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What’s required for storage on my flammable materials?

You need to make sure you store flammable and
combustible materials in the right containers and the right cabinets. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and OSHA require you to protect
your workers from certain risks. So, first things first, you need to know what you’re working with.

Perform a hazard assessment and refer to your Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to know if your materials have the risk for:

  •       Fire
  •       Explosion
  •       Reactivity
  •       Oxidizing
  •       Chemical burn
  •       Pressure release
  •       Other environmental risks

No brainer, right? You’d be surprised how many times these liquids and materials are stored in the wrong ways.  

You can’t just toss corrosive liquids in with flammable ones. That’s why the easiest thing to avoid unnecessary injury is to use color-coded safety cabinets. This way your workers know at-a-glance what cabinets are meant for what substances.

Red: Paints, inks, or other combustible liquids

Blue: Corrosive liquids

Green: Toxic pesticides and insecticides

Yellow: Flammable liquids

Silver or natural: Laboratory settings

White, beige or gray: Waste or outdoor lockers

Think you’re done? Not so fast. You also need to know what each substance’s flashpoint is. Hint: this tells you at what temperature your flammable liquid will turn into a vapor.


Check out this handy chart:

Cat 4: Flashpoints above 140° F and at/below 199.4°F

Cat 3: Flashpoint at/above 73.4°F and at/below 140°F

Cat 2: Flashpoint below 73.4°F and boiling point above 95°F

Cat 1: Flashpoint below 73.4°F and boiling point at/below 95°F


Alright, friend. Now that you’ve done some homework you can choose flammable storage cabinets. You need to take into account a few other things like cabinet design, door style, grounding elements, seismic protection and ventilation.


How’s that for just needing a simple safety cabinet? Protect your crew and cover your bases.

"Don’t store flammable things near things that could go boom or ignite other things that could go boom."

- Bacon
shocked bacon

How many eyewash stations are required in our facility?

There’s no easy answer to this. If your crew works with acids, solvents, particulates, chemicals, toxins or corrosive material, you need eyewash stations on site. You must have equipment that can generate a steady flow of  0.4 gallons tepid (60°-100° F) water per minute for 15 continuous minutes. And, the pressure must be 30 psi. Long story short, a dump bottle just won’t cut it.

Check out these tips to make sure you have enough eyewash stations:

  1. Workers should be able to get to an eyewash station within 10 seconds (or 55 ft.) of the hazard.
  2. The worker’s path to the station must be well-lit, have proper signage and be clear of obstructions.
  3. Eyewash station has to be on the same level as the hazard. You can’t expect someone that just had chemicals shoot in their eye to climb stairs or ramps.
  4. If you have multiple people working with the same hazard, you need stations to accommodate them all. No one should have to wait in line to flush something dangerous out of their eyes.

So, basically you need to provide workers with functioning eyewash stations, so they don’t end up blind. Want to hear another side benefit to having the right equipment? You won’t be part of the $300 million in medical costs, workers’ comp and loss of production that happens every year as a result of eye injuries at work.

annoyed bacon

"Enough to make sure your workers don’t end up blind."

- Bacon

What’s required for First Aid kits?

Before you go out and buy first aid kits for your job site, you probably should know the hazards are present. And, you need to know the severity of potential injury. So, your first step is to identify those hazards with a site assessment. First aid isn’t just about having bandages handy for a papercut. Having the right first aid available to your workers can potentially save lives. And, another little thing—it’s required by 29 CFR 1910!

First aid kits are broken down by certain classifications and types (ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015):

Class A: Kits that contain supplies that treat the most common injuries found on jobsites.

Class B: Kits that contain supplies for high risk and more complex environments.

Type I: Indoor kits that are mounted in a fixed location and won’t be impacted by environmental factors.

Type II: Portable indoor kits.

Type III: Indoor/Outdoor kits that can be portable but should be able to be mounted and have a watertight seal. They must have shelter if used outdoors.

Type IV: Mobile and outdoor applications that are exposed to environmental factors and potential rough handling. And they must pass tests for corrosion, impact and moisture (submersible).

