The Hazmat Student Newsletter

April 2017

Burn Safety

   Don’t Get the Third Degree | Workplace Burn Prevention

OSHA has reported that there are more than 5,000 work-related burn injuries in the U.S. each year. 8% of all burn injuries occur on the job. These burns can be: First-degree – Superficial burns with minimal skin damage; Second degree – Burns than go beyond the top layer of skin, which can cause blisters, pain and swelling; or Third degree – Burns that destroy the skin and tissue underneath, causing permanent damage.

The most common types of workplace burns are thermal (heat), electrical or chemical. Thermal burns can occur with exposure to hot liquids or steam, hot surfaces, flames, and explosions. Chemical burns are caused by contact with substances that eat away at the skin. Electrical burns happen when a current travels through the body and meets resistance in tissue.

It’s important that employers and workers be aware of these common burn types and make the effort to identify, control, and avoid/reduce potential burn hazards in the workplace. Important preventative measures include:

  • Keeping the workplace clean and free of debris.
  • Making sure workplace fire extinguishers are properly maintained and in working order.
  • Storing combustible and flammable items properly and keeping them away from ignition sources.
  • Wearing the proper personal protective equipment for the hazard.
  • Being extra cautious around chemicals and any hot liquids, materials, or surfaces.
  • Reading the labels and Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals in the workplace.
  • Having emergency plans in place.
  • Following Lock-Out / Tag-Out procedures when working with electricity.


Because workplace burns are so common, employers and workers must actively try to lessen the risks. Awareness, implementation of controls, and protective measures can be very effective in reducing burn hazards.

Posted in: OSHA Safety

April 2017

Walking-Working Surfaces Final Rule

   Beneath the Surface | Final Rule on Walking-Working Surfaces

dangerous work surfaceOSHA has issued a final rule that updates and revises outdated slip, trip and fall hazard standards for general industry. The final rule also aligns general industry fall protection requirements as much as possible with construction requirements. With the changes, workers will be better protected through updated and clarified standards, as well as new training and inspection requirements. The rule is expected to prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries each year. 

The final rule applies to all general industry workplaces and covers all walking-working surfaces, such as stairs, roofs, ladders, scaffolds, and more. Some changes implemented by the Final Rule are situation-specific requirements for fall protection as well as new requirements for the use, maintenance, performance, and inspection of personal fall protection systems. Requirements for Rope Descent Systems and Ladder Safety were also added. Employers also now have greater flexibility to choose from the below fall protection options:

  • Guardrail System
  • Safety Net System
  • Personal Fall Arrest System
  • Positioning System
  • Travel Restraint System
  • Ladder Safety System


With the Final Rule, employers have an additional requirement to provide training to workers who use personal fall protection and who work in specific high hazard situations. These workers must be able to:

  • Identify and minimize fall hazards;
  • Use personal fall protection systems and rope descent systems; and
  • Maintain, inspect, and store equipment or systems used for fall protection.


Employers are also required to provide retraining as needed, including when there’s a change in workplace operations or equipment, or when the worker would benefit from retraining due to lack knowledge or skill.

Most of the provisions of the rule took effect in January 2017, but some provisions have delayed effective dates. For more information, please see OSHA’s page regarding the Final Rule.

Posted in: OSHA Safety

April 2017

Hazardous Energy

   A Power Trip  | Hazardous Energy

lockout tagout for hazardous energyWhen machines and equipment are being serviced or maintained, the unexpected startup of the equipment or a release of stored energy in the equipment can harm workers. This hazardous energy, if not properly controlled, can cause serious injuries, such as electrocutions, burns, crushing injuries, amputations, fractures, or even death.

Approximately 3 million workers routinely service or maintain equipment and have an increased risk of hazardous energy injury. In many industries, nearly 10 percent of serious accidents are caused by a failure to control hazardous energy. On average, hazardous energy injuries require 24 days of recuperation for the affected worker.

Hazardous energy can be electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, chemical, thermal, or can come from other energy sources. These sources must be isolated and rendered inoperative before equipment servicing or maintenance work begins. Employers must protect workers from hazardous energy and ensure workers are trained on hazardous energy control procedures. Workers should receive training on:

  • The employer’s energy control program;
  • Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices, procedures, and limitations;
  • OSHA requirements related to lockout/tagout;
  • The purpose and use of energy control procedures;
  • The hazardous energy sources in the workplace;
  • The type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace;
  • The means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy;
  • New or changed control methods;
  • Maintaining proficiency with retraining as needed.


For more information on this topic, review the OSHA standards that address controlling hazardous energy. Additionally, OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet describes how to prevent hazardous energy release in machinery and equipment.

Posted in: OSHA Safety

April 2017

Personal Protective Equipment

   We’ve Got You Covered | Personal Protective Equipment

Workers trying on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)When employees are not adequately protected from hazards on the job, employers are required to provide employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure its use. However, employees often become aware of workplace hazards or PPE shortfalls that may not be known to the employer. Become an active participant in your own personal safety!

Critical steps in ensuring employees will be protected are to evaluate the various physical and health hazards in the workplace and then select the proper protection for those hazards. Make sure you consider your protection needs in the following areas:

  • Eye and Face Protection, such as safety glasses and face shields, can help keep foreign objects out of your eyes.
  • Foot Protection, such as safety-toed, slip-resistant, or puncture-resistant footwear, can help you avoid falls and protect your feet from injuries.
  • Hand Protection, such as specialized gloves, can save your hands from chemical or heat injury, electrical hazards, cuts, and more.
  • Head Protection, such as hard hats, can protect you from falling objects, head impacts, and head contact with electrical hazards.
  • Body Protection, such as leggings, coveralls, and full body suits, can protect various areas of the body from chemicals, machinery, and heat.
  • Hearing Protection, such as earplugs and earmuffs, can minimize the danger of working in high noise areas.
  • Respiratory Protection, such as an appropriate respirator, can help prevent the adverse health effects caused by dusts, gases, and other contaminants in the air.


The best way to be protected from hazards is to control the hazard at its source. When that’s not possible, personal protective equipment needs to be used to minimize hazard exposure. If you’re not adequately protected on the job, make sure you share your PPE safety concerns with your employer.

For PPE training, we offer a 100% Online Personal Protective Equipment Program & Selection Course. To learn more about the various types of Personal Protective Equipment and OSHA’s PPE requirements, see the OSHA publication: Personal Protective Equipment


Posted in: OSHA Safety

April 2017

OSHA Fall Prevention

   Take A Stand | National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls

Falls from elevated surfaces continue to be a leading cause of death in construction. To help increase awareness of fall hazards and to reinforce the importance of fall prevention, OSHA has partnered with NIOSH and other agencies to create the 4th Annual National Safety Stand-Down from May 8 – 12, 2017.

During this Stand-Down week, companies are encouraged to plan a toolbox talk or safety activity for employees which focuses on fall prevention. The OSHA website has free resources to help you conduct your Safety Stand-Down, including: Fact Sheets; a Campaign Poster; a printable Fall Prevention Wallet Card; Fall Prevention Publications; Ladder and Scaffolding Safety Information; Fall Safety Videos; and more. One of OSHA’s Suggestions for a Successful Stand-Down is to review your current fall prevention program and evaluate for possible improvements, revisions, or the need for better safety equipment. Local stand-down events that are open to the public will also be added to OSHA’s Events page.

Stand-Down participation is open to anyone who’s interested in preventing workplace falls. After completion of a Stand-Down, employers will be able to download a Certificate of Participation from OSHA’s website. For more information on the event or available resources, visit OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down page

Posted in: OSHA Safety

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