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July 20, 2017

New OSHA Fact Sheet Demonstrates the Wide Range of Workplace EH&S Concerns

If you don’t work in a shipyard, you might not have heard about a recently released fact sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Even for workers who don’t work at a dockside jobsite, the sheet provides a great demonstration of just how many components go into creating a robust safety culture in the workplace.

In their fact sheet entitled “Hazards Associated with Spray Painting in Shipyard Employment,” OSHA reminds workers that spray painting work brings with it a number of hazards:

“The primary dangers include fires and explosions from flammable paints and coatings, as well as exposures to chemical hazards and toxic substances. The work is frequently conducted in confined spaces that, if not properly ventilated, can cause sickness or death for workers.”

Fire prevention. Chemical hazards. Confined spaces. These are familiar areas of concern for any EH&S manager. The fact sheet goes on to detail a number of employer obligations that must be addressed in order to keep workers safe when spray painting, such as:

Exposure to hazardous substances – “Shipyard employers are responsible for identifying, evaluating, and protecting workers from exposure to respiratory and other hazards in the workplace…[E]mployers must ensure chemical labels and safety data sheets are made available to exposed workers, and train them on the hazards and measures necessary to protect themselves”

Implementing and monitoring engineering controls – “A shipyard competent person must conduct frequent tests to verify that solvent vapors are at a concentration below 10% of the lower explosive limit (LEL).”

Avoiding potential ignition sources from tools and equipment – Employers must “Confirm that…all tools, equipment, and associated metallic parts…are electrically bonded and/or grounded to the vessel to prevent static discharge.”

Personal protective equipment –  Employers must ensure their workers are using the appropriate airline respirators, PPE and “non-sparking footwear and gloves.”

Disposal – “Employers must provide covered metal containers at worksites for the disposal of scrapings and rags soaked with flammable compounds.”

Although presented here in a shipyard context, these are good examples of the typical safety concerns that almost any employer must consider in order to remain compliant and to keep workers safe on the job. A successful safety culture really is a “culture.” It’s more than simply providing one spray painting safety course. From personal protective equipment (PPE) to hazard communications to chemical management to waste disposal, an organization must understand how all these EH&S concerns overlap and impact workers throughout an organization.

As part of our mission of Making the Workplace and Community Safer, HSI offers single-source, integrated solutions that safety managers can rely on to help meet their wide variety of compliance goals and obligations. We know there are a lot of moving parts to a successful safety culture, and we offer training, management and reporting tools to help ensure your organization hasn’t missed an important piece of the puzzle.

If you need to better manage meeting your compliance needs and providing your workers the training they need, please contact us by clicking on the link below to speak with one of our EH&S solutions experts.

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