From CalOsha Reporter - 7/3/14
DOSH is seeking more than $82,000 in penalties against Shafter's Shar-Craft, Inc., in a Dec. 17 incident that seriously burned a painter in a large steel tank. The worker was spraying flammable coating on the inside wall of the tank and it ignited because of a portable halogen light he was using for illumination.
Cal/OSHA says the employer “knowingly” allowed the use of the unauthorized electric lamp. It also says the employer did not have a permit for confined-space work and did not have proper ventilation or protective equipment for the operation.
The 37-year-old worker spent three days in a burn unit following the incident. DOSH cited Shar-Craft for an alleged willful-serious violation, three serious violations and 12 other violations, including failure to report the incident within eight hours. The employer reported it four days later.
What is the Ladder Safety app?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released its first smart phone application (app), which is aimed at improving extension ladder safety. The Ladder Safety app addresses the major causes of ladder falls by placing a number of interactive and easy-to-use graphic-oriented tools into the hands of the ladder users upon demand.
The app features an angle of inclination indicator which uses visual, sound, and vibration signals making it easier for workers and other users to set an extension ladder at the proper angle of approximately 75.5 degrees. The app also includes a “Selection” tool which provides an interactive and easy-to-use procedure to select the minimum required ladder duty-rating corresponding to the user characteristics and task.
Furthermore, the app features an “Inspection” tool which provides a comprehensive, graphic-based, interactive and easy-to-use checklist for ladder mechanical inspection. OSHA regulations and ANSI A14 standards include a set of rules for safe ladder use – the app’s “Proper Use” tool presents these rules in a clear graphic format, which is both informative and easy to understand.
Using smart phone technology, the NIOSH Ladder Safety app delivers free and easy-to-use ladder safety tools and information, reference materials, and training resources into the hands of individual ladder users wherever and when they are needed. The application is available in English and Spanish as a free download for Apple iPhone/iPad and Google Android devices.
NIOSH Ladder Safety App Screenshots
Click images to enlarge
In a recent article by the Health And Safety Institute, a case in Syracuse, New York showed why AED program management is important for any organization that is required by law to have automated external defibrillators on their premises.
A lawsuit brought against a Syracuse, NY health club, claimed that “two non-working AEDs…led to a member’s sudden cardiac death.” One of the AEDs had no battery, the other had a dead battery.
The case is against both the fitness club, and the device manufacturer.
What this underscores, is that it is not enough to simply install AEDs in your facility, and that an AED management program is required to ensure that businesses do not face these kinds of situations.
“There are a variety of reasons why AED programs fail. Equipment maintenance is certainly one of those reasons. This potential point-of-failure is one that can be easily prevented with the right tools and a trusted AED program services partner. A trusted partner can also help reduce risks by ensuring proper AED law compliance.”
Just like any other sophisticated piece of equipment, an AED requires care and maintenance in order to ensure that the device functions properly when it is needed. An AED management program keeps devices in good working order, with scheduled battery checks, important manufacturer software upgrades, training reminders, and any other routine maintenance that is required to ensure that when needed, staff know how to use the device, and above all that the device is able to do what it was intended for.
What are the causes of ladder falls?
Ladder fall injuries are a persistent hazard both in the workplace and at home. There are five major causes for extension-ladder fall incidents:
Selection of a ladder with the proper duty-rating is also critical to avoid structural failure. However, knowledge on proper ladder selection is lacking among many ladder users, and this important safety step is frequently ignored.
Regular inspection and maintenance are good practices to reduce the likelihood of ladder structural failure, however, quick and easy access to ladder safety checklists is not always available.
Inappropriate and unsafe ladder user behavior is associated with many ladder fall incidents. Activities such as overreaching, carrying objects, applying excessive force, slips and missteps are also frequent causes of ladder-related fall injuries.
Finally, small companies that account for up to 80% of all construction companies, and individual ladder users, such as homeowners, do not typically receive the required training for safe use of extension ladders. Such ladder users are difficult to reach, often do not have access to safety information, and generally lack the resources to develop or follow an effective ladder safety program.
How big is the problem of ladder falls?
Falls-from-ladders are a leading cause of fall injury and death. In the US, more than 500,000 people a year are treated, and about 300 people die, from ladder-related fall injuries. The estimated annual cost of ladder injuries in the US is $11 billion, including work loss, medical, legal, liability, and pain and suffering expenses. Recent analysis of data from three surveillance systems showed that in 2011, work-related ladder fall injuries in the US resulted in 113 fatalities, an estimated 15,460 nonfatal injuries that involved days away from work, and an estimated 34,000 nonfatal injuries treated in emergency departments. Workers who are male, Hispanic, older, self-employed, work in smaller establishments, and work doing construction, maintenance, and repair experience higher ladder fall injury rates. There is a pressing need to address the serious problem of ladder-related falls and to reduce the resulting injury and death.
Cal/OSHA is announcing that it is deploying investigators to construction sites throughout the state "to determine whether adequate measures have been taken to identify safety hazards and prevent injury." Expect aggressive enforcement.
Investigators will be specifically checking safety railings, personal fall protection devices and equipment, and tie-offs. Cal/OSHA also will be looking for trench hazards, equipment safety and proximity to power lines. Cal/OSHA reminds employers that if it finds a lack of fall protection or serious hazards, it can issue a stop-work order at the site, which will be in force until the hazard is abated. Employers deemed to be in violation safety standards also will be cited and ordered to correct the violations.
Cal/OSHA is reacting to a series of recent fatal falls at construction sites around California - and in advance of planned national safety "stand-down" on fall hazards next week - has the Division of Occupational Safety and Health fanning out to inspect worksites and puts employers on notice to pay attention to fall protection.
Three workers have died in the past two weeks and another survived with injuries. They include a May 18 fatality in Riverside when a worker tied off to a train bridge being dismantled rode down when the section toppled; a May 20 incident in San Mateo where a worker fell nine feet from a wall; and a May 21 death in San Jose where a worker unloading sheetrock from the third story of a building under construction fell over a railing from a sheetrock stack.
Nationally, falls are the leading cause of death in construction.
Enviro Safetech is a leading Environmental, Health and Safety consulting company founded in 1990 and located in San Jose, California.