First Aid Programs are a necessary part of any workplace to address injuries and illnesses. Basic First Aid Programs include CPR training and quick response first aid basics. Other program elements include basic first aid intervention, basic adult CPR, and universal precautions for self-protection.
Your workplace First Aid Program should go further than the basics. Your program should cover specifics to the type of injuries that can occur on your work sites – shock, bleeding, poisoning, burns, temperature extremes, musculoskeletal injuries, bites and stings, medical emergencies, and confined spaces.
The first step to customizing your First Aid Program is to obtain and evaluate information about injuries, illnesses and fatalities at your work sites. Some helpful records to utilize for this include the OSHA 300 log, OSHA 301 forms, Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier reports, or other safety records you may have available to you through your workplace Safety & Health Management program.
It can also be helpful to review data on injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for your industry. This will help you in preparing for potential hazards that are common in your industry, but which you may not have encountered on your work sites yet.
Once you have compiled data on the injuries, illnesses and fatalities you should address with your First Aid Program, planning and training are imperative. Supplies for First Aid response should be made available in easily accessible locations. Employers are responsible for the type, amount, and maintenance of first aid supplies needed. The most thorough plans and supplies will not save lives without training your workers to respond in the appropriate manner.
Designating individuals with the skills necessary to undertake CPR and first aid responses will clearly outline responsibilities during an emergency. These individuals should receive thorough training, in all the areas determined essential to your plan, from certified staff for both CPR and first aid basics.
To help best prepare your workers in First Aid, obtain estimates on response times from local EMS and other rescue services. This will inform your trainers on how much first aid knowledge will be necessary to address emergency situations until professional help can arrive.
All First Aid Program policies and procedures should be written down, provided to your workers, and enforced by management. Be sure that all of your workers know the policies, including those that may not speak or read English. Your Program should be reviewed periodically to make sure it is in compliance with current first aid techniques and knowledge, as well as potential injuries and illnesses. Basic adult CPR retesting should occur every year and first aid skills and knowledge should be reviewed at least every three years. OSHA recommends training include hands-on aspects such as mannequins and partner practice.
A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. Learn more about Safety Training courses here. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.
Life Safety inspections must be completed on all required devices, including backflow devices, regardless of where they are placed. A confined space is an enclosed area with limited space and accessibility that has the potential for a significant hazard to be present. A confined space is not necessarily designed for people to occupy it and has limited means of entry or exit, but is large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. Life Safety Inspections on devices located in confined spaces, if not performed properly, can lead to OSHA fines, technician injuries, or even death.
Possible dangers of confined spaces include toxic atmosphere, lack of oxygen, entrapment, explosive atmosphere, and physical hazards within the space. If hazards are present in a confined space then it is a permit-required confined space according to OSHA regulations. A non-permit required confined space is one in which all hazards have been removed.
To safely perform an inspection in a confined space, whether it is permit-required or not, precautions must be taken in order to avoid loss of life. To ensure safety, at least two technicians must be present when a worker is to enter a confined space. These two workers are the entrant and the attendant. An entrant goes into the space and performs the inspection; an attendant supervises the inspection and makes sure the space and the entrant remain safe.
Employers must ensure certain precautions are taken by workers whenever they enter a confined space. An employer is required to specify the exact precautions to be taken; train the workers in order to give them the knowledge to protect themselves and others; and plan how to rescue injured workers promptly and safely.
As a precaution for potential emergencies in confined spaces, OSHA also requires employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue or emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. An employer who relies on local emergency services for assistance must ensure that the rescue workers are notified in advance and are available and prepared to respond; this includes having all necessary information to respond appropriately, safely, and effectively to the specific confined-space emergency.
A confined space is a space that is large enough and arranged so that an employee can physically enter, but has limited or restricted means for entry and exit, and is not designed for continuous occupancy. If a confined space contains serious hazards, then OSHA defines it has a permit-required confined space. Permit-required confined spaces must be identified and accessed with additional caution to protect workers lives.
