The Hazmat Student Newsletter

August 2018

Heat Illness Prevention

   Hot Spot | Heat Illness Prevention

This summer has already brought extreme heat to many parts of the country. For those who work outdoors, increased danger comes with higher temperatures. Each year, thousands of workers get sick and dozens of workers die from occupational heat exposure.

There are many precautions that workers can take to help prevent heat-related illnesses:

  • Work in the shade.
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool shade.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, such as cotton.
  • Drink small amounts of water frequently.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar.
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity.
  • Understand that respirators, work suits, or other PPE or equipment can increase your heat stress.
  • Ask your doctor about how your medications may react with the heat.


Heat illness prevention is critical, but workers also must learn about the symptoms of heat illness and be prepared to act quickly when needed. Below is a chart with OSHA-provided guidance for helping workers in need before professional medical help is available.*



First Aid*

Heat Stroke
(Medical emergency)

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin
  • Very high body temperature
  • Call 911

While waiting for help:

  • Place worker in shady, cool area
  • Loosen clothing, remove outer clothing
  • Fan air on worker; cold packs in armpits
  • Wet worker with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses, or ice if available
  • Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible
  • Stay with worker until help arrives

Heat Exhaustion

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • Fast heart beat
  • Have worker sit or lie down in a cool, shady area
  • Give worker plenty of water or other cool beverages to drink
  • Cool worker with cold compresses/ice packs
  • Take to clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve within 60 minutes.
  • Do not return to work that day

Heat Cramps

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain
  • Usually in abdomen, arms, or legs
  • Have worker rest in shady, cool area
  • Worker should drink water or other cool beverages
  • Wait a few hours before allowing worker to return to strenuous work
  • Have worker seek medical attention if cramps don’t go away

Heat Rash

  • Clusters of red bumps on skin
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, folds of skin
  • Try to work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible
  • Keep the affected area dry


By using preventative measures and learning about heat illness symptoms and first aid, workers can be better prepared for the summer heat hazards. For additional information, see OSHA’s Heat Illness Campaign page. We also offer 100% Online Heat Illness Prevention Training for Employees or Supervisors through our website. 




Posted in: OSHA Safety

August 2018

Heavy Equipment Hazards

   Keep the Weight Off | Heavy Equipment Hazards


The use of heavy equipment is commonplace on many work sites. Every year there are thousands of incidents involving heavy equipment where workers end up seriously or fatally injured. Below are some general safety tips to help you stay safe when working with heavy equipment.

  • Get Trained: Ensure you’ve been properly trained to safely operate heavy equipment prior to use. Refresher training should be conducted as needed and as required.
  • Communicate: Everyone working around heavy equipment needs to know what’s happening and be aware of the equipment operator’s blind spots. Use two-way radios and a trained spotter to ensure blind spots are clear prior to moving equipment.
  • Inspect the Equipment Before Use: Use pre-planned checklists to make sure the equipment is not damaged and is functioning properly.
  • Enter and Exit Safely: To prevent falls, always keep three points of contact with the equipment when entering or exiting. Also, ensure the equipment is fully shut-down and not moving before getting on or off. Never jump on or off the equipment.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt: In the event of heavy equipment rollover, a seatbelt may save your life.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Know about overhead and underground hazards in the area and take the needed precautions to avoid them.
  • Use the Correct Equipment for the Task
  • Load and Unload Safely: Don’t exceed the load limits of the equipment. Load and unload on level ground to prevent rollovers.
  • Follow Lock-out/Tag-out Procedures: Ensure equipment will not start unexpectedly or release stored energy prior to performing maintenance or servicing of equipment.
  • Protect Yourself: Never operate heavy equipment when you cannot remain alert. This includes when you’re sleepy or under the influence of any substance that may negatively impact your actions.


Most workplace accidents are preventable. By staying alert and taking steps to make safety a top priority, you can avoid unnecessary workplace injuries.



Posted in: OSHA Safety

August 2018

Skin Cancer Prevention

   Save Your Own Skin | Skin Cancer Prevention for Outdoor Workers

Outdoor workers are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, even on cloudy days. These UV rays can cause wrinkles, cataracts, skin aging, and skin cancer. With the increased UV radiation exposure that occurs with time, outdoor workers are at increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., with nearly 5 million people treated each year. In addition, many thousands of people die annually from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is preventable in most cases.

