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Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Perform safety inspections at least once a year

 To help avoid workplace accidents, all businesses should conduct periodic safety inspections at least once a year. The purpose is to identify potential hazards with time to correct them before an accident happens.

Start by reviewing your past accident history. It will give you a good indication of hazards you should take special precautions to avoid.   Make a list of those hazards to re-check as you do your safety inspection. Note that the “hazard” may also involve lack of employee training or at-risk behaviors to be addressed.

As you walk through your facility, take adequate time and be thorough, making detailed examination of all items that appear on your inspection checklist. Many hazards can be corrected during the walk-through. Some items on your checklist may involve action items such as providing additional employee training on equipment and tools.

The product of your walk-through should be a record of items that did not meet safety standards and defects that need to be corrected. Record your findings on your checklist, then make a separate list of action items on which to start. You can find a sample check list in the Retail Association Services’ Safety Library that you can modify to fit your business needs.

If you have questions about L&I codes, contact Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist.

WRA employs Rick who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Get a free L&I workplace assessment

“WRA members are touting the benefits of their free Labor & Industries safety consultation” says, WRA Safety Specialist, Rick Means.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Consultation program allows businesses to request a safety consultation for which they cannot be fined if violations are discovered. However, the business owner would be subject to correct any violations found in the inspection.

Rick reports that one business in the Vancouver area requests visits every two years to keep his repair list short or up-to-date. To request a consultation click here.

Most businesses are not pro-active and often are surprised when inspectors arrive unannounced. In such a case, the owner is subject to possible fines after a surprise inspection.

The consultation program is a way of having a compliance-like officer visit your business to point out what inspectors are looking for, but with no fee or fine that can result.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com. WRA employs him, in part, to help members with safety planning and for suggestions on safety meeting topics.

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

OSHA injury reporting period starts next week

Many of our members have to maintain annual accident logs for the prior year. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration exempts many sorts of businesses from this reporting requirement depending on their risk class. Retail members with 10 or fewer employees are exempt, but our larger retailers and all automotive members will need to report.

Go here to see if you are exempt from reporting or contact Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, if you have questions.

If you have to report, you should have the OSHA 300 form updated with ‘recordable’ incidents for all of 2017. For a decision tree on what are considered recordable incidents, go here. The next step would be to transfer the OSHA 2017 log (form 300) totals onto the OSHA Summary sheet (300A). The OSHA summary sheet, form 300A, will need to be posted from 2/1/2018 until 04/30/2018 on the safety bulletin board for all employees to review. If you need forms go here.

Washington State is currently exempt from electronic reporting of the 300A form.

The OSHA 300 form, a copy of the 300A form, and any other supporting paperwork, such as copies of the Report of Accidents, should be kept in a binder in your office due to privacy of the information that is contained on some of that paperwork. You need to keep five years of these forms on file (2012 and back can be tossed).

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

How to avoid slipping up

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace accidents. Falls can cause serious injuries and even death.  Most slip, trip, and fall incidents are preventable with general precautions and safety measures.

Here are a few definitions for these accidents:

 Slip – A slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and the walking surface and can cause you to be off-balance.

Trip – A trip occurs when a person contacts an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance.

Fall – A fall occurs when you are too far off balance.  There are two types of falls:

  • Same Level – Fall to the surface you are walking on. Same-level falls are more common and are usually caused by slips and trips.
  • From Elevation – Falls from elevation are more severe and are usually caused by ladders, stairs, platforms, and loading docks.

Housekeeping is the first and most fundamental way to prevent falls due to slips and trips.  Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or training on techniques of walking will never be fully effective.

Other ways to help in preventing slips, trips and falls:

  • Don’t be in a hurry
  • Don’t be distracted and focus on the task until it is completed
  • Wear appropriate shoes for the work conditions
  • Get better lighting where needed
  • Balance the load that you are carrying

RASI SafetyTV has some videos on this topic. It can be a good discussion item for safety meetings.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360.943.9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Safety tip of the week:

Try active sitting or standing to improve health

We were born to move, so how can you help your body while you are sitting at work?  You can practice active sitting.

