Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cough, Cough, Wheeze - Dust Mask, Please!

Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association ( is a not-for-profit educational trade association comprised of distributors, manufacturers, and rep agents of light construction, industrial, and related products. STAFDA membership also includes publishers of industry trade press (affiliates). STAFDA has more than 2,500 members from the U.S., Canada, and overseas.

Their recent annual convention showed a strong interest in dust collection and containment accessories that would be helpful around the Scene Shop.  There is a good summary of this aspect of the show at The Powertool Authority Blog:

Check it out and maybe you can find a way to just need dust masks in lieu of respirators!

Friday, November 25, 2011

OSHA Makes Mandatory Signage Posting Easier

Publication 3165 - English - Job Safety and Health: It's the Law

The OSHA Job Safety and Health: It's the Law poster (OSHA 3165) is available for free from the OSHA Office of Publications. Employers do not need to replace previous versions of the poster, however, all covered employers are required to display and keep displayed, a poster prepared by the Department of Labor* informing employees of the protections of the Occupational Safety and Health Act P.L. 91-596, December 29, 1970 and its amendments. (* Federal Government Agencies must use the Federal Agency Poster.)


DOWNLOAD: - Right-Click on the hyperlink below to download the Adobe PDF version of the poster. Save the file "osha3165.pdf" to a directory of your choice, and then open the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to load the file.
Download high resolution PDF version OSHA 3165 [PDF 6.69MB]
Download low resolution PDF version OSHA 3165 [PDF 2.04MB] or
CLICK HERE for a text version [HTML]
ONLINE ORDER: If you would prefer to obtain a pre-printed copy of this poster, you may do so by submitting your order through the Online Publications Order Form. Simply select Publication Number 3165 from the list.

More important information at:

Even if your school or venue is NOT covered under OSHA regulations (or the State Plan equivalent), it is a good idea to display this poster and discuss it with your students so that they are familiar with OSHA and it's influence over other similar facilities that are under OSHA jurisdiction.  Your venue may be in a public school that is shielded from OSHA rules, however, your students may travel to a private school or a commercial venue like a theme park or touring show that is subject to the full regiment of regulations imposed by OSHA.  They must understand and obey the rules that they will work with in their career, so there is no time like the present to start learning about them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OSHA Provides Guidelines to Retailers for Crowd Management

The opening of a new store or a large product sale like those on Black Friday to launch the holiday gift buying season follow closely with the Crowd Management tools that should be used by Performing Arts Event Planners and House Managers.  OSHA published a Fact Sheet to help with this particular scenario and it can found at  The text below can, with a little editing become the basis for a good venue crowd management reference document.

Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers

Crowd-related injuries during special retail sales and promotional events have increased during recent years. In 2008, a worker died at the opening of a "Black Friday" sale.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing their workers with safe and healthy workplaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages employers to adopt effective safety and health management systems to identify and eliminate work-related hazards, including those caused by large crowds at retail sales events.

OSHA has prepared these guidelines to help employers and store owners avoid injuries during the holiday shopping season, or other events where large crowds may gather. Crowd management planning should begin in advance of events that are likely to draw large crowds, and crowd management, pre-event setup, and emergency situation management should be part of event planning. OSHA recommends that employers planning a large shopping event adopt a plan that includes the following elements.

