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Monthly Archives: January 2016


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  • Basics about Radiation

    What is radiation?

    In general, the following kinds of radiation are evaluated for purposes of radiation protection:  alpha rays, beta rays, gamma rays, X rays, and neutrons.
    Brief definitions of these follow:Radiation

    Alpha rays
    A particle ray consisting of two protons and two neutrons (namely, a nucleus of helium). Alpha rays are produced following spontaneous decay of certain radioactive atoms, such as radium, plutonium, uranium, and radon. Because of its large mass and positive charge, an alpha ray can usually pass only a short distance--less than 1 mm--in water. A single piece of paper can stop an alpha ray effectively. Therefore, health effects of alpha-ray exposures appear only when alpha-emitting materials are ingested (ie, internal exposure).

    Beta ray
    A particle ray consisting of a fast electron whose mass is nearly 1/2000 of the mass of a proton or neutron. Beta rays are produced following spontaneous decay of certain radioactive materials, such as tritium (an isotope of hydrogen), carbon-14, phosphorus-32, and strontium-90. Depending on its energy (ie, speed), a beta ray can traverse different distances in water--less than 1 mm for tritium to nearly 1 cm for phosphorus-32. As with alpha rays, the major concern for health effects is after their ingestion (ie, internal exposure).

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    Gamma ray
    An electromagnetic wave, a gamma ray is similar to ordinary visible light but differs in energy or wavelength. Sunlight consists of a mixture of electromagnetic rays of various wavelengths, from the longest, infrared, through red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, to the shortest in wavelength, ultraviolet. A gamma ray's wavelength is far shorter than ultraviolet (ie, it is far higher in energy). Gamma rays are produced following spontaneous decay of radioactive materials, such as cobalt-60 and cesium-137. A cobalt-60 gamma ray can penetrate deeply into the human body, so it has been widely used for cancer radiotherapy.

    X ray
    X rays have the same characteristics as gamma rays, although they are produced differently. When high-speed electrons hit metals, electrons are stopped and release energy in the form of an electromagnetic wave. This was first observed by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895, who considered it a mysterious ray, and thus called it an X ray. X rays consist of a mixture of different wavelengths, whereas gamma-ray energy has a fixed value (or two) characteristic to the radioactive material.

    Neutron particles are released following nuclear fission (splitting of an atomic nucleus producing large amounts of energy) of uranium or plutonium. In fact, it is neutrons that trigger the nuclear chain reaction to explode an atomic bomb. Neutrons hardly damage cells because they do not carry any electrical charge. However, the human body contains a large amount of hydrogen (a constituent of water molecules that occupy 70% of the human body), and when neutrons hit the nucleus of hydrogen, ie, a proton that is positively charged, the proton causes ionizations in the body, leading to various types of damage. At equivalent absorbed doses, neutrons can cause more severe damage to the body than gamma rays.

  • Aerial Lift Truck Operator Safety

    Aerial lift operation, if not conducted properly, can be a highly accident-prone undertaking. Lift operators fall out of baskets as a result of not wearing safety lanyards, are exposed to potential electrical shock or electrocution, and other common and risky work habits including:

    • Aerial_LiftNot being properly tooled up for the task,
    • Exceeding the limitations of the machine,
    • Using incorrect work methods for the chosen machine,
    • Working in a towering unit with an inoperative intercom system,
    • Stringing cable through a defective fairlead.

    Fatal Falls and Other Risks
    "Falls are a leading cause of on-the-job fatalities," according to Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman. For those working in aerial lifts or those managing workers up in the lifts, this is a comment worth heeding.

    According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, falls by workers in the construction industry accounted for 39% of fatalities from 1992-1997. For power line workers, falls from elevations rank among the top causes of accidents. Electrocution and injuries from falling objects are other leading causes of injury.

    In general, workers employed in the construction of power transmission and distribution systems have a risk of between 17 to 23 deaths per 1,000 workers over a working lifetime of 45 years, according to OSHA. Major causes of non-fatal injuries include over-exertion, electrical shock injuries and burns, sprains, strains, cuts, lacerations and contusions.

    Each aerial truck operation presents its own specific hazards which must be properly anticipated, recognized, and avoided by observing proper safe work practices.

    Some Safe Work Practices include:

    • A thorough inspection of the vehicle and lifting apparatus must be completed prior to each shift.
    • Aerial trucks are to be used on flat, stable surfaces, of less than a 5-degree grade.
    • The aerial truck is not to be touched if it comes into contact with electrical wiring
    • The primary operator shall not belt off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from the aerial bucket
    • The primary operator shall wear a body belt with a two foot lanyard attached to the aerial bucket when working in the aerial lift.  A fall protection harness is required when working from a platform.
    • Sufficient signs, racks, and traffic cones shall be available for the appropriate traffic control.
    • Assistant ground personnel shall be instructed in the operation of the aerial lift.
    • Emergency phone numbers and First Aid trained personnel shall be made readily available.

    The following information is designed to offer some specific recommendations for the safe operation of aerial trucks on the job.


    Aerial lift devices shall conform to ANSI Standards applicable to the type of equipment being used---bucket truck, portable and/or self-propelled personnel lift, etc. Aerial lift devices shall only be used for the purpose(s) intended by the manufacturer. All manufacturer recommendations and warnings regarding operation, capacity, and safety precautions shall be strictly followed. Permanent labeling must be conspicuously posted to indicate lifting capacity and travel height.

    Only devices approved for lifting personnel shall be used as aerial lifts. Loaders, forklifts, or other material lift devices shall not be used to transport individuals to elevated locations or as work platforms.

    Maintenance inspections of aerial lifts shall be made every three months by qualified mechanics. Unauthorized modifications shall not be made to any aerial lift device. Buckets and bucket liners shall not be cut or drilled.


    Safety belts/full body harnesses and lanyards shall only be used as intended by the manufacturer for employee fall protection. Appropriate devices shall be used to provide 100% fall protection. Where single 'D' ring safety belts are used, the 'D' ring shall be located in the middle of the back to minimize impact on the body in a fall.

    All fall protection equipment shall be carefully inspected before each use and periodically throughout the day. Safety equipment showing any sign of mildew, torn or frayed fiber or fabric, burns, excessive wear, or other damage or deterioration which could cause failure shall be permanently removed from use. Safety belts/full body harnesses, lanyards, safety lines, and all other fall protection equipment shall be properly maintained and stored---kept dry and out of sunlight, and away from caustics, corrosives or other materials which could cause defect.

    Hard hats and safety belts or full body harnesses shall be worn by operators in the bucket or on the platform of any aerial lift device while in operation. Loose-fitting clothing shall not be worn while working in any aerial lift device. High-visibility apparel is not required for operators 'in the air', but shall be worn before entering and after leaving the bucket or platform.

    Consideration must be given to water hazards and appropriate precautions. When 100% fall protection is employed, OSHA water safety standards are not mandated. However, it is advisable to take minimum precautions such as readily available buoy and safety line.


    Lift equipment shall be inspected and controls tested daily before use. On boom devices, one crew member qualified in the operation of the ground controls shall remain readily available on the ground at all times while the lift is operating. Only properly trained employees shall operate the lift. Ground controls shall not be operated without the permission of the operator(s) 'in the air', except in emergencies.

    Before extending the boom or raising the platform, outriggers (if the vehicle is so equipped) shall be positioned properly and the truck level. Outriggers shall be placed on pads, blocking, or other solid surface, and shall not be used to level the vehicle. The parking brake (and mico brake if so equipped) shall be set and wheel chocks in place. Sufficient overhead clearance shall be checked before raising any aerial lift. For under-bridge units, adequate clearance beneath the boom shall be assured.

    Operators shall keep both feet on the bucket floor while the bucket is moving, or work is being performed. Operators shall not attach themselves to an adjacent pole, structure or tree while working from the bucket, but shall remain connected by safety belt or full body harness and lanyard to the boom, boom eyelet, or boom strap and 'D' ring. Operators required to leave the bucket to gain access to a work location shall maintain 100% fall protection by connection of a lanyard to a safety line, structure or tree capable of supporting the employee(s). Operators exiting buckets in locations requiring 100% fall protection shall wear a full body harness. Tree spikes shall not be worn in the bucket. Buckets shall have an inside and outside step (portable 'E-Z step' or step through features are examples).

    Platform lifts shall have a top and mid rail and kick plate, and a means for each person to attach a safety belt or full body harness and lanyard to the platform. A safety belt or full body harness and lanyard shall be used by each operator on the platform. Operators shall keep both feet on the floor of the platform; shall not sit or climb on the railing; or use planks, ladders, or other devices to raise the working height. The gate shall be closed before raising the work platform.

    The carrier portion of an aerial lift unit shall not be moved (travel) while the lift is out of its cradle, unless the unit is designed to do so. When a unit is moved with operators in the air, they shall be aware of the move and be in communication with those moving the vehicle. Generally, for transport the boom shall be properly cradled and the outriggers properly stowed. Bucket covers shall be in place during transport to prevent loss of the bucket liner.

    Tools, parts or any materials shall not be dropped or thrown from the bucket. When using welding or heating equipment from the bucket or platform, the vehicle shall be protected from sparks or slag and special care taken to protect or remove flammables.

    Positioning of any vehicle on the highway pavement or shoulder requires maintenance and protection of traffic procedures in accordance with the State Highway Work Zone Safety Policies and Procedures.


    When working near electrical lines or equipment, avoid direct or indirect contact. Direct contact is body contact. Indirect contact is when the body touches or is in dangerous proximity to any object in contact with energized systems. Always assume that lines are 'live' and carry high voltage. Electrical lines can only be considered 'dead' when verified by the utility.

    All operations shall conform to the High Voltage Proximity Act, which applies to electrical systems carrying 600 volts or more and requires employers to:

    • Ensure operators are not placed in proximity to high voltage (within 10 feet up to 50 kilovolts).
    • Inform operators of the hazards and precautions of working near high voltage.
    • Post warning decals on equipment regarding 10-foot minimum clearance.
    • Ensure that when an equipment operator is unable to assess clearances a 'spotter' observes for clearance and directs the operator.
    • Notify the utility at least 5 working days before any work begins which requires the utility to identify voltages and clearances, or de-energize, insulate or relocate lines.

    As voltages increase, minimum clearances increase and potential for arcing increases. Injuries or fatalities may occur even if contact is not made. Weather and contact with conductors such as tools can increase the possibility of arcing. Because most operators are not qualified to determine voltage, the utility shall be called to establish voltages and minimum clearances, and to render the work safe. Where prior notification cannot be made, request the utility to respond immediately.

    Tree crews and traffic signal crews shall receive specialized electrical safety training because of their frequent work near energized electrical systems. Annual training shall be conducted, preferably in conjunction with or supplemented by training from local utility companies, and include characteristics, hazards and precautions for high voltage electricity.

    Prior to the start of an operation where contact with energized electrical systems is possible, supervisors shall identify energized lines or equipment, and reference their location. Their location shall be discussed at a pre-work safety meeting of all crew members. All new employees shall be similarly informed.


    Aerial Lift - A piece of equipment, extendible and/or articulating, designed to position personnel and/or materials in elevated locations.

    ANSI - American National Standards Institute

    Lanyard - ANSI approved line designed for supporting one person, with one end fastened to a safety belt or full body harness, and the other end secured to a safety line or structural member. Lanyards shall not exceed 6' in length, and preferably include a 'shock-absorber' to attenuate fall impact.

    OSHA - Occupational Safety & Health Administration

    Safety Body Belt/Full Body Harness - ANSI approved body device designed for fall protection, which by reason of its attachment to a lanyard and safety line or structure will limit a fall to 6' or less. A full body harness is the preferred device for fall protection in aerial lift devices. However, safety body belts may be used as 'positioning devices' in aerial lift equipment, where employees stand with both feet on the floor of the bucket or platform; and are an acceptable alternative to harnesses only in this application. Because aerial lifts have passive fall protection systems, the intent of the belt is to keep the occupant(s) in the device upon impact, not to attenuate a fall from it.

  • First Aid for Conscious Choking Adults and Children Older Than 1 Year Old

    Image of choking infantChoking can occur when a foreign object, such as food or fluid, blocks the airway. The airway is the passage through which air moves from the nose and mouth through the trachea, or windpipe, and into the lungs.

    • Signs of a severe airway obstruction –
      • Poor air exchange and increasing difficulty breathing, a silent cough, gasping breaths, whistling or wheezing
      • Pale or bluish skin, especially around the mouth (from lack of oxygen)
      • Inability to talk or breathe
      • Universal Sign for choking (the universal and naturally occurring sign for choking is a hand, or hands, around the neck.)

    If the casualty exhibits any of these signs for choking, take the following steps:

    • Prior to providing care for a Conscious Adult, a responder should first obtain consent. This is a very quick and simple procedure.
      • Tell the casualty your name.
      • Tell them you have been trained to assist in First Aid and/or CPR
      • Ask the casualty if he/she wants help: “Can I help you?”
      • Once the casualty indicates that they want your help (usually with an affirmative nod), begin care.
    1. Stand behind the choking adult or child.
    2. Make a fist and place the thumb side of the fist against the casualty’s abdomen, just above the navel and below the ribcage.
    3. Encircle the fist with the other hand and deliver quick inward and upward thrust into the abdomen.
    4. Repeat the thrusts in rapid and forceful sequence until the object is dislodged or until the casualty becomes unconscious.
    5. Thrust should be a firm, inward and upward movement and each thrust should be a separate attempt.
    6. If the casualty loses consciousness, follow steps 1 through 5 below.

    Content excerpted from the Urgent First Aid Guide used by permission Copyright 2013
    All Rights Reserved. Get a full copy of the First Aid Guide for under $1!

  • Components of a Drug-Free Workplace Program

    No two workplaces are the same, and no two employers will take exactly the same approach to addressing alcohol and other drug abuse. The chart below shows a number of options for starting or expanding a drug-free workplace program.

    Some employers may be interested in only one component; others may want to implement several or all of them. The decision will depend on the level of concern about the problem, the potential for alcohol and other drug abuse at the worksite, and the available resources. Remember, there is no one "right" way to start a drug-free workplace program.

