Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Contributed by Eric Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council
On March 29, 2010 OSHA issued several interpretation dealing with the construction industry. Below, please see the topics these were on and click on the “interpretation” link to go to that particular interpretation.

March 29 - Interpretation - Restrictions on drilling within 50 feet of a hole loaded with explosives.
March 29 - Interpretation - Fully Planked and Decked Scaffold
March 29 - Interpretation - Whether an employer can use a controlled access zone during curtain wall installation.
March 29 - Interpretation - Interpretation of OSHA Fall Protection Exemption (29 CFR § 1926.500(a)(1)) during inspection, investigation, and assessment activities.
March 29 - Interpretation - Fall protection requirements for employees working on an elevator car frame.
March 29 - Interpretation - Permissible methods of operating trucks in reverse on construction sites.
March 29 - Interpretation - Protective system requirements for excavations that will not be entered by employees.
March 29 - Interpretation - Whether compliance with an updated ANSI standard on gate strength for carabiners and snaphooks is required.
March 29 - Interpretation - Testing requirements for "lifting blinds" or "lifting covers" on pressure vessels

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Active Shooter / Campus Shooter

Today's reality is that an "Active Shooter" can show up anywhere, at anytime and most of us are not prepared to react.

Q13 Fox did a great story on this over the weekend: video link and in print.

In addition, just last week there was a gunfight in a mall in Portland.

Evergreen Safety Council in partnership with The Personal Safety Training Group is offering two very different training sessions on this topic:

Training for the Workplace
If a situation like this was happening in your building or business complex, would you and your employees know what to do? Have you trained for this?

Evergreen is offering a 90 minute Webinar on this topic! April 7th from 10 - 11:30 PST. $69 Register for the webinar today.

Training for High School & College Students and Their Parents
Shootings at places our children frequent, such as school or even the mall, are a reality.

Evergreen is offering a FREE 2-hour training for students and their parents. This seminar will be paced & delivered in a manner so as to empower students, NOT to scare them. April 22nd from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at the Evergreen Safety Training Center in Seattle. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Sign up your family today.

Remember, at this very moment it is not a gunman that is our biggest threat - It’s the three enemies of “awareness and preparedness”; apathy, complacency and denial.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Washington State Worker Memorial Day

Every April, the Department of Labor & Industries hosts a memorial ceremony to honor workers who died on the job or as a result of their work during the previous year. The Washington State Worker Memorial Day ceremony will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, April 28 in the L&I Building auditorium in Tumwater.

The program will consist of brief remarks and a reading of the deceased workers' names. Joining L&I Director Judy Shurke will be Governor Gregoire, representatives of the Washington State Labor Council, the Association of Washington Business, and the Washington Self-Insurers Association.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

OSHA Survey

Contributed by Eric Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council
On March 9, 2010 OSHA notified 15,000 workplaces nationwide of high injury and illness rates. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration they surveyed employers to collect workplace injury and illness data it uses to identify employers whose injury and illness rates are considerably higher than the national average. A letter has been sent to about 15,000 workplaces with the highest numbers of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activities or job transfers, known as the DART rate.

To see the entire news release, please follow the below link

Friday, March 19, 2010

More on Active Shooters / Shots Fired in the Building

Editors Note: Since the article on Active Shooter was submitted by Larry Kaminer last week, even more incidents of this nature have taken place, reinforcing the importance of being prepared for what seems to no longer be a "low-probability" act.

Ohio State shooting last week

Dallas Financial advisor shot by angry client

If a situation like this happening in your building or business complex, would you and your employees know what to do? Have you trained for this?

Evergreen is offering a 90 minute Webinar on this topic! April 7th from 10 - 11:30 PST.

Remember, at this very moment it is not a gunman that is our biggest threat - It’s the three enemies of “awareness and preparedness”; apathy, complacency and denial. Register for the webinar today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The laws they are a-changing

Contributed by: Eric Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council
On March 16, 2010 David Michaels, assistant secretary for occupational safety and health U.S. department of labor testified before the subcommittee on Workforce Protections, the Committee on Education and Labor; U.S. House of Representatives regarding H.R. 2067 which is cited as the “Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA)”. This amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (The one that created OSHA).

Mr. Michael’s testimony starts out:
Until 1970 there was no national guarantee that workers throughout America would be protected from workplace hazards. In that year the Congress enacted a powerful and far-reaching law—the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). The results of this law speak for themselves. The annual injury/illness rate among American workers has decreased by 65 percent since 1973, and while there are many contributing factors, the OSH Act is unquestionably among them. Employers, unions, academia, and private safety and health organizations pay a great deal more attention to worker protection today than they did prior to enactment of this landmark legislation.

