Grainger is committed to protecting people, property, processes and the environment, both in the workplace and at home. To expand on this commitment, Grainger is providing a monthly Safety Moment to help drive awareness of critical safety issues and provide practical solutions to mitigate associated risk. Use these insights to assist with your safety committee meetings, toolbox talks and shift-starter meetings.
Training is a key part of any part of all workplace injury prevention programs. Workers must have the skills and knowledge they need to do their work safely.
There are many OSHA standards that require employers to train their workers about specific hazards they may face on the job. Some standards require annual training, while others only require initial or periodic training.
The start of a new year is a great time to take a fresh look at OSHA’s training requirements. Here’s a list of the standards and hazards that require annual training.
|Training Topic||OSHA Standard|
|Occupational Noise Exposure||1910.95|
|Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response (General)||1910.120|
|Portable Fire Extinguishers||1910.157|
|Fire Extinguishing Systems||1910.160|
|Mechanical Power Presses||1910.217|
|Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution||1910.269|
|Grain Handling Facilities||1910.272|
|Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records||1910.1020|
|Coke Oven Emissions||1910.1029|
|Ethylene Oxide (ETO)||1910.1047|
View an on-demand webinar covering training requirements and other yearly EH&S compliance reminders and see OSHA's comprehensive guide to all training requirements here.
Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses. There are workers in every industry who are at risk. Among workers who are exposed to noise, about one in five has a hearing impairment. Hearing conservation programs aim to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve remaining hearing, and equip workers with the equipment and knowledge needed to protect themselves.
As outlined by OSHA standards and publications, hearing conservation programs involve:
So how much noise is too much? OSHA's action level for noise is 85 decibels averaged over eight working hours. That's not as loud as you might think—about as loud as a gas-powered lawnmower or leaf blower. If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone three feet away, the noise level might be over 85 decibels. At that level or above, OSHA requires that employers establish hearing conservation programs to help protect employees' hearing.
In 2021, fires occurred in buildings and other structures at a rate of one every 65 seconds.
Fire Prevention Week began October 9. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) theme this year is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.”
Escape planning is just as important for businesses as it is for families. OSHA requires that many businesses include escape routes and exits for evacuation in written emergency action plans (EAPs). Exit routes should be clearly marked, well lit, wide enough for the number of people evacuating and clear of obstructions and debris.
Fire Prevention Week is a great time to make sure your designated exit routes are totally clear and unobstructed, that your EAP is up to date and that employees have had proper training. And don't forget that prevention planning is important, too.
A business's fire prevention plan (FPP) should be written down and available for employees to review in the workplace. Among the most important parts of an FPP are descriptions of potential fire hazards on site—the things that can start a fire (ignition sources) and the things that can burn (fuel sources)—as well as descriptions of the fire protection and alarm systems that can help control these hazards.
Forklifts are indispensable at warehouses and work sites across the country. Moving, lifting and stacking heavy materials and equipment with them is all in a day's work. But don't let routine lead to complacency: forklifts can be hazardous. In 2020, forklifts incidents accounted for 78 work-related deaths and 7,290 injuries requiring days away from work.
Lack of education is part of the problem. According to OSHA, investigations into forklift-related deaths have determined that many workers aren't aware of the risks of operating or working near forklifts, and they aren't following the procedures outlined by OSHA and forklift manufacturers.
Training and education are critical. View our on-demand webinar on forklift incident prevention.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace. No. 1 on OSHA’s November 2020 list of most-cited standards from COVID-19 related inspections was respiratory protection. It was also second on the OSHA Top 10 list for FY 2021, with 2,195 citations.
On June 30, 2022 OSHA extended its Revised National Emphasis Program on COVID-19 until further notice. The program focuses enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting COVID-19, such as healthcare and meat and poultry processing. OSHA also increased the COVID-19 inspection goal from 5 percent of inspections to 10 percent while it works to finalize a permanent COVID-19 healthcare standard.
With that in mind, it can be easy to forget that respirators offer protection against more than just viruses. But according to OSHA, respirators protect workers against hazards including harmful dusts, smokes, mists, gasses, vapors and sprays. According to the agency, compliance with respiratory protection standards would prevent hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses each year.
What can organizations do? Start by looking at the top three historically cited sections of OSHA's respiratory protection standard:
As these sections illustrate, it's not enough just to have the equipment. Proper medical evaluation, fit testing and a comprehensive written respiratory protection program are needed to ensure that workers are actually protected.
New technologies are helping improve safety and efficiency in the workplace. Connected worker solutions use software and handheld or wearable devices to gather data and provide feedback that helps improve worker effectiveness and safety.
What can these technologies accomplish? Organizations are investing in connected worker solutions to:
What can frontline workers do?
To learn more about what these technologies can do and how they can be implemented, register for a webinar on connected worker solutions.
Working in the heat is a fact of life, but it's important to recognize that high temperatures are a serious hazard. The stakes couldn't be higher.
Between 2015 and 2019, an average of 40 workers per year died from environmental heat exposure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During a single heat wave in June 2021, two people in Oregon died from heat-related illness after working through the high temperatures. Meanwhile, heat waves in the U.S. are becoming more frequent, longer and more intense.
