Safety Training International

Online OSHA Training & Workplace Safety

Locking In Safety…

Understanding and implementing OSHA-approved safety measures

Last year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued more than $750,000 in citations to the metal fabrication industry for equipment-related safety violations. This includes tool usage and guarding issues, control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), and electrical safety. These citations do not begin to account for the total cost to metal fabricating shops when considering associated property damage, medical costs, workers’ compensation and insurance increases, lost work time, and lawsuits that often go along with the citations. To avoid equipment-related incidents, you must understand OSHA requirements and have safety programs in place, including those pertaining to tool safety and machine guarding, lockout/tagout, and electricity.

Tool Safety and Machine Guardingmachineguards

Safe tool usage and machine guarding violations were the most frequent and costly citation areas last year. The first thing that you must do is assess the specific hazards by evaluating each piece of equipment. If the machine is new, determine all points of operation, pinch points, and areas that require protection. Ensure that all required guards are in place, and replace any missing guards before allowing anyone to use the equipment.

If you have an older machine that needs guards, you must first determine if the machine is still made. If it is, contact the manufacturer and ask for information on the current guards supplied with new machines. Purchase or replicate the new guard configurations to provide protection, and discard any equipment that cannot be guarded adequately.

After you have assessed the hazards and have adequate guards on your equipment, you can then develop your safety program. Equipment operators must leave the guards on at all times unless the equipment is locked out. Include in your safety program your policy on removal of guards, including who is authorized to do it, and the required lockout/tagout procedures. Also include discipline for employees who remove or bypass guards.

Next, explain the function and purpose of the guards to each employee. Managers and employees must be familiar with the proper guards so they can recognize when something is missing. Without knowledge of the safety program and the purpose and function of the guards that protect them, employees are more likely to bypass or remove them. Remember that a successful training program is always time and money well spent; studies have shown a $4 to $6 return for every dollar invested in safety and health.

Lockout/Tagout Safety

tagoutFailure to follow safe lockout/tagout procedures also accounted for a significant percentage of citation dollars. An effective lockout/tagout program is especially critical because the type of accident it is meant to prevent typically is severe and can result in crushing, amputation, struck-by, or electrocution injuries. OSHA requires you to identify the practices and procedures necessary to shut down and lock out or tag out machines and equipment; provide locks; and train employees on their role in the lockout/tagout program. Also, conduct periodic inspections to maintain or enhance your hazardous energy control program. The No. 1 citation in this area is lack of an effective written program.

Assess hazards by first identifying the lockout requirements for each piece of equipment used, serviced, and maintained at your facility. All energy sources must be documented, including direct and hidden sources. Documentation must include the hazard posed, the magnitude of danger, any special or unusual conditions, and the correct isolation methods and required devices.

About 95 percent of all lockout/tagout citations involve companies’ failure to have a formal program in place. The energy control or lockout/tagout program must be written and must include your hazard assessment, devices to be used, personnel authorized to perform lockout/tagout, enforcement policy and training methods, and the method for auditing and updating procedures. You must develop written procedures for shutting down and locking out each machine. Except in emergencies, each lock/tag must be removed by the person who put it on, and each employee must have his or her own locks and tags. Make sure your written program accounts for situations when servicing lasts longer than one shift, when contractors are involved, or when a group of employees services a piece of equipment.

The training program must consist of effective initial training and periodic retraining. You must have certification that training has been given to all employees covered by the standard. The training each employee needs is based on the relationship of his or her job to the machine or equipment being locked or tagged out. OSHA identifies three types of employees: authorized, affected, and other.

1. Authorized employees are those responsible for implementing the energy control procedures to perform service and maintenance. They must understand the need for lockout/tagout procedures and be able to recognize hazardous energy sources. They also must have a clear understanding of the means and methods of controlling the various types of energy sources and how to verify that each energy isolation is effective.
2. Affected employees are those who operate or use equipment on which servicing or maintenance is being performed under lockout, or those who work in an area where servicing or maintenance is performed. Affected employees must ensure that they can recognize when a lockout/tagout procedure is being implemented. The goal of this training is simple: Whenever there is a lockout or tagout device in place on an energy-isolating device, the affected employee must leave it alone and make no attempt to operate the equipment.
3. All other employees must be able to recognize when the control procedure is being implemented and understand that they must leave lockout/tagout devices alone and not attempt to energize or operate the equipment.

site-meetingRetraining must be provided whenever there is a change in job assignments, machines, equipment, or processes that present a new hazard; when there is a change in energy control procedures; inadequacies are present in employees’ use of the energy control procedure; or at least every three years.

Periodic inspections must be performed annually on each energy control procedure at your site, and the employer must certify that the periodic inspections have been performed. The certification must identify the particular machine, the date of the inspection, the employees included in the inspection, and the name of the person performing the inspection.

Electrical Safety

An average of one worker dies from electrocution on the job every day. Even low-voltage or low-current shock can cause serious harm or death. All of the equipment in a metal fabricating shop operates on 110 V or more and is capable of causing electric shock, burns, or electrocution.

Check your tools and equipment to ensure that the ground prong is present and that cords are in good condition. OSHA requires that live parts of electrical equipment operating at 50 V or more be guarded against accidental contact. Whenever conduit or electrical equipment is in a location where it could be exposed to physical damage, it must be enclosed or guarded. Junction boxes, pull boxes, and fittings must have approved covers. Unused openings in cabinets, boxes, and fittings must be closed.

Flexible cords are vulnerable because they can be damaged by aging, door or window edge contact, staples or fastenings used to hold them in place, abrasion from adjacent materials that they may contact, and various activities in their proximity. Improper use of flexible cords or use of damaged cords can cause shocks, burns, or fire. Whenever possible, use one of OSHA’s recognized hard-wiring methods. OSHA allows flexible cords to be used only for certain applications.

