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Ask The Expert - Who Needs DOT HazMat

A new feature of our blog is our “Ask the Expert” column. Each column will feature a frequently asked safety question, and one of our safety experts will provide an answer. 

This week's question will be answered by Chris Fulmer a certified Environmental, Safety and Health Trainer (CET) through NESHTA and The Board of Safety Professionals, and Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP) with IHMM.  Mr. Fulmer has over 25 years of experience in hazardous materials emergency response, hazardous waste remediation, EHS consulting and Project Management. 

Question:

As an employer, which of my employees need Department of Transportation Training (DOT) in Hazardous Materials Shipping, Receiving and Transporting?


Answer:

Over the course of many years of training companies and employees on Department of Transportation Training (DOT) Hazardous Materials Shipping, Receiving and Transporting, one consistent question has always been asked; “who actually needs DOT Training?”

This question arises because it can be confusing, and the regulations can seem vague depending on what the employee’s job task may actually be. We all know that the person that signs the manifest should be trained and certified, and usually most know the forklift driver loading the truck should be as well. But who else?

The regulation basically says that any hazardous materials employee that directly affects the safe shipping, receiving, or transporting of hazardous materials and waste requires training. So that can include a vast array of employees.

To help clarify, below are some examples of who should be DOT certified:

  • The signer of a bill of lading or manifest shipping AND receiving the hazardous materials
  • Any employee that may fill out a manifest or bill of lading, even if they do not sign it
  • The forklift operator that loads or unloads a vehicle with hazardous materials or waste
  • Any employee that determines what hazardous material goes into or on a specific transport vehicle
  • Any operator of a transport vehicle that will go onto public transport
  • Any employee that puts DOT labels onto containers to be shipped
  • Any employee that packages hazardous materials for shipping. Be it drums, boxes, buckets, etc.
  • Any employee that may purchase containers for shipping hazardous materials, if they are the one deciding what container is required for safe shipping.
  • Any employee that inspects containers for use in hazardous materials shipping.

It basically comes down to any employee or individual that may directly interact with a hazardous material that is being offered for shipment on public transport (highway, air, rail and vessel). And DOT states that any HazMat employee must be trained and certified in:

  • General awareness and familiarization of the regulations
  • Function specific training – proper shipping, manifests, labels and placards, proper containers, etc.
  • Safety training - loading and unloading risks, emergency response, etc.
  • Security awareness
  • Any job specific training required

Once an employee is certified, then they must be re-certified every 3 years (at minimum) to ensure they are updated on any regulatory changes, current on specific company policies and regulations and are current on relative information.

The best way to determine which of your employees may be considered a hazmat employee per DOT and require certification, is to ask these questions:

  • Am I a shipper or receiver of hazardous materials by public transport?
  • Do I directly interact with hazardous materials being shipped, received or transported?
  • Do my actions with this hazardous material affect the safety of the public in transport?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you or that employee may need to be DOT Hazardous Materials Shipping, Receiving or Transporting certified.

If you still have questions or concerns as to if you or any of your employees should be certified, or what qualifies as a hazardous material being shipped or received, you can contact your Arbill Representative for further information.

Looking for additional training for your employees? Talk to one of our safety advisors today and schedule a site assessment or training program.

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 Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Have a safe day!

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Lock Out / Tag Out (LOTO) Saves Lives

This past week, an employee at the Kraft Heinz Food Company facility in Mason, OH suffered a partial finger amputation while clearing a machine jam.

According to OSHA inspectors, the reason the employee lost a part of his finger was because the company failed to:

  • Implement energy control procedures to prevent equipment from accidentally starting
  • Install adequate machine guards
  • Train employees on the use of energy control procedures

In addition to having a valued worker severely injured on the job, Kraft Heinz is facing an OSHA fine of more than $100,000.

The tragic part of this story is that this injury could have been prevented had the correct Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures been in place, and followed.

Avoiding Hazardous Energy

When a machine or other piece of equipment runs, it builds up different types of energy such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and thermal. Even when a machine stops or is “turned off” this energy can be trapped in the machine, waiting to be released.

OSHA provides three examples of ways that employees can be injured by hazardous energy:

  • A steam valve is automatically turned on burning workers who are repairing a downstream connection in the piping.
  • A jammed conveyor system suddenly releases, crushing a worker who is trying to clear the jam.
  • Internal wiring on a piece of factory equipment electrically shorts, shocking a worker who is repairing the equipment.

