You Know The Drill

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In a recent twitter chat on workplace safety for #USAMfgHour one of the questions we posed to the group was, When was the last time you had an emergency evacuation or fire drill?”  I was not prepared at all for the responses and quite shocked as sadly they ranged from not at all to Not as often as we should.  It was disconcerting to think that employees may not know how to evacuate, respond in an emergency or where to assemble for a headcount.   

safety-training

I often harp about having drills and the associated training but only because I truly believe there is nothing more critical in any industry, then training and drills.  They help to improve employee’s skills, keeps them current with new trends and equipment, increase their self-confidence which becomes an added bonus of improving employee retention.  Drills are also a great opportunity to share information between management and employees and visa Versa on what’s working or not.  

As important as that is, it’s even more essential to drill, on not just how employees are to respond to an emergency but that they know what PPE is required and how to properly wear it along with any other equipment that is used during an emergency and that it is fully operational as well.   Make sure to drill and check any backup systems too. 

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Emergencies, disasters, catastrophes are funny things.  They happen when they want too, not when it’s convenient for us and that’s more than enough reason why all shifts especially those off shifts when most of management is gone, need to be trained and drilled responding to emergencies.  When an emergency happens every second counts when responding and that can make the difference between dying or surviving. 

One of the best ways to conduct a drill is to just make it one of your monthly safety meetings during your yearly slow period.  This way you can go the whole nine yards including use of hazmat suits, respirators and operating the pumps or vent fans.  Do it all and make sure it all works. Take notes on who/what goes right and who/what goes wrong.  Ask for your employees’ feedback on the drill, in fact, have a quality circle discussion on what do they think can be improved.  Make changes as needed and the written procedures reflect it and everyone has signed off on the training.  I held drills every six months for several reasons.  First to keep everyone on their toes, second improve the team’s response time and last but not least, would purposely swap out staff at different key responder positions since disasters also don’t know who’s on vacation or a new employee.

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Unfortunately, in this day and age, the reality is in addition to training and drilling for liquid spills, gas leaks or other mechanical issues you also need to have a plan to deal with an active shooter.  It’s not a great topic or something I ever had to deal with but you never know if a disgruntled employee or a jilted lover will show up unexpectedly to settle a score.  So you need a way to alert workers to shelter and place until law enforcement arrives.  

Some of us have “to go” bags or emergency survival kits in our homes for the purpose of giving some added insurance should a disaster hit our area.  There is no reason at all why you shouldn’t have one of these in your place of business as well.  Depending on your location, in the event of an earthquake, you may be cut off until help can arrive and those supplies would come in very handy.  Your safety committee can put it together and maintain it or you can make it a team-building project, either way, don’t delay.

If your company doesn’t hold drills you can always conduct your own during your lunch break.  Look and find where the closest emergency exits are, walk the evacuation route and locate the assembly area.  Safety is just as much your responsibility as the companies.  Take control of it and don’t become a victim.  When you begin a new job, your first job, internship, apprenticeship or seasonal work for any company and you do not receive any formal training and materials explaining what to do in an emergency, you need to find another job cause this company cares nothing about you and that’s the last place you want to die.

You should never feel unsafe on the job, you can’t be forced to put yourself in danger to do a job.  If you find yourself threatened or bullied make an anonymous call to the OSHA HOTLINE  1-800-321-6742  The life you save may be your own.

monkeyfallgearposter

 

It’s 9 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Contractors Are?

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As your company grows in sales and expands to accommodate more SKUs, greater inventory, new machinery, and additional employees at one time or another, your business is going to need help from an outside contractor.  They may be in the form of an engineering consultant, general contractor, painter or other types of specialists needed for a project well beyond your or your staffs’ current expertise.

When you make that final selection on your outside contractor before you sign anything make sure to do your homework and check up on their history.  If it all comes back good and you’re ready to offer a contract for the work to be done, on their first day at your facility they should be treated like any other new or temporary/seasonal worker that you bring in and participate in a safety orientation before doing anything. 