Check out this handy chart so your first aid kits are always stocked and ready:

ANSI Requirements



Class A Kits

Class B Kits

Minimum Size

Adhesive Bandage



1" x 3"

Adhesive Tape



2.5 yd

Antibiotic Application



0.5 g




0.5 g

Breathing Barrier




Burn Dressing



4" x 4"

Burn Treatment



0.9 g

Cold Pack



4" x 5"

Eye Covering



2.9 sq. in

Eye/Skin Wash



1 oz

Eye/Skin Wash



4 oz

First Aid Guide




Hand Sanitizer




Medical Exam Gloves

2 pair

4 pair


Roller Bandage



2" x 4 yd

Roller Bandage



4" x 4 yd








4" x 24"

Sterile Pad



3" x 3"





Trauma Pad



5" x 9"

Triangular Bandage



40" x 40" x 56"

"Depends on what kind of first aid kit you’re talking about. Unless you’re a pirate, you need more than eye patches."

- Bacon
smug bacon

How often do we have to dispose of chemical waste and where do we store it?

Chemical waste can come from a bunch of different places. Think about all the shop towels and rags you use on a daily basis. You wouldn’t want a bunch of oily rags piling up in some 55 gallon container, just waiting for ol’ Leroy to toss his cigarette butt in it, would ya?

Here’s the rule of thumb: You need a separate receptacle that will house that one hazardous material. You don’t want to cross-contaminate these materials. That’s when bad things happen, such as explosions or harmful vapors materializing. Keep them separate and empty those containers NIGHTLY.

And don’t go tossing them into your dumpster. No. No. No. They belong in a designated storage area onsite where than can be stored safely until the proper authority arrives to take them away.

While everyone likes to watch a dumpster fire, no one wants to start one.


content bacon

"If it can harm people or the environment, use your head and get rid of it the right way."

- Bacon

I have forklifts driving around. Do I need to put employees in vests for visibility?

While ANSI 107 doesn’t require you to outfit your employees in Hi-Viz vests, don’t you think it might be a good idea? Every year there are about 85 workers killed and another 100,000 seriously injured in forklift accidents. So, there might be a bit of a communication and visibility breakdown when it comes to forklift operation.

If you’d like to avoid a forklift accident on your job site, there are many ways to do so. OSHA says about 70% of these accidents could have be avoided with proper training and policy.

One way to do this is to outfit your employees with hi-visibility apparel. The other ways include ongoing training for both operators and workers on foot.

Make sure to follow best practices that include use of horns, spotlights, barricade tapes and signage that alerts both parties of the dangers in that area.


"Do you want your forklift operator to be able to see people while he’s driving a dangerous piece of machinery?"

- Bacon
curious bacon

I’m told I need SDS sheets instead of MSDS sheets. What’s the difference and what do I actually need?

They sound so similar, but don’t think they have the same function. For a long time, OSHA used Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) as their go-to for communicating a chemical’s hazard. But then along came the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Long name... simple premise. Use visual cues through a standardized safety data sheet (SDS) to let people know what the dangers are in each substance.

Why the heck is this important? Because, it gets rid of any miscommunication due to language or communication barriers.  

GHS uses pictograms (symbols) and signal words to communicate information about hazards such as don’t eat this, this could explode or you don’t want to touch this without gloves. The new system also provides a hazard statement and precautionary statement to let workers know the degree of the hazard and what measures to take to avoid injury.

Check out this chart for a quick overview:

SDS Chart

"They’re both safety data sheets, but one will keep OSHA off of your back."

- Bacon
questioning bacon

How often does our horizontal lifeline need to be inspected?

Just like every piece of your fall protection system, you want to inspect your horizontal lifeline daily. It’s called a lifeline for a reason.

Here’s what you should do every day:

  1. Make sure you inspect it for any kind of wear and visible damage on all screws, bolts, nuts or other fasteners. Make sure none of them are loose or missing.
  2. Inspect for rust, corrosion or any deterioration of the metal parts.
  3. Look for broken wires, broken threads or any other damage.
  4. Inspect all sleeves and connectors for damage, cracks, dents and correct installation.
  5. Check your fall indicator. Does it show it’s been in a fall?
  6. Inspect any other mechanisms.
  7. Make sure that there are no hazards that could compromise the equipment, such as sharp edges.
  8. Inspect the substrates it’s attached to.

That ain’t it buddy.


Every year it should be inspected and documented by a competent person who can check all these things and more.

They should also be reviewing the various substrates, anchor points and other fall protection equipment to ensure its being used properly and is up to safety standards. Seem like too much to handle? Don’t worry. There are services out there that can test them for you.


hanging bacon

"Every time you put your gear on and expect it to work."

- Bacon

What am I required to have for signs and labels in my facility?

One of the biggest regulation changes in many years is OSHA’s revision of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Since about 1983, the HCS helped employers identify hazards on the jobsite with signs and labels. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t.