But we cannot rest on our laurels. If we are to fulfill the Department's goal of providing good jobs for everyone, we must make even more progress. Good jobs are safe jobs, and American workers still face unacceptable hazards. More than 5,000 workers are killed on the job in America each year, more than 4 million are injured, and thousands more will become ill in later years from present occupational exposures. Moreover, the workplaces of 2010 are not those of 1970: the law must change as our workplaces have changed. The vast majority of America's environmental and public health laws have undergone significant transformations since they were enacted in the 1960s and 70s, while the OSH Act has seen only minor amendments. As a British statesman once remarked, ‘The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.’”

To read his entire testimony please follow this link:

With that said some of the things that you may want to be aware if this bill pass is that it will now have OSHA cover public employees of State’s and/or a political subdivision of a State.

Also, the bill will increase civil penalties for OSHA violations. For willful or repeat violations the maximum will be raised from $70,000 to $120,000 and the minimum will be raised from $5,000 to $8,000 for each violation. There is also language in this bill that is added dealing with a willful or repeat violation that causes an employees death and it states: “If such violation causes the death of an employee, such civil penalty amounts shall be increased to not more than $250,000 for such violation, but not less than $50,000 for such violation, except that for an employer with 25 or fewer employees such penalty shall not be less than $25,000 for such violation”.

Civil penalties will also be raised for serious violations from $7,000 to $12,000 for each violation. Of course if this type of violation causes a death the civil penalty will be increased to not more than $50,000 and not less than $20,000 per violation.

By the way the criminal penalties are also being increased. Under current rule an employer could only be sentenced to 6 months for a violation that causes a death (1 year if it is a repeat conviction), but under proposed rules those sentences’ are increased to 10 years and 20 years respectively. Yes employers include “any responsible corporate officer”

If you want to read the entire bill (and it would be a good idea if you are an employer and/or corporate officer) please follow this link:

THE BOTTOM LINE IS – SAFETY IS IMPORTANT and there is going to be emphasis on enforcement so now is the time to get your safety program in shape. If you can do this on your own, great, but if you need professional help give us at Evergreen a call. We have help thousands of business bring their safety program up to speed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ladder Safety Quiz

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
It’s ladder safety quiz time: How many problems can you spot in this photo?

Here are a few for starters:

1 - This is a “step ladder” not a straight ladder. It is intended by the manufacturer to be used in a fully open configuration, with the spreader bars locked. Physically, a large part of the load weight is being supported by the thinner “back legs” but that weight is being transmitted to the body of the ladder via the rivets and pivot pins in the top cap – a load these parts were not designed to support.

2 – The top step and the top “cap” are both clearly marked “Don’t stand or sit here”. ‘Nuff said.

3 – What is the worker leaning on? The thin, metal support members for a suspended ceiling are not meant to support the weight of a human, from any direction.

4 – How about the worker’s shoes? We’re not talking fashion statement here: but for work on ladders, shoes with at least a 1” inch heel are recommended. The heel will prevent your foot from slipping off the ladder treads. Also a steel shank in the instep is a great idea – to disperse the weight over a greater area of the sole of your foot. Flexible shoe soles – as on the apparent “jogging shoes” being worn here – bend over the ladder rungs, and can either quickly fatigue or even cause an injury to the arch of your foot.

Ladder safety is just one of the topics covered in depth during Evergreen Safety Council’s Safety and Health Specialist series of classes. Contact us to enroll in this widely recognized certification program.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Forward & WA State Texting Legislation

Spring Forward
Just a reminder for everyone to Spring Forward this weekend - Move you clocks forward one hour either before you go to bed on Saturday or first thing when you wake-up on Sunday. Sorry, that means you lose and hour of sleep.

This weekend is also a great time to check batteries in your smoke detectors, emergency flashlights and radios.

WA State Texting Legislation
Contributed by Tom Odegaard, Execitve Director, Evergreen Safety Council
On March 11, 2010, Washington’s Legislature approved a measure that makes it a primary offense to be caught holding a cell phone to your ear while driving, or to be reading, writing or sending text messages.

If Gov. Chris Gregoire signs the bill, it will become effective 90 days after adjournment of this legislative session. Police will then be able to issue a citation to anyone seen driving and texting or talking without a headset and give them a $124 ticket.

Passage of this bill makes Washington one of 6 states that make talking on a cell phone a primary traffic offense and one of 20 who have laws against texting while driving.
Senate Bill 6345 strengthens the state's current secondary-offense law for both, which only allowed police to issue an additional fine if they pulled over a driver for another infraction, such as speeding.

