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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: Safety Is Everyone's Business

Thinking about past clients who were more interested in production than in the safety of their employees inspired this month’s column. One of my past Fortune 500 clients, (who I no longer represent) wanted me to turn a blind eye when observing unsafe acts of employees and other safety hazards in their facilities. This client’s representative asked, “Jack why do you get so passionate about this business of protecting people? It is just a small hazard and such a very small risk of someone being injured”. My response was, “Safety is everyone’s business. A hazard on your factory floor does not have to injure someone to be called a near-miss accident. Hazards are signs of a management system failure.

One of the major safety hazards at your company may have nothing to do with what you manufacture. Do you have any electrical problems in your facility? Are all of your circuit breakers properly marked? This is one of the most citable items that OSHA writes each year. To prove my point, please inspect any of your electrical panel boxes and open the outer door. Now look at each breaker and see if it is properly annotated on the legend sheet. Are each of the breakers marked? If so, do they go to the right energy source? If not, think of what could happen if you or someone in your facility needed to shut the power off in an emergency.

In the United States, 3,600 disabling and 4,000 nondisabling electrical contact injuries occur annually. In addition to these injuries, one person dies from electrocution in the workplace every day, making this the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths.

These Department of Labor statistics are startling, yet they do not tell the whole story. This data only represents the incidents that must be reported. Other types of injuries, along with near-miss situations, are not reported. A near-miss is an electrical incident in which no one is injured and the electrical equipment is not damaged. Here is another accident that could have been prevented if this employee would have just Locked-out and Tagged-out the energy source before working on a lamp.

From Official OSHA Files:

The employee was attempting to correct an electrical problem involving two non-operational lamps. He proceeded to the area where he thought the problem was. He had not shut off the power at the circuit breaker panel nor had he tested the wires to see if they were live. He was electrocuted when he grabbed the two live wires with his left hand and then fell from the ladder.

Inspection Results

As a result of its investigation, OSHA issued citations alleging three serious violations. OSHA’s construction standards include several requirements which, if they had been followed here, might have prevented this fatality.

Accident Prevention Recommendations

The employer should not allow work to be done on electrical circuits unless an effective lock-out/tag-out program is implemented [29 CFR 1926.416(a)(1)].

The employer should not allow work to be done on energized electrical circuits or circuits which are not positively de-energized or tagged out [29 CFR 1926.417(a) and.417(c)].

Safety is everyone’s business. If someone would have taken the time to conduct their job properly this person would not have been injured. Please review your electrical circuits and make sure employees know how to use electricity safely!

Let me leave you with this safety poem. I try to live it each day and get very upset when someone asks me to overlook a simple safety hazard. I do not have the authors name so if anyone knows who wrote it, please let me know.

I chose to look the other way,
I could have saved a life that day,
But I chose to look the other way.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care,
I had the time, and I was there.
But I didn’t want to seem a fool,
Or argue over a safety rule.

I knew he’d done the job before,
If I spoke up, he might get sore.
The chances didn’t seem that bad,
I’d done the same, He knew I had.

So I shook my head and walked on by,
He knew the risks as well as I.
He took the chance, I closed an eye,
And with that act, I let him die.

I could have saved a life that day,
But I chose to look the other way.

Now every time I see his wife,
I’ll know, I should have saved his life.

That guilt is something I must bear,
But it isn’t something you need to share.

If you see a risk that others take,
That puts their health or life at stake.
The questions asked, or thing you say,
Could help them live another day.
If you see a risk and walk away,

Then hope you never have to say,
I could have saved a life that day,
But I chose to look the other way.

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

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