Check your circuits regularly. An inexpensive tester can tell you if the ground iselectrical-6 connected and can also test your ground fault interrupter (GFI) protection. Your safety program must include policies for grounding systems and electrical shutoff device systems. Develop policies for use of ladders and scaffolding around electrical devices. Extension cords have specific current ratings that must not be exceeded or they can overheat and cause a fire without tripping the circuit breaker. Use a qualified electrician for installation and repair of circuits.

Personnel who are at primary risk of electrical hazards are arc welders, those who work with or around electric power tools and equipment, and maintenance and janitorial staff who are responsible for handling electrical issues at your facility. At lesser risk are all other personnel who work with or around other electrical equipment, including lighting, computers, coffee makers, and so forth. Training must be adequate to the needs of each employee depending on his or her specific tasks.

Employees must understand the built-in safety features of electrical systems, including insulation, ground fault circuit interrupters, double-insulated devices, grounding (both of the circuit and the equipment), guarding of live electrical parts, and fuses and circuit breakers.

Employees also must follow safe work practices, such as de-energizing electrical equipment before inspecting or making repairs, correct usage of flexible cords and extension cords, recognition of damaged electric tools and procedures to remove them from use, how to work safely near energized lines, and use of personal protective equipment.

All lockout/tagout devices (locks and tags) must have four key characteristics:

* They must be durable, meaning that they must withstand the environment for the length of the expected exposure.
* They must be standardized according to color, shape, or size.
* Devices must be substantial enough to minimize early or accidental removal.
* They must be identifiable, clearly identifying the person who applied them and warning of hazards should the machine or equipment become energized.

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December 22, 2008 Posted by | Business, Economy, Education, Health & Safety, OSHA Compliance, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Benefits of Workplace Safety Training

Workplace safety is a huge issue for every company. Companies must focus on safety training to keep their employees safe, and their businesses successful. Every employee needs to know the importance of workplace safety. Employees should feel safe and comfortable in their working environment. A comprehensive safety training program will ensure you that your employees know the rules and regulations of workplace safety.

A safety training program gives your employees the knowledge they need to complete their jobs while remaining safe at all times. Safety training also gives them the confidence they need to work without fear of safety. The knowledge an employee gains from a safety training program is key to a safe workplace- what do in an emergency, recognizing an unsafe situation, and specialized safety information for their particular job.

Of course, the company also benefits from an employee safety training program. Employees who have completed a safety training program can communicate their safety knowledge, making for a safe workplace- and it shows. An effective safety training program will lower incident and accident rates, thus producing higher productivity. Employees who have completed a safety training course are likely to feel much more safe, and cared for by their employees. This raises company morale- again, raising productivity.

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A safety training program also protects your company. A safety training program is real and tangible- something that shows you have adequately trained your employees in workplace safety. An insurance company can look at the safety training program you have made all of your employees complete, and know that you have done your part to protect your employees and ensure workplace safety. A safety training program can give you peace of mind that you really have protected your employees by giving them the knowledge they need to protect themselves.

Safety training promotes awareness, which is key to workplace safety. Online or cd-rom based safety training allows you to emphasize workplace safety, and allows for the flexibility needed in today’s business. Online and cd-rom based safety training programs will make certain that all of your employees are trained thoroughly in workplace safety- without costing you a fortune or interfering with necessary business operations.

Safety training gives you and your employees the safety knowledge needed for a safe and successful business. A comprehensive safety training program is necessary in today’s competitive global marketplace.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Business, Education, Health & Safety, OSHA Compliance, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fire Prevention for Your Business

As a property owner and an employer, it is important to identify and control conditions that may increase the chance for fire damage within your business. If unprepared, many businesses cannot reopen after a major loss. If you want to train your employee’s in techniques of Fire Safety and Fire Prevention, do some research before you hire a trainer to ensure they are qualified for this type of training. The following areas of fire protection should be evaluated.

Sprinkler systems

Your building may be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. When properly installed and maintained, this system provides 24-hour fire protection. Should a fire start, the system will activate and release a water spray in the area of the fire, suppressing it until the fire department arrives. Often, a sprinkler system totally extinguishes a fire. It is important that the system be professionally inspected on a regular basis.

Fire Extinguishers

It is important that your building has the right type, size and number of fire extinguishers. A call to your nearest fire protection equipment supplier or fire department will help ensure that you have the protection you need. A quality extinguisher will be either UL-listed or FM-approved.

Extinguishers are classified by the types of fires they extinguish. There are also clean agent fire extinguishers for protecting electronic items such as computers, telephone system equipment, and some mechanical equipment. The agent is clean, non-conductive and effective.

Fire extinguishers lose their charge over time and may become ineffective. A professional fire equipment supplier should periodically inspect the extinguishers to verify they are still operational.

Smoke detectors

Although smoke detectors don’t put out fires, they do provide early warning that may allow escape from the building. Like fire extinguishers, detectors are also laboratory tested to ensure that they meet certain safety and performance standards. For battery-operated units, test and replace the batteries on a regular basis.

Some detectors may be powered by the building’s electrical system and may also have a back-up battery. These units should also be tested regularly.

Flammable Liquid Storage and Use

Businesses today often use a variety of flammable or combustible liquids, such as cleaners, solvents, adhesives, etc. Flammable liquids give off vapors that may travel with the natural airflow. These vapors may explode when ignited by a spark, such as a faulty electrical switch or a flame from a water heater pilot light.

Store flammable liquids in their original container or in a UL-listed safety can. Allow plenty of ventilation when using flammable liquids to reduce the risk of fire and injury or illness from breathing the vapors.

It is a good idea to limit the amount of flammable liquids stored on the property.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Business, Education, Health & Safety, OSHA Compliance, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments