Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More PPE pics

I am doing this post first with some fun PPE pictures first so that it follows my entery on PPE. I am sure most people have seen these before.

The respirators in the first picture are like my BioMarine Industries full face respirator.

Just a note on the above picture: This picture has been all over the internet as one of those "What's wrong with this picture?" The real story behind this picture is quite a bit different. The gentleman in the shorts is one of the top Hazmat trainers in the US. This picture was taken during a training exercise in one of the Carolinas (I am pretty sure it was South Carolina).

This was a picture of a teacher with his students doing hands on training. There was never real hazards present. This picture is a great training aid for PPE. I am sure that at one point or another, every safety trainer has used it. I have even used it.

The best trainers know the real story behind this picture. When ever I use this pic, after the lesson has been learned, I tell my class the real story behind it. 


I am doing this post first with some fun PPE pictures first so that it follows my entery on PPE. I am sure most people have seen these before.

(Click on the picture to view a larger picture)


I think that if you ask me if I were to pick the most important topic to convey, it would be PPE (personal protective equipment). When I go go in to a place to do training over a period of 6 months, I do PPE training first. One of the questions that I ask is how many use PPE when they mow their own lawn or have their children wear PPE.

Surprisingly I get a response rate of 40%-50%. After 6 monthes of training I ask the same question. This time the response rate is 80%-90%. That is how I judge that the effectiveness of m training. I judge my success when the people I train "take it home with them."

When ever I visit a site, I carry a messenger bag that contains all the PPE (and some extras) that I will need. I have compiled it over the years. Some of the things I keep in the bag are safety glasses, safety sun glasses, a fluorescent vest, gloves, dust masks, hearing protection, and some other items. There is also a first aid kit, flashlights, tape measure, emergency blanket, among other things. I carry my hard hat with me (it does not fit in it) and my fall harness when needed.

The picture is me on a warehouse roof in Joliet, IL. Of course I have my bag with me.

Working in the staffing industry is different from working in any other industry; actually it is like working in EVERY OTHER industry. Whenever I go to a site, I could face any environment. I do my homework before visiting to see if there is anything other than is in my bag before I arrive. Another difference is that I am not going to the same site every time and I do not want to depend on the site to provide PPE. Chances are you get the worn-out/worn-by-everybody stuff.

My favorite piece of PPE is my BioMarine Industries full face respirator. I have not have had to use this much, thankfully. I use this only in REALLY BAD situations. It also has good shock value when I wear it with my fluorescent hard hat. I posted a picture in my previous post that has respirators similar to mine.

Monday, March 23, 2009

OSHA Multi-Employer Citation Policy

You can hear 8th Circuit Court oral arguments at:

This is something that I deal with on a daily basis. I am head of safety & risk management for a very large staffing company. Every accident that we deal with is considered a multi-employer work site. Cal-OSHA specifically defines multi-employer (they call them dual-employer sites), the info can be found here:

Anyone who uses temps is in a multi-employer situation. Further rulings that affect this relationship is OSHA's decision to require OSHA 300 logs be the responsibility for, and kept at the site.

Construction sites compounds my situation. I had an accident on a high profile construction site that I handled personally. A general contractor chooses an electrical sub contractor. The electrical sub contractor utilized a staffing for some of their employees. The situation was further complicated because there was another sub contractor that was responsible for setting up the scaffolding that the employees were injured on.

To address the question posed to 8th Circuit Court as to the question of employer, I will look at it from the point of view of the PEO (Professional Employer Organization) industry. The EMPLOYER is defined legally 3 ways; by the DOL, IRS, and English Common law. Co-employment is then defined from the concept of "who is the employer."

The IRS developed a 20 question test based on Common Law to determine an employee. This covers 3 areas:

1.)Behavioral control: The right to direct or
control how the work is done.
2.)Financial control: The right to direct or
control how the business aspects of the
worker's activities are conducted.
3.)Relationship of the parties: How the
parties perceive their relationship.