    Each component in the chart is explained in greater detail in the following sections of this kit. Taken together, they provide a comprehensive approach to developing a drug-free workplace program.

    Components of a Drug-Free Workplace Program


    Needs Assessment

    As with any other organizational change, assessment is the first step. A careful needs assessment can lead to early program success. The needs of an employer with 200 employees, 75 of whom drive company vehicles, will be very different from the needs of an employer with only 8 employees who work all day on computers. Local resources also will vary from one community to the next.

    Policy Development

    A written policy tells everyone the organization’s position on alcohol and other drug abuse and explains what will happen if the policy is violated. This is the central component of most programs.

    Employers often ask if they can "borrow" another employer’s policy and tailor it to their workplace. While this is certainly possible, it is best to draft a policy that meets your own organization’s specific needs. Many employers find it helpful to involve supervisors and employee and union representatives in drafting a policy. These people can offer practical ideas and help to write a well-rounded policy. In general, employees who contribute to a policy are more likely to willingly comply with it. They’ll also be better able to explain it to others.

    Employee Education

    A plan for introducing the drug-free workplace program to employees and for informing them about alcohol- and other drug-related issues will be important to the program’s overall success. The educational components in this kit provide the basic facts about alcohol and other drug abuse and guidelines for informing and educating employees.

    Supervisor Training

    If your organization has managers or supervisors, they can provide valuable support in introducing and carrying out a drug-free workplace program. They cannot do it alone, however; they will need guidance, direction, and support.

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    An EAP is one way for an organization to offer help to employees with personal problems, including problems with alcohol and other drugs. This component can be a sign of employer support and a source of improved productivity. Although not every employer will want or be able to afford an EAP, it is worth considering. Low-cost options for offering an EAP are available, making this component within reach even for companies with limited resources.

    Drug Testing

    Some employers believe that a drug-free workplace program and drug testing are the same. In fact, drug testing is only one possible component of a drug-free workplace program.

    Drug testing has its place and can be helpful. It can also be a source of controversy, anxiety, and concern among employers and employees. Therefore, it is a big decision. A successful drug testing program requires careful planning, consistently applied procedures, strict confidentiality, and provisions for appeal.

    Drug-Free Workplaces: No Two Are the Same

    Many options for creating a drug-free workplace program are available to employers. The Employer Tip Sheets in this kit are designed to help you make the best choices to protect your organization and the health and welfare of your employees. Just as no two businesses or organizations are exactly alike, no two drug-free workplace programs will be the same. Shape your drug-free workplace program to meet the needs of your organization -- for now and for the future.

    Checklist For Program Development

    ___ Assess organizational needs
    ___ Identify available resources
    ___ Create a drug-free workplace policy
    ___ Determine if an EAP will be available
    ___ Determine if drug testing will be included
    ___ Train supervisors
    ___ Educate employees
    ___ Evaluate your program

    Hallmarks of Successful Drug-Free Workplace Programs

    Employers who have successfully implemented drug-free workplace programs offered these suggestions to employers who are just beginning to address the issue of alcohol and other drug abuse in their own organizations:

    Think Things Through

    Starting a drug-free workplace program requires careful planning. It’s important to think ahead, define clear goals for the program, and seek advice from other employers with experience when you need it. Learn as much as you can about existing programs and policies before you begin.

    Involve Employees

    Work with your most valuable resource: your employees. They can help get the message out, clarify goals, and make sure the program fits into the daily reality of your workplace. Showing employees that you value their input vests them in the program and helps to make it work. Most estimates indicate that at least 8 out of 10 of your employees are probably not abusing alcohol or other drugs -- they are already part of the solution.

    Emphasize Fairness

    Drug-free workplace programs are serious business. Violating a drug-free workplace policy could mean that someone will lose a job or not be offered one. Protect your organization with procedural rules that are clear, fair, and consistently applied. The policy should also include provisions for appeal. With these steps in place, employees are more likely to support the program and trust that the employer will carry it out fairly.

    Consider the Collective Bargaining Process

    Where drug testing is a mandatory subject of collective bargaining, the rules for involvement of employee representatives are clear. Even when drug testing is not subject to collective bargaining, or when it is mandated by law, discussing the drug-free workplace policy with union representatives can be very useful. They may have model programs or other ideas to offer, and they can be very helpful in communicating program purpose, procedures, and policies to the employees they represent.

    Protect Confidentiality

    Employees will support and have faith in your drug-free workplace program when their confidentiality is protected. If employees choose to tell coworkers about their private concerns (e.g., results of a drug test), that is their decision. However, when an employee tells you something in confidence, you are obligated to keep it between the two of you. To ensure employee support of the program and avoid legal problems, make confidentiality a priority and spell out the penalties for anyone who violates it. (See the Supervisor’s Guide for more information about confidentiality.)

    Ensure Accurate Testing and Objective Review

    If your program includes alcohol or other drug testing, satisfy yourself and your employees that samples are correctly collected; the chain of custody is flawless; the tests are conducted by properly trained and supervised laboratory technicians using equipment that is appropriately maintained; laboratory performance and accuracy is independently reviewed; and results are communicated through a medical review officer (MRO) trained to render judgments.

    Ensure Proper Use of the Program

    Fair procedures and provisions for appeal reduce the possibility of misunderstandings between employers and employees. Train your supervisors to carry out their roles in the drug-free workplace program appropriately, and review and evaluate their performance in this area to prevent misuse of the program.

    Ask For Legal Review

    Whether you write the first draft of your policy yourself or tailor an existing policy to your needs, having your program, policy, and procedures reviewed by an attorney experienced in labor and employment matters in your State is extremely important. An attorney can advise you on any relevant State laws governing drug-free workplace programs or employer testing, and on how the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) may affect your program implementation. An attorney can also alert you as laws and regulations change over time. (See the Supervisor’s Guide, "Other Issues" section, for more information about the ADA.)

    Pay Attention to the "Human" Factor

    A drug-free workplace program that communicates care and concern for employees is more likely to succeed than one that seems scary or that intimidates employees. Providing assistance for employees with alcohol or other drug problems is one way employers can communicate that they care. Not every organization can afford to cover the costs of treatment for alcohol or other drug abuse; however, you can encourage employees to seek outside help and make it clear that help is available.

    Ensure Good Communication and Ongoing Review

    Explain your drug-free workplace program by using a variety of communication strategies. The message should be clear from the start. Effective ways to communicate include written materials, charts, meetings, question-and-answer sessions, and a suggestion box. Employers who are successful at this know it is important to repeat the message periodically, watch how the program works on a day-to-day basis, invite feedback, and revise the program as needed to meet the specific needs of the workplace.

    Stay Current

    Drug-free workplace programs are being studied and improved all the time. Keep current by joining local drug-free advocacy groups or coalitions. Some trade and professional associations also provide up-to-date information about drug-free workplace issues. Some employers ask an employee group to periodically review the program and suggest appropriate changes.

