Protect your skin

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Do you work with wet cement, paints or plaster? Maybe adhesives? These are just some of the materials that can irritate your skin because they can contain harsh substances such as hexavalent chromium, calcium hydroxide, toluene, xylene, epoxy resins and lime. This can result in burns, dermatitis and other skin disorders, and even cancer.

Symptoms of skin disorders include:

  • Red and/or swollen hands or fingers
  • Cracked or itchy skin
  • Crusting or thickening of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Flaky or scaly skin
  • Burns

Here’s how you can protect your skin:
Prevent exposure. Try to keep your arms and clothes dry. Wear protective clothing, including gloves, coveralls and boots. If you work outdoors, always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Clean your hands and skin before applying the sunscreen.
Wear gloves. Make sure you’re using the right glove for the materials you’re handling. The gloves should fit and keep your hands clean and dry.
Keep your skin clean. Wash your hands with soap and clean water if you come in contact with a hazardous substance. Use a pH neutral soap if you work with wet cement or other caustics.


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.

Make Fall Safety a Top Priority

Falls are a leading cause of unintentional injury-related death at work. In 2018, 791 people died in falls from heights and from the same level at work. For working adults, depending on the industry, falls can be the leading cause of death.

Hazards in the Workplace

Also in 2018, more than 240,000 people were injured badly enough in falls to require days off of work, according to Injury Facts.

Construction workers are most at risk for fatal falls from height – more than seven times the rate of other industries – but falls can happen anywhere, even at a “desk job.”

NSC data for 2018 measures deaths and injuries due to falls from height and falls on the same level, by industry, including:

  • Construction: 10,650 injuries, 320 deaths
  • Production: 17,160 injuries, 39 deaths
  • Transportation and Material Moving: 45,730 injuries, 82 deaths
  • Farming, Fishing and Forestry: 4,380 injuries, 17 deaths
  • Building and Grounds Maintenance: 16,880 injuries, 99 deaths
  • Healthcare: 13,600 injuries, 3 deaths

Falls are 100% Preventable

Whether working from a ladder, roof or scaffolding, it’s important to plan ahead, assess the risk and use the right equipment. First, determine if working from a height is absolutely necessary or if there is another way to do the task safely.

  • Discuss the task with coworkers and determine what safety equipment is needed
  • Make sure you are properly trained on how to use the equipment
  • Scan the work area for potential hazards before starting the job
  • Make sure you have level ground to set up the equipment
  • If working outside, check the weather forecast; never work in inclement weather
  • Use the correct tool for the job, and use it as intended
  • Ensure stepladders have a locking device to hold the front and back open
  • Always keep two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder
  • Place the ladder on a solid surface and never lean it against an unstable surface
  • A straight or extension ladder should be 1 foot away from the surface it rests on for every 4 feet of height and extend at least 3 feet over the top edge
  • Securely fasten straight and extension ladders to an upper support
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes and don’t stand higher than the third rung from the top
  • Don’t lean or reach while on a ladder, and have someone support the bottom
  • Never use old or damaged equipment; check thoroughly before use

Millions of people are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every year. A fall can end in death or disability in a split second, but with a few simple precautions, you’ll be sure stay safe at at work.


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.

National Preparedness Month 2020: Make Your Plan Today

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and now is a good time to prepare for a natural disaster or emergency in the workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds workers and employers to make a plan, so you know where to go and what to do to stay safe in an emergency. Here are a few things you can do to prepare:

