Worker using fall protection gear as a safety precaution he learned in em 385 training

Does your company have a culture that elevates safety to a world-class level?

If so, then you should apply to be one of America’s Safest Companies.

EHSToday.com recently announced that the application process for selection as the 2019 America’s Safest Companies, an honor bestowed on more than 200 companies since 2002, has begun. The application process is open from May 1 through July 15, 2019

According to their website:

“To be considered one of America’s Safest Companies, organizations must demonstrate: support from leadership and management for EHS efforts; employee involvement in the EHS process; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.”

Winners will be expected to attend the America’s Safest Companies Awards Night Out, held Nov. 6, 2019 at the Safety Leadership Conference in Dallas.

If you’re interested in applying – we can help.

We provide OSHA and workplace environmental health and safety consulting services for businesses and industries throughout the New England region.

Our senior consultants and instructional staff are qualified and experienced in creating occupational safety and health management solutions, specifically tailored to the needs of private and public sector workforces.

Contact us today to learn how we can assist you with the application process.

Workplace Safety Handbook with OSHA Requirements next to A First Aid Kit, Respirator Face Piece, Hart Hat, and Safety Gloves

A Quick Guide on OSHA Safety Requirements

Weeding through letters of interpretation or researching OSHA standards for a quick answer can eat up precious time. This is why UASC’s safety consultants and training department wanted to provide you with a quick reference guide on our most commonly asked OSHA reporting, recording, and training questions.

Breaking Down What OSHA Wants

OSHA can be ambiguous in what they want in some cases. This is done intentionally so that workers have the most protection possible. However, there are some things that are black and white for employers to follow to help ensure the minimum requirements are being met. It’s important to ensure that your company is operating as safely as possible and our team is ready to help provide you with written health and safety plans (HASP), training, consulting, or a safety manager. In the meantime, here’s the bare minimum.

Companies are required to have a written safety program no matter what sector or industry they’re in. These help their employees work in the safest manner possible, and, per OSHA, must include the following topics:

  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
  • Fire Prevention Plan
  • Hazard Communication Program (HazComm)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Lock-out/Tag-out (LOTO)

Beyond this, established safe work practices are required for all tasks. Additional written plans or supportive documentations may be required, which depends on the task(s), duties, or environment. A professional safety consultant can easily walk you through these steps to ensure full compliance, but this is a great starting point.

Simplifying Company Safety Plans

There are also required written safety programs when they’re applicable to your company’s work environment. If your employee’s job requires them to use any of the following, then you need to have a written safety plan.

  • Respirator Program
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Plan (BBP)
  • Firearm Safety Program
  • Firearm Range Safety Program
  • Aerial Lift Program
  • Trench Safety Program
  • Permit Required Confined Spaces Program
  • Asbestos Management Plan
  • Hearing Conservation Program
  • Arc Flash Program

Maintaining Up-to-Date Training Certifications

Once the safety plans and programs are written, you now need to teach them to your employees to ensure full understanding and compliance. Some of these areas require specific training to ensure full compliance, which often comes with a required “retraining” date to ensure all employees have a refresher to maintain the information. Should you make any of your policies, even if they just had the training a few weeks ago, then a new training session needs to happen to ensure complete compliance. Many companies choose to hire a third party instructor to deliver the content to their employees so that it’s coming from an outside source who has experience with OSHA regulations and training, such as UASC.

TopicFrequency
Asbestos Cement Pipe (water/sewer)Every 5 Years
Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)Annual
Fire Extinguisher Annual
Forklift Training (PIV or PIT) Every 3 Years
Hazardous Waste Annual
Hearing ConservationAnnual
Respirators Annual

*An OSHA 10 or 30 Hour course does not satisfy job-specific training as it is simply an overview and not specific to job tasks. Looking to fulfill your training needs? Visit our calendar full of upcoming public courses, or check out our online and private course catalogs.

In addition to written safety manuals/policies and job specific training, inspections play a key part in keeping a worker safe. These inspections need to happen prior to each use with proper documentation, showing it’s been completed and the condition of the item is noted. OSHA requires the following items to always be routinely inspected and removed from service if they’re deemed damaged in any way.

Routine Inspections

Chains and SlingsFire Extinguishers
Cranes/HoistsLadders
Electrical GFCIMachine Guard
Emergency Detection
(lights, alarms, monitors, etc.)
Emergency Supplies
(First Aid, AED, eyewash, etc.)
Personal Arrest Fall ProtectionVehicles and Equipment

OSHA Assistance and Resources

These lists are provided as a courtesy to help understand what is required of companies per OSHA and OSHA may change their requirements at any time; thus, it is always important to have a safety consultant on hand to ensure complete compliance. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding your safety manuals, policies, training, or inspections by visiting our website or giving us a call (774-302-4305). Providing a safe work environment ensure your employees go home to their families each day.

