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TOPIC: Workplace-hazards

OSHA Takes Walking-Working Surfaces Seriously

Now that OSHA’s requirements for Walking-Working Surfaces (WWS) (subpart D) are in effect; the organization is demonstrating that they are serious about enforcing these new regulations.

For example, just days after the requirements became effective, OSHA initiated an inspection of an aluminum manufacturer and found 51 safety and health violations with proposed penalties of $1,922,895.

These violations included citations because fixed ladders, portable ladders, skylights, stairs, loading docks, and other WWS were not compliant.

This citation isn’t isolated incident. Since January 17, 2017, the effective date of the new rule, OSHA has inspected and cited at least a dozen employers for multiple WWS violations. Included in the various citations were failures to:

  • Conduct required inspections
  • Guard unprotected sides and edges 4 feet or more above a lower level
  • Prevent employees from falling into holes
  • Ensure strength criteria for guardrail systems
  • Keep all walking-working surfaces in clean, orderly, and sanitary condition
  • Ensure that each walking-working surface can support the maximum intended load for that surface

Since OSHA issued the new requirements, employers are required to

  • Conduct a hazard assessment
  • Implement required fall protection
  • Develop an inspection schedule
  • Train employees
  • Begin verifying certification of anchorage for rope descent systems

Employers are also required to equip existing fixed ladders with a cage, well, ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system by November 19, 2018.

Companies looking to meet the new WWS requirements may want to schedule a safety audit, set up a training program in Fall Protection Awareness for General Industry and Competent Persons Classroom Fall Protection and make sure that their fall protection equipment is up to par with the new standards.

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe… and subscribe to the Arbill Safety Blog so that you never miss out on great safety tips and information.

Have a safe day!

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Five Top Safety Hazards on a Construction Site

According to OSHA, there were almost 1000 construction deaths in 2016. While the construction workforce is only 6% of the population, over 20% of total private sector employee deaths were in construction.

The tragedy is that, with the right training and equipment, over 60% of these deaths were preventable. The following are the key causes of construction industry deaths and the steps that can be taken to prevent them by applying the right equipment and training.

Hazard # 1: Falls

Each year falls consistently account for more than one-third of construction industry deaths. Often these falls are due to unstable working surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment, and unsafe use of scaffolding and ladders.

To protect your employees, make sure that your ladders and scaffolds meet safety standards and are properly sized for the project requirements. Also ensure that work surfaces are stable, free from holes, and provide proper traction.

Another tip for fall prevention is to apply the six-foot rule. If employees are working more than six feet above another surface, they need to have fall-prevention equipment such as guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers, and restraint systems.

Regardless of height, it’s always a good idea to ensure that your employees have the right personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, non-skid work boots, and tool lanyards.

Of course, the right equipment is only as effective as the training provided. Ensuring that your employees are trained to use their equipment and avoid unsafe practices will reduce the risk of accidents and keep your employees safe.

Hazard # 2: Struck by Objects

The next big cause of death on construction sites is “struck by objects,” which accounts for almost 10% of construction site fatalities.

Vehicle hazards are a big part of this statistic. Make sure that your site safety rules include clear vehicle routes and that employees know how to avoid positioning themselves between moving and fixed objects.

Misuse of heavy equipment such as cranes and forklifts also contributes to these types of injuries. Make sure that your employees are properly trained on the safe use of this equipment and you’ll avoid injuries to both their drivers and their team members.

Hazard #3: Electrical Hazards
The dangers of electricity have been known for centuries, and yet electrical safety issues still account for over 8% of construction site deaths. Before starting any work, locate and identify utilities. If your employees are using equipment, make sure they’ve located overhead power lines and are familiar with the minimum safe distance requirements.

Providing your employees with portable tools that are grounded or double insulated and using ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) wherever possible can also prevent avoidable accidents. As previously mentioned, scaffolds, ladders, and platforms pose special safety risks, so make sure your employees are trained to avoid related electrical hazards.

Hazard #4: Caught-In-Between

Caught-in-between deaths represent 7% of construction fatalities, with many of these deaths occurring due to the collapse of construction site trenches. A key safety tip is to ensure that trenches which are five feet or deeper have adequate safety measures and trench wall support.

