OSHA officials talk compliance assistance
• Improve morale and communication.
• Improve processes, products and services.
The top benefits of effective workplace safety programs cited in the most recent OSHA study as collected from financial decision makers is that cost to a company on average was reduced 28 percent and productivity improved by 43 percent.
SPECIFIC ACCIDENT HAZARDS
Some specific issues that OSHA directed its inspectors to focus on during 2013 to prevent injury, and mentioned by the two officials, was a downplay compared to what could be coming as a focus after the Texas fertilizer plant catastrophe. The accident hazards of falls, electrocution, struck by and crushed were explained as the 2013 emphasis.
Bothast noted the fall emphasis related to ladders. “You have to have a record of training in ladder use,” he explained. What seems like simple points in ladder use training include inspecting a ladder for broken or defective parts before use, not exceeding the ladder’s load limit, ensuring the ladder extends three feet above the landing surface, using nonconductive ladders when near electrical lines and setting the ladder at a four-to-one angle against any structure.
Working on or near live electricity requires significant emphasis because there always can be hazards of arc flash, arc blast and shock. Additionally, work performed on or near energized circuits such as testing, troubleshooting and measuring voltage requires training. Bothast also mentioned conducting flash hazard analysis and establishing protection boundaries.
Crushed by typically can be related to rollovers by mobile equipment, the roll off of materials from a truck and simple failure of equipment, Bothast noted.
Part of the struck by emphasis has been that employees know appropriate traffic control to be operating in a safe zone with traffic channeled away from a work zone.
HEAT STRESS PREVENTION
An additional point of emphasis following the 2012 drought and extreme temperatures in the nation was heat stress prevention planning. What might have once been considered necessary and important in some portions of the country is equally important in more of the country than ever.
Bothast explained what needs to occur with workers to avoid heat stress including:
• Workers need to gradually build up to heavy work; they need to become acclimated through a process of acclimatizing.
• Workers and those managers around them need to know the signs of heat illness—confusion, irrational behavior, loss of coordination, headache, nausea, convulsions and loss of consciousness.