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The Safety Net L O C AT I O N C O N S U LT I N G

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

DESIGN-BUILD

DECEMBER 2019 

IT’S ALWAYS SAFETY FIRST. CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTING

VOLUME 13 ISSUE 12

Winter Hazards/Precautions Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador | 11.19.19

In addition to cold stress, there are other winter weather related hazards that workers may be exposed to when performing tasks such as driving in the snow, removing snow from rooftops, and working near downed or damaged power lines. • Winter Driving • Work Zone Traffic Safety • Stranded in a Vehicle • Shoveling Snow • Using Powered Equipment like Snow Blowers • Clearing Snow from Roofs and Working at Heights

SAFETY FIRST.

• Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

Austin employees have

• Repairing Downed or Damaged Power Lines

worked 3,141,825 hours

• Working Near Downed or Damaged Power Lines • Removing Downed Trees

without a Lost Time Accident through 10/2019.


Winter Driving

• Traction aids (bag of sand or cat litter)

Although employers cannot control roadway conditions,

• Emergency flares

they can promote safe driving behavior by ensuring

• Jumper cables

workers: recognize the hazards of winter weather driving, for example, driving on snow/ice covered roads; are

• Snacks

properly trained for driving in winter weather conditions;

• Water

and are licensed (as applicable) for the vehicles they

• Road maps

operate. For information about driving safely during the winter, visit OSHA’s Safe Winter Driving. Employers should set and enforce driver safety policies. Employers should also implement an effective maintenance program for all vehicles and mechanized equipment that workers are required to operate. Crashes can be avoided. Learn more at: Motor Vehicle Safety.

• Blankets, change of clothes

Work Zone Traffic Safety Workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment lead to many work zone fatalities or injuries annually. Drivers may skid, or lose control of their vehicles more easily when driving on snow and/or ice covered roads. It

Employers should ensure properly trained workers’ inspect

is therefore, important to properly set up work zones with

the following vehicle systems to determine if they are

the traffic controls identified by signs, cones, barrels, and

working properly:

barriers, to protect workers. Workers exposed to vehicular

• Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced

traffic should wear the appropriate high visibility vest at all

braking. Also check that brake fluid is at the proper level. • Cooling System: Ensure a proper mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level. • Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make

times, so that they can be visible to motorists.

Stranded in a Vehicle If you are stranded in a vehicle, stay in the vehicle. Call for emergency assistance if needed, response time may be slow in severe winter weather conditions. Notify your

sure that the battery is fully charged and that the

supervisor of your situation. Do not leave the vehicle to

connections are clean. Check that the alternator belt is

search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards.

in good condition with proper tension.

You may become disoriented and get lost in blowing

• Engine: Inspect all engine systems. • Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug. • Tires: Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Check for proper tire inflation. • Oil: Check that oil is at proper level. • Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters

and drifting snow. Display a trouble sign by hanging a brightly colored cloth on the vehicle’s radio antenna and raising the hood. Turn on the vehicle’s engine for about 10 minutes each hour and run the heat to keep warm. Also, turn on the vehicle’s dome light when the vehicle is running as an additional signal. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.

(windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install winter

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Do minor

windshield wipers.

exercises to maintain good blood circulation in your body.

An emergency kit with the following items is recommended in vehicles:

Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long. Stay awake, you will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems. Use

• Cellphone or two-way radio

blankets, newspapers, maps, and even the removable

• Windshield ice scraper

car mats for added insulation. Avoid overexertion

• Snow brush • Flashlight with extra batteries • Shovel

since cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.

• Tow chain

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Shoveling Snow Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity, particularly because cold weather can be tasking on the body. There is a potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. During snow removal in addition to following the tips for avoiding cold stress, such as taking frequent breaks in warm areas, there are other precautions workers can take to avoid injuries. Workers should warm-up before the activity, scoop small amounts of snow at a time and where possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. The use of proper lifting technique is necessary to avoid back and other injuries when shoveling snow: keep the back straight,

machine; do not add fuel when the equipment is running or when the engine is hot.