Conventional chairs provide passive support while the chair does all the work.  This type of inactivity can lead to future health problems.  So, what is active sitting?

There are ways to break up some of that passive sitting with chairs that cause you to do a little work at your desk.  You may have seen the two -bench version where your knees rest on one bench and you sit on the other bench.  There is a stationary version and a rocking version.  These will make you sit straighter and allow your body do more of the work to sit.

Another type of chair reminds me of a single-legged stool.  It has a flat base with the ability to bend and is adjustable for height. You can rock some while you sit and get some exercise, too.  Active sitting gives you a chance. They also say that active sitting burns more calories.

There are other ways to make daily sitting more active. Trying standing when you take phone calls.  Another option is to switch to a desk that raises and lowers.  That way you can spend part of your day standing and the other part sitting.  Anything you can do to not be sitting at the office all day will help with your overall energy throughout the day and is healthier for you.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Safety tip of the week:

Stay active to slow physical decline

 Statistics show that you begin to lose muscle mass in your late 20s.  Along with that comes a decrease in muscle strength.  This loss of strength and muscle mass contributes to problems related to aging such as falls and makes it harder for people to do the activities they like.

Most people are aware of their limitations but some will try to push their limits, which can lead to an injury.  Get employees to use tools and design ways of working in their power zone, between the waist and shoulders.

Another thing to consider is that ligaments and tendons lose their elasticity.  This can lead to overexertion when twisting at the waist, reaching overhead and bending over to pick up the morning paper.

Being more active will lead you toward a longer and healthier life.  Simple activities such as regular walking and moderate strength training can cause a lessening of this decline as you age.  It will also help with other issues: diabetes, less weight gain, improved blood pressure and maintaining motor skills

Both RASI SAFETYTV and the RASI Safety Library can provide you more details on this topic.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

RASI

Safety tip of the week

Perform safety inspections at least once a year

 To help avoid workplace accidents, all businesses should conduct periodic safety inspections at least once a year. The purpose is to identify potential hazards with time to correct them before an accident happens.

Start by reviewing your past accident history. It will give you a good indication of hazards you should take special precautions to avoid.   Make a list of those hazards to re-check as you do your safety inspection. Note that the “hazard” may also involve lack of employee training or at-risk behaviors to be addressed.

As you walk through your facility, take adequate time and be thorough, making detailed examination of all items that appear on your inspection checklist. Many hazards can be corrected during the walk-through. Some items on your checklist may involve action items such as providing additional employee training on equipment and tools.

The product of your walk-through should be a record of items that did not meet safety standards and defects that need to be corrected. Record your findings on your checklist, then make a separate list of action items on which to start. You can find a sample check list in the Retail Association Services’ Safety Library that you can modify to fit your business needs.

If you have questions about L&I codes, contact Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist.

WRA employs Rick who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Get a free L&I workplace assessment

“WRA members are touting the benefits of their free Labor & Industries safety consultation” says, WRA Safety Specialist, Rick Means.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Consultation program allows businesses to request a safety consultation for which they cannot be fined if violations are discovered. However, the business owner would be subject to correct any violations found in the inspection.

Rick reports that one business in the Vancouver area requests visits every two years to keep his repair list short or up-to-date. To request a consultation click here.

Most businesses are not pro-active and often are surprised when inspectors arrive unannounced. In such a case, the owner is subject to possible fines after a surprise inspection.

The consultation program is a way of having a compliance-like officer visit your business to point out what inspectors are looking for, but with no fee or fine that can result.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com. WRA employs him, in part, to help members with safety planning and for suggestions on safety meeting topics.

Safety tip of the week

How to avoid slipping up

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace accidents. Falls can cause serious injuries and even death.  Most slip, trip, and fall incidents are preventable with general precautions and safety measures.

Here are a few definitions for these accidents:

 Slip – A slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and the walking surface and can cause you to be off-balance.

