Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Retail/Grocery Stores/ Convenience Stores: Process for Protecting Workers

Many of the recommendations below are practices taken from workplace ergonomics and safety programs that grocery stores have developed and that OSHA observed while performing site visits at grocery stores. They are intended to provide a flexible framework that a grocery store manager can adapt to an individual store. In many grocery stores, ergonomics, other employee safety and health
efforts, workers’ compensation, and risk management are integrated into a single program that is usually administered by the same staff. OSHA recommends that employers develop a process for systematically addressing ergonomics issues in their facilities, and incorporate this process into an overall program to recognize and prevent occupational safety and health hazards.

Store and company management personnel should consider the general steps discussed below when establishing and implementing an ergonomics program. It should be noted, however, that each store will have different needs and limitations that should be considered when identifying and correcting workplace problems. Different stores may implement different types of programs and activities and
may assign different staff to accomplish the goals of the ergonomics program.

Provide Management Support

Management support for reducing MSDs and communicating support to employees is very important. You have already demonstrated your interest in reducing MSDs by reading these voluntary guidelines. Management support improves the grocery store’s ability to maintain a sustained effort, allocate needed resources, and follow up on program implementation. OSHA recommends that employers:
  • Develop clear goals,
  • Express the company’s commitment to achieving them,
  • Assign responsibilities (training, job analysis, etc.) to designated staff members to achieve those goals,
  • Ensure that assigned responsibilities are fulfilled, and
  • Provide appropriate resources.
Meaningful efforts by management also improve employee participation, which is another essential element for achieving success.

Involve Employees

Employees are a vital source of information about hazards in their workplace. Employees help identify hazards and solve problems. Their involvement can enhance job satisfaction, motivation, and acceptance of workplace changes. There are many different ways employers can involve employees in their ergonomics efforts, including the following:
  • Submit suggestions and concerns;
  • Identify and report tasks that are difficult to perform;
  • Discuss work methods;
  • Provide input in the design of workstations, equipment, procedures and training;
  • Help evaluate equipment;
  • Respond to surveys and questionnaires;
  • Report injuries as soon as they occur;
  • Participate fully in MSD case investigations; and
  • Participate in task groups with responsibility for ergonomics.

Identify Problems...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Young Workers - Retail/Grocer Stores/Convenience Stores:Safe Lifting

Grocery stores provide a vital service to the American public, and are a major source of employment in the United States. In recent years, the efforts of grocery store managers and employees have resulted in fewer occupational injuries and illnesses. Even with these efforts, thousands of grocery store workers are still injured on the job each year (2).

Many grocery stores have taken actions such as those recommended in this document to help reduce exposures to ergonomic risk factors in their effort to reduce workplace injuries.

Some grocery store work can be physically demanding. Many grocery store workers handle thousands of items each day to stock shelves, check groceries, decorate bakery items, and prepare meat products. These tasks involve several ergonomic risk factors. The most important of these include force, repetition, awkward posture, and static postures (4).

In the grocery store industry, the presence of these risk factors increases the potential for injuries and illnesses. In these guidelines, OSHA uses the term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to refer to a variety of injuries and illnesses, including:
  • Muscle strains and back injuries that occur from repeated use or overexertion;
  • Tendinitis;
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • Rotator cuff injuries (a shoulder problem);
  • Epicondylitis (an elbow problem); and
  • Trigger finger that occurs from repeated use of a single finger.
Just because an employee develops an MSD does not mean it is work-related. As required by OSHA’s recordkeeping rule (29 CFR 1904), employers should consider an MSD to be workrelated if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the MSD, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing MSD. For example, when an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome, the employer needs to look at the hand and forearm activity required for the job and the amount of time spent doing the activity. If an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome, and his or her job requires frequent hand activity, or forceful or sustained awkward hand motions, then the problem may be work-related. If the job requires very little hand or arm activity then the disorder may not
be work-related.

Activities outside of the workplace that involve physical demands may also cause or contribute to MSDs. In addition, development of MSDs may be related to genetic causes, gender, age, and other factors. Finally, there is evidence that reports of MSDs may be linked to occupationally-related psychosocial factors including job dissatisfaction, monotonous work and limited job control (6). However, these guidelines address only physical factors in the workplace that are related to the development of MSDs.

