Video Series Tackles Construction’s Fatal Four

The Fatal Four in Construction – falls, struck by, caught in/between, and electrocutions – account for more than half of all worker deaths in the industry. At SCT, we want to do our part to protect as many workers as possible from preventable injury and death.

Throughout this month, we will release videos on each of those topics, presented by our own Vice President of Safety Engineering Services Nick Walters, who was formerly the Regional Administrator of OSHA Region V.

Check out the video above to learn about some common electrocution hazards found at many construction sites. Be sure to Like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you never miss a safety video from our team of experts.

 

SCT Community Engagement: SnakeBite Racing places well at Burning River 100

SCT is a proud sponsor of many groups and events in Northeast Ohio. Our community is important to us, and when we can highlight the amazing work and achievements of individuals, especially those within our safety family, we’re happy to give them a shoutout.

Last weekend, the Burning River 100 took place in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This race features a 100 mile solo event, 50 mile solo event, and 4 and 8 person relay events. It brings in ultrarunners from around the country, is a Western States qualifier, UTMB qualifier, and the 3rd leg of the Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. SnakeBite Racing had several people participating.

Team Burning Legs, featured in the top photo, completed the 100+ mile course in 19:20:27 placing 12th out of 40 co-ed 8 person relay teams. Pictured in the photo above front row left to right: Pamela Semanik (Summit Freewheelers), Aimee Milward (SnakeBite), Kelly Baker (SnakeBite), Andrea Chisnell (Team Stelleri).  Back row left to right; David Semanik (Team Captain, Summit Freewheelers), Eric Gibb (SnakeBite), Theresa Kushner, Rudy Sroka (Team Lake Effect) lighting the way via mountain bike for his wife and anchor runner Julie Sroka (Team Lake Effect) whose face is partially blocked by Andrea.

“That photo was taken around 1:30 am after Julie crossed the finish line, and we’re all a little delirious,” SCT Senior Field and Research Analyst Kelly Baker said of the photo above.

Kelly Baker, our Senior Research and Field Analyst, has been a member of SnakeBite Racing for six years. At the end of the day, you’ll often see Kelly outfitted in her racing gear headed off to a grueling practice session. And keep in mind that’s after working 8 or more hours on solving safety problems and writing comprehensive reports for her clients.

Kelly, your energy and enthusiasm at work and on the track is a model we should all strive for! Congratulations to you, the Burning Legs relay team, and all members of SnakeBite Racing on your successes last weekend. SCT is proud to be a sponsor!

Additional results from 2017 Burning River 100, SnakeBite Racing Team Members:

100 Mile Solo– Steve McGowan completed the 100 mile solo event and was paced for the last 30 miles by his wife and fellow SnakeBite Racing athlete Pam McGowan

4 Person Relay–  Teammates Mark Durno, Mike Mayer, and Melanie Prohaska-Miller all competed as part of two 4 person relay teams.

8 Person Relay– Aimee Milward, Eric Gibb, Kelly Baker, Jason Fecker, and Jen Borovica all competed on 8 person relay teams.

Bloodborne Pathogens a Constant Healthcare Hazard

Nearly 6 million workers in healthcare and related fields are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, which can cause a host of serious diseases including hepatitis and HIV.

In our third video focusing on Safety Hurdles in Healthcare, find out what OSHA requires to properly protect your employees from exposure to this potentially deadly occupational hazard.

Missed an earlier video in the series? We’ve got them all right here. And while you’re at our YouTube Channel, be sure to check out the rest of our safety videos covering topics including ladder safety and outdoor working hazards.

For all of your occupational health and safety needs, contact the experts at SCT. Want to learn more about our team? Click here! 

SCT gains IDEM approval for Asbestos Training

SCT now adds a new endorsement under its belt: approval for asbestos training by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Classes approved include the initial and refresher Asbestos Awareness Training courses for both asbestos workers and asbestos supervisors.

IDEM’s asbestos program is accredited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is something Ohio’s program does not have. The Ohio Department of Health does offer reciprocity for training programs approved by a USEPA accredited state. SCT is in the process of working on and anticipates gaining Ohio approval in the coming weeks.

Subsequently, SCT will work on obtaining reciprocity recognition or additional approval in states where it conducts regular business, including, but not limited to: California, Illinois, Texas, New York, and New Jersey.

