Control Hazardous Energy: 6 Steps

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: OSHA

A mainstay on OSHA’s Top 10 list of most cited violations is the standard on lockout/tagout (1910.147).

Simply put, “lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used to make sure equipment and machines are properly shut off and not able to start during maintenance or repair work,” the Texas Department of Insurance says. “This is known as controlling hazardous energy.”

Help prevent the unexpected release of stored energy with these six steps from TDI:

  1. Prepare. An authorized employee, defined by OSHA as “a person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment,” must identify and control all potential forms of hazardous energy.
  2. Shut down. Turn off the equipment using the proper procedures. Inform all employees who use the equipment about the shutdown.
  3. Isolation. Isolate equipment from energy sources. This may mean turning off power at a breaker.
  4. Lock and tag. Apply a lockout device to keep equipment in an energy-isolating position. Then, place a tag on the device with the authorized employee’s name who performed the lockout.
  5. Check for stored energy. Hazardous energy can remain in the equipment even after the energy source has been disconnected and the machine has been locked out.
  6. Verify isolation. Check again to ensure the equipment is isolated and deenergized before service or maintenance begins.

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

“The workplace can be a key location for activities designed to improve well-being among adults,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Take time this month – and all year round – to promote awareness of worker well-being. Suggestions from CDC:

  • Make mental health self-assessment tools available to employees.
  • Offer free or subsidized clinical screenings for depression from a qualified mental health professional.
  • Distribute materials, including brochures and videos, to employees about the signs and symptoms of poor mental health as well as opportunities for treatment.
  • Provide free or subsidized lifestyle coaching, counseling or self-management programs.
  • Host seminars or workshops that address depression and stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, breathing exercises and meditation, to help employees reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Create and maintain dedicated, quiet spaces for relaxation activities.
  • Provide managers with training to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and depression in team members and encourage them to seek help from qualified mental health professionals.
  • Give employees opportunities to participate in decisions about issues that affect job stress.

To help employers understand the role they play in supporting the mental health of their employees, the National Safety Council and NORC at the University of Chicago created the Mental Health Cost Calculator for Employers, funded by Nationwide. This easy-to-use tool provides business leaders with data-driven insight about the costs of employee mental distress in their workplaces.

Find the calculator at nsc.org/mentalhealthatwork#.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

First published by National Safety Council

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Photo: NSC

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and new NSC estimates show that our roads are the most dangerous they’ve been in years; on a typical day, eight people are killed and hundreds more are injured in distraction-affected crashes. Your workers face distracted driving risks on every trip, from the driveway to the parking lot and back home again.

This April, team with NSC to spread the word that distracted driving, including hands-free phone use and infotainment systems, puts everyone at risk. Sign up for free, ready-to-use resources to create a distracted driving program that engages your workforce and reminds everyone to #JustDrive.

“Drivers using cellphones are four times more likely to crash, and hands-free phone use offers no safety benefit,” the council says.

Be a focused driver.

What’s that? NSC says a focused driver:

  • Adjusts vehicle controls such as mirrors, seat, radio and air temperature before driving.
  • Programs the GPS before leaving.
  • Plans ahead – determines routes, directions and checks traffic conditions before departing.
  • Doesn’t multitask behind the wheel.
  • Doesn’t talk on a cellphone – even hands-free – or interact with the vehicle’s infotainment system.
  • Doesn’t reach down or behind the seat, pick up items from the floor, or clean the inside of the window while driving.
  • Doesn’t eat or drink while behind the wheel.

Take the NSC Just Drive Pledge

Commit to driving distraction-free by taking the NSC Just Drive Pledge and help us make the roads safer for everyone with a donation to our lifesaving mission.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT 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.

Hot work hazards

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Hot Work Hazards - McCraren Compliance

Burning, welding, cutting, brazing, soldering, grinding, using fire- or spark-producing tools, or other work that produces a source of ignition – these are all examples of hot work hazards.

