How Your Beard Impacts Respiratory Protection

Source: NIOSH

As the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes, during November many people participate in campaigns to raise money for various causes by growing out their facial hair. But if your job requires a tight fitting respirator, many different facial hair styles are a no-go.

The graphic above (produced by NIOSH) highlights dozens of facial hair styles and if they would interfere with a proper respirator seal. A respirator needs to seal tightly against the face, or else harmful gases, vapors, or particles can enter the lungs.

According to NIOSH, some studies have shown that even a day or two of stubble can reduce the protection that a respirator provides. Facial hair under the seal can cause causes 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to clean-shaven individuals.

But this graphic should only be used as a guide. A respiratory fit test needs to be performed to ensure that a respirator fits a worker properly. Our team of experts here at SCT conduct hundreds of fit tests each year to help keep our clients safe on the job.

Respiratory protection has received a renewed focus in workplace safety with the updated silica standard in construction going into effect in September 2017. Check out our video below to learn a bit more about silica protection and what to expect from a respiratory fit test.

Need a respiratory fit test for you or your employees? Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.


SCT VP Delivers Training at Conference on Glass Problems

Dragan Savic, SCT Vice President of Glass Technology and Safety Staff Augmentation, spent the first day of the 78th Annual Conference on Glass Problems in the classroom delivering a safety training short course.

His presentation, “Exploring the Safety Landscape of Silica, Confined Space and Hexavalent Chromium in the Glass Industry,” focused on the serious health consequences for workers, as well as any and all updated/new regulatory guidelines on the three content areas. Mr. Savic will also wrap up the Conference on Glass Problems by presenting at the GMIC Symposium on November 9th.

The majority of SCT’s traveling Occupational Safety and Health Technicians, who are directed by Mr. Savic, work within the Glass Manufacturing Industry as safety leaders and managers on glass furnace demolition and rebuild projects. With personnel on the front lines of glass projects, SCT’s safety experts regularly abate hazard exposures, and that includes those relating to silica, confined space, and hexavalent chromium.

Trainings, like Mr. Savic’s, are crucial for supervisors and workers within the glass manufacturing industry to receive, understand and share this important safety information.

We’ve written extensively about the importance of silica training before and have updated training courses that comply with OSHA’s 2016 new final rule. If it isn’t already, silica should be a major priority for all involved in any aspect of the construction sector and general industry going into 2018.

The confined space standard, which was updated a couple years back, covers another critical hazardous safety area in which employers need to be up to date on all relevant training. At SCT, we have both an in-house hands-on training facility and a mobile training simulator that prepares students with a rigorous practical curriculum on confined space and fall protection.

To talk with one of our safety experts about how SCT can help protect your employees and help your business flourish at 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out the contact form below!


Electrocutions Decrease in Construction Industry

New research published by the Center for Construction Research and Training (formerly known as the Center for Protecting Workers’ Rights and still uses the acronym CPWR) highlights the danger that electrocution poses to the construction industry.

Electrocutions are one of construction’s so-called Fatal Four, along with falls, struck by object, and caught in/between. If you want to learn more about these hazards, check out our video series below.

First, the good news: between 2003 and 2015, electrocution deaths in construction decreased by 39%, and overall construction fatalities fell 16%.

The bad news? Eighty-two construction workers were still electrocuted in 2015, which accounted for 61% of all work-related electrocution deaths in the U.S. This was more than the electrocutions deaths in all other industries combined.

Plus, the number of workers killed by electrocution has increased every year since 2012. While the rate of electrocutions decreased significantly from 2003 to 2015, the 0.8 electrocutions per 100,000 full time equivalent workers in 2015 was actually a 9% increase from 2014.

From 2011-2015 , the most common primary source of electrocution was, predictably, electrical parts, which include power lines, transformers, electrical wiring, extension cords, switches, and fuses. Ladders and hand tools were next on the list, acting as the primary source in electrocution deaths in 29 and 28 cases, respectively.

The CPWR document also features a lengthy table with solutions for various electrical  hazards, including using engineering controls such as surge protectors or non-conductive ladders, proper PPE like rubber gloves, or safety measures like regular tool inspection.

