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Electrical equipment in the office: do’s and don’ts

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New outlet up close screwdriver.The typical office features a collection of wires, outlets, cables and other electrical equipment. Although ever-present and used on a daily basis, electrical equipment requires constant awareness of its associated hazards, as well as training on appropriate use, storage and maintenance, the Indiana Department of Labor reminds employers and workers in its Indiana Labor Insider newsletter.

“Improper use of electrical equipment can create overheated equipment, which can lead to fires, shock and electrocution,” warns IDOL, which provides some do’s and don’ts regarding certain electrical equipment.

Extension cords
DON’T use an extension cord as a permanent source of energy and never connect multiple extension cords, also known as “daisy chaining.”
DON’T run flexible extension cords under carpet or through doorways or walls. They’re not a substitute for permanent wiring and shouldn’t be attached to walls/floors with staples or clips.
DO make sure flexible extension cords have the current capacity for the load current – “12-gauge wire cords are recommended.”
DO protect all cords with special covers when subject to foot traffic. “Bright colors and high-visibility elements are helpful.”
DO make sure extension cords have appropriate insulation and/or covers to protect against damage, which could lead to an increased risk of fire and shock injuries.

Power strips
DON’T use power strips as a permanent power source and refrain from daisy chaining them.
DON’T use a power strip that doesn’t have overcurrent protection. Those that have electrical spike protection for digital equipment may be used as a permanent power source – but not daisy chained to an extension cord.
DO use wall outlets for equipment that is left on permanently, leaving the use of power strips for short-term projects only.

Flexible electrical cords
DON’T run flexible electrical cords under carpet or other combustible covers. “This is a serious fire hazard from the potential of overheated cords. Additionally, these cords could be damaged by heavy or sharp objects resting on them, moving across them, or dropped on them.”

Receptacles
DO
 use receptacles equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters in restrooms and roof outlets – they’re required within 6 feet of a sink or wet process on a worksite. “This protects the worker from the risk of shock and electrocution.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Time for a safety walkaround

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

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Safety walkarounds demonstrate an employer’s commitment to safety and allow managers to see for themselves how effective their safety and health management program is, OSHA says in a fact sheet from its Safe + Sound campaign.

Walkarounds can be broken down into three parts: pre-inspection, onsite inspection and post-inspection.

Pre-inspection

  • Plan to focus your inspections on areas where hazards have been identified. Check to see if previously identified hazards have been abated or if further action is needed.
  • If your workplace has a safety committee, schedule a pre-inspection meeting and invite workplace safety representatives as well as other managers and supervisors to get their perspective on the worksite’s safety issues.
  • Determine what safety equipment you’ll need to conduct the inspection.
  • Lead by example: Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

Onsite inspection

Look for easily observable hazards first, such as:

  • Tripping hazards
  • Blocked exits
  • Frayed/exposed electrical wires
  • Missing machine guards
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Poorly maintained equipment

During the inspection, talk to employees at their workstations. They’re the ones likely to know the most about the hazards. Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions such as, “What’s the most hazardous task in your job? What makes it hazardous?” and “If you’ve been injured, what was the injury and how did it happen?”

Another important part of an inspection is observing workers as they perform their job. Do they lift heavy objects? Do they stand/sit in awkward postures? Are they performing repetitive motions? If so, take notes and photos. “Try to find solutions for hazards while you are conducting the inspection by applying your own creativity and inspiring the creativity of workers,” OSHA recommends.

Post-inspection

Soon after the inspection, prepare an abatement plan containing a list of the hazards found, corrective actions needed and a timeline for implementation. “Some complex hazards may require further evaluation, study, or engineering work to design and implement appropriate controls,” OSHA cautions.

Share the abatement plan with managers, supervisors and workers, and track progress by sharing or posting periodic updates to the plan.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Ladder safety

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Ladder safety - McCraren Compliance

“Ladders are tools,” the American Ladder Institute says. “Many of the basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a ladder.”

A fall from a ladder can result from sudden movement, working too quickly, not paying attention, using a damaged ladder and improper footwear. The institute, which recognizes March as National Ladder Safety Month, offers tips to prepare to work on a ladder:

  • Feeling tired or dizzy? Stay off the ladder.
  • Inspect the ladder before use to ensure it’s in good working order.
  • Make sure you’re using the right size ladder for the job.
  • Don’t use ladders during storms or high wind.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes if you’ll be climbing a ladder.
  • Set up the ladder on firm, level ground away from doors.
  • Allow only one person on the ladder at a time, and don’t carry items in your hands that can interfere with your grip.

When it’s time to climb the ladder, remember that you’ll need to maintain three points of contact to avoid a fall.

“At all times during ascent, descent and working, the climber must face the ladder and have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails,” the institute says. “This way, the climber is not likely to become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Protecting construction workers during COVID-19

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
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Photo: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on construction sites should be a team effort, OSHA Directorate of Construction Director Scott Ketcham said during a Feb. 25 webinar.

Hosted by OSHA, NIOSH, and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, the event focused on helping construction employers and workers identify exposure risks and determine appropriate control measures.