Employers need to create a program to ensure hot work is performed safely. Here’s what OSHA says an effective program looks like:

  • Before issuing a hot work permit (which should be prepared in advance of work beginning), a job hazard assessment needs to be conducted. That includes getting input from workers knowledgeable of the potential dangers.
  • Before work begins, implement controls to eliminate identified hazards.
  • If hazards develop during work operations, routine monitoring must be conducted to ensure these hazards don’t pose a risk to workers.
  • If the hazards can’t be mitigated, operations must be stopped and the elimination of hazards verified before hot work begins.
  • Share with all workers relevant information about ongoing operations that could create hazardous conditions.
  • Workers familiar with the hot work process should be available to assist specialty subcontractors to ensure safe working conditions.

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.

Prevent dump truck tip-overs

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Prevent dump truck tip-overs Tips

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Because of their high center of gravity, dump trucks can easily become unstable and tip over.

“Many factors contribute to dump truck tip-overs depending on the worksite and the type of truck used,” the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation explains. “However, the main hazard is related to the stability of the end-dump unit when the box is in the raised position. When the center of gravity of the box and load is not between the unit’s frame rails, there is a risk of tip-over.”

Some common factors that can cause tip-overs are operating on uneven or soft ground or a slope, materials being loaded unevenly, or the load doesn’t flow during dumping. “Sometimes material does not move out of the top portion of the box or does not flow out of one side of the top portion as expected,” TDI says. “The uneven distribution of the load can decrease the truck’s stability and result in a tip-over.”

Help prevent tip-overs with these tips from TDI:

  • Use the right type of dump truck for the job. “For example, use belly-dump semitrailers instead of end-dump semitrailers for spreading aggregate for road construction. Use straight trucks or pup trailers instead of semitrailers to haul to rough graded or fill areas where surfaces are uneven or loosely compacted.”
  • Stay within regulated weight limits.
  • Lighten the load when hauling poor-flowing materials.
  • Check to see that the vehicle is on even ground before dumping. Avoid soft, uneven surfaces.
  • Make sure the tailgate is unlocked and the vehicle is on a reasonably level surface before dumping.
  • Never dump near people or other vehicles.
  • Create a maintenance and inspection program. Preventive maintenance and regular inspections play an important role in eliminating vehicle tip-overs.
  • Establish and enforce safety procedures and policies.

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.

Tips to limit dust exposure in mines

First published by NIOSH

NIOSH has published a booklet that provides solutions that you can use to reduce exposure to dust at surface mines and facilities. Practical controls are presented that not only lower dust exposures but also reduce the risks for both musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and traumatic injuries (e.g., slips, trips, and falls). Beyond the obvious health benefits, it can be easier to justify engineering controls and interventions when greater impact can be achieved.

While traumatic injuries occur suddenly, both MSDs and respirable diseases tend to be the result of cumulative overexposures. Exposures both at home and at the workplace can combine and manifest themselves in the later years of your career, depending on your exposure rates and cumulative stress.

The information provided is based on experience gained within NIOSH and highlights solutions that are relatively low in cost and easy to implement. Dust control solutions that are practical to maintain have the greatest potential for sustained use and ultimately improved mine worker health and safety. This booklet is only a primer on dust control and injury prevention at metal/nonmetal mining operations. Additional resources are provided for more comprehensive coverage of these topics.


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.

Conducting self-inspections: Two methods

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Inspections are an important part of any workplace safety and health management system. Described in a video from the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Division of Labor and Industry as the practice of “identifying unsafe conditions through observations and testing of the work environment,” inspections can cover housekeeping, emergency alarms, electrical hazards, machine guarding and chemical hazards.

One method is a daily informal inspection. The video offers an example: An employee can start their workday by inspecting their work area for slip, trip or fall hazards. “A supervisor or manager may then follow up with the employee regarding what was found.”

A formal inspection is another method. This type of inspection could be conducted weekly, monthly or quarterly. What makes it “formal”? It should be performed by experts who are knowledgeable in the subject matter and have the ability to recognize unsafe conditions. Inspecting complex machinery, for example, should always be conducted as a formal inspection, Maryland DLI says.

Once an inspection is completed, “an authorized individual should ensure corrections are made in a timely manner.” If a long-term solution is needed, Maryland DLI recommends putting interim controls in place. If an issue is severe, workers should be removed depending on the level of severity.