The best way to ensure that all of those safety solutions are as effective as possible is to properly train all employees. At SCT, our team of OSHA experts can review your company’s safety policies and update anything that needs to be improved. Then we’ll handle all of your training needs. We can host you at our facilities in Middleburg Heights, OH, or Hillside, IL, or we can travel directly to your workplace.

Contact us today at 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out the contact form below.



FedEx Vice President Nominated to Lead OSHA

President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Scott Mugno to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), established by the OSH Act in 1970, is a federal agency tasked with ensuring the safety and health of workers across the United States.

Mugno is currently the Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, PA. Previously, he was the Managing Director for FedEx Express Corporate Safety, Health and Fire Protection in Memphis, TN. He has been employed at the company since 1994.

Mugno also twice received the company’s highest honor, the FedEx Five Star Award, for his safety leadership, according to the White House’s statement.

According to EHS Today, Mugno oversees 200 EHS and maintenance employees across four departments who are “focused on creating a safe work environment for 95,000 team members and the public.”

If Mugno’s nomination is approved, he will replace Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt, who has held that position since July 2017.

SCT hires National Director of Risk Management

Chicago, IL – SCT continues to grow its world-class team of safety professionals, and we’re excited to welcome John Tuisl as the National Director of Risk Management Services.

Mr. Tuisl, who holds the ARM (Associate in Risk Management) and CRIS (Construction Risk Insurance Specialist) designations, will spearhead SCT’s risk management services and will assist our OSHA expert witness staff with litigation management, loss investigations, and claims management.

“We are very excited about the addition of John Tuisl to the SCT team. John brings a tremendous amount of experience to the table with over 22 years in the construction risk management and safety and health fields,” said Nick Walters, SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services.

“John has built risk management and safety departments from the ground up for heavy civil contractors, construction management, building contractors and project owners. His experience includes a unique blend of executive level leadership for both construction companies and one of the largest insurance brokers in the country.”

Mr. Tuisl began his career as a Combat Engineer in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1989. He then went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology with a minor in safety at Northern Illinois University in 1992.

Starting as a Risk Management Department Safety Engineer, Mr. Tuisl worked his way up the corporate ladder working in the public and private sectors as a Chief Safety Officer, Corporate Risk Manager, Area Executive Vice President, Director of Risk Management, and Vice President of Risk Management and Safety.

Most recently, Mr. Tuisl provided risk management support to construction clients and large project teams as Senior Vice President/Central Region Account Executive Leader at Aon Construction Services Group, which he joined in 2013.

Mr. Tuisl’s areas of expertise include OCIP/CCIP Project Solutions, Claims Resolution, Large Project Risk Management Solutions, Construction Risk Management and Safety, Contracts Evaluation, and Builders Risk and Casualty.
He is also a former 10-hour OSHA Outreach Instructor for the Chicagoland Construction Safety Council.

“We are confident that John’s experience will allow SCT to expand our footprint in the insurance and construction safety staff augmentation areas,” added SCT VP Walters.

New Bill Would Require Safety Review of Federal Contractors

Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives in an effort to make federal contractors more accountable for the safety of their employees.

If the Contractor Accountability and Workplace Safety Act passes into law, the Department of Defense (DoD) must review past labor law violations of contractors that bid on contracts worth $1 million or more. The contracting officers who decide which companies are awarded contracts must check OSHA inspection records of the contractors and subcontractors, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Additionally,  the DoD must train these officers on how to evaluate the safety records. The Government Accountability Office would also review DoD’s procedures to ensure they are being carried out effectively.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), is similar to a bill introduced by Sen. Diane Warren (D-MA) earlier this year.

In March 2017, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which required some federal contractors to disclose any of a set of 14 labor law violations during the past three years, was revoked.

Currently, potential government contractors are reviewed, but the the vetting process focuses more on “business related behavior and not on worker protections,” according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Trying to earn a government contract? Ensure your safety programs reach all standards by contacting the experts at SCT. Call at 1-800-204-1729 or use the contact form below.



A Day in the Life of an SCT Safety Technician

In our continuing look into our Glass and Safety Staffing Division, our new video gives a detailed look at the everyday responsibilities of our Safety and Health Technicians.

Our techs are on job sites 24/7 during glass furnace demolition/rebuild projects or any other workplaces where it’s important to have a safety expert on hand.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss a new safety video from us.

Fire Safety at Work

As the temperatures drop, many office workers bring out the sweaters and personal space heaters to ward off the chill. According to a report from the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties every year.

The Statistics

The report, “U.S. Structure Fires in Offices Properties,” draws its conclusions from evaluating a five-year period (2007-2011). The fires during this time caused an annual average of four civilian deaths, 44 civilian fire injuries, and $112 million in direct property damage. The number of fires, while still large, is a clear reduction from office fires reported in 1980, which was 10,570. In 2011, there were 3,050 structure fires, a reduction of 71 percent in the 31-year span.

More than a quarter of office fires (29 percent) were caused by cooking equipment, though these fires accounted for only six percent of direct property damage. Intentionally set fires caused the highest share of property damage at 20 percent, but only account for 10 percent of all office fires.

If present, sprinklers operated 90 percent of the time for fires big enough to activate the sprinkler systems, and the sprinklers were effective for 88 percent of those fires. The rate of fatalities per 1,000 fires was 62 percent lower in offices and stores equipped with sprinklers compared to buildings with no such equipment, according to the report.

How to Prevent Office Fires has 12 tips to help business create a fire-safe workplace. Safety Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1934 with the mission “to reduce injuries and save lives by empowering our community to make positive life changing decisions. We accomplish this mission by promoting lifelong safety and health through a variety of community and professional programs.”

The 12 safety tips follow common sense fire safety procedures and align with similar recommendations from OSHA and NFPA. Highlights include:

  • Practicing good housekeeping and removing accumulations of material that could fuel a fire or prevent access to exits and emergency equipment.
  • Having and maintaining appropriate fire extinguishers, AND having staff trained on how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Working sprinkler systems and smoke detectors that are regularly maintained and tested.

Possible Solution: Emergency Action Plans!

Many workplaces benefit from Emergency Action Plans, or EAPs. They are designed to assist workers facing emergencies at the office/worksite. Well implemented EAPs include training for all employees, and should identify workers who are designated with specific tasks in case of an emergency. For example, in case of a fire, an EAP will identify who should call 9-1-1, who should lead building evacuation efforts, and who has the responsibility and capability of using a fire extinguisher.

We talked about EAPs in one of our Small Business Corner videos last year. Check it out below!

Want help creating an EAP for your company? Give the safety experts at SCT a call at 1-800-204-1729 or contact us via the form below!



Silica Enforcement Is Here

October 23, 2017, marks the end of the 30 days of compliance assistance offered to employers taking good faith efforts to follow OSHA’s new construction silica standard. On October 19, Thomas Galassi, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued an Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard.

“Effective October 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard’s companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field,” according to the announcement.

The interim guidance was released to all OSHA regional administrators, as well as to the public. It includes detailed outlines related to inspection guidance and citation guidance. From the documents, areas of high priority include:

  • Following Table 1 parameters
  • Exposure Assessment Options, both Performance and Scheduled Monitoring
  • Methods of Compliance
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Housekeeping Practices
  • Written Exposure Control Plan
  • Medical Surveillance
  • Communication of Hazards

SCT offers updated training classes and program assistance to help transition companies into compliance with the new OSHA standard. Check out our specialized Silica webpage here.

We’ve done numerous videos on the new silica standard and what employers need to do to be in compliance. Check out our latest silica video below!

Want more information? Call us today at 1-800-204-1729 to discuss your silica compliance plans.

SCT VP to Present at Glass Problems Conference

Next month, SCT will be in Columbus, OH, for the 78th Conference on Glass Problems. We have attended this great event in the past, but this year we’re taking on a larger role.

SCT Vice President of Glass Technology and Safety Staff Augmentation Dragan Savic will lead numerous presentations during the conference covering the latest in glass manufacturing safety concerns, including silica and hexavalent chromium.

If you’re going to be at the conference from Nov. 6 through 9, be sure to stop by Booth 313 to meet the rest of our team, including Senior Vice President Jim Joyce and Staff Augmentation Specialist Aaron Zaksheske.

Watch our video below to find the rest of the details you need.

Click here to learn more about our Safety Staffing Services.