The Hazmat Student Newsletter

November 2017

Workplace Injury Prevention

   An Ounce of Prevention | Simple Steps for Injury Prevention

Nobody plans to get hurt on the job, but it happens more frequently than it should. Below are common workplace hazards and some simple preventative actions you can take to avoid injury. 

Struck-by Object Injuries: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings, including equipment location and potential dangers.
  • Use the proper personal protective equipment for the job, such as face and eye protection.
  • Inspect equipment prior to use. Do not use equipment if you suspect it’s not functioning properly.
  • Avoid areas where items could fall from above.
  • Store items securely, ensuring they will not fall. 


Caught-in Equipment Injuries:

  • Understand the crush, pinch, shear, and pull-in points of equipment being used.
  • Ensure that the proper machine guards have not been removed from equipment.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry near machinery where it could potentially get caught.
  • Keep long hair tied back around moving equipment. 


Slip and Fall Injuries:

  • Keep walkways clear of debris.
  • Clean-up spills quickly.
  • Ensure cords on the floor are properly covered.
  • In slippery spaces, use non-slips rugs and/or signs to alert workers of the danger.
  • Use signs and other measures to alert pedestrians to uneven walking surfaces.


Falling from Heights Injuries:

  • Use fall prevention systems for floor holes, unprotected sides, and wall openings where falls could occur.
  • Use the proper fall protection and PPE for the task.
  • Always use ladders properly, ensuring they are safely positioned and in good condition prior to use. 


Overexertion Injuries:

  • Know what your body can handle and don’t push yourself beyond your limits.
  • Stretch before working.
  • Use equipment to move heavy items or ask for additional help.
  • When lifting objects, bend at the knees.


Repetitive Motion Injuries:

  • Follow ergonomic best practices for your type of job, including the use of ergonomic equipment.
  • Take regular breaks from repetitive activity to stretch and rest your muscles.
  • Exercise regularly, including strengthening, stretching, and aerobic activity.
  • Learn to recognize the early symptoms of repetitive motion injuries and make adjustments to help prevent permanent damage. 


Simple injury prevention measures can have a big impact in reducing the number of workplace injuries and their associated costs. Proper training, heightened risk awareness, and the safety commitment of the entire workforce are critical to ensuring workers have a safe and healthy work environment.


Posted in: OSHA Safety

November 2017

Respiratory Disease Prevention

   As I Live and Breathe | Workplace Respiratory Diseases


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has reported that about 70% of occupational disease deaths are due to respiratory diseases and cancers caused by harmful exposures on the job. Molds, smoke, gases, dusts, allergens, metals and toxins in the work environment can all create a variety of respiratory symptoms and illnesses.

Below are some preventative measures that can be taken to limit your risk of developing respiratory disease due to occupational exposures:

  • Keep the workplace clean.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Substitute hazardous substances on the job with less hazardous items.
  • Use the proper protective gear, such as face masks or respirators, when the situation warrants their use.
  • Wear clean work clothing. If working around hazardous substances, shower before leaving work and leave work clothes at the worksite, if possible.
  • Don’t smoke. It can increase your risk of occupational lung disease.
  • Address water leaks and dampness in work buildings immediately to help prevent growth of hazardous organisms.
  • Ensure that management monitors and limits worker exposures to substances known to cause respiratory diseases.
  • Ensure there is proper workplace ventilation to help prevent the spread of airborne hazards.
  • Get periodic medical exams.


If you’re experiencing symptoms of possible respiratory disease, such as asthma, coughing, wheezing, nasal symptoms, or shortness of breath, seek medical advice as early as possible. For many respiratory illnesses, earlier treatment is associated with better outcomes.

For more information, see the NIOSH webpage: Respiratory Health at Work


Posted in: OSHA Safety

November 2017

Workplace Fire Prevention

   In the Hot Seat | Workplace Fire Prevention


The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2016, nearly 3,000 civilians were killed in structure fires. Although people don’t often think about the possibility of a fire at work, thousands of fires occur in non-domestic buildings each year. Below, we’ve provided common causes for workplace fires and preventative measures that can be taken to avoid them. 

Common Workplace Fire Causes

  • Combustible Debris
  • Smoking
  • Space Heaters
  • Electrical Issues
  • Faulty Equipment
  • Dust


Workplace Fire Prevention Tips

  • Trash and combustible items, such as wood, paper and cardboard, should be placed in the designated areas and stored away from ignition sources.
  • Keep emergency exits and work areas clear of debris and combustible materials.
  • Get training on the use of fire extinguishers and regularly check that extinguishers are available in work areas and fully charged for use. 
  • Inspect space heaters regularly and don’t use them if dusty or damaged.
  • Don’t use space heaters near debris or combustible materials. Keep the area around the space heater clean and clear.
  • Smoke only in designated smoking areas and dispose of cigarettes in proper containers.
  • Inspect work equipment and extension cords for damage prior to use. Don’t use if damaged.
  • Don’t overload outlets or plug more than one power strip together.
  • When work processes create dust, ensure the area is properly ventilated and free of ignition sources. Combustible dust should be properly collected.
  • Report potential electrical or fire hazards to management.
  • Follow OSHA fire safety guidelines.