Clearing Snow from Roofs and Working at Heights Employers must evaluate snow removal tasks for hazards and plan how to do the work safely. Workers should be aware of the potential for unexpected hazards due to the weather conditions, for example, layers of ice can form as the environmental temperature drops, making surfaces even more slippery. A surface that is weighed down by snow must be inspected by a competent person to determine if it is structurally safe for workers to access

lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body.

it, because it may be at risk of collapsing. Snow covered

Using Powered Equipment like Snow Blowers

can fall through. Electrical hazards may also exist from

It is important to make sure that powered equipment, such

rooftops can hide hazards such as skylights that workers overhead power lines or snow removal equipment.

as snow blowers are properly grounded to protect workers

Employers can protect workers from these hazardous

from electric shocks or electrocutions. When performing

work conditions, for example, by using snow removal

maintenance or cleaning, make sure the equipment is

methods that do not involve workers going on roofs,

properly guarded and is disconnected from power sources.

when and where possible. Employers should determine

Snow blowers commonly cause lacerations or amputations when operators attempt to clear jams with the equipment turned on. Never attempt to clear a jam by hand. First, turn the snow blower off and wait for all moving parts to stop, and then use a long stick to clear wet snow or debris from the machine. Keep your hands and feet away from moving parts. Refuel a snow blower prior to starting the

the right type of equipment (ladders, aerial lifts, etc.) and personal protective equipment (personal fall arrest systems, non-slip safety boots, etc.) for the job and ensure that workers are trained on how to properly use them. For more information, see OSHA’s Hazard Alert: Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces. ...continued on next page 3


Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice To prevent slips, trips, and falls, employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of injuries: • Wear proper footwear when walking on snow or ice is unavoidable, because it is especially treacherous. A pair of insulated and water resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months. • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.

Repairing Downed or Damaged Power Lines

responsible authority. Only properly-trained electrical utility workers can handle damaged power lines. Learn more at: Contact with Power Lines (OSHA Construction eTool) and Working Safely around Downed Electrical Wires (OSHA Fact Sheet).

Removing Downed Trees Clearing downed trees is a critical job during severe winter weather conditions. It is usually urgent to remove downed trees that block public roads and damage power lines. Emergency crews are often tasked with clearing downed trees. Potential hazards include: • Electrocution by contacting downed energized power lines or contacting broken tree limbs in contact with downed energized power lines. Learn more at: Line Clearance Tree Trimming Operations (OSHA Electric Power eTool).

Repairing and/or replacing damaged power lines

• Falls from heights.

in severe winter weather conditions are especially

• Being injured by equipment such as chain saws (Chain

hazardous. A major hazard is snow, because the moisture can reduce the insulation value of protective equipment, and could cause electrocution. In these conditions deenergized work is safer, but if energized work must be done, qualified workers and supervisors must first do a hazard analysis that includes evaluating the weather conditions and identifying how to safely do the job. Other potential hazards include: • Electrocution by contacting downed energized power lines, or contacting objects, such as broken tree limbs, in contact with downed energized power lines. • Fires caused by an energized line or equipment failure. • Being struck or crushed by falling tree limbs, collapsing poles, etc. When working on downed or damaged power lines, electrical utility workers should use safe work practices, appropriate tools and equipment (including personal protective equipment (PPE)). Extra caution should be exercised when working in adverse weather conditions.

Saw Safety (OSHA QuickCard™)) and chippers (Chipper Machine Safety (OSHA QuickCard™)). Workers should wear PPE that protect them from the hazards of the tree removal tasks. Workers using chainsaws and chippers to clear downed trees should use: gloves, chaps, foot protection, eye protection, fall protection, hearing protection and head protection. Only powered equipment designed for outdoor and wet conditions should be used. Use all equipment and tools (saws, chippers, etc.) properly and for the purpose that they are designed for. Ensure that equipment is always maintained in serviceable condition and inspected before use by a knowledgeable person that can identify any problems with the equipment. Do not use equipment that is not functioning properly. Equipment must have proper guarding (as applicable); safe guards must never be bypassed. All controls and safety features must function as designed by the manufacturer. Learn more at: Tree Trimming and Removal (OSHA QuickCard™).

Learn more at: Contact with Power Lines (OSHA Construction eTool).

Working Near Downed or Damaged power lines Assume all power lines are energized and stay clear of any downed or damaged power lines. Establish a safe distance from power lines and report any incidents to the

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Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season National Safety Council | 11.22.19

Holiday safety is an issue that burns brightest from late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. Take some basic precautions to ensure your family remains safe and injuryfree throughout the season.

Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared Many people choose to travel by car during the holidays, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. In 2017, 329 people died on New Year’s Day, 463 on Thanksgiving Day and 299 on Christmas Day, according to

• Put that cell phone away; many distractions occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit • Practice defensive driving • Designate a sober driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs can cause impairment

Decorate Safely Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.