Trip – A trip occurs when a person contacts an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance.

Fall – A fall occurs when you are too far off balance.  There are two types of falls:

  • Same Level – Fall to the surface you are walking on. Same-level falls are more common and are usually caused by slips and trips.
  • From Elevation – Falls from elevation are more severe and are usually caused by ladders, stairs, platforms, and loading docks.

Housekeeping is the first and most fundamental way to prevent falls due to slips and trips.  Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or training on techniques of walking will never be fully effective.

Other ways to help in preventing slips, trips and falls:

  • Don’t be in a hurry
  • Don’t be distracted and focus on the task until it is completed
  • Wear appropriate shoes for the work conditions
  • Get better lighting where needed
  • Balance the load that you are carrying

RASI SafetyTV has some videos on this topic. It can be a good discussion item for safety meetings.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360.943.9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Try active sitting or standing to improve health

We were born to move, so how can you help your body while you are sitting at work?  You can practice active sitting.

Conventional chairs provide passive support while the chair does all the work.  This type of inactivity can lead to future health problems.  So, what is active sitting?

There are ways to break up some of that passive sitting with chairs that cause you to do a little work at your desk.  You may have seen the two -bench version where your knees rest on one bench and you sit on the other bench.  There is a stationary version and a rocking version.  These will make you sit straighter and allow your body do more of the work to sit.

Another type of chair reminds me of a single-legged stool.  It has a flat base with the ability to bend and is adjustable for height. You can rock some while you sit and get some exercise, too.  Active sitting gives you a chance. They also say that active sitting burns more calories.

There are other ways to make daily sitting more active. Trying standing when you take phone calls.  Another option is to switch to a desk that raises and lowers.  That way you can spend part of your day standing and the other part sitting.  Anything you can do to not be sitting at the office all day will help with your overall energy throughout the day and is healthier for you.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Stay active to slow physical decline

 Statistics show that you begin to lose muscle mass in your late 20s.  Along with that comes a decrease in muscle strength.  This loss of strength and muscle mass contributes to problems related to aging such as falls and makes it harder for people to do the activities they like.

Most people are aware of their limitations but some will try to push their limits, which can lead to an injury.  Get employees to use tools and design ways of working in their power zone, between the waist and shoulders.

Another thing to consider is that ligaments and tendons lose their elasticity.  This can lead to overexertion when twisting at the waist, reaching overhead and bending over to pick up the morning paper.

Being more active will lead you toward a longer and healthier life.  Simple activities such as regular walking and moderate strength training can cause a lessening of this decline as you age.  It will also help with other issues: diabetes, less weight gain, improved blood pressure and maintaining motor skills

Both RASI SAFETYTV and the RASI Safety Library can provide you more details on this topic.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week:

Find out why employees take safety risks?

After a worker takes an unnecessary safety risk, have you ever thought “Why did they do that?”

When workers take a risk, it tends to be spontaneous. It’s important to understand the reasons workers ignore safety precautions to work on restoring workplace standards.

Why would an employee remove a safety guard while a machine is still running?  Why would a person overexert themselves when lifting a large object instead of asking for help?  Why are people texting while walking, or driving, when their focus should be on their ever-changing surroundings?

To the worker, the motivation could be just wanting to finish the task at hand even if a new distraction or hazard popped up.  To discourage these unnecessary risks:

  • Ask questions. Find out what motivates workers and where the strongest sources of resistance are.  Help them be more aware of what influences their decisionmaking.
  • Tell stories. They can make the risk feel closer to home by sharing specific stories from actual co-workers about why they, too, took an injury risk on the job.
  • Educate.  Explain that it is human nature to take a safety risk rather than stopping to make a situation safer.   But the need is to remove risk-taking to avoid injuries on the job.

This is another reason that safety meetings that allow for employee feedback are so important.  There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV and our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can help to address this topic.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Your safety bulletin board

The Washington Code publishes basic requirements for what should be on your company bulletin board.

