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Black Friday Shopping Safety Tips!

The night of Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday is a popular time to shop. It’s an exciting time for deals but it’s also a great opportunity for scammers and thieves.  So, whether you’ll be spending your hard-earned cash in Boston, Providence, Hartford, New York City or elsewhere, there are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind:

It’s a busy time of year and distractions can put us at greater risk of problems. Fortunately, taking a few proactive steps can go a long way to keep you and your family safe” – Valerie Wakefield, President/CEO

Shopping Safety Tips

Where ever you go shopping, there are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind:

• Don’t be carrying large amounts of cash and flashing it around.
• Shopping in numbers, this will help deter any thieves from mugging you while you’re carrying your purchases out of the store.
• Ladies, don’t leave your purse in your shopping car, and, if you wear in on your shoulder, don’t leave it open.
• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before leaving and keep in close by at all times.
• Beware of strangers approach you for any reason. At this time of year, con artist may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
• Do not carry multiple packages at once. Use will call and curbside package pickup service instead.
• Lastly, make sure your family/friends know exactly what your plans are, write down the stores and keep in touch throughout that day.

Safely Transporting Purchases

While carrying your purchases to the car, you may want to remember these tips:

• Park in well-lit areas, and report and suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.
• Reduce distractions, such as using cell phones, while walking to your car, especially at night.
• Try not to carry a large number of packages with you. Keep a hand open and prepare to enter your vehicle.
• Do not load packages in the trunk right before leaving your vehicle. Somebody could be watching.
• Never leave personal items or packages in plain sight in your vehicle. This includes money (even loose change), credit cards, cell phones, laptops, tablets, purses, and GPS units.
• Store valuables in the trunk of your vehicle

For more information on our occupational health and safety consulting or training services please visit us at www.UnitedAllianceServices.com or you can e-mail us at safetysolutions@UnitedAllianceServices.com or give us a call at 877-399-1698.

Osha safety training session

Safety Training Sale – Buy One Get One Free!

Safety Training Sale – Buy One Get One Free!

United Alliance Services would like to offer a BOGO “buy one get one” free on our available public course offerings listed on our website. This offer ends on December 31, 2019. These courses are offered at our location in East Wareham.

View the calendar of events we have for the rest of the year.

Please call the office at 877-399-1698 for details or email safetysolutions@unitedallianceservices.com

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1 Dead, 10 Hospitalized After Chemical Incident at Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings

1 Dead, 10 Hospitalized After Chemical Incident at Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings – Proper Hazcomm Training Could Have Prevented This Tragedy

According to an article on People.com – a Buffalo Wild Wings employee in Burlington, Massachusetts, died on Thursday after he was exposed to fumes from a floor cleaner, officials said.

Emergency responders arrived at the restaurant on Thursday evening just after 5:30 p.m. after receiving a report of a “sick individual and a potential chemical release,” interim Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson.

The employee had been exposed to “a strong cleaning agent” while cleaning the floor of the restaurant. He told reporters that the cleaning product is called “Super 8” and contains sodium hypochlorite, which is a “high concentrate” of chlorine.

The importance of Hazcomm Training

Protecting workers from chemical hazards is of the utmost importance. Unlike other workplace hazards, chemical hazards can difficult to notice until it’s too late. Proper training could have prevented this unfortunate event.

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this, as OSHA named “Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) ” the 2nd most frequently cited standard in 2018.

Purpose of Hazcomm Training

OSHA’s website states:

The purpose of hazard communication training is to explain and reinforce the information presented to employees through the written mediums of labels and material safety data sheets, and to apply this information in their workplace. Labels and material safety data sheets will only be successful when employees understand the information presented and are aware of the actions to be taken to avoid or minimize exposure, and thus the occurrence of adverse effects.

Training helps to integrate and classify the many pieces of information that relate to chemical hazard communication. In a typical workplace, a worker may be confronted with posted hazard warnings, signs, tags, incoming labels, workplace labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs), manuals explaining the company hazard communication program, lists of chemicals, and information furnished by the union. This wide variety of communications will differ in format, content and reading level. These differences can obscure the important hazard communication message. Training can reduce this background “noise” by presenting the necessary information in a structured and logical manner.

HazCom training requires the presence of hazardous chemicals be communicated to employees in a variety of ways, including:

  • Hazardous chemical classifications
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Labels, tags or signs
  • Information and training

Available Course to Protect Your Employees

We offer a course on The Global Harmonized System (GHS) is an International approach to hazard communication. It is based on major existing systems around the world, including OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazComm) and the chemical classification and labeling systems of other US agencies. This training program explains how to comply with the GHS changes and compliance requirements under the 2012 OSHA’s Hazardous Communication standard.

