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April 2014

March 2014

Introducing MEMIC's New Online HR Tool

MEMIC has adopted the highly regarded human resource information tool from Business and Legal Reports (BLR) to provide online advice for HR professionals. This special product is free to MEMIC customers and accesible through MEMIC’s Safety Director.

This service provides thousands of time-saving items, including compliance assistance, guidance documents, model policies, procedures, job descriptions and training programs. Advice on state-specific and federal regulatory issues is also available. Access to this resource would cost hundreds of dollars annually, but is available at no additional cost to MEMIC policyholders.

If you are new to MEMIC's Safety Director, please take a moment to create a personalized profile. Once you gain access, you will find both the BLR Safety and BLR HR links on the home page of the Safety Director.

If you would like more information, please contact Christine Collomy at 1-800-660-1306 or via e-mail a

Got Training? MEMIC's Workshops and Webinars

Employee training is an important part of your safety program no matter what your industry.  MEMIC provides workshops and webinars covering a variety of subjects.  These are free of charge to MEMIC policyholders.  Check out the following list of our Spring 2014 offerings and head to for more information or to register. 

Webinars:  All are one hour in length beginning at 10:00am EDT

  • Restaurant Safety, Thursday March 27
  • Workplace Violence Prevention, Thursday April 10
  • Back Injuries:  The Little Things that Make a Big Difference, Thursday April 17
  • Serve Up Safety: Injury Prevention in the Hotel Industry, Thursday May 8
  • Creating the Right Balance of Light in the Workplace, Tuesday May 20



  • OSHA 10 Hour Construction

- Fairfield, ME.  April 1-2, 9:00am – 4:00pm

- Bangor, ME.  April 2-3, 9:00am – 4:00pm

 - Portland, ME. April 16-17, 9:00am – 4:00pm

- Auburn, ME.  May 14-15, 9:00am – 4:00pm

  • OSHA 10 Hour General Industry, Auburn, ME.  April 17-18, 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Office Ergonomics, Presque Isle, ME.  April 4, 8:30 – 12:00pm
  • Professional Forest Products Trucking

- Gray, ME, April 17, 8:00am - 4:00pm

- Bangor, ME, April 24, 8:00am - 4:00pm

- Ashland, ME, May 1, 8:00am - 4:00pm

- Fort Kent, ME, May 2, 8:00am - 4:00pm


The Hierarchy of Safety Controls

Randy Klatt 2014 Posted by Randy Klatt

Workplace hazards are defined as circumstances that present the possibility of inflicting an injury to a worker.  These hazards can be severe or minor, and the odds of producing an injury can range from very likely to remote.  Nevertheless, it is up to each worker, with the assistance and support of supervisors, managers, and safety professionals to determine what those hazards are and how to control them.  It is clear that the elimination of all hazards is not possible, so the key to workplace safety success is learning how to control the hazards. 

All too often workers are given an article of personal protective equipment (PPE) and sent on their way.  In this case there are obviously hazards present, but the only control method used is the reliance on PPE.  Using a proper hierarchy of controls is a far more effective method of injury prevention.  Consider the following steps, in this order:

  • Hazard Elimination:  Always the first choice.  We know we can’t always eliminate, but if we don’t conduct a job hazard analysis, we might miss opportunities to eliminate hazards.  A common hazard in construction is working at height.  If work can be done on the ground level, such as bracing a group of trusses together, then we have eliminated a lot of work that would have taken place at height.  The trusses will still have to be set in place, but at least a good portion of the work was done on the ground, thereby eliminating some of the fall hazard.
  • Engineering Controls:  As said above, it is often impossible to eliminate all hazards.  However, it may be possible to control specific hazards related to each job.  For example, if a worker is cutting concrete or brick there will be a lot of dust created.  This is a respiratory hazard that must be controlled.  Using wet saw methods will eliminate the airborne particulate.  The hazard has been controlled with an engineering control.  Another example would be the creation of guard rail systems for working at height.  The workers are still working above the ground, but are protected by an engineering control.
  • Administrative Controls:  Occasionally there is no engineering control that will be effective in completely eliminating a hazard.  The next step is to use an administrative control.  These would be written policies, procedures, and proper training.  Often used in conjunction with engineering controls these methods are complimentary, but not as effective as engineered controls.  For example, in order to operate a forklift a worker must have proper training and there are best practices that must be followed.  This leaves open the possibility of injury due to violation of the rules or training standards.
  • PPE:  Unfortunately, the last choice is often used as the first choice.  If the hierarchy is followed as it should, PPE becomes a last effort to protect people.  Remember, if the PPE fails, doesn’t fit right, or isn’t worn correctly, the worker will be injured if there are no other controls in place.  

For more information check out the OSHA website, including this link to a handy diagram depicting the proper control hierarchy.  The next time you hand an employee a piece of PPE, first ensure you have done everything else possible to prevent an injury.