Highlights of the bill are:
· Outlaws any cell phone use by a driver with a learner's permit or an intermediate license, which is given to drivers under 18 years old;
· Outlaws use of a cell phone without a hands-free device for all drivers;
What does “Hands Free” mean? "hands-free mode" means the use of a wireless communications device with a speaker phone, headset, or earpiece.
· Dialing a phone is not considered text messaging.

Exceptions to the law:
· A person operating -
1. Authorized Emergency Vehicle
2. Tow Truck responding to a disabled vehicle
· Transit or for-hire vehicle if relaying information that is time sensitive between a transit operator and that operator's dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle
· A moving motor vehicle using a hand-held wireless communications device to :
1. Report illegal activity
2. Summon medical or other emergency help
3. Prevent injury to a person or property
· People using a hearing aid
· Voice-Operated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the vehicle and that allows the user to send or receive messages without diverting visual attention from the road or engaging the use of either hand

A ticket for this infraction will not become part of a driver's record or be submitted to insurance companies or employers.

View a copy of SB 6345 as passed by the legislature here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Securing your load

Contributed by: Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
A few weeks ago, we posted a photo of a load of bricks on the back of a truck that were apparently held on the truck by force of habit. We asked the question, “Would you want to be following behind this load?”

Here is a photo of what is commonly known as “We don’t have any rope Syndrome”. Anyone who as done so, knows mattresses are difficult to move; they’re bulky, seldom have convenient handles, and slippery – particularly when wrapped in a giant plastic bag. They are relatively light weight when compared to their surface area. . . or should I call it their “Sail area”?

There simply is no acceptable excuse for risking your life to save the price of a good, sturdy rope of sufficient length to secure the load.

If you have examples of driving behaviors similar to this, behaviors NOT to duplicate, please share them with us. If you have a desire to sharpen the driving skills of your employees, contact Evergreen Safety Council and ask about our EverSafe Driving Program. ESC also offers a free online training on how to best secure your load. In the mean time, to quote the actor Michael Conrad, “Let’s all be SAFE out there!”

Active Shooter/Shots Fired in the Building

Contributed by: Larry Kaminer, Personal Safety Training Group
Shots fired?
Have you trained for this?
Would your employees know what to do?
Webinar on this topic!

Within days of presenting on this topic at a safety conference, I awoke to read about the senseless slaughter of thirteen at Fort Hood. On the same day a disgruntled employee shot one dead and wounded another in Orlando Florida. Four days later domestic violence spilled over into the workplace as a man shot his ex wife dead in Tualatin Oregon. Then two are shot dead at a Baton Rouge construction company. Breaking the gender mold, a female professor kills three during a meeting at the University of Alabama and just last week it was the shooting outside the Pentagon. This list will continue to grow.

Despite the “low probability” of these “high impact” events occurring, many companies I work with tell me they haven’t given this much thought, wouldn’t know what to do, and haven’t given their staff any training. Why would you have an EAP Emergency Action Plan) for an earthquake, but not a gunman in your building?

Which barrier to “awareness and preparedness” is at play here; apathy, complacency or denial? Or is it perhaps optimism bias at play.

I have been on the receiving end of gunfire albeit not in a work environment. I never thought this would happen to me either. I froze up like the proverbial “deer in the headlights” as valuable seconds ticked by before I stopped thinking and actually began to react. I was lucky to get away unscathed.
Having a well rehearsed EAP, visualizing response options and practicing enhances muscle memory for a situation in which every second will count.

Here are few facts to keep in mind and some tips to consider:
  • According to Homeland Security, shooters do most damage within the first few minutes and usually before police arrive. During those crucial minutes all you will have are each other and any action plan you have put in place, or not.
  • Under duress, employees almost always look to their superiors for leadership. This could not be truer than during a life or death crisis.
  • If you have several panic buttons strategically placed within your facility you will be able to sound the alarm sooner in a situation in which every second counts.
  • If you have practiced retreating to designated “safe rooms” such as offices with heavy locking doors, your staff will be more efficient during an actual retreat. Taking note of all “hard points” behind which to take cover is also important.
  • Once in a “safe room” it is critical to keep quiet, put cell phones in vibrate mode, turn off the lights and not draw any attention to your position.
  • Of equal importance, know where you will NOT retreat to. An example is the bottom of a stairwell, will you arrive only to find it leads to a permanently locked utility exit door?
  • Exits should be constructed so that they cannot be easily blocked from the outside such as with a nearby wheeled dumpster or vehicle. The shooter at the immigration center in Binghamton, NY blocked the rear exit with his car.
  • If you have facilities at other locations they too need to be alerted.
  • It is also important to know how to react to the responding SWAT team who will be barking out orders and moving through your facility very aggressively. In the “fog” of the situation an innocent employee’s finger pointing to where the threat came from could look like a gun in hand!

