DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, March 02, 2015

25 Steps to a Safer Office and Photo: Can you spot the Hazards?

Recognizing Hidden Danger: 25 steps to a Safer Office

It's fairly obvious that hazards exist on worksites filled with heavy machinery and equipment, where employees are engaged in strenuous manual labor. 

A job where most of the work tasks are completed while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office building would seem less fraught with danger. However, a surprising number of hazards can be present in an office setting.  >> Find out more

How many hazards can you find in this staged photo?


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OSHA's SVEP: Avoiding it, and Getting Out if you're In

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program

Severe Violator Enforcement Program: infographic
Path into (and out of) the SVEP list: an infographic

Everything you need to know about the SVEP list: what will put you on the list, what happens if you land on it, and how do you get removed from it?  >> Read more

This week's SVEP list addition is A&D Wood Products. OSHA inspected the premises in response to an employee complaint and found workers at risk of amputation, explosion and other life-threatening hazards. With 27 violations, their proposed penalties total $133,540.  >> Find out more

Want to know if or when a company's been inspected by OSHA? (Has YOUR company ever been inspected?) This information is made public via this search.

Business Owner sent to Prison for Worker's Death

Site of the accident - Photo: FCN

Here's proof that it gets much worse than getting added to the SVEP list: former owner of a tree service was sentenced to fifteen years in prison when a teenage boy working for him fell to his death from a 71-foot tree.  >> Read full story

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Keeping Telecommute Workers Safe, Exxon blast, more

Free Webinar Features Q&A with NIOSH Director

NIOSH Director John Howard is scheduled to take questions from stakeholders during a free webinar, sponsored by the National Safety Council, on Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. Eastern time.  >> Find out more

Why Workplace Accidents tend to Happen Late in a Project

In everything from small home-improvement tasks to public infrastructure megaprojects, injuries and deaths tend to happen late in the job, when confidence runs high and tolerance for delays dips especially low. This springs from a phenomenon known as normalization, which often allows people to accept looser standards in the name of greater speed.  >> Find out more

Keeping Telecommute Workers Safe

In all our concerns for keeping our employees safe, we may’ve forgotten the telecommuting crowd. “Out of sight, out of mind” perhaps, but home workers can still file workers’ comp, and the company is still responsible for their safety.

In 2010, an interior decorator who was working from home was injured when she tripped over her dog while walking to her garage to look at fabric samples. The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board denied her claim, but the ruling was reversed by the state’s Court of Appeals, which argued that her injury occurred during the course of her employment.

So if you have telecommutes, find out ways to help keep them safe, including a downloadable telework agreement.

Union Cries Foul after Exxon Refinery blast

A blast at the 750-acre refinery in Torrance, California shook nearby buildings and left at least four people with minor injuries. Most of the damage was contained to the site of what was described as a small fire.  >> Watch this breaking news video

EPA Upholds Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations

The EAB ordered Chem-Solv to pay $612,339 for hazard waste storage violations.

The Virginia chemical distribution facility appealed the original determination that they had impermissibly operated a hazardous waste storage tank regulated under RCRA, and more. Chem-Solv claimed that the EPA Chief Administrative Law Judge demonstrated bias against the company in the underlying decision. They lost the appeal and were ordered to pay the fines within 30 days.  >> Hear the full story

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Young Workers, Apple to Improve Labor Conditions, More

Apple to Improve Labor Conditions in Supplier Factories

Apple has released its 9th major annual audit to show that labor conditions are improving, particularly in light of their record $18B profit last quarter. Apple wants to ensure that the new generation of phones were not made by way of child labor or unsafe conditions and were not made using materials from conflict regions. Now, Apple is banning “bonded servitude” at supplier factories, in which a worker is required to pay high fees—upwards of one months’ wages—to job recruiters. Instead, Apple is requiring the factories to pay the fees so the new workers are not in debt when they begin the new job. In the past, some factory workers were putting in over 80 hours a week, and Apple has now cut this down to 60 hours.

Of course, good workplace conditions are subjective. >> Watch the video

Younger Workers = More Injuries

While the majority of those in charge of businesses have been in the workforce for quite some time, a growing percentage of their employees are quite a bit younger. These workers are not only inexperienced, but also they also quite prone to being injured. Whether through a lack of safety training or simple immaturity, young workers get hurt at a disproportionately high rate. >> What can be done?

OSHA young worker fact sheet 

Seven Simple Suggestions to Boost Workplace Safety

Every year, workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. businesses $250 billion. Fortunately, many safety incidents can be prevented. Consider the following simple suggestions to help you boost the safety of your workplace today. >> 7 for safety

Contractor’s Equipment Insurance Essentials

Whether you own, rent or lease equipment for your construction business, some form of contractor’s equipment insurance is necessary to protect your investment and reduce your loss in the event of damage to your tools or machinery. Before you purchase any contractor’s equipment policy, it’s important to review it carefully. In addition to understanding your deductible and coverage limits, pay particular attention to the following sections. >> Equipment insurance essentials

Ten Policies Every Employee Handbook Should Cover

Taking the time to ensure you’ve established a mutual understanding of expectations is essential if you want to workers to follow the rules. While many employers may feel that there is no ambiguity in their policies, many employees don’t agree. A handbook can clear up the gray area which will help employees and the employer, and can be helpful reference later should an employee (or former employee) file a claim.

