Hellman & Associates

Bobby Lewis

If it’s June, it must be….

National Health and Safety Month

In 1996, the National Safety Council (NSC) established June as National Safety Month. The goal of this designation is to increase awareness of the leading safety and health risks with the goal to decrease the number of unintentional injuries and deaths.

What can you do to take advantage of this national month-long emphasis on health and safety?

  • Prevent Incidents Before They Start: Identifying risks and taking proactive safety measures to reduce hazard exposure on important topics from ergonomics to chemical management is crucial to creating a safe workplace.
  • Address Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Concerns: As the pandemic continues, employers play an important role in the return to physical work spaces, building trust around vaccines, mental health and more.
  • It’s vital to feel safe on the job: Being able to work without fear of retaliation is necessary for an inclusive safety culture. Leading organizations focus not only on physical safety but psychological safety as well.
  • Advance your safety journey: Safety is all about continuous improvement. Whether organizationally or individually, there are resources which provide guidance for the path forward.

Honor Your Safety Hero

Celebrate and focus your organization on health and safety this month. H&A invites you to recognize someone in your company who inspires you to be safe. Send us an email with your Safety Hero details so we can help you recognize their actions.

In addition to a variety of safety materials available from the NSC, H&A has online resources you can explore. Consider H&A’s COMPLIANCEAction Assessment which gives you a snapshot of your current risk exposure. This valuable process analyzes gaps and helps avoid a fine from regulatory agencies. This assessment will also provide you with an action plan—all for about the cost of a single, serious OSHA citation. Contact H&A to learn more about the COMPLIANCEAction Assessment and the benefits it provides. Keep your company and its employees healthy!

OSHA’s New Initiative Targeted To Reduce Respirable Crystalline Silica Hazards

A new initiative was implemented by OSHA in Region VIII in March. The regional emphasis program on silica in cut stone and slab handling seeks to identify and reduce hazards associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure. OSHA will begin conducting inspections at facilities following a 90-day outreach period approximately June 1, 2022. These inspections are targeted at the industry defined as NAICS 327991 – Cut Stone and Stone Product Manufacturing.

To clarify, crystalline silica is a common mineral found in naturally-occurring materials including sand, concrete and mortar. Cutting and other activities generate respirable dust and silica is release into the air creating inhalation hazards. Inhalation of this dust cause diseases including silicosis, lung cancer, COPD and kidney disease. You can read the detailed OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin online.

To help you understand silica information you should provide to your staff, click here to download a silica exposure safety meeting topic sheet. This is one way the Hellman & Associates’ proactive approach has made us the preferred choice of businesses.

If you have questions about the OSHA inspection program or would like information and training on this topic, please contact us.

How an H&A Partnership Reduces Costs and Risks

When it comes to compliance, H&A can be the key to favorable results when facing potential violations. Even when OSHA has already investigated, our proven health and safety experts can help negotiate a reduced outcome.

Is the price of building and running an in-house EHS program worth the hidden costs in dollars, time and training? We’ve spent the past 23 years perfecting a program built with OSHA’s recommended practices at the center.  At a fraction of the cost of an in-house safety manager, ASSUREDComplianceSM provides your business with the expertise of an entire EHS team including industry experts.

To help you understand the risks and solutions, click here to download a free brief which looks at issues and remedies and how a proactive approach leveraging our focus and expertise has made Hellman & Associates the preferred choice of businesses.

Cold Work Hazards

Working outside in cold weather can be uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous. On very cold days, employees should take adequate precautions to prevent cold-related illnesses including frostbite and hypothermia.

The First Signs of Frostbite

Since your body prioritizes keeping your internal organs warm, blood flow to your extremities decreases—blood flow that is vital to keeping that tissue alive. The fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks, and chin are the areas most likely to be affected by frostbite. Frostbite occurs when the skin and the tissue just below the skin freeze, leading to cell death and possibly irreversible damage, with severe cases resulting in amputation.

The first signs and symptoms of frostbite are:

  • Cold
  • Tingling, stinging, or aching feeling
  • Numbness
  • Changes in skin color from red to purple to white and, eventually, blue

What You Should Do

If you are feeling the first signs of frostbite, get into a warm area as soon as possible. Wrap the affected area in a warm cloth or use a hot pack. Using body heat to warm the affected area is also effective, for example tucking cold fingers under your armpit. If the concerned extremity is your hands or feet, you may immerse them in warm water.