You must:

  • Install and maintain a safety bulletin board in every fixed workplace that has eight or more employees. Make sure the bulletin board is large enough to post information such as:

–       Safety bulletins

–       Safety newsletters

–       Safety posters

–       Accident statistics (OSHA 300A form)

–       Other safety educational material

WRA sends out a monthly safety packet including items to go on your safety bulletin board.  Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, suggests that your Safety Meeting notes also be posted there.  Remember Labor and Industries requires that you keep 12 of the last safety meetings’ notes on hand for review by employees.

Members can find past issues of the RASI SAFETY Meetings archive here.

WRA employs Rick in part, to help members remain in compliance with L&I safety requirements. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week :

Employers need to provide protective equipment

Employers in Washington State are required to provide employees with protective equipment if they have been unable to eliminate injury hazards in the workplace.

The state requires employers to make sure employees are properly trained in the use and care of protective equipment. Such equipment could be used to protect the eyes, face, head, body, arms, hands, legs, and feet with items such as goggles, helmets, head covers, gloves, rubber slickers, disposable coveralls, respirators, protective shields and barriers.  WAC 296-800-160

Even if a worker buy his own safety shoes, for example, the employer must ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the worker from hazards on the job.

Retraining is required if an employer has reason to believe an employee lacks understanding or motivation to properly use protective equipment. Also, if an employer has changed job processes with new equipment, this would call for a review of any job hazard analysis and the new PPE needs, if any.

There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV‘s personal protective equipment section.  Our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can be helpful.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

WRA

Safety tip of the week

Get a free L&I workplace assessment

“WRA members are touting the benefits of their free Labor & Industries safety consultation” says, WRA Safety Specialist, Rick Means.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Consultation program allows businesses to request a safety consultation for which they cannot be fined if violations are discovered. However, the business owner would be subject to correct any violations found in the inspection.

Rick reports that one business in the Vancouver area requests visits every two years to keep his repair list short or up-to-date. To request a consultation click here.

Most businesses are not pro-active and often are surprised when inspectors arrive unannounced. In such a case, the owner is subject to possible fines after a surprise inspection.

The consultation program is a way of having a compliance-like officer visit your business to point out what inspectors are looking for, but with no fee or fine that can result.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com. WRA employs him, in part, to help members with safety planning and for suggestions on safety meeting topics.

Safety tip of the week

OSHA injury reporting period starts next week

Many of our members have to maintain annual accident logs for the prior year. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration exempts many sorts of businesses from this reporting requirement depending on their risk class. Retail members with 10 or fewer employees are exempt, but our larger retailers and all automotive members will need to report.

Go here to see if you are exempt from reporting or contact Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, if you have questions.

If you have to report, you should have the OSHA 300 form updated with ‘recordable’ incidents for all of 2017. For a decision tree on what are considered recordable incidents, go here. The next step would be to transfer the OSHA 2017 log (form 300) totals onto the OSHA Summary sheet (300A). The OSHA summary sheet, form 300A, will need to be posted from 2/1/2018 until 04/30/2018 on the safety bulletin board for all employees to review. If you need forms go here.

Washington State is currently exempt from electronic reporting of the 300A form.

The OSHA 300 form, a copy of the 300A form, and any other supporting paperwork, such as copies of the Report of Accidents, should be kept in a binder in your office due to privacy of the information that is contained on some of that paperwork. You need to keep five years of these forms on file (2012 and back can be tossed).

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Stay active to slow physical decline

 Statistics show that you begin to lose muscle mass in your late 20s.  Along with that comes a decrease in muscle strength.  This loss of strength and muscle mass contributes to problems related to aging such as falls and makes it harder for people to do the activities they like.

Most people are aware of their limitations but some will try to push their limits, which can lead to an injury.  Get employees to use tools and design ways of working in their power zone, between the waist and shoulders.

Another thing to consider is that ligaments and tendons lose their elasticity.  This can lead to overexertion when twisting at the waist, reaching overhead and bending over to pick up the morning paper.

