Jeff Corky Courtright, safety coordinator for Planet Granite based in Colorado Springs, CO, took the time to talk about OSHA inspections and safety with Stone World magazine. Courtright has in the stone industry for six years and construction for 40 years, involved in safety for the majority of that time.

SW: Talk to us about the top 10 citations that OSHA gives fabricators

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JC: One of the top ones was there was No Hazard Assessment Performed. You have to write this down, keep it in a book. You look at it and see that I have this hazard of flying stone chips. What are we going to do? Well, we will have guys wear safety glasses, that’s how we will take care of that. I think everyone knows PPE is the last line of defense. Before that, come up with some administrative policies. What we do here is not have any dry grinding going on, since we know that produces silica. So that’s in place and that has gotten rid of our hazard of silica. You could also have exhaust fans or vacuums to collect dust. Then the last line is PPE.

The hazard assessment is really easy to do. You can go to the OSHA website, I know a lot of people are scared to go there, but there is so much information. You can pull up a sample hazard analysis sheet. You can get a blank one and fill it out yourself. A lot of companies will use a safety consultation company that will supply you with all of that. A lot of people think they can be pricey but if you look at the fines now, OSHA is pushing a $14,000 citation.

SW: It’s also important to point out here, this isn’t just a conversation you have with each employee, this is something that needs to be listed and written down somewhere.

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JC: OSHA is a government identity so they love paperwork. We have had several OSHA visits here at our place and they say what do you have for this? We set out binders. We have it on our computers, which isn’t that impressive. When we have it out on our table with hazard assessment programs and binders full of safety meetings. If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.

Hazard communication is another big one and most are familiar with this. The HAZCOM program. Again, it has to be written down. You can get it online. Most people don’t have their SDS, or safety data sheets. Most of you old timers know it as MSDS. The new format is an easier one for people to read. A good thing to do is to call your suppliers, just tell them if you’re going to bring something on-site I want the SDS sheet on it. They should all know better by now, this has been going on for six years.

Another big one is to know about the secondary containers. A lot of times you will see bottles of acetone or denatured alcohol or oil for their polishers, those containers need to have labeling on it of what’s in there. WD-40 we use it at work and at home and there are some hazards there and they need to be labeled. We went to WD’s website, took a picture of one of their safety labels, had to size it down, cut it out, make a sticker to go on our containers and put some packaging tape over it and they are still there. OSHA loved it. Very simple to do.

Last one, is the workers were not trained on the SDS, or GHS. OSHA will come up to your workers and ask, ‘Hey, do you know about GHS?’ Global harmonization system. This is when we went from MSDS sheets to SDS sheets. One of the little tricks that OSHA does it they will come up to the guys and ask, ‘Where are your MSDS sheets?’ I have trained our guys to say, ‘Sorry, we don’t have any MSDS sheets, all we have are SDS sheets. That’s the signal that you have had your global harmonization system training. That is the main point of it, that you know how to read the SDS sheets and the 16 sections of it. What each section means, what is important to you and what is important to a chemical engineer. That’s one of the little things OSHA likes to play around with. So make sure you know what an SDS is and a global harmonization system. If any of the listeners are looking for a safety meeting to do, go ahead, pull up one of these SDS sheets, and talk about it during the safety meetings.