Warning: if you have progressed to the stage of numbness, be very careful, as you may not be able to discern the temperature of the water and accidentally scald your skin.

Warning: Do not rub your hands! Although this produces heat, it can also damage tissue. Likewise, avoid walking on possibly frostbitten feet/toes.

More Extreme Exposure: Hypothermia

In extreme cold, your body begins losing heat faster than it can produce it, resulting in a drop in body temperature called hypothermia. This can result in a medical emergency, so it is important to react as soon as possible.

The signs and symptoms of hypothermia are:

  • Shivering
  • Lack of coordination—dropping things or tripping
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid heart rate and/or breathing

What You Should Do

If you are feeling any signs of hypothermia, get to a warm area as soon as possible. At this point, you don’t just need to stop heat loss, you need to warm up your core temperature. Remove wet clothes and cover your body and head with dry clothes and blankets. Sip a warm, sugary drink, and stay lightly active.

Precautions

The best treatment is to avoid frostbite and hypothermia altogether. Dressing appropriately for freezing temperatures, keeping extra clothes in the vehicle for cold snaps, and taking warm-up breaks inside or in a warm vehicle are all effective in avoiding cold work hazards.

Buddy Up!

A very low body temperature affects the brain, so people often will not notice the symptoms of hypothermia in themselves. Look out for your co-workers in cold conditions. Are they fumbling? Do they seem confused? Is their skin noticeably pale? Usher them into a warm place and help them follow the above protocols for recovery.

Biden’s Call on OSHA for Temporary Emergency Standards

On the first day of his presidency, Joe Biden appointed a new deputy assistant secretary at OSHA and called on the agency to determine whether temporary emergency standards should be issued to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a clear indicator that the new administration regards workplace safety as a priority and we believe it likely that regulatory compliance will be a focus over the next four years. 

Our legal advisory partner, Sherman & Howard, issued a clear and concise advisory outlining the requirements of President Biden’s executive order

If you are an ASSUREDComplianceSM partner, our team has already implemented an Exposure Control Plan addressing COVID, customized for your work environment. If you are not an ASSUREDCompliance partner or EHS Support client, you will want to take actions to make sure you are in compliance with possible forthcoming standards issued by OSHA.

If OSHA determines that emergency standards relating to COVID-19 should be issued, the deadline is March 15, 2021. In the meantime, we will keep you updated and support our ASSUREDCompliance partners as standards are enacted.

If you do not have a safety program in place, contact us to learn more about how you can keep your employees safe through COVID-19 and beyond. 

A Little Help Goes a Long Way

On Saturday, November 7 we spent time with http://www.alittlehelp.org  making an impact in our community. We value the importance of supporting our elders so they can remain a part of our community, especially during the challenge of this pandemic. We spent our Service Saturday helping our neighbors with home maintenance so they can stay in the homes they have come to love and maintain the network of friends and neighbors they have developed over the years.

Hellman & Associates Recertified as a VPP Star Site

Hellman & Associates is proud to have been recertified as a “Star” worksite in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), the highest level of recognition for workplace health and safety excellence. VPP consists of an elite group of companies who put the safety of their employees first. By maintaining pinnacle safety standards, VPP participants are exempt from OSHA-programmed inspections—and experience 50% fewer workplace injuries.

The Signs & Symptoms of Heat Stress

The U.S. is experiencing yet another week with heat waves expected across the country, exposing outdoor workers to dangerous risks related to heat exposure. Hellman & Associates has developed a handy infographic that you can post at your workplace and share with your employees to help them identify the signs and symptoms of heat stress so they know when to cool down before serious health risks set in. 

Download the PDF >>

Download the PDF >>

Safely Reopening: Practical Tips

As an employer, how do you implement safe practices when reopening your workplace after the COVID-19 related economic shutdown? In this 30-minute webinar, Hellman & Associates’ Principal Environmental Health & Safety Consultant Craig Snyder and Sherman & Howard safety and health attorney Patrick Miller discuss the recent orders from the State of Colorado regarding the limited reopening of the state’s economy and best practices for employers to follow as they reopen.