Hazard Assessments ~ Custom Safety Programs ~ Industrial Hygiene ~ Incident Investigations
The first step in creating a safer worksite for employees is identifying what hazards exist and determining what can be done to mitigate these hazards. Our consultants are trained to conduct onsite hazard assessments to identify as many OSHA violations as possible. When violations are identified, they are presented with the OSHA code that outlines legal expectations, as well as possible corrective actions or solutions. This method of presentation is designed to give you all the information you need to correct hazards to avoid OSHA citations should they inspect your worksite.
In addition to helping you meet your legal requirements, our consultants can also help you go beyond OSHA compliance. In addition to the OSHA violations shown in reports, we also will put in recommended changes. These topics bring up ways of making the workplace safer in situations where the law is met but safety could still be improved.
The report we create satisfies OSHA’s requirements for an assessment of worksite hazards and also for an assessment of what PPE can be used and should be used. The findings and recommendations for both assessments are put together to make one document that has all of the information you need to reduce or eliminate exposure to hazards.
Customized Safety Program
In order for employees to work safely, a company needs to have a written set of guidelines and expectations for employee conduct at work. Our policy manuals outline the legal expectations for your company, as well as the expectations of your clients. Our policies are created to comply with ISNetworld requirements, but are also customized to your company to eliminate having inapplicable information cluttering the manual. The manual, if complied with, also qualifies for both discount programs offered by Texas Workers’ Compensation. This means that a total of 15% can be saved from your workers’ compensation payments.
While the policy manual covers everything the company is required to do, it can be bulky and parts might not apply to specific employees. To supplement the main manual, Expert Fire and Safety, LLC can also provide for you with employee handbooks. These books have only the information the employees need to know. All of the administrative requirements and inapplicable information are removed so that employees can have a condensed version of the policy manual for their own reference whenever they need it.
One of the most overlooked, and often more dangerous, hazards in a workplace are invisible contaminants in the air. Our industrial hygiene department coordinates with a nationally recognized laboratory in order to provide accurate results in a reasonable time frame. Expert Fire and Safety can perform sampling for hearing conservation programs, airborne contaminant exposures, and ventilation system analysis.
Occupational noise exposure is a widely unrecognized issue in the workplace. Most companies that operate machinery or power tools will find their employees exposed to unsafe levels of noise. If left exposed, employees can suffer permanent damage to their hearing. Expert Fire and Safety can collect full shift sampling to assess the time weighted noise exposure levels employees are exposed to.
In most locations that utilize chemicals or machining processes there is also a large risk of exposure to airborne contaminants. Expert Fire and Safety has the sampling media and equipment to collect and analyze almost any contaminant that could be present in the worksite. We can also perform sampling for unknown contaminants in the worksite.
If your company utilizes ventilation equipment to help control airborne contaminants, the requirements of the system are very stringent to meet OSHA and EPA regulations. Our industrial hygiene department can perform an assessment of the system to ensure the system meets its requirements. Should the system prove to be outside the required specifications, we can provide recommendations and contacts for adapting or replacing the system.
Types of Workplace Hazards
Air Contaminants – Air contaminants include dust, fumes, mists, aerosols, and fibers. Air contaminants present an inhalation hazard that varies in severity based on the types of materials you work with in your facility. Hazards can range from mild irritation and discomfort to serious injury and possibly death.
Biological Hazards – Biological hazards include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living organisms that can cause acute and chronic infections that can enter the body directly or through breaks in the skin. Occupations at high risk for biological hazards include those that deal with plants or animals (or their products) as well as food processing plants. Laboratory and medical personnel may also be at risk of exposure to biological hazards, as may people in occupations that expose workers to bodily fluids.
In occupations that deal with animals, managing biological hazards involves preventing and controlling diseases in the animal population as well as proper care and handling of sick animals. Proper personal hygiene, especially when it comes to even minor cuts and scratches of the hands and forearms, helps minimize worker risk.
Chemical Hazards – Chemical hazards include solids, liquids, gases, mists, dusts, fumes, and vapors that can be inhaled, absorbed, or ingested. Chemical hazards can come in the form of solids, liquids, and gases and can range from mildly irritant to potentially lethal.
Physical Hazards – Physical hazards are unlike airborne, biological, and chemical hazards in that they don’t always involve exposure to hazmats. These include things like excessive radiation, noise, vibration, illumination, and temperature. Time, distance, and shielding are the most effective ways to mitigate risk from radiation. In addition, the industrial hygiene consultants at Expert Fire and Safety can design and engineer systems that reduce noise, vibration, and radiant heat exposure.
Ergonomic Hazards – Ergonomic hazards include activities directly related to work tasks, including lifting, holding, pushing, walking, and reaching. Many ergonomic problems arise from certain technological advancements, such as increased assembly line speeds, adding specialized tasks, and increased repetition; others arise from poorly designed job tasks. Ergonomic hazards can be avoided primarily through effective jobsite design and proper use of tools. Following a thorough worksite analysis, our industrial hygiene consultants can help you set up controls and procedures designed to reduce ergonomic hazards through appropriate engineering controls, correct work practices, employing proper administrative controls, and, if necessary, mandating the use of personal protective equipment such as varying levels of hazmat suits and respirators.
No matter how thorough a company’s safety program is, there is always a potential for incidents. The ultimate goal of all incident investigations is to prevent recurrence and mitigate hazards. Expert Fire and Safety’s accident investigation team focuses on gathering facts, rather than assigning blame. The team is also certified to perform root cause investigation. Expert Fire and Safety works to provide effective corrective actions for all incidents, in addition to trending incidents to find overarching problems.
Expert Fire and Safety offers 4 levels of incident investigations.
Level 1 investigation is simply the tracking of incidents. Our incident investigation team utilizes a tracking program that allows for effective trending of incidents. To perform this level we receive an incident report for the responsible party and input the data into our system.
Level 2 investigation adds on an interviewing process. In performing this level of investigation, we still receive the report from the responsible party, but our investigators contact the responsible party and any witnesses to develop more accurate information and more details for tracking and reporting.
Level 3 investigation has the investigator performing an onsite investigation. This investigation has the investigator analyzing the incident site for information, as well as having a face to face interview process with the responsible party and any witnesses. This, again, adds additional accuracy and details to the tracking and reporting.
Level 4 investigation is an actual root cause investigation. It follows the same procedures as the Level 3 investigation, but adds the root cause process to find the underlying issues that resulted in the incidents.
In addition to investigating incidents, Expert Fire and Safety provides incident trending and proactive incident prevention. Incident trending is an analysis project that utilizes data from previous reports and investigations to determine recurring problems and underlying issues. This project requires quality, complete data from incidents going back at least several months; however, a few years of data is preferable. By finding these issues, a company can work on addressing the source of their problems, rather than the problems themselves.
Proactive incident prevention works toward the same end. The idea behind proactive incident prevention is to utilize the root cause process on systems, rather than incidents. By using this process on a system or method, companies can identify problems in the way they do things without having incidents point out the problem areas. The root cause process is used to follow through the entire system or method to identify areas where the system or method needs improvement. This ensures that when methods are utilized in the field there will not be any safety issues with the actual process.