OSHA Heat Stress Standard: May 2022 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Q: Does OSHA currently have a heat stress standard?

A: Not at this time, but they will use the General Duty Clause to issue citations.

On October 27, 2021, OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings in the Federal Register. With this publication, OSHA is beginning the rulemaking process to consider a heat-specific workplace standard. A standard specific to heat-related injury and illness prevention would more clearly set forth employer obligations and the measures necessary to more effectively protect employees from hazardous heat. The ultimate goal is to prevent and reduce the number of occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities caused by exposure to hazardous heat.

The publication of the ANPRM initiated a public comment period allowing OSHA to gather information, diverse perspectives and technical expertise on issues that might be considered in developing a heat standard. These issues include the scope of a standard, heat stress thresholds for workers across various industries, heat acclimatization planning, and heat exposure monitoring, as well as the nature, types, and effectiveness of controls that may be required as part of a standard.

The publication of this ANPRM has no impact on OSHA’s current enforcement policies.

*Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

NFPA 70B: April 2022 Safety & Hygiene Corner

What is NFPA 70B?

We’ve all heard of OSHA. Everyone knows who they and you’ve probably heard about NFPA 70E.  But what about NFPA 70B?  OSHA is the WHAT, and NFPA is the HOW.  NFPA 7OE is the comprehensive standard that establishes best electrical safety practices on how to protect workers from electric arc flash and arc blast exposure and resulting potential injury and death.

NFPA 70B is the much-forgotten Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance.  NFPA 70B details preventive maintenance for electrical, electronic, and communication systems and equipment — such as those used in industrial plants, institutional and commercial buildings, and large multi-family residential complexes — to prevent equipment failures and worker injuries.  Proper maintenance is absolutely essential to the safety of your facility and your employees.

If this is all new to you, or you need to brush up on your facility’s electrical maintenance.  The BWC has an upcoming Course:

Date: May 23-25, 2022

Electrical Safety Maintenance (NFPA 70B) – Practices for Electrical

Description: This course provides students an overview into electrical safety audit procedures. Instruction will focus on  analyzing work practices following applicable codes and standards.

*Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Ototoxicity: March 2022 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Q: What is chemical ototoxicity, and should I be worried?

A: Ototoxic chemicals may cause hearing loss or balance problems to employees who are exposed. Ototoxic chemicals can be found in certain pesticides, solvents, and pharmaceuticals. The chemicals can negatively affect how the ear functions, causing hearing loss, and/or affect balance. The risk of hearing loss is increased when workers are exposed to these chemicals while working around elevated noise levels. What are some common ototoxic chemicals? Toluene, n-hexane, p-xylene, ethylbenzene, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, and lead. How do I know if these chemicals are present in my workplace? Review the Safety data sheets for solvents and degreasers. Pay attention to Section 3 that lists the product’s components. What should you do if you use a product containing an ototoxic chemical? Contact a BWC Industrial Hygienist. The Industrial Hygienist can assist you in determining the noise levels at your facility, help you review Safety Data Sheets for ototoxic chemicals and ensure your employees are using proper personal protective equipment.

For more information, see Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Chemical (Ototoxicity) and Noise Exposure | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

*Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Anchored Machinery: December 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: Should my fixed machinery be anchored/secured? What if it’s portable and not fixed?

Answer: In short, yes, your fixed machinery needs to be anchored/secured and your portable machinery should be secured as well to prevent unwanted movement and potential tipping. First off, according to OSHA’s General Requirements for all Machines 29 CFR 1910.212(b):

Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving.

However, the OSHA standard does not touch on portable machinery. Even though OSHA does not have an associated standard for securing portable machinery, the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) does. According to OAC Rule 4123:1-5-05 (E) Anchoring and mounting of machinery:

Portable machinery mounted upon trucks or bases shall be securely fastened thereto, and such truck or base shall be so locked or blocked as to prevent movement or shift while such machine is in operation.

Therefore, as an employer in Ohio, not only do your fixed machines need to be securely anchored, but all portable machinery mounted upon trucks or bases need to be securely fastened as well.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Cart Safety: Oct 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:  Our facility moves materials on carts, and I heard that the cart’s casters can affect how easy the carts are to move.  Is that true? 

Answer:  Yes!  The wrong type of casters on a cart will make it more difficult to move.  If you have carts that are difficult to move or are purchasing new carts, work with a knowledgeable vendor to assist you with selecting the correct caster and wheel combination for your specific cart, task and workplace conditions.  The following are some key points that you should be providing to your vendor:

  • The weight of the cart, load weight, and load type to determine number of casters required and wheel options. 
  • The types of surfaces the cart will traverse to optimize the wheel’s rollability and reliability.  Include concerns with potential noise (i.e. hospital) or floor debris when selecting the wheel type for your floor surfaces. 
  • The purpose of the cart, cart type, and height restrictions will need to be factored in when determining the cart’s wheel size. The size of wheel is a major factor in rollability of a cart.  Typically, a larger wheel will reduce the forces to move a cart. 
  • Review the path of travel, capacity, and space constraints to determine the requirement and location of swivel casters. 
  • Provide information for any environmental elements, such as extreme heat or wet environments, to ensure compatibility with the caster and wheel materials and bearings.   

Don’t forget about preventative maintenance!  Implement a preventative maintenance schedule per the manufacture’s specifications to keep those push/pull forces from increasing.

If you are concerned with the forces required to move your carts or you aren’t for sure if it is an injury risk, please contact your local BWC Ergonomist or request their service on-line at Ohio BWC – Request consulting services.  Ergonomist can determine if the push/pull forces pose a risk of a workplace injury and provide solutions to lower the risk.  Please remember that BWC’s safety consultation services are included in your BWC premiums.  

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Flammable Storage Codes: August 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

What is required per OSHA and NFPA Codes for Flammable Storage Cabinets?

You are aware of what flammable storage cabinets look like; but do you know what is required per OSHA and NFPA Codes.  We receive a lot of questions regarding flammable storage cabinets, so here are some answers.  This safety corner will address some of the key code requirements.

How much flammable material can I store in one cabinet? –  OSHA and NFPA have a maximum capacity not more than 60 gallons of Category 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquids and not more than 120 gallons of Category 4 flammable liquids may be stored in a storage cabinet.

What is required in the design of flammable cabinets? Flammable cabinet must have a degree of fire resistance.   This is defined in 1910.106(d)(3)(ii) as construction shall limit the internal temperature to not more than 325 degrees F, when subjected to a 10-minute fire test using the standard time-temperature curve as set forth in NFPA 251-1969. All joints and seams shall remain tight and the door shall remain securely closed during the fire test. Cabinets shall be labeled in conspicuous lettering, “Flammable – Keep Fire Away”.  Metal flammable cabinets meet code requirements when the bottom, top, door, and sides of cabinet shall be at least No. 18 gage sheet iron and double walled with 1 1/2 – inch air space. Joints shall be riveted, welded or made tight by some equally effective means. The door shall be provided with a three-point lock, and the door sill shall be raised at least 2 inches above the bottom of the cabinet.

What should I look for when auditing flammable cabinets?

  • Grounding and bonding of the cabinet and any containers you are dispensing from inside the cabinet must be in place.
  • Doors need to be keep closed unless in use and all three points of contact on the doors must be in good working condition. 
  • Cabinet bungs must be in place and secure.  
  • Clearly labeled.
  • Text Box: Figure 1 Photo- OSHA Office of Training and EducationNot located near forklift or equipment access. 
  • Not be placed in aisleways used for emergency egress.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Nail Gun Injuries: June 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What can I do to reduce the potential for nail gun injuries in the workplace?

Answer: According to OSHA “Nail gun injuries are common – one study found that 2 out of 5 residential carpenter apprentices experienced a nail gun injury over a four-year period”. The most common injuries are puncture wounds to the hands and fingers but there can be more serious injuries and deaths that could occur using nail guns.  The following basic steps can help reduce the potential for these injuries:

  1. Consider restricting inexperienced employees to full-sequential trigger nail guns when starting out. Full-sequential firing is considered the safest option, also called single-shot firing; full-sequential is ideal for applications such as framing and carpentry, where precision is more important than fastening speed.  Full-sequential firing is slower than bump firing.  Best Practice: color-code the nail guns so that the type of trigger can be readily identified by workers and supervisors.
  2. The safety on the nail gun relies on two basic controls:  a finger trigger and a contact safety tip located on the nose of the gun.
  3. Require proper PPE for your employees such as, safety shoes high Impact eye protection, safety glasses or goggles marked ANSI Z87.1 and hearing protection
  4. Employers should ensure that their policies and practices encourage reporting of nail gun injuries. Reporting ensures that employees get medical attention and it also helps contractors to identify unrecognized job site risks that could lead to additional injuries if not addressed.
  5. Both new and experienced workers can benefit from safety training to learn about the causes of nail gun injuries and specific steps to reduce them. Be sure that training is provided in a manner that employees can understand.

Additional nail gun safety tips:

  • Follow all manufacturer’s safe operating instructions when using a nail gun, handling & storage.
  • Ensure proper training on nail guns is conducted.
  • Ensure the tool meets all applicable OSHA guarding standards.
  • They can generate noise up to 120 dBA, hearing protection is required.
  • Keep your fingers away from the trigger when not driving nails. Do not press the trigger unless you are intending to fire.
  • Do not point the nail gun at anyone, even if it is disconnected from the air supply or supposedly empty.
  • Keep hands clear of the discharge area while firing and make sure the nail gun is pointed away from your body.
  • Place the muzzle of the nail gun firmly against the work piece when firing.
  • Inspect the power source, the nails, the trigger, and safety contact before use.
  • Always conduct prior inspections of the nail gun.  Make sure the nose guard is in working order and check the air pressure before hooking it up.
  • Do not carry the nail gun by the hose or the cord or with a finger on the trigger.
  • Disconnect the tool from the air supply before clearing blockages, adjusting, handing the nail gun to another worker or leaving it unattended.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.