And these types of injuries are far too common. In fact, failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10% of serious accidents in many industries.

Winning the LOTO

 The good news is that it is possible to avoid these injuries. Below we have outlined some tips to help you develop a comprehensive lockout/tagout program.

  • Develop and document an energy control/policy that includes OSHA guidelines and custom elements unique to your workplace. This document should be reviewed annually, and updates should be made where needed.
  • Machine-specific procedures should be outlined that identify the equipment covered and the detailed steps to follow in order to shut down, isolate, block and secure the equipment. Instructions on how to install and transfer lockout tagout devices should be included as well.
  • Perform a walkthrough of your facility and identify energy control points such as valves, switches, breakers and plugs. From there clearly mark and label these points so that they are clearly identifiable for employees.
  • Train employees on specific elements and machine-specific procedures. The training should cover authorized employees who perform the lockout on machinery, affected employees who do not perform lockout but use the machinery and other employees who may be in the area of the machines.
  • Research and review your facility to make sure you choose the best lockout tagout device that fit your equipment and align with your needs.
  • Continuously review your program to ensure it is up to date with changing regulations and new equipment. Perform audits of your program and provide training for new employees or employees who are using new equipment. 

Establishing a proper lockout tagout program and ensuring your employees understand how to operate it can reduce injuries and save lives.

Looking to improve your LOTO procedures, but don’t know how to get started? Talk to one of our safety advisors today and schedule a site assessment or training program.

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 Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Have a safe day!

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Electrical Linemen – America’s Unsung Heroes

When a storm or disaster hits, we praise our first responders, the police, fire and rescue crews, health care workers and emergency management professionals who help keep us safe.

However, there is one team of heroes, who are often overlooked, the electrical and cable linemen who work to restore vital services like electricity and internet to homes and businesses.

 

IN THE LINE OF FIRE

These unsung heroes are called out after (and sometimes during) a major storm. Because of the need to restore power, they must quickly go out to make repairs, often in dangerous conditions while working on high towers, in crane buckets, on poles, or in confined spaces. Then consider that they’re working with power lines carrying an average of up to 345,000 volts or more of electricity on a daily basis. This has consistently made electrical linemen one of the highest risk professions in the U.S.

Need proof? In past years, electrical line workers have had an annual fatality rate of roughly 20 per 100,000, often putting them on the list of the ten most dangerous jobs in America. While the industry has worked to improve its safety record over the past few years the 2016 fatality rate was still hovering at 14.6 per 100,000. That’s the same rate as Police and sheriff’s patrol officers.

More than that, non-fatal injuries average around 2,500 each year, and almost 45% of those injuries keep them off the job for 31 days or more.

 

PUTTING SAFETY ON THE LINE

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these fatalities and injuries are due to:

  • Electrocution
  • Falls
  • Confined spaces
  • Fires and explosions
  • Sprains, strains, and fractures
  • Environmental Stress

Linemen take safety seriously. The problem is that often the steps required to stay safe are often at odds with the conditions they work under.

Linemen are instructed to always be aware of their surroundings, to work in teams and take their time. These simple steps can often mean the difference between coming home safely and getting injured or worse on the job.

The problem is that when crews are stretched thin, need to work long hours in difficult conditions and face demands from their supervisors and the public to restore power as quickly as possible, basic safety protocols can fall by the wayside.

For this reason, having the right safety gear is critical. Gear should always include:

  • Insulated gloves
  • Boots with insulation and good treads
  • Insulated tools
  • Climbing and fall prevention gear

Even something as simple as having a drink that replenishes electrolytes in hot weather can make all the difference.

So, the next time you face a power outage, remember the brave linemen who are out there working hard so that you can get your power back.

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are proud to serve as a supplier to America’s linemen and strive to provide them with the right equipment, when they need it. 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 Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Have a safe day!

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How Kimberly-Clark Is Helping to Create a Sustainable Future

At Arbill, we’re proud to include Kimberly-Clark products among the 200,000 work and safety products that we offer to our customers.

What many people don’t know, is that in addition to being behind Kleenex, Huggies and countless other products that we use on a daily basis, Kimberly-Clark has a tradition of promoting sustainability through its 150-year history.

