Sunday, October 15, 2017

Emergency Action Plans - On the job tool box talks

There is always the potential for emergencies to occur at your facility. To reduce your exposure to potential emergencies, your
employer has developed an emergency action plan. Emergency actions plans are developed to provide guidelines on what actions to take if an emergency should occur at your facility.

What is an emergency action plan?
In 29 CFR 1910.38(c), OSHA lists the minimum elements which should be included in an emergency action plan. These elements
1. Evacuation procedures and exit route assignments. Your employer will also point out the location of internal shelter areas, and exterior safe areas for evacuation.
2. Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate. Some critical plant operations include gas, electrical, power, and water. Chemical manufacturing processes could also be included.
3. Headcount procedures to account for you and your coworkers after emergency evacuation has been completed.
4. Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them.
5. Procedures for reporting fires and other emergencies.
6. Names or regular job titles of persons or departments who can be contacted for further information or an explanation of duties under the plan.

Additional information
Your employer will also explain:
- How to report fires, hazardous chemical spills, and other emergencies.
- Procedures for sounding emergency alarms on-site.
- Who to notify in the event of an emergency.
- What phones to use and numbers to call.
- Location and use of emergency fire alarms.
- Critical plant operations and those responsible for their operation/shut down.
- Accounting for all employees after emergency evacuation.
- Personnel designated to perform rescue and medical duties.
- Alarm system.
- Recognition of different alarms, such as audio and visual.
- Who is to be contacted for more information on the emergency action plan.
- Where a written copy of the plan can be obtained.

This information was provided by Assurance Agency

Monday, October 9, 2017

Top 10 OSHA Violations Announced at National Safety Congress

On Sept. 26, at the National Safety Council's annual Congress & Expo, OSHA Deputy Director of Enforcement Programs Patrick Kapust announced the preliminary list of 10 standards most frequently cited by the agency’s inspectors during Fiscal Year 2017. Fall protection was the most-cited standard for the seventh year in a row, followed by Hazard Communication, and Scaffolding. The only new addition to last year’s list was Fall Protection – Training Requirements, which came in at ninth place. OSHA publicizes the Top 10 list to increase awareness of these standards so employers can take steps to find and fix the hazards to prevent injury or illness.

Top from left: Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection, Lockout/Tagout
Bottom from left: Ladders, Powered Industrial Trucks, Machine Guarding, Fall Protection – Training Requirements, Electrical – Wiring Methods

Monday, October 2, 2017

The CSC is adding a new Chicago training location at Northern Illinois University, 105 W Madison Ave.

We are proud to announce that due to our remarkable growth in the Chicagoland area, we are meeting the demand for safety by adding a new location in downtown Chicago, IL (Northern Illinois University, 105 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60602). To celebrate our expansion, we are offering free registration for OSHA #7510 - Introduction to OSHA for Small Businesses 
at Northern Illinois University, Chicago on Monday, October 9, 2017, from 8 am- 1 pm. Click here to register now. We also have several upcoming courses on the schedule such as: Fall Hazard Awareness in the Construction Industry,  Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry, Managing Excavation Hazards and much more. If you want to plan ahead, our 2017 course schedule is available online, so be sure to check out all the classes that we'll be offering.

OSHA #7510 Introduction to OSHA for Small Businesses
This course covers an introduction to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the OSH Act for owners and managers of small businesses. Course topics include an introduction to OSHA, OSHA Standards, the inspection process, implementing a safety and health program, worker training requirements, and assistance available to small businesses. Upon course completion, students will understand OSHA operations and procedures and how to work with OSHA to prevent or reduce injuries and illnesses in their workplace.

OSHA #7510: Introduction to OSHA for Small Businesses Oct. 9, 2017 -- Register Here 
OSHA #7405: Fall Hazard Awareness in the Construction Industry Oct. 23, 2017 -- Register Here
OSHA #511: Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry Nov. 6-9, 2017 -- Register Here
OSHA #7410: Managing Excavation Hazards Nov. 20, 2017 -- Register Here
OSHA #7115: Lockout/Tagout Dec. 8, 2017 -- Register Here
OSHA #7510: Introduction to OSHA for Small Businesses Dec. 15, 2017 -- Register Here 
Dates and locations subject to change. Go to for the most up-to-date course listings.

For more information or any questions please feel free to contact us at Email:
Phone: (815) 753-6902

Monday, September 25, 2017

Noise - On the job Tool Box Talks

Construction sites are noisy places, especially during certain phases of a project. However, you don't have to accept hearing loss as a cost of working at construction sites. Noise is now recognized by OSHA as a hazard that can cause:
• Temporary or permanent hearing loss.
• Drowsiness, irritability, & loss of concentration.
• Decreased morale and stress.
• High blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, and sleeping disorders.

There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so preventing exposure to excessive noise is the only way to avoid hearing damage and other hazards. Noise is unwanted sound measured by its frequency (high or low pitch and its intensity (loudness measured in decibels (dB)). High frequencies are most damaging. Construction workers may not be exposed to more than an average of 85 dB over an eight-hour period without hearing protection being provided.

Hearing protection devices (HPDs) do not block out sound completely, but they give some protection by reducing the amount of sound reaching your ear. At the same time, you will be able to hear speech and important machinery sounds.

