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Category Archives: Occupational Health and Safety

Total Safety Celebrates Leading Safety Milestone With Two Million Hours Without OHSA Recordable

Houston, TX—Total Safety’s Fire Services group has reached an industry leading safety milestone – two million hours without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable.

Celebrating two million non-recordable hours is a significant accomplishment. This milestone was achieved, in part, due to Total Safety’s commitment to continuous improvement in its safety culture. Safety is Total’s core value – the safety of its employees and customers. An active participant of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, it currently has seven Star VPP sites.

“As a safety company, our focus is 100 percent on the Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide.  Achieving two million hours without a recordable incident speaks volumes to the commitment of our employees. Our employees believe in safety and their hard work and dedication is represented in this milestone,” said Steve Long, Director of HSEQ for Total Safety.  “Our Fire Services team works in very unique and hazardous conditions. Our employees take pride in leading our safety culture and we are very proud of their accomplishment.”

The Fire Services team provide Total Safety clients with cost-effective and comprehensive risk mitigation strategies around complex worker and facility fire protection needs.

As defined by OSHA, a recordable case is an occupational work injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, or an injury or illness that requires an employee to record days away from normal work.

 

About Total Safety

Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated compliance, personnel and professional safety solutions and the products necessary to support them. It operates from 142 locations in over 20 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3). For more information about Total Safety, visit www.totalsafety.com.

 

For additional information contact:

Darrell Whitley

Senior Vice President – Market Development and Enterprise Sales

713-353-7108

 

Total Safety’s Charity Golf Tournament Benefits Three Charity Organizations

Total Safety donates to Sky High for St Jude
 

Total Safety, the world’s leading integrated safety services company, today announced that funds raised during its annual ‘Tee It Up for Charity’ golf tournament will benefit three non-profit organizations focused on improving the lives of families within their communities.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament went to:

  • Sky High for St. Jude, a volunteer organization that raises money on behalf of children undergoing pediatric cancer treatment and other life-threatening diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Sky High is also the largest donor of the Ronald McDonald House at St. Jude, which serves patients and families staying for extended treatment. Please visit www.skyhighshoot.org to learn more.
  • Combat Marine Outdoors, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide wounded Marines and other service members with once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventures, promoting a sense of accomplishment, as well as one of hope and belonging. Please visit www.combatmarineoutdoors.org to learn more.
  • Krysta’s Karing Angels, a non-profit organization founded by a Total Safety employee that provides support to families affected by drunk driving. In addition, the organization generates awareness for its cause by taking crashed vehicles from actual accidents involving drivers that were driving while intoxicated (DWI) to schools, universities and other events, allowing people to see and hear the devastating effects caused by driving drunk. Please visit www.krystaskaringangels.com to learn more.

Total Safety’s clients and vendor partners participated in the tournament and contributed to the worthy cause. Some of the key sponsors included Enterprise Fleet Management, MSA, Warburg Pincus, BW Technologies and Crowe Horwath LLP. The tournament is always held just before the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) Maintenance and Reliability Conference.

“Total Safety has hosted this event for 16 years, and year after year, I am always inspired by the hospitality of our clients and sponsors. We are grateful to those who participated in the event. Their generosity has directly impacted our community and provided a number of worthy causes with resources they might not have had otherwise,” said Paul Tyree, Total Safety COO.

Keeping Workers Safe in High Heat

Although no specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards cover heat stress, the General Duty Clause protects employees against heat-related illnesses due to the hazard’s serious nature.

While most will readily acknowledge it’s important to keep body temperature stable to prevent heat illness or even death, but many don’t recognize the basic factors involved so they can quickly and readily recognize when heat illness is occurring or, better yet, to prevent it in the first place.

Heat Stress Factors

Two primary sources contribute to overheating: (1) environmental conditions and (2) internal heat generated by physical labor. While each factor may not be present every time, a combination of the two could increase risk.

Since the body cools itself through sweating, air temperature is imperative to maintaining a consistent internal temperature. Sweating does not cool the body unless the skin’s moisture can evaporate. However, if the air temperature is warmer than the skin, the body cannot lose heat, and its ability to maintain an acceptable body temperature may be significantly impaired.

