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10 Safety Questions Commonly Asked in 2015 *


1. Which respirator cartridge should I use when painting?

As with any application requiring respiratory protection, which respirator cartridge you may need depends on the type of paint and its chemical make-up. It is always best to consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to review the composition information (Section 3 of the SDS) and to see if a respirator suggestion is provided (Section 8 of the SDS). Some other factors that need to be known before a decision is made about appropriate respiratory protection are:

  • Airborne concentration of the contaminant in question
  • Frequency of use (e.g., continuously, intermittently) throughout the shift
  • Temperature
  • Humidity

It is essential that when looking for an appropriate chemical cartridge for any application that you understand and know all the variables that potentially impact the decision process.

Source: 3M Respirator Selection and Use - http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3M-PPE-Safety-Solutions/Personal-Protective-Equipment/safety-management/safety-training/respirators/

2. What gloves are appropriate for protection from acid?

There may be several options available. “Acid” is a very broad group of chemicals and a glove that works for one acid may not work for another. For example, nitrile is a very common chemical resistant glove material and it is excellent for protection from hydrochloric acid, but it is not appropriate for use with nitric acid. The same specifics would be needed when selecting gloves for “caustics” or “solvents.” Also, data from the glove manufacturers is generally provided for specific chemicals, not mixtures. For any mixture, compatibility of each chemical component must be verified.

Another factor in chemical resistant glove selection that needs to be addressed is the concentration of the chemical. A glove that is appropriate for a 10% solution of a chemical may not be appropriate for a 95% solution. Once the specific chemical information (chemical name, components and, concentration) is known, the glove selection process can start with the goal being to find a glove with the best chemical resistance for the application.

Source: Ansell Limited, SpecWare Online Chemical Hand Protection http://www.ansellpro.com/specware/guide.asp

3. How do I select a harness for fall protection? What other components are needed?

When selecting a fall protection harness consideration must be given to the harness material, d-ring locations, buckle styles, and working load limits. Basic harness materials include nylon (excellent strength and comfort), polyester (excellent chemical resistance) and Nomex®/Kevlar® (flame retardant and commonly used in arc flash and welding applications). Center back d-rings are found on every harness and they are the only connective point allowed for fall arrest scenarios. Side d-rings are for used positioning when workers need their hands free for certain work functions, chest d-rings are used for positioning work such as ladder and tower climbing applications, and shoulder d-rings are used for lowering workers into tight spaces or rescue applications. Harness buckles are offered in mating, tongue, friction and quick connect styles.

Once a harness is selected the other pieces of the system follow. Fall protection systems break down to three primary components, which are known as the ABC’s of fall protection. The “A” is the anchor or anchorage point - what you are attaching to that can withstand the impact of a fall. The “B” is the body harness. Lastly, the “C” is the connection device, the critical link which runs from your body harness to the anchor point and provides the deceleration in the event of a fall.

Working load limits may be key to the harness and fall protection system that is selected. ANSI/ISEA testing protocol has a 310-pound limit. OSHA permits capacities above 310 pounds and 400 – 420-pounds are typical. Fall protection equipment is a system and all components in the system must be rated to the same working load limit. If there is a need for a 420-pound rated harness, then the connector must also be rated for 420-pounds.

Source: Miller® by Honeywell, Miller Guide – Smart Policy, Safety Compliance at Height, LMG

4. How do I choose the right cut resistant glove for my application?

With multiple rating scales, a variety of acceptable or certified standards and differing testing methods, you may be somewhat overwhelmed when selecting a cut resistant glove. The U.S. uses the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) / ISEA 105 standard and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) cut test methods for determining a gloves level of cut resistance. These methods deliver a rating based on the grams of weight needed to cut through a material. This weight translates to a level of 0 - 5. The more weight needed to cut through the material, the higher the level of cut resistance. Employers are responsible for performing a hazard assessment of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards. This includes an assessment of any work activities involving sharp points, pinch points, sheet metal handling, glass handling, razor wire work, utility knives / box cutters, puncture hazards, abrasion hazards, sharps and stripping wire. All of these activities may require cut resistant gloves.