Keep in mind, though, that HPDs are provided only after your employer assesses the noise, attempts to reduce it using engineering and administrative controls (like having you work far from noisy equipment, limiting the amount of time you spend in noisy environments, and installing antivibration machine mountings or acoustical enclosures), and then finds that hazardous noise remains. The various HPDs that your company may provide to you include ear plugs, ear muffs, or canal caps.

Ultimately, you are responsible for protecting your own hearing. Here are some points to remember about protecting your sense of hearing:
• Have an annual hearing test.
• Make sure your hearing protection fits.
• Don't use homemade hearing protection devices; they don't work.
• Keep hearing protection devices in good condition.
• Wear hearing protection devices at work as required and at home when working on noisy projects.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Thursday, September 21, 2017


On the eve of the effective date (September 23, 2017) of the new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, OSHA has issued guidance to its staff about enforcement of the standard in the next 30 days.

A memorandum distributed nationwide to OSHA Regional Administrators acknowledges that “good faith efforts” to meet the new standard will be carefully considered.  During the first month after the effective date of the standard, OSHA will offer compliance assistance and outreach in order to ensure that employers are fully and properly following the new requirements; especially the controls outlined in Table 1 of the standard.  OSHA will assist those who need support to understand and comply.

If, however, upon inspection, it appears that an employer is not making any effort to comply, then an OSHA inspection will include collection of exposure air monitoring performed in accordance with Agency procedures.  Furthermore, those businesses may also be considered for citation. Any proposed citations related to inspections conducted during the initial 30-day time period will require review at the national level.

To access the “Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction,” click here


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Exits are your key to safety - On the job Tool Box Talks

All buildings must have a way of allowing occupants fast exit to the outside or a safe place of refuge in case of an emergency. Emergency exit routes are not something that you think about all of the time, but a lot of effort goes into making sure they are safe and ready to use.

What is an exit route?
An "exit route" is a clear path of exit travel from any point in a workplace to a place of safety. The exit route can include aisles, stairs, ramps, etc. A workplace must have at least two exit routes that are remote from each other. If a fire or other emergency blocks access to one exit route, the other exit route can be used.

Exit routes must be kept free of obstructing material or equipment, and they must have enough lighting. The purpose of an exit route is to reach an exit — the exit route cannot lead employees toward a dead end or through a room that can be locked.

The exit route must be wide enough to handle all of the people who may use it.

Signs must be posted along the exit route to show the direction of travel to the nearest exit.

The exit route may not direct employees toward areas where there are unprotected materials that burn very quickly, emit poisonous fumes, or are explosive.

What is an exit?
An "exit" is part of the exit route. Exits are separated from other areas and provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge. Exits must be separated from the rest of the workplace, and they must be protected by a self - closing fire door.

Each exit must be easy to see and marked with an "Exit" sign.

Any door that might be mistaken for an exit must be marked "Not an Exit" or with a sign showing what the door leads to ("To Basement," "Storeroom," "Linen Closet," etc.).

Exit doors must be easy to open without having to use keys or tools. Exits must lead to a safe area with enough room for all of the people who are likely to use the exit.

What must my employer do?
Your employer will explain how to locate exits in your facility and what you should do if you are required to exit the building in an emergency.

What must I do?
You must know at least two exits from your area of the workplace.

You must not block or obstruct exits or paths of exit, and alert your employer if you notice exits are blocked.

This information was provided by: Assurance Agency 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Avoiding Electric Shocks - Tool Box Talks

Electrical hazards can be found in all industries. Avoiding electrical shocks both at home and at work requires awareness of the hazards and a respect for this "Silent Killer." The human body has a low resistance to electricity, making it a good conductor, like most metals. Unlike metals however, the human body does not respond well when electricity passes through it. Physical results include thermal burns, disruption of normal heart activity, severe muscle contractions, and even death.

The most common and serious electrical injuries occur when electrical current flows between the hands and feet. This happens when a person touches an energized line. The electrical energy is looking for the shortest path to the ground, and it will pass through the body to the feet to reach it. When this occurs, a persons heart and lungs are frequently damaged by the electrical energy.

Placing an insulator between the energy and the point of physical contact is one method of protection. Porcelain, rubber, pottery and dry wood offer substantial resistance to the flow of electricity, and are therefore good insulators. These materials can often protect a person from electrical shock.

Precautions for avoiding electrical shocks include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Always make sure electric tools are properly grounded or double insulated. The double insulated tool must have an undamaged outer case and be clearly labeled as "double insulated" by the manufacturer.
• Always check to be sure the grounding system is complete. Unless they are designated as double insulated, grounded power tools must be attached to a grounded service circuit. If there is any doubt about the grounding, test it! (Ground testers are inexpensive.)
• Use heavy duty grounded extension cords. These cords have two layers of insulation, with reinforcement between the layers. They are less susceptible to damage than house-hold type cords. To check if the cord is heavy duty, check its shape. Most flat cords are not heavy duty. Heavy duty cords will have a marking on the insulation such as: "S", "SJ", "SJO", etc.
• Avoid mixing water and electricity! Not only keep cords, tools and working/walking surfaces dry, keep your hands and feet dry as well. The electrical resistance of wet skin is at least 100 times less than dry skin. Wet skin greatly increases the likelihood of severe shock if a person comes in contact with a live circuit. If you must work around water, connect to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to automatically shut off the current if there is an abnormal current flow.
• Never work on or around a live electrical circuit. Lock Out the power so that only you have control over energizing the machine or equipment. Don't take chances.

Electricity strikes without warning-always play it safe!

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency