Reader Forum

Education fosters logical compliance In the "Insist on safety compliance to the letter" article in the May Human Side of Engineering, nowhere was there a mention of "read the MSDS" made. I realize your magazine is mainly on mechanical subjects by nature, but all first use of chemicals should start with the MSDS.

07/15/2002


Education fosters logical compliance

In the "Insist on safety compliance to the letter" article in the May Human Side of Engineering, nowhere was there a mention of "read the MSDS" made. I realize your magazine is mainly on mechanical subjects by nature, but all first use of chemicals should start with the MSDS. After an employee is educated to the hazards involved, then compliance with PPE (personal protective equipment) and procedures become a logical extension of behavior rather than an arbitrary, "Why didn't you put on a safety vest like you were instructed?" The worker didn't know why he needed a safety vest, so it wasn't such a big deal to forget to put it on. I think the supervisor should have gotten the suspension for lack of proper supervision!

— Mike Junker

Blowing off safety can result in injury, fine

This is further to a statement made in the Human Side of Engineering Section of Plant Engineering Magazine's May 2002 issue. I noticed that in the scenario "Safety violation, Be sure to take a hard and firm line," the author characterized "blowing a worker's hat off his head with an air hose" as "harmless kidding."

If the air hose is not fitted with a device which limits the increase in pressure when the nozzle is blocked, this could be very dangerous. In Ontario, our regulators felt that this was important enough to include a section on using air hoses to blow dust off clothing in our Occupational Health and Safety regulations (under s.66 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation. O.Reg 851). Although I am not familiar with U.S. OSHA, I know that there is an equivalent for this section.

I think the author used an example from his own experience to illustrate what he thought was harmless fun (and depending on the circumstances, or more to the point the presence of the necessary device, it may have been). Nevertheless, I decided to bring this to your attention because I believe that people's opinions are formed based on what they read and on what they infer from the material presented. I am hoping that you can let your readership know about the hazards of using compressed air to blow on a person. It may save someone from an injury, someone from the guilt of causing an injury to a coworker, and someone else from a fine.

— M. Halasz





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