Archive for March, 2011

Safety Training Resources Offers Guidance to Stone Fabricators

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Safety Training Resources is providing Missouri’s Stone Fabricators with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help them protect employees’ health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to silica hazards and addressing safety related hazards in natural stone fabricating businesses, including, but not limited to material handling, with emphasis on slab handling issues. Safety Training Resources provides guidance on safety procedures for personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, hazard communication, slab handling, and OSHA compliance.
Our comprehensive approach to safety is designed to assist stone fabricators and distributors train and educate employees on how to identify and prevent safety and health hazards in your facility. Safety Training Resources will:

  • Conduct a Site Audit and provide a comprehensive Health Report
  • Conduct weekly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual Safety Meetings outlining Electrical Safety, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection, Personal Protective Equipment, and many other general safety topics
  • Conduct Dust and Noise Surveys to help understand hazardous exposure and assist in the elimination of dangerous workplace exposures (ie. silica)
  • Explain OSHA Recordkeeping requirements and assist in implementing recordkeeping procedures

Safety Training Resources is dedicated to helping you better understand the basics of OSHA Compliance for the Natural Stone Industry. Our goal is to keep your employees safe and to insure that your company is better informed on safety and health related issues. Call today for a “free” safety consultation.

Remember, safety is no accident.


Safety Training Resources Tightens Safety Toolbelt

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Safety Training Resources provides a variety of MSHA approved weekly ToolBox talks that can be used by Missouri’s small mine operators to hold safety and health discussions for their employees at their mining operations.  Safety Training Resources hopes these ToolBox talks will help small mine operators and their miners to keep safety and health at the forefront of their daily and weekly activities.

Week Topic Week Topic
Blue TriangleWeek 1 Our Safety & Health Goals Blue TriangleWeek 2 Hard Hats, Eye Protection, and Protective Footwear
Blue TriangleWeek 3 Speed Limits, Mobile Equipment, and Riders Blue TriangleWeek 4 Lock Out/Tagout Procedures, and Safety Belts in Vehicles, Guardrails, Handrails, & Steps
Blue TriangleWeek 5 Heat Exhaustion, Housekeeping, and Overhead Power Lines Blue TriangleWeek 6 Guards, Lifting, and Report Injuries
Blue TriangleWeek 7 Teamwork and Hearing Protection Blue TriangleWeek 8 Attitude, Respirators, and Skin Rashes
Blue TriangleWeek 9 Fall Hazards, Safe Work Procedures, and Short Cuts Blue TriangleWeek 10 Flammable Liquids and Fire Extinguishers
Blue TriangleWeek 11 Pry Bars, Personal Safety, and Hand Safety Blue TriangleWeek 12 Compressed Airlines, Clothing, and Personal Protective Equipment - Hearing
Blue TriangleWeek 13 Handrails and Steps and Oxygen-Acetylene Torch Safety Blue TriangleWeek 14 Safety Lines, Crane Safety, and Personal Protective Equipment - Eye Protection
Blue TriangleWeek 15 Removing Bucket Teeth, Personal Conduct, and Storage Areas Blue TriangleWeek 16 Operator Fitness, Cleaning with Water or Fire Hoses, and Safe Access
Blue TriangleWeek 17 Conveyor Safety, Using a Shovel and Pump Safety Blue TriangleWeek 18 Hydraulic Systems, Tag Out Mobile Equipment Not In Service, and Label Containers
Blue TriangleWeek 19 Handrails and Walkways, Drugs and Alcohol, and Radios and Cassettes Blue TriangleWeek 20 Stockpile and Highwall Safety, Housekeeping and Driving Safety – Backing Up
Blue TriangleWeek 21 Avoid Hand Tool Injuries, Personal Protective Equipment, and Life Jackets or Work Vests Blue TriangleWeek 22 Help Reduce Injury to Others, Portable Electric Tools, and Floor Openings
Blue TriangleWeek 23 Report Unsafe Conditions, Belt Conveyors, and Welding Blue TriangleWeek 24 Dress the Part- “Let’s get it on,” Chain Hoists and Come-Alongs, and First Aid – Infections
Blue TriangleWeek 25 Falls From Equipment, Circle of Life, and Safety Harness Blue TriangleWeek 26 Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Blue TriangleWeek 27 Personal Conduct, Operating Service Pickup Trucks, and Fire Prevention and Control Blue TriangleWeek 28 Lightning Precautions, Crane Operations, and Mobile Equipment
Blue TriangleWeek 29 Containers, Backing Equipment, and Lifting Procedures Blue TriangleWeek 30 Working in Hot Weather, Electrical Safety, and Take a Few Minutes for Safety-General Safety Precautions
Blue TriangleWeek 31 Oxygen – Acetylene Cutting Torches, Compressed Gases, and Eye Protection Blue TriangleWeek 32 Drills, Grinders, and Welding Accessories
Blue TriangleWeek 33 Welding Courtesy, Oxygen – Acetylene Cutting Torches, and Jump Starting Batteries Blue TriangleWeek 34 Hand Tools, Chains and Come-Alongs, and Teamwork
Blue TriangleWeek 35 Accidents Don’t Just Happen, Attitude, and Eyes Blue TriangleWeek 36 Injuries, Stay Alert, and Look Where You Are Walking
Blue TriangleWeek 37 Ladders and Berms Blue TriangleWeek 38 Striking Tools, Hammers, and The Three “C’s” of Driving
Blue TriangleWeek 39 Safety Lines, Get Help, and Back Support Belt Blue TriangleWeek 40 Equipment Inspection, Housekeeping, and Watch Your Step
Blue TriangleWeek 41 Ladders, Personal Protective Equipment, and Rigging for a lift Blue TriangleWeek 42 Mobile Equipment, Personal Items, and Housekeeping
Blue TriangleWeek 43 Hand Safety, Safety Lines, and Mobile Equipment Blue TriangleWeek 44 Equipment Operators, Lockout Procedures, and Flammable Liquids
Blue TriangleWeek 45 Fire Extinguishers, Fire Safety, and Office Safety Blue TriangleWeek 46 Crane Safety – Manual/Operating Information and Crane Safety – Operation, and Watch Your Step
Blue TriangleWeek 47 Belt Conveyor Safety, Forklift Safety, and Electrical Safety Blue TriangleWeek 48 Mobile Equipment, Equipment Operation, and Safety Objective
Blue TriangleWeek 49 Compressed Gas Cylinders, Defective Tools, and Power Tools Blue TriangleWeek 50 Pickup Truck Safety, Concentration, and Lubricating Equipment
Blue TriangleWeek 51 Falls From Equipment, Teamwork, and Fire Extinguishers Blue TriangleWeek 52 General Safety Rules and General Safety Rules