Associated Safety and Health Hazards

Safety hazards tend to occur more frequently in high heat/high humidity environments due to many contributing factors, including sweaty palms, dizziness and fogging of safety glasses. In more extreme cases, mental confusion, tiredness and irritability could cause impaired judgment resulting in safety hazards.

Please be aware of certain health hazards that occur more frequently in high heat/high humidity environments, like heat cramps, fainting, heat rash, heat exhaustion and, most dangerous of all, heat stroke.

Heat illness victims should be treated by providing cool water to drink and moving the person to a cool or shaded area—none of which are easy when working in remote locations. Easy and quick options to combat heat illness is to bring onsite cooling trailers equipped with air conditioning or misting fans and have water stations set up around the facility or worksite.

Creating a Work/Rest Schedule

W When possible, more-frequent, shorter periods of heat exposure are better than fewer, longer exposures. Rest periods do not necessarily mean that workers are on break; these can be productive times. During the rest periods, workers may continue to perform mild or light work such as completing paperwork, sorting small parts, attending a meeting, or receiving training.

Work/rest schedules are often based on 1-hour cycles and might call for a rest period of 15 minutes every hour during hot weather, but 45 minutes per hour when temperature and humidity are extreme. Keep in mind that workers wearing flame-resistant cotton or chemical-resistant suits will experience increased body temperature of approximately 10-degrees more than wearing normal work clothing.

The following table acts as a guideline for creating work/rest schedules for workers, assuming the worker is wearing a chemical-resistant suit, gloves, boots and a respirator:

OSHA's Work/Rest Schedule for High Heat Environments

Tips for Prevention

Preventative tips from OSHA (and their website) and many other organizations are available to workers and employers to protect against heat-related illnesses, including awareness of heat illness symptoms and response, adequately utilizing shaded areas for resting, and drinking plenty of cool water.

To learn more about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to ensure the safe wellbeing of workers worldwide, contact them at 888.44.TOTAL or at mail@totalsafety.com.

Are You Ready for Real-Time Emergency Response?

While many facilities have a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place, they may not consider all environmental and hazardous conditions. A well-developed Emergency Action Plan facilitates and organizes company and employee responses during workplace emergencies, resulting in fewer and less severe injuries and, possibly, less facility structural damage.

A facility’s EAP is imperative to worker safety, of course, and can likely handle contained events, like fires. But what about a chemical release? A natural disaster? A terrorist threat? Evacuation might not always be the best response to a given emergency; consequently, the ability to provide real-time planning and response is becoming ever more important.

Incident Management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that all business have an Incident Management System (IMS). An IMS, as outlined in NFPA 1600, has a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure and is designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents.

As one part of a solid IMS, an Incident Command System (ICS) should be identified, similar to how an Emergency Response Team is identified in an EAP. The ICS puts a detailed plan in place to create more organized and streamlined efforts, which can ultimately minimize disruptions to operations, save lives , lessen damage and/or loss, and protect surrounding communities. In addition, it also allows the company to understand the total cost of risk.

Developing an Incident Management System

When developing an IMS, one should understand that the use of ICS depends upon the size and complexity of the business. Functions and roles may be assigned to multiple individuals or a few persons may be assigned multiple responsibilities. Figure 1 is a great example from FEMA of what the ICS might look like:

Emergency Response Procedures Flowchart
Figure 1—Incident Commander is the contact point with Safety, Liaison and Public Information for Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance and Administration.

The Incident Commander should not only know what is happening/has happened, but he/she should understand what could happen next. They should be able to easily identify and answer questions such as:

  • What type of incident is it?
  • Who should be notified?  Why?
  • Which areas require evacuation or a shelter-in-place?  Why?

In addition, the incident commander should take into account worker/responder exposure monitoring during the emergency, as well as any potential offsite impact.

When creating an IMS, one should consider automated solutions for incident management. Emergency management software, coupled with strategically placed chemical and meteorological sensors, allows incident commanders to respond to emergencies faster, more accurately, and in real-time with data provided by live plume models, release-rate estimations, meteorological data, and so much more.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The importance of emergency preparedness—conducting regular drills and identifying corrective actions—cannot be stressed enough. If workers and contractors do not know what actions to take or where to go, then the plan does no one any good.