Grocery stores that have implemented injury prevention efforts focusing on musculoskeletal and ergonomic concerns have reported reduced work-related injuries and associated workers’ compensation costs. Fewer injuries can also improve morale, reduce employee turnover, encourage employees to stay longer and discourage senior employees from retiring early. Workplace changes based on ergonomic principles may also lead to increased productivity by eliminating unneeded motions, reducing fatigue and increasing worker efficiency. Healthier workers, better morale, and
higher productivity can also contribute to better customer service.

These guidelines present recommendations for changing equipment, workstation design, or work methods with the goal of reducing workrelated MSDs. Many ergonomic changes result in increased efficiency by reducing the time needed to perform a task. Many grocery stores that have already instituted programs have reported reduced MSDs, reduced workers’ compensation costs, and improved efficiency.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Young Workers - Retail / Grocery Stores / Convenience Stores:Equipment & Machinery

Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor

Prohibited Occupations for Non-Agricultural Employees

The child labor rules that apply to non-agricultural employment depend on the age of the young worker and the kind of job to be performed. 14 years old is the minimum age for non-agricultural employment covered by the FLSA. In addition to restrictions on hours, the Secretary of Labor has found that certain jobs are too hazardous for anyone under 18 years of age to perform. There are additional restrictions on where and in what jobs 14-and 15-year-olds can work. These rules must be followed unless one of the FLSA's child labor exemptions apply.
  • A youth 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not.
  • A youth 16 or 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous job. (See the list of hazardous occupations below.)
  • A youth 14 and 15 years old may not work in the manufacturing or mining industries, or in any hazardous job. (See the list of hazardous occupations below.) In addition, a 14- or 15-year-old may not work in the following occupations:
The child labor rules also determine what types of jobs a youth may or may not perform .
A 14- or 15-year-old may not work in:
  • Hazardous jobs identified by the Secretary of Labor;
  • Manufacturing, processing, and mining occupations;
  • Communications or public utilities jobs;
  • Construction or repair jobs;
  • Operating or assisting in operating power-driven machinery or hoisting apparatus other than typical office machines.
  • Work as a ride attendant or ride operator at an amusement park or a “dispatcher” at the top of elevated water slides;
  • Driving motor vehicles or helping a driver;
  • Youth peddling, sign waving, or door-to-door sales;
  • Poultry catching or cooping;
  • Lifeguarding at a natural environment such as a lake, river, ocean beach, quarry, pond (youth must be at least 15 years of age and properly certified to be a lifeguard at a traditional swimming pool or water amusement park);
  • Public messenger jobs;
  • Transporting persons or property;
  • Workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed;
  • Warehousing and storage.
  • Boiler or engine room work, whether in or about;
  • Cooking, except with gas or electric grills that do not involve cooking over an open flame and with deep fat fryers that are equipped with and utilize devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets in and out of the hot grease or oil;
  • Baking;
  • Operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers or cutters and bakery mixers;
  • Freezers or meat coolers work, except minors may occasionally enter a freezer for a short period of time to retrieve items;
  • Loading or unloading goods on or off trucks, railcars or conveyors except in very limited circumstances.
  • Meat processing and work in areas where meat is processed;
  • Maintenance or repair of a building or its equipment;
  • Outside window washing that involves working from window sills;
  • All work involving the use of ladders, scaffolds, or similar equipment;
  • Warehouse work, except office and clerical work.
The jobs 14- and 15-year-old workers may legally perform are limited to:
  • Office and clerical work;
  • Work of an intellectual or artistically creative nature;
  • Bagging and carrying out customer's orders;
  • Cashiering, selling, modeling, art work, advertising, window trimming, or comparative shopping;
  • Pricing and tagging goods, assembling orders, packing, or shelving;
  • Clean-up work and grounds maintenance—the young worker may use vacuums and floor waxers, but he or she may not use power-driven mowers, cutters, and trimmers;
  • Work as a lifeguard at a traditional swimming pool or water amusement park if at least 15 years of age and properly certified;
  • Kitchen and other work in preparing and serving food and drinks, but only limited cooking duties and no baking (see below);
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables;
  • Cooking with gas or electric grills that do not involve cooking over an open flame and with deep fat fryers that are equipped with and utilize devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets in and out of the hot grease or oil;
  • Clean cooking equipment, including the filtering, transporting and dispensing of oil and grease, but only when the surfaces of the equipment and liquids do not exceed 100° F;
  • Pumping gas, cleaning and hand washing and polishing of cars and trucks (but the young worker may not repair cars, use garage lifting rack, or work in pits);
  • Wrapping, weighing, pricing, stocking any goods as long as he or she doesn't work where meat is being prepared and doesn't work in freezers or meat coolers;
  • Delivery work by foot, bicycle, or public transportation;
  • Riding in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle except when a significant reason for the minor being a passenger in the vehicle is for the purpose of performing work in connection with the transporting—or assisting in the transporting of—other persons or property;
  • Loading and unloading onto and from motor vehicles, the hand tools and personal equipment the youth will use on the job site.
Hazardous Occupations
Eighteen is the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural occupations declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. The rules prohibiting working in hazardous occupations (HO) apply either on an industry basis, or on an occupational basis no matter what industry the job is in. Parents employing their own children are subject to these same rules. General exemptions apply to all of these occupations, while limited apprentice/student-learner exemptions apply to those occupations marked with an *.
These rules prohibit work in, or with the following:
HO 1. 
Manufacturing and storing of explosives.
HO 2. 
Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle.
HO 3. 
Coal mining.
HO 4. 
Forest fire fighting and fire prevention, timber tract management, forestry services, logging, and saw mill occupations.
HO 5.*
Power-driven woodworking machines.
HO 6. 
Exposure to radioactive substances.
HO 7. 
Power-driven hoisting apparatus.
HO 8.*
Power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines.
HO 9. 
Mining, other than coal mining.
HO 10. 
Meat and poultry packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines).
HO 11. 
Power-driven bakery machines.
HO 12.*
Balers, compactors, and paper-products machines.
HO 13. 
Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products.
HO 14.*
Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs.
HO 15. 
Wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations.
HO 16.*
Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.
HO 17.*
Excavation operations.
You can obtain more detail about any, or all of the above listings, by reviewing the child labor regulations.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Safe Work for Young Workers: Hazards


