Free Safety Checklists

As a safety professional you know the importance of checklists. Without them things that should get done often don’t. With them everything that needs to get done, whether we are talking about entering a confined space or a lockout/tagout audit, is one by one checked off to make sure that nothing has been overlooked.

The problem is often making sure that the checklist that you are using is, in fact, complete and that nothing has been left off of it.

That’s where can help. I came across this nice selection of free safety checklists the other day and wanted to direct you to it.

Included on this free checklist webpage are the following checklists:

Additionally, on the new checklists page of the same website you’ll find the following free checklists:

Nail Gun Safety Guide

Lethal Weapon Three (I believe)… Danny Glover is being suffocated by the plastic sheeting that is being used to protect the new addition that he’s having built over his garage so he grabs the nail gun that’s laying there and nails the bad guy (His pun, not mine!).

While it makes for exciting movie viewing, it’s anything but fun when it happens for real. Tens of thousands of workers are injured each year by nail guns.

OSHA & NIOSH, in response to this growing safety hazard have now published a “Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors

According to the CDC website:

“The guidance was developed in response to a unanimous motion by industry, state, and labor stakeholders on OSHA’s Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) on the need to develop awareness and materials about nail gun risks. OSHA and NIOSH worked together to make sure the guidance reflects the most current information available. The guidance highlights what is known about nail gun injuries, including the parts of the body most often injured and the types of severe injuries that have been reported. It describes the common causes of nail gun injuries and provides six practical steps that contractors can take to prevent these injuries. The guidance includes actual workplace cases along with a short section on other types of nail gun hazards and sources of additional information. Our hope is that by working together with tool gun manufacturers, safety and health professionals, and other organizations, we can improve nail gun safety on the job site.”

ASTM F1790 Standard Test Method for Measuring Cut Resistance Video

A new YouTube video by Hexarmor Products is the newest addition to the series of videos by Hexarmor showing how cut resistance, puncture resistance and laceration resistance is measured.

The ASTM F1790 is the standard most frequently used in the United States as a way to measure the cut resistance of safety products. HexArmor tests all of its products using the ASTM F1790, and then applies the ISEA rating scale to obtain a rating based on the grams of weight needed to cut through the material. All HexArmor products rate Level 5 ISEA for cut resistance, which is an ASTM F1790 gram rating of over 3500 grams.

ASTM F1790 Standard Test Method for Measuring Cut Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing. This test method assesses the cut resistance of a material when exposed to a cutting edge under specified loads. Data obtained from this test method can be used to compare the cut resistance of different materials.

Also available by Hexarmor are the following videos on YouTube:

Industrial puncture resistance, laceration resistant hand and arm protection

Shielding, cut-resistance from jagged or pointed hazards

Shielding, cut-resistance from jagged or pointed hazards

Cut, Puncture, Impact Resistant Solutions for Oil and Gas by HexArmor

HexArmor Needle-Resistant PPE: Proven needlestick protection in gloves and arm guards

HexArmor Chrome Series Cut-Resistant Mechanics’ Gloves

Find out for yourself why Hexarmor is in a class by itself when it comes to cut resistant, puncture resistant and laceration resistant gloves.

Chimney/Fireplace Safety Tips

Sept 25-Oct 1st is National Fireplace/Chimney Safety Week

Anatomy of Your Fireplace


When most people think of chimneys, they think of fireplaces. Memories of cold winter evenings, relaxed and cozy in front of a crackling fire are hard to beat, and the ability of an open fire to soothe the wild beast within us all is legendary. Since the dawn of time, humans have gathered around the open fire for a sense of safety and community and the fireplace is still the focus of family living in many homes, especially around the holidays.

But in spite of all the glowing aesthetics, there are some practical considerations. When you’re dealing with an element as capricious and potentially dangerous as fire, knowledge really is power, so please read on to learn how to make your fireplace both safer and more enjoyable.

Let’s start with a quick anatomy lesson, and a brief explanation of commonly used terms:

Fireplaces come in two general types, masonry fireplaces built entirely of bricks, blocks or stone and mortar, and factory built fireplaces consisting of a lightweight metal firebox and a metal chimney. (There are a few hybrids too, the most common being a heavy metal firebox and smoke chamber coupled to a regular brick chimney).