Remember, drills combat human behavior, and there are a number of factors that affect human behavior during an emergency, including a person’s assumed role, experience, education, and personality, as well as the emergency’s perceived threat and the actions of others sharing the experience. Drills give employees and contractors experience, allowing them to react accurately, faster and more effectively in case of an actual emergency.

To learn more about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to ensure the safe wellbeing of workers worldwide, contact them at 888.44.TOTAL or at mail@totalsafety.com.

Total Safety Broadens Safety Equipment Rental Fleet

Total Safety, the world’s leading provider of industrial safety services and equipment, has partnered with Remote Safety Recovery Systems to include a series of decontamination shower, cooling and heating, safety, and other customizable trailers as part of the Total Safety rental fleet throughout North America.

Total Safety offers decontamination shower trailers for remote locations.Ideal for remote locations, Total Safety’s mobile decontamination shower trailers provide workers with access to ANSI-compliant emergency eyewash and shower stations to flush hazardous materials from the eyes and/or body.

Built tough for climates with extreme weather, Total Safety’s cooling and heating trailers give workers access to climate-controlled trailers, ideal for conducting meetings, providing safety and first aid, and more. In addition, Total Safety offers intrinsically-safe cooling trailers equipped with misting fans to reduce the ambient air temperature, keeping body temperatures stable and preventing heat illness.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires suitable facilities within the work area to protect the health and safety of workers—and for good reason. “Prolonged exposure to high-heat or freezing climates may cause serious health problems, and depending upon thTotal Safety offers heating and cooling trailers for extreme weather.e conditions, it can happen in a relatively quick amount of time if precautions are not taken,” says Kraig Knight of Remote Safety Recovery Systems.

About Total Safety                                                                   

Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated safety and compliance solutions and the products necessary to support them, including gas detection, respiratory protection, safety training, fire protection, compliance and inspection, industrial hygiene, onsite emergency medical treatment/paramedics, communications systems, engineered systems design, and materials management. It operates from 141 locations in 19 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3).

Total Safety has been selected as one of “America’s Safest Companies” for 2012 by EHS Today, in addition to receiving the “Best in Class” award from the Houston Business Roundtable, multiple AFPM Awards, and a host of industry and customer safety accolades. For more information about Total Safety and its unwavering commitment to safety, visit www.totalsafety.com.

About Remote Safety Recovery Systems

Remote Safety Recovery Systems provides mobile safety trailers and systems to support construction, timber, agriculture, oil and gas, and other outdoor industries that are exposed to hazardous chemicals, as well as inclement weather.

For additional information contact:
Stenning Schueppert
Senior Vice President – Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Development, Total Safety
713-353-7182

Total Safety’s Centralized Confined Space Monitoring System Evaluated by Texas A&M Engineering Extension

TEEX evaluates Total Safety's Centralized Confined Space Monitoring System
TEEX puts Total Safety’s Centralized Confined Space Monitoring System to the test

Total Safety, the world’s leading integrated safety services company, announced that its Centralized Confined Space Monitoring System has been tested and evaluated by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Product Development Center (“TEEX PDC”) at TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Institute to verify compliance with the current interpretation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 29 CFR 1910.146. The patent-pending system from Z-Systems, already successfully deployed in Europe, will likely serve as a further supplement to existing confined space safety operations.

Total Safety’s exclusively-licensed Centralized Confined Space Monitoring System utilizes a central control center that continuously identifies workers within permit-required confined spaces; maintains visual contact and a clear line of two-way communication with workers inside and outside the permit space; monitors the atmosphere of the permit space for toxic or dangerous gases; and sounds appropriate alarms if an incident occurs.

Total Safety engaged TEEX PDC to review and provide an independent third-party evaluation, and to coordinate and document operational tests utilizing the parameters of TEEX TESTED®. The TEEX PDC TESTED trademark ensures products or technologies entering the marketplace perform reliably with integrity and durability, as intended, under acceptable, repeatable real-world conditions.