  • Where large crowds are expected, have trained security or crowd management personnel or police officers on site.
  • Create a detailed staffing plan that designates a location for each worker. Based on the size of the crowd expected, determine the number of workers that are needed in various locations to ensure the safety of the event (e.g., near the door entrance and throughout the store).
  • Ensure that workers are properly trained to manage the event.
  • Contact local fire and police agencies to determine if the event site meets all public safety requirements, and ensure that all permits and licenses are obtained and that local emergency services, including the local police, fire department and hospital, are aware of the event.
  • Designate a worker to contact local emergency responders if necessary.
  • Provide legible and visible signs that describe entrance locations, store opening times, and other important information such as the location of major sale items.
  • Prepare an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers facing workers, including overcrowding, crowd crushing, being struck by the crowd, violent acts and fire. Share emergency plan with all local public safety agencies.
  • Train workers in crowd management procedures and the emergency plan. Provide them with an opportunity to practice the special event plan. Include local public safety agencies if appropriate.
Pre-Event Setup:
  • Set up barricades or rope lines for crowd management well in advance of customers arriving at the store.
  • Make sure that barricades are set up so that the customers' line does not start right at the entrance to the store. This will allow for orderly crowd management entry and make it possible to divide crowds into small groups for the purpose of controlling entrance.
  • Ensure that barricade lines have an adequate number of breaks and turns at regular intervals to reduce the risk of customers pushing from the rear and possibly crushing others, including workers.
  • Designate workers to explain approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public, and direct them to lines or entrances.
  • Make sure that outside personnel have radios or some other way to communicate with personnel inside the store and emergency responders.
  • Consider using mechanisms such as numbered wristbands or tickets to provide the earlier arriving customers with first access to sale items.
  • Consider using Internet lottery for "hot" items.
  • Locate shopping carts and other potential obstacles or projectiles inside the store and away from the entrance, not in the parking lot.
  • If appropriate, provide public amenities including toilets, washbasins, water and shelter.
  • Communicate updated information to customers waiting in line. Distribute pamphlets showing the location of entrances, exits and location of special sales items within the store.
  • Shortly before opening, remind waiting crowds of the entrance process (i.e., limiting entry to small groups, redemption of numbered tickets, etc.).
During the Sales Event:
  • Make sure that all employees and crowd control personnel are aware that the doors are about to open.
  • Staff entrances with uniformed guards, police or other authorized personnel.
  • Use a public address system or bullhorns to manage the entering crowd and to communicate information or problems.
  • Position security or crowd managers to the sides of entering (or exiting) public, not in the center of their path.
  • Provide crowd and entry management measures at all entrances, including the ones not being used. If possible, use more than one entrance.
  • When the store reaches maximum occupancy, do not allow additional customers to enter until the occupancy level drops.
  • Provide a safe entrance for people with disabilities.
Emergency Situations:
  • Do not restrict egress, and do not block or lock exit doors.
  • Know in advance who to call for emergency medical response.
  • Keep first-aid kits and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) available, and have personnel trained in using AEDs and CPR onsite.
  • Instruct employees, in the event of an emergency, to follow instructions from authorized first responders, regardless of company rules.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

OSHA releases videos in the wild - hopeful that no one will be killed or injured

OSHA animated educational videos show how to protect workers from construction hazards.

WASHINGTON (2011-11-14) – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released 12 educational videos about potential hazards in the construction industry. The educational videos are easy to understand, short segments and geared to employers and workers. Each year, nearly 800 construction workers die on the job; one in every five workplace fatalities occurs within the construction industry. The videos are based on real-life incidents and include detailed depictions of hazards and the safety measures that would have prevented these injuries and fatalities.

"I urge anyone who works in the construction industry or operates a construction business to watch the videos. Share them with your co-workers and friends in the construction industry; organize screenings for your workers; and post them to your web pages," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Health and Safety Dr. David Michaels. "Every step we take to educate workers about their rights and the safety measures employers must take to protect workers in construction helps us avoid preventable injuries and the tragic loss of life."

These videos cover falls in construction, workers who are struck by vehicles and heavy equipment, sprain and strain injuries, trenching and excavation hazards, and carbon monoxide poisoning. These videos are written for workers and employers, including workers with limited English proficiency.

Most of the videos are two to four minutes in length, and all but one are animated. Each video is available in English and Spanish for Web viewing or downloading. All video scripts are also available online in English and Spanish. The videos are located at (Spanish-language videos are available at After selecting a video from this page, users may choose to watch the video online, download the videos for future screenings, or view the videos on the U.S. Department of Labor's YouTube channel.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Remember:  Theatre Shops and Stages are for all intents and purposes a construction site - treat it like one!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Be a carpenter with a magnetic personality

Screws, nuts, bolts, nails, tacks, staples, bent nails, and even small tools can be pesky items to keep-up with on stage and around the shop, and if you are up on a ladder (or maybe higher, too) you don't want to drop little items -- it's bad for the people below (yet another reason to ALWAYS wear a hard hat around the shop and stage), you don't want to climb down to get them, and you don't want to find them later by kneeling down on them and imposing significant pain on your kneecaps.
So what's a person to do?  As the 6th century B.C. Chinese military stratigist Sun-tzu wrote in The Art of WarKeep your friends close, and your enimies closer.  This is pretty easy:  Buy some magnetic wrist bands and tool pouches to keep track of those metal bits that are so easy to drop or mis-place.

MGD Tools ( makes a group of products called Magnogrip.  Made from red and black Cordura with Velcro closures and super stron magnets, they are handy and comfortable to wear.  They offer wist bands, nail pouches, and other handy items.

And for those of you that watch too much late-night TV, the former master of TV huckstersim Billy Mays promoted the Tool Band-it.  Info here:

Similar tool bands by Pro-Hold can be found at:

Key things to remember:
  • Magnetic parts holders are NOT a substitute for lanyards.  DO NOT rely on them at height to protect others below from dropped tools.  Use buckets and pouches that are secure to hold hardware when working at height.  Use buckets with webbing net slings - don't rely on the pail handle to stay secure in a plastic bucket's rim.
  • Magnetic wrist bands can really mess-up credit cards and driver's licenses that have the magnetic data stripes on them.  Keep them away from your wallet / purse.  They can also mess with the data on Hard Disk Drives that are in MP3 players, computers and stand-alone data back-up drives.
  • Magnetic wrist bands should NOT be worn when working near saw blades or anywhere that moving machinery might draw your hand / arm into the tool.  These magnets can be more powerful than you might think!

