Hellman & Associates

Bobby Lewis

New REP for Powered Industrial Vehicles

OSHA has implemented a new regional emphasis program (REP) in Region 8 which will facilitate inspections of all general industry and construction workplaces where the operation of powered industrial vehicles (PIV) or personnel handling motorized equipment occurs. If your company has any type of warehouse, loading or unloading capability, most likely this will affect you.

As with all OSHA programs, the purpose is to reduce injuries and fatalities from the operation of this equipment. This REP includes PIVs ridden or controlled by a walking operator. It also includes mobile power-propelled trucks used to move materials. Golf carts or electric trucks used to transport personnel or ATVs used for grounds crews are included in this REP.

The REP aligns strategically with OSHA’s Agency Management Plan as it concerns the reduction of hazards in the Warehousing and Storage Industry and during the operation of powered industrial trucks (PIT). PIT standard (29 CFR 1910.178) is by far the most cited standard in the Warehousing and Storage industry over the previous three years. This standard is consistently in the top ten cited standards. The number of fatalities with a primary source of injury reported as PIT-related increased by 37% between 2017 and 2019. In 2017 alone, forklifts were involved in 9,050 nonfatal workplace injuries with days away from work. Of these, injuries to pedestrians resulted in the highest median number of days away from work.

Inspections of all General Industry and Construction worksites utilizing PIVs will be expanded to include PIV hazards and equipment. In addition, target inspection lists will be developed for certain industries listed in the emphasis program. Inspections under this program will begin after a 90-day period of outreach.

For a complete list of vehicles, other specs and programs to help your company receive high marks during this REP, contact Bobby Lewis at Hellman & Associates. We can also provide you answers about the program and provide training on OSHA’s PIT standard.

You Can Save A Life

September is Construction Suicide Prevention Month.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the construction industry has the second highest rate of suicide in the U.S.  Working in the building and construction trades has become this country’s deadliest occupation. But it isn’t cranes, ladders or broken bones that get to construction workers. They are more likely to die by their own hands rather than be killed in an on-the-job accident. With 53.2 suicides per 100 thousand workers, construction has among the greatest suicide rate of any industry – over four times higher than the national suicide average and five times higher than all construction deaths combined. Work in this industry is a demanding profession. There are tremendous production expectations on the workers in order to fulfill deadlines as well as working circumstances that may frequently be hazardous if rigorous safety rules are not followed. While further study is underway to understand these work-related factors, initial research indicates suicide risk is related with the following:
  • Low skilled labor
    • Lower education
    • Access to lethal means
    • Job stress
    • Poor supervision and colleague support
    • Low job control
    • Job insecurity

    • We join other groups which recognize September as a month to raise awareness about the higher-than-average number of suicides in the construction industry and providing resources to help prevent those deaths. Hellman & Associates supports and encourages your company to expand internal resources and recognize National Suicide Prevention Month. H&A can provide assistance for you to raise awareness about the unique challenges workers face in construction leading to suicide and what we can do to prevent it.

       Click here to download OSHA’s Suicide Prevention guide. Resources are also available at the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). It provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 in the U.S. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 200 local crisis centers, combining local care and resources with national standards and best practices.

      Together, we can save lives.
      Contact us to learn more about how H&A can help you keep your valuable employees safe on and off the job.
  • The Heat Is On – Heat Stress Safety

    Back in 1985, Glenn Frey sang “The Heat Is On” and that is exactly the forecast! In less than a week, many areas of the country jumped to triple digit temperatures. This type of quick and ongoing temperature change exposes workers to dangerous risks related to heat exposure. And remember, heat stress can happen outdoors as well indoors. Earlier this year, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program for outdoor (and indoor) heat-related hazards. The purpose is to protect employees from heat-related hazards. They set a targeted enforcement component and want early interventions by employers to prevent illnesses and death during high heat conditions. For reference, OSHA stipulates that a heat priority day occurs with the heat index for the day is expected be 80° degrees or more. Here are some items OSHA will look for during heat-related inspections:
      • OSHA 300 logs and 301 incident reports
      • Records of heat-related ER visits or ambulatory transport
      • Determination if employer has a heat illness and injury program
      • Identifying activities relevant to heat-related hazards
    The most effective way to minimize heat-related illness in the work force is to create and execute a plan. H&A has compiled a variety of resources to facilitate effective safety meetings for the heat stress topic including posters, written materials and videos. Click on the links below to download these resources: Hellman & Associates’ poster can be printed and place in your workplace. Share it with your employees to help them identify the signs and symptoms of heat stress so they know when to cool down before health risks set in. Download the poster

    Contact us to learn more about how we can help you keep your valuable employees safe on the job

    Online Employee Safety Training

    Don't Reinvent the Wheel: Utilize H&A's Online Training


    One of the many resources H&A provides you is an online toolbox library. It contains safety topics for general and construction industries. Each topic covers awareness-level information addressing the basics of common workplace safety hazards one can present in person or deliver to staff online.
    H&A is expanding its online library with short, content rich videos for efficient delivery to your employees. Videos are available in English and Spanish to assist in training your staff.

    New video topics such as one on Fire Extinguisher Use are added monthly. Take a few minutes and check out this great resource H&A provides to protect your workforce. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel and receive notifications when a new training video is uploaded. Don’t see a training topic you would like covered? Send your input on topics you would like produced.

    In addition to a variety of safety materials available from the NSC, H&A has other 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!

    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.