A masonry fireplace has a firebox built of individual generally yellowish firebrick, a brick chimney above the roof, and if you look up past the damper you will see a roughly pyramid shaped affair also built of brick. A prefab fireplace generally has a firebox of cast refractory panels, and usually some metal is visible in the room all around the firebox. If you look up past the damper you will see a round metal chimney. And above the roof is more round metal chimney, sometimes surrounded by a simulated brick housing.

Chimney fire, don’t let it be your house this fall/winter!!

Top 10 Wood burning Tips from CSIA


To aid in the prevention of chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning properly, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers the following safety tips:

1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months – one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.

6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36″ away from the hearth.

7. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.

8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time (November 6, 2011), remember to check your batteries.

9. Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning in for the evening, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces.

10. The CSIA recommends annual inspections performed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. These chimney sweeps have earned the industry’s most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. The National Fire Protection Association also recommends that all chimneys are inspected on an annual basis.

Chimney/Furnace maintenance is vital to your family’s safety:   

  • Be sure to read the manual for your fireplace or stove, and keep it handy. Every model is different and you’d be wise to know the particulars for safe and enjoyable use.
  • Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Change that smoke detector battery!!

  • Burn only well-seasoned and dry firewood.!

  • Empty the ashes from previous fires before starting a new fire.
  • Manufactured fire logs create a clean burning fire and are an excellent choice. Just be sure to never burn more than one at a time, and let it burn down completely without using a log poker to break it apart.
  • Never put garbage, plastic, or charcoal — or anything else that isn’t firewood — in a fireplace.
  • Keep small children and pets away from a fireplace.
  • Make sure a fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.



How to Select Firewood


Firewood is an area where you can have great influence over how well your system performs and how enjoyable your experience will be. Quality, well seasoned firewood will help your wood stove or fireplace burn cleaner and more efficiently, while green or wet wood can cause smoking problems, odor problems, rapid creosote buildup and possibly even dangerous chimney fires.

A few minutes spent understanding firewood will be time well spent, so please read on for general background information, as well as how to buy wood and store wood.

Seasoned Wood
All firewood contains water. Freshly cut wood can be up to 45% water!, while well seasoned firewood generally has a 20-25% moisture content. Well seasoned firewood is easier to start, produces more heat, and burns cleaner. The important thing to remember is that the water must be gone before the wood will burn. If your wood is cut 6 months to a year in advance and properly stored, the sun and wind will do the job for free. If you try to burn green wood, the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn, using up a large percentage of the available energy in the process. This results in less heat delivered to your home, and literally gallons of acidic water in the form of creosote deposited in your chimney.

Wood is composed of bundles of microscopic tubes that were used to transport water from the roots of the tree to the leaves. These tubes will stay full of water for years even after a tree is dead. This is why it is so important to have your firewood cut to length for 6 months or more before you burn it, it gives this water a chance to evaporate since the tube ends are finally open and the water only has to migrate a foot or two to escape. Splitting the wood helps too by exposing more surface area to the sun and wind, but cutting the wood to shorter lengths is of primary importance.

There are a few things you can look for to see if the wood you intend to purchase is seasoned or not. Well seasoned firewood generally has darkened ends with cracks or splits visible, it is relatively lightweight, and makes a clear “clunk” when two pieces are beat together. Green wood on the other hand is very heavy, the ends look fresher, and it tends to make a dull “thud” when struck. These clues can fool you however, and by far the best way to be sure you have good wood when you need it is to buy your wood the spring before you intend to burn it and store it properly.

Storing Firewood
Even well seasoned firewood can be ruined by bad storage. Exposed to constant rain or covered in snow, wood will reabsorb large amounts of water, making it unfit to burn and causing it to rot before it can be used. Wood should be stored off the ground if possible and protected from excess moisture when weather threatens.

The ideal situation is a wood shed, where there is a roof but open or loose sides for plenty of air circulation to promote drying. Next best would be to keep the wood pile in a sunny location and cover it on rainy or snowy days, being sure to remove the covering during fair weather to allow air movement and to avoid trapping ground moisture under the covering. Also don’t forget that your woodpile also looks like heaven to termites, so it’s best to only keep a week or so worth of wood near the house in easy reach. With proper storage you can turn even the greenest wood into great firewood in 6 months or a year, and it can be expected to last 3 or 4 years if necessary.