A permit-required confined space has a configuration, or contents, that may present special dangers not found in normal work areas. These spaces may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, contain insufficient oxygen or hazardous levels of toxic gases. They may also present hazards to workers by not allowing them to keep a safe distance from mechanical and electrical hazards present in the space. Fumes from a flammable liquid that is used in a poorly ventilated area, can reach explosive levels in a permit-required confined space. Such hazards endanger both the workers in the space and any others who become exposed to the hazards when they attempt to rescue injured or trapped workers. Rescue workers have been injured or killed in a confined space because they did not have the proper training or equipment necessary to conduct a rescue safely.
In addition to the two workers (entrant and attendant), who are required for any confined space entry, to enter a permit-required confined space the workers also need additional equipment for safety. This includes any equipment that may be required for a worker rescue in the event a worker is stranded within the confined space. Required equipment includes atmospheric monitors, fall protection and extraction equipment, tripod, harness, and self-contained breathing apparatus.
To determine if your Backflow Pit is a permit-required confined space, you must evaluate the Backflow Pit to determine whether hazards exist or whether the work to be done in the space can create hazards. If the Backflow Pit contains an actual or potential hazard that can cause death, injury or acute illness, incapacitation, entrapment, or otherwise interfere with a worker’s ability to leave the space in an emergency, then it is a permit-required confined space.
Confined space entry and precautions for working in them is overseen by OSHA. OSHA defines a permit-required confined space as a space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.
Once you have determined if your Backflow Pit is a permit-required confined space, adequate precautions must be taken to prevent loss of life or injury for the workers who enter the space.
Many injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace are preventable. To assist employers in identifying and correcting hazards, OSHA publishes the list of the top 10 standards most frequently cited after an OSHA worksite inspection from the previous year.
The most recent list published is from Fiscal year 2015, which was October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. The following standards comprised the most violations found during inspections in that time frame. You should use this list in your next facility safety inspection to ensure you have a thorough safety plan and remove all potential hazards.
- Fall Protection (501)
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
- Scaffolding (1926.451)
- Respiratory Protection (134 – Respiratory Protection)
- Lockout/Tagout (147 – Lockout/Tagout)
- Powered Industrial Trucks (178 – Powered Industrial Trucks)
- Ladders (1053 – Ladders)
- Electrical, Wiring Methods (305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods)
- Machine Guarding (212 – Machine Guarding)
- Electrical, General Requirements (303 – Electrical, General Requirements)
Each standard covers a broad subject and must be reviewed thoroughly to ensure the hazards covered are not found at your facility or, if they are found, that they are addressed. This is also a good time to review your safety manual, as you find standards or hazards during your review, and make sure they are included in your customized safety manual.
Every business is required by OSHA to have a written safety manual. This safety manual must cover every aspect of OSHA standards that apply to your business and operations.
Because incomplete or outdated manuals can result in a fine from OSHA, it is best to have a manual customized for your business. There are a plethora of template safety manuals available online either for free or a small fee. However, these templates cannot be relied on to be up-to-date with the latest OSHA standards. In addition, using an online template leaves you with little direction in selecting the standards and requirements that apply to your business and specific processes employed by your workers.
OSHA provides a quick start feature online for businesses to learn more about the standards that apply to their facilities. However, even OSHA warns that this outline is not comprehensive to what may apply to each business. This guide is a good place to start though, as it outlines specific hazards that commonly apply in general industry, construction, and healthcare industries.
Employers must review the processes, equipment, and potential hazards at the facility to ensure all applicable OSHA standards are included in the manual. You will need to check for state occupational safety standards that would apply to your business and include those in your safety manual as well. An added benefit of carrying out a thorough review of your facility and work performed there is that, in addition to a complete safety manual, you can outline and take preventative measures for found hazards. This will substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries, and alleviate the associated financial burden.
Most successful safety manuals are based on a common set of key elements. Those include: management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. You can read more on these topics in A1’s blogs, on Core Elements for a Safety & Health Management Program.