    Address Concerns and Barriers

    Employers with successful drug-free workplace programs report that they had a number of barriers to overcome before implementing a successful program. The following are examples of common barriers you may face as you consider implementing a program:

    Do I need to bother? . . . Wouldn’t I know if employees were abusing alcohol or other drugs?
    drug-freeAbuse and addiction are serious, complex, and progressive illnesses. You may not "know" about an employee’s condition until the later stages of the disease process because that is when problems related to abuse or addiction become most apparent. So you may or may not know if employees are abusing alcohol or other drugs.

    Organizations that don’t have drug-free workplace programs tend to be places where alcohol or other drug abusers want to work. Having a program in place now can reduce costly problems in the future. In addition to all of the other health, safety, and security risks that can arise, no employer wants to be the employer of choice for people who abuse alcohol or other drugs.

    Will having a program create negative attitudes among employees?
    Employees will be concerned and have questions about any new policy or program. Because of the sensitive nature of a drug-free workplace program, it is important to involve employees, listen to their questions and concerns, and explain why the decision has been made to implement a drug-free workplace program in the organization. If the program is presented in a positive way -- not as punishment -- the chances are good that employees will respond positively.

    Creating a Drug-Free Workplace Policy

    A written drug-free workplace policy is one of the essentials of an effective program. Nevertheless, employers interested in creating a policy for the first time share some common concerns.

    Why Put the Policy on Paper?

    A written policy helps both the employer and employees to focus on important details. Other reasons for putting the policy in writing include:

    • It may be required -- for example, by the Drug-Free Workplace Act or by an insurance carrier.
    • It makes legal review possible.
    • It provides a record of the employer’s effort and a reference if the policy is challenged.
    • It may protect the employer from certain kinds of claims by employees.
    • A written policy is easier to explain to employees, supervisors, and others.

    Can a Policy Be Borrowed From Someone Else?

    If policies for similar organizations or work settings are available, it may not be necessary to develop one from scratch. Sample policies are likely to be found through a variety of sources: from other employers, through community alcohol and other drug organizations, or from CSAP’s Workplace Helpline at 1-800-WORKPLACE, which can provide copies of sample policies. Before you adopt an existing policy, however, make sure it fits your organization and your priorities. Also, consider contacting the employer who wrote the policy to ask a few questions:

    • Is the policy still in place?
    • Has it been changed in any way? How? Why?
    • What aspects of the policy have been most successful? Least successful?
    • Have there been any implementation problems? How were they solved?

    A borrowed policy may not contain everything you need. When modifying or adopting an existing policy, consider these questions before you start to cut and paste:*

    • Are there Federal, State, or local laws/regulations that apply to my workplace?
    • Are any of my employees covered by the terms of a collectively bargained agreement?
    • What philosophy and goals should the policy emphasize? Prevention? Punishment? Treatment?
    • Who will be covered by the policy? All employees? Employees in certain jobs? Consultants? Contractors?
    • What substances and behaviors will be prohibited?
    • Will the policy include any form of drug or alcohol testing?
    • When will the policy apply? During work hours? At events after hours?
    • Where will the policy apply? In the workplace? Outside the workplace while on duty? Off duty?
    • Who will implement and enforce the policy?

    * Adapted from "Guide for Drug Free Workplace Policy Makers: Issues, Options, and Models," Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1992.

    Where To Go For Help

    "We are a small, family-owned company with many long-term employees. In the back of our minds, we always knew that if an employee had an alcohol or drug abuse problem we would do everything we could to help him or her find treatment, but we didn't have a written policy. Then one day someone who had been with our company for 3 years came to us about an alcohol problem. We realized that we didn't know where to send her or whether we could hold her job while she went for treatment. It motivated us to put our policy in writing. The process of formalizing the policy helped us look for more information about drug-free workplace programs, think about our options and procedures, and then tell our employees about the company's policy in case this happened again."
    Owner of a printing company

    Look in the phone book under your city or town’s name and look for entries like "Drug-Free Business Initiative" or "Coalition for Drug-Free Workplaces."Drug-free workplace groups and coalitions in your community may have model policies or be able to connect you with other employers who already have a policy or program in place. Since the Drug-Free Workplace Act was passed, many local and national programs have been set up to help employers create effective policies. Many of these programs were created by and for employers in your community. Finding these resources may take more than one telephone call or letter, since there may not be a centralized list in your State or local area:

    • Call or write your State’s office for alcohol and drug abuse services and ask if they have a list of groups in or near your community.
    • Call or write your local mayor’s office, police department community relations office, office of economic development, or business relations office and ask if they have a list of coalitions.
    • Call or write your State or local Small Business Administration and ask if they know of resources or consortia in your area.
    • Call or write your chamber of commerce or business, trade, or professional association and ask if they have services to help employers start a drug-free workplace program.
    • Call CSAP’s Workplace Helpline at 1-800-WORKPLACE.

    What Belongs in a Policy?

    Whether you create your own policy or decide to adopt all or part of someone else’s, a successful policy will include the following:

    A Rationale

    The reason for the policy
    What it is designed to do
    How it was developed

    Expectations and Prohibitions

    The employee behaviors that are expected
    Exactly what substances and behaviors are prohibited

    Consequences and Appeals

    Precisely what will happen if an employee violates the policy
    Procedures for determining if an employee has violated the policy
    How appeals will be handled

    Benefits and Assurances

    Efforts to help employees comply with the policy
    How requests for help will be handled
    How employee confidentiality will be protected
    How fairness and consistency will be maintained

    Should You Invite Others To Help?

    It pays to involve employees and others in developing the policy. Employers continually find that when employees have been consulted about a new policy and believe their voices have been heard, they are more likely to cooperate. Some employers set up a task force or employee group to help develop their policy. Others solicit broad review and comment before adopting a policy. When employees are represented by a union, the policy may be an issue for collective bargaining. Union representatives can offer ideas and programs that will make the policy operate more smoothly.

    Before You Put a Policy in Place

    It’s always advisable to have a draft of a new drug-free workplace policy reviewed by an attorney experienced in labor and employment matters. Implementing the policy will have implications for the job security of employees with alcohol or other drug problems. Given the potential consequences of violating the policy, legal review is critical. Legal review is also important because of the growing and ever-changing body of laws and regulations about drugs in the workplace.

    Employee Education

    Educating your employees about alcohol and other drug abuse is important:

    • It gives the program a high priority and says that everyone in the organization needs to be involved"
    • It fosters a spirit of cooperation -- "We’re all in this together."
    • It helps to dispel myths about alcohol and other drug abuse and acknowledges the impact of substance abuse on friends, family members, and coworkers.
    • It encourages employees to buy into the program and reinforces the importance of addressing alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace.

    Setting the Tone

    Your employee education program will be more effective if it doesn’t sound like a "from the top-down" mandate. How you communicate with employees and the tone you take will be crucial to the success of your program.

    A positive approach...

    . . . lets employees know the program is intended to improve the work environment for everyone. The message is:

    "This is OUR problem, and here’s how WE can solve it."

    . . . supports employees:

    "If you have a problem, we want to give you a chance to get help."

    A negative approach...

    . . . takes a more punitive, judgmental attitude. The message is:

    "You’d better watch out or you might be in trouble. We have our eye on you."

    . . . threatens and scares employees:

    "One mistake and you’re out of here."