Safety Training Resources Conducts “Pre and Post” Training Analysis

Saturday, March 19th, 2011
Analyzing your training program is important both at the development stage and at the follow-up stage. For training to be effective in helping employees work more safely and avoid incidents and injuries, you need to analyze your training from the start to ensure that it is appropriate—to the hazards and to the workforce. To test whether your training has been effective, Safety Training Resources emphasizes the importance of conducting informative post-training analysis.

 

If you’re involved in developing the training program in your workplace, make sure your training is appropriate. Training should:

  • Be specific to the hazards of individual job assignments.
  • Clearly inform employees what conditions are infractions of departmental safety rules.
  • Give supervised work experience before allowing employees to perform hazardous operations on their own.

One of the most important decisions trainers make is how the content will be delivered. Here are some options:

  • On-the-job learning and one-on-one discussions with employees are often most effective when combined with on-the-job skills training.
  • Safety meetings can be a good setting for training when group cooperation is required—for example, during training on how to organize in an emergency.
  • Role-playing and using case histories are useful in group settings and are more effective with some audiences (for example, a more verbal group) than with others.
  • Lectures are considered to be the least effective means of training. Involving employees can help make the lectures more meaningful.
  • Demonstrations work best when they are interactive and encourage audience participation.
  • Audiovisual presentations and computer-based programs are an effective choice for refresher training or when live demonstrations are too costly or hazardous.
  • Printed materials are best used as a supplement when individuals already have a good grasp of the subject material but need additional information to fill the gaps.

A successful training program is a work in progress, and the cycle isn’t complete until you’ve evaluated the effectiveness of the training. Consider these steps for assessing how well you have done.