To help protect workers from heat-related illness and injury, OSHA launched a new national emphasis program in April 2022. With this program, OSHA can initiate heat-related inspections before workers are injured. The agency also started the rulemaking process to develop a standard on preventing heat-related illness and injuries.
This on-demand webinar discusses heat stress and OSHA's enhanced and expanded efforts to combat heat-related injuries and illnesses. Workers should know how to recognize signs of heat-related illness, and organizations can take steps to allow for acclimatization and other work practices that can help minimize heat hazards.
In 2020, there were more fatal injuries in construction than in any other industry, and more of those deaths were caused by falls than by any other event or exposure. Fall prevention measures can make a difference.
Preventing falls in construction is the theme of this year's National Safety Stand-Down. OSHA coordinates this annual event to encourage employers to communicate with their employees about safety through toolbox talks, discussions of job hazards, hands-on exercises and other safety activities.
As one of its tips for a successful stand-down, OSHA suggests reviewing your fall prevention program with these questions:
The National Safety Stand-Down takes place May 2–6, 2022, but it's always a good time to raise awareness of fall hazards and fall protection.
View on-demand webinars on mobile elevating work platforms and working at elevated heights or consult the articles below for more on fall hazards.
The problem of violence in the workplace can't be ignored.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there were more than 20,000 days-away-from-work injuries intentionally caused by another person in 2020. And each year there are millions of workers who report beings victims of workplace violence, according to the National Safety Council.
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends four steps that can help employees feel more prepared and secure:
For many workers, using portable ladders is a routine part of the job. But falls from portable ladders are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the workplace, and training on safe ladder use is essential.
Why does ladder safety training matter?
To get the ball rolling, consider these three ladder safety fundamentals:
Get more ladder safety tips, learn more about OSHA and ANSI-compliant ladders and visit the National Ladder Safety Month website, presented by the American Ladder Institute.
Year after year, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. February is American Heart Month, a great time to reinforce the importance of cardiovascular health.
In 2022, there are good reasons to take heart health especially seriously:
This year, the CDC is encouraging Americans to control hypertension, or high blood pressure. According to the agency, almost half of adults have high blood pressure, and only about a quarter of those people have it under control.
The CDC describes actions that employers can take to help tackle this problem, including offering healthy foods and encouraging physical activity at work. The CDC also recommends steps that individuals can take:
Whether it happens at work or at home, stress can have negative cardiovascular consequences. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers information on how to stress less for a healthier heart, self-care tips for heart health and more resources for American Heart Month.
Heart disease is largely preventable, but it's also important to be ready for the worst. Learn more about preparing for cardiovascular emergencies in the workplace with Grainger KnowHow:
Every year, OSHA's list of frequently cited standards serves as an important reminder of some of the workplace safety issues that matter most.
To help keep workers safe, OSHA can issue fines to businesses that put their workers at risk—fines of up to $13,653 per serious violation, up to $13,653 per day for failure to abate and up to $136,532 per willful or repeated violation.
Fall protection, respiratory protection and ladders topped the agency's 2021 list.
Fall protection – general requirements (1926.501) has been the agency's most-cited standard for 11 years running. In 2021, there were 5,271 violations.
After transportation incidents, falls are the leading cause of work-related death. And according to the National Safety Council, falls are largely preventable.
Fall protection is important for any organization that uses ladders, scaffolding or elevated work platforms, as well as when work involves stairways, roofs, wall openings or unprotected floor holes, among other common hazards.
Respiratory protection (1910.134) was OSHA's No. 2 standard in 2021, up from No. 3 in 2020. There were 2,521 violations of this standard in 2021. Respirators and respiratory protection programs have been top-of-mind in many organizations since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
In 2021, the percentage of cited violations of this standard increased from 5.3% to 6.5%.
The most-cited sections of the standard were 1910.134(e)(1), on medical evaluation; 1910.134(f)(2), on fit testing; and 1910.134(c)(1), on establishing and implementing written respiratory protection programs.
Ladders (1926.1053) was OSHA's No. 3 standard in 2021, up from No. 5 the year before.
The most-cited section of the standard was 1926.1053(b)(1), for using a portable ladder that's too short and not properly secured at its top.
There were 1,269 violations of this section in 2021, which states that the ladder side rails need to extend at least three feet above the upper landing surface that the ladder is being used to access.
The data above is current as of Nov. 8. See the rest of OSHA's top 10 for 2021.
Prolonged exposure to cold weather or cold indoor working conditions can lead to cold stress. Some employers fail to recognize and address cold stress hazards because they don't know the related signs and symptoms, which include:
Solutions that Work
Even the most attentive and proactive worker can’t tackle the dangers of cold stress alone. A cooperative approach is important. OSHA’s guidance for cold stress prevention lists engineering controls, training, safe work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE)—such as appropriate cold weather attire—as foundational components for employers to build into their work plans. Employers should:
Register to view an on-demand cold stress webinar.
People working at heights often do not take sufficient precautions, especially when carrying out work at relatively low heights (four to six feet). They fail to plan correctly, underestimate the risks involved or are just in a hurry to finish the job.
This leads to:
Solutions that Work
Employers and workers share in the responsibility of making sure all work done at elevated heights is done safely. Employers can help workers to understand what they need to do to protect themselves and should:
Employees, in turn, should learn and practice safe procedures and follow company policies and procedures and avoid cutting corners to save time.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.
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