Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Adequate supply" "readily accessible" clarification

Question 1: How does the ANSI standard Z308.1-1998 relate to 29 CFR 1910.151(b)? In a non-industrial workplace (for example, a corporate office) where employees perform administrative duties and there are no specific employment-related injuries anticipated, would a first aid kit matching the ANSI standard be sufficient for compliance with 29 CFR 1910.151(b)?

Reply: Paragraph (b) of 29 CFR 1910.151 requires that in the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital near the workplace, a person or persons must be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies must be readily available.

ANSI standards become mandatory OSHA standards only when, and if, they are adopted by OSHA; ANSI Z308.1,
Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits, was not adopted by OSHA. However, ANSI Z308.1 provides detailed information regarding the requirements for first aid kits; OSHA has often referred employers to ANSI Z308.1 as a source of guidance for the minimum requirements for first aid kits.

The contents of the first aid kit listed in ANSI Z308.1 should be adequate for a small worksite, like the one you describe in your letter. However, larger or multiple operations should consider the need for additional first aid kits, additional types of first aid equipment, and first aid supplies in larger quantities. You may wish to consult your local fire and rescue department, an appropriate medical professional, your local OSHA area office, or a first aid supplier for assistance in putting together a first aid kit which suits the needs of your workplace. You should also periodically assess your kit and increase your supplies as needed.


Question 2: Are there any specific interpretations for the term “readily available”?

Reply: The term “readily available” is not defined in the standard. However, responding in a timely manner can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, the person who has been trained to render first aid must be able to quickly access the first aid supplies in order to effectively provide injured or ill employees with first aid attention. The first aid supplies should be located in an easily accessible area, and the first aid provider generally should not have to travel through several doorways, hallways and/or stairways to access first aid supplies.

Question 3: Can an employer use the interpretation for “near proximity” (the 3-4 minute and 15 minute standards) for determining the quantity and location for first aid supplies?

[For the response to this question, please see the
01/16/2007 Letter to Mr. Brogan for OSHA's current policy on "near proximity."]

Question 4: Is there a standard for placing first aid kits and/or cabinets based on employee numbers, density, or geography?

Reply: 29 CFR 1910.151(b) does not specifically address the placement of first aid kits and/or cabinets based on employee numbers, density, or geography. Therefore, it is the employer's responsibility to assess the particular needs of the workplace and tailor first aid kits and their placement to the specific needs of the workplace.

Question 5: What “measuring stick” would an OSHA compliance officer use to determine acceptable first aid supplies for compliance with 29 CFR 1910.151(b)?

Reply: OSHA compliance officers take into consideration a variety of factors when assessing compliance with 29 CFR 1910.151(b). The factors that you mention above are some of the things that a compliance officer evaluates when assessing a first aid kit. We cannot provide a list of “exact requirements” which will apply for every workplace; each workplace must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the types of injuries and illnesses that are likely to occur at that workplace.

Question 6: Other than inspection of a site for specific hazards, are there quantitative measurements such as employee-to-kit ratios, time frames within which employees should be able to access supplies, etc.?

Reply: Please see our response to Question 4.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exposure to Corrosive Material - quick drenching facilities

Scenario: We are a manufacturer and transporter of corrosive materials, specifically 10.5% and 12.5% sodium hypochlorite. Our employees will transport and unload bulk sodium hypochlorite into above-ground storage tanks, either owned or leased by the customer. The customer then dispenses the bulk product into 2.5-gallon jugs for sale to retail customers.

Question 1: We, as a company, have recommended to our customers that they comply with the requirements of ANSI Z358.1-2004, American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment. If a customer does so and the equipment is provided within the work area for immediate use by our own employees, have we made a reasonable effort to comply with 29 CFR 1910.151(c)?

Response: Paragraph (c) of 29 CFR 1910.151 requires that suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing be provided within the work area for immediate use if an employee's eyes or body may be exposed to corrosive materials. The OSHA standard does not set specifications for emergency eyewash and shower equipment, but we agree that equipment that complies with ANSI requirements would usually meet the intent of the OSHA standard. It should also be noted that, in addition to the requirement for emergency flushing and drenching facilities, there are also requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) when employees are exposed to the hazards which corrosive chemicals present. PPE requirements are found in Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment, of 29 CFR §1910 and may include, but are not limited to, protection for the eyes, face, and hands, as well as protective clothing. The purpose of PPE is to prevent injury, whereas the purpose of the eye wash or shower is to minimize injury, should that first line of defense fail.

Question 2: Deliveries often occur at night or when the retail location is closed. When our driver arrives at the facility under these circumstances, he or she must use a key to enter the facility and the unloading area. The quick drenching facilities are located in the unloading area. Does the necessity of a key violate the accessibility requirement of the ANSI standard?

Response: Although OSHA often refers employers to ANSI Z358.1-2004 for guidance in the installation and operation of quick drenching and flushing equipment, OSHA does not interpret ANSI standards; OSHA may only provide interpretations of its own regulations. OSHA has its own requirements for the location and accessibility of quick drenching or flushing facilities. 29 CFR 1910.151(c) states that "[w]here 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" (emphasis added). While the need to use a key to unlock a door to reach the quick drenching or flushing facilities would ordinarily pose a problem, it appears that in your case your employee would already be inside the unloading area where the quick drenching facilities are located and where presumably any exposure to the injurious corrosive materials would occur.

Question 3: Who is responsible for providing the quick drenching and flushing facilities?