  • Ask trainees what they think. Probably your best source of information about the effectiveness of the session is the trainees themselves. Make anonymous evaluation forms available immediately following the session.
  • Ask participants to rate the session on a scale of 1 to 5. For any response below 5, ask for an explanation of what it would take to bring it up.
  • Make your own observations during the session. Think about the degree of participation, number of questions, and overall enthusiasm.
  • Use pre- and post-tests. Simple true/false pre- and post-tests can be an effective way to determine what participants knew before and after the presentation. If practical, ask trainees to explain principles, procedures, or rules they’ve learned. Have them demonstrate skills presented to give you an idea of skill gaps you need to fill before ending the session.
  • Check to see if training is being used. Keep an eye out for employee behavior. How well are workers incorporating the safety principles, skills, and knowledge into their jobs? Continue observations for several months after the training.
  • Evaluate the impact of training on overall safety performance. Is your workplace safer as a result of training efforts? Is your organization’s compliance program better as a result? Have the numbers of accidents and near misses, as well as related costs, gone down?

Safety Training Resources Shares Best Practices That Reduce Lift-Related Back Injuries

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Lifting-related back injuries are among the most commonly reported workplace injuries. They also impact your company’s profitability and contribute to lost productivity.

Here are four elements of a safe lifting plan that can help prevent lifting-related back injuries in your workplace.

1. Implement Engineering Controls

Appropriate engineering controls can be highly effective in reducing lifting-related injuries. For example:

  • Mechanical assist devices to relieve heavy load lifting and carrying tasks
  • Handles or slotted hand holes in packages requiring manual handling
  • Lighter-weight packaging materials
  • Modified containers and parts presentation (e.g., height-adjustable material bins)
  • Changes in workstation layout (e.g., use height-adjustable workbenches, position tools and materials within short reaching distances)
  • Fixtures (e.g., clamps, vise-grips) to hold work pieces to relieve the need for awkward hand and arm positions
  • Suspended tools to reduce weight and allow easier access
  • Easy-connect electrical terminals to reduce manual force
  • Removal of physical and visual obstructions when assembling components to reduce awkward postures or static exertions

2. Use Administrative Controls

Administrative controls should also be part of your plan to reduce lifting-related back injuries. For example:

  • Reduce shift length or curtail the amount of overtime.
  • Rotate workers through several jobs with different physical demands to reduce the stress on limbs and body regions.
  • Schedule more breaks to allow for rest and recovery.
  • Vary job content to offset certain risk factors (e.g., repetitive motions, static and awkward postures).
  • Adjust the work pace to relieve repetitive motion risks and give the worker more control of the work process.
  • Train employees to recognize lifting risk factors and to follow work practices that ease the task demands or burden.

3. Encourage the Use of Alternative Lifting Techniques

Alternative material handling techniques for carrying or moving loads should be used whenever possible to minimize lifting and bending movements. Alternatives might include use of equipment such as:

  • Hand trucks
  • Forklifts
  • Pallet jacks and power pallet jacks
  • Dollies
  • Carts
  • Hoists

4. Teach Safe Lifting Techniques

Train employees to:

  • Stretch briefly before lifting to loosen up back, arm, and shoulder muscles.
  • Determine whether more than one person or a mechanical device is needed for moving a load.
  • Ask for assistance if needed.
  • Break down the load into parts where feasible.
  • Get a good grip on the load.
  • Keep the load close.
  • Keep balance with footwork.
  • Lift with the back straight.
  • Use the legs to lift without bending the back.
  • Never twist or turn while lifting.
  • Avoid lifting above the shoulder level.

Special Lifting Situations Require Special Training

Aside from teaching employees the basic safe lifting technique, you may also need to train for special lifting situations such as:

  • Group lifts
  • Lifting oversized or particularly heavy loads
  • Lifting bags and sacks
  • Lifting object down from overhead

 

Group Lifts

When two or more employees lift and carry objects together, they should:

  • Work as a team.
  • Designate one person to direct the lift.
  • Lift at the same time.
  • Keep the load level when carrying.
  • Keep alert for obstacles in their path.
  • Move smoothly together.
  • Unload at the same time.

Lifting Oversized or Heavy Loads

Lifting oversized or very heavy loads requires special steps as well. Lifters should:

  • Size up the load and determine how many people will be needed for the lift.
  • Use mechanical material handling aids whenever possible to spare backs.
  • Check the route and make sure there is adequate clearance for oversize loads.
  • Lift at the same time, and keep the load level when carrying.
  • Put the load down part way to rest if necessary.
  • Be careful when traveling and unloading not to catch fingers and hands in pinchpoints, such as between the object and a doorjamb or wall, or between the object and the surface onto which it’s being unloaded.

 

Lifting Bags and Sacks

Heavy bags and sacks can be awkward to handle, which increases the risk of injury. Teach employees to:

  • Assume the safe lifting position (squat by bending at the hips and knees, feet shoulder-width apart; maintain the back’s natural curves; and let the legs do the lifting).
  • Grasp the load at opposite top and bottom corners.
  • Power the body up with legs and use arms to raise the load to rest on the hip.
  • Stand fully and move the load to rest on the shoulder

Lifting Objects Down from Overhead

Lifting objects down is another special lifting situation. Train employees to:

  • Use a ladder or step stool if necessary to reach high places.
  • Slide the load close to the body, being sure to keep a solid footing and a firm grasp.
  • Let arms and legs do the work.
  • Have a buddy standing below to receive the object if necessary.

Safety Training Resources’ Experience Can Modify Your Insurance Rates

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Many of our existing customers ask us the same question, “What is the best way to lower or reduce my company’s Experience Modification Rating (EMR)?

First, you have to understand what an EMR is.  The two factors that influence the EMR are the frequency and severity cost your recordable accidents.  The EMR is based on old, historical data.  For example: the 2011 EMR will be based on 2007, 2008 and 2009 accident histories.  Fiscal year 2010 is not used because it was the year just ending.

1) Track and trend the frequency of your accidents.  Attack your problem areas with training programs, focused inspections and targeted enforcement.  Change your culture to lower your incident ratios. 

2) Take a look at your deductible.  A low deductible can have a big impact on your mod rate versus a high deductible.  Talk with your insurance company and get recommendations about which one is best for your situation. 

 
Make sure your insurance company is timely in closing out cases and dropping reserves.  If you have an injury with a reserve, talk to your insurance company about their justification and get it reduced, if possible.

3) Don’t forget near misses.  Keep tabs on them as best you can.  They are often warnings of tomorrow’s accidents.  Your tracking information will tell you where to look.  Separate the safety problems into two groups: (1) things that can be fixed (improved) by changing conditions, and (2) things that can only be fixed by changing the way the employees act (behavior modification).

Unsafe conditions are usually a little easier to deal with, at least at the beginning.  Workplace conditions are generally under your direct control. Look for low hanging fruit:
• damaged or missing equipment
• missing guardrails
• under staffing issues or people who are not trained
• missing or inadequate machine guards
• are there employees (specific people with names) who are actually responsible for checking scaffolding, inspecting trenches, etc.?
• does everyone have a hard hat, a pair of safety glasses, and usable hearing protection?

Most of those issues can be fixed pretty quickly and relatively inexpensively.

Reducing unsafe actions (behavior modification) requires getting your people to think and work safely.  You have to change minds and change habits. Changing your company’s safety culture requires listening, understanding, training, explaining, fixing, and enforcing.

A safety policy is a good place to start.  It doesn’t have to be a formal document.  It can be as simple as: “If we cannot do it safely we don’t do it. There is nothing that needs to be done in our company which is so important that it is worth risking your health or safety.”  Spend time with your people explaining what safety means and why safety is important.  Having an owner or an officer honestly and believably describe the policy will help a lot.

Training is tough.  It can be helpful to bring in an outside expert (i.e. Safety Training Resources).  In some cases you can leverage OSHA’s regulations, for instance: “wearing safety glasses isn’t just a good idea or our rule, wearing them is the law.”

Train frequently and in small doses.  Frequent training provides an on-going reminder to think about safety and work safely.  Repeat the safety message clearly and frequently.  Routine training shows that you and the company really care about safety

Scheduling 5-15 minute training sessions can provide critical facts and timely reminders.  A small dose of learning gives your people one or a few things to think about and apply.  Short sessions mean that production isn’t held up.

What it all comes down to is…. ACCOUNTABILITY.  You can either turn your back on it, or you can make an affirmative decision to become part of the solution.  Don’t just say “NO”, give the supervisors and workers a safe alternative.  If you drastically cut back on the unsafe acts that happen everyday, the accidents and near misses will rapidly disappear and your EMR rate will come down.

Act Now!