Buying Firewood
Firewood is generally sold by volume, the most common measure being the cord. Other terms often employed are face cord, rick, or often just a truckload. A standard cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet of wood, generally measured as a pile 8 feet long by 4 feet tall by 4 feet deep. A face cord is also 8 feet long by 4 feet tall, but it is only as deep as the wood is cut, so a face cord of 16″ wood actually is only 1/3 of a cord, 24″ wood yields 1/2 of a cord, and so on.

Webster defines a rick simply as a pile, and truck sizes obviously vary tremendously, so it is very important that you get all of this straight with the seller before agreeing on a price; there is much room for misunderstanding. It is best to have your wood storage area set up in standard 4 or 8 foot increments, pay the wood seller the extra few dollars often charged to stack the wood, and warn him before he arrives that you will cheerfully pay only when the wood actually measures up to an agreed upon amount.

Another thought concerning getting what you pay for is that although firewood is usually sold by volume, heat production is dependent on weight. Pound for pound, all wood has approximately the same BTU content, but a cord of seasoned hardwood weighs about twice as much as the same volume of softwood, and consequently contains almost twice as much potential heat. If the wood you are buying is not all hardwood, consider offering a little less in payment.

    • Call the Fire Department by dialing 911.
    • Never try to remove burning logs from your fireplace. Use water or a fire extinguisher to put them out. Fire extinguisher is best. Be careful with putting water on the fire. On one hand, the steam created with a glass or two of water may put out the fire – or at least cool it down significantly. However, there is a possibility that the sudden cooling could crack any glass door/screen, or cause damage to mortar or other components. Ask a certified fireplace inspector or consult your factory stove / fireplace manual.
    • If you suspect a chimney fire, get everyone out of the house immediately and call the fire department. If you can do so safely, put out any fire in the stove or fireplace and close the damper. (Some fast-burning chimney fires produce dense smoke and flames shooting out the top of the chimney, often accompanied by a rumbling sound inside the chimney. Slow-burning chimney fires are much harder to detect but can also cause serious damage to the chimney and, possibly, to the house.)
    • If you suspect that you have had a chimney fire, do not use the fireplace again until a chimney sweep has checked it for any hidden damage.

     Information provided by Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for ENMR·Plateau


Chainsaw Safety

September is here and many of us
with fireplaces/stoves or even fire pits will be out cutting and gathering firewood for the cool days ahead. The fastest way to cut down dead trees and get that firewood is with a chainsaw. However owning and operating a chainsaw comes with various safety hazards.


How to use that chain saw? First make sure you are wearing the proper clothing. Long jeans or heavy pants. Chips are going to be flying from the cutting and it can get hot next to a chain saw.
Here are some suggestions for safely using the chain saw at home as well as in the woods. Do not be afraid of the chain saw; just learn to master them and use them with caution and common sense. It is safer to use both hands to operate the chain saw even if yours is light enough to use with one hand.


Read the instruction manual that came with your saw. Your manual describes how to mount the guide bar and chain, how to mix the fuel and lubricate the saw, and how to start it. Most chain saws are designed to operate the throttle with the right index finger; the left-handed person who tries to control the throttle with the left index finger will have a limited amount of the front handlebar to grasp comfortably and safely, and the chain will be running closer to the body. This is a more hazardous position for inexperienced operators.

Some models have a hand guard that also operates a chain brake, a safety feature that promptly stops the chain from running when the mechanism is tripped. Learn how to shut off the saw instinctively without looking for the switch. You can ask the dealer about these points. Ask him to demonstrate the saw.

Electric-powered chain saws are rarely used in the woods; they are practical around the home, where they are used to fell, buck, limb, and prune trees.


Protective Clothing

A hard hat is recommended, and goggles are a must they will protect your eyes against flying splinters and chips. Because a power saw is noisy, you should wear some form of hearing protectors. Leather gloves, hard-toe shoes, and timber chaps would help protect limbs that might come into contact with the chain. Do not wear slippery shoes or baggy clothing that could catch in the brush and cause you to fall; always watch your footing while working with a chain saw.


Taking the same precautions that you would with your gasoline-powered lawnmower, stop the engine and do not smoke when refueling your chain saw. Do not spill gas on a hot engine. Use a filtering funnel or a gas can with a flexible hose to fill the fuel tank. Do not start the saw where you refuel it, and be extra cautious of fire during dry weather.

Carrying the Saw

Shut off the saw when carrying it from one tree to the next if working conditions are hazardous – heavy brush, slippery ground surface, or steep slopes. Carry the saw with the guide bar pointing to the rear, or point the bar to the front if you are going downhill.