Be sure to date each release of the employee handbook so that there can be no question when the policies were made, and hold onto old copies for reference. >> Rules to an effective employee handbook 

OSHA Fines Saia Motor Freight Line after Explosion Injures Four Workers

Four employees were hospitalized after a flash fire caused by a propane forklift.

An explosion at a St. Louis trucking terminal left four employees hospitalized – two of whom were critically injured.

The explosion at Saia Motor Freight Line LLC was caused when two forklift operators were changing a propane tank on a liquefied petroleum gas-powered forklift inside a freight trailer. A loose coupling connection allowed liquid propane to leak, vaporize and ignite, resulting in a flash fire, OSHA found. >> Find out more

Forklift Safety Resources:

Forklifts to Cranes: Training Employees on Materials Handling Equipment

OSHA Forklift Training Materials

Forklift Safety Daily Checklist

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Monday, February 09, 2015

Man Survives Two Gas Explosions

Brad Livingston
A Kansas breeze rattles Brad Livingston. A simple billow unsettles the retired laborer from Colorado Interstate Gas, when recalling a day unlike any other.
“I’m fortunate I’ve never had a single nightmare being inside that fireball,” he said of Friday, September 20, 1991. “The one thing that gets me is a sudden gust of wind. I’ll never forget the feeling, and the force of that explosion hitting me.”
The Thunder Rolls
It was break time, 10 a.m. Livingston worked in the pipeline and as a dispatcher for 10 years before filling in that day as a welder’s helper. It was grunt work, but he was happy to be in the field.
“I was third in line to fill in…” he said. “I felt like the new kid again. Any other day I wouldn’t have been there.”
Livingston and his welding partner Tracy – his former Little League Coach – had been on site in rural Oklahoma all morning, when the company pumper said a natural gas well had two drip gas tanks with pinhole leaks.
Tracy had 30 years’ experience welding and agreed to the job. He moved toward the side-by-side tanks filled with crude oil, water, and drip gas – a naturally occurring form of gasoline.
“They are sitting bombs,” Livingston said. “I had a gut feeling, like we were rushing into this.”  >> Find out what happens

Related Safety Tools and Training Materials

OSHA's e-tool - Oil and Gas Well Drilling SafetyHow to conduct a hazard assessment before performing hot work, and related resources

 Free PPE referenceSelecting Appropriate Eye and Face Protection - OSHA list of PPE types with pictures, noting which hazards they protect against. Use this eTool to make sure employees have the right gear

Free PPE Quick Reference Guide provides on-the-job reference to what's needed

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Monday, February 02, 2015

OSHA fines Ashley Furniture $1.76M

Ashley Furniture - Severe Violator

OSHA finds more than 1,000 worker injuries in past three years

Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. employees have suffered more than 1,000 work-related injuries, including more than 100 amputations from woodworking machinery, over a three-and-a-half year period. One worker's loss of three fingers in July 2014 led to an OSHA inspection of the Arcadia, Wisconsin-based furniture manufacturer. Following the inspection, the company was cited for 12 willful, 12 repeated and 14 serious safety violations and placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program for its failure to address these hazards. Proposed penalties total $1,766,000.

OSHA found that Ashley did not take the necessary steps to protect its workers from being injured by moving machine parts. They did not prevent machines from unintentionally starting when workers were performing tooling and blade changes on woodworking machinery, and failed to provide adequate safety mechanisms to prevent contact with those moving parts. OSHA also cited Ashley Furniture Industries for not training workers on safety procedures and hazards present when servicing machinery.  >> Read full story

UPDATE: Ashley Furniture responds, saying "Ashley strongly disagrees with each and every opinion of the agency."  >> Read Ashley's response to OSHA (PDF)

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How to (and whether to) Conduct a Site Safety Analysis

This week we're going to focus on two things: how to assess whether your workplace needs more work in the safety arena, and if so, what to do about it.  

How Safe is your Site?

Don't close your eyes and cross your fingers that your site is fine… take OSHA's Safety and Health Program Checkup to decide.  >> Safety and Health Program Checkup 

Conduct Your Own Hazard Analysis

A site hazard analysis is a great way to spot potential hazard areas so you'll know where to focus your time and resources.

This OSHA document (PDF) helps you determine where the risks are and what to do about them. It outlines clear steps involved in a hazard analysis and provides example writeups. It helps you determine whether you need outside help and where you can find it, including contact numbers.

Facility Safety Inspection guide

We also created this free guide to conducting your own facility safety inspection.  >> Grab the guide

Here are some tips on implementing safety training guidelines.

OSHA's Free On-Site Consultation Program for Small Employers

Okay, so perhaps you've decided that you need help. If you are a small business you can take advantage of OSHA's On-site Consultation Program. It offers free and confidential safety advice to small and medium-sized businesses, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services do not result in penalties or citations.

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program conducted approximately 30,000 visits to small business worksites in fiscal year 2013.

Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.  >> Find out more

Snow Days: Do Workers Have to Come In?

And on another topic... the storms in the east have raised questions about whether it's legal to require employees to come in to work. Of course it's ideal for critical workers to be set up to work from home if possible, but what if it's not? Can you require that employees come in and if so, are you liable should anything happen?  >> Find out

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