    Setting a positive tone doesn’t mean you have to coddle alcohol or other drug abusers. Some employees may need counseling or drug treatment. Although the majority of your workforce probably do not have alcohol or other drug problems, most employees welcome an organization’s efforts to help employees who do need it.

    When and Where

    There is no one right way to educate your employees. You may want to start with a modest effort. Over time you may choose to add other elements to the program. Employee education can include the following elements:

    • A meeting with staff members or department heads to explain the organization’s policy and the drug-free workplace program
    • Informational materials about the company’s program and about alcohol and other drug abuse -- pamphlets, flyers, paycheck stuffers, home mailings, free videos, and so on
    • Posters and signs reminding employees that yours is a drug-free workplace and that your worksite promotes healthy activities like smoking cessation, regular exercise, and good eating habits.

    The most important point is to keep the focus of the program clear and consistent. Several small steps toward employee education throughout the year are better than one large meeting with no followup.


    Even though this section of the kit is about employee education, everyone benefits from education about alcohol and other drug abuse. Owners and top management, supervisors, and employees at all levels need to know about the problems associated with substance abuse and the benefits of a drug-free workplace program. To ensure the success of your drug-free workplace program, ask all upper-level managers to become familiar with the Employee Fact Sheets and the Supervisor’s Guide provided in this kit.

    The Minimum

    When resources for employee education are limited, at a minimum you need to inform your employees about the company’s drug-free workplace policy. A policy briefing should address the following:

    • The rationale for the policy -- what the law requires, why the program is important to your organization, and the cost of alcohol and other drug problems in the workplace
    • Details of the policy, including the consequences for violating it
    • Available help for employee problems, such as an employee assistance program (EAP), if applicable, or referral to other local resources.

    Providing your employees with some basic information about alcohol and other drug abuse also reinforces your policy and communicates that you care about their welfare. Extending the education to their family members can promote that concept, and can improve the chance that a troubled employee will be identified by a spouse or child. Providing basic information can be done through brief meetings, brochures and other written materials, videos, home mailings, and so on. The content might include the following:

    • Hazards of alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace (increased accidents, decreased productivity, etc.)
    • How to recognize a potential alcohol or other drug problem of coworkers, family members, or friends (what to do and what not to do)
    • The nature of alcohol or other drug abuse and some ways addiction can be treated
    • Available resources within the organization or in the community.

    A variety of informational items are provided in this kit. See the Supervisors’ Guide and the Employee Fact Sheets for more information about alcohol and other drug abuse, addiction, and recovery, and for telephone numbers of helpful resources. National, State, and local resource organizations also offer free informational materials.

    Employee Education Planning Checklist

    ___ Obtain and review materials. (See the Employee Fact Sheets and Supervisor’s Guide for resources.) Also, some publishing companies sell pamphlets to businesses. See the Employee Fact Sheets for a list of publishing companies and telephone numbers.

    ___ Tell the person who will be distributing the materials to fill in the local resource phone numbers in the spaces provided on the last page of each Employee Fact Sheet and on the posters.

    ___ Plan for informational sessions or distribution of materials over the long term (rather than a one-shot presentation).

    ___ Involve key staff in planning and followup.

    ___ Schedule followup meetings and/or distribute materials on a regular basis.

    ___ Provide referral and resource lists.


    Workplace Drug & Alcohol Abuse

    Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Employees - OSHA Safety Training: Substance abuse is a huge, worldwide problem. In the United States alone there are over 50 million binge drinkers, 17 million illegal drug users and almost 15 million people who abuse prescription drugs. Most substance abusers have jobs. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every ten workers has a substance abuse problem. An employee with an alcohol or drug problem can decrease productivity, create a hostile work environment and damage a company's good name. Worst of all, the actions of a worker who is "under the influence" can completely undermine a company's efforts to keep people safe.

    The first in a two-part series on dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, Our training products on "Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Employees" discuss the various types of substance abuse that are found in the workplace, how they can affect an employee's work situation and what employees themselves can do to help keep their workplace drug and alcohol free. Topics covered in these products include:

    • How substances are typically abused by employees.
    • Alcohol and other depressants, and their effects.
    • Stimulants, narcotics and hallucinogens, and their effects.
    • How people get "hooked" on drugs and alcohol.
    • Alcohol and drug policies.
    • Helping employees overcome substance abuse.
    • and more.

    Workplace-drugsDealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Managers - OSHA Safety Training: Substance abuse is a huge, worldwide problem. In the United States alone there are over 50 million binge drinkers, 17 million illegal drug users and almost 15 million people who abuse prescription drugs. Most substance abusers have jobs. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every ten workers has a substance abuse problem. An employee with an alcohol or drug problem can decrease productivity, create a hostile work environment and damage a company's good name. Worst of all, the actions of a worker who is "under the influence" can completely undermine a company's efforts to keep people safe.

    The second in a two-part series on dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, Our training products on "Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Managers and Supervisors" discuss the various forms of substance abuse that are typically found in the workplace, how managers and supervisors can detect substance abuse problems, and what they should and shouldn't do if they discover a worker with a substance abuse problem. Topics covered in the products include:

    • How substance abuse can affect a workplace.
    • Laws and regulations related to substance abuse.
    • How to help create an alcohol and drug-free workplace.
    • The role of education and testing in preventing substance abuse.
    • Recognizing on-the-job substance abuse.
    • How to handle substance abuse situations.
    • and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location

    Supervisor Training

    The Supervisor’s Role

    Supervisors have a variety of responsibilities within a drug-free workplace program. Supervisors should:

    • Know the organization’s program and policy, including the rationale for the program and specific details about drug testing procedures, if applicable, as well as other components
    • Be able to explain the program to employees
    • Know where to refer employees for help and information
    • Understand and accept the importance of supervision as a tool for implementing the policy -- recognizing that the supervisor is the best judge of employee performance.

    Supervisors are not expected to provide substance abuse counseling. Neither should they try to diagnose alcohol or other drug problems. If a supervisor suspects an alcohol, drug-related, or other problem, particularly as evidenced by poor job performance or conduct, the employee should be referred for professional evaluation and assistance.

    The Supervisor: Enforcer or Advocate?

    Because an important responsibility of supervisors is to observe and evaluate employee job performance, they can be effective advocates for employees. They can encourage employees to deal with work-related problems that may or may not be connected with alcohol or other drug use. They also can suggest sources of help and support, such as an employee assistance program (EAP) or local treatment program, when an employee has problems.

    If an employee has been given a chance to improve job performance but hasn’t changed his or her behavior, the supervisor may need to take a more forceful approach. Still, the emphasis should be on improving the employee’s job performance, not on judging the employee.

    What Supervisors Need To Know

    All supervisors should be provided with basic information about the program and their role in carrying it out. This includes:

    • The rationale and specific details of the program startup and implementation
    • The supervisor’s specific responsibilities for initiating and carrying out the drug-free workplace policy and program
    • Ways to use the Employee Fact Sheets and/or posters and decal in this kit as a source of information and employee education
    • How to recognize and deal with employees who have job performance problems that may or may not be related to alcohol or other drugs, including personal and family problems.