Man cutting wood with a saw.

A “Cutting” Issue

Do you use chop saws?  Is the saw is sending clouds of silica dust into the air? Do you know the potential hazard for breathing dust from cutting stones, masonry, bricks, some tiles, glass, or CMU? Chop saws can pose a potential “cutting” issue for employees working in the construction industry.

Dangers of Saw Dust

Saws can generate dust of all particle sizes, and you should assume some of the particles are small enough to get deep into the lungs of all people nearby.  Cutting, drilling or grinding many materials, can release crystalline silica.

Some materials are processed in a way that creates crystalline silica.  This is the more dangerous form of silica and is associated with heat.  However, substances that were not crystalline before the cut can become crystalline when you go to cut it. This is because the heat generated from the process

Also, the smaller the particle size, the greater the risk for the dust particles of crystalline silica to get into the deepest parts of the lungs.  Once there, they cause damage that can include silicosis over time.  In addition, the more crystalline silica in someone’s lungs, the greater the risk of damage. This can become life threatening, in the form of silicosis and other diseases.

OSHA Standards on Crystalline Silica

Whenever there is a life threatening occupational risk, employers must diminish the risk. Employers can do this by training employees on the hazard and implementing controls or avoidance methods. Next, employers must test these controls that they are used properly and are effective.  For handheld power saws and many other types of equipment in the construction field, OSHA has developed a standard that makes it simple to minimize the risk to respirable crystalline silica.  Generally, integrated dust control systems are required to be part of the equipment.  These generally use water or HEPA vacuum systems to capture the dust.  The standard also defines when the systems are not sufficient requiring that respirators will also need to be worn.

Resources for Employers

Additionally, OSHA just posted a handy video for employers to use to better understand the ways to control the silica dust risk, and follow the table to determine the minimum options for equipment and respirator use.

If you need to provide training on silica hazards and respirator use, but don’t know where to start, call United Alliance Services. We can provide the annual training with documentation, consultation with management on options to create a safer workplace, and survey your job sites to identify these and other risks. For more information, visit our website to learn more.

drug and alcohol program enforcing a sign "notice: this a drug free workplace"

Why Employers Need a Drug Testing Program

Having a drug and alcohol policy, along with a formalized drug testing program is essential in minimizing risk within an organization. All across the United States, the use of illicit drugs has increased substantially. Out of the estimated 25 million people who use some kind of illicit drugs, 75% of users are employed. On average, 10% of employees use drugs. What does this mean for business owners? A fairly large percent of their employees use drugs and may be a risk to their company.

State and Federal Laws Impacting a Company Policy

State and federal laws dictate a large part of what business owners can and cannot do when it comes to drug testing. But, not having a drug and alcohol policy or testing program at all may create more harm than good. Some states allow pre-employment drug testing, while some forbid random or post-accident drug testing. But, to drug test at all, employers should have a written policy that outlines their company policies and testing procedures.

4 Steps to Develop a Policy

So, how do employers know what to put in their company policies? It is important business owners, human resource managers, and other supervisory staff stay up to date with state and federal laws regarding drugs and alcohol. The second step is to consult with an expert in the field to write the company policy. Companies who specialize in writing drug and alcohol policies can provide a second set of eyes on how you can reduce liability and eliminate risk. It is recommended that all drug and alcohol policies are reviewed by either the company’s legal department or an attorney before implementing or enforcing the policy. The final step is to train company employees on the policy and ask for feedback. Employers should consider revising their policy from the input received from their employees.

The Cost of Implementing a Drug & Alcohol Policy

Once an employer had a drug and alcohol policy developed, the quality of work and productivity may improve. Drug and alcohol users in the workplace have demonstrated higher absenteeism, increased accidents and injuries, workers compensation, turnover and healthcare costs and the risk of losing the market to a competitor. When you compare the cost of a drug and alcohol program to the cost of damages to a business, it’s worth spending the money on a testing program.

OccuMed of New England, United Alliance Services Corporation’s sister company, specializes in writing drug and alcohol policies, as well as providing other drug testing services. For more information, visit their website or call 833-622-8633.