Workplace injuries, illnesses, and death have far-reaching impacts to individuals’ lives. In addition to the consequences for the individual, and their family, the company for which they work will be negatively impacted. It has been estimated that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone.
In addition to workers’ compensation costs, other direct costs to companies for workplace safety violations include medical expenses, and costs for legal services. The list of potential indirect costs for employers is much longer.
Indirect costs for workplace injuries include wages paid to injured workers for absences not covered by workers’ compensation and wage costs related to time lost through work stoppage associated with the worker injury. Employers may be required to pay overtime costs due to the injury, in addition to the administrative time spent by supervisors, safety personnel, and clerical workers after an injury. If an employee is unable to continue working, costs are incurred from training a replacement worker.
OSHA fines and any associated legal action can be extremely costly to employers. Lost productivity related to work rescheduling, new employee learning curves, and accommodation of injured employees can affect the company over an extended period of time; as well as loss of good will and profit from bad publicity.
The best way to mitigate these losses is to prevent workplace injuries. A Safety and Health Management Plan created specifically for your workplace will allow you to assess hazards, remove them if possible or, if not, develop safety procedures to decrease the potential for injury.
For a look at how your company could be affected by a worker injury, try out OSHA’s Safety Pays Program. This online tool allows employers to assess the impact of occupational injuries and illnesses on their profitability. The program uses the company’s profit margin, the average costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need in order to cover those costs.
As we previously discussed in Increased OSHA Fines, OSHA has greatly increased the penalty levels for violations starting in 2017. The penalty amount depends on the type of violation. OSHA defines violations as Serious, Other-than-Serious, Posting Requirements, Failure to Abate, Willful, and Repeated.
Serious: A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.
Other-than-Serious: An Other-than-Serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not serious in nature.
Posting Requirements: If you receive an OSHA Notice, you must post it at or near the place where each violation occurred so that employees are made award of the hazards. The OSHA Notice must remain posted either for 3 working days or until the hazard is corrected, whichever is longer. Failure to comply with this posting requirement is a violation itself.
Failure to Abate: When a violation is cited, a date is set by which the hazard must be corrected. You must promptly notify the OSHA Area Director by letter that you have taken the appropriate corrective action within the time frame established. This letter is referred to as the Letter of Corrective Action, and must detail the specific action taken with regard to the violation and the date the action was taken. Failure to correct violations and notify OSHA of the correction within this time frame will incur another violation.
Willful: A willful violation is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.
Repeated: An employer may be cited for a repeated Serious violation if the workplace has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition and OSHA’s region-wide inspection history for the agency lists a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years. An employer may be cited for a repeated Other-than-Serious violation if the workplace being inspected received a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years.
Serious, Other-than-Serious, and Posting Requirement violations incur a penalty of $12,675 per violation. Failure to Abate will incur a fine of $12,675 for each day you go past the date set in your notice. Willful and Repeated violations have a penalty of $126,749 for each violation.
Avoiding OSHA violations and fines is the best approach. To do so you must have an active Safety Management Plan. You can learn more about Safety Management plans, as well as OSHA Audits and how to prepare for them, with A1.
The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Safety in the workplace will also the suffering and financial hardships that these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers. To assist companies with developing a safety and health program, OSHA has outlined recommended practices which are built around six core elements of a successful program.
In this article, we will discuss the first 3 elements of a successful safety and health program: Management Leadership, Worker Participation, and Hazard Identification and Assessment.
Having your leadership team actively involved in instituting a safety and health management program is vital to the success of the program. The support of your leadership team is needed to make worker safety and health a core value for your organization. They should also be fully committed to eliminating hazards, protecting workers, and continuously improving workplace safety and health. Your leadership team sets the example for everyone in your organization, both through demonstrating safety practices, and providing resources and support for all employees to do so.
An effective safety and health management program requires the active participation of your workers. Your workers are the ones most directly affected by a safety and health program, both in the benefit of one and in the work that must go into establishing and maintaining one. Getting buy-in, understanding, and support of your safety and health program from your workers is critical to success.
A few ways you can encourage this participation is to encourage input and reporting on safety and health issues. Ensure that when issues are raised, there is not sense of retaliation towards the worker bringing the issue to light. Provide easy access to information that workers will need to effectively participate in the program, and have opportunities to participate in all states of the program design and implementation.
Hazard Identification and Assessment
Anticipating and correcting potential hazards is the key to a proactive safety and health program. This is an ongoing process, to continually identify and remove potential hazards. Fixing hazards as they are identified emphasizes the importance of safety and health. Giving your employees the authority to identify and fix hazards will help to increase involvement.
To identify and assess hazards, employers and workers must collect and review information about the hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace. Initial and periodic inspections should be performed to identify new or recurring hazards. Your inspections should include potential hazards associated with emergency and non-routine situations, as well as ones associated with routine work. All injuries, illnesses, incidents, and close calls/near misses should be investigated to determine the underlying hazards and shortcomings of your safety and health program so that these can be corrected. Grouping similar incidents and identifying trends in injuries, illnesses, and hazards can help to identify the underlying cause. As hazards are identified, you should determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could result from each in order to prioritize corrective actions. Any hazards such as housekeeping and tripping hazards can and should be fixed as they are found.
Continue reading on this topic in, Core Elements for a Safety & Health Management Program, Part 2.
For more detailed information, or to download the full guidelines, visit www.osha.gov. A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.
4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015 — on average, that’s more than 93 a week or more than 13 deaths every day.
Out of 4,379 worker fatalities in the private industry in 2015, 937 or 21.4% were in construction — that is, one in five worker deaths last year were in construction. The leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for 64.2% of the construction worker deaths in 2015. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 602 workers’ lives in America every year.
The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers. Recommended practices use a proactive approach to managing workplace safety and health. Traditional approaches are often reactive –that is, problems are addressed only after a worker is injured or becomes sick, a new standard or regulation is published, or an outside inspection finds a problem that must be fixed. Proactive practices recognize that finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness is a far more effective approach.
To build a safety and health management program, it is recommended to begin with a basic program and simple goals and grow from there. If you focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance, and evaluating outcomes, your workplace can progress along the path to higher levels of safety and health achievement.
Increased OSHA fines are now active for all safety violations
OSHA has new enforcement and penalty policies that became effective August 1st, 2016. Due to these new policies, companies with more than 250 employees can expect increased scrutiny and fines. Companies with fewer than 250 employees can receive a fine reduction of 20% from the OSHA area director.
The new fine structure for incidents increased by 80%, this sets a new maximum fine of $124,709 for each citation. This max fine can be applied to every employee involved in a citation if OSHA deems the violation egregious, including willful and repeat violations. Violations can be classified as willful or repeat violations for up to 5 years, increased from the previous 3 years. The new fine amount for serious violations, which are not classified as willful or repeat violations, is $12,470.
OSHA has also instituted a new rating system for inspectors to use when classifying violations. The inspectors use a points system to rank violations, due to this system it is expected that the number of violations ranked as egregious will increase.
Preparing for an OSHA audit is extremely important for your organization. In advance of an audit, you should determine who the point of contact will be for the OSHO inspector, if there is any classified or sensitive information or processes at your facility, and policies for handling records release and employee interviews with the inspector. Read more on OSHA Audits: Why and How to Prepare.
The most basic steps that companies can take to mitigate risk and prevent an OSHA inspection are regular inspections and maintaining detailed inspection reports. In order to create effective safety plans, you first need to be able to use reliable data to identify safety hazards. If an accident does occur, these records can demonstrate due diligence and proof of compliance to OSHA inspectors. Your records should include inspections, code references, and logs of actions taken to address deficiencies or hazards.
If you need help instituting an active safety management plan, read more here and speak to your Life Safety Partner.