Injury Facts. Alcohol impairment was involved in about a

When decorating follow these tips from the U.S. Consumer

third of the fatalities.

Product Safety Commission:

Stay safe on the roads over the holidays and every day:

• Keep potentially poisonous plants – mistletoe, holly

• Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency preparedness kit with you • Get a good night’s sleep before departing and avoid drowsy driving • Leave early, planning ahead for heavy traffic • Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled

berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis – away from children • If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant” • If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry

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• Place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights • Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections • Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket • Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house

Watch Out for Fire-Starters Candles and Fireplaces Use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations in many homes during the holidays, means more risk for fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports that onethird of home decoration fires are started by candles and that two of every five decoration fires happen because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

• Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over and out of reach of children. • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach for children in a locked cabinet. • Use flameless, rather than lighted, candles near flammable objects. • Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace. • Use a screen on the fireplace at all times when a fire is burning. • Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are asleep. • Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year. Turkey Fryers Be alert to the dangers if you’re thinking of celebrating the holidays by frying a turkey. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 154 turkeyfryer related fires, burns or other injuries since 2004, with $5.2 million in property damage losses have resulted from these incidents. NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers at home and urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments or consider using an oil-less turkey fryer. If you must fry your own turkey, follow all U.S. Fire Administration turkey fryer guidelines.

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Food Poisoning Is No Joke Keep your holidays happy by handling food safely. The foodsafety.gov website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Opioid Misuse, Cocaine Use Higher Among Construction, Extraction Workers: Study National Safety Council | 11.13.19

provides some valuable holiday food safety tips: • Wash your hands frequently when handling food • Keep raw meat away from fresh produce • Use separate cutting boards, plate and utensils for uncooked and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature • Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of being served • When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly • Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for three to four days when properly refrigerated

New York — Written drug policies and programs are strongly needed in the construction and extraction industries, researchers from New York University are saying after their study revealed that workers in these industries are more likely than those in other

It’s Better to Give Safely

industries to misuse prescription opioids and use cocaine.

Gifts and toys should inspire joy, not cause

The researchers from the NYU College of Global Public Health

injuries. More than a quarter of a million children were seriously injured in toy-related incidents in 2017. Avoid safety hazards while

analyzed 2005-2014 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which sampled more than 293,000 U.S. adults. Among the study population, about 16,600 (5.6%) were

gifting with these tips from the American

construction and extraction workers.

Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer

Of 14 industries studied, workers in construction and extraction

Product Safety Commission:

had the highest prevalence of prescription opioid misuse (3.4%

• Toys are age-rated for safety, not for

compared with 2% of workers in other fields) and cocaine use

children’s intellect and physical ability, so be sure to choose toys in the correct age range • Choose toys for children under 3 that do not have small parts which could be choking hazards • For children under 10, avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet • Be cautious about toys that have button batteries or magnets, which can be harmful or fatal if swallowed • When giving scooters and other riding toys,

(1.8% vs. 0.8%). They also had the second-highest marijuana use, at 12.3% – behind service industry workers (12.4%). Around 7.5% of non-construction workers said they used marijuana. The researchers also noted a connection between drug use and unstable job status. Construction workers who were unemployed in the past week or working for three or more employers were more likely to misuse prescription opioids or use marijuana. Missing three to five days of work in the past month because of an injury or illness doubled the odds of opioid misuse. “Having written drug policies was associated with reduced odds for cocaine use, and workplace tests for drug use during hiring and random drug testing were also associated with lower

give the gift of appropriate safety gear, too;

odds of marijuana use,” the study’s abstract states. Additionally,

helmets should be worn at all times and they

workplace alcohol testing and employers who fire workers for

should be sized to fit

positive drug tests were linked to lower odds of marijuana use, according to an Oct. 30 press release from NYU.

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Protecting Against Arc Flash with “Safety by Design” Occupational Health & Safety | 11.12.19 by Erhan Cokal

YES

NO

Silver Spring, MD — The rate of nonfatal, work-related musculoskeletal disorders requiring days away from work in the construction industry has continued to decline, while the median DAFW for such injuries remains on the rise, according to a recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training – also known as CPWR. Work-related MSDs in construction occurred at a rate of 31.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2017, down from 32.7 in 2016 and 34.6 in 2015. The latest figure is markedly lower than the rate of 137.0 reported in 1992, the year the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses began. However, the median DAFW that construction employees needed to recover from work-related MSDs increased to 13 in 2017 from eight in 1992, and to 12 from seven for overall nonfatal injuries over the same period.

