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March 2012

February 2012

MEMIC Center for Workplace Safety

Dodge John Posted by John Dodge

Some of you may know that MEMIC has a partnership with Maine's Community Colleges called the MEMIC Center for Workplace Safety. Part of the Center's mission is to offer safety workshops to policyholders and non-policyholders. The MEMIC safety workshops offered through the MEMIC Center are free for policyholders

Also, as part of this relationship, the OSHA Training Institute Education Center in Keene, NH provides regular safety classes through the MEMIC Center. While these classes are not free, MEMIC customers receive a 25% discount.

During the week of March 16, 2012,  the OSHA Training Institute Education Center is conducting a four day course on electrical safety standards, and a one day electrical safety and NFPA 70E course at Southern Maine Community College.

If you are interested, please click the link below for more information.

Safety Light Curtains - Worker Safety Around Dangerous Machines

Clark Dan Posted by Dan Clark

Safety light curtains are a possible solution for worker protection where risks cannot be eliminated by machinery design or mechanical guards. When a beam of light is broken, the machine or equipment stops, or other actions occur that prevent worker injury.
Basically, two approaches can be considered:

  • Point of Operation: Detection of fingers or hands entering point of contact, hazard area. The protective equipment immediately stops the machine or otherwise renders it harmless.
  • Perimeter or Area: Once the entry of a person has been detected, the machine stops. The reset control, enabling the operator to restart the machine, must be located outside the hazard area.

In both cases the Safety Light Curtain stops the machine before the hazard point is contacted by the worker and prevents accidental or automatic restart.

Safety light curtains may not be right for all applications.  Simply cutting electrical power may not provide a safe condition.  Interrupting hydraulic or pneumatic pressure, applying brakes, or interfacing with computer controlled machines may require a complex control system.  Light curtain systems could still be installed, but the complexity and cost may be significant. 

For more information on use and application of safety light curtains visit:,, or type “safety light curtains” into your favorite internet search engine.

Forklift Battery Charging

John DeRoia Posted by John DeRoia

Many workplaces use powered industrial trucks to move material throughout the facility.  Battery powered lifts are becoming more common in many small to medium sized businesses.  Let’s discuss some of the safety aspects related to the battery maintenance/charging process.

Maintaining batteries, by adding water or acid, requires appropriate protection. Chemical-resistant gloves, aprons, eyewear, and face protection are required according to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(1),

"The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation."

Face protection must meet the ANSI Z87.1-1989 specifications or be proven equally effective. Indirect or non-vented safety goggles should be worn.  Face shields are considered as secondary eye protection only. An eye wash and shower are other required pieces of equipment that must be in or near a battery charging area per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151,

"...where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."  The eye wash and shower must be within 10 seconds of the hazard and on the same level and shall be clearly identified with proper signs and lighting.

Batteries release highly explosive oxygen and hydrogen gases when they are charging. Due to this "out gassing" effect, charging stations should be located in well-ventilated areas.  General or local ventilation can be provided by a fume hood or an exhaust fan. If an on-board charging system is used, the industrial truck itself should be parked in a location where there is adequate ventilation.  It is also appropriate to prohibit smoking or  open flames in the charging area.

More detailed information can be found in the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck standard (29 CFR 1910.178) and in your fork lift Owner’s Manual. 

Pocket and Utility Knife Safety

Jones Tony Posted by Tony Jones

As the emergency room physician sighed he said, “You’re lucky, you didn’t cut nerves or tendons.”  I was sitting on the emergency department stretcher getting ready for stitches in my hand.  I had been in a hurry, absorbed in the task, and cut toward myself on the last inch or so of opening an almost indestructible package.  I ended up with a deep laceration between my thumb and forefinger. 

I thought these tips might be a good reminder for all of us considering the prevalent use of pocket and utility knifes in businesses of all kinds.

  1. Dull knives slip.  Know how to properly sharpen or replace the knife blade.
  2. Use the right tool for the task.  It’s a cutting tool not a screwdriver or a mini pry bar.
  3. Do not hold items freely in your hand while cutting.  Use a stable surface or cutting board and both hands while cutting.
  4. Do not set the knife down with the handle or blade over the edge of the resting surface.
  5. You can cut yourself severely while attempting to catch a falling knife.  It is a safer to pick it up from the floor or ground.
  6. Do not store your knife with other tools or in large catch all drawers.
  7. Never carry an open knife.  When not in use, close it or retract the blade.  Place it safely in a tool pocket or a sheath. 
  8. When using the cutting blade, make sure to cut away from yourself.  Never cut in the direction of your body or your hand.  
  9. When closing the blade into the handle use the palm of the hand on the back side of the blade with your fingers clear.
  10. Use a “safety knife”  that has a guard or stop that prevents bodily injury if the knife slips. 

Check out the following resources online for more information:


Box Cutter utility knife

OSHA Deadlines - Are You On Time?

Peter Koch Posted by Peter Koch

February 1st each year, employers, if required by OSHA to keep injury and illness records must post their OSHA 300 Log Summary (form 300A). 

You can find the OSHA record keeping instructions and forms at the following website:

Does my company need to complete these forms?

All employers are required to complete this recordkeeping unless they have 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year or the business is classified in a specific low-hazard retail, service, finance, insurance, or real estate industry.  Click on the following link to see a list of Partially Exempt Industries.

What injuries and illnesses need to be recorded?

OSHA provides specific instruction on how to record and classify injuries and illnesses at your workplace.  Those instructions can be found here in the OSHA publication Forms for Recording, and in more detail is provided in the Recordkeeping section of the OSHA standards at 29 CFR 1904.

Also, from 29 CFR 1904.39, “Employers in Federal OSHA jurisdiction must orally report to OSHA the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident within eight (8) hours.” 

Where do I post the Summary (form 300A)?

At the end of the year post the 300 Log Summary (form 300A) in a visible location so that your employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses occurring in their workplace.  Employers must keep a Log for each establishment or site. 

If you have more than one establishment, you must keep a separate Log (form 300) and Summary (form 300A) for each physical location that is expected to be in operation for one year or longer.  Complete details on posting of the form 300A are available at 29 CFR 1904.32.

How long do I need to post the summary?

Employers are to keep records of workplace injuries and illness throughout the calendar year.  At the end of that year, post their OSHA 300 Log summary (300A) from February 1 to April 30.

Additional information on the OSHA Injury and Illness recordkeeping requirements can be found at: