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March 2012
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April 2012

Do You Work in a Nursing or Residential Care Facility?

Clendenning Donna Posted by Donna Clendenning

If you work in one of these facilities, you will want to visit and learn about the new National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities.

Announced on April 5, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have developed a new NEP to protect healthcare workers from serious injuries and illnesses that are common in the medical industry. While there was an earlier NEP program in 2002, this new program includes workplace violence.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2010 “nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American Industries.”

OSHA compliance staff, guided by the NEP on policies and procedures, will target and conduct focused inspections that will include reviewing musculoskeletal injuries related to the movement of patients/residents, exposure to blood borne pathogens or other potentially infectious materials, workplace violence and slip, trip fall hazards.  Other hazards or risks may include exposure to chemicals and drugs.

For further detailed information regarding the new National Emphasis Program, visit, Directive Number CPL 03-00-016.

Spring Clean Up: Chainsaw Awareness

Wood Andy Posted by Andy Wood

With the snow banks melting in the Northeast comes the requisite spring clean-up around the property. If your facility includes even a little wooded property, that clean-up will most likely include some quality time with your chainsaw. Regardless of your skill level, it’s critical that you are aware of the hazards you will face and have the skills to manage them successfully; or recognize that you don’t and obtain additional resources from your employer. These resources may take the form of gear upgrades, more help, or additional training.

The OSHA standard for logging operations (1910.266) sets the baseline standards for all chainsaw operations.  It is very specific about training, supervision, and operational guidelines. Some very practical information is available on their website, specifically the Logging ETool.

For basic chainsaw operation, I’ve divided the necessary information into three categories. MEMIC has developed webinars and guiding documents for each of these topics. All are available on the Safety Director at

  1. A full compliment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  2. A saw maintained in serviceable condition.
  3. Some baseline knowledge of industry standards which address: hazards, ergonomics, saw control and physics. (Refer to the Logging ETool referenced above.)

Specific hands-on training should be attended and operations closely supervised in regards to the most hazardous chainsaw operations, tree felling, and storm damage clean-up.

If you consider the tools and equipment you’ll use during outdoor projects, I think you’d agree that the chainsaw may create the greatest hazard. Take the time to get it right as the stakes are high when the accident involves a chainsaw, trees under tension, and gravity.

Seven Key Slicer Errors to Avoid

Peter Koch Posted by Peter Koch

I never realized just how dangerous a meat slicer could be; but 20 years later I can still see the scar.  According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, between 2000 and 2004 more than 700 workers were injured while using a meat slicer.  I guess I was ahead of my time.  While working for a small family owned restaurant I committed one, well more than one, of the seven key slicer errors, and in an instant, became a statistic.

Seven Key Slicer Errors:

  1. Operating the slicer with the blade guard removed.
  2. Leaving the slice thickness set to anything but zero when not in use.
  3. Pushing the food into the blade with your hand.
  4. Slicing pieces that are too small for the food pusher.
  5. Cleaning the slicer with the blade spinning.
  6. Cleaning the slicer with the power cord plugged in.
  7. Taking your eyes off the slicer when it is in operation.

For me it was #5 and #7.  My penance was eight stitches and nerve damage to my left pinky finger.  Not a good trade off for what little time was saved.

This is by no means a complete list. However, to avoid injury when using or cleaning the meat slicer always:

  1. Read the user manual and complete required training before operating the slicer.
  2. Inspect the equipment to ensure all safety devices and parts operate smoothly and efficiently.
  3. Pressure the product being sliced with the weight handle/food pusher Use the slicer in manual mode before selecting automatic.
  4. Follow all manufacturer and company instructions for cleaning the slicer.
  5. Set the slice thickness to zero when finished slicing and before cleaning.
  6. Turn off AND unplug slicer before cleaning.
  7. Wear cut resistant gloves when operating or cleaning.

Remember, before your start; take a MEMIC Minute for slicer safety.  Check out these links on slicer safety and PPE:

Revised Hazard Communication Standard Reaches Final Rule Stage

LaRochelle Greg 2 Posted by Greg LaRochelle



On Monday, March 26, 2012, OSHA published the Final Rule on the revised Hazard Communication Standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  In an August 2011 blog (available in the MEMIC Safety Net archive section) the rationale behind the alignment and revision was explained.  At that time, the final rule was anticipated in September.  However, the comment and approval process took longer than expected and this resulted in the March 26th final rule publication. 

OSHA has posted a Fact Sheet on their website that outlines the benefits and major changes of the revised standard as well as the requirements and effective completion dates.  Here’s a summary of the completion dates, compliance requirements, and effected parties included in the fact sheet.Image
Employers should contact their chemical product suppliers to request a safety data sheet (SDS) using the existing material safety data sheet (MSDS) binder as a reference.  As the new safety data sheets are compiled, the MSD sheets should be archived and retained

Employers should then begin to train their employees on the 16 section format of the safety data sheet and new label elements with hazard pictograms and signal words.