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“Confined Spaces – “What To Do Before You Enter” #ConfinedSpace #StayAlive

80% of fatalities happened in locations that had been previously entered by the same person who later died.

Each year, an average of 92 fatalities occurs from confined spaces locations due to asphyxiation, acute or chronic poisoning, or impairment.

But, what is a “confined space?”

A confined space is a space that:

  1. Is large enough and so arranged that an employee can bodily enter it;
  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit;
  3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

Examples of confined spaces include:

  • Sewers
  • Storm drains
  • Water mains
  • Pits
  • And many more

Permit-required confined spaces include:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material with the potential to engulf someone who enters the space
  • Has an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your workers.

1. Is This a Confined Space?

2. Is the Atmosphere Safe?

Testing must be done in several levels of the space because specific hazardous gases react differently to the rest of the atmosphere. Why? Hydrogen Sulfide is slightly heavier than air, while other dangerous gases such as methane may be lighter than air and rise to the top. Only by testing all levels of the tank you are about to enter can you be reasonably sure the atmosphere is acceptable for breathing.

3. How Do I Exit Safely?

Before you start thinking about entering, first make sure you can get back out. Meaning you have a rescue plan and are working with someone else who can provide for rescue.

If you don’t have a rescue plan, don’t enter.

4. How Do I Enter Safely?

Does the job or project require special equipment to get in and out of the space, such as a body harness?

5. Will The Atmosphere Stay Safe?

Once you’ve established that the atmosphere is safe to enter, you next have to know that it will stay that way. Which leads us to our next point.

6. Does the Space Need Ventilating?

If the air is found to be unsafe within the confined space because of existing fumes or gas, or if the work being done will contribute to a degradation of the breathable atmosphere, the space needs to be ventilated and you need to be using an air monitoring device.

7. Equipment Check

It’s important to check your equipment before beginning any sort of confined space entry work. Has your gas detector been bump-tested or recently calibrated? Have all lanyards and lifelines been checked for wear? Have harnesses been properly stored?

8. Lighting

Confined spaces are often cramped, dark and awkwardly shaped. A well-lit worksite helps workers avoid injury.

9. Communication

Radios are a great way to stay connected with workers, but also keep in mind that, nothing can replace having a standby worker positioned at the exit when workers are in a confined space. This tried and true system allows the outside person not only to communicate with workers within the space but also to call for help if it is needed.

10. Are you and your crew up to the task?

Can each team member be relied upon in a life-threatening situation?

This list is not meant to be comprehensive, check the OSHA Standards for that.

Stop to consider the dangers before you enter, and be mindful that confined spaces can become dangerous after you have entered.

Source: Vivid Learning Systems – Safety Toolbox

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“New #Safety Products! “See The New “Hi-Viz” Safety Vest from Viz Reflectives”

There was a time when founder, Justin Krook fell off an elevated floor at a construction site and landed on a metal rod that plunged 9 inches into the middle of his back. Impaled on the metal rod, for 27 terrifying minutes he wrestled with the real possibility of a life without the use of his legs.

Krook sees this incident as having led to his new life as an entrepreneur and the inventor of a new photoluminescent pigment used on construction workers’ safety vests. “This technology is something new and never seen before,” said Doug Peterson, a risk manager and northern region safety director at United Contractors Midwest. “I’ve seen nothing even remotely as effective as this product.”

However, when his father got sick, he felt obligated to take over his contracting company in New Ipswich, N,H., where Krook grew up. It was 2006, after six years in the construction industry, when the accident happened. Krook and his crew were building an inside loading dock for a company that makes mortar shells for the government. He was showing a co-worker where to cut an opening in the building’s wall to create a entryway for supply trucks to unload materials in a secure location. Then he stepped back. “I fell back off the floor and landed on a metal bar that went up 9 inches in my back and almost leaving me paralyzed,” he said. “It was one of those life-changing experiences.”

Despite the intense pain, Krook used those 27 minutes to think about the future. “After I was hurt, I started to look at the world differently,” he said. “I wanted to protect workers from going through what I had gone through….that was something that I became passionate about.” After spending six months recovering from his injury, he was back at work on a job in Mississippi building a 40,000-square-foot pool. During the project, he and a few engineers were looking for a way to identify the pool’s edge at night.

It was decided to try a readily-available chemical, but it wasn’t bright enough to be seen in ambient-light. That was when Krook, relying what he learned in a “few” chemistry classes at FSU, began searching for a luminescent compound that could be easily seen outdoors and in ambient light. “I literally set up a lab in my garage and started doing some research to figure out how photoluminescent pigment actually works and how I could take that and increase the intensity so it would be seen outside,” he said. “The whole idea just started from that pool.”

While taking a business class at Clark University in Worcester, he started seeking out chemists who could help him with the project. Edward Kingsley, who holds a Ph.D in chemistry and is a technical program manager at UMass Lowell, provided the technical assistance Krook needed. “I was impressed by Justin’s focus, drive and work ethic along with the fact that he has a very collaborative work style,” Kingsley said, adding “keep in mind he worked on the project for two years without a paycheck, it has not been an easy road for him!”

“It was about two years later that I actually had a way to increase the intensity,” he said. “The ‘ah-ha’ moment was when I showed this to a family friend who had invented a product back in the ’80s.” His family friend, impressed, told him it was time to find a patent attorney. That was in December 2012. Of course, Krook won’t reveal how he increased the results but people like Kingsley are impressed with what he has discovered.

“I am a Ph.D chemist with 30 years experience in technical product development and spent many years developing photoluminescent materials,” said Kingsley. “I was amazed at how much Justin accomplished with no formal training or experience with material science (and) with much fewer resources.” “The hardest part was convincing my wife that using everything we had saved towards an unknown product that may or may not work and even if it did, would it sell?” “The purpose of a high-visibility garment is to make a person visible,” Krook said. Before the discovery, once a construction worker stepped away from the light, they were invisible. Now workers can be seen hundreds of feet away using Krook’s product. The glow lasts up to eight hours. “I can see the cars hitting their brake lights when I am out here in the dark moving traffic control,” Peterson said.

“People are more aware. It’s an extra layer of protection.” That extra layer of protection for workers was exactly what United Contractors Midwest was looking for. “The reason why we love this product is because it is cutting-edge,” said Peterson. “These guys appreciate that UCM is willing to spend the extra money to give them that extra layer of added protection.” Kingsley echoed Peterson on Krook’s product being innovative. “I am very familiar with the development of photoluminescent materials and knowledgeable about companies developing such materials,” he said. “Justin’s photoluminescent tapes were better than any of the competitors I had previously evaluated. The combining of the photoluminescent coatings with the retroreflective coatings differentiated his product from others.” At that point Krook, still a lone entrepreneur at the time, needed someone to help push and manufacture his product. He began pitching his product to companies and came across Viz Reflectives UK, which was already making silver-reflective tape and garments.

Krook and VizReflectives owner Nick Rowbottom soon struck an agreement. Krook would license the glow material to Viz Reflectives, which would in turn manufacture the product and attach it to construction garments. “Part of our agreement was I wanted to still be involved,” Krook said about working with Viz RefIectives. “I didn’t want to just license it and then wash my hands of it so the agreement is, I am responsible for introducing and selling into all of North, Central and South America. Right now, they are doing all the manufacturing and then I take it, introduce it and sell it.”

Viz Reflectives manufactures the tape, then sends it offshore to be sewn onto the garments and then shipped back to the United States to be sold. “We didn’t want separate brands that would cause confusion in the market, so I started Viz Reflectives North America and we decided the tape would be sold under VizLite®DT and our garments under Alpha WorkWear,” Krook said. Krook started the company about 14 months ago. He’s been using LinkedIn, a business-focused social-media website, to market his product. That connected him with Peterson and United Contractors Midwest, and has recently met with Exxon Mobil, Jacobs, Archer Western, Kiewit, OldCastle, Con Edison, National Grid among many other very large companies. “They loved it,” said Krook, adding that he “now has a fire-retardant version of the tape and our FR garments currently under construction.” Krook has also met with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MBTA and NHDOT. “With so many fatalities on the roadways we feel it is a no-brainer to add a 3rd layer of protection.

We would like to meet with the Departments of Transportation in all 50 States” Krook adds “there is no doubt in our minds not only will we prevent accidents but also save lives!” He said he introduces the product the same way to every company. “It’s a great feeling knowing that I am pitching a product that could literally save someone’s life,” Krook said. “It’s not just a product to sell or some kind of gimmick. It’s a real, industrial-safety, lifesaving product and a lot of companies are seeing it the same. That is very gratifying knowing you are out helping people.” Krook has turned this into a career and he hopes it can eventually create job opportunities for locals in North Central Massachusetts. He said once the manufacturing machine in the UK gets up to 50 percent capacity, he is looking at local places to open manufacturing. “I always said if this ever went anywhere, I would want to help create jobs,” Krook said. Krook is not there yet, but he has upgraded his lab and moved into a new office building in MA.