This program is aimed at the worker or handler of hazardous chemicals and provides the participants with general awareness training under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200. Each participant will leave the classroom with a general awareness of the GHS and how to apply it in their workplace. Within the program, the instructor will review OSHA’s 2012 HazComm standard and highlight the changes applicable under the new GHS standard.

Course topics we discuss include:

  • Overview of the Hazard Communication Standard Revisions origin and purpose
  • Management Leadership and Employee Involvement and Compliance timelines
  • Overview of GHS Globally Harmonized System
  • Benefits of GHS changes
  • Hazard Classification
  • Labeling and Supplier Label
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Program Evaluation & Training requirements
  • Special cases, Consumer Chemicals, Laboratories, and Samples

To learn more, visit our Hazcomm Safety Training Course and sign up today.

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Veterans: Save 50% On Open Enrollment Courses

We would like to take the opportunity to thank Veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country, and our safety by offering 50% off all open enrollment courses from now through the end of the year.

United Alliance Services of New England is a proud supporter of US Military service members. In order to show that support, we offer a 25% discount year-round on all open enrollment training classes to active military and veterans. This is a small way of saying thank you for all that you do.

Almost half of our staff are veterans, and we are so proud of everything that they have done to serve our country. Please spread the word about this great discount to your military friends and family.

Open Enrollment Courses

Register for any of the classes listed below:

 

 

Can’t make the November courses? See our calendar for the upcoming December courses.

 

Don’t delay – act now to save!

Offer Expires 12/31/2019.
Must provide military ID

 

Osha workplace training session.

Announcing New OSHA 30 Hour Construction Classes

We’re pleased to announce that we will be conducting OSHA 30 Hour Construction classes at our new Rhode Island Office.

Check out the upcoming schedule.

  • Friday, November 15th (8am-3pm) – 6hr session 1 – 10/30 hr
  • Friday, November 22nd (8am-3pm) – 6hr session 2 – 10/30 hr
  • Friday, November 29th (8am-3pm) – 6hr session 3 – 30 hr
  • Friday, December 6th (8am-3pm) – 6hr session 4 – 30 hr
  • Friday, December 13th (8am-3pm) – 6hr session 4 – 30 hr

Please call our office to schedule any additional training (877) 399-1698

Learn more and sign up here

 

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Another Hard Market for Commercial Insurance On the Horizon

According to a recent article in the Insurance Journal, commercial insurance pricing jumped by nearly 4 percent in the 2019 second quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

According to a Willis Towers Watson report, price increases are coming for most commercial insurance lines. Property, excess/umbrella, and directors and officers (D&O) lines are approaching double-digit jumps for the first time in several years. The survey also found prices trending higher for all account sizes, though more significantly for mid-market and large accounts.

Workers Compensation insurance is not immune to the potential price increases. According to the IRMI September issue of The Risk Report – Underwriting is becoming more disciplined, with underwriters requesting additional information and scrutinizing it carefully. Expect increased retentions coupled with additional coverage restrictions and lower available limits.

Concerned Your Insurance Premiums Will Increase?

An increase in your commercial insurance can put a strain on any business. Increased costs mean a decrease in revenue. Insurance company underwriters will be reviewing all accounts with more scrutiny. Losses and or safety violations can put your business at risk for higher premiums.

To check on your company’s risk of a major insurance premium increase, start with a Risk Assessment. The assessment provides the insight needed to develop and implement critical safety management system control tools and shows the areas that most need improving. With this audit, your company will gain highly valuable professional insight into your level of compliance with OSHA regulations as well as the level of risk associated with your organization’s operations.

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Do Personal Tasks That Lead To Accidents Need To Be Listed On OSHA 300 Log?

Why your OSHA 300 log with accidents that occur to employees while on their work breaks, need to be accurate.

Considering that in 2019, OSHA initial violations averaged $4,237. And, initial Recordkeeping violations averaged $3,878 (up from 2017 and 2018), with a maximum assessed fine of $132,598 for a repeat violation! It would make sense to be sure your OSHA Logs are in order.

Let’s consider an everyday scenario to further explore why this is so important.

How much risk does your company take on if an employee left your building during his lunch break and spent the time in his company truck?

Very little, you would think.

But – what if your good employee took his lunch break in his company truck, ate his lunch, listening to music and engaged in a personal task for the remainder of his break.  He needed to sharpen his pencil for a quick note and took out his pen-knife.  He remembered that his knife was a bit dull, so he went to his tool kit and retrieved his sharpening stone.  He sharpened his knife but cut his thumb and it began to bleed.  He was unable to control the bleeding so he called his supervisor and was taken to the emergency room for a couple of stitches and a tetanus shot.  Does this injury need to be recorded on the employers’ OSHA 300 log, for employers with over 10 employees?