  1. Develop a plan and understand how to put it into action. Employers should develop emergency plans and ensure workers know how to execute them. Plans should describe shelter locations, policies to ensure all personnel are accounted for, procedures for addressing hazardous materials in the workplace, and maps that designate specific evacuation routes and exits. OSHA’s Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool is a helpful resource to use.
  2. Build an emergency kit. Put together an emergency kit with the supplies and personal protective equipment you might need during an emergency. Include items like safety glasses or face shields for eye protection, cell phones with chargers, flashlights, and first aid kits.
  3. Shelter in place. Follow local emergency official announcements related to sheltering in place. In certain situations, you may need to take immediate shelter whether you are working from home, at the job site, or in between. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to “shelter in place.”
  4. Evacuate. Be aware if local emergency officials call for a mandatory evacuation of your area. Employers should examine how to safely shut down a facility if an evacuation is warranted. Don’t wait until too late. Due to COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if you need to seek public shelter to bring at least two cloth face coverings for each person and hand sanitizer.
  5. Know what may impact your area and how you should respond. Stay aware of weather forecasts and warnings, and follow instructions issued by your local officials. Check the websites of your local National Weather Service and emergency management office. Employers should consider how an emergency might impact workers sheltering in place at a job site versus workers attempting to evacuate to safety. If local authorities or the on-site coordinators tell you to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.

OSHA provides resources on workplace preparedness and response for a variety of hazards. For more information on protecting workers from emergency events, visit OSHA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response page. In addition to these resources, seek guidance from your local fire department, police department, and emergency management agency.

For additional information and resources on how to better prepare for emergencies, visit Ready.gov, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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.

Cleaning vs. disinfecting/sanitizing: What’s the difference?

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A best practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections is routinely cleaning and disinfecting/sanitizing surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

That’s because recent studies have found that SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 – can remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. To effectively remove and eliminate the virus, however, workers need to understand that the terms “cleaning” and “disinfecting/sanitizing” aren’t interchangeable, NIOSH Director John Howard pointed out during a March 31 webinar hosted by the National Safety Council in conjunction with the agency.

“Cleaning is getting the dirt out,” Howard said. “Sanitizing is what’s used in public health a lot to get down to a certain level of bacteria – sometimes 95% is killed. Disinfection is killing everything. That’s where you want to aim.”

CDC’s explanation goes a step further:
Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. It doesn’t kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting/sanitizing refers to using chemicals (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectants) to kill germs on surfaces. This process doesn’t necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Sterilization describes a process of destroying or eliminating all forms of microbial life and is carried out in health care facilities by physical or chemical methods.

Among CDC’s tips to clean and disinfect surfaces:

  • Wear disposable gloves.
  • Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use a disinfectant.
  • When using EPA-registered disinfectants, follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
  • More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use.
  • Surfaces and objects in public places (e.g., shopping carts and point-of-sale keypads) should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.

Work safely in the heat: What you need to know

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Photo: safetyandhealthmagazine.
Heat-related illnesses accounted for 783 worker deaths and nearly 70,000 serious injuries in the United States from 1992 to 2016. And in 2018 alone, 3,950 workers experienced days away from work as a result of nonfatal injuries and illnesses from on-the-job heat exposure.

“Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in the workplace, and although heat-related illness is preventable, each year thousands of workers are getting sick from their exposure to heat, and … some cases are fatal,” Stephen Boyd, deputy regional administrator for OSHA Region 6, said May 19 during an OSHA webinar on preventing heat-related illnesses and injuries.

Working in a hot environment can trigger ailments that include heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke – considered a medical emergency. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling faint or dizzy; excessive sweating; cool, pale, clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; rapid, weak pulse; and muscle cramps. Workers who are experiencing heat exhaustion need to get to a cool, air-conditioned place. If fully conscious, they should drink water, take a cool shower and use a cold compress.

Workers with heatstroke may experience a headache but no sweating, and have a body temperature above 103° F. Other symptoms are red, hot, dry skin; nausea or vomiting; and loss of consciousness. Call 911 if a case of heatstroke is suspected, then take action to cool the worker until help arrives.

Other tips from OSHA to help prevent heat-related illnesses include:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes.
  • If working outside, take rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing when working outdoors.
  • Monitor co-workers for symptoms of heat-related 
illnesses.

OSHA provides employer and worker resources for working in hot weather via its “Water. Rest. Shade.” campaign at osha.gov/heat.


McCraren Compliance sees the solution in our people. We are developing each person into a safety leader by recognizing and valuing them as humans and teaching them to do the same with their co-workers. We are creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other.