About Total Safety

Total Safety, a Warburg Pincus portfolio company, is the world’s premier provider of integrated compliance, personnel and professional safety solutions and the products necessary to support them. It operates from 141 locations in 19 countries to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3). For more information about Total Safety, visit www.totalsafety.com.

About TEEX PDC

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Product Development Center (TEEX PDC) leverages engineering expertise, experienced market analysts along with realworld laboratories and facilities to ensure technology stays on the path to commercialization. TEEX PDC can develop methodologies, recruit subject matter experts, and develop partnerships to assess, test and evaluate products. It provides unbiased assessments to help develop and test products, as well as deliver it to market.

Silica Dust Exposure During Fracking

By John Baker, Total Safety Certified Industrial Hygienist

The public debate about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has weighed the potential for environmental pollution versus the economic and energy independence benefits which fracking has unlocked. But recently, worker exposure to silica dust during fracking has been highlighted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

One commonly used method of fracking requires large volumes of sand and water to be pumped into wells at high pressures to break up tight formations, like shale, which have trapped oil and gas. Many truckloads of sand are off loaded and transferred by conveyor belts before being mixed with water and other chemicals and pumped downhole. The dust produced, which may contain up to 99% crystalline silica, is a health concern due to the risk of silicosis, a progressive and disabling lung disease.

Several oil and gas companies partnered with NIOSH in the collection of 116 personal air samples at 11 fracking sites in five states. Almost half of the air samples exceeded the enforceable OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), which is defined on a sliding scale depending on the amount of silica in the respirable fraction of dust collected. NIOSH has established a recommended silica exposure limit (REL) of 0.05 mg/m3. Almost 80% of the samples exceeded this REL.

Until a safe and economically viable substitute can be found or engineering controls such as exhaust ventilation are installed, personal protective equipment including respirators must be used. A NIOSH approved, properly fitted and worn half mask or filtering facepiece dust respirator provides protection only up to 10 times the relevant occupational exposure limit. Almost 10% of the samples were at least 10 times the OSHA PEL and 30% of the samples were at least 10 times the NIOSH REL. Dust respirators alone may not adequately protect workers from the risk of silicosis during fracking.  An OSHA NIOSH hazard alert may be downloaded at http://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.pdf  . This excellent document provides detailed information about the study and links to additional information.

Industry and government are continuing to cooperate on finding workable controls. Rick Ingram, S.G.E, BP North America Gas, and the Chairperson of the National STEPS network states that:

NIOSH, OSHA and the US Onshore E&P Industry have been working in a cooperative effort to ensure that we fully understand this issue and protect our workers. As part of this effort, a focus group has been formed to further explore respirable silica, share best practices and develop a unified plan forward. Our industry has much to be proud of. We have the privilege of helping to supply low cost domestic energy to our nation while providing high quality, good paying jobs. Through the efforts of industry associations, organizations and agencies such as API, AESC, IADC, IPAA, SafeLandUSA, National STEPS Network, NIOSH, OSHA, educational institutions and countless dedicated individuals and professionals, we are we are working diligently to make our industry segment the safest of all industries. The fact that this hazard was identified and is being mitigated though voluntary, cooperative efforts demonstrates how far we have progressed and the very positive future of health and safety in US Onshore Exploration and Production segment.  To learn more, visit www.nationalstepsnetwork.com.

To learn more about potential respiratory hazards during fracking, call us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Hazard Recognition for Turnarounds

By John Baker, Total Safety Certified Industrial Hygienist

These are the “Top Ten” most frequently cited OSHA standards for the past year:

  1. Scaffolding
  2. Fall Protection
  3. Hazard Communication
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. Lock Out/Tag Out
  6. Electrical, wiring
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks
  8. Ladders
  9. Electrical, general
  10. Machine Guarding

Let’s take this list of OSHA standards and translate it into the actual hazards and how to recognize them in the workplace to prevent accidents and ensure compliance. What should you look for to prevent the top ten OSHA citations during turnarounds?