What’s happened over the years that required an update to this regulation is the fact that we are dealing with a more global and multicultural workforce. That’s great, except for one thing. Communication. With people coming together from all backgrounds, miscommunication about dangers was a big problem.

So, OSHA created the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS for short. What this did was modify the existing standard so that pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements could be used on labels and signage. Pictures and signal words help workers worldwide speak the same safety language.

Not, only that but there are guidelines for signs and tags in 29 CFR 1910.145.

Here’s just a few of those guidelines for accident prevention signs and tags:

  • Hazard signage should have clear and easy-to-read wording.
  • Must be easily understood.
  • Must contain facts about hazards.
  • Must provide positive suggestions on how to proceed.
  • There are five main types of signage: Danger, Caution,  Biological Hazard, Safety Instruction and Other (vehicle signage)

  • Tags are used for accident prevention.
  • Tags must identify hazardous conditions and provide message to employees.
  • Tag must be used until hazard is eliminated or operation complete.
  • Tags are not needed in areas where signs, guarding or other protection is utilized.
  • There are five main types of hazard tags: Danger, Warning, Caution, Biological and Other (additional tags that can be used as long as they don’t have conflicting messages).

So, if your facility has chemicals, health hazards, flame sources, gas, corrosives, explosion risks, environmental or toxic hazards—you need to update your signs, tags and labels to reflect the changes.

It may sound like a ton of work, but improving communication among workers is going to save lives and money.


"You’re required to make sure everyone in your facility knows the risks that are around them."

- Bacon
curious bacon

Does our lockout tagout program have to be in writing?

The entire point of having a lockout tagout (LOTO) program is to isolate energy so that a person can’t be injured due to accidental startup of equipment. Having a LOTO program in place is estimated to save about 250,000 incidents, 50,000 injuries and 120 deaths every year!

The reason why this needs to be in writing is simple.

In the event that equipment or machines are being serviced, repaired or maintained every single worker needs to be aware.

Affected employees, authorized employees or anyone who may be in the area must be kept informed through clear and documented procedures. Shift changes are one of the most common times when miscommunication happens. You don’t want any doubt to whether or not a piece of equipment or machinery is de-energized. That’s when accidents happen.

By documenting these procedures, you eliminate any confusion about what equipment is locked out or tagged out.

If you have any questions or are unsure what your program should look like, you need to revisit ANSI/ISEA Z244.1-2003. Lockout tagout citations are a big problem. In fact, OSHA ranks them as their # 1 most cited regulation. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your LOTO program. Prevent injuries with the right lockout tagout procedures clearly written out. And use them!


questioning bacon

"Does a pig love mud? Of course you need it in writing!"

- Bacon

Are contractors at our facility supposed to follow our Lockout Tagout (LOTO) program or have their own?

Imagine you have an employee that has been working on the production floor all day. He’s been doing the same job he’s been doing for 15 years. He takes his lunch break to run some errands and left the facility.

In the meantime, an outside contractor comes in to do some routine maintenance on the equipment. The contractor is just about to finish up his work, when your employee comes back from lunch and turns his equipment back on.

Fortunately, the contractor wasn’t near the machine when it started back up. He pulled his hands and tools away just seconds before.

This happens all time. This is why there needs to be a Lockout Tagout Program in place that everyone follows—start to finish.




Instruct workers and outside contractors to use the same energy control system every time. And train employees every year, so they don’t develop bad habits, such as cutting corners.

So, the short answer is that contractors should follow the LOTO program of the facility. That’s the only way it stays consistent with those specific hazards and procedures. No, they shouldn’t be using their own program. Not just no. Hell no.

Here’s a few steps that should be always included in your written energy control (LOTO) program:

  1. Alert all affected employees of intent to lock out equipment.
  2. Review the written lockout procedure.
  3. Perform the normal machine stop.
  4. Shut off all energy isolation controls.
  5. Lock out the energy isolation controls.
  6. Dissipate any stored or residual energies.
  7. Verify the zero-energy state to safely begin servicing.
  8. Test and retest control program.
  9. Evaluate for system changes
  10. Modify when necessary.


"If we’re talking about communicating what equipment is locked out and what isn’t, should we all be speaking the same language?"

- Bacon
pissed bacon

Can earmuffs and earplugs be used together to provide more noise reduction?

You can add a little more hearing protection by layering equipment. But, you can’t just take the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and add them together.

One of the most misused and misunderstood pieces of personal protective equipment out there are hearing protection. Everyone has their noise reduction calculation that they use and they are usually wrong. Quite a few workers think that a NRR is the level of protection that a set of earplugs or earmuffs will provide. Nope. Nope. Nope. That ain’t it at all.

