Earlier this month, I conducted a safety audit with a client and the risk manager raised a few issues that I thought would be helpful to share. The first is the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the summer months. Often, workers will remove hard hats, safety glasses and heavy, steel-toed footwear because it is so hot outside. Employers need to remind workers of the importance of protective gear and enforce their policies about wearing it, regardless of heat. This is particularly significant for those companies who see a spike in their business in summer months and run an even greater risk of injury.
The second issue is the control of hazardous energy, or logout/tagout (LOTO). This is a summertime problem as well as a year round consideration. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of serious accidents. Proper LOTO procedures and practices safeguard workers. OSHA’s LOTO fact sheet outlines necessary steps to disable machinery or equipment to prevent the release of hazardous energy. Employers are required to train each worker to ensure they know, understand and are able to follow hazardous energy control procedures. For more information on LOTO, please visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/.
Additionally, summer often brings extreme weather conditions. Efforts to keep workers safe in the summer can be found in OSHA’s and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) joint summer safety campaign. OSHA offers resources to respond to severe weather emergencies including extreme heat, hurricanes, floods and wildfires on the OSHA website. It is an employer’s responsibility to make sure that workers involved in response and recovery are protected from potential health and safety hazards.
NOAA encourages employers and workers to be aware of weather forecasts as well as have a severe weather plan in place. This includes keeping emergency supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio, on-hand. Severe weather isn’t limited to hurricane zones. Pop-up thunderstorms also put outdoor workers at risk for lightning strikes and dangerous flash floods.
To conduct a safety audit of your business or for help creating a severe weather plan, please contact MarathonHR at 678-208-2802.