First Aid

Even if you do not need an assistant, someone should be with you in case of an accident. Have the telephone number and address of the nearest emergency unit and always carry a first-aid kit when you work in the woods. If someone is cut, cover the wound with a clean cloth and press hard to stop the flow of blood. Get the injured person to a doctor or hospital immediately. (Learn how to treat cuts in my First Aid Class scheduled for Oct 21st, Nov 17th or Dec 17th)


Preparation and Positioning

1. You can fell large trees with the small, lightweight saws that homeowners usually buy, but it is a risky job for inexperienced, nonprofessional workers and demands extra caution. First, remove any wire or nails that are in the wood you plan to cut. Determine where you want the tree to fall. Look at the top. Is it unbalanced with heavy limbs on one side? How much wind is blowing? What about other trees, buildings, or power lines in the area? If these hazards exist, perhaps you should hire an experienced worker to do the felling while you limit your work to limbing and bucking the down tree. Examine the top to see whether there are any “widow makers” (dead limbs or branches) that may fall while you are cutting the tree.

2. Clear all brush, snow, and rocks from around the tree that might interfere with the use of the saw, or that might block your way to a safe retreat when the tree starts to fall.

3. Pick a safe place where you plan to stand when the tree falls. Remember that a gust of wind or a rotten place in the trunk may cause the tree to fall in the wrong direction. The tree may bounce, kick backwards, or roll when it hits the ground. You usually are safe standing behind a larger tree off to the side and away from the tree you are cutting. When trees are cut on a hillside, the saw operator must stand on the uphill side of the tree. (The same recommendation also applies to limbing the down tree or bucking the trunk into firewood or logs.)


1. Assuming that the tree stands straight and has a balanced top, and that there is little or no wind, oil the chain, fully open the throttle, and undercut (notch) the tree on the side in the direction of fall (Figure 1). Cut the notch to a depth of about one-fourth to one-third the diameter of the tree.

2. Stand beside the tree with your feet well braced and comfortably spread for good balance. Put in the “back cut” opposite the notch (Figure 2). The back cut should be an inch or so higher than the bottom of the notch, square with the trunk, and parallel to the bottom of the notch. Then place the bumper spikes near the engine firmly against the trunk, and start cutting. Pivot the saw about the bumper spikes and into the trunk, using a fanlike motion and moderate pressure to feed the chain into the wood. It is not necessary to move the saw in a sawing motion: the powered chain provides the cutting action. Pivot the saw, then move the bumper spikes to a new location and continue feeding the chain into the cut. Draw the saw out of the cut slowly and with the chain running. If you must cut without the bumper spikes in contact with the tree, or if the saw does not have spikes, be careful that the saw does not jerk and throw you off balance when the chain contacts the bark or wood.

On trees 16 inches or larger in diameter, you should make two extra side cuts to prevent splitting of the butt log (Figure 3).

3. Do not cut through to the undercut; be sure to leave a hinge (Figures 2 and 4). As the saw approaches the notch, slow down and carefully control the rate of cut. You should have your wedges and maul handy because you may need to drive a wedge behind the saw to prevent pinching of the cutter bar. Wood or plastic wedges should be used if there is danger that the wedge tip may hit the chain. Wedges also may be needed to adjust the direction of fall by “swinging” the falling tree to one side or the other. Leave some “holding wood” (hinge) that is thicker at one side of the back cut than the other (Figure 4).

4. If the tree is small enough (6 to 8 inches) that an assistant can push it, you will not need a wedge. Both persons must be alert, however, and plan to leave the area without stumbling over each other as the tree starts to fall.

Caution: Always make a last-minute check to see that other persons are out of danger before completing the back cut. Yell “Timber!” when the tree starts to fall. Then stop the saw, quickly set it on the ground away from the stump, and retreat to your preselected place of safety behind a larger tree. Be alert to the possibility of kickbacks or bounces when the trunk hits the ground. Watch for failing limbs!

Lodged Tree

If the tree lodges in a nearby standing tree, its removal is a dangerous job. Proceed with extreme caution! First, consider the hazards involved. Has the lodged tree been cut free from the stump? If not, then free it with the saw or an axe. A pry pole, bar, cant hook, or peavey can be used to roll the tree off the stump and out of the standing tree. Sometimes the tree can be pulled free with a long cable or chain and a tractor. Be sure that no harm will come to the tractor driver or the equipment as the tree comes free. Be careful that the cable does not snap as it is pulled and hit the driver or a nearby worker.