Because there is an exception to the medical treatment rule that says preventative tetanus immunizations do not render the injury OSHA recordable, but getting stitches is beyond first aid and therefore defines the injury as recordable.  However, the injury happened while the employee was engaged in a personal task.  Employees can go to a retail store that they work at as a customer during off-work hours and if injured it is not recordable, right?

Does our knife-sharpening injury during a lunch break need to be recorded on an OSHA log?

The answer is yes!

This is solely because it was during work hours.  This, however, opens up a conflict between what the employer should allow employees to do during their work breaks.  Employers may want to rethink permitting employees to engage in risky activities on their work breaks.

For more information, see these Standard OSHA Interpretations, references and regulations.

We offer risk assessments and training courses to make sure your company is in compliance and avoid OSHA fines.

Contact us today to learn more.

fall protection

Steps Boston Construction Firms Can Take To Avoid Accidents and OSHA Citations

As reported by the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe – Boston city officials on Friday cited a contractor at a North End construction site where a woman was struck by a falling metal railing and seriously injured, alleging the company was conducting work without proper permits and creating “an unsafe and dangerous” environment.

The city’s Inspectional Services Department has “issued a stop-work order for 47 Commercial Wharf East, in addition to six additional worksites currently supervised by Corolla Contracting. Each site will be inspected to ensure they are properly contained until further notice.”

SHA records showed that Corolla Contracting Inc. has been cited for eight safety violations since 2010. One was marked in the records as “deleted.”

Among the seven others, five were classified as serious. Four of the violations were related to improperly protecting employees from falling, records show. The company was also fined $1,700 for a ladder violation in 2013, and $1,000 for not properly training employees to prevent falls in 2017.

In all, the company was fined nearly $39,000, but the penalties were ultimately reduced to $13,100, records show.

Marc Bianco, chief operating officer for United Alliance Services Corporation, a workplace safety consulting firm, said Corolla Contracting Inc.’s track record of OSHA violations raises a red flag.

The frequency of violations indicated that the company was on OSHA’s radar and as a result may have been more likely to be visited by inspectors, he said. The tally does not include violations the company may face from Thursday’s incident.

Bianco said many companies would rather pay fines than improve their safety measures.

“The fines and penalties that OSHA imposes on these contractors is often not enough to get these companies to move off center,” Bianco said. “It’s often cheaper to play catch me if you can.”

Why is fall protection important?

Fall Protection remains at the top of OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Violations list.

According to the OSHA website, falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.

Preventing Falls

As noted in our recent blog post – Local Company Fined by OSHA for $1.7 million Due To Violations – there are many options for ensuring safe worksites.  Project managers can redesign the methods they choose by employing aerial lifts, work platforms and manlifts for safer access.  Some roof work configurations allow for the use of temporary guard railings, nets or even controlled roofing zones, and positioning devices.  If these are not viable options, managers can look at personal fall arrest equipment that doesn’t prevent the fall but helps prevent a deadly landing.

If scaffolds are erected to limit the fall height, there must be a safe way to make the transition.  Ladders are not allowed to be set up on a scaffold for reaching a higher level unless it is tightly secured against moving in any direction. Employees cannot be allowed to jump or climb over two feet difference of elevation, so use anchored steps or ladder.  If possible, choose a ramp but it also must be securely anchored.

Whatever method managers choose, they must effectively train and designate on-site competent persons to do regular inspections and make corrections to problems before it becomes a hazard to someone.

When following EM-385 fall protection regulations, employers must not only designate a competent person for fall protection, but also a Fall Protection Program manager, a Qualified Person as well as a Competent Rescuer, Authorized Rescuer and the End User.  There are training and retraining requirements as well as roles and responsibilities like inspections that must be adhered to under Section 21 of EM-385.

Do you need to train your Fall Protection Competent and/or Qualified Persons?  Do you know how to choose the best method to protect your employees?

See our course selection to learn more:

 

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Local Company Fined by OSHA for $1.7 million Due To Violations

Safety Indictment

How important is it to your construction company to get on a rooftop without considering fall protection?  Is it worth lawsuits for the business owner?  Is it worth over $1.7 million in violations?  How about manslaughter and/or workplace manslaughter charges?

With proper training, most falls can be prevented and when the heights are high, so are the stakes!  If someone falls, businesses could be in jeopardy because of stiff OSHA fines and penalties, risks to your company’s reputation, and legal charges filed for the business owner if there are repeated violations of OSHA regulations.

In Portland, Maine, just before Christmas 2018, a roofer at Purvis Home Improvement Company didn’t come home to his family because he fell while climbing down from the roof onto a ladder jack scaffolding plank. He lost his life that morning as he landed on the ground without wearing any fall protection. One can only imagine how devastated his family must be, and the effects to his coworkers.

Insurance may help the family cope with the loss of his income, but can never replace this loss of life. Workers Compensation may help pay for costs, but the loss to the business is largely uninsurable. OSHA fines are not able to be insured against.  The loss of reputation in the community may be difficult to overcome.