Early Detection

Skin cancers detected early are nearly always curable. Take the time every month to do a head-to-toe skin evaluation, looking for changes in your moles or skin, and other indicators of potential skin cancer. When in doubt, always consult a medical professional.

Potential Skin Cancer Indicators

  • Irregular borders on moles, with ragged, notched, or blurred edges
  • Asymmetrical moles, where one half doesn’t match the other
  • Moles with non-uniform colors
  • Moles bigger than a pencil eraser
  • Itchy or painful moles
  • New moles
  • Sores that bleed and do not heal
  • Red patches or lumps



With just a few preventative measures, workers can greatly reduce their risks of developing skin cancer:

Use sunscreen: Find a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB radiation. It should also be water-resistant and have an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen before sun exposure and reapply at least every two hours. Don’t forget to use it on your lips, ears, scalp, neck, hands and feet.

Cover yourself: Wear clothes with a tight-weave or high-SPF protection. Wear a hat with a wide brim or special sun-safety attachments. Wear safety glasses with UV protection.

Limit exposure: When possible, avoid outdoor work when UV rays are the most intense, between 10am to 4pm. Avoid working in spaces where reflections from bight surfaces, such as metal or concrete, can increase your sun exposure. Use tents or shelters to create shaded work areas. Take breaks in the shade.  

Being sun smart when working outdoors can help workers lessen the risks of developing skin cancer. Monthly skin examinations are also critical for catching skin cancers early, while they are often curable.



Posted in: OSHA Safety

August 2018

OSHA Training for Emergency Responders

   On the Level | OSHA Training Levels for Emergency Responders


When a hazardous substance release occurs, emergency responders must know, inside and out, what their responsibilities are and be ready to take the appropriate actions. If workers take actions they haven’t been properly trained to perform, many people’s safety and lives could be put at risk. It’s critical that emergency response personnel get the proper level of OSHA-required training, based on their job responsibilities during hazardous waste operations. 

Level 1 – First Responder Awareness (FRA)

Workers who may witness or discover a release of hazardous substances and who are responsible for notifying the proper authorities, need to be trained to the First Responder Awareness Level. These workers would take no further action beyond notifying the authorities of the release. This training level does not have a specific time requirement for the length of training, but requires sufficient training or experience for the worker to demonstrate the below competencies. An annual refresher is also required.

  • An understanding of what hazardous substances are, and the risks associated with them in an incident.
  • An understanding of the potential outcomes associated with an emergency created when hazardous substances are present.
  • The ability to recognize the presence of hazardous substances in an emergency.
  • The ability to identify the hazardous substances, if possible.
  • An understanding of the role of the first responder awareness individual in the employer’s emergency response plan including site security and control and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Emergency Response Guidebook.
  • The ability to realize the need for additional resources, and to make appropriate notifications to the communication center.


29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6)(i)

Level 2 – First Responder Operations (FRO)

Workers who respond to hazardous substance releases (or potential releases) in a defensive manner, but do not try to stop the release, need to be trained to the First Responder Operations Level. These workers aim to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures. They work to protect people, property and the environment from the effects of the release. This training level requires 8 hours of initial training or sufficient experience to demonstrate the below competencies. An annual refresher is also required.

  • Knowledge of the basic hazard and risk assessment techniques.
  • Know how to select and use proper personal protective equipment provided to the first responder operational level.
  • An understanding of basic hazardous materials terms.
  • Know how to perform basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available with their unit.
  • Know how to implement basic decontamination procedures.
  • An understanding of the relevant standard operating procedures and termination procedures.


 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6)(ii)

Level 3 –  Hazardous Materials Technician

Hazardous materials technicians will approach the point of a hazardous substance release (or potential release) and take action to plug, patch, or otherwise stop the release. Because this role is more aggressive and potentially more dangerous than the operations level, workers at the Hazmat Tech level are required to receive 24 hours of operations level training and have competency in the below areas. Annual refresher training is also required.

  • Know how to implement the employer’s emergency response plan.
  • Know the classification, identification and verification of known and unknown materials by using field survey instruments and equipment.
  • Be able to function within an assigned role in the Incident Command System.
  • Know how to select and use proper specialized chemical personal protective equipment provided to the hazardous materials technician.
  • Understand hazard and risk assessment techniques.
  • Be able to perform advance control, containment, and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available with the unit.
  • Understand and implement decontamination procedures.
  • Understand termination procedures.
  • Understand basic chemical and toxicological terminology and behavior.