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

COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA releases guidelines for oil and gas industry

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Photo: OSHA

Washington — OSHA has published COVID-19-related guidance intended to help employers in the oil and gas industry reduce exposure among workers, including personnel in the sub industries and those whose tasks “make up the broader oil and gas industrial sector.”

The guidance includes a table with examples of tasks and associated risk levels, along with examples of engineering and administrative controls. Additionally, the agency addresses cloth facial coverings, safe work practices, personal protective equipment, and OSHA “flexibilities” on PPE requirements and prioritization during the pandemic.

Among the agency’s recommendations:

  • Defer work requiring close contact with others, if possible.
  • Configure communal work environments so workers are spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Stagger workers’ arrival, break and departure times.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in work areas to help minimize potential exposure.
  • Encourage workers to wear face coverings to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

“Employers with workers engaged in the oil and gas industry should remain alert to changing conditions and implement infection prevention measures accordingly,” OSHA states.

Ladder safety during the COVID-19 pandemic: Association releases guidance

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Photo: Zephyr18/iStockphoto

Glasgow, Scotland — More regular deep cleaning of ladders are among the tips the Ladder Association has developed for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free online resource cites as the basis of its recommendation a study, published in April in the New England Journal of Medicine, showing that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) can live on stainless steel or plastic ladders for up to 72 hours.

Employers should communicate measures they’re taking to protect workers, remind employees about proper hygiene practices and encourage workers to stay at least 6 feet away from others. Because physical distancing can be difficult to practice when multiple people are needed to perform certain ladder tasks, including stabilizing and raising the equipment, the association has tips for employers to consider for these activities. Employers also should perform risk assessments and review rescue plans.

“Keeping ladder users safe now means protecting them from coronavirus as well as falls and other injuries,” Gail Hounslea, chair of the Ladder Association and managing director of the Ladderstore, said in a June 12 press release. “Businesses are facing the unprecedented challenge of getting people safely back to work during a pandemic. Ladders are only a small part of what they’ve got to consider, but we realized we could use our expertise to support all those whose workers will be heading back up ladders and need to ensure every safety aspect is covered.”

EPA publishes final risk evaluation for methylene chloride

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Photo: California Department of Public Health

Washington — Methylene chloride poses “unreasonable risk” to workers under certain conditions, according to a final risk evaluation recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency, which now is compelled to propose within one year regulatory action to mitigate the chemical’s hazards.

Frequently used for bathtub refinishing, methylene chloride is among the first 10 chemicals under evaluation for potential health and environmental risks under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. In 2014, EPA found that exposure to the chemical may cause cancer, harm to the central nervous system and toxicity to the liver, among other adverse health effects.

The final evaluation, published June 19, is the first to be released for the 10 chemicals. Announced via a notice published in the June 24 Federal Register, the document states methylene chloride poses unreasonable risk to workers involved in numerous operations, including:

  • Plastic and rubber manufacturing
  • Electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing
  • Oil and gas drilling, extraction and support activities
  • Adhesive/caulk removal
  • Cold pipe insulation
  • Aerosol and non-aerosol degreasing and cleaning

Additionally, EPA determined an unreasonable risk is not present during the following conditions of use:

  • Domestic manufacture
  • Processing as a reactant
  • Recycling
  • Distribution in commerce
  • Industrial and commercial use as a laboratory chemical
  • Disposal

As required under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which the Lautenberg Act amended, EPA must address risks by proposing within one year regulatory actions such as training, certification, restricted access, and/or ban of commercial use, and then accept public comment on any proposals.

“Releasing the first final risk evaluation marks a key milestone in our efforts to fulfill our responsibilities for ensuring the safety of chemicals already on the market,” Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution, said in a June 19 press release. “By following the TSCA process, we can have confidence in our final conclusions and move forward with developing a plan to protect the public from any unreasonable risks.”

In March 2019, EPA published a final rule that prohibits manufacture (including import), processing and distribution of the substance in paint removers for consumer use, as well as requires manufacturers, processors and distributors to notify retailers and others in the supply chain about the ban.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in the release that the action “builds on last year’s ban on consumer sales of certain methylene chloride products and will guide the agency’s efforts to further reduce risks from this chemical.”