As a last resort, a third tree may be fallen across the lodged tree, or the tree supporting the lodged tree may be cut. The latter alternative is a very dangerous job that requires experience; you probably should get professional help.



1. Do not work too close to your helpers.

2. Do not hold the saw higher than your waist.

3. Trim the limbs from the fallen trunk while standing on the opposite side of the trunk. If the down tree is on a hillside, or if the trunk is likely to roll when some of the limbs are cut, stand on the “uphill” side.


1. Start cutting the limbs from the down tree at the butt end and work towards the top. Limbs that are bent over and supporting the down tree should be Cut first on the under (compression) side, then on the top side; otherwise they may split lengthwise as the tension is released and spring back to injure you. If you are cutting the tree into firewood1, start at the tips of the branches and move towards the trunk, cutting the limbs into lengths of 16 to 18 inches. The branches will be flexible – be careful that they do not whip about as the chain comes into contact with them.

2. When the branches have been removed, start bucking the trunk into firewood or logs. Be alert to the possibility that the saw may pinch and kick back to throw you off- balance. To help prevent pinching, start sawing partway through the trunk (or limb) from the bottom, then finish the cut from the top side, or use a wedge. See that you have a safe place to stand while bucking the trunk and limbs, particularly when they are likely to roll or shift position.

3. Do not run the saw into the soil! It dulls the chain. Keeping your tools sharp and in good working order is part of your safety program.



We recommend that you do not stand on a rickety ladder to prune a standing tree with any kind of saw. Pruning a standing tree from a ladder is very dangerous. Use a pole saw and stand on the ground to reach high branches. (If you must use a ladder, see that it is stable and well braced. Work without overreaching to the side. Use a hand saw for cutting smaller limbs, and use the other hand to maintain your balance on the ladder.) Hire an experienced worker to prune any larger limbs that may require a power saw.


To prune low limbs of standing trees, stand on the opposite side of the trunk from the limb being pruned. Make the first cut with the power saw on the underside of the larger limbs about 6 inches away from the trunk, then complete the removal with a cut on the top side, starting a little farther out on the limb. This method will prevent stripping of the bark from the tree, which is especially important in the spring of the year when the bark cells are starting to grow. Finally, cut the stub close to the trunk. The smaller branches can be cut close to the trunk with one cut, starting from the bottom side.


Chain Saw
Safety Tips

Operating a chain saw is inherently hazardous. Potential injuries can be minimized by using proper personal protective equipment and safe operating procedures.

Before Starting a Chain Saw

  • Check controls, chain tension, and all bolts and handles to ensure that they are functioning properly and that they are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure that the chain is always sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full.
  • Start the saw on the ground or on another firm support. Drop starting is never allowed.
  • Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.

Fueling a Chain Saw

  • Use approved containers for transporting fuel to the saw.
  • Dispense fuel at least 10 feet away from any sources of ignition when performing construction activities. No smoking during fueling.
  • Use a funnel or a flexible hose when pouring fuel into the saw.
  • Never attempt to fuel a running or HOT saw.

Chain Saw Safety

  • Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw’s chain path. Look for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.
  • Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.
  • Keep your hands on the saw’s handles, and maintain secure footing while operating the saw.
  • Proper personal protective equipment must be worn when operating the saw, which includes hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protection.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Be careful that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
  • Watch for branches under tension, they may spring out when cut.
  • Gasoline-powered chain saws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain saw kickback.
  • Be cautious of saw kick-back. To avoid kick-back, do not saw with the tip. If equipped, keep tip guard in place.

Final reminder and safety tips:

  1. Follow steps in the instruction manual for operation and maintenance of your saw.
  2. Wear protective clothing; have a first-aid kit handy.
  3. Observe precautions while carrying the saw.
  4. Remove nails, wire, etc. from the trunk.
  5. Check the top of the tree for “widow makers.”
  6. Determine where the tree will fall – be sure that no buildings, power lines, or other trees will be hit.
  7. Select a safe place to stand when the tree falls.
  8. Notch the tree on the side in direction of fall, then make corner cuts and back cut. (See diagram in above paragraphs)

  9. Yell “Timber!” as the tree falls.

Safety Tips for Electric-Powered Chain Saws

  1. Read the manual supplied with your saw.
  2. Use a heavy-duty, 3-wire, outdoor extension cord for power tools.
  3. Be careful not to trip on the cord; disconnect it while going from one tree to the next.
  4. Do not cut through the cord.
  5. Do not use while standing in a wet area.

