The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Sixth Day


Santa received a notice of violation(1910.134) Respiratory Protection and this is #5 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

Your lungs bring fresh oxygen to your brain, organs, and tissues via the circulatory system and then expel carbon dioxide with every breath you take.  When O2 levels are where they should be, your body functions at its peak.  However, your lungs can also transport toxins to those very same organs while also damaging themselves over a period of time causing debilitating diseases and a slow death when oxygen can no longer reach and organs fail in some instances, contact with the toxic fumes can bring instant death.  It turns out Santa’s fore-elf, due to his own ignorance was not insisting that the elves wear their respirators properly in the paint shop.  Because of their beards, the respirators were not fitting correctly and leaving a gap in protection and allowing fumes to accumulate in the mask rendering it useless.

Working with solvents, chemicals, paints, lubricants, dust-producing equipment, and any other toxic air-causing materials is a dangerous job.  Some hazards are easy to see like sawdust at a mill and some are colorless and hard to detect but all are toxic to your lungs and when working with them in a confined area like a paint shed or storeroom it makes their effects even stronger and without proper protection can overwhelm you in seconds rendering you unconscious and death.  There have been incidents, luckily not at Santa’s workshop where someone passed out after entering an area with toxic fumes and the next person rushes in to rescue them, without a respirator, only to succumb to those same fumes themselves because they are so overpowering and both workers wound up dying.

When working under these conditions like a wood mill or paint room at Santa’s workshop

  1. Choose the correct mask for the job.
  2. Even if it has a venting system you still must wear the properly rated respirator to protect yourself.
  3. No matter what type of mask you need to wear, they need to fit tightly on your face so there are no gaps to allow dust or toxins in.  The vendor will work with your employees to teach and accomplish that.
  4. That means you may have to shave facial hair to ensure that tight fit.
  5. Training on how to wear their respirators and as always, document the training.
  6. Take proper care of the respirator and clean and change filters per the manufacturer’s instructions only and never make alterations to the respirator.
  7. If respirators are part of an emergency response kit make sure to test and check them to ensure their availability when needed.

Santa continues to work with OSHA while upgrading the workshop into the twenty-first century.  It won’t happen overnight but then Santa is magic.


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