Customer Contact

Phone: 1-978-343-8800
Fax: 1-603-372-5000
Email: info@vizreflectivesna.com

Viz Reflectives North America
P.O. Box 101
Lunenberg, MA 01462

Website: http://vizreflectivesna.com/index.html

Contact on Twitter at: @Vizreflect

Contany questionsy  questions!

“Safety Topic Information For a Better Safety Committee at Your Workplace”

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“Fall Protection – What’s Required Where?” – “Scissor Lifts”

scissor-lifts-and-harnesses-fall-protection-or-no-protection

First, I want to start off with the “scissor lift” dilemma and confusion. If you talk to two different people, you’ll get two differing opinions. Here are my thoughts on this:

I have watched while the battle has raged over whether the use of personal fall arrest harnesses by scissor lift operators is appropriate. The rationale on each side of the issue; pro and con, is intelligent, compelling, and complete with opinions from well informed, knowledgeable people.

The core argument from the pro-harness side stems from the assertion that scissor lift operators are more or less subject to the same falling hazards as anyone else working at height, so why not wear a harness?

On the con-harness side of things, some of the many the arguments follow the logic that if a scissor lift operator who is tethered to the unit goes over the guardrail, the resulting force(s) exerted on the machine when his/her weight jerks to a stop at the end of the lanyard’s travel could be enough to cause the unit to topple, sending it and the operator down. In addition, so I’m told, as the unit plummets down with the operator in tow, the lanyard serves to worsen things by “slingshotting” the operator into the ground and possibly under the machine, resulting in even greater injury than if he/she were able to free fall or jump clear.

If that’s not enough, neither OSHA regulations or ANSI/SIA standards require the use of personal fall protection harnesses for operators of scissor lifts. In fact, in many cases manufacturers do not provide an anchor point to connect the snap hook of a lanyard to and, OSHA prohibits tying off to a guard rail as per 29CFR 1926.502(d)(23)); “Personal fall arrest systems shall not be attached to guardrail systems.”

Some other issues that I have heard from the con side have to do with things like how wearing a harness restricts the movement of the operator or that wearing a harness may actually lull the operator into a false sense of security. I could go on, but I won’t.

I am going to go on record here and state that I believe scissor lift operators should be required to wear a personal fall restraint system (PFRS) consisting of a full body harness and non-shock absorbing lanyard provided there is an approved anchor point to connect it to. (In fact, if you dig into the OSHA regulations, you’ll find that “If the scissor lift manufacturer provides tie off anchor points at the base of the guardrail system, and the manufacturer’s user instructions require them to be used, then you need to be tied off with a PFRS”.)

Allow me approach each point of the “con” argument and, for what it’s worth, chip in my two cents.

First of all, take note of the suggestion for using a fall restraint harness rather than a fall arrest harness. Fall arrest systems are designed to stop a fall in progress while fall restraint systems prevent a fall from occurring… big difference. No fall means no excessive force on the unit, therefore no tip-over. The operator stays on the platform and the lift stays upright. Granted, a fall restraint harness may restrict the operator’s motion depending on the type of anchor point and how much mobility is actually required, but this is a fair trade in exchange for preventing a fall and possible fatality.

As for the “slingshot” effect, well, the laws of physics do not support that theory. A few centuries ago, Galileo discovered something we know today as, the law of falling bodies. Without going into great detail here, it basically states that everything that falls accelerates toward the earth at a rate of 32 feet per second/per second, until reaching peak terminal velocity (top speed), which is about 120 mph. So, if a scissor lift tips over, the operator and the platform are going to travel toward the ground at approximately the same speed; there will be no “slingshot” effect and certainly no need to jump from the platform. In addition, an operator wearing a PFRS will not sustain further injury because of multiple impacts with the ground from bouncing after the initial impact with the ground.

On the topic of jumping clear of the unit, there are serious concerns about the practicality of that notion. Even a conditioned athlete that is prepared and ready for the unit to tip would have difficulty picking the right moment to leap clear. When an aerial lift goes over it typically happens unexpectedly and quickly. The average operator is unlikely to have the physical prowess or presence of mind to do the right thing at the right time and even if he/she did, they would still have the actual fall to the ground with which to contend.

That brings us to OSHA regulations which, after all, are the law and the law says you don’t have to wear a harness to operate a scissor lift. I am going to avoid getting wrapped up in reg’s here the same way I do when I train operators, suffice to say that we are not attempting to determine if we have to wear it, but whether we should. Allow me to share a bit of wisdom that I usually impart to operators when they get a bit carried away with the law, which is; when you operate aerial lift devices, the only law you need to concern yourself with is the law of gravity. Respect for occupational safety and health laws will affect your relationship with OSHA while respect for gravity will affect your relationship with the ground!

