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Thinking Safety August 2012 eNewsletter - Grainger Industrial Supply

Thinking Safety eNewsletter

Thinking Safety Monthly eNewsletter

September is National Domestic Preparedness Month

August 2012 | Issue #5

Duracell® Batteries & Chargers 

Safety FAQ

  Q.   Can I wear clear lens safety eyewear to protect myself from UVA and UVB rays?


A recent Uvex Lens Technology publication states that Uvex clear lenses will block 99.9% of UVA and UVB radiation up to 400 nanometers (nm). This same publication suggests using clear lenses for indoor applications only and switching to a sunglass tint (preferably gray or brown) for outdoor use.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has chosen, "Resolve to be Ready 2012" as the slogan for its ninth annual National Domestic Preparedness Month. "Resolve to be Ready 2012" is a part of FEMA's Ready Campaign. The campaign's information and online tools make it easy for individuals and organizations to prepare their families, businesses and communities for emergencies of all kinds - including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

Disasters are unpredictable; like a pop quiz. And like a pop quiz, practice and preparation are vital parts of passing the test. Being prepared for disasters requires more than knowing what to do in case of a tornado, flood or fire. It's also about things such as: preparing 72-hours worth of disaster supplies for the home, office and car; developing and practicing a family emergency plan; understanding community warning systems and evacuation routes; knowing who to contact in the community for more information; learning how to get involved during an emergency and much more.

In addition to adults and organizations, FEMA's Ready Kids website helps educate children about disaster preparedness. This website has games and information on disaster preparedness presented in more kid-friendly ways. Disasters are not a fun topic, but learning about them can be! When children complete the training at "Readiness U", they get their very own graduation certificates. This website also contains resources for parents and teachers, which can be used at home or in the classroom.

You'll find free emergency preparedness information and resources in English and Spanish at the Ready Campaign's websites: and You can also call toll-free, 1-800-BE-READY and-1-888-SE-LISTO. also offers a tool kit which provides information on how to engage others on this vital topic.

In addition to this information, Grainger has two online resources to assist with disaster preparedness planning. Check out Quick Tips Document No. 332, "Emergency Preparedness Plan" as well as Grainger's Emergency Preparedness Resource Center.

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Ask a Certified Safety Professional


Ask a CSP   by Wes Maertz, CSP

Technical Support Specialist
Certified Safety Professional
B.S.E. in Occupational Safety
14 years at Grainger

Question: In OSHA regulations, I've seen both "Competent Person" and "Qualified Person" referenced. Are these terms synonymous?

Answer: These terms are not synonymous. A competent person can identify hazards and has the authority to mitigate them. A qualified person must have a "recognized degree, certificate etc., or extensive experience and ability to solve (engineer) the hazard out of the situation." Typically, the qualified person would be involved in the first stages of a proposed job or process to identify and engineer the hazard before the work starts. After the work begins, the competent person would be on the job site to ensure the job is completed safely.

Read more about the OSHA definitions of Competent 1926.32(f) and Qualified 1926.32(m).

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Reducing the Risks of Arc Flash

Electrical workers are exposed to a number of hazards, including electrical shock. Arcflash is another electrical hazard that can cause serious injury or death - even if an employee doesn't come into direct contact with an energized conductor. An arc flash can generate extremely high heat causing severe burns. In addition to health and liability concerns for a business, equipment can be damaged leading to costly downtime.

Arc flash is an electrical short circuit through air that flashes over from one exposed live conductor to another conductor or the ground. Arc flashes can be caused in a variety of ways including coming close to a high-amp source with a conductor, dropping a tool or creating a spark, equipment failure due to use of substandard parts, improper installation, or even normal wear and tear. Because the frequency of reported accidents is increasing, OSHA and many electrical equipment manufacturers are raising awareness of arc flash safety standards.

NEC Labeling Requirement

OSHA is citing and fining employers for failure to protect employees from the dangers of arc flash. For guidelines on best practices for protecting employees, OSHA refers employers to the NFPA 70E standard, "Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace." In addition, the National Electric Code® - NFPA 70 - added a requirement in 2002 mandating that products presenting potential arc flash hazards be labeled to warn of the hazard. These labels must be clearly visible to workers on any area of a product that conducts electricity. This code provision covers electrical equipment (such as switchboards and control panels) located in manufacturing and commercial establishments (other than dwelling occupancies) that must be field marked with a warning label subject to examination, adjustment, service or maintenance while energized.

