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.

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.

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.

Pathways Lighting Requirements: August 2020 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What are the requirements for Pathways Lighting and maintenance of Emergency Lights?

Answer: Many folks are aware of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.37 Exit Routes and Emergency Planning requirements for Exit signs and routes.  However, for the requirements for pathway lighting to exits and maintenance, you must refer to  Ohio Fire Code.   

Section 1008 Means of egress illumination 1008.3 Emergency power for illumination. The power supply for means of egress illumination shall normally be provided by the premises’ electrical supply and 1008.3.1 General. In the event of power supply failure in rooms and spaces that require two or more means of egress an emergency electrical system shall automatically illuminate all of the following areas: aisles, corridors and exit access stairways and ramps.

For Testing and Maintenance look at Ohio Fire Code 604.6 Emergency lighting equipment.

604.6.1 An Activation test – shall be completed monthly. The activation test shall ensure the emergency lighting activates automatically upon normal electrical disconnect and stays sufficiently illuminated for not less than 30 seconds.  604.6.1.1 Activation test record-  Records of tests shall be maintained and shall include the location of the emergency lighting tested, whether the unit passed or failed, the date of the test and the person completing the test.

604.6.2 Power test – For battery-powered emergency lighting, a power test of the emergency lighting equipment shall be completed annually. The power test shall operate the emergency lighting for not less than 90 minutes and shall remain sufficiently illuminated for the duration of the test. 604.6.2.1 Power test records shall be maintained. The record shall include the location of the emergency lighting tested, whether the unit passed or failed, the date of the test and the person completing the test.

Now is a great time to incorporate your monthly test with your other inspections.  You can add them to your Fire Extinguisher check list.  You can also add the yearly testing to your preventative Maintenance program to ensure annual testing is completed.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Powered Industrial Trucks Training Requirements: June’s Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What training is required when an operator is to operate different types of powered industrial trucks?

Answer: OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard 1910.178(l)(i) states that “The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (l).” 1910.178(l)(3) requires that operators receive training in the topics which are applicable to the safe operation of the truck in the employer’s workplace.

Therefore, an operator must be trained and evaluated in the safe operation for the type of truck that the operator will be assigned to operate in the employer’s workplace. For example, if an operator is assigned to operate a sit-down counterbalanced rider truck, then the operator must be trained and evaluated in the safe operation for that type of truck. If an operator is assigned to operate an operator-up counterbalanced front/side loader truck, or a rough terrain forklift, then the operator must be trained and evaluated in the safe operation for those types of trucks.

A sit-down counterbalanced rider truck, an operator-up counterbalanced front/side loader truck, and a rough terrain forklift are different types of trucks. Operators who have successfully completed training and evaluation as specified in 1910.178(l) (in a specific type of truck) would not need additional training when they are assigned to operate the same type of truck made by a different manufacturer. However, operators would need additional training if the applicable truck-related and workplace-related topics listed in 1910.178(l)(3) are different for that truck.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.