Lab Safety that Addresses OSHA’s Top Concerns

Recently OSHA revealed their preliminary figures for the Top 10 Safety Violations of 2013. As reported by the National Safety Council, fall protection leads the list of safety violations. Rounding out the top five are hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection, and electrical and wiring methods.

According to OSHA, employers are required to:

  • Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers
  • Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition
  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment (PPE) at no cost to workers
  • Train workers about job hazards in a  language they can understandSafetySign

In addition to these general requirements, the administration requires employers to “set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the floors and walls.” The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that falls in the work environment “frequently involve slippery, cluttered, or unstable walking/working surfaces; unprotected edges; floor holes and wall openings; unsafely positioned ladders; and misused fall protection.” Further, the Institute cites falls as creating a significant financial burden on companies, with workers’ compensation and medical costs estimated in the multi-billion dollar range.

To improve workers’ overall safety, including the specific violations listed on OSHA’s top ten list, consider the following:

Safety Signs to alert workers to possible hazards, indicate an exit, identify fire extinguishers or eyewash stations, and more. Signs are one of the easiest ways to caution for potential dangers or provide direction. Pop-up safety cones of various sizes feature multi-lingual alerts for wet floors.

Respiratory protection to safeguard users from contaminants, particulates, gases, chemicals, and other environmental threats in the air. While NIOSH advises that adequate ventilation and scrubbing of contaminants is the preferred method for reducing exposure, the Institute also issues recommendations for respirator use. Options range from low level hazard protection to full-face masks.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect employees from a variety of hazards including chemicals, radiation, laceration, and electrical jolts. PPE refers to wearing apparel such as aprons, gloves, coveralls, and lab coats as well as safety glasses or goggles, face masks, hearing protection, and more.

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