Young workers get injured or sick on the job for many reasons, including:
  • Unsafe equipment
  • Inadequate safety training
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for youth under 18
  • Pressure to work faster
  • Stressful conditions
Workplace hazards associated with specific jobs are another major cause of injuries and illnesses. Employers must work to reduce or minimize hazards in the workplace and train employees how to work safely on the job.

Workplace hazards include:
  • Retail/Grocery Stores/Convenience Stores
    • Equipment and machinery
    • Heavy lifting
    • Violent crime
    • Repetitive hand motion
    • Slippery floors
  • Food Service/Fast Food 
    • Sharp objects
    • Hot cooking equipment
    • Slippery floors
    • Electricity
    • Heavy lifting
    • Violent crime
  • Janitorial/Cleanup/Maintenance
    • Hazardous chemicals
    • Slippery floors
    • Heavy lifting
    • Blood on discarded needles
    • Electricity
    • Vehicles
  • Office/Clerical
    • Repetitive hand motion (computer work)
    • Back and neck strain
    • Stress
  • Outdoor Work
    • Exposure to the sun
    • Heat
    • Landscaping
    • Pesticides and chemicals
    • Machinery and vehicles
    • Electricity
    • Heavy lifting
    • Noise
  • Construction
    • Falls
    • Machines and tools
    • Hazardous materials
    • Confined space
    • Electricity
    • Struck-by
    • Vehicle back-over
    • Noise
  • Industry
    • Moving equipment
    • Hot equipment
    • Hazardous chemicals
    • Electricity
    • Heat
    • Noise
  • Agriculture
    • Machinery
    • Struck-by
    • Falls
    • Electricity
    • Confined space
    • Hazardous chemicals
    • Organic dust (e.g., grain)
    • Heat

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Safe Work for Young Workers

You Have Rights at Work

You have the right to:
  • Work in a safe place.
  • Receive safety and health training in a language that you understand.
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand instructions or if something seems unsafe.
  • Use and be trained on required safety gear, such as hard hats, goggles and ear plugs.
  • Exercise your workplace safety rights without retaliation or discrimination.
  • File a confidential complaint with OSHA if you believe there is a serious hazard or that your employer is not following OSHA standards.

