Roofing is one of the most dangerous areas of the construction industry. In fact, 34 percent of fatal falls happen in roof work, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As a result, the government agency recently urged contractors to be aware of the dangers of roof tarping. The OSHA standards for roof tarping outlines the dangers and the ways in which you can protect your workforce. Read more
The Importance of Safety Boots
There’s a lot of information out there on the use of the right personal protective equipment, or PPE, on construction and contracting jobs. The right PPE can mean the difference between a good day at work and losing a limb. Most people think of protective equipment as gloves, goggles, hard hats or bio-suits. Not enough contractors consider footwear as important protective clothing. Learn why choosing the right safety boots is so important for your liability and safety concerns.
OSHA requires that protective footwear be worn by any employee who will be affected by adverse conditions that pose a risk of foot injury from piercing, falling objects, electrical hazards or other safety concerns.
The standards set by OSHA for protective boots and shoes include detailed criteria on what qualifies. Protective footwear must pass standard test methods for foot protection, specifications for performance requirements and national standards for personal protection. This footwear must be constructed to be in compliance with federal standards in order to qualify. Footwear that does not comply can land you with an OSHA violation should an accident or injury occur.
Finding the right footwear requires you to assess the potential hazards on an individual job site. In many cases this might include steel-toed boots, but different jobs have different requirements. Traction may be an issue, as may arch support, depending on the nature of the job and the job site. Almost every job site in the construction industry will require steel-toed boots, since heavy equipment and materials are always used. Other concerns, however, may also come into play.
What risks will your workers face? Are falling objects a danger? How about slipping? Is there a danger of puncturing the foot on sharp objects? Are loose laces going to be a problem? How about cutting hazards from machinery with moving blades? If your workers are going to be dealing with electricity, insulated shoes may be necessary for the job.
There are concerns for safety footwear that many might not consider. Workers who stand all day can eventually develop injuries from fatigue, but shoes with the proper support can help to mitigate this problem.
Weather and environmental conditions are also an all-too-often overlooked concern when selecting footwear. If extreme cold weather is going to be encountered, the right shoes with an insulated lining can keep feet warm and prevent frostbite. Likewise, fireproof shoes may be needed for situations where direct flame or extreme heat will be encountered. In fact, burns can occur when there is no flame nearby at all. Certain chemicals can be dangerous, and even exposure materials like Portland cement can in some cases cause burns.
In addition to safety boots, carrying the right contractors insurance will help to protect you from accidents and injury that occur on the work site. Carrying the right insurance coverage is vital to the success of your business. If you would like more information on contractors insurance or a review of your current policy, we are here to help. Give us a call today!
Ebola has been all over the news lately but, even in my wildest dreams, I never thought that I would be writing about Ebola and how it relates to insurance (but that was before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared that it will attempt to establish new rules for Ebola containment last week). The declaration comes on the heels of an escalating global crisis that touched American shores for the first time earlier this month (which is a little terrifying). While a lot of the media coverage of the foreign born virus has been blown out of proportion there is no questioning how deadly Ebola can be which likely prompted OSHA to launch a campaign to reduce the viruses’ ability to spread in the work place. Here is what you need to know about OSHA’s recent announcement and how it relates to you and your business.
What was OSHA’s Announcement?
In an effort to reflect public demand for greater regulation of workplace infection control OSHA announced a new campaign in their regulatory agenda. The organization stated that it was, “considering the need for a standard that employers establish a comprehensive infection control program and control measures to protect employees from infectious disease exposures to pathogens that can cause significant disease.”
How does it relate to me, as a contractor?
These regulations will extend to all manner of organizations and businesses (both big and small) which means contractors will be affected by this program. With the possibility of exposure to bodily fluids contractors may be expected to carry personal protective equipment on top of additional protective measures (which were not specified).
When can we expect to see these regulations?
Since the announcement came relatively recently there is no set deadline that OSHA is looking to meet. Instead, the organization will focus on a dialogue between business owners and themselves to see what can be done to stop the spread of infectious diseases. We would not be surprised if these rules and regulations take years to finalize so, it will not be something you need to worry about presently.
If you would like to contribute to the dialogue or have any further questions for OSHA you can reach them at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Stay safe!
A few weeks ago I watched a documentary called The Slow Poisoning of India. The film details the impact of pesticides on the people of rural India where locals are exposed to some of the most dangerous chemicals in the world. Chemicals that are used to protect our produce from bacteria and insects end up causing cancer, genetic defects and impotency. Children die young as a result of chemically induced birth defects while men and women are reduced to a painful and inhuman existence. Read more
Neurological damage, blindness, and severe burns are all potential risks when working in a chemical production facility. Most employers take the necessary precautions to protect their workers, but once in a while, there are those employers that forfeit employee safety for a cushioned bottom line. Diversified CPC International Inc., a chemical manufacturer based out of Channahon, Illinois, was recently cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for numerous violations of the organization’s process safety management, which will cost the firm $73,500 in proposed penalties.
That safety management standard requires employers to develop, implement, and update safety management programs for hazardous chemicals. Diversified’s Sparta, NJ branch failed to do so, with violations stemming from their use of liquefied petroleum gases, fluorocarbons, and dimethyl ether. Despite OSHA’s victory in Sparta, the agency has had its hands tied when it comes to regulating facilities using extremely hazardous chemicals.
“OSHA itself has said many times they don’t have the resources to go around inspecting all of the places that need inspecting,” exclaimed Sandy Gilmour of the Chemical Safety Board.
Too often, OSHA has to rely on the EPA’s lists (which amount to guesswork) on the chemicals present at certain factories. They also lack the resources to do more than three or four thorough inspections a year at these dangerous facilities leaving room for employers to clean their act up when an OSHA representative comes knocking on their door.
With a shortage of resources, the responsibility for employee safety falls entirely on the employer. Here are some ways to protect your employees from future injury, and to ensure that your business remains afloat.
- Develop and implement written procedures for mechanical integrity and operating procedures, so employees are informed on how to conduct themselves safely.
- Do a hazard analysis and have an emergency action plan.
- Keep tabs on equipment and make sure it is working properly.
- Complete a compliance audit.
- Certify operating procedures are current and accurate annually.
- Complete accurate piping and instrument diagrams.
- Make sure your relief system design and design basis are included in information about certain equipment.