Being more active will lead you toward a longer and healthier life.  Simple activities such as regular walking and moderate strength training can cause a lessening of this decline as you age.  It will also help with other issues: diabetes, less weight gain, improved blood pressure and maintaining motor skills

Both RASI SAFETYTV and the RASI Safety Library can provide you more details on this topic.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week:

Find out why employees take safety risks?

After a worker takes an unnecessary safety risk, have you ever thought “Why did they do that?”

When workers take a risk, it tends to be spontaneous. It’s important to understand the reasons workers ignore safety precautions to work on restoring workplace standards.

Why would an employee remove a safety guard while a machine is still running?  Why would a person overexert themselves when lifting a large object instead of asking for help?  Why are people texting while walking, or driving, when their focus should be on their ever-changing surroundings?

To the worker, the motivation could be just wanting to finish the task at hand even if a new distraction or hazard popped up.  To discourage these unnecessary risks:

  • Ask questions. Find out what motivates workers and where the strongest sources of resistance are.  Help them be more aware of what influences their decisionmaking.
  • Tell stories. They can make the risk feel closer to home by sharing specific stories from actual co-workers about why they, too, took an injury risk on the job.
  • Educate.  Explain that it is human nature to take a safety risk rather than stopping to make a situation safer.   But the need is to remove risk-taking to avoid injuries on the job.

This is another reason that safety meetings that allow for employee feedback are so important.  There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV and our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can help to address this topic.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Your safety bulletin board

The Washington Code publishes basic requirements for what should be on your company bulletin board.

You must:

  • Install and maintain a safety bulletin board in every fixed workplace that has eight or more employees. Make sure the bulletin board is large enough to post information such as:

–       Safety bulletins

–       Safety newsletters

–       Safety posters

–       Accident statistics (OSHA 300A form)

–       Other safety educational material

WRA sends out a monthly safety packet including items to go on your safety bulletin board.  Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, suggests that your Safety Meeting notes also be posted there.  Remember Labor and Industries requires that you keep 12 of the last safety meetings’ notes on hand for review by employees.

Members can find past issues of the RASI SAFETY Meetings archive here.

WRA employs Rick in part, to help members remain in compliance with L&I safety requirements. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week :

Employers need to provide protective equipment

Employers in Washington State are required to provide employees with protective equipment if they have been unable to eliminate injury hazards in the workplace.

The state requires employers to make sure employees are properly trained in the use and care of protective equipment. Such equipment could be used to protect the eyes, face, head, body, arms, hands, legs, and feet with items such as goggles, helmets, head covers, gloves, rubber slickers, disposable coveralls, respirators, protective shields and barriers.  WAC 296-800-160

Even if a worker buy his own safety shoes, for example, the employer must ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the worker from hazards on the job.

Retraining is required if an employer has reason to believe an employee lacks understanding or motivation to properly use protective equipment. Also, if an employer has changed job processes with new equipment, this would call for a review of any job hazard analysis and the new PPE needs, if any.

There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV‘s personal protective equipment section.  Our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can be helpful.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

L&I’s top 10 rule violations

 The table below shows the most common safety and health rule violations cited during Labor & Industries’ inspections for federal fiscal year 2016 (Oct.1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016). This information can help strengthen your workplace safety program and prevent costly injuries and illnesses.

The list excludes construction and agriculture. The links provide further information about what is required in the topic area.

 

Topic Area Resources
Employer Chemical Hazard Communication Hazard Communication and GHS
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment
Safety Committees and Safety Meetings Safety Meetings/Committees
Accident Prevention Program Accident Prevention Program (APP)
Basic Electrical Rules Electrical Hazards
First-Aid First Aid
Asbestos, Tremolite, Anthophyllite, and Actinolite Asbestos
Portable Fire Extinguishers Fire Extinguishers
Confined Space Permit Entry Confined Space
Injury & Illness Record keeping Requirements Recordkeeping & Reporting Worker Injuries

 WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

How to spot alcohol, drug use in the workplace

According to SAMHSA, a federal agency tracking substance abuse, for 2015, there were about 139 million users of alcohol in the USA. Another 24.6 million Americans were illicit drug users, according to estimates.