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Why?  They don’t know what your expectations are on safety and you don’t want to assume they do.  They don’t know your facility very well and you want to make sure as heck that they don’t contaminate your staff with their bad habits.  You also want to make sure they know that if their workers don’t follow those rules at your facility they’ll be banned from entering.  It’s your facility, your rules and you don’t need additional headaches because an outside contractor couldn’t follow direction and is now in need of medical attention.

You’d be amazed how many outside contractors are injured or killed every year on the job because they either cut corners on safety procedures, were traveling (via foot, electric cart, forklift) in an unfamiliar layout, lack of training or the company didn’t communicate instructions to them properly or incorrectly.  Here’s a contractor who’s paying a hefty fine for not following safety rules.  OSHA Fines Contractor $94K After Worker Burned At McDavid Sawmill and here’s another contractor being investigated for a chemical spill, OSHA investigating contractor B.L. Harbert over Birmingham Water Works chemical spill

As I stated earlier, it’s amazing the number of contractors injured or killed and it appears this is becoming a more serious problem as the numbers have increased.  A sharp rise in US contract workers killed on the job

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We hired an outside contractor to do some work on a new production line we were installing and it involved electrical and concrete work.  The main mode of transport within the facility was by man-lift, elevator or stairs with man-lift being the main one and the rule was if you rode the man-lift you didn’t carry a backpack, tools or other cumbersome items.  If you dropped it someone could be injured below or if it got caught riding up you could fall.  Our maintenance crew knew to take their carts and equipment up by the elevator.  The outside contractor didn’t go through any safety orientation as the company assumed all would be well.

A few days after the work began there was a commotion on one of the upper levels in the facility and our in-house emergency team responded to a call at the north man-lift where someone had fallen.  It was one of the contractors and it was bad enough that a call was made to 911 for an ambulance.  He was in a rush and had decided he didn’t want to wait for the elevator but took his tools up the lift with him and wound up falling two stories.  He broke both ankles, a leg, two ribs, a shoulder and sustained back and head injuries.

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The very next day the company had every manager doing recertification on every employee in their department.  I had to watch all 60 of my staff get on the lift, one at a time go up one flight, get off and then come back down one flight.  Documented it for all and then had myself recertified.  A fun evening was had by all.  Here lies the problem.  When you don’t take care of business the right way the first time, by proper training, proper documentation, you wind up spending and wasting time documenting while trying to keep production going full speed just to cover the company’s ass.

However, this will not be a problem at your facility and you will be in full control if you follow these guidelines:

  1. This is your facility, your rules, you are in charge!  As the supreme leader responsible for what goes on, it’s your rules of the road that are followed to protect everyone from employees to outside visitors.
  2. Any individual from the outside contractor must complete your in-house safety orientation. This is important especially if your facility has man lifts, elevators, confined spaces, danger areas, and flammables.
  3. Constant sustained communication between the contractor and you, the hiring company is critical to everyone’s safety.  What equipment will they be using that day, noise level, dust level and so on?
  4. To achieve #3 designate a point person at your company for the contractor to communicate with, answering any questions at any time while the contractors are physically on-site.
  5. Check-in and check out daily with the contractor.  Greet them upon arrival, go over any new details and see them when they leave.
  6. Stop by periodically to touch base and see how the work is progressing and that the contractor’s workers are not wondering anywhere they shouldn’t be.
  7. Don’t hesitate to ban any outside worker not following the rules or committing an unsafe act.
  8. It’s your facility, you are in charge, be in charge.

 

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Stuff Your Boss Probably Hasn’t Bothered To Tell You Cause No One Told Them

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Some of you are currently working for either a supermarket chain, department store, discount store or fast food restaurant. Whether this is just a temporary gig or stepping stone to a career path within that corporation chances are your bosses haven’t told you about the hazards associated with the receiving, shipping, packaging, storage or use of chemicals.

It’s not really their fault is it?  With the constant turnover of store managers who are paid very little for long hours and massive responsibilities, they could never get around to it.  They may have handed you a leaflet, posted it in the breakroom or stapled it to your paycheck hoping you would read the information about chemicals but no one has bothered to sit you down and explain it all to you or any other training.  Unfortunately, the district/regional manager who oversees your store has many others as well so doesn’t bother to check or follow up on what safety training is being conducted if at all since their main focus and goals for a bonus are tied to coop advertising dollars, the weekly take of cash and profits but not safety.