Worker using fall protection gear as a safety precaution he learned in em 385 training

UASC filling in EM385 FP Training lack in Northeast

It’s a training requirement that has hit many construction supervisor or project manager’s site; yet, it still seems to be one of those trainings that is not widely offered, even here in the Northeast. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a 900-page manual that outlines the safety regulations for their job-sites, with many of the requirements being a bit stricter than OSHA regulations. Every contractor and subcontractor on a UASCE-overseen job-site must have at least one person who is trained and competent on the specifics buried within those 900 pages of their Engineer Manual (EM) 385-1-1. There’s no getting out of it.

PM’s Need for EM 385 Training

Given the amount of daily phone calls we receive from PMs who need the training ASAP in order to return to work, the UASCE has become more stringent on ensuring this training is completed. They are also doling out some hefty fines as well as issuing stop orders until the mandates are met – especially if you don’t have designated safety personnel on-site. Thankfully, we have several highly competent and trained construction professionals who have poured over the complete 900 pages and have designed a training program that ensures compliance. Our EM 385 Compliance training, often referred to as 24 Hour Competent Person Fall Protection, is one of our most sought out trainings – often after being kicked off a job site. Those same trainers are able to also assist on meeting the requirements of having a Site Safety and Health Officer (SSHO) and Quality Control Manager, Quality Assurances Manager (QA/QC) on-site quickly.

Federal Bid Requirement

If you’re planning on bidding on a federal contract that takes place in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey or on any of the bases listed below, be sure to reach out to us to secure your training. This will no doubt save your company money, fines, and lost work-time and make you the star employee of the week. We can promise you that somewhere, tucked away in the fine print, the USACE requires you to have at least one person training in EM 385, 24 Hour Competent Person Fall Protection on your site at ALL times. There aren’t any loopholes or fast-talking yourself out of the requirement. It also doesn’t exempt you from following OSHA regulations and our course clearly outlines the differences between the two. Because of this, we strongly recommend that all persons in our EM 385 training also have completed their OSHA 10 Hour Construction training. For an added peace of mind, we strongly recommend you train multiple employees to ensure that you always have someone available in case of injury, illness, or time off requests.

We’ve clocked thousands of hours of training on this topic at various bases and our experts can help your team members understand the complexities of the UASCE requirements, ensure their fall arrest systems are safe and in compliance, and know their responsibilities on a job site.

Projects on Bases

If you have any upcoming projects in VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY or NJ at any of these bases*, be sure to call us today to secure your training dates or SSHO and/or QA/QC needs:

Massachusetts

Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, MA
Otis Air National Guard Base, Buzzards Bay, MA
Hanscom Airforce Base, Bedford, MA
Westover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, MA
Fort Devens, Devens, MA
AIRSTA Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay, MA
AIRSTA Salem, Salem, MA
Aviation Station Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, MA

Rhode Island

Quonset Point Air National Guard Station, North Kingstown, RI
NS Newport, Newport RI

Connecticut

Marine Safety Center Marine Base in Groton, CT
Research And Development Center Coast Guard Groton, CT
Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT
Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT

New York

Fort Drum Army Base in Jefferson, NY
Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn, NY
US Military Academy Army Base in West Point, NY
Watervilet Arsenal Army Base in Watervilet, NY

New Jersey

McGuire Air Force Base in New Hanover, NJ
Fort Dix Army Base in Burlington, NJ
Fort Monmouth Army Base in Monmouth, NJ
Picatinny Arsenal Army Base in Morris County, NJ
Loran Support Unit Coast Guard Base in Wildwood, NJ
Training Center Cape May Coast Guard Cape May, NJ
NWS Earle Navy Base in Colts Neck, NJ
NAES Lakehurst Navy Base in Lakehurst, NJ

*This is not a complete list of military bases

To sign up for an EM385 24 Hour Fall Protection Training Class, visit our website. To sign up for the next public class offering at United Alliance Services Corporation, visit our online calendar. For more information, call 774-302-4305.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Adjusted OSHA Penalties for 2019

OSHA has increased the maximum fines

The maximum fines are now $132,598 per violation for willful or repeated violations for a company, and $13,260 per violation for serious, Other-than-Serious, and Posting violations.

Companies can have multiple violations from one OSHA inspection

For repeated violations, it doesn’t matter that the violation happened at another location of a company.  It is a repeated violation when one location has been issued the violation and a different branch has the same violation.