Source: ANSI/ISEA 105 – 2011 Hand Protection Selection Criteria

5. How do I know which fire extinguisher to use for my application?

The requirements for portable fire extinguishers used in general industry are governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and are located in the Code of Federal Regulations 29CFR 1910.157. There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires.

  1. Class A extinguishers are used to fight fires associated with common combustibles such as wood, upholstery or fibers.
  2. Class B extinguishers are used with combustible and flammable liquids such as gasoline or oil.
  3. Class C extinguishers are used to fight fires resulting from electrical equipment.
  4. Class D extinguishers are used with fires associated with flammable metals.
  5. Class K extinguishers are used to fight fires involving cooking media (i.e. fats, grease and oils).

Additional information that may also be necessary when selecting fire extinguishers are the size and UL rating required.

Source: 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.157 – Portable Fire Extinguishers

6. What does the date stamp on my rubber insulating gloves mean?

The date stamp gives the user valuable information regarding testing. In addition to the daily inspection, OSHA requires that electrical safety rubber insulating gloves be tested periodically. These electrical tests are specified in 29 CFR 1910.137(c)(2)(viii). Rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every six months thereafter. If the insulating gloves have been electrically tested but not issued for service, they may not be placed into service unless they have been electrically tested within the previous 12 months. They also must be tested when the insulating value is suspect, after repair and after being used without protectors.

Source: 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.137 – Standards on Electrical Protective Equipment

7. How do I know which flammable safety cabinet to buy for my facility?

There are a few key considerations before ordering a flammable cabinet. To meet the standard for flammable cabinets, all manufacturers build them according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), OSHA and Uniform Fire Code (UFC) specific requirements. There may also be governing local or state codes as well as specific requirements from your insurance carrier. Other key factors that need to be known are the type of flammable to be stored and the size and type of container to be stored. Consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to find the flash point and boiling point for each liquid and store accordingly. OSHA allows 60 gallons of Category 1, 2, or 3 or 120 gallons of Category 4 flammables to be stored in a single flammable liquids storage cabinet.

Source: 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.106; NFPA 30: Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code and Uniform Fire Code Article 79: Flammable and Combustible Liquids

8. Do 16 ounce or 32 ounce eyewash bottles meet the requirements for an eyewash?

First, does your facility or work area require an eyewash according to 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.151(c)? It states “Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.” If so, then no, a 16 or 32 ounce bottle does not meet the standard. The key to meeting the standard, which defers to ANSI/ISEA Z358.1, is that the eye wash must deliver 0.4 gallons per minute (GPM) of tepid flushing fluid for 15 minutes to both eyes simultaneously. The ANSI/ISEA standard Z358.1 is a national consensus standard that OSHA refers employers to as a recognized source for guidance.

Source: ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 – 2014 American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment

9. Which arc flash coverall is needed when working with 480 Volts?

An arc flash risk assessment is required to determine the appropriate coverall for an application using 480 Volts. This will be helpful in defining the proper Personal Protective Equipment Category. There are two ways to perform an arc flash risk assessment:

  1. Perform Incident Energy Analysis OR
  2. Use Arc Flash PPE Category Tables using NFPA 70E-2015 Reference Table 130.7(C)(16)

Once the assessment is performed and a PPE Category is determined, then a coverall matching the PPE category can be chosen.

Source: NFPA 70E: 2015 Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, Current Edition: 2015

10. What products can I use to fill an opening and create a firewall?

This may seem like a simple question, but there are several factors that go into selecting fire barrier products. According to the National Electric Code (NEC) 300.21 openings into or through fire-rated assemblies must be fire stopped using approved methods to maintain the fire-resistance rating. Fire stopping has three elements - the fire-rated walls, partitions, floors or ceilings being penetrated; the cables, cable trays or conduits that make up the object creating the penetration; and the materials and methods used to seal the penetrations to prevent the spread of smoke and fire. To be acceptable, the entire system needs to be a UL (Underwriter Laboratories) compliant. A number of manufacturers produce fire-stop materials and publish the UL information related to the product and installation requirements.

Source: National Electric Code: 300.21

*The information provided is intended for general purposes only. It is not a substitute for review of product information and instructions, or applicable government regulations or industry standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion.