Oregon OSHA has enacted two rules dealing with weather-caused heat exposure and exposure to smoke resulting from wildfires. There's no question that exposure to both of these can pose serious health hazards, and we would expect the likelihood of these problems to get worse over time. The new OSHA rules require employers to monitor both heat and air quality. Once action levels are exceeded, employers must institute specific administrative and engineering controls. For heat exposure, employers must provide shade, water, and adjusted work/rest schedules. Smoke exposure can be controlled using respirators, air filtration systems, and suspending outdoor work operations depending...
Jan 22, 2018
Does your facility require a rescue team? What OSHA standards require some kind of emergency response procedures? If your facility needs some level of emergency response, how do you develop these capabilities? What types of procedures, equipment, and training is needed? Or should it be out sourced?
Sep 6, 2017
The rules that deal with confined space training are clear. Entrants and attendants may need to know a lot about medical issues.
Jul 19, 2017
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). Can you enter a space to test the air to determine if it’s safe to enter using alternate entry procedures? Or do you have to make an initial entry using all protections afforded by the confined space rules?
Jul 28, 2015
On a construction site we often need to position some workers above the ground and others below. So we often find scaffolds erected near excavations. While no one would intentionally place a scaffold leg on the lip of an excavation both the excavation competent person and the scaffold competent person (yes, both scaffolds and excavations require competent persons) should be able to answer the question: how close is too close?
Jun 24, 2015
If a fall arrest anchor can’t withstand the forces generated, nothing else matters. But when a worker clips in, how can they be assured that the anchor will function if and when it’s needed? This is essentially a quality assurance question and assuring quality requires a variety of processes, none of which are complicated but each are required to make the system work. In this blog we have broken the processes down into various steps with the focus on fall arrest anchors.
Jun 27, 2014
Would you work at the toe of a nine-foot vertical wall of dirt with no protective system? Hopefully your answer is ‘no.’ But what if you received a letter from a soils engineer who had evaluated the composition of the dirt and declared it safe? Is an excavation safe because a soil engineer says it is?
May 11, 2014
Forklift backup alarms generate a lot of discussion. They can be annoying in an already noisy environment, and operators have even been known to stuff material into the horn to muffle the sound. But this equipment plays an essential safety role. I’m guessing that everyone reading this has, at one time, been alerted by the beep-beep-beep of an approaching vehicle. So do you need forklift backup alarms? In general, yes. But the answer isn’t quite that simple.
Feb 11, 2014
Accidents while operating a forklift require a forklift incident investigation to understand what caused the accident.
Nov 7, 2011
Recently OROSHA released the text of of proposed changes to the confined space standards rules. Their goal is to bring construction under the same standards as general industry. The proposed rules can be found here:
Jul 7, 2011
We spend a fair amount of time fielding questions about confined space, fall protection and excavation safety. Most of time people describe a scenario and ask us whether we would consider it safe or compliant. Generally their questions hinge on an activity that is not directly addressed by the OSHA regulations.
Jul 5, 2011
Recently a vigorous online discussion erupted over this question when it was asked on an online message board. When I last checked over 140 people had expressed a wide variety of fact and opinion. The question itself was simple to answer: “No, OSHA doesn’t require an employee to use fall protection when using a scissors lift (i.e., work platform that cannot be positioned completely beyond the base) if the guardrails are installed and the gates closed.” In fact, the scissors lift itself is a form of fall protection which protects workers from the hazards of working from portable ladders.
The question itself was simple to answer: “No, OSHA doesn’t require an employee to use fall protection when using a scissors lift (i.e., work platform that cannot be positioned completely beyond the base) if the guardrails are installed and the gates closed.” In fact, the scissors lift itself is a form of fall protection which protects workers from the hazards of working from portable ladders.
Aug 17, 2009
Are you at elevated risk for heat stress? During these dog days, heat stress can be a big problem. Heat causes our bodies to undergo physical changes such as changes in our circulation. More blood flows to the skin and less flows to the kidneys and other organs. Also, heart-rate increases to maintain adequate blood pressure.