Why do workers need Asbestos Awareness Training?

Workers who will be potentially exposed to asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are required to have training on handling, removing, and disposing of said materials. Workers must also receive training on all necessary personal protective equipment designed to protect them while working with ACM.

As we profiled back in October, which is “Healthy Lung Month,” exposure to asbestos is one of the two most common causes of lung problems amongst American workers. Asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, and other severe and chronic respiratory ailments. Symptoms and diseases caused by asbestos exposure may take many years to develop after exposure.

For all your occupational safety and health needs, contact the experts at SCT at 800-204-1729 or through our website contact form.

Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Industry

As we continue to examine the workplace hazards facing those in the healthcare industry, our new video focuses on workplace violence.

Unfortunately, workplace violence can occur in any industry. But statistics show that healthcare employees are one of the most at-risk industry sectors in the United States. Check out our video below to learn more about what OSHA recommends to curb violence in the workplace.

For all of your workplace safety and health needs, contact the experts at SCT. We can come to your job site, analyze potential hazards, design solutions, and train your employees to properly carry out proper safety protocol. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset – protect them. Businesses who expect the best turn to SCT.

Firework safety on the Fourth of July!

While we want all Americans to have a fun and celebratory Independence Day, as a safety company we feel a sense of obligation to talk about firework safety.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that fireworks ignite an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16, 900 outside and other fires, according to its website. An estimated 11,900 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2015, of which 51% of those were injuries to extremities and 41% were to the head.

Many of the victims involved in firework accidents are often children and teens using consumer fireworks. The NFPA has created a safety video to raise awareness about the hazards associated with using consumer fireworks.

Check out more fire-related safety videos on NFPA’s YouTube channel.

For fireworks retailers and display operators, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some recommendations for firework safety on its website:

OSHA Tips For Fireworks Retailers:

  • Keep exits clear and accessible
  • Know all exit routes
  • Maintain view of fireworks
  • Know alarm procedures
  • Know fire extinguisher location and operation
  • Remove and dispose of damaged fireworks
  • Remove loose pyrotechnic powder promptly
  • Use only non-sparking tools; do not use vacuum cleaners
  • Do not allow smoking within 50 feet of sales area
  • Keep facilities secure

OSHA Tips For Display Operators:

  • Make sure personnel are trained and competent
  • Obtain required licenses, permits and inspections
  • Maintain display site security and communications
  • Wear protective gear and proper clothing
  • Prohibit accidental ignition sources
  • Properly install mortar boxes, racks and drums
  • Keep fireworks cartons closed
  • Keep fireworks dry and in good condition
  • Always handle fireworks carefully
  • Stay away from loaded mortars

From the safety family at SCT, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

OSHA requests comment on Voluntary Protection Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling for public input and suggestions in order to strengthen its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).

An initiative designed to encourage private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, VPPs are a collaborative effort between management, labor and OSHA that commits to successful implementation of a comprehensive safety and health management system.

“As the Regional Administrator for OSHA’s Region V, I had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of folks from VPP sites, both management and workers,” said Nick Walters, SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services. “Every person that I spoke with commented about how VPP not only took their safety and health management systems to the next level, but they also emphasized the positive impact the process had on communication at their facilities which led to improved production, quality, and overall team morale.”

VPP sites have injury and illness rates that are, on average, significantly below their industry averages, Walters added.

Factors used to determine VPP qualification include:

  • management commitment and employee involvement
  • worksite analysis
  • hazard prevention and control
  • training

“These are all reasons that support the fact that implementing effective safety and health management systems and pursuing VPP makes good business sense,” Walters said. “In the 25 years that I worked for OSHA, by far, the best safety and health management systems that I saw being utilized were at VPP Star sites.”

SCT Senior Vice President Rob Medlock agreed with Walters’ assessment of VPPs adding, “VPPs are the pinnacle of voluntary compliance and have a positive impact on entire industries through mentorship and peer associations.”

Medlock, who served as the Area Director for the Cleveland Area OSHA Office for 20 years, offered one critique for OSHA’s VPPs.

“One area that OSHA needs to consider is the resource strain which VPP evaluations and monitoring place on the OSHA Area Offices conducting the VPP process,” he said. “VPP sites must be continually monitored and field assessments take a toll on the office resources.”