You can also protect your employees by marking all utilities before digging, providing a qualified person to inspect the trench’s safety, and training employees on how to protect themselves.

Hazard #5: Hazardous Materials

Construction sites are often filled with hazardous materials that can range from toxic airborne materials which affect respiration to chemical spills which can burn or release toxic fumes.

To prevent exposure, your employees should be provided with material safety data sheets (MSDS) for any hazardous chemical being used at the construction site and should be provided with the proper PPE including respiratory protection. You should also make sure that your employees are trained regarding the proper handling of hazardous materials.

Protecting your employees requires knowing the potential risks and providing the training and equipment to ensure that they make it safely home from the job site. Knowing these five hazards can serve as a starting point as you develop a strategy to improve the safety on your construction site.

 Want to keep accidents from occuring?  Our comprehensive white paper, Reduce Workplace Injuries with Predictive Analytics shows you how you can shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to injury prevention. 

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe… and subscribe to the Arbill Safety Blog so that you never miss out on great safety tips and information.

Have a safe day!

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Get a Handle on Hand Safety: 5 Keys to Prevent Workplace Injuries


When you went online to read this article, chances are you didn’t have to stop and think about how you were going to navigate your keyboard. What about when you buttoned your shirt, ate your breakfast or picked up your car keys this morning? Probably not. A hand injury can make the multitude of tasks that we take for granted a serious, if not impossible, challenge. Maybe for the short term, or perhaps, permanently.

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Machine Safety: 5 Tips to Prevent Workplace Injuries


Machinery in the workplace can be of great benefit if used correctly and safely. Heavy machinery easily completes many tasks in a timely manner, but these machines are also capable of causing great harm if not used properly. Misusing heavy machinery leads to a variety of serious workplace injuries and fatalities.

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Electrical Safety: 14 Tips to Prevent Workplace Accidents


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) about 76,000 office workers nationwide have disabling injuries every year. Although the most frequent types of incidents are falls (either from height, tripping or slippery surfaces), many injuries also occur as the result of contact with electrical equipment or appliances.

Almost everything in an office setting today operates on electricity.  Electrical equipment used in an office, is potentially hazardous and can cause serious shock and burn injuries if improperly used or maintained.  If a part of the body comes in contact with the electrical circuit, a shock will occur. The current will enter the body at one point and leave at another and this passage of electricity, can cause great pain, burns, and even death.

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Workplace Hazards Start Small: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid


No matter how careful you are, accidents happen. Sometimes it's nothing more than a stubbed toe. But what happens when an employee suffers a more severe injury on the job? Your company could lose a valuable team member for a period of time and open itself up to potential liability.

It is everyone's responsibility to help create a culture of safety around the workplace. That means noticing and remedying the little hazards before they grow into big headaches.

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5 Workplace Safety Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make


OSHA requires employers to provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. This is the crux of workplace safety and Arbill’s initiative to get every worker home safely after every shift.

Workplace injuries and illnesses are largely preventable, but workplace safety initiatives require both vigilance in safety training and inspections, along with strict adherence to all rules and regulations to be effective.

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The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America


This past December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015. According to the report, there were 4,836 fatal work injuries in 2015, which is the highest since 2008 (5,214 fatal injuries). The overall rate of fatal work injuries was 3.38 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, which was lower than the 2014 rate of 3.43.

Of the 4,836 fatal injuries in 2015, over 50% happened in the Construction, Transportation, Agriculture Forestry, Fishing and Professional Services industries. The Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry had the highest fatal work injury rate, 22.8 per 100,000 full-time workers, and the Construction industry had the highest number of fatal work injuries, 937.

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Safety Footwear: Keys to Protect Your Worker's Feet


Foot injuries can be quite painful… and costly. They can sideline a worker or a team and add tremendous cost to your bottom line. Of the 12 million work-related injuries that happen on average each year, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 10% of those injuries are to the feet and ankles.

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Chemical Safety: 4 Ways to Protect Employees


More than 32 million workers (more than 20% of the entire U.S. workforce) are exposed to hazardous chemical products in the workplace. According to the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), 650,000 different chemicals are present in more than 3 million American workplaces.

Hazardous chemicals were the cause of nearly 3 million nonfatal private industry injuries or illnesses in 2014 and the dangers of these chemicals present extreme challenges for both employers and employees.

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