Let’s throw a little math out there and see if this makes sense.

There’s a little equation you need to use to figure out how much you are actually reducing the dose of noise. Pretend we need protection from a noise dose of 110. And we have a pair of muffs with an NRR of 30. Now, subtract 7 from 30. That’s 23 right? Then, divide it by 2. Did you get 11.5? Awesome.

Still not done.

Next, we subtract that number from the noise dose of 110. We are left with 98.5. Then you can compare that number to OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to see how long you can be exposed to the noise dose with that level of hearing protection. Check out the NIOSH chart and you’ll see your permissible limits are even lower.

Now that that’s out of the way. Just because you layer different kinds of hearing protection together doesn’t mean you simply add those NRR ratings together.

In fact, there is no real equation for how much protection you end up with when you do this.

In this case, you’re simply enhancing your protection.



annoyed bacon

"Yeah. It’s called a plug and a muff. But, know this—you’re not doubling your Noise Reduction Rating!"

- Bacon

We’ve always used kitty litter for absorbing liquids and it makes a mess. Any suggestions?

It doesn’t work. All you’re doing is making more work for yourself. And here’s a tip: You’re not saving any money that way either. There’s sorbents out there that are specially designed to pick up messes quickly and easily. What you think you’re saving by buying an economy size bucket of kitty litter, you’re spending way more in labor costs cleaning it up. And another thing, are you even disposing of it correctly? If you’re sweeping it into the trash, you might as well just get out your wallet and write a check to OSHA and the EPA.

There’s a better way. Sorbents exist in many shapes and sizes. From pillows, booms, pads or socks and there are plenty of choices for every need.

And look, they even color-coded sorbents to make it even easier:

White: Meant specifically for hydrophobic hydrocarbons. What does that mean? These are oil-only sorbents for oil, gasoline or diesel.

Gray: These are universal sorbents for your most common messes. Clean up water-based spills with these guys.

Yellow:  If you work with chemicals like acids or bases, you will want to use these to clean up your spills. Just remember to dispose of them properly. You don’t want reactive materials sitting in the same disposal containers.

Regardless what you use, make sure you are following EPA and OSHA (29 CFR 1910.120 and 29 CFR 1910.22) standards. Unless you want to have a lawsuit. Then, in that case just keep using kitty litter to pick up your oil spills.


"Yeah, stop using kitty litter to absorb liquids. "

- Bacon
shocked bacon

We have disposable earplugs available. Am I required to provide more than one?

Once you’ve decided you need a hearing conservation program you have to decide how you’re going to protect your workers.

You must provide them with options. One of the most important things to remember is that hearing protection isn’t one-size-fits-all. Ear canal sizes and comfort levels can differ from men, women and children and can vary among ethnicities.

OSHA requires you to provide at least one kind of earplug and one kind of earmuff that your employees can choose from.

It may not be a requirement to provide more than one kind of earplug. But, your workers will be more likely to wear their hearing protection if they are able to choose them based on their own unique comfort levels.


smug bacon

"Kinda, but employees are more likely to wear them if they fit."

- Bacon

Do I have to fit test for disposable dust masks?

If you determine that you only need a single strap nuisance-level dust mask you don’t have to fit test to be compliant. But, shouldn’t you? What’s the point of any respiratory protection if it doesn’t fit, dust mask or not.

Once you have a NIOSH approved two-strap respirator you need to perform either qualitative or quantitative fit tests regularly, even if it’s a disposable one. All tight-fitting respirators must be fitted before a worker uses them and then be re-assessed at least once a year. Along with fit testing, medical tests and respiratory function exams should also be administered. Aside from performing regular fit tests, make sure all employees who wear respiratory equipment are trained regularly.

When you perform fit testing, you’re looking for 3 major issues:

  1. Respirator seal
  2. Compatibility with other PPE
  3. Respirator stability

Here’s a little known fact: Even if your company doesn’t have a respirator program, a worker can request one if they feel as though the working environment is hazardous. There’s a voluntary use clause in  29 CFR 1910.134 Appendix D that applies to both employer and employee. It makes sure that the respirator is being properly fit-tested, used, maintained and tracked for safety. Even if it’s not required, if an employee chooses to wear protection, it needs to be used properly. If not, it could cause serious harm to the worker.

So, hopefully that answers your question. But, here’s a question for you. If you need your workers to wear any kind of respiratory protection, doesn’t it make sense to check the respirators and masks for fit and seal, regardless if it’s required?


content bacon

"That depends if it’s one strap or two."