Failure to abate Violation

The penalty is increased to $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date.  For this reason, it is important to correct OSHA violations and document it back to them with the paperwork that they provide. Then be sure that the corrections are maintained.
For help monitoring job sites, please call United Alliance Services because we conduct documented safety audits of company workplaces and job sites as part of stand-alone auditing services and our annual packages.
For more info on this click here!
Sponsors

UASC & ABC MA 2019 Kick-Off & Induction

United Alliance Services Corporation is a General Sponsor!

Happening now, UASC is attending the 2019 Kickoff Meeting and Installation of Officers

We became a general sponsor this year and are looking forward to what 2019 has to offer both ABC MA & UASC

  • Experts on assisting with ABC STEP PROGRAM (Safety Training and Evaluation Process)
  • Engaged on safety programs with Gould Construction Institute.

We are also connected to the ABC RI Chapter

Don Royer is Co-chair on safety and education for ABC RI

8-steps-to-an-effective-workplace-health-and-safety-program-1-opt

8 Steps to an Effective Workplace Health and Safety Program

An effective health and safety program has several key objectives: to prevent injuries and illnesses, to improve compliance with laws and regulations, to reduce costs spent on workers’ compensation, and to increase general productivity. Health and safety should be one of the key foundations of your company culture. If you want to create a health and safety program that effectively accomplishes those objectives, follow these 8 steps!

  1. Establish Health and Safety and Company Core Values

When you speak to your employees (whether they be new hires or lifelong employees), make sure to emphasize the importance of health and safety. Health and safety should be company objectives, just like customer service or quality work.

  1. Lead by Example

Always follow your own health and safety protocols. Make sure to explain why you take certain measures to improve safety. If your employees see by your actions that you genuinely value health and safety, they will follow suit.

  1. Implement a Reporting/Suggesting System

Make sure that your employees feel comfortable reporting health/safety infractions and making suggestions on how to improve protocol. Set up a reporting/suggesting system that gives your employees a private way to speak about health/safety concerns. Your workers will likely identify safety risks that you never knew about, but only if you encourage them to.

  1. Provide Training

Safety training sessions are essential to demonstrate your commitment to workplace safety and to make sure employees continue to follow through with the rules. Show employees the protocol for dealing with hazards, reporting injuries/near misses, etc.

  1. Conduct Regular Inspections 

Regular workplace inspections are necessary to identify potential hazards. Don’t do them alone; bring your workers with you for workplace inspections so that they know what to look for. They may identify hazards that you would have missed.

  1. Address Emergencies

Have a protocol set for every foreseeable emergency and follow them strictly when an incident occurs.

  1. Seek Input On Workplace/Procedure Changes

Before making significant changes to the workplace or to regular procedures, consult with your employees; they may identify potential health/safety hazards, which may change your course of action.

  1. Keep Improving 

Set aside a regular, scheduled time to meet with employees to discuss workplace health and safety. Take suggestions, discuss incidents/near misses, and never stop improving your health and safety program.

Learn more about workplace health and safety here: https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/
Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

2019 written in sparklers

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

New Year’s celebrations are exciting & fun, but it is important to stay safe. These actions can help save your life or someone else’s!

Drive Safe

Responsibility – It is estimated that 10,000 lives are claimed each year from drunk driving crashes.

  • If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan an UBER/LYFT or find a designated driver ahead of time. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and arrange a sober ride home.
  • Contact local law enforcement if you should see an impaired driver on the road

Winter Weather – be prepared for New England Winters!

See Something, Say Something

Report anything suspicious by dialing 9-1-1 or contact the local police department.

  • Suspicious activity such as questioning security measures of buildings or operations beyond curiosity
  • Unusual items or situations, unattended bags, or vehicles parked in odd locations

Firework Safety

Fireworks are illegal in MA without a license. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. This includes sparklers!

Click here to find local firework displays where you can enjoy these safely!

hand drawing construction plans

Assoc Builders & Contractors MA Chapter Partnership

MA Chapter of ABC

  • Largest construction trade association in MA
  • Representing over 400 local general contractor, subcontractor, supplier & associate companies
  • These employ more than 22K workers throughout MA

UASC & ABC

We are excited to announce that we are the premier Workplace Safety and only Occupational Health & Wellness (OccuMed) provider of ABC MA!

ABC’s Mission Statement

Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts believes that the common good is best served by an open and competitive marketplace; that every company, regardless of its affiliations, has the right to compete free of coercion by any group or organization; and that every person must have the opportunity and right to work. Toward this end, ABC’s mission is to foster an environment that ensures our members and their employees the ability to grow and prosper.

Call and Schedule a Training! ABC members receive a 10 % when mentioning this blog!