Scaffolding is the most frequently cited standard, followed by fall protection. We must be sure that each scaffold has a current, daily inspection tag, proper handrails and toe boards, and is erected on a level, firm surface. If a scaffold is more than four times taller than it is wide, is it secured to keep it from tipping over? Fall protection for construction is required for working six feet or more above ground level. Are your anchor points strong enough? They must hold 5,000 pounds for each person attached to them. Are your harnesses inspected prior to every use to be sure that they are free of defects? Where are floor and wall openings – are they guarded? Where are holes that tools, parts, aerosol cans or hot material could fall through? Are they covered and marked?

Do you have all the Material Safety Data Sheets for the welding rods, paints, adhesives, abrasive media, catalysts, and are they reviewed in everyday language by the supervisor before the craft people use them? Are containers labeled with the name of the contents and all warnings?

Has a lock out/tag out system been set up for each area where energy must be neutralized to allow safe work? Are there alternative pathways for electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or any other sort of “stored energy” to activate equipment?  Can you confirm that all these alternative energy sources been locked out?

Electrical wiring must be inspected to be sure it is free of nicks, kinks, frayed insulation and that the plugs ensure a good ground connection. OSHA requires 3 wire cord sets, not “ribbon” 2 wire cords. Excessive use of cords should be avoided and temporary wiring should be securely fastened every 10 feet and protected from physical damage. Are conduit fittings and junction box covers securely attached and breaker boxes and panel covers closed? Are there enough ground fault circuit interrupters available and have they been tested to make sure that they will work when needed. Are electrical outlets overloaded? Never force a circuit breaker to stay on as this could over draw an electrical device and cause a fire.  OSHA considers 600 volts or more as “high voltage”: make sure that any exposed live parts are guarded and posted with warning signs forbidding unqualified personnel entry or access. Assume that all overhead power lines are energized and keep at least 10 feet away from them.

Have all the appropriate people had forklift driving training? Are inspections done before each work shift when the forklifts or other industrial trucks are used? No one should be riding on the forks or anywhere else other than in a seat with a proper seat belt.

Are ladders inspected to be sure that rungs and steps are free from grease or oil, and joints between steps/rungs and side rails are tight? Are all hardware and fittings securely attached? A portable ladder should be angles so that its base is one-fourth of its working length from the vertical and at least 3 feet should project over the landing to be accessed.  Ladders must not be placed in boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to get additional height. No one should be standing on the top step of a step ladder. A rope should be used to raise or lower loads. Nothing should be carried in the hands while climbing a ladder.

Machine guarding in the shops is as important as the more visible hazards in the process units. Have existing guards been modified or removed? Rotating shafts and tools; saw blades, grinders, and other equipment with unprotected points of operation should have guards, interlocks or some means of keeping hands and body parts out of danger.

These are just a few of the most common hazards to look for related to the top 10 OSHA citations.  See how many more you can find at your job site. These tips are just the tip of the iceberg!

For more information about occupational hazards, feel free to contact us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety’s Valero-Texas City Location Awarded OSHA’s VPP Star Certification for Safety Excellence

Total Safety's Valero-Texas City Location Receives OSHA VPP Star CertificationTotal Safety, a leading global safety services company, announced that its Valero-Texas City location has been awarded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (“VPP”) Star Certification for safety excellence in the workplace. This is the fifth such award for Total Safety.

OSHA’s VPP recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintained injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. VPP Star certification recognizes the outstanding efforts of employees and managers who have achieved exemplary safety and health management systems (SHMS). Safety is a core value throughout the Total Safety organization and is practiced each and every day at all facilities.

“The OSHA VPP star certification is truly an honor. This recognition demonstrates the commitment of our staff to both their own safety and the safety of others,” said Chuck Gibson, Total Safety’s VPP Director. “They should be congratulated for their attention to workplace safety.”

With more than 20 other sites currently in the review process, Total Safety strives for Star Certification at additional locations within the next few years.

Ellis Pellerin, Total Safety’s Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) Director, added, “Outstanding teamwork leads to safety success, and the Total Safety team is dedicated to be the very best.”

In addition to the OSHA honor, Total Safety has received the “Best in Class” award from the Houston Business Roundtable, AFPM Awards, and a host of industry and customer safety accolades.