These violations can lead into major fines. The size of your company does not matter to OSHA. These facts and figures are on the OSHA.gov website.
Top Enforcement Cases Based on Total Issued Penalty
BP Products North America
BP Products North America
IMC Fertilizer/Angus Chemical
Samsung Guam, Inc.
Keystone Construction Maint.
Phillip 66/Fish Engineering
E. Smalls Painting
Decoster Egg Farms
BP North America, Inc.
Shell Oil Chemical Co.
So, do I have your attention now? I should, if not maybe you should rethink your safety program. Most safety programs are reactive, rather than proactive. Similar to the gun control debate going on currently in the U.S.A., law makers and others scream for more laws after an incident, rather than looking at we already have in place. It’s the old get rid of the perceived threat, rather than what caused it in the first place. It’s like taking the slingshot from the child, which you probably gave them, after they broke the window. What you should have done is given them the ground rules and taught them the safe way to use the slingshot in the first place.
Back to safety programs and how they really should work. Safety programs should be interactive with the employees and management. Employees should have the ability to influence safety and how affects them and the company. One way of that is a safety committee that has an impact on safety and maintaining a safe work environment. Do you encourage employees to be safe out of work? Employees are twice as likely to be injured at home as they are at the workplace. Do you “preach safety” or do you “live safety”? Safety must be not only for the employees, but for management and especially senior management. The safest companies follow a safety process rather than a safety program. Safety process has everyone being their own “safety manager” and responsible for their own safety, rather than a safety program where the safety manager directs the others in safety. Everyone, including office staff and sales should be involved in maintaining a safe working environment.
Office and sales people are just as likely to get hurt in a slip, trip and fall as the employee in the warehouse or out in the field. Employees in the office or sales can have ergonomic issues or strains from lifting improperly. As you can see there is more to safety than meets the eye.
Another integral part of safety is the reporting of near misses or incidents. Do you encourage employees to report near misses or dangerous situations? Can they do so without reprisal? Near misses should be examined as a way to eliminate hazards or hazardous predicaments that may turn into an incident or accident. Most accidents, but not all, are preventable. When investigating accidents, you should not try to determine fault, but what happened so any further similar situations can be prevented.
This article started as what the frequently cited standards and some of the heavier fines levied by OSHA. But what about other costs associated with safety? If your company is a 10% profit margin company, then an accident or incident of say $1000 is like a loss of $10,000 in sales. The immediate cost of an accident or incident may be visible, but what about the hidden costs?
Hidden costs of accidents include; time spent by management, HR and supervisors investigating and filling out paperwork on the accident, damage to equipment, damage to product, overtime to employees and additional stress to employees filling in for the injured employee, time loss by employees discussing what occurred instead of working, morale issues and even the hiring of a temporary or new employee to replace the injured employee, or even the retraining of an employee to fill in can cause a loss of production. The time that equipment is down for repairs and the associated costs of those repairs to damaged equipment or product. Hidden costs can run three to ten times the amount of the direct costs and it all comes out of the bottom line.
The one part we didn’t truly examine above is the morale of the employees at an “unsafe” workplace and what type of employee you are able to recruit to work there. That is something to consider when you are “doing what it takes to get the job done.” Employees whose morale drops are more likely to call in sick, get injured and leave the company. When you look at all the factors included in this article, fines become just one small part of the equations. The fines that can be levied are steep, but lawsuits and lawyers cost a lot more than just money. They can affect your reputation in the industry and in your community.
What is the real safety message your company is sending to the employees?
In a GHS for Supervisors class recently I was asked about pipe markings and where it was stated in the OSHA regulations that they were required. When we look at the OSHA regulations or standards we find that there are not directly any OSHA pipe labeling requirements. However, in 29 CFR 1910.6, which is a list of standards referenced by OSHA, the ANSI A13.1 pipe labeling code requirements are included for some applications and industries. This ANSI pipe marking standard does not apply to buried pipelines or electrical conduit.
If that is the case, then why mark the pipes at all? Why is pipe marking important? Pipe marking ensures that individuals working in the facility are aware of what pipes are carrying as well as any potential hazards associated with the pipe contents. Pipe marking labels indicate which pipelines are dangerous, direction of flow, and pipe contents. And that makes for a safer working environment and lessens the chances of an employee being injured or an unexpected leak into the environment.
