Workplace Hazard Inspection

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

An important element of successful injury prevention programs is the routine inspection for hazards in the workplace. The purpose of conducting routine inspections is to identify system issues that may be contributing to unsafe conditions and unsafe actions. Workplace conditions and practices are constantly changing, and routine inspections offer a process to manage these changing conditions.

On-the-job training in hazard recognition and MIOSHA standards will assist employees in learning how to identify hazards. MIOSHA’s Training Institute offers cost-effective courses throughout the year and there are scholarships available. Applications may be submitted for courses no more than three months prior to the start date and no later than three weeks prior to the course start date.

Inspections can be a regular function of the safety and health committee as well as a management function. To ensure that you conduct effective inspections, consider using the following strategies:

 

  • Make use of a checklist. Visit the Apartment & Building Management Workers Compensation Self-Insured Fund website at http://aamfund.com
    to download a FREE self-inspection checklist.
  • Talk to workers during the inspections;
  • Observe workers doing their jobs and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment;
  • Assess required safeguards for equipment, machinery and housekeeping;
  • Use any appropriate industrial hygiene services/equipment to assess noise levels, temperature and humidity or air contaminants

 

Be sure to document findings and retain records, which demonstrates your proactive measures and helps with follow-up efforts. Inspection reports should include the potential hazard (including location, equipment, and personnel), action required, responsible person for actions, and correction date. Lastly, establish a follow-up system to assure corrections are completed.

Should you require assistance with starting a hazard inspection process in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resource:
MIOSHA Training Institute: http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-11407_15317_47430—,00.html

Posted in 2017, APRIL 2017 | Comments Off on Workplace Hazard Inspection

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President  and Industry Relations

Option For Medical Marihuana Prohibition Effective April 10
You may recall from my recent updates, a rental property amendment to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was enacted in the final days of the 2015-16 legislative session and subsequently signed by Governor Snyder. The amendment allows a landlord the option of prohibiting the smoking and/or growing of medical marihuana, as long as the prohibition is in the written lease. Just a reminder that the new law takes effect on April 10, 2017 in case you are making changes to your leases.

Special thanks go to Matthew Paletz and John Mione of the Paletz Law Firm. They provided sample lease language regarding this new law as a resource for AAM members. If interested in this language please call or email me for a copy. As always, I recommend you consult with legal counsel to insure it is properly incorporated into your lease. Thank you Paletz Law Firm!

Executive Order Addresses Waters Of The United States Rule
On February 28th, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to rescind or revise the “Waters of the United States” Rule. This controversial rule dramatically expanded the definition of what waterways come under the jurisdiction of the EPA and Corps, with the result being expanded permitting and regulatory hurdles for developers. The rule has been legally challenged by more than 30 states, as well as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Have A Builder’s License? Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency
Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you are one of these individuals and you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your renewal deadline of May 31, 2017. AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply. Visit HBA’s website for online registration at www.builders.org.

 

Posted in 2017, APRIL 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Introduced

AAM’s efforts to reform the current apartment inspection law were renewed with the recent introduction of Senate Bill 107. As you may recall, this legislation failed to move quickly enough for passage before the completion of the 2015-2016 legislative session. Because this is a new legislative session, bills not acted upon by the previous legislature must be introduced all over again. Senate Bill 107 is being sponsored by Senator Rick Jones (R–Grand Ledge), and it amends the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Inclusionary Zoning Bill Introduced

A bill introduced in the Michigan Senate proposes to allow for local inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning is a tool used in other parts of the country to require that a percentage of units in new residential developments be set aside for low or moderate-income residents. Senate Bill 110 would amend the state law AAM advocated for back in the 1980s that preempts local rent control. The proposed amendment allows for local governments to enact “a plan designed to increase through incentives the supply of moderate or low-cost private residential property available for lease.” The bill then details some of the options for incentives, such as density bonuses, expedited permitting, reduced or eliminated fees, modification of site-specific requirements, and fee-in-lieu incentives. The Association’s position is that local efforts to incentivize more affordable housing should use voluntarily agreements between the local government and developer. The bill as introduced does not provide for a voluntary process, instead allowing for a local government to mandate terms to developers.

Posted in 2017, March 2017 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Flammable Liquids Safety

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

Flammable liquids pose a high risk and have the potential to cause catastrophic fires or explosions, which can result in serious workplace injuries.

According to the American Burn Association, each year over 486,000 individuals were seen in emergency departments, minor emergency clinics, or physician’s offices for the treatment of a burn injury in the United States and Canada. Thermal-burns from gasoline account for approximately 15,000 emergency room visits per year. In 2014 alone, there were 3,275 recorded deaths from fire and smoke inhalation injuries.1

When considering the hazards of flammable liquids, it is important to understand that it’s not actually the liquid that ignites but the vapor the liquid gives off. A liquid’s flashpoint is the temperature at which it releases enough vapor to become ignitable near the surface of the liquid. Liquids can vaporize and form flammable mixtures with air when containers are left open, when leaks and spills occur and when liquid is aerosolized (i.e., sprayed). Just like water when it evaporates on a warm day, the amount of vapor that a flammable liquid gives off increases as its temperature rises.

To understand OSHA’s requirements for the safe storage and handling of flammables, we must first define flammable. The flashpoint and boiling point determine the category of the flammable liquid. A flammable liquid is any liquid having a flashpoint < 199.4°F, and they are divided into four categories:2,3

 Category 1: Liquids with flashpoints
< 73.4°F (23°C) and with a boiling point
< 95°F (35°C).