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Back at Corporate Headquarters, everything is status quo as long as all the incoming reports stay positive with goals being achieved and money is being made and to ensure that nothing interrupts that cash flow they are prepared and ready to deal with any public relation issues that may pop with their standard “we take the safety of our employees seriously here at So & So Inc. or “We had thoroughly tested the gizmo and found no serious issues prior to approval by (insert Federal Agency here).  Again safety is not important or interesting enough and the lack of training continues and now becomes a hidden problem with the potential for a very bad ending.

This training is not only critical to your health and safety while on the job but for your customers there as well but in that effort to save money and keep costs down the training necessary to ensure you get to go home in one piece is not done.  Whatever extra time you have is directed to receiving cases and cases of goods and new SKU to sell that you must store within very little space.  To get to older items you need to move new items and since you haven’t had time for a safety meeting you think it’s fine to “temporarily” block emergency exits, fire extinguishers, and circuit boxes.  What could possibly go wrong in this store?

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One morning you’re downstairs checking inventory when you notice a strong odor in the basement and then see a puddle that has formed around the stack in the corner and upon further investigation, you see it’s leaking from the bottom case. Is it apple cider vinegar or muriatic acid?

If you had had training you would have learned about the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and the processes and procedures that you must use in the handling, shipping or storage of chemicals as working around them you face a number of possible health hazards if they are not handled correctly and you don’t use the proper PPE when required.

The boring background history:  Back in 2012, the United States joined the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labeling of Chemicals which makes it easier for companies to do business with one another by complying with one system, globally.  As of June 1, 2016, it became mandatory for all U.S. companies under Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) or as it’s also referred to HazCom.

You would have also learned that all of the information you need about any chemical or chemical mixture in your facility is included on the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) which has a specific 16 section format and kept in a binder in your facility where it is accessible by ALL any time they need or want too while on the job.  The information offered:

  1. Identification
  2. Hazard(s) identification
  3. Composition/information on ingredients
  4. First-aid measures
  5. Fire-fighting measures
  6. Accidental release measures
  7. Handling and storage
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection
  9. Physical and chemical properties
  10. Stability and reactivity
  11. Toxicological information
  12. Ecological information
  13. Disposal considerations
  14. Transport information
  15. Regulatory information
  16. Other information

So now, back to the leaking stack of cases sitting in the corner of the basement.  If you had had training you would be looking for the SDS binder to find out what is leaking and how to deal with it but with all the overflow of stacks of palletized merchandise, you can’t immediately find the SDS binder since it’s hidden behind a stack that is also blocking an emergency route.

If you had been trained you would have found the labeling on the leaking case would help you to identify the SDS for  Chlorine bleach.   Which is classified as a hazard as well as Skin corrosion/irritation and Serious eye damage/eye irritation.  Further down in the SDS for Chlorine bleach, section 6 – ACCIDENTAL RELEASE MEASURES you’ll see the best way to handle the spill would be to absorb and containerize then wash residual down the proper drains.  But remember because it’s an irritant be sure to wear gloves, safety goggles, and respirators before using the spill kit to contain and mop up the spill.

Oh, now where did we move that spill kit too?

Did we make the point?  Have questions or Need help? That’s what we’re here for. Contact us at philmendelowitz@warehouseflow.comwhf2020

 

 

 

 

The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Tenth Day

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Santa received a notice of violation(1926.501) Fall Protection-General Requirements and this unfortunately still #1 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

In fact, falls have been the number 1 cited violation since 2011 and shows no sign of loosening its grip on that distinction.  This is very frustrating since falls can be stopped with the use of one word, NO.  If your foreperson or boss tells you we don’t have the time for you to put on your safety gear and properly tie off tethers to finish work on the roof just tell them I don’t have the time to die today, so NO!

