GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY
Noise: Occupational noise exposure was the most frequent citation in any category last year in the surfacing industry. OSHA requires employers to assess noise levels, and take action when acceptable limits are exceeded. First, engineering controls must be applied to reduce noise exposure. When these controls fail to reduce sound levels, the right hearing protectors must be provided. The employer must administer a continuing, effective hearing conservation program.
Ventilation: Inadequate ventilation was another environmental safety issue cited last year. Industrial ventilation generally involves the use of supply and exhaust ventilation to reduce airborne contaminants to acceptable levels. Your facility must have an effective system to manage exposure to hazardous dust or airborne contaminants. The employer must be aware of OSHA exposure limits for each chemical used or produced in the shop, and ensure that these limits are not exceeded. Ventilation systems are one effective way to minimize exposure.
Electrical hazards were another frequently cited area. An average of one worker dies from electrocution on the job every day. Even low voltage or low current can cause serious harm or death. Electric power-operated tools must either be of the approved double-insulated type, or grounded in accordance with OSHA regulations. Never use electric cords for hoisting or lowering tools. OSHA issued a new general industry electrical standard that became effective on August 13, 2007 — the first update since 1981. Be sure that you are in compliance with this new standard.
About the author: Shannon DeCamp is the client services manager with Techne Train Inc.For further information regarding OSHA Compliance requirements for the surfacing industry, visit www.technetrainonline.com, or contact TechneTrain Inc. at 800-852-8314.