And in the past ten years, Kimberly-Clark has been working to take this history to the next level.

Sustainable Goals

 

 Kimberly-Clark has created an audacious set of goals for their Sustainability 2022 project.

  • Improve the well-being of 25 million people in need
  • Reduce their natural forest footprint by 50% through a combination of innovation and sustainable best practices
  • Reduce their greenhouse gasses by 20%

With the commitment of their 43,000-strong team and global partnerships, they hope to make these goals a reality.

 

Sustainable Products

 

One way they’re working to reach these goals is by constantly working to make its products more sustainable. For example, over the past ten years, they’ve already increased their use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved fibers from 7% to 80%.

Another example is their WypAll Wipers. Compared to a box rags, a package of WypAll Wipers is 2X more absorbent and absorb water 2X faster. WypAll Wipers also leave 3X less lint behind. Compared with rags, this reduces mess and repetitive work that can require the use of more rags. That means you get more done with less.

Because of Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to sustainability, using WypAll Wipers reduces waste to landfill by 92%, reduces storage needs by 68% and costs 26% less compared to traditional rags.

At Arbill, we applaud Kimberly-Clark’s efforts and are proud to continue to offer their products to our customers. In the months to come, we will continue to feature Kimberly-Clark products and practices that are promoting sustainability.

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 Safer Every Day  the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Have a safe day!

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The Dangers of Daylight Savings Time

For some, daylight’s savings time is a benefit, for others an inconvenience. Most of us groan about losing an hour, yawn, shrug it off and go on with our lives.

However, the Monday after daylight savings can be more dangerous than many of us realize.

Studies have shown that the sleep deprivation caused by the Spring shift to daylight savings results in a small increase in fatal workplace accidents on the following Monday. It is believed that this increase is due to misalignment of our natural circadian rhythms, which occur when we force ourselves to stay awake at hours when our bodies believe we should be sleeping.

According to the National Safety Council, the following types of employees are most susceptible to these circadian rhythm disruptions:

  • Shift workers
  • Medical staff
  • Emergency responders
  • Military personnel
  • Workers over age 40
  • Transportation professionals

This is especially true for those who work rotating or night shifts.

If you’re responsible for the safety of employees in any of these categories, or any employee who works in potentially dangerous situations, it’s never a bad idea to:

  • Issue warnings about the effects of sleep loss.
  • Give your employees the option to sleep a little later or catch a quick nap during the day.
  • Encourage your employees to exercise and avoid alcohol the night before.
  • Be on the lookout for employees who may be showing signs of excessive such as yawning, head dropping, and difficulty remembering or concentrating.

These are small steps that may help avoid injuries and save lives.

Looking for more ways to protect your employees? Consider a safety audit or learn more about our Vantage Predictive Analytics which can help you to target at-risk employees and prevent accidents before they happen.

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 Safer Every Day  the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Have a safe day!

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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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Protect Your Employees From Workplace Violence

This blog is not about gun control, mental illness or terrorism. It’s about violence that, unfortunately, is increasing in the workplace where many people are vulnerable. It has been reported that deaths resulting from workplace violence have ranked among the top causes of occupational fatalities in American workplaces. Additionally, nearly 2 million workers are reported to be victims each year of some type of workplace violence.

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Building a Culture of Safety: 6 Steps to Take Today


What is a Culture of Safety?

How do you know if you have one and how can you enhance this culture once it has been established?

It is actually much easier to identify an organization that does not exhibit a culture of safety. These are organizations that have recurring injuries and down time along with increasing insurance rates and possible litigation issues. At these facilities, workers don’t feel safe or comfortable with the PPE provided to them and don’t bother to alert someone if gloves, glasses or earplugs fit properly. Management and workers sometimes ignore safety procedures and safety is not looked at as a top priority, nor is it discussed or properly invested in. Workers are not empowered to make a difference and in these cases, the culture of safety is broken or non-existent.

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9 Workplace Safety Secrets You Need to Know


Protecting your employees can be a challenging proposition. The modern workplace can be a loud and dangerous place that exposes your workers to hazards that are unique to your workplace. For this reason it's critically important that managers and employees alike understand what they can do to ensure each employee goes home safely after every shift.

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