Donnie’s Story

Next time you need to teach your employees about arc flash protection, head over to and download the video about Donnie’s arc flash accident. There are a couple of different ones to choose from but all of them speak volumes through images and testimonials about why anyone working with electricity needs to be wearing PPE.


If You Play a Wind Instrument, Read This!

Have you ever heard of “Bagpipe Lung”? You probably haven’t; nor have most people. If you play a wind instrument though, you should understand what it is… it could mean your health and even your life.


Bagpipe lung comes about when the bacteria that grows inside a wind instrument is inhaled into the lungs and results in hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Most people’s immune system is able to properly handled the bacteria and allergens that they inhale but others are hypersensitive (hence the name of the disease) and the result can be a damaged respiratory system or even death. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is most often associated with mold or birds but can also come from wind instruments.

The disease was first diagnosed in a bagpipe player, which of course, is how we got the name of the disease. Bagpipes, because of the complexity of the instrument and the various materials involved, are more prone to bacteria but no wind instrument is exempt.

So how do you protect yourself if you play a wind instrument? Clean the instrument properly after each use and allow it to drip dry is really the best course of action.

Aside from that, listen to your body. If you start getting a persistent dry cough, get tested and let your doctor know that you play a wind instrument. You might even teach them something about hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Overtime Work = More Pay

Current salary thresholds mean that companies can make a worker a salaried worker to avoid paying them overtime. Current salary thresholds now sits at $23,660.00. An employee who is salaried at that level of pay but who is working 50 or even 60 hours a week is often making less than minimum wage. That’s about to change. Watch the video below to see how you might be entitled to more pay or less work.


OSHA Fines Increase by as-much-as 78%

From our friends at Accuform

Earlier this month the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased the maximum penalty by 78% for the first time in 25 years.

The new penalties took effect on Tuesday, August 2, 2016. Any citations issued by OSHA on or after this date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Here’s what the changes look like dollar-wise:

Type of Violation                 Current Maximum            New Maximum
Penalty                                  Penalty
Serious                                    $7,000 per violation        $12,471 per violation
Posting Requirements

Failure to Abate                   $7,000 per day                   $12,471 per day

Willful or Repeated           $70,000 per violation      $124,709 per violation
Source OSHA

Adjustment to Penalties

To provide guidance to OSHA field staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA issued revisions to its Field Operations Manual. To address the impact of these penalty increases on smaller businesses, OSHA will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

State Plan States

States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA’s.

For More Assistance

OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program provides professional, high-quality, individualized assistance to small businesses at no cost.

OSHA also has compliance assistance specialists in most of their 85 Area Offices across the nation who provide robust outreach and education programs for employers and workers.

To read more about these changes please visit, here more detailed information can be obtained on how these increases could impact you.

Ultimately a safe-workplace can help to avoid fines levied by OSHA. Accuform encourages you to team up with your local Safety/MRO Product Distributor to learn more about further building a culture of safety at your workplace.

Have a safe and great week!

A Personal Note…

I work in the area of safety, mostly industrial safety but also personal and home safety. Part of my job, especially through this blog is to raise awareness of safety issues in order to educate people about how to protect themselves and those they love. I would like to believe that I am making a difference. This blog does, after all get about 500 views each day.

Right now I have two friends who are severely injured, both because they did not heed safety warnings and take precautions.

One is a friend who worked in residential construction; his name is Will. Two months ago he was working on a roof that collapsed under his weight. He slammed into a concrete slab below and cracked his head. He has been in a coma ever since. His wife and three girls send news almost daily, asking for prayers. We still pray for a full recovery but the longer he goes without waking up the bleaker the prognosis is. He was not wearing any fall protection at the time of the accident.

The other person is a nephew on my wife’s side; his name is James. He was climbing a ladder a few days ago when one of the ladder rungs broke. He dropped several feet to the concrete below landing on his heels. Both heels are broken and he will spend the next three months in a wheel chair. Rehabilitation after that will mean that he will be off work a lot longer. A simple ladder inspection could have prevented this accident.

Both of these accidents could easily have been prevented. I am sure that both of these friends didn’t take precautions because they didn’t believe that something like this could ever happen to them. The sad truth is that it did. The sad truth is that it can happen to you as well. Safety precautions aren’t there to make your life difficult. They aren’t there to slow you down on the job. They are there to protect you and help you get home at the end of the day.

Please understand that you are not invulnerable and immortal. Wear the fall protection, do the inspection, wear the PPE, do the safety checklist. If not for you then for the ones who love you. They don’t deserve to have to go through what my friend Will’s family has to go through, staying late at the hospital every day, praying for him to wake up so that they can tell him they love him and hear him tell them the same.

That’s all. Thanks.


Broadband and Health

Did you know that there’s a link between access to high-speed internet and chronic disease and preventable hospitalization? Access to information via broadband reduces both and when high-speed internet isn’t available it goes up.

So tells us a new interactive map by the FCC. You can explore the availability of broadband on one tab, health issues on another, demographics on a third and an overview on a fourth. Learn how to use the map and then zoom in by state, county and rural.