Other findings: • Back injuries accounted for 41.7% of work-related MSDs in construction in 2017, followed by knee injuries (12.4%). • Sprains, strains and tears were the most common injuries requiring DAFW, representing 68% of cases. Soreness and pain was the next most common injury, at 20%. • Overexertion unrelated to lifting or lowering activities (59.1%) and overexertion while lifting or lowering (35%) were the leading causes of work-related MSDs requiring DAFW. • On average from 2015 to 2017, 45.6% of construction workers reported experiencing MSD symptoms such as arthritis and pain in the joints, lower back and neck. Among other resources to help reduce MSDs in construction, the report cites a CPWR pilot program called Best Built Plans, which includes a site planning tool, training resources, and input on warmups and best lifting practices. “Effective ergonomic innovations to reduce the physical workload of construction workers are essential to mitigate the risk of WMSDs and to facilitate sustained employment, in particular for older construction workers given the aging workforce trend,” the report states.

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Downward Trend Stalls As Nonfatal Injury And Illness Rate In Private Sector Unchanged: Bureau Of Labor Statistics - Injury And Illness Rates National Safety Council | 11.07.19

Washington — The nonfatal injury and illness rate for private-sector U.S. employees remained steady in 2018, halting a trend of consistent decline, while the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work climbed slightly, according to annual data released Nov. 7 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2018, matching the previous year’s figure. The rate stood at 2.9 in 2016 and 3.0 in 2015. Before the current findings, the rate had fallen in every year but one since the series began in 2003, remaining at 3.4 in 2011 and 2012. Estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses show that, in 2018, approximately 2.8 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported, a figure “essentially unchanged from 2017,” a BLS press release states. The total includes 900,380 cases that resulted in at least one day away from work, for a rate of 89.7 per 10,000 full-time workers – up from 89.4 in 2017. For the first time, data included national estimates for emergency room and hospital visits for injuries and illnesses requiring DAFW, according to the release. Among such cases, 333,380 (37%) required a worker to visit a medical facility, with 294,750 of these including a trip to an ER but no hospitalization.

Other findings: • The median DAFW needed to recover was eight, unchanged from 2017. • Sprains, strains and tears accounted for 308,630 cases requiring DAFW (34.3%). • The rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses among retail trade workers increased to 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers from 3.3 in 2017, marking the first increase in the industry since 2003. DAFW cases in retail trade stemming from slips, trips or falls increased 11%. Former OSHA administrator David Michaels called the report “ominous” in a Nov. 7 tweet. Citing regulation limitations as well as research commissioned by BLS, Michaels suggests estimates from employer injury logs may be undercounted. “For the first time since 2012, the rate of injuries has not declined. But the toll on workers is likely far worse than it appears,” Michaels tweeted. The data release is the first of two annual reports from BLS. The second, scheduled for Dec. 17, will highlight Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries findings.

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OSHA Stresses Limits on Computer-Based Training EHS Today | 11.18.2019 by David Sparkman

Courses must offer interactive and hands-on opportunities

interactive and physical components, such as putting on

with qualified trainers.

and removing personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA adds that the opportunity for workers to be able to

(OSHA) takes employee safety training very seriously,

ask questions of, and receive responses from, a qualified

and in support of that commitment the agency recently

trainer in a timely manner is critical to effective training. As

reinforced its stated policy that online and computer

a result, it says, online training that does not provide workers

training alone for employees is not adequate to meet

with this opportunity would not be in compliance with

federal train requirements.

OSHA’s worker training requirements.

“One of the keys that OSHA emphasizes in all of its efforts

“Training with no interaction, or delayed or limited

is the importance of training,” OSHA Acting Chief Loren

interaction, between the trainer and trainee may halt or

Sweatt declared in a recent speech. “Training must be

negatively affect a trainee’s ability to understand and/or

provided to workers who face hazards on the job. It’s the

retain the training material,” according to OSHA.

law, and it’s also good for every business. A highly trained workforce can minimize unnecessary costs and disruptions from an illness, injury, or fatality.”

