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Author Archive: Matthew Kane

OSHA Changes to Workplace Accident Reporting

workplace accident reportingOn September 11, 2014, OSHA announced changes to workplace accident reporting standards. The new standards go into effect on January 1, 2015.

The recordkeeping changes impact two areas:

1. Industries exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records.

Many industries are required by OSHA to maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses. This helps OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand new and existing hazards and implementing protective measures.

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Demolition Hazards and How to Prevent Them

demolition hazardsWhen we think of demolition, we often think of controlled explosions with buildings collapsing into piles of rubble. But demolition is about much more than knocking down office towers.

In fact, demolition can be a way to renew communities, remove toxic hazards and support the efforts of disaster first responders. And contrary to common belief, not all demolition material ends up in landfills. According to the National Demolition Association, 90-percent of demolition materials are recycled, salvaged or reused, including concrete, metals, insulation, flooring, wiring, wood and even soils.

But while demolition is important to communities, it can also be very dangerous. As OSHA describes it, demolition is essentially construction in reverse, with additional hazards.

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How to Manage Confined Space Hazards

confined spaceGenerally, a confined space is defined as a space not designed for workers, yet workers occasionally need to enter the space to do their job.

Confined spaces typically have limited means to enter and exit. They also often come with additional hazardous conditions, such as poor air quality, chemical exposure, fire hazards, noise, moving parts, entanglement hazards, radiation, temperature extremes, shifting material and uncontrolled electrical energy.

Most industries have confined spaces in the workplace, such as boilers, pits, wells, tanks, towers, large pipes, bins, silos, mixers, dryers, vaults. (For a more complete list, see the U.S. Department of Labor’s confined space list.)

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Fall Prevention and Fall Protection – Why You Need Both

fall preventionThis past June, one million construction workers participated in the National Safety Stand-Down to raise awareness of fall prevention in construction. The weeklong event cumulated in employers and workers across the country pausing to review fall hazards and preventive measures. The topic is especially important as the economy recovers and construction activities increase.

While we often think of roofs and ladders as fall hazards, falls can also happen from scaffolds, stairs, openings and collapsed structures. And with all of these hazards, it’s important to have both preventive and protective measures in place.

(Not convinced? For a sobering reminder of the persistence of fall fatalities, take a look at the fatality map at The Center for Construction Research and Training).

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The Ebola Virus: Protective Measures For Healthcare Workers

protective measuresSadly, West Africa has been experiencing an outbreak of the Ebola virus, affecting Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. As of August 20, 2014, 2615 cases have been reported in West Africa. So far, 1427 people have died from the disease during the outbreak.

For the latest on the outbreak, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

The CDC states that the outbreak does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public, and no cases of contracting the disease in the U.S. have yet been reported. Nonetheless, healthcare workers will be at the forefront of identifying and protecting against the spread of this outbreak, and effective control hinges on understanding the disease’s symptoms and transmission.

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What Kind of Fire Detector Should You Choose?

fire detectorAccording to Bureau of Labor statistics, three percent of workplace fatalities in 2007 were the result of fires and explosions. Fire detectors, when combined with evacuation plans and other emergency response measures, can help reduce fatalities, injuries and property damage from fire.

While we all understand the importance of fire detectors, it’s equally important to select the right kind of fire detector for your workplace. As you’ll see, different detectors are designed to detect different kinds of fire. In this blog post, we’ll review the three main types of fire detectors: smoke detectors, heat detectors and flame detectors.

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Conventional CPR vs. Hands-Only CPR

hands-only cprIf you’ve hesitated to learn CPR because it seemed too complicated or were concerned about risks associated with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, then hesitate no more.

Since 2008, the American Heart Association has recommended Hands-Only CPR for most adults. This means that you can conduct CPR without mouth-to-mouth breathing in most cases.

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Pyrotechnic Flares vs. LED Beacons

LED beaconsMany different industries use emergency lighting, including law enforcement, fire fighting, transportation, roadwork, marine and aviation. If you need to select emergency lighting for your workplace, you have more choices than ever before. To help you with your decision, we’ll compare the pros and cons of two emergency lighting types: pyrotechnic flares and LED beacons.

Pyrotechnic Flares

For many years, pyrotechnic flares were the go-to choice for emergency lighting. They emit good light, are self-contained and work well in adverse conditions, such as fog or rain. They’re also relatively cheap to buy.

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The “Dreaded” OSHA Audit: What to Expect and What to Do

OSHA auditMost people don’t wake up in the morning hoping for an OSHA audit. But when it happens, the experience is much more pleasant if you know what to expect and what to do.

The Audit Process

While each OSHA audit is different, they do follow a standard structure:

  1. Opening conference. OSHA team members introduce themselves, define the scope of the review, set expectations, and explain what they will need from site personnel. Continue Reading

Useful Health and Safety Apps for Construction Workers

apps for construction workersThese days, it seems like there’s an app for every possible use, from music to social media to games.

But did you know there are also apps that help to promote workplace health and safety?

Recently, IHSFNA (Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund of North America) recommended five apps for construction workers. Here’s a quick overview of its recommendations:

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