Another area that I deal with is in respect to Work Comp Insurance. The definition of employee has also been applied to whether an "independent contractor" is really an employee. They usually claim that the are really an employee after they are injured, do not have WC, and try to collect WC for the company that they are working for. Independent contractors (at client sites) are a risk and concern for PEOs also.

States' law also support OSHA's concept of multi-employer work sites in their insurance regulations. Any state that allows contractors to do a "wrap-up" program is using the concept.The primary purpose of wrap-up is to ensure that there is coverage when an event occurs. Even by a sub contractors employee who could attempt to prove that he was actually an employee of the general contractor.

A wrap-up program is one where the interests of the project owner, general contractor, construction manager, architects, engineers, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors are combined (wrapped up) for insurance purposes. How the insurance will be handled is up to the project owner or general contractor who is spearheading the project.

These wrap-up programs can be sponsored by project owners or general contractors. When owners require and control them, they are commonly referred to as "owner-- controlled" insurance programs (OCIP), and "contractor-- controlled" (CLIP) when general contractors require and control them.

A good evaluation of wrap-up programs can be found here:

I know that the concept of multi-employer is difficult to comprehend, but we have been dealing with it in the staffing industry (called co-employment) forever. Understanding this is one of the things that makes me so good at the job I do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Setting Buoys in the Keys

One of the things that I thank God for is the variety & adventure that my job brings. One example is a my chance to supervise a crew setting buoys in the Florida Keys. I donned snorkel gear and went underwater with the crew. To document what I saw, what they did right or wrong, I took an underwater disposable camera that I bought at Walgreens.

I always use a camera. It is my most important safety tool. The picture never lies.

The crew had their routine down. We covered everything at the tailboard meeting, including my presence there. Tailboard meetings are another powerful safety tool. It brings everybody together on the same page before the job begins. We cover what could go wrong, everyone's role, safety issues, and things that are different.

The first pic is one of our buoys anchored. The second pic is the marker to the channel that we were setting the buoys for. The buoys were red & green. Always remember; "Red on the right when coming in at night."

Safety and the Economy

A very good friend of mine lost his job as a warehouse shift manager as a result of the economy. He had started a job search and was not having much luck. I offered him the OSHA 10 hour training that I do for my clients to make him more marketable. I had done forklift "train the trainer" with him in the past, so I know his own commitment to safety.

In this tough economy so many places are cutting back on spending, even for safety. This makes him stand out because his next employer is getting a freebee in his safety training.

If anyone knows of a warehouse management/supervisory position in the Greater Philadelphia area, please let me know. Email at: I will pass it on.

This happens to be a good time for companies to pick up some talent, not just in safety, but anywhere. Good people have lost their jobs not through fault of their own and are out there looking. Even if your company is not hiring, things are going to turn around. Just like jello, there is always room for good people.

Top Ten List of how you can tell if your OSHA inspection is going poorly:

Top Ten List of how you can tell if your OSHA inspection is going poorly:

1) OSHA sets up temporary housing in your parking lot.
2) The Inspector mutters "This is unbelievable" every time he/she walks into a new department.
3) OSHA calls in a professional film crew to document conditions at your facility, as a reporter from "60 Minutes" tags along "for the fun of it all."
4) The Inspector insists on wearing a NASA space you employees sit around in shorts and T-shirts.
5) Your congressman won't return your calls...but did return your campaign contribution check.
6) The Inspector begins your first meeting with "You have the right to remain silent..."
7) The Inspector asks you about specifics in your files...without having seen them first.
8) The Inspector knows your entire staff by their first name.
9) The Inspector is a former employee you fired...for failing to obey safety regs.
10) The current OSHA Secretary conducts your closing conference.

Nailgun Accident Investigation

I just found out today one of our clients had a nailgun accident. It looks like a true accident. I will be on site tomorrow conducting an accident investigation.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Back

I have been extremely busy and have neglected my blog. I am now back. I have just finished a 3 year contract as head of contractor safety at a nuclear power plant. I am currently hoping that my contract will be renewed. With out a doubt, the nuclear power industry is the safest industry in this nation. This has allowed me to say I have seen how safety is done correctly.