Working Toward a Safer Delaware

I recently moved to Sussex County in Delaware. The beautiful beaches and lower taxes appear to be attracting young families and retirees from the north and D.C. areas.  As a safety professional, I can’t help but notice, in spite of the lower and slower attitude of the locals, the mass production of homes, businesses, and communities throughout the state is fast and furious.

Workers employed in the area of general industry and construction, are increasingly exposed to the hazards associated with their everyday work. Employer’s now have the challenge of meeting their new higher production demands while keeping their employees safe. What does it take to make Delaware a safer work state?

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) have selected some of the following requirements for most General Industry employers:

The Chemical Hazard Communication Standard which is designed to ensure that employers and employees know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves. Employers with employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must prepare and implement a written Hazard Communication Program and comply with other requirements of the standard.  
Emergency Action Plan – An Emergency Action Plan describes the actions employees should take to ensure their safety in a fire or other emergency situation. If fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA requires you to have an Emergency Action Plan. 
Fire Safety – Employers are required to have a written plan when mandated by OSHA.
Walking, Working Surfaces – Floors, aisles, platforms, ladders, stairways, and other walking/working surfaces are present, to some extent, in all general industry workplaces. Slips, trips, and falls from these surfaces constitute the majority of general industry accidents and account for a large number of employee lost time hours.
Machine Guarding requirements – are mandatory for employees who operate saws, slicers, shears, slitters, power presses, rotating equipment etc.
Lockout/Tag Out written plans and training programs are required for employees who service or maintain machines or equipment that could start up unexpectedly or release hazardous energy.
Electrical hazards, such as wiring deficiencies, are one of the hazards most frequently cited by OSHA. OSHA’s electrical standards include design requirements for electrical systems and safety-related work practices.       
Respirators are required to protect the health of employees.  Employers must establish a Respiratory Protection program that meets the requirements of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard whenever their employees are exposed to dusts, vapors, gases, mists, toxins, and oxygen deficient atmospheres.
Hearing Conservation Program – Employers whose employees are exposed to excessive noise (e.g., conditions that make normal conversation difficult) may be required to implement a Hearing Conservation program.
Confined Spaces – must be evaluated by employers for the protection of employees. A written plan and training program is required before employees enter a confined space.
Powered Industrial Trucks (forklifts, scissor lifts, booms).
Bloodborne Pathogens – If employees may be exposed to blood or bodily fluids as part of their assigned duties, they may be subject to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard. This includes employees trained in CPR, AED, and First Aid.
Injury/Illness Recordkeeping – in most cases OSHA requires that anOSHA 300 Log be maintained by the employer to record employee’s job related injuries and illnesses. A summary of the types of accidents must be displayed once a year at the worksite/office and the OSHA 300 log maintained for a minimum of 5 years for OSHA review.

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) have selected some of the following requirements for most Construction employers:

Excavations and Trenches – in general, employees who enter a trench or excavation deeper than 5 feet or whose soil has been determined by the on-site competent person as being type C must protect their employees from cave-ins. Cave-ins are the number one cause of deaths and injuries.
Fall Protection – employers are required to provide fall protection for their employees at varying regulated heights. They must be protected by Person Fall Arrest Systems, Guard rails, Nets, or spotters for roof work.
Exposure to Toxins such as (asbestos, silica, lead, mercury, poly chlorinated biphenyls). Employees exposed to these hazardous substances may require respiratory protection.
Roadway Worker Protection – Employees involved in road construction exposed to vehicular traffic must be protected by qualified flaggers, arrow boards, delineating devices, and reflective clothing (vests).
Ladders and Stairways – Employees must know the proper use of ladders and how to inspect them.  
Scaffolds – Requires employee training, a competent person on the site, and inspection.
Electrical Hazards – OSHA requires a written electrical plan which includes the grounding of equipment, the use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, extension cords, lighting, etc.
Chemical Hazard Communication – All employees have a right to know about the chemicals they use on the job. The employer must have a written plan and implement that plan which includes at a minimum, labeling, MSDS (SDS) and employee training.
Injury/Illness Recordkeeping – (OSHA 300 Log, and Supervisor’s Report of Injury)
Hand and Power Tools – Employees are injured because of the improper use and faulty condition of tools.
Crane/Rigging/Hand Signal Training – Using this equipment demands qualified people. Are your employees trained to notice the hazards before they happen?
Fire Prevention and Protection – Not being prepared has proven to be a senseless loss of life and property. Knowing the basics about the chemistry of fire and practicing good housekeeping can protect your employees and your business.

Developing Environmental Health and Safety Plans, a management commitment to safety, and employee training are some ways to make Delaware a safer state to work in. Contact United Alliance Services Corporation. We can work with you to improve your company’s safety record.