Ketcham detailed how updated COVID-19 guidance issued by OSHA on Jan. 29 affects construction employers and workers. He also noted that safety professionals still need to contend with other hazards during the pandemic.

“Controlling this disease process with coronavirus and mitigating other hazards really takes all of us working together,” he said. “We all know that in the construction industry we have multiple trades working on a construction site for different companies. Coordination of efforts to make sure that we’re looking out for one another and protecting one another is important.”

Ketcham added that OSHA will use the multi-employer work policy to assess how contractors are following the guidance on construction sites.

Amanda Edens, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health at OSHA, acknowledged that new and updated guidance can lead to confusion among federal agencies and employers.

“It’s challenging for OSHA and CDC to give guidance because science changes,” she said. “And it’s challenging for employers too because they’re trying to keep up with what we’re learning as we go.”

Edens said worker safety issues such as trenching and cranes have remained a priority throughout the pandemic, and topped by those related to COVID-19.

“The bread-and-butter work of the agency continues,” she said. “We still have a lot of construction work to get done, even if COVID wasn’t around. But it is, so we have to do that work and do it in a COVID environment.”

Timothy Irving, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, encouraged employers to consider the mental health needs of workers as he discussed nontraditional hazards.

“OSHA might not be the first federal agency you think of when you hear about nontraditional workplace conditions – PTSD, drug use, suicide and other mental health issues,” he said. “But our mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.”

OSHA’s suicide prevention webpage provides multiple resources to assist workers who might be in crisis. When providing resources to workers, Irving said employers should consider a wide variety of helpful information.

“When you share health and safety resources, be aware that mental health is a part of health and safety,” he said.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

U.S. Department of Transportation Launches “Mask Up” Campaign

First published by USDOT.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today the “Mask Up,” campaign to help ensure the safety of transportation workers. The campaign is a joint effort by the Federal Aviation, Motor Carrier Safety, Railroad and Transit Administrations across all forms of transportation. The centerpiece of the campaign is a digital toolkit including posters, social media, FAQs and other resources.

“Throughout the pandemic, transportation workers have played a vital role connecting Americans to their jobs, keeping goods moving, and ensuring that vaccines get to where they’re needed,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With this campaign, we’ll send a clear message to people who travel: When you wear a mask, you’re protecting the safety of our essential transportation workers, your fellow passengers, and yourself.”

The campaign is aimed at educating travelers and transportation providers on their responsibility to comply with wearing a mask when traveling. Wearing a mask on all public transportation, including buses, trains, airplanes, and ferries, and while at all transportation hubs, helps protect essential workers. There is a national requirement to wear a mask while traveling, per the Order issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Security Directive, and failure to comply with the requirement can result in civil penalties.

All transportation operators are required to make sure their passengers are complying with the new masking requirements during boarding, riding and disembarking. A mask covers the mouth and nose and secures via ear loops, ties or elastic bands. Further guidance on acceptable masks can be found on the CDC webpage. Information regarding exemptions, including brief removal for eating, drinking and taking medication, can be found in more detail here. And travelers should consult the CDC’s travel webpage for the latest guidance before traveling.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

National grain safety week set for March 29-April 2

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
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Photo: Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week

Washington — OSHA and its Alliance Program partners in the agriculture industry are hosting the fifth annual Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week – slated for March 29-April 2.

The industrywide initiative aims to raise awareness of hazards related to grain handling and storage by providing employers and workers with educational opportunities, resources and training on best safety practices. Employers are encouraged to designate a coordinator for their individual events, decide what type of event to conduct, determine the best time and length, choose who should be involved, and promote the event internally and externally.

The types of events can include a toolbox talk or companywide safety activities such as discussions on job-specific hazards, developing rescue plans or conducting safety equipment inspections. Group demonstrations of safety procedures and regional half- or full-day seminars with safety or equipment demonstrations also can be planned.

The event’s organizers recommend encouraging all employees to participate. Local producers and Four-H Club or National FFA Organization chapters also can be invited to take part.

The event starts at 10 a.m. Central each day, with a virtual kickoff event scheduled for March 29. Registrants will have free access to virtual training sessions during the rest of the week, each day featuring a different focus and resources:

  • March 30: Near-miss reporting
  • March 31: Impact of quality on safety
  • April 1: Bin safety
  • April 2: Emergency action plans

The organizations in the OSHA Alliance Program that are sponsoring the event are the National Grain and Feed Association, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, and the Grain Elevator and Processing Society.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Lawmakers reintroduce bill to allow young drivers to operate CMVs interstate

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Lawmakers reintroduce bill to allow young drivers to operate CMVs interstate

Washington — Bipartisan legislation reintroduced March 10 in the House and Senate would allow commercial motor vehicle drivers younger than 21 to operate across state lines.

The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, or DRIVE-Safe Act (S. 659 and H.R. 1745) are sponsored by two Indiana Republican lawmakers, Sen. Todd Young and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth.

Press releases from Young’s office and the American Trucking Associations note that 49 states and the District of Columbia allow 18- to 20-year-olds to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses and operate large commercial vehicles.