To help increase accountability and worker trust in your safety and health management program, share findings from inspections via bulletin boards in common areas and during safety meetings, or by sending emails or texts.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Perform façade work safely

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

The first rule of performing façade work while on a scaffold: Don’t do it unless you’ve completed scaffold safety training, warns a recent worker alert from the New York City Department of Buildings.

“Façade work performed on scaffolding can be extremely dangerous,” the alert states, “and proper care must be taken at all times to prevent death or serious injury.”

To help ensure safety when doing façade work, follow this guidance from the department:
Know your equipment. Workers need to be trained before stepping onto a scaffold.
Wear fall protection. Employers are required to provide fall protection when workers are on a supported scaffold with no guardrails, or anytime work is being performed on an adjustable suspended scaffold. “Wearing a harness is not enough,” the department says. “You must be tied off to a secured lifeline for it to work.”
Use extreme care when removing coping stones. “Do not remove the coping stone or any stones used to cap freestanding walls unless directed by your supervisor.”
Parapet walls should be demolished from the coping down. Don’t demo individual bricks or masonry blocks – remaining wythes may become unstable. Make sure that remaining parapet walls adjacent to demolition will not become unstable.
Look for loose material. “Alert your supervisor immediately if you notice a parapet, cornice, chimney or other brickwork that is loose or seems like it could fall off the building.” Tiebacks need to be properly anchored.
Secure tarps. Don’t lean any items such as debris bags or construction materials against the parapet wall. “Tarps and other temporary weather protection must be secured at the end of the work shift so they cannot be accidentally dislodged or come loose.”

One final piece of advice: “Do not work on a suspended scaffold that has a stand-off bracket.”


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.

10 tips for preventing falls at work

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is an annual event. But employers should focus on fall prevention all year.

“Jobsites change and crews come and go – you may have new workers who missed the stand-down and new projects or phases of work with different fall hazards or considerations,” CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training says. The center has 10 tips you can use to support your workplace fall prevention program.

  1. Have another stand-down. If you already had a fall-related stand-down, plan another and change up the activities or specific topics.
  2. Focus on rescue. Do you have a plan in place in the event someone falls? Make sure everyone knows what the plan is.
  3. Create or revise your written fall prevention plan. Put together a task force to develop a project-specific fall protection plan.
  4. Model how to inspect equipment. Supervisors need to provide adequate time for daily inspections, and they should model how to self-inspect fall protection and other equipment.
  5. Partner with community events. Help raise awareness about the importance of fall protection by participating in community events.
  6. Share a testimonial. Invite a previously injured worker or family member to speak in-person, or use video clips or written testimonials.
  7. Include fall protection articles in company communications. Point to a recent construction fall tragedy in the news and urge workers to learn from it.
  8. Provide fall prevention training. Remind supervisors and lead workers that if they work safely and use fall protection correctly, their co-workers are more likely to do so.
  9. Encourage workers to speak up. Workers often stay quiet rather than ask questions, even if they don’t know the right way to do something or they’ve identified an issue that may lead to an unsafe situation.
  10. Make sure your message reaches everyone. Provide training that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for the workforce.

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.

Protect against the cold: Tips for employers and workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

A thorough workplace safety and health plan should include steps to protect workers from cold-related hazards. This is particularly important for workers in the services, transportation, construction and agriculture industries.

“Exposure to cold can be an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation,” says NIOSH, which offers recommendations for both employers and workers.

Employers should:

  • Train supervisors and workers to prevent, recognize and treat cold-related illnesses and injuries. This training should be presented in a language all workers understand.
  • Reduce the amount of time workers spend in a cold environment. Rotate workers in and out on long, demanding jobs.
  • Provide access to warm areas, and encourage workers to take breaks in those areas. Also, set up a place for workers to change out of wet clothes.
  • Initiate a buddy system for workers to help monitor them in cold conditions.
  • Keep a first aid kit stocked, and make sure to include a medical and environmental thermometer as well as chemical heat packs.
  • Provide appropriate cold-weather gear such as hats, gloves and boots for work in cold environments. Don’t forget wind-protective clothing based on air velocities.
  • Give prompt medical attention to workers who show signs of cold-related illness or injury.

Workers can help by:

  • Taking regular breaks to warm up.
  • Monitoring your physical condition and that of co-workers.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Snacking on high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Avoiding touching cold metal or wet surfaces with bare skin.

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.