    Guidelines For Effective Supervision

    1. Be attentive.
    Be ready to recognize employee problems (e.g., accidents, frequent lateness, mood swings) that may or may not be related to alcohol or other drug abuse.
    2. Observe.
    Focus on specific aspects of job performance.
    3. Document.
    Keep an ongoing record of the employee’s performance.
    4. Focus on job performance.
    Avoid judging, diagnosing, or counseling the employee.
    5. Be thoughtful.
    Stay nonjudgmental and recognize the employee’s point of view.
    6. Be straightforward.
    Stick to the facts of job performance; don’t get sidetracked.
    7. Be consistent.
    Follow the same procedures for all employees.
    8. Maintain confidentiality.
    Discuss employee problems in private and keep the discussion between the two of you.
    9. Refer.
    Encourage troubled employees to seek help from the resources available in the workplace or the community.
    10. Follow up.
    Continue to assess employee job performance over a period of time.

    How To Provide Supervisor Training

    Supervisor training can be provided in a variety of ways, depending on available time and resources. These can include:

    • Training the supervisors yourself
    • Having a consultant from a local community agency or EAP conduct the training (they may offer role playing and other training methods that are not possible with written materials only)
    • Using the Supervisor Materials and Employee Fact Sheets in this kit, as well as any other materials provided by the employer or a consultant.


    Supervisor Training Checklist

    ___ Decide how supervisor training will be done -- where, when, by whom, and with what materials.

    ___ Hold a meeting to inform supervisors about the drug-free workplace program, the organization’s policy, and their role in carrying it out.

    ___ Distribute the Supervisor’s Guide and Employee Fact Sheets.

    ___ Instruct supervisors to fill in the local resource phone numbers on the last page of each Employee Fact Sheet before distributing them (if you have not already done so yourself).

    ___ Schedule followup training or use the materials in this kit as self-instructional guidance.

    ___ Follow up with additional resources, booster sessions, question-and-answer sessions, and program review.

  • Back Care and Safe Lifting

    Safe-Back-LiftingOne very important reason to follow safe lifting practices is to protect your back. Unsafe lifting can either be an immediate harm or cause problems over a period of time.  Either way, lifting can result in serious back problems.  The spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae.  In between each vertebra is a disc that acts like a cushion between the bones. When you are young, there is plenty of fluid that lubricates each disc.  The older you get, the more stiff and rigid the discs become.  You don’t necessarily notice any change in your discs as you grow older because there are no nerves within the discs.  As your discs become weakened from pressure, they can rupture.  When this happens, the jell-like substance inside of the disc squeezes out.  It puts pressure on the nerve in the spinal column creating pain.


    When standing straight, the back supports 70-80% of body weight.  For example, a 200lb person’s spine supports 160lbs.  Bending at the waist, the weight the back supports increases by 6 times. (160lbs. X 6 = 960lbs.)

    Lifting a weight of 45 lbs. while bending, multiplies the weight the back must lift by 6. (45lbs. X 6 = 270lbs.)  Therefore, a 200lb. person incorrectly lifting a 45lb. object is forcing the spine to support 1,230lbs. (960lbs. + 270lbs. =1,230lbs.)


    Your back is very prone to muscle tension.  When you get a muscle spasm, you will know by the jabbing pain.  You also may feel a knot in the muscle.  This is the muscle contracting.  It is the body’s natural way of preventing more damage to your spine.  The spasm chokes off the oxygen and circulation.  Lactic acid and other waste products build up in the muscle.  The muscle gets more stiff and shortens.  This causes pressure on the spine.  The spine becomes “locked” and you can no longer move freely.


    It takes effort to relax muscles in this cycle.  The body tends to tense up even more from pain.  To break the pain cycle:

    • Find your comfort zone and hold your body in that position in whatever activity you do. Keep in mind good posture.  Stand and sit erect with your feet planted firmly on the ground.  Keep the hips tilted slightly forward with the abdomen and buttocks firm.
    • During the first 24 hours, ice and rest are the best ways to take care of a muscle spasm. Apply an ice bag for 10-15 minutes.  Repeat once or twice over the next 8-12 hours.  Heat can be used after the first 24 hours.  Never use a heating pad for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.
    • Medication may help relax painful muscles. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are the best over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs.  Use prescription muscle relaxants or sedatives carefully.  They actually disrupts true relaxation and sleep.  Alcohol or illegal drugs only mask pain temporarily and prolong the pain cycle.
    • Relax your mind. Sit or lie comfortably. Tighten each muscle for the count of 5.  Relax and breathe deeply after tensing each muscle.
    • If you continue to experience pain that cannot be relieved with changing positions , applying ice, massage, or relaxation, consult your doctor.


    • Plan each lift before you start, including the path you will be traveling.
    • Size up the load. Can you carry it or do you need help?
    • Get any needed equipment to help transport the load - including a hand truck, pushcart, forklift or wheelbarrow. Use snug-fitting gloves to help you grip the load you’re about to lift.
    • Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible.
    • Crouch, don’t squat.
    • Get close to the load, and hug it to your body before lifting.
    • Keep your head, shoulders, and hips in a straight line.
    • Reverse the steps for lifting when setting the load down - keeping the pressure on your arms and legs, not on your back.
    • Prevent back strains by not bending at the waist to pick up any object.


    Keeping your body strong and flexible is your best insurance against back injury.

    • Do strengthening exercises to build support for your spine. They strengthen the abdomen and lower back.
    • Move your body on a regular basis. Whole body exercises, like brisk walking, bike riding, and swimming improve circulation and help tone all the muscles in the body.  Exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes a session will help you stay in shape.
    • Extra weight can place more stress on your back. When you stay at your proper weight, you take much of the strain off your back.
    • Stretch to increase flexibility. Get in the habit of stretching every day.


    • Let your abdomen, legs, and buttocks do the work.
    • Get close to the load. Grab the load safely with your hands placed under the object.
    • Bend your knees, with feet slightly spread for balance and stability.
    • Keep your head, shoulders, and hips in a straight line as you lift. Do not twist.
    • Reverse these steps when you set a load down. Move slowly and smoothly without twisting.
    • To change direction of carry, do not twist. This is especially crucial when doing repetitive lifting.  Turn your entire body, including your feet.
    • Never lift from a sitting position. Sitting puts more pressure on the spine. Stand before you lift.
    • Push rather than pull a load.

    When the object is too heavy for one person to lift, admit it and get some help.

    Back Safety

    Back Safety - OSHA Safety Training: For many employees, back injuries are something that "happens to the other person... not to me." Yet four out of five people will experience some type of back problems during their lives. And many back injuries are caused by common activities experienced both on and off the job... such as lifting, climbing, reaching, etc.

    Our training products on "Back Safety" emphasize the importance of overall back care, both at work and at home, including exercises and weight control. Topics covered in these products include:

    • How the back works.
    • Common types and causes of back injuries.
    • Effects of back injuries.
    • Injury prevention and safety practices.
    • Proper lifting techniques.
    • and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Back Safety Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location


  • ACCIDENTS - It Can't Happen to Me

    Accidents happen to other people. Car accidents happen to other people, work injuries happen to other people. Yes, accidents do happen to other people, but the lucky ones never experience an accident. Well, if that's a true statement, we'd all be wearing our lucky charms all the time. Luck has nothing to do with it, but accident prevention is each individual's responsibility.