“This issue is particularly problematic in regions like our southern Indiana area where an emerging driver would be prohibited from making a quick trip from New Albany, IN, across the river to Louisville, KY,” a release from Hollingsworth’s office states. “But, the same driver could haul a load from New Albany, IN, to South Bend, IN, nearly 260 miles away.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act, the release continues, “would allow employers to provide CDL holders below the age of 21 with an extensive training program that will allow them to safely participate in interstate commerce upon completion.”

According to ATA, that training program would require drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time accompanied by an experienced driver.

The Senate bill was referred to the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The House bill is with the Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

The co-sponsors of the Senate bill from the other side of the aisle are Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), as well as Sen. Angus King (I-ME). The other Republican co-sponsors are Sens. Tom Cotton (AR), James Inhofe (OK) and Jerry Moran (KS).

The house bill has four Democrats and four Republicans listed as co-sponsors, all from different states.

“This bill has strong, bipartisan backing because it’s both common sense and pro-safety,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in the organization’s release. “It raises the bar for training standards and safety technology far above what is asked of the thousands of under-21 drivers who are already legally driving commercial vehicles in 49 states today.

“The DRIVE-Safe Act is not a path to allow every young person to drive across state lines, but it envisions creating a safety-centered process for identifying, training and empowering the safest, most responsible 18- to 20-year-olds to more fully participate in our industry. It will create enormous opportunities for countless Americans seeking a high-paying profession without the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act has been introduced in the House and Senate a combined four times since the beginning of 2018. None of the bills made it out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee or the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

ATA contends the industry will need to hire 1.1 million drivers, or 110,000 a year, over the next decade “to keep up with demand.” However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, among other organizations, has contended that the impetus for the previous bills – a driver shortage – doesn’t exist.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #6

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On March 5, 2021, a miner was fatally injured when the excavator he was operating rolled over into a body of water.

Accident scene where a miner was fatally injured when the excavator he was operating rolled over into a body of water.
Best Practices:
  • Construct berms or install guardrails on roadways where a drop-off exists.  Ensure berms and guardrails are at least as high as the mid-axle height of the largest equipment using the roadway.
  • Examine and maintain roadways to prevent slope instability such as over steepened banks, sloughs, and cracking on the roadway and bank.
  • Install locked gates at the entrances of roadways that are infrequently traveled.  Post speed limit signs and install delineators at the edges of roads.
  • Always wear seatbelts when operating mobile equipment.
  • When working near water, wear flotation devices and ensure combination seat belt cutter/window breaker tools are installed in equipment.  See safety alert https://www.msha.gov/news-media/alerts-hazards/mnm-safety-alert-water-related-safety.
  • Train equipment operators in the safe performance of their tasks, potential hazards, and the use of alternative/emergency exits in cabs.  Examine these exits during pre-operational examinations.
Additional Information:

This is the sixth fatality reported in 2021, and the second classified as “Machinery.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #5

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On Feb. 25, 2021, a 26-year old plant operator died after entering a cyclone discharge box.  The local fire department recovered the victim lodged in an 18-inch wide discharge pipe that was full of water.

Accident scene where a 26-year old plant operator died after entering a cyclone discharge box.
Best Practices:
  • Wear a fall protection harness, properly tie off to a permanent support structure, and attach a lifeline when entering a bin or other confined space.  Have a second person monitor the lifeline to make sure there is no slack in the fall protection system.
  • Use personnel lifts or ladders to safely access elevated work areas.
  • Always use fall protection when there’s a potential fall hazard.
  • Examine work areas and equipment.  Report defects and do not use unsafe work equipment.
  • Assess risks and hazards before beginning maintenance activities.
  • Train miners to safely perform their tasks and properly use their personal protective equipment.
Additional Information:

This is the fifth fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Slip or Fall of Person.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Trucking groups to CDC: Truck stops, travel plazas should be vaccination sites

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

travel plazas should be vaccination sites

Alexandria, VA — A coalition of trucking-related groups, including the American Trucking Associations and an association that represents truck stop owners, is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to designate truck stops and travel plazas as mobile COVID-19 vaccination sites to help “alleviate significant challenges that truck drivers currently face in receiving an expedient vaccine.”

In a letter dated Feb. 25 and sent to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, ATA, NATSO – formerly known as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators – and others contend truck drivers “should be allowed to receive a vaccine in a state other than that within which they reside due to their length of time on the road and away from home.”

The coalition also requests that drivers be allowed to receive a second dose of a vaccine at a different location, if needed.

“It is improbable that they would have the ability to return to the primary vaccination site on a specific date or time,” the letter states. “By administering vaccines through our nationwide network of locations, we can ensure the ability of our employees and the nation’s truck drivers to continue serving on the front lines of the fuel and food distribution systems across the country.

“Furthermore, by vaccinating truck stop employees, we can amplify the breadth and scope of vaccination deployment across the communities in which we operate. It is imperative that we protect those who are delivering critical supplies – including the vaccine – throughout the country.”

The coalition also includes the Truckload Carriers Association, National Private Truck Council, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, and National Tank Truck Carriers.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.