When we look at the above standards and I quote: “1910.6(e)(6) – ANSI A13.1-56 Scheme for the Identification of Piping Systems, Included By Reference (IBR) approved for §§1910.253(d)(4)(ii) (welding and cutting gases); 1910.261(a)(3)(iii) (pulp and paper industry); 1910.262(c)(7) (textiles).”
According to the ANSI standards, ANSI separates materials transported in above-ground piping systems into three categories:
High-Hazard Materials: Encompasses several hazard areas including corrosive and caustic materials; substances that are toxic or capable of creating toxic gases; explosive and flammable materials; radioactive substances; and materials that, if released, would be hazardous due to extreme pressures or temperatures
Low-Hazard Materials: Materials that are not inherently hazardous and have a small chance of harming employees through mild temperatures and low pressures
Fire Suppression Materials: Fire protection materials such as foam, carbon dioxide (CO2), Halon and water.
Does this mean there are not any OSHA pipe labeling requirements outside of the above three areas? No, pipe labeling also falls within the OSHA General Duty clause (Section 5(a)(1) (General Duty Clause) of the OSH Act ). What this means is that OSHA, although not directly stated, requires labeling on pipes in compliance with the ANSI A13.1 standard.
This also reflects that the OSHA pipe labeling requirements are that pipe labels must be placed:
Adjacent to all valves and flanges
Adjacent to all changes in pipe direction
On both sides of wall, floor or ceiling penetrations
Every 50 feet on straight runs of pipe
Pipe labels must comply with the following color coding:
Fire quenching fluids – white text on red
Toxic and corrosive fluids – black text on orange
Flammable fluids – black text on yellow
Combustible fluids – White text on brown
Water – White text on green
Compressed air – White text on blue
Not only that, but the text size is regulated by the size of the pipe it is placed on. Please check the charts for the text size guidelines based on the size of the pipes in your installations or workplaces. So much for pipe markings not being regulated or required by OSHA.
OSHA usually finds the discrepancies in pipe markings when performing a Workplace Safety Audit (facility inspection). During the facility inspection they examine, not only the pipe marking but, other hazard identification with three questions in mind.
Do employees understand the potential hazards?
Do employees know how to avoid the hazards?
Are the employees aware of what to do in an emergency?
The training for recognizing these potential hazards should be addressed in your Hazardous Communication (HazComm) or Right to Know Training. Normally this training is during orientation or when things or jobs change in the workplace. Employees and contractors have a right to know about the workplace hazards in the areas that they will be working in. The new Globally Harmonized System or GHS regulations address the requirements requiring classification of the hazards.
What is this GHS? The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is an international approach to hazard communication, providing agreed criteria for classification of chemical hazards, and a standardized approach to label elements and safety data sheets.
OSHA has modified the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to adopt the GHS to improve safety and health of workers through more effective communications on chemical hazards. Since it was first promulgated in 1983, the HCS has provided employers and employees extensive information about the chemicals in their workplaces. The original standard is performance-oriented, allowing chemical manufacturers and importers to convey information on labels and material safety data sheets in whatever format they choose.
Adoption of the GHS in the US and around the world will also help to improve information received from other countries—since the US is both a major importer and exporter of chemicals, American workers often see labels and safety data sheets from other countries.
One last thing about GHS that I really like is that there will be a standardized SDS or Safety Data Sheet with 16 sections. The pictograms are pretty universal and tie into the Hazardous Materials labeling and placarding symbols.
Simply put, pipe marking is one of the most common types of labeling and it is fairly simple. The standards specify the minimum size of the labels and text on the labels. The locations are also specified. A good way to summarize the location requirements is to say that a pipe marker must be visible from any location in the facility. If you can see a pipe, you should also be able to see a label that identifies the pipe contents and direction of flow.
Remember that under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. More specifically 1910.5(a) Each employer –
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
If you need assistance with your pipe marking or any other regulatory needs, please contact us.
by ICC Compliance Center on April 3, 2013 at 9:34 am · in Ken's Blog
“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs.
Blockin’ out the scenery; breaking my mind.
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”
According to the words of “Signs” a song by the Five Man Electrical Band there are signs everywhere. Sometimes they are there for a good reason, such as to comply with a law, other times to voice opinions, and yet other times to advertise products or political agendas. In OSHA, and if you think that is a small town in Wisconsin you are in trouble, we find requirements under both Part 1910 and Part 1926 for regulatory signs.