29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6)(iii)

Level 4 – Hazardous Materials Specialist

Hazmat Specialists parallel the duties of Hazmat Techs, but they also need to have a more directed or specific knowledge about various substances they may need to contain. Hazmat Specialists also act as the site liaison with Federal, state, local, and other government authorities regarding site activities. Hazmat Specialists are required to receive 24 hours of technician level training, plus have the below competencies. Annual refresher training is required.

  • Know how to implement the local emergency response plan.
  • Understand classification, identification and verification of known and unknown materials by using advanced survey instruments and equipment.
  • Know the state emergency response plan.
  • Be able to select and use proper specialized chemical personal protective equipment provided to the hazardous materials specialist.
  • Understand in-depth hazard and risk techniques.
  • Be able to perform specialized control, containment, and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available.
  • Be able to determine and implement decontamination procedures.
  • Have the ability to develop a site safety and control plan.
  • Understand chemical, radiological and toxicological terminology and behavior.


29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6)(iv)

Level 5 – On-scene Incident Commander

Incident Commanders assume control of the incident scene beyond the first awareness level. They are required to have 24 hours of training equal to the first responder operations level and have competency in the below areas. Annual refresher training is required.

  • Know and be able to implement the employer’s incident command system.
  • Know how to implement the employer’s emergency response plan.
  • Know and understand the hazards and risks associated with employees working in chemical protective clothing.
  • Know how to implement the local emergency response plan.
  • Know of the state emergency response plan and of the Federal Regional Response Team.
  • Know and understand the importance of decontamination procedures.


29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6)(v)

During a hazardous substance release or emergency, it’s imperative that workers know their specific responsibilities and have been properly trained to perform these duties. After the Initial  training, annual refreshers and/or competency demonstration is required for all the training levels to ensure workers are prepared when a hazardous substance release occurs. 1910.120(q)(8).

For a complete list of our classroom and online Hazmat Training Courses and HAZWOPER Training Courses, please visit our website




August 2018

Workplace Hand Safety

   In Safe Hands | Workplace Hand Safety and Protection

It’s easy to take for granted how important our hands are to our everyday life. We use our hands for nearly everything we do, so it should be no surprise that workplace hand injuries are a common occurrence. These injuries can be life-changing when they affect a worker’s ability to do their job or impact their quality of life. 

To keep hands safe, it’s important for workers know about the types of hand injuries that frequently occur in the workplace, as well as how to prevent those injuries.

Common Types of Hand Injuries

  • Cuts, Lacerations & Punctures: These types of injuries often occur when working with machinery, equipment, and tools. Frequently, the tool machinery is being used incorrectly or the wrong hand protection is being used for the job.
  • Burns & Chemical Hazards: These injuries include thermal, electrical and chemical burns, as well as others dangers from hazardous chemicals.
  • Fractures & Amputations: Falls or sudden blows to the hand, or working with moving machinery and equipment, often contribute to these types of injuries.
  • Sprains & Strains: Using the wrong tool for the job, repetitive motions and falls often cause these types of injuries in the hand and wrist.


Safe Practices for Hand Protection

There are many things workers can do to protect their hands on the job:

  • Always use the right gloves for the job and the specific hazard. Gloves and other personal protective equipment need to have the proper fit. Be aware that gloves can increase your danger in some situations, if the glove can get caught in machinery. Make sure to know and follow the correct safety procedures for the equipment you’re using.
  • Keep hands away from moving parts and sharp objects, such as sharp edges, blades, nails, and splinters.
  • Inspect tools before using them and ensure they are working properly. Make sure machine guards are in place and have not been removed. Know where the ‘emergency off’ switches and other safety features are for all equipment.
  • Be aware of your hand and wrist position when using tools. Always use the right tool for the task at hand, and use ergonomic tools when possible.
  • When cleaning or repairing tools, always make sure they are turned off without power supply.
  • Don’t put your hands in spaces where you can’t see them.
  • Remove rings and other jewelry when working. Rings are particularly dangerous around moving objects and machinery.
  • Use tools such as push sticks and brushes to keep your hands farther away from hazards.
  • Never perform work when hands are slippery.
  • Use the proper PPE and take the proper precautions when working with chemicals.


Perhaps the best way to avoid workplace hand injuries is to stay focused on your personal safety at all times. Remain aware of your surroundings and the potential hazards of each task, and always act with your safety deliberately in mind.



Posted in: OSHA Safety

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