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Showing posts with label OSHA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OSHA. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

OSHA proposes $233,500 in fines against Home Goods for exit hazards

OSHA proposed $233,500 in fines against Home Goods for exit access, fire and crushing hazards at its Commack, N.Y., store. Responding to an employee complaint, OSHA found exit routes that were too narrow for passage, blocked by stock and equipment, or hidden by stacks of material. Other hazards included blocked access to fire extinguishers, workers not trained in fire extinguisher use, and boxes stored in unstable 8-foot high tiers. OSHA had cited Home Goods in 2006 and 2007 for similar conditions at the company's Mount Olive, N.J., and Somers, N.Y., locations. “It's been 99 years since the fire at The Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York City took the lives of nearly 150 workers and almost 19 years since two workers were killed when they were unable to exit the McCrory’s store in Huntington Station, N.Y., during a fire,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "Blocked fire exits can be deadly. It is that simple." For more information, read the OSHA news release.

Requirements for the number, capacity, marking, illumination, and arrangements for exits (also referred to as “means of egress”) are specified within building codes and the Life Safety Code®. Requirements for maintenance of means of egress and emerency planning are included in fire prevention codes.

OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910 Subpart E – Means of Egress (Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans) prescribes requirements for exits. Section 1910.35 states:

“An employer who demonstrates compliance with the exit route provisions of NFPA 101-2000, the Life Safety Code®, will be deemed to be in compliance with the corresponding requirements in §§ 1910.34, 1910.36, and 1910.37.”

One of the fundamental aspects of an emergency response plan is the ability to safely evacuate occupants from a building. The ability to detect a threat or hazard, warn occupants, and then take protective action (e.g., evacuation, lockdown or shelter-in-place) is critical.

Review your emergency plan. Can you promptly detect an incident, warn occupants, and move everyone to safety? Take a look at the planning guidance on the “Resources” page of the Preparedness, LLC website for more information.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

References & Resources: Links to Helpful Information

I recently updated the "Resources" within the Preparedness, LLC website. It includes more than five printable pages of references and resources for risk assessment, prevention and mitigation, emergency planning, business continuity, training, and more. There are links for laws and regulations, codes and standards, government agencies, nonprofit/professional organizations, and more. There are also many links to excellent, peer reviewed technical documents that open in HTML or PDF format from their hosted websites. It will always be a work in progress, but I will do my best to keep it updated. If you have suggestions for additons to the page, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and I provide some information from the Ready Business Fact Sheet. A national survey of businesses with 2-999 employees conducted by The Ad Council in December 2007 found:
  • 38 percent said their company has an emergency plan in place in the event of a disaster
  • 59 percent assessed their own business as “very” or “somewhat” prepared in the event of a disaster
  • 55 percent of businesses surveyed said that they had taken either significant or small steps to improve emergency preparedness in the past year
  • The surveyed businesses said that the most important threats for them to address are fires followed by cyber attacks and then hurricanes, winter storms, tornadoes and terrorist attacks.

It's good to see that work is being done even in these days of a challenging economy, but every workplace needs to have a basic emergency plan in place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires emergency action plans for companies with 10 or more employees. Fire and life safety codes also require emergency plans.

It's good to see that businesses are focusing on natural hazards. With tropical storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, and possibly Hurricane Ike, the dangers of tropical cyclones are clearly evident. With the 7th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, it's good to see that people haven't forgotten that terrorism is still a threat. The reality is, however, that there are dozens and dozens of hazards that can impact businesses today. We'll take a look at hazards—natural, human-caused, and technological—and risk assessment in the coming days and week.