in the Workplace 09-15-20 |

From simple dust masks to air-purifying respirators to SCBA, if your team needs to

The second is by supplying clean

use respirators then there is more they

air for breathing from another

need to know besides just how to put

source. These kinds of respirators

it on.

include airline respirators, which

Workers often perform a variety of

use compressed air from a remote

tasks where they could be exposed to

source, and self-contained breathing

harmful dust, chemical vapors, fumes

apparatus (SCBA), that use a tank of

from molten metal, and particulates from grinding, painting, or sandblasting. Although the best method to protect workers is first using engineering controls such as ventilation systems, it is not always a feasible solution. In these situations, the use of a respirator may be required to ensure the maximum amount of protection and safety is provided to the worker. The use of respirators, even simple ones like dust masks, is serious and requires workers to understand the types of hazards they could be exposed to, the specific type

compressed breathing air. Some respirators use specialized cartridges and filters. Workers using these respirators should know how to identify the type of filters and how to install or replace them. OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.134(d)(1)(i) The employer shall select and provide an appropriate respirator based on the respiratory hazard(s) to which the worker is exposed and workplace and user factors that affect respirator performance and reliability. Workers must keep respirators in a clean

of respirator needed, how to use the respirator, and its

and sanitary condition. Respirators

limits. Failure to follow all the requirements to properly

must be stored properly to avoid

wear a respirator can prove to be dangerous and

damage, contamination, dust,

potentially deadly.

sunlight, extreme temperatures,

NOTE: The respiratory protection standards for Construction

excessive moisture, and damaging

OSHA 1926.103 are the same as for General Industry set

chemicals. Respirators should be

forth in Standard 1910.134.

packed or stored to prevent deforming

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.134(a)(2) A respirator shall be provided to each employee when such equipment is necessary to protect the health of such employee. The employer shall provide the respirators which are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended.

RESPIRATORS PROTECT THE USER IN TWO BASIC WAYS: The first is by filtering the air of

the face piece and exhalation valve. OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.134(h)(1) Cleaning and disinfecting. The employer shall provide each respirator user with a respirator that is clean, sanitary, and in good working order. During the safety meeting on respirators, emphasize these important points about respiratory protection. • Respirators protect the user by either filtering

pollutants. Respirators of this type

contamination from the air or supplying clean air from

include particulate respirators, which

another source.

filter out airborne particles, and airpurifying respirators that use cartridges or canisters which filter out chemicals and gases.

• Workers should know how to identify the type of filters and how to install or replace these filters or cartridges. • Respirators must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.

• Respirators must be stored properly to avoid damage.

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.134(k) Training and information.

• Pack and store respirators safely to prevent deforming

This paragraph requires the

the face piece and exhalation valve.

employer to provide effective

• Always use the proper respirator for the specific task

training to employees who are

and situation.

required to use respirators. The

• Never use a respirator unless you have been properly

training must be comprehensive,

authorized, fit-tested, and trained. • Workers must know how to properly put on and wear

understandable, and recur annually, and more often if necessary.

their respirator.

Worker Falls to His Death From Starflyer Attraction in Orlando 09.14.2020 | Man was working on tourist

“I pray the family finds

attraction when he fell,

some kind of comfort in the

officials say.

situation,” said Hillsman.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A 21-year-

Ride officials said they’re

old man fell to his death

cooperating with the

Monday morning while

Occupational Safety and

conducting a daily safety

Health Administration

check on the StarFlyer

and deputies in the

attraction in Orlando tourist’s

investigation. They said

district, deputies said.

their hearts and prayers go

The fatal accident was

out to Kaminsky’s family

reported around 7:40

and his coworkers.

a.m. at ICON Park on

“It’s a shock and we’re

International Drive.

saddened by it. Anytime

The Orange County Sheriff’s

there is an injury or something of this nature, it’s

Office said the man, who

extremely sad,” said John

was later identified as

Stine, Director of Marketing

Jacob David Kaminsky, was climbing the tower when he

and Sales for the StarFlyer.

fell to the bottom platform.

Safety inspection

Orange County Fire Rescue

records from the Florida

said Kaminsky was about halfway up the 450-foot ride, dubbed the world’s tallest swing ride, when he fell onto the platform. Ena Hillsman and her family from Augusta, Georgia were vacationing this week to Orlando. She planned to bring

Department of Agriculture show there is not a history of prior violations although officials said there was a 2018 communication deficiency involving a seat release which was later corrected. The 450-foot ride is closed until further notice.

her son to ride the StarFlyer swing ride at Icon Park before learning about the tragedy.