For those of you not familiar with Part 1926, it deals with the Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. Signage is found in OSHA under Part 1926.200 and gets pretty specific about requirements. Topics include; Danger, Caution, Exit, Safety and Directional Signs. In addition to the signage regulations you also have warning and advisory tags and “Safety Motto” signs. Pretty soon you begin to have sensory overload for your brain to try and absorb. So let’s try to simplify things for you.
Danger signs are red and shall be used only where an immediate hazard exists. Caution signs are yellow and shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. Exit signs are white with red lettering in a specific size and they may or may not be backlit. Safety instruction signs shall be white with green upper panel with white letters to convey the principal message. Directional signs (other than traffic signs) shall be white with a black panel and a white directional symbol. Traffic signs are another thing all together. They are regulated and have to comply with Part VI of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
Accident prevention tags shall be used as a temporary means of warning employees of an existing hazard, such as defective tools, equipment, etc. They shall not be used in place of, or as a substitute for, accident prevention signs.
While OSHA does not require tags to be specific colors, they do provide a list of recommended colors based on the danger being addressed. Red tags indicate dangerous situations, while yellow tags are used to indicate that caution should be taken. Warning tags are orange, and indicate more general safety instructions or information. Biological hazard tags are fluorescent orange or reddish-orange, and should feature a bio-hazard symbol along with the written word.
Now add American National Standards Institute or ANSI standards into it and you can see why there is a whole industry that makes a living making, selling, distributing and erecting signs. Even here at ICC Compliance Center we make signs [link to: http://www.thecompliancecenter.com/signs/] , in order to better service our customers.
Under OSHA Part 1910 and in particular, OSHA Specifications for Accident Prevention Signs (1910.145) requires the use of safety signs to indicate and define specific hazards that, without identification, may lead to accidental injury to workers and/or the public or to property damage.
OSHA also regulates the safety of the actual sign design. Signs need to have rounded or blunt corners and cannot have sharp edges or projections. Red, black and white are the colors designated for danger signs. Caution signs have a yellow background, and the panel is black with yellow letters. Text used on the yellow background must be black. OSHA requires the wording of safety signs to indicate positive actions rather than negative, and to be concise and easy to read.
Neither OSHA nor DOT allow for the use of handmade signs, labels or placards for times when those items are required to comply with the law. The bottom line is that when you need regulatory signage; make sure that you choose a reputable vendor for your needs.
“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs.
Blockin’ out the scenery; breaking my mind.
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”
OSHA recently published a brief relating to the new hazardous chemical labeling requirements under the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HCS), which brought the standard into alignment with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
The brief outlines the labeling requirements under the new standard. OSHA also discussed an exciting change, that it intends to make to Appendix C, Allocation Of Label Elements, along with a clarification.
Previously, OSHA did not allow a GHS pictogram to be shown on a shipped container label if it conflicted with the DOT hazmat label. Section C.2.3.3 stated:
“Where a pictogram required by the Department of Transportation under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations appears on a shipped container, the pictogram specified in C.4 for the same hazard shall not appear.”
This statement caused a lot concern for those companies shipping 55 gallon drums and/or smaller containers. Those companies would be forced to have various label designs and train workers to recognize the hazards, even without the pictogram showing (on the drum label due to the 4 x 4 hazmat label). OSHA was petitioned to change the requirement almost immediately after the final rule was published in March of 2012.
In the recent brief, OSHA announced its intent to make the change, allowing the use of both the pictogram and the hazmat label.
“However, DOT does not view the HCS pictogram as a conflict and for some international trade both pictograms may need to be present on the label. Therefore, OSHA intends to revise C.2.3.3. In the meantime, the agency will allow both DOT and HCS pictograms for the same hazard on a label.”
I would imagine that many companies will read this and breathe a sigh of relief. This is a welcome change that should make everyone’s job easier.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a correction and technical amendment to the March 26, 2012 final rule incorporating the GHS recommendations into the Hazard Communication Standard.
The majority of the corrections are to references originally missed in the original final rule. Other corrections include correcting values and notations in table and updating references to terms (e.g. Material Safety Data sheet (MSDS) to Safety Data Sheet (SDS)).