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.

First Aid Response Times: May’s Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What is OSHA’s current interpretation of the response times for first aid in response to life-threatening bleeding, including active shooter incidents?

Answer: OSHA’s current interpretations of the response times for first aid in response to life-threatening bleeding are addressed in letters of interpretation. These letters state in part:

In workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is no employee on the site who is trained to render first aid…While the standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term “near proximity” to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace, an interpretation that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and by federal courts…The basic purpose of these [first aid] standards is to assure that adequate first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care for the injured employee… Medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death…

These time limits are maximums. OSHA does not prohibit but encourages shorter response times when feasible. In order for OSHA standards to more comprehensively address response times to uncontrolled bleeding, it would entail a notice of proposed rulemaking and comment effort.

These recommendations are consistent with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Standard 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. This standard requires that emergency medical services ideally respond within one minute of turnout, that first responders take 4 minutes to get to the scene, and that other units should arrive within 8 minutes.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Respirator Fit-Testing Guidelines: April’s Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: Can you explain the Temporary Guidance for Respirator Fit-Testing in Healthcare from OSHA?

Answer: OSHA has issued temporary enforcement guidance for respirator fit-testing in healthcare during COVID-19 outbreak

This guidance is aimed at ensuring healthcare workers have full access to needed N95 respiratory protection in light of anticipated shortages.

OSHA recommends that employers supply healthcare personnel who provide direct care to patients with known or suspected coronavirus with other respirators that provide equal or higher protection, such as N99 or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators.

This temporary enforcement guidance recommends that healthcare employers change from a quantitative fit testing method to a qualitative testing method to preserve integrity of N95 respirators. Additionally, OSHA field offices have the discretion to not cite an employer for violations of the annual fit testing requirement as long as employers:

  • Make a good faith effort to comply with the respiratory protection standard;
  • Use only NIOSH-certified respirators;
  • Implement strategies recommended by OSHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for optimizing and prioritizing N95 respirators;
  • Perform initial fit tests for each healthcare employee with the same model, style, and size respirator that the employee will be required to wear for protection from coronavirus;
  • Tell employees that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 respirators to preserve the supply for use in situations where they are required to be worn;
  • Explain to employees the importance of conducting a fit check after putting on the respirator to make sure they are getting an adequate seal;
  • Conduct a fit test if they observe visual changes in an employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit; and
  • Remind employees to notify management if the integrity or fit of their N95 respirator is compromised.

The temporary enforcement guidance is in effect beginning March 14, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice.   Appropriate respiratory protection is required for all healthcare personnel providing direct care of these patients. For additional guidance, see COVID-19 Hospital Preparedness Assessment Tool, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hcp-hospital-checklist.html.


Trenching Hazards: March’s Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: I am hearing a lot about trench & excavation hazards recently.  Besides cave-ins, is there any other hazards I should be aware of?

Answer: Many construction workers are injured and killed in trench and excavation collapses each year.  Although collapsing is the major hazard with trenches and excavations, there are others that you should be aware of, as well.

  1. Trenches and excavations can be deficient of oxygen or could contain hazardous concentrations of gases like carbon monoxide. Stay out of the trench or excavation and report to your supervisor if either hazard is a possibility.
  2. Watch out for buried electrical cables that could cause injuries or electrocutions. Excavators are supposed to call local utilities before they dig, but its safest to assume that they haven’t.  If you see a cable, assume it is hot.  Get out immediately without coming into contact with it and report to your supervisor.
  3. Watch for water lines and avoid breaking them. Broken lines will cause trenches and excavations to cave in quickly.  If you see water inside a trench or excavation, get out immediately and contact your supervisor.
  4. Watch for buried gas lines and other buried hazards. They could cause injuries.  For example, a broken natural gas line could be ignited by a welding spark, torch, cigarette or other source.
  5. Be aware of falling and moving objects while working, especially when an equipment operator is lowering pipe, shoring materials or other objects into the trench or excavation. Keep well away from the process.
  6. Remember that changing weather conditions may affect the stability of the soil in a trench or excavation. When changes in weather occur, such as rain, snow, ice storms, heavy winds or extended periods of hot, dry, weather.  Stay out of the trench until it is inspected by someone with the knowledge and experience to know whether entering could be hazardous.
  7. Always maintain an accessible means of exiting the trench or excavation such as a ladder or ramp. There should be an accessible exit within 25 feet of every worker inside the trench or excavation.

Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Holiday Safety Tips: November 2019 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What are some safety concerns that I should be aware of during the holidays at home and at work?

Answer: There are many factors to consider keep you safe during the holidays.  These can apply to work and home.  Below are a few to get you started:

  1. Inspect electrical cords and decorations for damage before use.
  2. Check electric decorations for a certification label. Decorations without a label have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
  3. Do not overload electrical outlets. Overloading outlets with high wattage appliances are a major cause of holiday fires.
  4. Protect cords from damage. Cords should never be pinched by furniture, doors, windows or attached by nails or staples.
  5. Follow the package directions on the number of lights sets that can be plugged into one socket.
  6. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when leaving the house unattended or going to sleep.
  7. If using a natural Christmas tree, water it frequently to keep it fresh and safe. If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant”
  8. Keep decorations at least three feet away from heat sources – especially those will an open flame, like fireplaces and candles.
  9. Ensure all smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in good working condition.
  10. Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency preparedness kit with you.

You can even go a step further and as part of a holiday gift, provide smoke detectors, first aid kits, fire extinguishers or emergency car kits as a token of appreciation.


*Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Temporary Workers: October 2019 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What are the employer responsibilities to protect temporary workers?

Answer: There is a joint responsibility of the host employers and the staffing agency.

While the extent of responsibility under the law of staffing agencies and host employers is dependent on the specific facts of each case, staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers – including, for example, ensuring that OSHA’s training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled.

OSHA could hold both the host and temporary employers responsible for the volatile condition(s) – and that can include lack of adequate training regarding workplace hazards. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the worker, and are therefore jointly responsible for temporary workers’ safety and health.

OSHA has concerns that some employers may use temporary workers to avoid meeting all their compliance obligations under the OSH Act. Therefore, it is essential that both employers comply with all relevant OSHA requirements.

A key concept is that each employer should consider the hazards it is in a position to prevent and correct, and in a position to comply with OSHA standards. For example: staffing agencies might provide general safety and health training, and host employers provide specific training tailored to the particular workplace equipment/hazards.

  • The key is communication
  • Staffing agencies must ensure that they are sending workers to a safe workplace. They also must verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.
  • Ignorance of hazards is not an excuse.
  • And, just as important: Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms of training and safety and health protections.

OSHA has updated their page on responsibilities and temp workers



*Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.

Push & Pull Motions: September 2019 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: Our company frequently moves materials on carts and manual pallet jacks.  Should we be concerned with the amount of force that an employee must exert to push or pull these items?

Answer:  Yes, pushing and pulling tasks do present a risk of a workplace injury to the low back and shoulders.  OSU published an objective set of guidelines for pushing and pulling that was funded by BWC.  These guidelines set limits of push and pull forces and are expected to be protective of both the low back and shoulders.  BWC published this information on our website and contains a web interface to estimate biomechanical risk of a push/pull task.

All you need is a force gauge and a tape measure to get started.  If you need help, contact your BWC Ergonomist.  They will come to your worksite to measure the push/pull forces and determine if the biomechanical risk is within the guidelines to protect your workforce from a low back or shoulder injury.

To learn more and to use the web interface, go to https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/employer/programs/safety/PushPullGuide/PushPullGuide.aspx.


Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.