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Safety is a top priority for the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The ACC Center for the Polyurethane Industry (CPI), the Panel on Diisocyanates (DII) and the Panel on Aliphatic Diisocyanates (ADI) recently renewed their partnership with the OSHA and continued their longstanding ACC OSHA alliance. The alliance works to provide information, resources and training to employers, occupational health professionals, stakeholders and others within the polyurethane value chain to protect the health and safety of workers who handle diisocyanates.
Falling from raised surfaces remains a leading cause of workplace death for construction workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 401 of the 1,061 structural deaths recorded in 2019 were due to falls. To help raise awareness of potential fall hazards and preventative measures, OSHA is holding a National Fall Prevention Break in Construction May 3-7.
Over the past year, protecting against COVID-19 has been a top priority in terms of workplace safety. While containing the spread of this deadly virus is of the utmost importance, it is important to keep in mind that other hazards remain in the workplace. This week, ACC is supporting OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to remind employers and workers that it is equally important to limit and prevent these hazards.
What exactly is a security shutdown?
OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work, the National Occupational Research Agenda, and others to promote safety shutdowns. These are voluntary opportunities for employers and employees to take a break from work to discuss possible fall hazards and ways to avoid them. These safety shutdowns can take a variety of forms, from toolbox discussions and inspections of safety equipment to developing rescue plans and discussing job-specific hazards.
While the National Fall Prevention Break in Construction Week is primarily focused on employers whose workers may be at risk of falling, safety breakdowns are not limited to falls. Employers across the construction industry are also encouraged to take time this week to discuss general safety in the workplace with their employees, including topics such as potential workplace hazards and occupational safety. Security shutdowns can be productive means of communication where employees share their perspectives on workplace safety.
How do I prepare for a successful security shutdown?
The polyurethane value chain is broad and encompasses several areas of the construction industry, from roofing to insulation. Regardless of what industry you are in, it is always important to review best security practices.
Are you an employer considering a safety shutdown but don’t know where to start? OSHA has helpful resources and tips to help you prepare for a security shutdown.
Reviewing your current fall prevention program is key to developing a successful safety shutdown. Understanding the fall hazards of your employees and the training and safety equipment made available to them can help you determine if your program needs improvements or revisions to meet your company’s goals for workplace safety.
Decide what information is most helpful and appropriate for the safety of your employees and how that information can be provided with caution. Finally, determine the most appropriate time of day to hold a security shutdown, including how long it will last. The stand-down itself should be positive and interactive.
ACC remains committed to occupational safety
As part of our commitment, ACC continues to develop innovative ways to keep workers safe. The ACC OSHA Alliance is committed to improving worker protection and promoting safety in the workplace by sharing the latest workplace safety resources, information and guidance with members, occupational health professionals and stakeholders.
In addition to the ACC OSHA Alliance, members must take part in Responsible Care®, the chemical industry’s premier initiative for environmental, health, safety and security services. Companies that participate in Responsible Care® annually report on their progress on a series of process safety-related performance measurements that ACC makes publicly available online. Companies participating in Responsible Care® have safety records nearly five times better than US manufacturing and nearly three times better than US chemicals business as a whole.
Follow us on Twitter (@ AmChemistry), where ACC will share tips and resources throughout the week on how to best protect workers from the risk of falling. Also, make sure to share your stand-down story on social media using the hashtag # StandDown4Safety.