SCM Safety Newsletter Autumn 2019

 In Industry News

Safety Compliance Management, Inc.WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

While waiting in an airport recently, some of the SCM staff witnessed an employee attempting to change a light bulb in an informational sign at a gate area. The sign was located between two rows of attached seating, with potential passengers occupying the seats. The sign was attached to a pole and was about 7 feet above ground. The employee had a stool to stand on, similar to a bar stool, not a ladder, and when he needed additional footing, he found a platform by using the back of an unoccupied seat.

Did the SCM safety professionals stop the improper use of the stool to access the work being performed at a height?  No.  Let us explain further…

If you can picture airport seating in a gate area it is spaced closely together to allow for plenty of passengers to sit while waiting. There was little space by this pole and sign for an A-frame ladder or a step-ladder. And certainly, use of the ladder would have inconvenienced the passengers in the gate area. So, the ability to use a proper tool for this work being performed at a height would have been difficult at best.

Could the work have been performed either early in the morning before the passengers arrived or later in the evening when passengers had all left, so that use of a proper ladder would have been possible? Not really. Light bulbs don’t seem to have the ability to recognize when it is most convenient to burn out. And the informational sign was important to the ability of passengers to find their way to the correct gate.

Could the maintenance workers at the airport have placed the light bulbs on a schedule for replacement, to prevent the necessity of replacing the bulb while passengers were in the gate area? Probably. But not knowing the work schedules of the maintenance workers, this is hard to say.

It is often easy for us, as safety professionals, when reading about what seems to be work being performed unsafely, to make generalizations. “They should have done this, or that…”  or the ever popular opinion of “if I had seen this, I would have stopped the action and made him do it properly, block off the area, bring in a man-lift or at least a step ladder, airport convenience be damned.”

What would that have accomplished? It may have embarrassed the worker, who was doing his best. It would have delayed the replacement of the burned out bulb. And it would have inconvenienced the passengers in the gate area.

So, the SCM safety professionals observing the work in progress monitored the worker to make sure he did not injure himself. That was the most expedient thing to do at the time.

It also was an interesting process to take note of. Work in progress does not always appear to be safe. While we could not know while observing the work, we could make a guess that this was not the first time an airport employee had used a stool to change one of the bulbs in the sign.  This system of using the stool had worked in the past, no one had gotten hurt, so the worker was confident it would work again this time. And it did.

How is work performed at your work site? When presented with a difficult task, such as trying to fix an informational sign positioned near passengers with limited space, or any other similar task that your workers may need to do, how do they approach it? How do they improvise to make sure that work gets done with minimal risk?

And in those situations, what could you, as a supervisor, foreman or employer, do to make it easier?

Our only suggestion with the limited space at the gate in the airport, and the passengers milling around, would have been to schedule the work to be done during hours when there are no passengers in the gate area. At that time, a proper step or A-Frame ladder could have been used, or, even better, a manlift could have been brought in that would further reduce the risk.


Safety training, we all need it.  How often do we need it?  That depends… There are some training requirements that you may know – or not. It is often recommended that some of these trainings be provided more frequently. Test yourself and see how you do! Please keep in mind that we are asking for the regulatory or agency requirements.  Answers are at the bottom of the “News You Can Use.”

1.  You work in a medical research lab. You have some potential for exposure to human blood, so you are required to take a course in Bloodborne Pathogens. How often are you required to take the course?
A.  Just once, when you are assigned the position in the lab.
B.  You need to take this course every year (annually).
C.  You need to take a refresher every other year.

D.  You need to take a refresher every three years.

2.  As a facilities maintenance worker in a chemical plant, you sometimes work around some very noisy equipment. Your company has a hearing conservation program, and there are some locations in your plant where you must wear hearing protection devices. You need training on wearing that PPE. How often do you get this type of training?
A.  Just once, when you are assigned the position as a maintenance worker.
B.  You need to take this course every year (annually).
C.  You need to take a refresher every other year.

D.  You need to take a refresher every three years.

3.  You serve on the plant’s emergency response team, for which you receive CPR/AED and First Aid training. How often do you need to get that training?
A.  Just once, when you accept the position on the emergency response team.
B.  You need to take this course every year (annually).
C.  You need to take a refresher every other year.

D.  You need to take a refresher every three years.

4.  As a warehouse worker, you are required to operate a forklift. How often is a forklift operator required to have training and/or re-evaluation?
A.  Just once, when you are assigned the position as a maintenance worker.
B.  You need to take this course every year (annually).
C.  You need to take a refresher every other year.
D.  You need to be retrained/re-evaluated every three years or following an incident with the equipment.

E.  You only need to be retrained only if you have an accident.

5.  One of the below listed training programs is required to be taken annually.  Which one?
A.  Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
B.  Confined Space Operations
C.  Fire Extinguisher Operations

D.  Hazard Communication Program training

Bonus Question:
6.  Per the Emergency Action Plan regulation, how often is an employer required to conduct emergency evacuation drills with their employees?
A.  At least once a quarter.
B.  At least annually.
C.  At least every other year.
D.  This is a trick question, there is no requirement for an evacuation drill in the regulation.


OSHA: NEW QNFT PROTOCOLS. The final rule has been issued for new respiratory fit testing protocols when doing quantitative fit testing (QNFT) with a modified ambient aerosol CNC for filtering facepiece respirators. The exercise and test will be shorter. The new protocols will be added to the Respiratory Protection regulation Appendix A.

EPA: UV PROTECTION APP. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted from the sun can cause damage to your skin, the most serious damage being the potential for skin cancer. UV radiation is classified as a human carcinogen. Learn more about it, how to protect yourself and your workers. Download the free app to monitor UV levels in your area.

NSC: TIRED? From the National Safety Council (NSC), 13% of workplace injuries are related to being overly tired. Nearly 40% of US workers are sleep deprived. The NSC is offering a downloadable Fatigue at Work Toolkit. See more and download it here:

NFPA: FIRE PREVENTION WEEK. Last year, an average of 10 people died in home fires each day. Protect your employees even when they are away from work. Fire Prevention Week is only a week away, October 6 – 12, 2019. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has a number of kits and items that can be purchased to bring awareness to your employees. Check it out here:


10/1/19: Ron Gantt (SCM/Reflect Consulting) is speaking at the Sacramento Chapter of the ASSP. Hear his presentation of “People are the Solution.” Read more about it here:

10/11/19: Ron Gantt is also speaking at the National Management Society Golden Gate Chapter meeting. Hear his presentation on “Beyond Unsafe Behavior” At Skates on the Bay in Berkeley. To find out more, follow this link:



10/4/19: 8 hour HAZWOPER Refresher $159. Register here.
12/6/19: 8 hour HAZWOPER Refresher $159. Register here.
12/9 – 11: 24 hour HAZWOPER. $449. Register here.
12/9/13: 40 hour HAZWOPER. $559. Register here

12/12 – 13. 16 hour Crossover Module.$250. Register here.

RCRA/Title 22 Hazardous Waste:

11/1/19: 8 hour Haz Waste Training $159. Register here.

You can register online through the links provided, or call our office at 925-362-2265.


Need your HAZWOPER Refresher but can’t get away? Take ours online at hazmat Use the discount code REF20 to receive a 20% discount. Sign up here: HAZWOPER Training

To see more about our offers, follow this link: Discounts

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