Given pending and potential budget cuts, Medlock said the agency should develop innovative ways to use competent outside consultants in a way that would ensure the integrity of the VPP system, and relieve stress on current staffing levels.

“While the SGE [special government employee] system is a needed supplement, there are never enough SGEs to fill the gaps and no incentive for SGEs to participate,” Medlock said. “A system where VPP sites can share in the costs of VPP certifications may be an option. OSHA could also consider privatizing, yet maintaining control over the VPP approval system such as they do in some states with the 7(c)(1) consultation service.”

The pilot VPP began as an experimental program in California, according to OSHA’s VPP webpage. The program was later rolled out nationally in 1982. Federal worksites gained VPP eligibility in 1998.

OSHA is hosting a stakeholder meeting on July 17, 2017, “to discuss the future direction of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The discussion will include comments and suggestions from the public on potential avenues for action,” according to an OSHA press release.

Questions being asked of stakeholders and the public include:

  • What can the agency do to enhance and encourage the efforts of employers, workers and unions to identify and address workplace hazards through the VPP?
  • How can the agency support increased participation in VPP while operating with available resources and maintaining the integrity of the program?
  • How can the agency modify VPP to enhance the efforts and engagement of long-term VPP participants?
  • How might the agency modify Corporate VPP for greater leverage and effectiveness?
  • How can the agency further leverage participant resources such as Special Government Employees?

The public can provide input and read others’ comments by visiting Regulations.Gov VPP Sustainability comment board. The period for public comments closes on September 15, 2017.

Want to better understand how VPPs work? To create your company’s new safety culture today contact Rob Medlock via email, RMedlock@sct.us.com, and phone, 800-204-1729; or contact Nick Walters via email, NWalters@sct.us.com, and phone, 708-382-2900.

**This blog post was updated June 29, 2017, at 9:45 am to include comments from SCT Senior Vice President Rob Medlock.**

Staying Safe while Working in Extreme Heat

As we approach the warm summer months here in the United States, millions of workers will have to battle the sun and heat while working outdoors.

If an employee or coworker succumbed to a heat-related illness such as heat stroke, would you know what to do? Watch our video for some helpful tips that could save a life.

To ensure your workers, both indoor and out, are prepared for all of the safety challenges that the workplace can bring, contact the experts at SCT.

Safe and Sound Week

We’re continuing our dive into Outdoor Working Hazards by discussing something that affects every single outdoor worker, no matter their occupation or location: the weather.

It’s also the first ever Safe and Sound Week, a national OSHA-led effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of proactive safety and health programs.

There’s still time to participate in this year’s Safe and Sound Week! Check out our video to learn a little more about the event, as well as tips on how to keep workers safe when severe weather strikes.

 

How to Participate

Need some help getting started? Here’s some advice:

  • Plan activities and events that include the core elements of a successful safety and health program: management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing hazards
  • Promote the events to your employees and the public
  • Get feedback and recognize your participation with a certificate from OSHA

You can also draw inspiration from others. Check out this selection of Tweets recognizing Safe and Sound Week.

 

National Forklift Safety Day

Not only does this week mark the first ever OSHA-sponsored Safe and Sound Week, but today, June 13, 2017, is also National Forklift Safety Day.

Each year, about forklift incidents result in about 61,800 non-serious injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 fatalities, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). About 42% of those accidents are people being crushed by a vehicle tipping over, and another 25% are people being crushed between vehicle and surface.

On National Forklift Safety Day, many groups including the Industrial Truck Association, are working to get the word out on the importance of proper forklift safety practices, especially the need for effective operator training. The ITA also meets with government officials on National Forklift Safety Day to discuss what lawmakers can do to help improve forklift safety nationwide.

Forklift Safety Tips

While a training course is needed to properly educate a forklift operator, here are some helpful tips to remember the next time you get behind the controls of a forklift according to OSHA:

  • Inspect the forklift for damage before each use, and if damage is found, report it to a supervisor
  • Know the load limit of your vehicle
  • Honk your horn at all cross aisles to help avoid collisions with pedestrians
  • Always look in the direction of travel. If the load blocks your view, travel in reverse
  • To avoid tipover, never turn while on a grade
  • Do not travel with the load elevated

Do you or your employees need forklift safety training? At SCT, we offer a handful of classes covering numerous powered industrial trucks, including forklifts. Contact us today by calling 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out our online form.