  • Think outside the box: Have you trained your employees on what to do if there was a shooting while they are visiting a client’s office?

    Evergreen Safety Council and The Personal Safety Training Group are offering a 90 minute webinar on April 7th designed to address the challenge of a gunman in the building and will offer the foundation for constructing an emergency action plan.

    At this very moment it is not a gunman that is our biggest threat - It’s the three enemies of “awareness and preparedness”; apathy, complacency and denial. Register for the webinar today.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Oregon OSHA, NIOSH address pesticide PPE

    Oregon OSHA recently released a brochure (.pdf file) for employers and employees on the requirements for personal protective equipment listed on pesticide labels. The brochure provides general advice about best practices for cleaning, maintaining and storing PPE, as well as choosing the most effective equipment.

    In related news, NIOSH's Personal Protective Technology Program and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory are requesting (.pdf file) information from agricultural pesticide handlers, their employers and related organizations about PPE issues, including comfort and damage from pesticides.

    Source: National Safety Council

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Broaden Your First Aid Abilities

    Evergreen Safety Council will be offering two 2-hour continuing education courses for first aid providers and instructors. These courses are designed to further the participant’s knowledge in first aid and improve their abilities.

    BBP Certification (3/19/2010 or 6/15/2010)
    Coming in contact with bodily fluids can spread diseases such as HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis. Bloodborne Pathogen training teaches how to prevent transmission of these diseases by identifying ways to prevent contact and detailing proper clean-up procedures and waste disposal methods.

    Emergency Oxygen Certification (3/19/2010 or 6/15/2010)
    Serious and life-threatening emergencies often cause oxygen to be depleted in the body. The application of supplemental oxygen can be a critical step in treating severe or life-threatening conditions. Knowing how to properly use this therapy can be life-saving.

    We believe these classes are an integral part of a well-rounded first aid education, and highly recommend that you look into them as a way of furthering your knowledge and strengthening your skills as a first aid provider/instructor.

    these course are offered at the Evergreen Safety Training Center in Seattle for $85 each, but as an added incentive, we will reduce the course fee to $75 per class when you register for both of the courses.

    If you have any questions please contact Stephanie or for more information or to register, visit our website .

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    fire extinguishers

    Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Consultant/Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council

    Anytime of year is a good time to think about fire safety. Commercial structures are required to have portable fire extinguishers readily available. More important, the equipment must be checked monthly to insure it is ready for action, when needed. The following photos are good examples of how “NOT to do it”

    I suppose the spiders were assigned the duty to perform the monthly check of the fire extinguishers?

    Fire extinguishers should have a safety pin to prevent unintentional discharge. The pins are usually held in place with a little plastic “chain”. Someone got creative here and REALLY did not want the pin to come out. A comment about “tamper resistant” versus “user resistant” seems appropriate here.

    Take a moment a check your fire extinguishers: is the pressure gauge reading in the “green” area or other wise indicates the pressure is where is should be? Is there any sign of leaking powder or other extinguishent? Mark the date of your inspection on the tag attached and then give your self a pat on the back for staring a good habit of monthly inspection of your fire extinguishers.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Something for Everyone in Eastern Washington

    Attention Clients & Members in Eastern WA...What are you doing for lunch today?
    ESC's Client & Membership Luncheon 3/2/10
    Space is available – Pay $20 at the door

    Luncheon Topics:
    The Recession’s Impact on Safety Training - Executive Director Tom Odegaard
    Combustible Dust Awareness - Director of Training Eric Tofte

    Sign-in 11:45 am / Program: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
    Location: Best Western Lake Inn, Moses Lake
    Luncheon: Full Delicatessen Buffet

    What about tomorrow?
    Agriculture Safety Day 3/3/10
    at the Yakima Convention Center
    10 North 8th St, Yakima WA 98901-2515

    Visit ESC's booth hosted by Director of Training Eric Tofte

    For further information about the conference please click here.
    For information about the Yakima Convention Center please click here.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Safety Kudos

    Contributed by Eric Tofte, Director of training, Evergreen Safety Council
    Sometimes we get hung up on letting you know what bad things have happened out there in safety-land, well here is a good thing. Rathdrum Power is receiving its VPP Star award from OSHA, something that they and any other company that has achieved this should be very proud of.

    On February 22 The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognized Rathdrum Power LLC, in Rathdrum, Idaho, for excellence in worker health and safety."This facility has not experienced an injury resulting in lost time in the last four years. This record is a testimony that management and labor working together to implement safety and health management systems pay remarkable dividends," said Richard S. Terrill, OSHA's regional administrator. "Their outstanding efforts have included significant management commitment and employee involvement."

    To see the entire article on the OSHA website.