When you combine those numbers, as well as the new Washington law permitting limited marijuana use, there is a great chance that one of your co-workers could be under the influence of some type.

Alcohol is the most common abuse issue in the workplace, with marijuana second and then misuse of prescription drugs.

Often people under the influence do not adhere to safe practices in the workplace.

To recognize warning signs of substance abuse, look for:

  • Frequent disappearances
  • Excessive sick or personal days
  • Uncharacteristic behavior
  • Rollercoaster work performance
  • Difficulty with relationships.

Substance abuse in the workplace can be devastating. It can impact an employee’s health and working relationships but also can reduce productivity, increase absences and increase the risk of accidents.

Employers should update their substance abuse policies regularly, making sure that alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs are addressed.  For information on how a small business can set a policy, click here.

Here is a good web link with tips for dealing with substance abuse problems in the workplace and here is a SAMHSA report for Washington State.  The RASI Safety Library has a section on Alcohol and Drug abuse for more information.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

SAFETY

Safety tip of the week

Perform safety inspections at least once a year

 To help avoid workplace accidents, all businesses should conduct periodic safety inspections at least once a year. The purpose is to identify potential hazards with time to correct them before an accident happens.

Start by reviewing your past accident history. It will give you a good indication of hazards you should take special precautions to avoid.   Make a list of those hazards to re-check as you do your safety inspection. Note that the “hazard” may also involve lack of employee training or at-risk behaviors to be addressed.

As you walk through your facility, take adequate time and be thorough, making detailed examination of all items that appear on your inspection checklist. Many hazards can be corrected during the walk-through. Some items on your checklist may involve action items such as providing additional employee training on equipment and tools.

The product of your walk-through should be a record of items that did not meet safety standards and defects that need to be corrected. Record your findings on your checklist, then make a separate list of action items on which to start. You can find a sample check list in the Retail Association Services’ Safety Library that you can modify to fit your business needs.

If you have questions about L&I codes, contact Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist.

WRA employs Rick who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Get a free L&I workplace assessment

“WRA members are touting the benefits of their free Labor & Industries safety consultation” says, WRA Safety Specialist, Rick Means.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Consultation program allows businesses to request a safety consultation for which they cannot be fined if violations are discovered. However, the business owner would be subject to correct any violations found in the inspection.

Rick reports that one business in the Vancouver area requests visits every two years to keep his repair list short or up-to-date. To request a consultation click here.

Most businesses are not pro-active and often are surprised when inspectors arrive unannounced. In such a case, the owner is subject to possible fines after a surprise inspection.

The consultation program is a way of having a compliance-like officer visit your business to point out what inspectors are looking for, but with no fee or fine that can result.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com. WRA employs him, in part, to help members with safety planning and for suggestions on safety meeting topics.

Safety tip of the week

OSHA injury reporting period starts next week

Many of our members have to maintain annual accident logs for the prior year. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration exempts many sorts of businesses from this reporting requirement depending on their risk class. Retail members with 10 or fewer employees are exempt, but our larger retailers and all automotive members will need to report.

Go here to see if you are exempt from reporting or contact Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, if you have questions.

If you have to report, you should have the OSHA 300 form updated with ‘recordable’ incidents for all of 2017. For a decision tree on what are considered recordable incidents, go here. The next step would be to transfer the OSHA 2017 log (form 300) totals onto the OSHA Summary sheet (300A). The OSHA summary sheet, form 300A, will need to be posted from 2/1/2018 until 04/30/2018 on the safety bulletin board for all employees to review. If you need forms go here.

Washington State is currently exempt from electronic reporting of the 300A form.

The OSHA 300 form, a copy of the 300A form, and any other supporting paperwork, such as copies of the Report of Accidents, should be kept in a binder in your office due to privacy of the information that is contained on some of that paperwork. You need to keep five years of these forms on file (2012 and back can be tossed).

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.