Certified Respirators: May 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: How do you know if your respirators, including those intended for use in healthcare settings, are certified by the CDC/NIOSH?

Answer: NIOSH-approved respirators have an approval label on or within the packaging of the respirator (i.e. on the box itself and/or within the users’ instructions). Additionally, an abbreviated approval is on the filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) itself. You can verify the approval number on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL) or the NIOSH Trusted-Source page to determine if the respirator has been approved by NIOSH. NIOSH-approved FFRs will always have one the following designations: N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, P100.

Signs that a respirator may be counterfeit:

  • No markings at all on the filtering facepiece respirator
  • No approval (TC) number on filtering facepiece respirator or headband
  • No NIOSH markings
  • NIOSH spelled incorrectly
  • Presence of decorative fabric or other decorative add-ons (e.g., sequins)
  • Claims for the of approval for children (NIOSH does not approve any type of respiratory protection for children)
  • Filtering facepiece respirator has ear loops instead of headbands

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Fall Protection Equipment: April 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:  When do I take my fall protection equipment out of service?

Answer: Fall protection and fall rescue equipment shall be taken out of service when:

  • Involved in a fall or impacted
    • An inspection reveals that it may no longer serve the required function,
    • The equipment shows signs of damage or wear
    • The required inspection interval has been exceeded, or
    • The equipment is past the manufacturers service life

All fall protection and fall rescue equipment that has been inspected and determined to be damaged and no longer adequate for service shall be tagged “DO NOT USE” or destroyed to prevent use.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Sanitizer Storage: March 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: I have a lot of alcohol-based hand sanitizer on hand, due to the pandemic. Is there anything special about storage or placement of dispensers that I should know?

Answer: Yes, alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is greater than 20% alcohol falls under a Class 1B flammable liquid according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Here are some requirements to consider:

  • Individual dispensers located in a hallway must be 0.5 gallons or less (no gallon jugs).
  • Dispensers must be installed at least 1 inch away from electrical receptacles and light switches and must be separated from another dispenser by at least 4 feet horizontally.
  • Dispensers must not be installed above carpeted floors, unless the area is sprinklered.
  • Automatic dispensers (touch free) are required to be tested each time they are refilled, can only activate when the object is within 4 inches of the dispenser and will only dispense the amount required as determined by the United States FDA.
  • The Ohio Fire Code requires the storage of more than 10 gallons in a flammable liquid cabinet or flammable liquid storage room. The NFPA 30 code dictates storage considerations starting at 5 gallons. No storage is permitted in basements.

If you have specific questions about safe storage and handling, consult the Safety Data Sheet for the product or call your local Authority Having Jurisdiction for fire code enforcement. 

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

BBP Trainers: February 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: Does 1910.1030(g)(2)(viii) require that the person conducting bloodborne pathogens training be a health care professional?

Answer: No. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030, does not specify a particular job classification for qualified trainers. 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2)(viii) does however require that the trainer be: knowledgeable in the subject matter covered by the elements contained in the training program. . . In OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens compliance directive (OSHA Instruction CPL 02-02-069), we state: [p]ossible trainers include a variety of healthcare professionals such as infection control practitioners, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, occupational health professionals, physician’s assistants, and emergency medical technicians. Non-healthcare professionals, such as but not limited to, industrial hygienists, epidemiologists, or professional trainers, may conduct the training provided they are knowledgeable in the subject matter covered by the elements contained in the training program as it relates to the workplace. One way, but not the only way, knowledge can be demonstrated is the fact that the person received specialized training.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Documenting Training: November Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: We have made changes to our training programs, what things should be considered for the documentation and proof of training?

Answer: Whether the training is virtual or in person, the need for documentation is the same.  We have heard “if it’s not documented it wasn’t done, so document, document, document…

Here is a list of things you can include in your documentation:

  • Topic – such as Hazcom, LOTO, Emergency Preparedness
  • Agenda – what did you cover – keep details so you don’t forget
  • Format-online, webinar, in-person, hybrid
  • Date(s)
  • Name of trainer and/or company
  • Assessments– These are great to gauge understanding of a topic.  You can create simple few questions prior to the training and feel free to review as part of the training.
  • Post survey on training effectiveness

Additionally, make sure there is a chance for employees to easily pose questions and give feedback.

Times are challenging but this is a good time to think outside the box and try some hybrid trainings or virtual options. Draw from your staff and keep contact during these times. You just may find some things that can improve your training programs for the future.  Always feel free to contact your BWC safety staff for additional information.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

WFH Ergonomics: October Safety & Hygiene Corner

QUESTION: Since we have employees working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do I need to be concerned about their computer workstation set-up?

ANSWER: Yes, it is important to include home-based employees into your office ergonomic program.   Employees can experience discomfort from improper computer workstation set-up both in the workplace and at home.   If employees are experiencing discomfort such as neck, back, shoulder, or wrist pain during the workday, adjustments need to be made before it becomes chronic and develops into a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD).   According to 2020 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, tasks that cause workplace MSDs are in the top 10 causes of disabling workplace injuries costing U.S. businesses $20 billion dollars.  To help prevent MSD injuries for the home-based office employee, BWC published a YouTube video to improve employee’s comfort utilizing common household items.   Click on the following link to view, BWC home office set-up

If you would like additional resources or to request a virtual office ergonomic assessment, please contact your local BWC Ergonomist or request their service on-line at BWC Safety and Health Consulting Request.  Essentially, their consultations are free to use since your BWC premiums include their services.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Lockout/Tag Out: September Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:  Is it acceptable to issue LOTO locks to the operators of our equipment?  Our maintenance employees who perform the actual servicing of the equipment have their locks and are trained as such.  I would like to have the operators be able to lockout their machines/equipment when it breaks down and then notify the maintenance employees, so they can service the equipment.

Answer:  According to 1910.147(c)(8) (Energy Isolation): 

Lockout or tagout shall be performed only by the authorized employees who are performing the servicing or maintenance.

Under 1910.147(b) (Definitions) you will find two personnel roles in LOTO – Authorized and Affected.

Authorized employee. A person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment. An affected employee becomes an authorized employee when that employee’s duties include performing servicing or maintenance covered under this section.

Affected employee. An employee whose job requires him/her to operate or use a machine or equipment on which servicing, or maintenance is being performed under lockout or tagout, or whose job requires him/her to work in an area in which such servicing or maintenance is being performed.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.