Chainsaws can help make the task at hand a lot easier as long as you remember “Safety Never Takes a Holiday” and cut with common sense.

Today’s Blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for ENMR·Plateau



Z590.3 Standard for Prevention Through Design

Anyone who’s been in the safety business for any length of time knows that step one when dealing with any particular hazard or safety issue is to try to engineer away the hazard before you start looking at PPE and other possible solutions. In a nutshell what this means is that rather than purchase respirators for all your workers because a specific chemical is harmful, it is best to try to find alternate chemicals that could be used that aren’t harmful. The same principle applies to any hazard.

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently approved the ANSI Z590.3 standard “Prevention through Design: Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes.” What this new standard essential addresses is the need to start looking at safety even before the hazard is present thus eliminating the need to engineer the hazard out, namely because it is never present to start with.

The way you put together your warehouse, for example, is a design issue. A well designed warehouse is essentially safer than a poorly designed one. A poorly designed warehouse has blind spots, tripping hazards, overhead hazards, etc… that then need to be addressed (signs, floor marking tape, hard hats required, etc…).

According to ASSE “The Z590.3 standard focuses specifically on the avoidance, elimination, reduction and control of occupational safety and health hazards and risks in the design and redesign process. Through the application of the concepts presented in the standard, decisions about occupational hazards and risks can be incorporated into the process of design and redesign of work areas, tools, equipment, machinery, substances and work processes.  Design and redesign also includes construction, manufacture, use, maintenance and disposal of reuse of equipment used on-the-job.”

The new standard is not presently available but according to the ASSE website it soon will be, both in print as well as in electronic format.

For more information visit the press release on the ASSE website.

“Top Ten Trends in the Safety Industry” white paper

A new white paper by Miller Pierce ( “Top Ten Trends in the Safety Industry” provides and quick but extremely informative read for anyone involved in the field of safety.

It’s a quick 4 pages that identifies each trend, briefly explains it and provides for each one a “bottom line” that explains what this means to safety professionals, manufacturers and/or distributors.

#4, for example states that “Durability beats price in PPE product selection”. This conclusion was reached by polling those who purchase PPE. They apparently overwhelmingly stated that they were more than willing to pay more for PPE that was going to last longer because it was ultimately more cost effective. The message to manufacturers is clear “Make PPE that is of superior quality.” The message to distributors is equally clear “You have to be able to show that the product is cost effective to sell it properly”

This goes hand-in-hand with #6 which states that “customers are clamoring for value-added services from their suppliers.” In other words, in this electronic age, where safety supplies are just a few mouse clicks away, customers want more from their suppliers than just supplies at a good price.

This is one of the reasons that National Safety, Inc was founded some 16 years ago now. The five original owners worked for Rice Safety when it got bought out and assimilated by a large company that sold more than just safety. It sold everything from toilet paper to light bulbs. Ron, Dick, John W, Ed and John M knew that customers, even back then, needed more than just product. Safety isn’t just about selling product, it’s about helping the customer find the right product for his particular challenge. Knowledge concerning safety is an essential part of the equation. When it comes to safety, health and lives are on the line. Selling the wrong product is dangerous and even fatal. The five original owners therefore cashed in their 401K, pooled the money and started National Safety, Inc. Service and knowledge is still what National Safety, Inc. is all about.

But I digress. Download the white paper, it’s got some good and interesting information.

Send me any feedback you might have. I am interested in what you think of it.

Electronic Risk Core Calculator Free Download

Does anyone remember how we used to work and do research before the internet? For safety professionals, the internet is an incredible resource. There is no need to create your own forms, no need to rewrite all the material and no need to reinvent the wheel.

Case in point, a FREE DOWNLOAD from that allows you to assess the risk factor associated with a particular hazard in your work place. Input the level of probability (practically impossible, conceivable but very unlikely, remotely possible, unusual by possible, quite possible or almost certain), select the exposure (continuous, frequent, occasional, infrequent, rare or very rare) and finally select the consequence (first aid treatment, casualty treatment, serious injury, fatality, multiple fatalities or numerous fatalities) and the program will assign a risk factor of low, moderate, substantial, high or very high as well as a numerical value to the potential hazard.