As far as harnesses giving operators a false sense of security, it shouldn’t. It should give them a real sense of security. It is a simple fact that an operator wearing a PFRS is less likely to be killed by falling from the platform, which in itself is reassuring. It is also a fact that more scissor lift operators are killed by falling from the platform than by tipping the unit over and besides, if the unit goes over for any reason, the effect on the operator will be ugly with or without a PFRS.

The bottom line here is that every situation, or in this case, each use of the scissor lift has to be looked at from a different approach, so good judgment and the use of best practices are imperative.

9-23-2016 – Here is a link to a Scissor Lift Manufacturers letter, requiring the use of Fall Protection while using their product. https://goo.gl/hi2mvw

New! – “NIOSH Aerial Lift Operator Simulator Program Helps Identify Hazards!” #Safety

simulation2

The NEW NIOSH Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator, which is intended to help aerial lift operators familiarize themselves with hazards they may encounter on the job is now available for download to use as a training tool at your workplace. In this instance, NIOSH uses the term “aerial lifts” to describe multiple types of lifts, including scissor lifts and boom lifts, which are commonly used on construction sites for elevating workers to various heights.

The simulator is intended to provide a safe, controlled environment in which users—employers, trainers, safety and health professionals, and aerial lift operators—can navigate a realistic workplace with different types of hazards such as potholes, ramps, crushing hazards, and tip-over hazards. The simulator notifies users when they encounter a hazard so that they can identify and avoid hazards on actual work sites.

According to NIOSH, the simulator is designed to help potential or new aerial lift operators acclimate to aerial lift operation and help experienced operators refresh their knowledge on the associated hazards. The agency stresses that the simulator is not a substitute for the required training to operate an aerial lift.

Instructions on downloading and launching the simulator can be found on the NIOSH website, along with additional information on aerial lifts.

Aerial Lifts

Aerial lifts are powered and mobile platforms that are used for elevating workers to various heights, which exposes workers to fall hazards.

Training is necessary for anyone using aerial work platforms and equipment. In an effort to create awareness about common workplace hazards when using aerial lifts, NIOSH has developed educational tools and products. Employers, trainers, safety and health professionals and aerial lift operators can use the following information to prevent work-related falls.

Note: NIOSH uses the term ‘aerial lifts’ as an overarching term to capture multiple types of lifts, such as scissor lifts and boom lifts. It is important to note that both OSHA and ANSI standards vary for different types of lifts.

Spotlight
NIOSH Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator

The Simulator, available at no cost, provides a realistic workplace with multiple, dangerous hazard types that users must navigate. Experienced aerial lift operators can refresh their knowledge, and new operators can familiarize themselves with hazards they may encounter on the job. Using the Simulator is not a substitute for required training to operate an aerial lift.

Aerial lifts, commonly used on construction sites, expose workers to falls. To prevent these falls and other aerial lift-related injuries and deaths, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed the Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator. This flyer gives employers, trainers, safety professionals, and aerial lift operators information on the Simulator and how to access it.

PDF File About the program is downloadable here : Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator[PDF – 979 KB]

Download the software here: NIOSH Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator today! Note that the software download is a ZIP file and can be used on any Windows based PC!

“Miller Fall Protection Safety Webinar” & “Fall Clearance Calculator App”

Miller Fall Protection Webinar

When working at height, it is important to know your fall clearance and swing fall, whether using a shock-absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline. Calculating your fall clearance and swing fall is critical to your safety. The Miller Fall Clearance Calculator App gives workers who work at heights, the ability to quickly calculate the required fall clearance for Shock Absorbing Lanyards and Self-Retracting Lifelines, including swing fall.

Download the New Miller Fall Clearance Calculator App by Honeywell : Download link – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/miller-fall-clearance-calculator/id971198656?mt=8

Miller Fall App

3M “DB​I-SALA® Lad-Saf™ (Tower Ladder Safety) Sleeve – Stop Use and Voluntary Recall / Replacement”

DBI SALA® Lad Saf™ Sleeve – Stop Use and Voluntary Recall   Replacement

After more than 30 years of use in the fall protection industry, the original Lad-Saf™ sleeve has been replaced by a completely redesigned next generation Lad-Saf sleeve. Capital Safety/3M recently reviewed the performance of the original Lad-Saf sleeve in the field, including a limited number of incidents involving a serious injury or death in the United States while using the sleeve.

Although our review did not reveal product hazard or risk scenarios that would arise in the ordinary and proper use of the product, it did reveal potential misuse scenarios that could result in serious injury or death.

