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Unexpected emergencies can happen at any time! Anything from a natural disaster, a toxic chemical spill, an active shooter incident or a fallen sick team member – all can happen while at work, so it’s extremely important employees know how to respond quickly.

September is National Preparedness Month. Preparing for any type of emergency ahead of time ensures your team has the necessary equipment, knows what to do and where to go – and just knows how to keep themselves safe.

As we know, there are so many emergencies that can happen. We will focus on those emergencies where it is deemed as important to vacate the building. In these situations, it is extremely important to have a strategic evacuation plan. Establishing an emergency planning team within your organization to identify and prepare for “worst-case” scenarios is a good rule of thumb – and making sure there are written policies for all employees to read and sign off on. The emergency plan should at least include the following:

  • Emergency notification systems – make sure messages are able to reach everyone; keeping in mind those who may not speak or understand English well and those with disabilities
  • Chain of command – make sure there is a plan in place for who is assigned to send the notifications, as well as who will take the place of these workers if they are not available to complete that task
  • Evacuation routes – train your staff in proper evacuation procedure; everyone needs to know how to evacuate safely and quickly
  • Responder protocols – make sure you have some employees who have had extensive safety training be assigned to make sure operations are shut down safely and everyone is out of the building
  • Post-evacuation protocol – designate a meeting area for all employees, so there is a way to verify that everyone made it out safely; keep in mind non-employees as well that might have been in your facility

As we discussed in an earlier blog about workplace safety culture, it starts at the top. Employers must commit to creating safe workplace conditions and ensuring safe work interactions. Setting the tone that safety is a priority in your organization is key to keeping your most important assets – your employees – safe and healthy!

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniform inspection and enforcement procedures for its Emergency Temporary Standard to protect healthcare workers from occupational exposures to COVID-19.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/trade/06302021

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Did you know that brake system was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial and passenger vehicle crashes, according to a recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report? Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles, which means a safer environment for those workers in those vehicle. as well as the general population using the roads.

This year’s Brake Safety Week is scheduled for August 22-28. Focusing on the importance of brake systems, commercial motor vehicle inspectors conduct North American Standard Inspections of commercial motor vehicles and removing any vehicles found to have brake-related out-of-service violations from the roadways. This is a great opportunity for those in the motor carrier business to also educate their drivers and maintenance service providers on the importance of brake system safety.

Last year’s findings during Brake Safety Week saw 12% of the 43,565 commercial motor vehicles inspected did indeed have brake-related violation and were placed out-of-service. Having a vehicle taken out of commission is a costly business expense, so routine maintenance is essential to ensure your brake system efficiency doesn’t fall below the minimum of 43.5%. Special attention is paid to brake hoses and tubing during inspections to make sure they are properly attached, undamaged, without leaks, appropriately flexible, and free from leaks, corrosion and other damage.

Some common areas you should be visually inspecting on a regular basis to keep your commercial vehicles safe on the road:
• Air brake chamber
• Brake hoses and tubing
• Cotter pins
• Clevis pings
• Slack adjuster
• Air lines

Brake Safety Week is a great reminder to proactively check and service your vehicles, which should be part of your process all year long. Here’s a Brake Inspection Checklist from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which is a nonprofit whose mission is to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and uniformity throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico by providing guidance and education to enforcement, industry and policy makers.

The AIHA announced new guidelines for developing health metrics in workplaces to help prevent illness and injury.

Read entire article - https://www.ehstoday.com/industrial-hygiene/article/21165463/occupational-health-experts-offer-guidelines-to-prevent-workplace-illness-and-injury

Tagged in: aiha workplace safety

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We are in the middle of summer, and heat stress in the workplace affects too many workers every year in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1992 and 2016, 783 workers died and more than 69,000 workers suffered serious injuries due to heat exposure on the job, which this number is challenged by labor advocates who say numbers are much higher because of under-reporting or not being classified as a work-related illness or death.

In our last blog, we covered all the terms associated with heat stress and its subsequent illnesses, but to recap - heat stress is a series of conditions where the body is under stress from overheating. Symptoms can range from profuse sweating to dizziness, cessation of sweating, and eventually collapse. Of course, high temperatures increase heat stress, but also increased relative humidity, decreased air movement, or lack of shading from direct heat can all contribute to heat stress.

Supervisor’s Role in Preventing Heat Stress
• Allow time for employees to adjust to hot jobs when possible (heat tolerance), which can take 2-3 weeks for an employee to become acclimated to the hot environment
• When possible, adjust the work schedule with heavier work assigned on cooler days or during the cooler part of the day
• On hot days, reduce the workload – and increase the use of equipment to reduce physical labor
• Establish a schedule for work and rest periods during hot days
• Train workers to recognize signs and symptoms of heat stress illnesses and be prepared to give first aid, if necessary
• Avoid placing "high risk" employees in hot work environments for extended time periods (older, overweight, heart disease, high blood pressure, take medication that may be affected by extreme heat)
• Provide auxiliary body cooling and protective clothing

Worker’s Role in Preventing Heat Stress
• Learn to recognize the symptoms of heat stress – and take adequate rest periods (in shade or cooler environment)
• Use adequate fans for ventilation and cooling, especially when wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Wear light-colored, loose clothing (unless working around equipment with moving parts).
• Keep shaded from direct heat whenever possible - wear a hat in direct sunshine, find a shaded area when on breaks, etc.
• Drink plenty of water – the body requires more water than usual in hot environments

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