OSHA had previously issued violations to Purvis Home Improvement Company, including a repeat violation in 2015 (risking 3 people) and again in 2018 (risking 6 people) not using fall protection.  The company’s owner, Shawn D. Purvis is now facing a manslaughter indictment as well as OSHA penalties of $1,792,726.  Purvis is appealing.

The previous violations constituted a notice showing that Purvis knew about the fall from heights hazard and either didn’t make the corrections, or didn’t maintain them. Either way, when there is a risk of falling from heights that could kill, employers must insist that employees and subcontractor employees utilize appropriate fall protection.  In Construction, the OSHA trigger height is 6 feet while in Shipyards the height is 5 feet.   For other industries (general industry), the trigger height is 4 feet.  The trigger height for contractors following the Army Corps of Engineers’ EM-385-1-1 standard is 6 feet.

In this tragedy, the fall was reported to have occurred at the transition between the roof and a scaffold plank.  It is unclear how the individual was climbing down, but he was transitioning to a ladder jack scaffolding plank when he lost his footing and fell 20 feet.

Having been indicted by a grand jury, Mr. Purvis faces Manslaughter charges associated with employment management where he intentionally or knowingly violated an occupations safety or health standard of the state or federal government, which is a crime in the State of Maine.  If convicted under the workplace manslaughter statute, he could face up to $20,000 in fines and/or up to 30 years of imprisonment.

Preventing Falls

There are many options for protecting your employees from deadly falls.  Project managers can redesign the methods they choose by employing aerial lifts, work platforms and manlifts for safer access.  Some roof work configurations allow for the use of temporary guard railings, nets or even controlled roofing zones, and positioning devices.  If these are not viable options, managers can look at personal fall arrest equipment that doesn’t prevent the fall, but helps prevent a deadly landing.

If scaffolds are erected to limit the fall height, there must be a safe way to make the transition.  Ladders are not allowed to be set up on a scaffold for reaching a higher level unless it is tightly secured against moving in any direction. Employees cannot be allowed to jump or climb over two feet difference of elevation, so use anchored steps or ladder.  If possible, choose a ramp but it also must be securely anchored.

Whatever method managers choose, they must effectively train and designate on-site competent persons to do regular inspections and make corrections to problems before it becomes a hazard to someone.

When following EM-385 fall protection regulations, employers must not only designate a competent person for fall protection, but also a Fall Protection Program manager, a Qualified Person as well as a Competent Rescuer, Authorized Rescuer and the End User.  There are training and retraining requirements as well as roles and responsibilities like inspections that must be adhered to under Section 21 of EM-385.

Do you need to train your Fall Protection Competent and/or Qualified Persons?  Do you know how to choose the best method to protect your employees?

References:

www.OSHA.gov

www.courts.maine.gov

www.publications.usace.army.mil

active shooter

How to Prepare for an Active Shooter Incident

The FBI website states there have been 250 active shooter incidents in the United States from 2000 to 2017 with 2,217 casualties.

While you may feel this couldn’t happen at your workplace, you may be wrong. The data also shows that 42 percent of these incidents took place in a business setting.

In our recent blog post Complete Your Safety Manual by Including an Active Shooter Program, we discussed how active shooters are difficult to profile because it’s usually an irrational, random target. Profilers share that active shooters tend to focus on “soft targets”, which includes crowded open spaces and a lack of security. This makes construction sites, lumber yards, and the likes a bit more of a potential target. We also stressed the importance of putting employee assistance programs in place in the event of an active shooter event.

Though there are steps to include to help alleviate the physical and mental pain if this type of event ever occurs, the real question is what your business can do to prepare for an active shooter event.

According to the American Society of Safety Professionals, there are five key areas you can focus on to better protect your work site and employees from workplace violence.

1. Assess Your Risks

The first step to protecting your site and employees is understanding your vulnerabilities. Much like a regular workplace risk assessment, an active shooter/armed assailant risk analysis is an invaluable tool in determining what gaps currently exist and how those can be mitigated moving forward.

2. Safeguard Your Facility

Assessing your risks and vulnerabilities provides a better understanding of what it will take to make your facility more secure.

3. Train Your Staff

To ensure that a plan is deployed effectively, everyone needs to understand their roles and responsibilities. Conducting training exercises helps employees think about what they would need to do in an active shooter/armed assailant situation and familiarizes them with the procedures in place to help protect their safety. 

4. Coordinate With Responding Agencies

Invite local police, fire departments and first responders to your site can help you build relationships with those agencies and help them become familiar with your facility.

5. Handle Post-Incident Issues

Ensure your employees get the attention they need, including any counseling to help them cope with what they’ve experienced.

Need to train your staff? Check out our upcoming Events