Category 2: Liquids with flashpoints
< 73.4°F (23°C) and with a boiling point
> 95°F (35°C).

Category 3: Liquids having flashpoints
> 73.4°F (23°C) and < 140°F (60°C).

Category 4: Liquids having flashpoints
> 140°F (60°C) and < 199.4°F (93°C).

Some common flammable liquids in many workplaces include gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, oil-based paints and finishes, furniture polish, paint thinner, turpentine, spray paints, and wood stains.

When is the last time a physical hazard inspection was performed in your workplace? To help minimize the risk of injury from flammable liquids, use the following checklist from OSHA’s Small Business Handbook.4

Flammables Inspection Checklist

  • Are combustible scrap, debris and waste
    materials (e.g., oily rags, etc.) stored in covered metal receptacles and promptly removed from the work area?
  • Is proper storage practiced to minimize the risk of fire, including spontaneous combustion?
  • Are approved containers (i.e., metal with spring-closing lid) used to store and handle flammable liquids?
  • Are all connections on drums and combustible liquid piping, vapor and liquid tight?
  • Are all flammable liquids kept in closed containers when not in use (e.g., parts cleaning tanks, pans, etc.)?
  • Are bulk drums of flammable liquids grounded and bonded to containers during dispensing?
  • Is liquefied petroleum gas stored, handled and used in accordance with safe practices and standards?
  • Are “NO SMOKING” signs posted on liquefied petroleum gas tanks and in areas where flammable liquids are used or stored?
  • Are liquefied petroleum storage tanks guarded to prevent damage from vehicles?
  • Are all solvent wastes and flammable liquids kept in fire-resistant, covered containers until they are removed from the work area?
  • Is vacuuming used whenever possible rather than blowing or sweeping combustible dust?
  • Are firm separators placed between containers of combustibles or flammables that are stacked one upon another to ensure their support and stability?
  • Are fuel gas cylinders and oxygen cylinders separated by distance and fire-resistant barriers while in storage?
  • Are fire extinguishers selected and provided for the types of materials in the areas where they are to be used?
  • Are appropriate fire extinguishers mounted within 75 feet of outside areas containing flammable liquids and within 10 feet of any inside storage area for such materials?
  • Are extinguishers free from obstructions or blockage?
  • Are all extinguishers serviced, maintained and tagged at intervals not to exceed one year?
  • Are all extinguishers fully charged and in their designated places, and is this inspection documented each month?
  • Where sprinkler systems are permanently installed, are the nozzle heads so directed or arranged that water will not be sprayed into operating electrical switchboards and equipment?
  • Are all spills of flammable or combustible liquids cleaned up promptly?

Should you require assistance with safe use of flammable liquids or a physical hazard survey in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

  • American Burn Association:
    www.ameriburn.org
  • MIOSHA General Industry Part 75. Flammable Liquids
  • OSHA 1910.106 Flammable Liquids
  • OSHA Small Business Handbook,
    OSHA 2209-02R 2005.
Posted in 2017, March 2017 | Comments Off on Flammable Liquids Safety

Simple Process To Review Safety Programming

Gary Smith for AAM BlogWRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

Periodic review of safety programming (i.e. written plans, programs, procedures, training, PPE, etc.), at least annually, is a best practice for ensuring an effective program. Even the best safety programming, designed to both prevent injuries and ensure regulatory compliance, needs to be reviewed and updated to remain relevant and effective.

Below are seven steps for guiding organizations through the review process:

Assign one person as a Review Coordinator.

Delegate parts of the safety program review to others, as appropriate. Don’t hesitate to get others involved and let their expertise benefit the whole organization. Involving others, especially in safety efforts, has positive impacts on job satisfaction levels.

Require Reviewers to calendar (used as a verb) date(s) and time(s) for their review part, and set a deadline for completion.

Ensure Reviewers have the following information for their review part:
• Copies of written programs, procedures, forms, etc., (either paper or electronic), which can be used for personal notations.
• List of top injury types by frequency (i.e., number of claims) and severity (i.e., total claims dollars paid), which is essential for determining if current programming is focused on the actual areas of loss and if changes may be needed. This information can be extracted from workers’ compensation loss runs for the past 5 years.
• MIOSHA Safety & Health Management System Evaluation for General Industry, MIOSHA #512-GI (FREE), which is an Excel spreadsheet. This form evaluates the elements of the current program against the five critical elements of effective programs.
• MIOSHA Spotlight listing (a section on the MIOSHA website) displays the safety and health standards that have been recently amended. Those applicable standards that have changed can be readily identified and factored into the process.
• Michigan Guide to Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulations, which contains a Self-Assessment Survey (both FREE), may be used to help determine which regulations are applicable to the organization. Use this essential guide to navigate through the maze of state and federal regulatory programs.

Require Reviewers to list their findings, which may be anything needing attention such as additional programs/training, revisions to existing documents, and other areas of concern.

Require Review Coordinator to compile all review findings into one master list. This master list can be prioritized and used to aid in the updating work.

Ensure all persons are sincerely recognized for their roles in the process. In these situations, recognition improves job satisfaction levels and reinforces safe work cultures.

 

Should you require assistance with safety programming in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

MIOSHA Safety & Health Management System Evaluation for General Industry, MIOSHA #512-GI: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/wsh_miosha512_gi_259219_7.xls

MIOSHA Spotlight list on Standards & Legislation webpage: http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-11407_15368—,00.html

Michigan Guide to Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulations and Self-Assessment Survey: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3308-15820–,00.html

Posted in 2017, February 2017 | Comments Off on Simple Process To Review Safety Programming