“Equally important is the provision of sufficient hands-on training because it allows an employee to interact with equipment and tools in the presence of a qualified trainer,

In this age of high-tech wonders, with everyone glued to

allows the employee to learn or refresh their skills through

their smart phones and relying on Google the way they

experience, and allows the trainer to assess whether the

once used Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s not surprising

trainees have mastered the proper techniques.”

that some employers would be tempted to believe that computer training could be enough to meet the agency’s requirements. But it’s just not so, as another OSHA official explained in response to a question posed earlier this year by an employer.

OSHA notes that one way for the employer to give workers this opportunity in the context of a computerbased program is by providing a telephone hotline so that workers will have direct access to a qualified trainer during the conduct of the online training. But even that is not

OSHA’s interpretation of its requirement that training must

considered optimum by the agency in regard to certain

“result in mastery of the training material” leads to the

kinds of training.

conclusion that online training must be supplemented by

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For training to be considered adequate, OSHA says a

OSHA’s constituent employers may be forgiven for

qualified trainer must supplement and facilitate any

embracing this misapprehension due to the fact that the

appropriate hands-on training or demonstration (for

agency itself offers dozens of video and other kinds of

example, how to use a tool, perform a task or don

computer-based training programs for sale on its website. On

appropriate PPE) as necessary for the employee to learn

top of that, many private companies also market DVDs and

the proper safety and operational techniques, and for the

computer-based OSHA training programs covering almost

trainer to assess the employee’s mastery of them.

every major OSHA topic, as well as options for 10- and 30-

Time is of the essence, too. A qualified trainer must be

hour general industry and construction training courses.

available in a “timely manner” to answer questions during

However, employers should know that there is nothing

the training. “Training with no interaction, or delayed or

new contained in this most recent interpretation of training

limited interaction, between the trainer and trainee may

requirements. OSHA issued another one that is almost

halt or negatively affect a trainee’s ability to understand

identical in its wording 25 years ago, note attorneys Timothy

and/or retain the training material,” OSHA explains.

Hoover and Jason Markel of the law firm of Hodgson Russ LLP.

“Online training that does not provide workers with

“Perhaps over the next 25 years advances in virtual

hands-on training would not comply with the agency’s

reality, interactive holographic imagery or robotic android

worker training requirements,” the agency stresses. It also

technologies may afford a viable substitute for the way

emphasizes the importance of employers reviewing specific

interactive employee training can be delivered,” they

OSHA standards and related guidance to determine what

point out. “But for now, the letter of interpretation serves as

OSHA requires in specific situations.

a reminder to employers that some things still need to be done the old-fashioned way.”

Protecting Against Arc Flash with “Safety by Design” Occupational Health & Safety | 11.12.19 by Erhan Cokal

An arc flash is defined as a hazardous explosion of energy from an electrical circuit, or a type of discharge that results from a low-impedance connection through air to ground or to another voltage phase in an electrical system. In the United States, arc flashes occur as often as five to 10 times per day. Many of these incidents result in injuries, and some are even deadly. Creating a heat blast of up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, arc flash incidents can also damage equipment and interrupt business operations, leading to significant economic losses. The cause can be as simple as a rodent, a misplaced tool, humidity issues, or another element in the breaker area that compromises the electrical “spacing” between energized components. Essentially all electrical systems of voltages 200V or greater are susceptible to arc flash incidents. To protect electrical systems from these disastrous effects, electrical professionals must comply with OSHA enforced electrical safety standards in their state and local jurisdiction. The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 70E1, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, outlines a six-step process for the proper design and installation of electrical systems: develop and audit electrical safe work practices policy, conduct an arc flash risk assessment to evaluate the likelihood of occurrence and severity of arc flash hazards, follow strategies to mitigate and control arc flash hazards, conduct regularly scheduled safety training and audits for all electrical workers, maintain electrical distribution system components and ensure adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper tools that act as the “last line of defense” for exposed workers.

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First Aid Kit Requirements: What Osha And The Ansi/Isea Standard Say Should Be In Your Workplace Kit Safety + Health | 10.27.2019

“In the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in near

kits based on the quantity and assortment of supplies.

proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment

“Class A” kits generally are suitable for all wounds, minor

of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be

burns and eye injuries. “Class B” kits are designed to

adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid

treat injuries more often found in densely populated

supplies shall be readily available.”

workplaces with complex and/or high-risk environments,

This wording comes directly from OSHA, in its medical

such as warehouses, factories and outdoor areas.

service and first aid standard (29 CFR 1910.151). However,

• Experts note that industrial distributors of personal

agency standards don’t list specific contents for first aid

protective equipment and safety equipment offer ANSI/

kits. OSHA guidance merely reiterates that supplies must be

ISEA-approved first aid kits, as do first aid organizations

adequate and reflect common injuries related to the work

and suppliers of fire extinguishers.

environment. Kits must be stored in an easily accessible area in case of emergency.

So, which supplies should be in your kit? OSHA cites the American National Standards Institute/ International Safety Equipment Association standard Z308.1 as a recommended, non-mandatory source of guidance for minimum first aid kit requirements.

Key points • A revision to the standard, ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015, took effect in June 2016 and introduced two classes of first aid

• The ANSI/ISEA standard doesn’t allow for assembling supplies piecemeal to create a compliant kit. Workers may not subtract from the minimum kit requirements, but can add to it based on work environment. Here, Safety+Health answers some frequently asked questions related to the ANSI/ISEA standard and other first aid matters.

Does OSHA guidance have any supply-related requirements pertaining to first aid kits? Again, OSHA cites the ANSI/ISEA standard as a recommended, non-mandatory resource. In an April

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2002 letter of interpretation, the agency offered further insight into the standard: “The contents of the first aid kit listed in ANSI Z308.1 should be adequate for a small worksite. … However, larger or multiple operations should consider the need for additional first aid kits, additional types of first aid equipment and first aid supplies in larger quantities. You may wish to consult your local fire and rescue department, an appropriate medical professional, your local OSHA area office, or a first aid supplier for assistance in putting together a first aid kit which suits the needs of your workplace. You should also periodically assess your kit and increase your supplies as needed.”

What supplies should be in my first aid kit? A revision of the ANSI/ISEA standard, Z308.1-2015, took effect in June 2016 and introduced two classes of first aid kits. Identified as “Class A” and “Class B,” the kits are based on the quantity and assortment of supplies. Class A kits generally are suitable for all wounds, minor burns and eye injuries. Class B kits are designed to treat injuries more often found in densely populated workplaces with complex and/or high-risk environments, such as warehouses, factories and outdoor areas.

Minimum kit requirements:

...continued on next page

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Kits in compliance with Z308.1-2015 feature supplies

expected injuries in a work environment. Vasquez offered

arranged in uniform, color-coded boxes to ease

examples of possible scenarios.

organization: Blue for antiseptics, yellow for bandages, red for burn treatment, orange for personal protective equipment and green for miscellaneous items. In addition, kits are organized into one of four types based on work environment: • Type I: Containers are mountable and intended for stationary, indoor settings.

“People who work for utility companies might expect more thermal burns or electrical burns, so a kit could cater to that,” he said. “Or, if you’ve got people working out in a forested area and it’s going to be pretty remote, then maybe having splints and other things that you might have to have because there’s nothing else (e.g., a nearby hospital) that’s really available.”

• Type II: Portable and intended for indoor use.

An AED is a common addition, experts say, as sudden cardiac

• Type III: Must be portable, mountable and have a

arrest can be a hazard among workers across all industries.

water-resistant seal.

“All worksites are potential candidates for AED programs

• Type IV: Must be portable, mountable and waterproof.

because of the possibility of SCA and the need for timely

Where can I buy an ANSI/ISEA-approved first aid kit?

its own requirements for an AED program as part of its first

Cristine Fargo, vice president of operations and technical services at ISEA, said most industrial distributors of PPE and safety equipment offer compliant kits. John Vasquez, a safety consultant with the National Safety Council whose expertise includes first aid training, also recommends first aid organizations or suppliers of fire extinguishers as possible resources. “They will have it listed on the kit that it’s going to be ANSI-approved and have the dates of the latest version,” Vasquez said.

defibrillation,” OSHA states. “Each workplace should assess aid response.”

Are any actions on the horizon for the standards? OSHA is not planning any revisions or updates to its medical services and first aid standard, agency spokesperson Kimberly Darby confirmed in a Sept. 25 email to Safety+Health. The ANSI/ISEA Z308.1 standard, however, may undergo changes. Fargo said the ANSI/ISEA first aid product group currently is assessing which areas or trends might need to be

Can I assemble my own kit and be in compliance with

addressed for the next revision to the Z308.1 standard,

ANSI/ISEA Z308.1?

adding that the group plans to update the document by

No. “That’s not what the document intends,” Fargo said of

the end of 2020.

the standard. Workers also can’t subtract from the minimum requirements of the kit, but may add to it based on

14

Profile for The Austin Company

Safety Net | December 2019  

Safety Net | December 2019