The potential misuse scenarios include interference with the braking mechanism (such as entanglement with cords, lanyards, clothing or other materials, or grasping the sleeve prior to or during a fall), or result from the user attaching the sleeve upside down (user inversion). No safety regulator has made a finding that the design of the original Lad-Saf sleeve is defective. At 3M, customer safety and confidence are high priorities. In light of the reported incidents and potential misuse scenarios, we have discontinued sale of the original Lad-Saf sleeve, and are voluntarily initiating a full recall of all original Lad-Saf sleeves.

At 3M, customer safety and confidence are high priorities. In light of reported incidents and potential misuse scenarios involving the original Lad-Saf sleeve, 3M has discontinued sale of the original sleeve, and is voluntarily recalling all original Lad-Saf sleeves.

Please click on the link to take you to the Stop Use and Recall/Replacement Notice (English) (Spanish).

 

 

“OSHA Issues Special Zika Guidance to Employers”

Emergency Preparedness and Response   Interim guidance for protecting workers from occupational exposure to Zika virus

Highlights

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued “interim guidance” to provide employers and workers information and advice on preventing occupational exposure to the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The guidance’s recommended actions (Control & Prevention) for employers and general outdoor workers include the following:

  • Employers should inform workers about their risks of exposure.
  • Employers should provide workers insect repellants and encourage their use. Workers should use the repellants.
  • Employers should provide workers with clothing that covers their hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin and encourage them to wear the clothing. They also should consider providing workers with hats with mosquito netting that covers the neck and face. Workers should wear the provided clothing, as well as socks that cover the ankles and lower legs.
  • In warm weather, employers should encourage workers to wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, which provides a barrier to mosquitos. Workers should wear this type of clothing.
  • Employers and workers should eliminate sources of standing water (e.g., tires, buckets, cans, bottles, and barrels), which are considered mosquito breeding areas. Employers should train workers to recognize the importance of getting rid of these breeding areas at worksites.
  • If requested, employers should consider reassigning to indoor tasks any female worker who indicates she is pregnant or may become pregnant, as well as any male worker who has a sexual partner who is pregnant or may become pregnant. Workers in these circumstances should talk to their supervisors about outdoor work assignments.
  • Workers should seek medical attention “promptly” if symptoms from infection develop.

Employers and workers in healthcare and laboratory settings are advised to follow good infection control and biosafety practices (including universal precautions) as appropriate and specific biosafety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for working with the Zika virus in the laboratory.

OSHA also noted that mosquito control workers may require additional precautions — more protective clothing and enhanced skin protection — beyond those recommended for general outdoor workers. Workers who mix, load, apply, or perform other tasks involving wide-area (or area) insecticides may need additional protection to prevent or reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals. When applying insecticides, these workers may require respirators, worn in accordance with OSHA’s respirator standard.

For employers of workers with suspected or confirmed Zika virus, OSHA recommends “general guidance.” This includes making certain supervisors and potentially exposed workers know about Zika symptoms, training workers to receive immediate medical attention after suspected exposure, and considering options for providing sick leave during the infectious period.

Employers with workers who travel to or through Zika-affected areas, such as travel industry employees, airline crews, and cruise line workers, the agency recommends following certain “precautions” outlined by the CDC, including flexible travel and leave policies and delaying travel to Zika-affected areas.

Sources: OSHA, Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2016

Contractors: “Who Is Responsible For Their Safety?”

If you hire contractors, perform contract work, or work at a multi-employer work site, it can be difficult to determine what your safety responsibilities are. Use this infographic to gain a better understanding of how multi-employer rules apply in common situations and what you should look for when hiring a contractor.

Contractors: Who's Responsible for Safety?

Contractors: Who’s Responsible for Safety? by Safety.BLR.com

“Safety Photo of the Day” – “Who Should Be Tied Off In This Photo?”

Who Should Be Wearing Fall Protection &  Tied Off In This Photo?

wrigley-reno

OSHA issued a letter of interpretation that addresses the requirements for use of a body-restraint system on aerial lifts (body restraint is required) versus scissor-lifts (body restraint not required as long as standard guardrails are in place). One last thing about scissor-lifts to keep in mind; in some cases, the manufacturer of a scissor-lift may install a tie-off point(s) in the work platform. In those cases, you should consult their instructions for recommendations as to when it might be necessary to tie-off while using their equipment.
Why is fall protection important?

Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls.

What can be done to reduce falls?

Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

OSHA requires employers to:

  • Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
  • Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
  • Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
Additional Fall Protection Resources
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