In October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its citation information for the past year (October 2006 through September 2007).
Now is a good time to look at what OSHA has been focusing on in your industry, and to evaluate your own safety programs.
Listed below are the top 5 citations in the surfacing industry:
1. Personal Protective Equipment
2. Hazard Communication
3. Materials Transport
4. General Environmental Safety
5. Electrical Safety
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
PPE violations topped the list for OSHA citations this past year. Each employer must assess what protective equipment is necessary for each employee and task. OSHA found employers were not providing necessary equipment based on job hazards; not providing proper training; or not ensuring that employees wear the required equipment. Your PPE program must be in writing. Specifically, citations were issued, in order of frequency, on the following: respiratory protection, PPE – general requirements, eye and face protection, hand protection, foot protection and head protection.
Violations of the respiratory protection standard comprised nearly 75 percent of all PPE citations. OSHA revised its respiratory protection standard effective November 22, 2006, so it is important to review your program and ensure that you are in compliance with the new standard. OSHA and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have developed a rating system for respirators: the Assigned Protection Factor (APF). Another new term, Maximum Use Concentration (MUC), has also been incorporated into the revised OSHA Standard.
Fabricators may be required to use respirators to protect themselves from inhaling grit and dust, exposure that occurs when dry-cutting masonry or stone that contains silica, and exposure to chemicals released when sawing, routing, drilling or sanding synthetic sheet goods. It is also likely that your adhesives produce hazardous fumes. You must determine what your employee exposure is for each chemical produced or used in the workplace, and ensure that your respirator's protection level is adequate for the exposure level.