Stop fires before they start by identifying potential fire hazards in the workplace and taking the needed steps to minimize the risks. For more information, see OSHA Fact Sheet: Fire Safety in the Workplace.


Posted in: OSHA Safety

November 2017

Common Health & Safety Myths

   Moment of Truth | Common Health & Safety Myths

There are hazards all around us, however many workers assume they don’t need to worry about workplace safety. Below are some of the most common health and safety myths found in the workplace:   

My employer makes sure that I’m safe.
Although employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment, workers need to take an active role in making personal safety a priority. Safety is a team effort. Workers need to do their part by wearing their protective safety gear, reporting safety hazards, following safety guidelines, and not taking safety risks.

I have a desk job, so I’m safe.
There are plenty of hazards in every work environment, even if the hazards are not easily identified. Ergonomic injuries, such as muscle strains and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as slip / fall type of accidents are quite common in office workers. Sitting for long periods may also be associated with increased risks for heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. Workers should evaluate their workplace and job duties to find all the potential hazards and ensure they are reported to management and addressed.

My job is dangerous. Nothing can make it safer.
Most workplace accidents are avoidable, even in highly dangerous jobs. Take the time to evaluate all workplace hazards and then take necessary steps to reduce, control or eliminate those hazards. In the long run, making the effort to avoid injuries will be far better than dealing with the pain and cost of an injury after the fact. 

I have insurance, so I don’t need to worry about accidents.
Insurance is used to protect workers and their families financially after an accident, but it won’t protect workers from death or the pain and suffering of an injury. Insurance also likely won’t be able to restore a worker to their same quality of life after a life-changing injury. Regardless of the insurance coverage, workplace safety and accident prevention needs to be a top priority. 

Don’t believe the myths! Both workers and employers need to be proactive and work together to ensure the workplace is as safe as possible. 


Posted in: OSHA Safety

November 2017

DOT Hazmat Requirements

   Get a Move On | DOT HAZMAT Transportation & Requirements

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), requires that workers involved in the transportation of hazardous materials meet various training requirements. These requirements apply to “Hazmat employees”, as defined by DOT, including workers who: 

  • load, unload, or handle hazardous materials;
  • design, manufacture, test, recondition, repair, modify, mark, or otherwise represent containers or packages that will be used to transport hazardous materials;
  • prepare hazardous materials for transportation;
  • have responsibility for the safety of the hazardous material transportation; or
  • operate a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. 


Training Types

General Awareness Training – Required for all hazmat employees, general awareness training enables workers to recognize and identify hazardous materials. It also provides workers with information on the general requirements included in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). 

Function-Specific Training – All hazmat employees must receive training regarding the HMR requirements for the specific functions they will perform on the job. This function specific training might include instruction on hazardous material packaging, marking, labeling, placarding, filling out shipping papers, and more. 

Safety Training – This required safety training teaches hazmat employees about the hazards that can happen when hazardous materials are being handled. Emergency response, safe handling, and accident avoidance are among the topics covered. 

Security Awareness Training – Hazmat employees are required to get training on the security risks involved when working with or transporting hazardous materials. The training should include instruction on recognizing threats, responding to hazardous situations, and amplifying security.

In-Depth Security Training – Those hazmat employees who implement security plans or perform certain regulated functions will be required to complete in-depth security training. The training should provide a detailed understanding of the company-specific security plan, including objectives, procedures, and actions to be taken if a threat is encountered. 


The required training for hazmat employees must be completed within 90 days of hire or a job function change. Workers should not perform functions subject to Hazmat Regulations prior to training, unless they are under the direct supervision of a properly trained hazmat employee. After the initial training, recurring training must be completed at least once every three years. DOT Hazmat training must also be followed by testing so the employer can ensure proper training. Training records are required to be maintained by the employer, including certification that the employee has been trained and tested.

The DOT hazmat employee training requirements are intended to keep workers and the public safe from the dangers that can occur when hazardous materials will be transported. For more information, see the DOT Brochure: Hazmat Transportation Training Requirements

For 100% Online DOT Hazmat training, including Function Specific courses, see our DOT Hazmat training course catalog


Posted in: DOT HAZMAT

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