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Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
SAFETY SOLUTIONS
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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety

Too often in the workplace, someone is "appointed" the safety person for the company. Can you imagine how you would feel if this burden suddenly fell into your lap? Let’s discuss some of the important issues you need to be made aware of. Your mission is to reduce workplace risks, but to do this you must establish a plan which must become part of daily operations. To develop this plan you must first evaluate the workplace by performing a comprehensive survey or audit and performing an assessment of existing safety and health programs.

An initial survey or audit encompasses several factors:

  • An evaluation of workplace conditions with respect to mandatory requirements and regulations, as well as industry accepted safety and health procedures.
  • An evaluation of what, when, where and how hazardous materials are used.
  • Direct observations of employee work habits and practices, or standard work procedures.
  • Discussions with employees and supervisors reference safety and health problems they have experienced.

What areas should be considered "top priority"? Hazard Communication is by far the most frequently cited OSHA standard, so it should be a high priority. Employees have both a need and right to know about chemical hazards and the chemicals to which they are exposed. When addressing hazard communication focus on the following aspects;

a) a written program; b) employee information and training; c) container labeling and d) Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

The next areas of major concern should be the following; identify training needs; understand the injury and illness records; evaluate machine guarding; and determine the need for medial treatment and first aid.

Understanding the General Duty Clause has become increasingly important to employers in the last few years. OSHA has begun to use this clause in more of its penalty and enforcement actions. Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act requires that every working person must be provided with a safe and healthful work place. The section states:

"…each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."

In simple terms, this means that an employer, must protect employees from recognized hazards in the workplace even if no OSHA standard applies to the situation or if hazards still exist after compliance with a standard. In effect, the General Duty Clause obligates employers to take additional steps toward safety if employee well-being is in jeopardy.

If you are the person designated to be the company safety specialist, your responsibilities may seem overwhelming when you first accept the challenge. If you are able to follow a systematic process and utilize the following guidelines, you will become a safety hero!

ACTION

PLAN TO ADDRESS SAFETY CONCERNS

Plan for Safety & Health

Establish a plan to eliminate injuries/illnesses.

Organize Compliance Activities

Base activities on frequency, severity and probability of occurrence.

Develop a Plan of Action

Plans define where you are in terms of compliance; where you need to be; and how you can get there.

Make Hazard Communication a Priority

Inform employees about chemicals at your facility.

Identify your Company’s Training Needs

Trained workers have fewer accidents and are more productive.

Become Familiar with Company Records

Use records to track injuries/illnesses.

Evaluate Machine Guarding Protection

Protect your employees from moving parts and points of operation.

Determine the Need for Medical Treatment First Aid

Consider how you will handle injuries and accidents

Recognize the General Duty Clause

Provide employees with a safe and healthful workplace.

This column welcomes your safety and health questions. If you are the person that has recently assumed the Safety and Health responsibilities for your co-workers and your company and you have specific questions or concerns, please contact Jack Podojil at jpodojil@charter.net

For more information, click on the authors biography at the top of this page.

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