    Why do people think that accidents only happen to someone else? One of the best reasons is a person may have worked safely for many years without an injury and truly believes that an accident will not happen. There are many other reasons or rationalization that can be used to explain how accidents happen to other people, but let's for get that for now.

    Accidents and injuries can be prevented, so let's begin that journey right now.

    If you look at the word accident itself, it's defined as an unplanned, uncontrollable event..... When you use the word uncontrollable, that means it can't be controlled.

    Experience has demonstrated that accidents can be controlled. Right away, that tells you the word accident should not be used in what we normally call an accident.

    It may be unplanned, but it can be controlled. For the time being, everyone is familiar with the word accident, so we'll continue to use it, just keep in mind that accidents can be controlled.

    What causes accidents? There may be several causes contributing to an accident... lack of knowledge, taking short cuts, not paying attention to the job, violating safety rules and others, caused by the behavior of the individual. There may be causes related to unsafe conditions or safety hazards that contribute to the accident. A combination of unsafe behavior and unsafe conditions can cause accidents. Accident investigation is conducted to determine the cause of all accidents so corrective action can be taken to prevent a similar occurrence in the future; not to find fault or blame, but the cause of the accident.

    When you determine what caused an accident, you can do something about it so it won't
    happen again. That's basic safety information, but it's something you should keep in mind to help maintain a good attitude about accident prevention.

    Are accidents ever caused by something beyond an individual's control? Quite obviously, since the action or failure of action by another individual can lead to an accident of someone not involved. It happens everyday. There have been thousands and thousands of fatalities of employees who weren't doing anything unsafe, but got caught in the process of some other accident cause.

    How about those deaths resulting from cave-ins? Its’ straight fact that no employee would ever go into a trench, if they knew it was going to cave in. No one would ever stay at hotel, if they knew that particular hotel was going to catch on fire during their stay.

    There's always a sense of security about the job you're performing, and you fully believe that nothing will go wrong. It's when you let your guard down, by believing in this false sense of security that accidents occur.
    We could go on and on, but the point we want to make is..... accidents and injuries can be prevented. Nothing mysterious about the process, no magic....... but each individual must
    take the responsibility to avoid accident causes.

    How about those back injuries? Can they be prevented? After all, the back is a weak link in our anatomical being, so how can back injuries be prevented? By keeping your back healthy through exercise and using your knowledge to lift safely, every time you lift anything. It's not good enough to know how to lift safely. You have to practice it every time you lift anything. You need the knowledge of how your back works, so you can make the right decision how to lift safely even when you can't bend your legs. It's thinking about your back and not taking chances....every day, on every job.

    There are thousands of safety rules, regulations and certainly your organization's policies and procedures relating to safety. It's up to each individual to be aware of safety, exercise good judgment and to perform every job in a safe and healthy manner. No more, no less. You've heard it from the people who have witnessed or experienced accidents and injuries. You've probably witnessed or experienced accidents yourselves, but the moral of the story is that accidents don't just happen to other people. They are caused by something or someone. If you eliminate the cause of accidents, you're on your way to an accident free workplace and lifetime.

    Safety works in your home also. It works when you're driving your automobile. It works when you decide to make it work. Right now, commit to taking safety seriously and you'll find that accident prevention is a piece of cake.

    OSHA Safety Training & DOT, Oil & Gas, Maritime, Forklift, Construction & HAZMAT From OSHA Safety Series Training and Federal Title 29 CFR to Forklift Safety, to Petrochemical and Maritime OSHA Compliance, we have Books, Manuals, CDs, DVDs, Videos, Training Materials, Safety Kits, Forms, Safety Posters & much more to make sure that your are compliant with not only the Department of Labor and Department of Transportation rules and regulations but also keeping you properly informed about how to properly protect your workforce on a day-to-day basis. Whether its a construction site, hauling hazardous waste or working as a longshoreman, there are specific federal rules and regulations that need to be followed and kept up-to-date with. We are here to make sure that you have available the most most up-to-date, thorough, yet easy to understand material and information on the ever-changing codes of the CFR. Books, DVDs, Update Services on DOT/49 CFR Standards, Petrochemical and Maritime Regulations, Cal/OSHA Safety Regulations, 1910 and 1926 Parts and much more! OSHA Safety Training & DOT, Oil & Gas, Maritime, Forklift, Construction & HAZMAT
    From OSHA Safety Series Training and Federal Title 29 CFR to Forklift Safety, to Petrochemical and Maritime OSHA Compliance, we have Books, Manuals, CDs, DVDs, Videos, Training Materials, Safety Kits, Forms, Safety Posters & much more to make sure that your are compliant with not only the Department of Labor and Department of Transportation rules and regulations but also keeping you properly informed about how to properly protect your workforce on a day-to-day basis. Whether its a construction site, hauling hazardous waste or working as a longshoreman, there are specific federal rules and regulations that need to be followed and kept up-to-date with. We are here to make sure that you have available the most most up-to-date, thorough, yet easy to understand material and information on the ever-changing codes of the CFR.
    Books, DVDs, Update Services on DOT/49 CFR Standards, Petrochemical and Maritime Regulations, Cal/OSHA Safety Regulations, 1910 and 1926 Parts and much more!
  • Confined Space Entry

    Confined SpaceFederal OSHA-required practices and procedures were designed to protect employees in general industry from the hazards of entry into permit-required confined spaces.

    Confined Space Entries are never routine. Even though there are numerous types of protective gear, equipment, and procedures available, the potential for accident or injury is always present. Each entry has risks, and the risks change in each new environment. Some of the hazards can include low oxygen levels, gas leaks, toxic fumes, entrapment, and even structural collapse.

    In order to prevent unnecessary injury, the OSHA Confined Space Entry Standard (1910.146) requires that employers establish a program that identifies the proper procedures and materials to be used to protect employees working in and near confined spaces.

    "Confined Space” means a space that:

    (1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and,
    (2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.); and,
    (3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

    A “Permit Required Confined Space” is:

    A confined space that may be accompanied by a potential hazard, and which requires a written “Entry Permit” before work can begin.
    Spaces that require an Entry Permit include environments that have:

    • A hazardous atmosphere.
    • Materials that can engulf a worker,
    • A configuration that could trap or asphyxiate a worker.
    • Any other recognized serious safety or health hazard

    Warning Signs must be posted at entrances to all Permit Spaces to let you know that a written Permit is required for entry. When entry into the space is required, an Entry Supervisor must fill out and sign the permit before any entry activity can begin.

    Permits for Confined Space Entry must include information about:

    • The Permit Space to be entered,
    • The purpose of the entry,
    • The date of the entry,
    • The duration of the entry

    The permit must also list the Entry Team members, the hazards associated with the particular space, and information about the atmospheric testing that has been conducted. Other sections of the permit require information about rescue and emergency procedures, Personal Protective Equipment, and communications. Permits must be kept on file for at least one year.

    Training in Confined Space Entry must be provided to all members of an entry team. This includes Entry Supervisors, Attendants and Entrants.

    An entry team needs to know how to:

    • Set up safety barriers
    • Use ladders and other entry / exit gear
    • Use atmospheric monitoring devices
    • Implement “forced air” ventilation
    • Operate communications devices

    Rescue and emergency services teams must also receive special training in First Aid and CPR practices.

    Before beginning work, all members of the entry team have responsibilities that must be addressed to ensure a safe operation.

    Entry Supervisors

    Entry Supervisors must make sure that no present or likely dangers exist, that atmospheric tests have been performed, safety equipment is in place, communication systems are operational, and emergency rescue equipment is on hand.

    Other responsibilities of Supervisors are to clear unauthorized personnel from the area, and to ensure that entry operations stay within Permit guidelines.


    Attendants must be able to monitor entrant activity, assist with entry and exit, maintain constant communication with Entrants, and recognize symptoms of health hazards (such as oxygen deprivation).


    Entrants who enter Confined Spaces must wear chest or full-body harnesses to facilitate their rescue. A retrieval line can be attached to the harness at the center of the back, upper shoulders or chest, with the other end of the line hooked to a fixed anchor or retrieval device outside the space. The only time that non-entry retrieval systems do not have to be used is if they would increase the Entrant’s risk during entry.
    Atmospheric Testing

    There are three atmospheric tests that must be conducted for all Confined Spaces. These tests are overseen by the Entry Supervisor and must be performed by qualified personnel, using “direct reading, “ calibrated instruments. The tests must be performed in the following order:

    • Oxygen Content must be between 19.5% and 23.5%. An atmosphere with less than 19.5% oxygen is an asphyxiation hazard, over 23.5% is a fire / explosion hazard.

    • Flammable Gases, Vapors, and Dusts may not exceed 10% of their Lower Flammability / Explosive limits.

    • General Gases, Vapors, and Fumes which may present a toxic or poisonous atmosphere must be detected.

    Atmospheric testing must be performed periodically during the Entry to ensure that safe conditions continue to exist. Since gases and vapors can weigh different amounts, they frequently “stratify” within a space. Spaces with stratified atmosphere must be tested four feet at a time to identify potential hazards.

    If a space cannot be isolated for testing because it is too large, or part of a continuous system (such as a sewer), testing must be done to the extent that it is feasible. Monitoring must be continuous, and any atmospheric hazards must be eliminated or controlled for Entry to take place.

    Entry Supervisors may arrange to have continuous, forced-air ventilation set up, or respirators / SCBA’s may be required. Never ventilate a space with pure oxygen, as it can create a fire or explosion hazard.

    Non-Atmospheric Hazards can include “engulfment” by materials like sand or grain, moving machinery, and electrical equipment and lines. When machinery and hazardous energy sources are present, Lockout / Tagout procedures must be followed. Stored energy that may still exist even after being Locked Out can include Pneumatic Energy, Electricity, Compressed Gases, and Hydraulic Energy.


    • There are many kinds of Confined Spaces, and hazards.
    • Written Entry Permits are required for hazardous sites.
    • PPE should always be used in Confined Spaces.
    • Atmospheric tests must always be performed.
    • Entrants must wear body harnesses at all times.
    • Good communication is the key to safety in Confined Spaces.


    Please answer the following questions, then discuss with the class.

    1. What are some of the hazards that could be present in a Confined Space?

    2. According to OSHA, is it possible that there can be too much oxygen in a Confined Space?

    3. What does it mean when a Confined Space contains gases that are Stratified?

    4. What kind of safety equipment should be worn/used by Entrants in a Confined

    5.   Why do some Confined Spaces require “Entry Permits?”

  • Things to Know in the Snow

    What should you know about the snow?

    Winter Emergency Preparedness KitHeavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding commuters, closing airports, stopping the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services. In 2015, Boston broke the all­-time winter seasonal snowfall record.

    However, dangerous conditions can still form when only a small amount of snow and ice form.  Cars driving over very cold pavement can temporarily melt snow. But those cold temperatures can refreeze that water back into ice. In 2014, less than three inches of snow paralyzed Atlanta, trapping children in schools and forcing drivers to spend the night in their cars.

    What to Do: Make sure you have food, water, and blankets in your trunk. Stay off the roads when advised to do so by local authorities. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged when a storm is approaching and also anytime you’re planning to leave the house. It could become your lifeline should disaster strike. For winter driving safety tips, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FEMA's Car Safety site.

    Are you Winter Ready? Are you Winter Ready?
  • How to Manage OSHA Inspections and Investigations

    Perhaps of all of the interactions that occur with regulatory agencies, the unannounced OSHA inspection is the most stressful, and least understood by business owners. The key to managing a surprise OSHA Inspection or a letter of complaint directed at your company is to understand what the process is and what the OSHA inspectors are looking for.

    Some "Easy Steps to Avoid OSHA Issues" include:

    • Make sure to OSHA Records are always up to date
    • Have OSHA Compliant First Aid kits and Cabinets stocked and ready
    • Keep staff current on Safety Training


    Accident Investigation - OSHA Safety Training: "Accidents will happen". We have all heard that statement before. Unfortunately, sometimes it is true. In spite of our best efforts, things occasionally do go wrong. While many accidents seem to happen for obvious reasons, there may be things that contribute to an accident which are not always apparent. That is why it is vital to conduct a thorough Accident Investigation.

    Our training products on "Accident Investigation" show employees steps that are taken in an accident investigation, and highlight how important it is for employees to fully cooperate with any inquiry. They also point out that while an investigation's focus is to determine the cause of an accident, the overall goal is to prevent similar accidents from happening again. The topics covered in the products include:

    • ~ The goals of an accident investigation.
    • ~ Securing an accident scene.
    • ~ "Root-cause" analysis.
    • ~ The importance of investigative interviews.
    • ~ Assisting in an accident investigation.
    • ~ Reporting the "near misses".
    • ~ The role of policies, equipment and training on accident prevention.
    • ,,,and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Accident Investigation Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location


    Consider the "triggers" and events that occur during an inspection by OSHA. Learn ways to mitigate the results of an inspection, and the consequences of an inspection. Fines and possible penalties are also discussed.

    Know the reasons for an OSHA inspection and ways to attempt to prevent an inspection from occurring. However, should an inspection occur, manage an inspection to reduce the negative results that may occur, as well reducing penalties and fines. Know the current fees associated with the various types of findings in an OSHA inspection.

    What is the process is for an OSHA inspection? How should you respond to a letter of complaint?  Research the helpful resources at OSHA provided so that business owners and safety personnel have a better understanding and feel more in control of the situation when OSHA inspectors arrive at on-site, especially if they arrive unannounced.

    Points to consider:

    • Steps to take to avoid an OSHA Inspection
    • Understand the reasons for an OSHA Inspection
    • Understand what the inspector will do during the inspection
    • Help you understand how employees and unions fit into the inspection
    • Learn what to expect during an OSHA visit
    • Decide how to conduct yourself during a surprise inspection
    • Steps to take to avoid as many problems as possible during the inspection
    • Steps to take immediately following the inspection

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