Monday, November 21, 2011

(Heavy Breathy Speech) Luke, wear your respirator!

Stinky nasty chemicals can do more than make you cough, your nose run, and your eyes water - they can kill you.  Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but they can hasten your schedule towards meeting the grim reaper.  Knowing what kind of respirator to wear, how to wear it, when to wear it, and how to maintain and inspect it are all part of the plan (the safety plan, that is).
ISO Signage for Mandatory PPE - Respirator

Although some models include other features, respirators are more than just dust masks or face and eye protection.  Learn about the different types of respirators so you provide yourself and others with the correct PPE for the task.

Join Lab Safety Supply Technical Support Specialist Sally Smart as she provides the basics to help you make sure respirators are used effectively to keep everyone safe. On Tuesday, November 29, at 1:00 PM CST you'll learn about fit testing techniques and equipment.  This free webinar can be found at:

The workshop will also be available in the TechTalk Archives if you missed it.  There you will find a host of other good subject matters addressing PPE, Electrical Safety, and OSHA, and Hearing Conservation, just to name a few.

After learning about respirators it makes you re-think the chemicals and materials you may be using around your shop.  Maybe it is easier to choose GREEN solutions to construction so you don't need to worry about the toxic fumes and gases.  Going green can save you a lot of PPE hassle.

OSHA ( has set standards for respiration protections in 29 CFR 1910.134. All industries, except agriculture, must follow the requirements for any situation that dictates the use of respirators.
OSHA requires
  • a written respiratory protection plan.
  • appropriate respirators, supplied by the employer.
  • medical evaluation of each employee assigned to wear a respirator.
  • fit tests of the respirators.
  • employee training on use and care of respirators.
  • scheduled reviews of the respiratory protection plan.
PHS has summarized this in a whitepaper that can be downloaded for free at:
A Guideline for Your Respirator Compliance Program

NIOSH ( also has free information available at:

Don't forget to shave down there
(down there where the respirator has to seal)
-- Go GREEN and you won't have to shave! --

Thanks to TheatreFace Blogger Rachel E. Pollock for the post reference!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Use and Selection Guides for Fall Protection PPE from ISEA

Two new documents from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) will help protect workers whose jobs expose them to fall hazards.  A Personal Fall Protection Equipment Use and Selection Guide provides practical, hands-on guidance for fall protection users and administrators in their selection, use, maintenance and inspection of fall protection equipment.  A companion document addresses topics in fall protection on which manufacturers get frequent inquiries.

Prepared by manufacturers in the ISEA Fall Protection Group, the use and selection guide describes the process of developing a corporate fall protection program, explains the components of fall protection systems, gives examples of how to select equipment for various types of work, and outlines steps for planning the use of fall protection systems.

The guide also contains inspection and maintenance guidelines, definitions, a list of applicable OSHA regulations and US and Canadian consensus standards, and links to ISEA companies and other sources of information.

“Falls are a leading cause of death and injuries in the workplace, and they’re preventable,” said Bob Apel of MSA, chairman of the Fall Protection Group.  “At many work sites, fall hazards can’t be eliminated, and ISEA members make the best equipment and systems in the world to prevent and stop falls.  This guide will help employers and users understand how to select the right equipment and use it properly.”

The second document, Frequently Addressed Topics in Fall Protection, is the first in a new series of “PPE Perspectives” papers from ISEA.  It answers some of the most commonly asked questions that fall protection manufacturers are asked about equipment and systems, applications, and other considerations in planning and implementing a fall protection program.

Equipment issues include anchorage strength and location, horizontal lifelines, harness attachments, positioning of self-retracting lifelines, twin-leg lanyards and tie-back applications.  There are discussions of the importance of ensuring compatibility among components and connectors in a fall arrest system, determining the service life of equipment, planning systems to protect heavy workers, and post-fall suspension.  Specific application topics include welding, residential roofing and aerial lift devices.

Both documents are available online in PDF format, so that they can be read online, downloaded to computer or portable device, or printed.  They are available free of charge, and will be updated as required by changes in regulation or standards.

Click here for more information on the ISEA Fall Protection Group, and here to access the ISEA Buyers Guide for fall protection.

Personal Fall Protection Equipment Use and Selection Guide
Frequently Addressed Topics in Fall Protection