Confined Space: When Air Testing Before Entry is Impractical

A client recently called me with a question. At his facility there was a confined space (a large vault) that they wanted to enter using alternate entry procedures (also known as reclassifying the space). Issues such as these are routinely addressed in our Confined Space Train the Trainer classes. Over the years his crews had entered the vault many times and had never encountered a hazardous atmosphere, nor had work activities ever created … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson July 20, 2017
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Physics in Rope Rescue? Absolutely!

When it comes to rigging, the laws of physics reign supreme. Small systems (e.g., a single knot) and large systems (e.g., a back-tied, elevated anchor supporting a horizontal line across a ravine) will only function effectively if they reflect an understanding of basic principles. Which physical principles are we talking about? Static and dynamic friction, mechanical advantage, vectors, fall forces, static loads, and many others determine … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes April 12, 2017
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Forklift Safety Newsletter – How Safe Is Your Loading Dock?

How Safe Is Your Loading Dock? Traditional open-style loading docks should always be a concern for safety managers since there is nothing to prevent a forklift from driving off the edge of the dock. Pedestrians have also been injured falling off loading docks. OSHA requirements don’t provide much guidance. Loading docks must have guardrails only if they are four feet or more above ground level, but most loading docks are 48” to 52”. How often … [Read more...]

Bruce Hulberg April 5, 2017
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Forklift Safety Newsletter – Inspect a Van Before Loading or Unloading

Inspect a Van Before Loading or Unloading   A van moving or shifting while loading or unloading can cause a whole series of expensive problems. While most forklift operators agree that chocks are good idea, that may be just one of several safety steps that your company should require to keep a van stationary and safe during loading or unloading. Here are some important points to consider: Rear impact guard (ICC bar): … [Read more...]

Bruce Hulberg January 23, 2017
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Confined Space Attendant and Fall Protection

Consider for a moment the issue of fall protection and the confined space attendant overseeing entry operations for workers in a vault or manhole (top down entry). A question I often ask our students is: "Does the confined space attendant need to be tied off?" That is, if the fall hazard is greater than four feet (which it almost always is), does OSHA require the attendant to use some sort of fall protection? In this imaginary scenario we need … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson October 18, 2016
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Forklift Safety Newsletter – Fall 2016 – Forklift Trainer Qualifications

Forklift Trainer Qualifications OSHA requires that companies certify their forklift operators every three years. But what about forklift trainer qualifications? What makes these persons “qualified” to certify others? Similar to other standards, it is the responsibility of the employer to develop the criteria (preferably written) appropriate to that workplace and select trainers who meet those standards. So what are the attributes of a … [Read more...]

Bruce Hulberg October 5, 2016
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Training Rescue Teams: What Standards Apply?

If you are not a rescue expert, the process of moving an injured person from a hazardous location to a place of safety may seem hopelessly complex. And like any other complex process one would assume that various organizations who specialize in technical rescue would issue standards to guide us in training rescue teams. These are some of the issues we'll be covering in our upcoming Confined Space Rescue Team Leader classes to be held this fall in … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson September 27, 2016
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Forklift Safety Newsletter – August 2016 – Transporting Liquids

Transporting Liquids: Watch Out for Slosh   Every load has unique characteristics that an operator needs to take into consideration before moving it. Transporting liquids offers a prime example. Recently a student in one of my classes illustrated this point. He used to operate a tanker truck and told the class that transporting liquid in a partially filled tank greatly changes the stopping characteristics of the … [Read more...]

Bruce Hulberg July 28, 2016
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Forklift Safety Newsletter – July 2016 – Fork Inspection

Fork Inspection: Six Essential Steps Forks that break or show excessive wear pose a serious hazard. Fortunately a thorough pre-use fork inspection can identify these deficiencies before they cause accidents. Here are six items that your fork inspection should cover: Surface cracks: Examine the heel area and welds attaching the mounting components to the fork blades. Visible surface cracks mean the fork should be removed from … [Read more...]

Bruce Hulberg July 11, 2016
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Confined Space Safety Best Practice: What to Include in the Inventory

One of the challenges in administering a confined space safety program is deciding which spaces to include in your inventory. The simple answer is to just include those spaces that meet the definition of a permit space*, but is this a confined space safety best practice? My sense is that it may not be. In fact, I believe that when you’re deciding which spaces to place under the confined space program, you should consider putting aside OSHA’s … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson June 29, 2016
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