Your Employer Has Responsibilities

Your employer must:
  • Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and follow all OSHA safety and health standards.
  • Provide training about workplace hazards and required safety gear.*
  • Tell you where to get answers to your safety or health questions.
  • Tell you what to do if you get hurt on the job.
    *Employers must pay for most types of safety gear.

Ways to Stay Safe on the Job

To help protect yourself, you can:
  • Report unsafe conditions to a shift/team leader or supervisor.
  • Wear any safety gear required to do your job.
  • Follow the safety rules.
  • Ask questions.
  • Ask for help if needed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Online and Computer-Based Safety Training

For many years now the trend in workplace training has slowly been moving away from traditional classroom training. The trend has consistently been moving toward Online or other Computer-Based Training.

According to a 2012 research report by Training Magazine, "The research also notes that slightly more than 45% of training hours are performed in the classroom, 27% is delivered with blended learning techniques, 24.7% is delivered via online or computer-based technologies, and 1.1% is delivered via mobile devices." These numbers show a decisive trend toward computer-based training.

The shift away from classroom training and towards computer-based training has recently lead OSHA to again emphasize that the "use of computer-based training by itself would not be sufficient to meet the intent of the standard's various training requirements." This statement comes from an internal OSHA directive to it's compliance officers (inspectors) (CPL 02-02-079 - July 9, 2015). This very direct statement is found in the instructions to CSHOs (inspectors) and clearly indicates that computer-based training by itself is NOT SUFFICIENT and would result in a Serious Violation of the OSHA regulations.

Why is OSHA taking such a firm stance against online and computer-based training? Well, the answer is simple. OSHA believes that the ability to ask questions and get an immediate response is vitally important and while workplace training in other subjects (not safety related) may be acceptable via computer-based technologies, it is not sufficient when employee safety is at risk.

So what method does OSHA recommend? OSHA says this, "This can be accomplished in many ways (audiovisuals, classroom instruction, interactive video), and should include an opportunity for employees to ask questions to ensure that they understand the information presented to them."

OSHA also adds this comment regarding language: "Furthermore, the training must be comprehensible. If the employees receive job instructions in a language other than English, then the training and information... will also need to be conducted in a foreign language."

What does this mean for most employers? For many years employers have turned to their workplace supervisors to conduct the needed training. Most of the time, supervisors or safety directors can simply use a topic specific training program like those available from National Safety Compliance (www.nationalsafetycompliance.com). These DVD training programs are specifically designed to meet the OSHA requirements for training and always include the needed printable handouts, certificates and training documents. All programs are even available in Spanish.

The trainer simply needs to:
1. Show the DVD
2. Provide workplace specific information (i.e. where is the First Aid Kit?)
3. Answer any questions (i.e. where is the SDS binder?)
4. Give the included quiz (and grade it)
5. Document the training (using the forms & certificate)

Following these steps will help your company avoid a fine from OSHA regarding inadequate computer-based training.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Confined Space Entry Regulation for Construction Industry FAQs

On May 4, 2015, OSHA issued a new standard for construction work in confined spaces, which will be effective starting August 3, 2015. Confined spaces can present physical and atmospheric hazards that can be avoided if they are recognized and addressed prior to entering these spaces to perform work. The new standard, Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926 will help prevent construction workers from being hurt or killed by eliminating and isolating hazards in confined spaces at construction sites similar to the way workers in other industries are already protected. The questions and answers below are provided to assist employers in protecting their workers while working in and around confined spaces in construction.

What is a confined space? 

A confined space has;
  • Limited means of entry and/or exit,
  • Is large enough for a worker to enter it, and
  • Is not intended for regular/continuous occupancy.
Examples include sewers, pits, crawl spaces, attics, boilers, and many more.

What is a permit required confined space (permit space)?

A permit space is a confined space that may have a hazardous atmosphere, engulfment hazard, or other serious hazard, such as exposed wiring, that can interfere with a worker’s ability to leave the space without assistance

Can anyone work in a permit space?

Only workers who have been assigned and trained to work in a permit space may do so. Additionally, before workers can enter a permit space, the employer has to write a permit that specifies what safety measures must to be taken and who is allowed to go in.

How do I know whether to follow the general industry or construction confined space rule?

If you are doing construction work - such as building a new structure or upgrading an old one - then you must follow the construction confined space rule.