Why?  Let’s say you do the right thing and wear your harness and all the gear needed.  You grab that 4×8 sheet of plywood to take it across the roof when a gust of wind catches the board like a sail and pulls you over the edge.  However, your fall is suddenly stopped by the tether and as you wait to be pulled up, you realized you lived and have a good tale to tell.  Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, you decided the boss is right and not to wear any of your protective gear.  Your reasoning, it’ll only take a second to move that sheet of plywood to the other side of the roof and it’s almost quitting time.  As you carry the board across the roof a gust of wind grabs the board and pulls you over the edge and as you plummet there is no sudden jerk from the tether to stop your fall but you have enough seconds to think,, rethink and rethink your mistake, your family, your kids until the ground breaks your fall.  If you are lucky the fall killed you instantly, no pain or suffering if you are not, expect a long life of pain, rehab, therapy, and disability.

So as you see the choice is yours.  It always has been.  Never allow anyone to challenge your courage, your manhood, your personality, your culture,  your capability to be a team player or other abilities just to goad you into committing an unsafe act or be bullied or threaten your job to do the same.  The law protects you.  Call the OSHA HotLine at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA). 

Santa’s crew is training on how to properly wear their harness and how and where to properly tie off tethers before working right after they spent time learning what hazards to look for before working at any height over 6 feet, (9 feet in Arizona) since there are so many other ways to die from a fall.  Mis-use of ladders, poorly assembled scaffolding, side rails with missing sections, unmarked holes in the floor, wet or slick floors, distraction while working with spinning or vibrating equipment.  This is why you always inspect the area and safety equipment to be used before beginning work and never use any safety equipment that is damaged, frayed or altered.  What good is a side rail going to do for you if a section is missing to stop your fall?  What good is a rope rated to hold 100 lbs., when you weigh 220 lbs.?  Get in the habit of asking questions. The answers you get will give you enough insight to tell you if you want to continue working for that company.  If they give you answers and take safety seriously you found a keeper,

Santa’s Northpole workshop as well as your fall prevention program should include:

  1. Training – Identification of fall Hazards, how to wear and use PPE, anchoring tethers/lanyards and other associated items.
  2. Live demonstration and practice wearing and using.
  3.  Document all training including signatures of attendees, the material covered and who conducted the training.
  4. Enforce the rules, evenly and consistently.
  5. Group inspection of PPE  Equipment needs to be inspected on a regular basis, what better way to turn it into a safety training.
  6. Morning Huddle is a good tool to keep everyone in the loop as to what’s going on and any changes that are being made.
  7. Training – This is not one and done.  Don’t hesitate to have a refresher especially if you feel your staff needs it.

That was the last violation.  I believe Santa has complied fully and should get a clean bill of health but then you never know what the grinch has up his sleeve.  TOMORROWTHE DECISION

 

whfcardholidayhappy

 

 

 

 

The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Ninth Day

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Santa received a notice of violation(1910.1200) Hazard Communication #2 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019

Santa admits that he’s been so busy running the family business that he has not always kept up with changes.  He was very surprised to find out that his old MSDS book was incredibly out of date.  Back in 2012, the U.S. joined the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) which makes it easier for companies in classifying, labeling and producing data sheets for chemicals by complying with one system, globally.  As of June 1, 2016, it became mandatory for all U.S. companies under Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) or as it’s also referred to HazCom.

If you work where chemicals are produced, stored, shipped, transported or used you face a number of health hazards including irritation of skin, eyes or lungs and physical hazards like flammability or corrosion.  That is why you must have training on HCS and understand the processes and procedures that you must use in the handling, shipping or any form of exposure to chemicals.  All of the information is included in the Safety Data Sheets (SDS)  and labeling of item requirements.  The Safety Data Sheets should be located at every warehouse or facility where it is accessible by ALL.  Anyone who is involved, the truck driver loading chemicals, the UPS driver delivering, the dock forklift driver, the order picker, the clerk at the cheap retail store.  You all should have access to the SDS so you know what you are dealing with, what protective measures you must use and what to do in the case of a spill or leak.  The main change between old MSDS and current SDS is the order the information must appear:

  1. Identification
  2. Hazard(s) identification
  3. Composition/information on ingredients
  4. First-aid measures
  5. Fire-fighting measures
  6. Accidental release measures
  7. Handling and storage
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection
  9. Physical and chemical properties
  10. Stability and reactivity
  11. Toxicological information
  12. Ecological information
  13. Disposal considerations
  14. Transport information
  15. Regulatory information
  16. Other information

Santa and crew are busy updating their SDS and chemical handling procedures as well as training,  It feels like we cleared a pretty big hurdle but the biggest is yet to come.    Monday: On the Tenth Day. 