To further the requirement, the National Electrical Code (NEC409) Standard for Industrial Control Panels created rule UL508A specific for Panel Short Circuit Rating effective April 2006. This rule mandates that permanent nameplates on industrial machinery must include (but are not limited to) information about supply voltage, phase, frequency, full-load current, maximum ampere ratings and electrical diagram numbers.

How You Can Comply with Arc Flash Labeling Requirements

The current NEC requirement states only that the label must warn of the potential arc flash hazard. Most arc flash labels, at a minimum, instruct employees to wear the proper personal protection equipment. Many also take the opportunity to warn of electrical shock.

Durability and Content for Pre-printed or Write-on Labels

Grainger offers "Warning" or "Danger" preprinted labels formatted according to the ANSI standard. Arc Flash Labels are made of laminated durable polyester to protect the text and graphics. The back of the labels also employ an acrylic adhesive, which allows the labels to be securely and permanently affixed to a wide range of surfaces. Write-on vinyl checkbox label can be easily written on with pen or marker. You can then apply an over-laminate to protect the printing from harsh environmental conditions.

Make-it-Yourself Arc Flash Labels

Large facilities may need to create hundreds if not thousands of customized arc flash labels. In this case, industrial printing systems are designed as a convenient, flexible and cost-effective way to create, modify and print labels. Label printers and label materials are designed for industrial use, and employ thermal-transfer printing to provide the optimum in UV, chemical and abrasion resistance. Special software applications include preformatted arc flash warning or danger templates to quickly fill in the blanks and print.

Make Your Employees Aware of the Hazards

OSHA is enforcing the labeling requirement because of the critical importance of making workers aware of this dangerous hazard. OSHA recognizes the need to modify long-established work habits and practices to ensure adequate protection. To increase safety and ensure compliance throughout your workplace, it is critical to learn and identify arc flash hazards in your facilities, train employees in safe work practices and use labels and other awareness aids to keep the message in the forefront and reinforce the desired behavior.

Grainger offers an extensive selection of Brady arc flash warning labels.

Copyright ©2008 Brady Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(This article is excerpted from Brady Worldwide, Inc. and is being used with permission.)

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Autumn Safety

The end of August is the time to prepare students for heading back to school. Learning safety lessons and remembering vital safety points are important during this time for educators, parents and students.

As children head back to school, remind them about bike safety, traffic rules,stranger danger and the potential hazards of school playground equipment. Many of these topics are addressed at the Back to School Safety web page at the National Safety Council (NSC) website.

Back to school time is also a good time to review all vaccinations. To help withyour review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers printable schedules and tools on this topic.

You can also find additional information on back to school safety by viewing Grainger Quick Tips Document Number 283.

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Protecting Emergency Service Workers

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers include first responders, emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics and others with job titles that may not always indicate their EMS duties. These personnel can include nurses and firefighters who provide pre-hospital emergency medical care as part of their job responsibilities.

These workers are exposed to a number of inherent risks that include lifting patients and equipment, treating patients with infectious illnesses, handling hazardous chemicals and/or body substances and the land and air transport of patients. These workers are the primary providers of pre-hospital emergency medical care and an integral part of disaster response. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that EMS workers have high rates of serious injuries as well as job-related fatalities.

As a result of these high incidence rates, there has been a collaborative effort by a number of federal agencies to improve occupational safety and health for EMS personnel. For more information you can check out the National EMS Culture of Safety web page as well as Grainger's Public Safety page for access to literature, safety equipment, apparel and supplies.

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FREE August Webinar: Eye and Face Protection – Overview of ApplicableStandards

Join us for a free webinar on Thursday, August 30 at 1;00 p.m. (CT). Grainger Technical Product Support Specialist, Sally Smart will tackle issues dealing with eye and face protection. Topics include background on the applicable OSHA/ANSI requirements, selecting the proper eye protection and caring for eye injuries.

Register Now!

Did You Know?

Uvex by Honeywell offers a wide variety of eyewear, goggles, face protection and accessories to meet your safety needs.

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Think Safety. Think Grainger.®

Rely on North America's largest distributor of safety products. You'll also find a network of safety resources that help you stay in compliance and help protect employees from hazardous situations. Count on Grainger for lockout tagout, fall protection equipment, confined space products, safety signs, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency response and so much more!

Please Note
The content in this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific compliance questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.

If you have any questions regarding product specifications or applications, email us at