Liz Hitchcock, director of the Washington-based advocacy group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, called on the agency to expedite its regulatory actions, contending in a June 19 statement that “the longer EPA drags its feet, the more lives will be lost.” According to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, at least 64 people have died from acute exposure to methylene chloride since 1980.

“The time for study and talk is long past,” Hitchcock’s statement reads. “EPA should take immediate action on the danger it has once again recognized in this risk evaluation and finish the job to protect workers. The agency must immediately finalize its proposed ban on commercial use of these products. To wait any longer to protect workers from these dangerous products when EPA has the ability to ban them now is unconscionable and will result in more preventable deaths.”

In April 2019, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families was part of a coalition of groups representing worker rights that filed a lawsuit against EPA and Wheeler for excluding workers in the final rule.

EPA previously solicited comments on problem formation documents for the first 10 chemicals before releasing its first draft risk evaluation – for Pigment Violet 29 – in November 2018. The agency released its draft risk evaluation for methylene chloride in October.

EPA says it plans to release final risk evaluations for the remaining nine of the first 10 chemicals by the end of the year.

COVID-19 pandemic: House Democrats call for stronger guidelines for federal workers

Washington — Federal employees need more comprehensive guidance from the Office of Personnel Management before they return to the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic, House Democrats contended during a June 25 virtual hearing convened by the House Government Operations Subcommittee.

“This hearing is about ensuring federal agencies have plans and necessary resources to enable continuity of operations throughout the pandemic,” Connolly said. “This hearing is about ensuring the thousands of federal workers who have contracted the coronavirus are respected.”

Lorraine M. Martin, CEO and president of the National Safety Council and one of four witnesses testifying during the hearing, said the federal government “can set the example.” Such an example, Martin said, would follow “all the guidance from health organizations” as well as large multinational companies that “have very detailed playbooks on how to bring their folks back to work and when to bring them back.”

NSC launched its SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns initiative in May to help employers understand all the needed steps and considerations for bringing employees back to the workplace. Martin highlighted a new SAFER resource: the Organizational Vulnerability Assessment tool, which organizations can use to get “tailored recommendations.”

The subcommittee’s Republicans want the federal government to stay away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Two subcommittee members pointed to Internal Revenue Service office closures, which they say have slowed the issuance of tax refunds.

In contrast, Jacqueline Simon, national policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, called on federal workplaces to delay bringing workers back until “agencies have the full capacity to test, protect, trace and inform their workforces, and unless and until genuine, objective data on the status of the pandemic shows it has subsided.”

Simon also noted the success of remote work during the pandemic. “Since so many have been successfully teleworking throughout the pandemic, I inevitably ask why the rush to return?” she asked.

J. Christopher Mihm, managing director for strategic issues in the Government Accountability Office, added that “agencies’ experiences with telework during the global pandemic suggest opportunities for increased availability of telework in the future.”

Mihm also called for strengthened two-way communication, especially listening to and addressing employees’ concerns, as well as cooperation and information sharing among agencies in the same geographic areas.

Martin said telework by at least some employees in organizations – already a trend before the pandemic – likely is “here to stay.”

“Our country and its citizens have all experienced great trauma because of the coronavirus,” Martin said. “Worrying about one’s safety and well-being at work should not be needlessly added to this burden.”

COVID-19 pandemic: CDC issues guidance for airline, airport and transit workers

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Photo: Animaflora/iStockphoto

Atlanta — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a series of fact sheets for airport, airline and transit employers to help protect their workers from exposure to COVID-19.

Each of the 12 fact sheets contains steps employers should take, tips for workers based on specific job tasks, instructions on which surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected, a link to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of approved disinfectants for use against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19, and links to other COVID-19-related online resources.

The fact sheets cover:

The fact sheets explain how COVID-19 can spread, describe who is at higher risk for more serious complications and list the disease’s common symptoms.