 

 

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The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Eighth Day

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Santa received a notice of violation(1926.451) Scaffolding which is severe making it #3 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

Think of scaffolding as another way to keep you from falling.  It gives you a stable platform to work on at several stories high if needed.  You can surround your project with scaffolding and work on it safe from all angles while stacking materials and using small pieces of equipment.

There are several kinds of scaffolding.  Single or brick layer’s scaffolding, Double, Cantilever, Suspended, and Trestle.  No matter which one you use it is only as good as it’s base so only a certified individual should direct and train other workers on its assembly.

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Santa forgot to have one of his fore-elves certified and would have understood the procedures to control or minimize the hazards associated with erecting scaffolding and to train other elves so they may participate and assist in the construction.  So guess what?  Here again, training is critical for the safety of everyone involved.

  1. Plan ahead
  2. What kind of conditions will you be dealing with and for how long?
  3. How many people and what kinds of equipment and materials will be used?
  4. Pick your scaffolding
  5. Inspect
  6. Refresher training with all workers involved and how you’ll all proceed
  7. Assemble scaffolding
  8. Inspect. Never assume.
  9. Inspect
  10. Inspect
  11. Taking it down can be as dangerous as putting it up if not more.  Pay attention and stay focused.
  12. As with all training, document with signatures and a copy of the materials used.

It seems like it’s been a long week with so many issues cleaned up at Santa’s workshop and we are now down to the top two.   Friday: On the Ninth Day. 

 

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The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Seventh Day

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Santa received a notice of violation(1910.147) Lockout/Tagout and this is serious enough to be #4 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

Lockout/Tagout or LOTO as it’s also known as is a pretty important safety feature that prevents unexpected operation of a piece of equipment while you are working on it.  You see the scene played over and over on comedies, One guy is working on an electrical issue and his friend comes over and flips on the light switch leading to shock and laughter but imagine the horror on your face if a packaging machine with moving belts and rotating filler spouts suddenly started up while you were up to your elbows in the machines main compartment!

Or worse, clearing a jam on a belt in a machine and because you thought you would save time by just reaching in clearing it quickly, but as you clear it the belt suddenly lurches and takes two fingers with it.  This actually happened at a food manufacturing plant and I can assure you that no elves were injured during the writing of this post.

This is why as I’ve said before and will again and yet again training is critical to a great safety program.  It’s not enough to just turn off the power with the flip of a switch before servicing the machine, you want to make absolutely positively sure that no one but YOU can turn the power back on before your work is done.

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That’s why this year Santa will be giving his machine operators, maintenance elves, and fore-elves the gift of their own LOTO sets.  Santa wants to do the training of LOTO  correctly so he will have his machine operators do an actual LOTO demonstration for the group for each piece of equipment.

Whenever you need to do maintenance, adjustments, line changes or clear a jam you must Lockout/Tagout the equipment so it can not operate while you work on it.

  1. Determine where to cut the power and use your lock. Your tag should have your name and department on it along with what ever other information the company wants.  Some want employee number, so anyone coming by knows you are the person working on that machine and initiated the lockout.
  2. In most cases, you pull the lever of the circuit breaker down so you can lock it in the off position.  In some older facilities, you may not find circuit breakers to lockout.  Find and pull the fuses and use the special fuse lockout.  Before beginning make sure the machine is totally deenergized as some parts mid-stroke may still move.
  3. Each additional worker who needs to service the machine along with you also needs to lock out the same source of power as you. As they finish their segment they can then remove their lock until the last person responsible for the project removes their lock and returns power.
  4. Never remove your lock until the work is completed.
  5. Never give your key to your lock to anyone else.  Only YOU can unlock it.  If you have to leave have your relief lock out the power source with their lock and then you can remove yours.
  6. Never allow anyone to bully you into removing your lock before work is completed.
  7. As with all training, document it with signatures of attendees and the material covered.

Now that we know all about LOTO. Thursday: On the Eighth Day.

 

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