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Vol. 9, Issue 2 - Fall 2016

In this edition, learn more about:

Machine guarding
By Mike Huss, Loss Control Supervisor  

Close Up Of Engineer Using Grinding Machine In FactoryMany industries rely on machinery to do much of the work necessary to manufacture or manipulate a product. Because most machinery is capable of changing the shape or size of a material, it is also capable of doing the same to parts of the human body.  According to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workers in the U.S. experience 92,000 injuries annually from unguarded machine parts, each resulting in one or more days away from work.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it can injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be either eliminated or controlled.   One or more methods of machine guarding must be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by: point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.  Examples of guarding methods are: barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices.

OSHA recommends that all guards:

  • Prevent workers’ hands, arms, and other body parts from making contact with dangerous moving parts.
  • Ensure that no object will fall into the moving parts.
  • Permit safe, comfortable, and relatively easy operation of the machine.
  • Allow the machine to be oiled without removing the guard.
  • Provide a system for shutting down the machinery before guards are removed. 

Employers must ensure that the machines and equipment are maintained according to the manufacturers’ requirements and OSHA’s machine operating and inspection requirements.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)  Machines General Requirements – Self-Inspection Checklist

By Mike Huss, Loss Control Supervisor

Safety consultants agree you can get a good idea about safety and health practices at a business by walking in the main entrance. There’s a strong correlation between a clean, orderly workplace and a safe, successful organization. Good housekeeping matters because it:

  • Reflects an image of a well-run, successful organization.
  • Reduces fire hazards;
  • Helps maintain safe, healthy work conditions;
  • Saves time, money, materials, space, and effort;
  • Improves productivity and quality;
  • Improves hygienic conditions;
  • Reduces tripping and slipping accidents.

Good housekeeping has other virtues.  When your work area is clean and neat, it's a lot easier to find what you need and do your job efficiently.  It also makes it easier to respond or get out fast in an emergency.  Good housekeeping is everyone's responsibility.

National Safety Council – 11 Tips for Effective Workplace Housekeeping

Safety News
By Kim Coonrod, Loss Control Manager

OSHA, NOAA release fact sheet on lightning
Washington – Lightning is a frequently overlooked occupational hazard, according to a new fact sheet from The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Employees who work outdoors in open spaces, on or adjacent to tall objects, near explosives or conductive materials are vulnerable to lightning strikes, the fact sheet states.  At-risk industries include construction, agriculture, telecommunications and landscaping.

Employers of outdoor workers should include in their emergency action plans a safety protocol for lightning, according to the fact sheet.  This includes information about how workers will be notified about lightning safety warnings and identified locations for safe shelters.  Employers also should post safety information about lightning at outdoor worksites and train workers on following Emergency Action Plan (EAP).

NIOSH publishes nail gun safety videos
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a new series of videos in conjunction with the agency’s Small Business Assistance Program and its Office of Construction Safety and Health.  The videos, Know Your Nailer: Nail Gun Safety, provide practical advice that contractors can use to prevent nail gun injuries on the work site.

Nail guns are used every day on construction jobs, especially in residential construction.  They boost productivity but also cause tens of thousands of painful injuries each year.  The videos were developed based on numerous publications and information products resulting from NIOSH-funded studies.

The videos are available in English and Spanish on YouTube and at

OSHA revises app to help workers avoid heat illness
Washington – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is placing potentially lifesaving information at outdoor workers' fingertips.  The agency has updated its Heat Safety Tool phone application, which is available for download on iOS and Android devices in English and Spanish. Workers can use the app to calculate the heat index at their worksite and determine heat illness risk levels.

The app includes information for workers to monitor themselves and others for heat illness signs and symptoms. OSHA said it updated the app for iPhones to include full-screen color alerts for all heat conditions, as well as other technical upgrades.

OSHA administrator David Michaels said heat sickens thousands of workers every year and could be deadly unless proper actions are taken.  "Anyone who works outside in hot weather is at risk," Michaels said in a video about OSHA's heat illness prevention campaign. "That includes construction workers, roofers, landscapers, farm workers, road crew workers, baggage handlers and others."

Michaels said employers need to ensure workers are provided ample drinking water, allow frequent breaks in shaded areas and schedule arduous tasks earlier in the day.

Increased OSHA penalty structure now in effect
In November 2015, Congress passed a budget that included legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation.  The Department of Labor (DOL) has adjusted it’s penalties for its agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The new civil penalty structure went into effect on August 1, 2016.  OSHA’s maximum penalty will increase by 78 percent.  The following illustrates the penalty increases:

Type of Violation

Max. Penalty Before Aug. 1

Max. Penalty After Aug. 1



Posting Requirements


$7,000 per violation


$12,471 per violation

Failure to Abate

$7,000 per day beyond the abatement date

$12,471 per day beyond the abatement date

Willful or Repeated

$70,000 per violation

$124,709 per violation

Safety calendar

Man smoothing wood with sandpaper

Lessons from losses
By: Courtney Rosengartner, Sr. Loss Control Specialist

A recently hired cabinet maker was shaping boards for custom doors when the wood split and his hand was pulled into the machine. Two of the employees’ fingertips were amputated as he came into contact with the blade. The tips of his fingers were unable to be reattached at the nailbed. He underwent surgery to close off the ends of the fingers. He experienced an exceptional amount of pain and a permanent injury while missing several days of work.

Amputation is one of the most severe and crippling types of injuries in the occupational workplace, often resulting in permanent disability. Amputation injuries are widespread throughout many industries and involve a wide range of activities and equipment. Injuries can occur if an operator’s hand slips while feeding the stock into the saw or if the operator holds her hands too close to the blades while cutting. Kickbacks can occur when the blade catches the stock and throws it back toward the operator. Kickbacks can also occur if the blade is not maintained properly. Even the most elaborate safeguarding systems cannot offer effective protection unless the worker knows how to use the machinery. Proper training on all equipment is essential as well as maintaining sharp blades, proper guards and wearing eye and face protection.

Reminder – The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has updated the record keeping rule for reporting severe injuries to include all amputations effective January 1, 2015. All employers now must report all work-related amputations within 24 hours. To learn about the additional requirements under the recent update, visit the OSHA Fact Sheet.




Class focus – cabinetry and trim carpenters

Insurance products and services are offered through Markel Specialty Commercial, a business division of Markel Service Incorporated, policies written by one or more Markel insurance companies. Terms and conditions for coverage may vary by state.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

For safety or risk management questions or suggestions, please contact Markel.

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