You’ll be required to register which is only fair considering the value of the free software.

While you’re on the site, have a lot around. There are TONS of templates, forms, calculators, guides, handbooks and other assessment tools that you’ll doubtlessly find helpful, if not right away, in the future.

Hats off to the people at for making this stuff available for free.

The Unique Safety Challenges of Concrete Manufacturing

With a quarter of a million workers in the USA involved in the manufacturing of concrete as well as everyone else who uses concrete, the unique health and safety challenges of concrete remain a very real problem.

The hazards are many and varied:

  1. Cement Dust
    Cement dust is something that can cause its own set of health problems. It can cause irritation to the eyes, the throat, the nose and the lungs. It can also cause skin damage, from mild irritation to several cracking and burns. Additionally Silica exposure has been linked to silicosis and lung cancer.
    Steps to be taken to protect against cement dust:
    a. Protect skin, respiratory tract and eyes from exposure to cement dust. Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment like tyvek and tychem, gloves, cement workers boots and goggles.
    b. If you come in contact with cement dust wash it off as soon as possible with soap and water. Rinse the eyes if cement dust gets in them and contact your doctor as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage to the eyes.

    c. Use a P95 or N95 dust mask or respirator to protect the lungs.
    d. Do not consume food or drink in areas that have been exposed to cement dust.

  2. Wet Concrete
    Wet concrete can cause severe burns to the skin.
    a. Again, make sure that you are wearing the right PPE to protect against concrete burns. tyvek and tychem, gloves, cement workers boots and goggles should always been worn when working with wet concrete.
    b. Apply a neutralizing agent like Neutralite to change the pH balance of the wet concrete and protect against burns when wet cement has contacted the skin.
    c. If wet concrete comes into contact with the eyes, rinse eyes for 15 minutes and get to a hospital immediately.
  3. Other Hazards
    Guards to protect against the cement mixing machinery
    b. Cement trucks
    c. Other construction related safety issues (most concrete is used in construction) such as fall protection, ergonomic issues, hearing protection issues, lockout/tagout, etc…

For more information and documentation relating to concrete and cement health and safety issues, check out the OSHA “Concrete Manufacturing” webpage.

Driving in Fog Safety Tips

Driving in heavy fog is like driving with a blindfold on. Statistically it’s the most dangerous driving hazard in existence. No matter how important the trip is, it’s not worth gambling your life. Rain in most of our area recently has caused some foggy conditions. We are transitioning toward fall with colder morning and evening temperatures with the addition of any moisture can create the potential for fog. Fog can be thought of as a cloud at ground level. It forms when the temperature drops to the dew point (the temperature at which air is saturated), and invisible water vapor in the air condenses to form suspended water droplets. Fog can reduce visibility to 1/4 mile or less, creating hazardous driving conditions. If you have to travel in foggy conditions follow these Safety tips:

  • Drive with lights on low beam or fog lights. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more creating a “white wall” effect.
  • Reduce your speed — and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding.
  • Be cautious, fog can become thicker without warning and without being noticed until it is too late to react.
  • Increase following distance to ensure enough reaction time and stopping distance.
  • Turn on your 4-way flashers to give vehicles approaching from behind a better opportunity to see and notice your vehicle.
  • Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window a little, to hear better.
  • Use windshield wipers and defroster as necessary to maximize visibility.
  • Be ready for emergency stops by other vehicles.
  • If possible, drive in a “pocket” where no other vehicles are around you.
  • Turn off your cruise control so you are in control of your vehicle.
  • Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide to avoid crossing into oncoming traffic lanes.
  • Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.
  • Signal early, and when you use your brakes, don’t stomp on them

  • Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road. If your car stalls or becomes disabled, turn your vehicle’s lights off, and take your foot off of the brake pedal. People tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog. Move away from the vehicle to avoid injury

  • If your car is disabled or you can’t continue, pull well onto the shoulder and turn off lights. Move away from your vehicle.

Weather can be very dangerous at times, especially when you operate a vehicle on the roads in poor weather conditions. Fog creates dangerous driving conditions and has been the cause of a high number of accidents and fatalities. Remember to practice safety. Don’t learn it by accident.

This information from National Safety Council

Safety Alerts are a publication of the information from various sources to share with the community. The information contained in this newsletter has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and the editors have exercised reasonable care to assure its accuracy.


Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for ENMR·Plateau