Response: Every employer with employees exposed to the corrosive chemicals is responsible for the safety and health of their employees. A delivery company may comply with the requirement to provide quick drenching and flushing facilities in a number of ways. The delivery company may elect to provide self-contained, portable equipment on the delivery vehicle. A possibly more convenient option for compliance would be to use the facilities provided by the retail employer for the retail employees. We envision that, in the majority of cases, the retail employer will have employees similarly exposed to the corrosive chemicals and thus would be required to provide quick drenching and flushing facilities for their employees. The delivery and retail employers coordinate other elements of their business relationship, such as delivery time, location, and quantity; the coordination of safety and health responsibilities can and should be included in this process. If the retail employer does not provide these facilities or if facilities are provided but are not appropriately selected and located for immediate emergency use by the delivery employees, then the delivery employer would still be required to provide suitable quick drenching and flushing facilities for its employees. The delivery employer needs to evaluate the work process, assessing factors such as configuration of the work area, the corrosivity of the materials, and the potential created by the work process for the corrosive chemical to come into contact with the employee. The delivery employer would then train employees as to the hazards presented, select and require appropriate PPE, and provide suitable quick drenching and flushing facilities for immediate use by their employees.

Question 4: Are small businesses (e.g., retail stores) subject to 29 CFR 1910.151(c), if they handle corrosive liquid materials?

Response: Yes. All employers, regardless of size, that have employees whose eyes or body may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials must provide quick drenching and flushing facilities.

Question 5: Is there a quantity of corrosive chemical that triggers the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.151(c)?

Response: No, there is no threshold quantity of corrosive material that triggers the requirement. The determining factor for the application of the standard is the possible exposure of an employee to injury from contact with a corrosive material.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is Online Training acceptable for meeting 29 CFR 1910.151

Question: Does OSHA consider online training only (computer-based training without a hand-on skill component or verification of competent skill performance by a qualified trainer) acceptable for meeting the intent of the basic first-aid and CPR requirements of OSHA standards at 29 CFR 1910.151 (medical services and first aid), 1910.146 (permit-required confined spaces), 1910.266 (logging operations), 1910.269 (electric power generation, transmission, and distribution), 1910.410 (qualifications of dive team), and 1926.950 (power transmission and distribution)?

Reply: Online training alone would not meet the requirements of these training standards. The word "train" is defined as "[t]o make proficient with special instruction and practice," Webster's II New Collegiate Dictionary, 1995, p. 1,169. These standards require training in physical skills, such as bandaging and CPR. The only way these physical skills can be learned is by actually practicing them. OSHA's Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program, 2006, p. 11, states that a first-aid training program should have trainees develop hands-on skills through the use of mannequins and partner practice. The guide may be accessed at www.osha.gov. Doctors and nurses receive hands-on training. However, the standards cited above do not require verification of competent performance, except as follows. The general industry confined space standard provides at 29 CFR 1910.146(k)(l)(i):
(k) Rescue and emergency services.

(1) An employer who designates rescue and emergency services, pursuant to paragraph (d)(9) of this section, shall:

(i) Evaluate a prospective rescuer's ability to respond to a rescue summons in a timely manner, considering the hazard(s) identified;
The logging standard provides at 29 CFR 1910.266 in mandatory Appendix B that training "... shall be conducted using the conventional methods of training such as lecture, demonstration, practical exercise, and examination (both written and practical)" (emphasis added). The diving standard at 29 CFR 1910.410(a)(3) provides that training of dive team members shall be "...(American Red Cross standard course or equivalent)." Since the American Red Cross standard courses include verification of competent skill performance, this provision requires likewise.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Conclusion of First Aid Program Fundamentals

Employers are required by OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.151 to have a person or persons adequately trained to render first aid for worksites that are not in near proximity to an infirmary, clinic, or hospital.

It is advised that the first-aid program for a particular workplace be designed to reflect the known and anticipated risks of the specific work environment. Consultation with local emergency medical experts and providers of first-aid training is encouraged when developing a first-aid program.

The program must comply with all applicable OSHA standards and regulations. (See section on OSHA Requirements.) OSHA requires certain employers to have CPR-trained rescuers on site.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a potential risk at all worksites, regardless of the type of work. Serious consideration should be given to establishing a workplace AED program.

First-aid supplies must be available in adequate quantities and be readily accessible.

First-aid training courses should include instruction in general and workplace hazard-specific knowledge and skills. CPR training should incorporate AED training if an AED is available at the worksite. First-aid training should be repeated periodically to maintain and update knowledge and skills.

Management commitment and worker involvement is vital in developing, implementing and assessing a workplace first-aid program.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Aid Program Fundamental Part 9: Trainee Assessment, Skills Update, Program Update

Trainee Assessment

Assessment of successful completion of the first-aid training program should include instructor observation of acquired skills and written performance assessments.

Skills Update

First-aid responders may have long intervals between learning and using CPR and AED skills. Numerous studies have shown a retention rate of 6-12 months of these critical skills. The American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee encourages skills review and practice sessions at least every 6 months for CPR and AED skills. Instructor-led retraining for life threatening emergencies should occur at least annually. Retraining for non-life-threatening response should occur periodically.

Program Update

The first-aid program should be reviewed periodically to determine if it continues to address the needs of the specific workplace. Training, supplies, equipment and first-aid policies should be added or modified to account for changes in workplace safety and health hazards, worksite locations and worker schedules since the last program review. The first-aid training program should be kept up-to date with current first-aid techniques and knowledge. Outdated training and reference materials should be replaced or removed.

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