For Simple Steps to a Effective Workplace Safety Meeting 09.08.2020 |

The best Safety Managers know that if employees aren’t engaged during the safety meeting, then it’s pointless. Here are the 4 key things to focus on to ensure your safety meetings are adding value to your safety program. When it comes to workplace safety, there is no better time to promote new ideas or reinforce safe working habits than in a safety meeting. However, we often see


small business owners asking how to make their safety

The safety meeting might be led by the business owner, the

meetings more effective. It’s important that owners,

safety director, the site supervisor, the HR manager or someone

managers and employees don’t think of safety meetings

else the company has designated as the best person for the

as a waste of time. Here are some simple steps that

job. If the person leading the safety meeting isn’t prepared

you can take to ensure all your safety meetings moving

then the attendees won’t take the message seriously.

forward are a success!

Make sure the word gets out. Email, Calendar Invites, Text Messages, a poster on the bulletin board… whatever is the best communication method for your teams. Send out reminders the day before and have shift supervisors or the foreman remind teams when the next mandatory safety meeting will be held.


Set the objective of your safety meeting and make it clear

The more visuals you can provide, the better so consider

when you send out the meeting invitation and again at

incorporating photos, charts, videos, or a hands-on

the opening of the safety meeting. For example: During this

demonstration into the safety meeting. The more senses

meeting, we are going to learn how to complete a ladder

that you can engage, the more likely it is that the message

inspection checklist and understand the requirements for

will stick. If you can bring your team into the meeting so

completing ladder inspections.

they really feel a part of it, the results you see will be much

Tip: Keep meetings to 20 minutes or less. Any more than that

stronger. As you enter the room, open conversations with

and the attention and focus is going to drop the longer the

people for the first couple of minutes to promote a friendly,

meeting drags on. As you prepare for the meeting ensure

relaxed atmosphere.

that you are getting to the point quickly and hitting the key

Throughout the meeting or at the end, allow time for

points you need the team to remember.

questions and discussion. The safety meeting leader doesn’t have to be the one to answer all the questions, let veteran employees give feedback or tell stories based on their experiences if questions come up that they can answer. Tip: Start on time and end on time (or better yet, end early!) Employees have a job to do and they are expected to complete their tasks whether they are allowed enough time or not. Those in attendance will appreciate it when you


acknowledge that their time is valuable.

Put yourself in the shoes of the employees. After a long day at work would you really pay attention to a safety meeting, and then would you retain that information for the next day on the job when you need it? Depending on the work environment, the shift schedules, and the location of the employees, plan the location, length and timing of the safety meeting so that the employees are most engaged


during that time. At the beginning of every shift or at the

Consider asking for feedback at the end of or after each

start of the work day is a great time to host safety meetings to get crews into the right mindset for the day.

meeting. Be open to suggestions for improvement and solicit safety meeting topics from the team. If it was their

Tip: A routine sets expectations, so a regular schedule for

idea and it’s important to them then they will be more likely

safety meetings works well for most companies. Monday

to be engaged at the next meeting.

and Friday tend to be days that most take as a personal

Tip: After the safety meeting, consider a follow-up to

day if needed, so consider a mid-week schedule like every Wednesday morning, the first Thursday of every month, or every other Tuesday.

reinforce the message. For example, this could be an email listing the key points of the meeting, a safety reminder posted on the bulletin board or a message that promotes safety that comes directly from upper management.

STEP 3: DELIVERY The topic of the safety meeting should be relevant and a discussion is more likely to engage your team rather than a lecture-style meeting. You won’t see the best results if you’re just reading from a sheet of paper like a robot.

Safety meetings are important, valuable and productive if you just follow a few key steps to communicate, engage and deliver a message that is relevant to the employees.


How to Prepare for Hurricane Dangers 09.16.2020 | EHS Today by David Sparkman

OSHA requires firms with over 10 employees to adopt an

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Standards

emergency action plan.

that are part of regulations issued by the Occupational

After many years of mild hurricane seasons, 2020

Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all workplaces

has proven to be extraordinarily active, resulting in widespread damage, deaths and injuries. There are steps employers can and should take to mitigate the

with more than 10 employees are required to develop a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to identify and coordinate necessary employer and employee actions

consequences of these storms, as well as other natural

during an emergency.

and manmade disasters that can impact business

At a minimum, the EAP must include these elements:

operations any time of the year. In the wake of Hurricane Laura, attorneys at the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw offer a primer on how employers should prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies, what actions they should take while one is happening, and how they should clean up and resume business once it has passed.

• Means of reporting emergencies (fires, floods, etc.). • Evacuation procedures and assigned exit routes. • Procedures to account for all employees following an evacuation. • Procedures to be followed by employees who must remain behind to attend to critical plant operations before evacuating.

• Rescue and medical duties for employees who are assigned and trained to perform them. • Names or job titles of people who can be contacted for more information about the plan. In addition to these required elements, it is recommended that employers also consider including the following in the EAP: • Procedures for protecting employees from COVID-19 during the emergency. • The location of the nearest hospital or emergency medical center. • The type of alarm system used to notify employees of an emergency. • Procedures for protecting information including

or the release of biological or chemical agents, staying indoors is safer for employees.” Employers can guide employees to follow the appropriate course of action by having an alarm system that emits a different signal for “evacuate” emergencies from the one for “stay put” emergencies, they suggest. Alternatively, the alarm system could be programmed to give specific verbal instructions following the initial alert. “Employers must consider the needs of disabled employees (for example, those who are hearing or visually impaired) in selecting any alarm system,” the attorneys say. They also urge employers to establish an effective means for communicating with employees about whether to evacuate, how to get information about the emergency,

procedures for storing or maintaining critical documents

what areas of the building to avoid, how and when

and records.

it is safe to return to the work area, and when it is

• The location and permissible uses of protective

acceptable to contact family members and loved ones.

equipment such as portable defibrillators, first aid kits,

Once the proverbial dust settles after an emergency,

dust masks and fire extinguishers.

hazards to employees can still remain, the attorneys

• The location of TVs or radios for obtaining additional information during a disaster. “Ensuring the development of an effective EAP also requires the employer to train employees to understand their roles and responsibilities under the plan,” the Seyfarth Shaw attorneys stress. “When conducting this training, the employer must address literacy, language and cultural barriers to ensure that the training is effective. Employers also must document the training.” They also note that OSHA has posted links and recommendations on its website to help employers prepare for hurricanes. The website includes tips about how to create evacuation plans and assemble emergency supply kits. The Environmental Protection Agency also has provided tips related to hurricane

observe. For example, downed power lines in a flooded parking lot can injure or kill employees leaving the building after the storm passes. Hazards are even greater for employees who are tasked with cleaning up after an emergency. In 2018, an OSHA regional administrator stated that “risks can be minimized with knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. Cleanup work after the storm may involve hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, debris cleanup, roof repair, and tree trimming. Only those with the proper training, equipment and experience should conduct cleanup activities.” The Seyfarth Shaw attorneys add that employees actually performing clean-up work after a flood, storm,

preparedness on its website.

earthquake, or other disaster may be exposed to other


exposure to hazardous materials, such as asbestos, mold,

hazards, including exposure to COVID-19 hazards and

The first question most people ask during an emergency

lead, or dangerous chemicals.

is “should I stay or should I go?” the attorneys say.

Other potential hazards include downed power lines and

“Communication during an emergency is critical to

trees; heat illness, including the complications of wearing

maintain organization and prevent panic and injuries. For

face masks; confined spaces; blood borne diseases

example, not all emergencies require an evacuation of

or other contagions; mosquito borne diseases; and

the workplace. In some cases, such as flooding, storms,

structural destabilization.


OSHA ON RECOVERY WORK OSHA’s website provides a Hurricane eMatrix for hurricane response and recovery work, outlining the most commonly performed duties during hurricane response and recovery work, and the hazards that employees

“multi-employer worksite” doctrine allows the agency to issue citations not only to the employer whose employees are actually performing the clean-up work, but also to other employers who control the means and methods of work of the employees.

could face. OSHA has developed specific standards to

As a result, employers may be liable for the safety

address many of these kinds of hazards.

precautions provided to employees who are brought

OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency

onto their worksites following a natural disaster.

Response standard applies to employees who are

To sum up in a few words, the Seyfarth Shaw attorneys

performing clean-ups of hazardous waste or other

recommend that employers check off the following steps

hazardous materials. The asbestos and lead standards

in order to prepare adequately for natural disasters and

require employers to evaluate the level or exposure to

other emergencies:

employees, provide appropriate protective equipment,

• Develop an EAP that covers a wide variety of potential

and, in some cases, conduct regular monitoring of air

emergencies and gives employees clear guidance on

quality in the work area.

what to do in each scenario.

In addition to these specific standards, other more general requirements will also come into play, the attorneys remind employers. For example, OSHA’s welding and cutting lockout/tagout, confined space entry, and fall protection programs may come into play, even if no OSHA standard specifically addresses the specific type of clean-up activity taking place. Finally—as always is the case—OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards, the attorneys remind businesses. “Accordingly, even if no OSHA standard applies to a particular activity or hazard, employers may still face citation liability if the hazard is reasonably likely to cause serious injury or death and there is a feasible means of abatement to correct the hazard,” they explain. “Before allowing employees to commence any kind of cleanup work then, the employer must conduct a job hazard analysis (JHA) to identify and address potential hazards.” They also emphasize that employers who hire outside contractors to clean up after a disaster must be aware of their continuing obligations for worker safety. OSHA’s

• Be cognizant of hazards employees may face even after the immediate danger has passed. • Train employees in evacuation plans and other emergency response procedures. • Conduct a job hazard analysis and review applicable OSHA standards before assigning any employees to perform clean-up work. • Evaluate the safety record of any independent contractor hired to perform clean-up work, including investigating the contractor’s worker’s compensation history, its OSHA logs, and its history of citations from OSHA. • “It is imperative that employers develop and implement organized and clearly communicated procedures for responding to a disaster,” the attorneys declare. “A wellplanned and executed emergency response program will help prevent panic, thereby minimizing employee injuries and damage to property.”

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