- Bacon

We’ve had hand injuries using utility knives, but my employees don’t want to wear gloves and we don’t currently require them. What do you suggest?

If you’ve had injuries already, it’s probably wise to re-evaluate your safety program.

Here are some suggestions in the meantime. If your employees must work with utility knives, why not supply them with knives that are retractable? This way, the blade isn’t exposed when not in use. A self-retracting blade is even better. When it senses that it loses contact with the material it’s meant to cut, it retracts on its own.

So, there’s one suggestion. Here’s an even better suggestion— protect your workers against cuts and lacerations with the right PPE.




Provide them with cut-resistant safety gloves and sleeves. Train them how to spot hazards, how to avoid injury and how to use their safety equipment correctly.

Hand injuries are the 2nd leading cause of injuries in the workplace. And they are avoidable. Just because they may not be required through OSHA, doesn’t mean that you can’t create a safety program of your own.

Protect your employees from unnecessary hand injuries and save your company money in workers’ comp and medical expenses.


"We suggest your employees start wearing cut-resistant safety gloves."

- Bacon
pissed bacon

Do I have to wear safety glasses if I’m wearing a face shield?

Faceshields are not meant to be worn to protect your eyes. They have a different function.

Think about when you wear your faceshield. What are you usually doing? You’re probably working with sparks, metal splatter, slag, sand, chemicals or radiation, right? And, if you didn’t wear it, your face would probably be a little worse for wear.

So, faceshields do a great job protecting your face. But, what about that material that goes around or under the shield?




If you aren’t wearing safety glasses, you’re putting yourself at risk. What kind of risk you say? Well, you can become one of the lucky 2,000 people who injure their eyes at work every day. Doesn’t sound appealing?

Then, the only way to avoid eye injuries is to completely cover your eyes from the hazards you’re working with.

Foamed safety glasses are one solution— just make sure you aren’t working with chemicals. You sure don’t want to absorb chemicals into the foam that close to your eye. Whether its arc eye, welder’s flash or a metal chip that becomes a projectile you need the right eye protection.   


curious bacon

"If you enjoy the simple things in life, such as vision. Then, yes."

- Bacon

What’s the best practice for figuring out what level of hearing protection I need?

Sorry, Charlie. There’s no quick answer to choosing the right level of hearing protection. Typically, the noise on a job site isn’t consistent all the time. You can have the constant hum of machinery (chronic) in one area of a facility. And, you can have sudden pops of sounds (acute) in others. Or, you can have different levels of both.

The best way to determine the level of hearing protection you need on site is to bring in an industrial hygienist.

They’ll bring in a noise decimeter to measure noise over time. That’s the only way to get an accurate idea of the noise dose that workers are exposed to— both on a daily basis and over time.

Why is this important? Because even those low humming sounds from equipment can damage the little cilia in your ears over time. That long-term damage can equal hearing loss.

Once you get accurate readings, you can then create a hearing conservation program that will include engineering controls to try to minimize or eliminate the noise. You’ll then be able to choose earplugs or earmuffs with the right Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).

To do this, you need to know the noise decibel of the hazard you’re working with. Then, check to see if your current hearing protection methods are enough with a simple calculation. Take the NRR of the earplugs or muffs and subtract 7. Then, divide by 2. That’s the number you subtract from the noise dose reading. Does it fall in the safe Permissible Exposure Limits? If not, up your NRR.

They even have wearable badges that blink red or green if there are any noise hazards to be concerned with. There’s no excuse why workers aren’t protected.

Just make sure you take readings regularly and anytime there is a change in production, process, environments or controls. And another thing—make sure all of your monitoring devices are calibrated!

If there’s ever any doubt about the potential noise hazards on your site (above 85 dBa), bring in a professional to do a noise survey. It’ll save you a lot of stress and money in the long run.


"Hopefully you’re not waiting for some easy universal answer."

- Bacon
annoyed bacon

Am I required to have an AED on site?

You have to provide first aid and medical treatment based on the hazards of your workplace. Of course these include supplies to treat lacerations, wounds, abrasions and chemical exposure. But, what about treatment for sudden cardiac arrest?

What if one of your workers all of a sudden has a heart attack? Did you realize that about 890 deaths happen outside of a hospital or ER every day from coronary heart disease? And about 1 of every 8 deaths from sudden cardiac arrest happens in the workplace. So, should you have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on site?

There’s no hard and fast rule that you need to have an AED on your jobsite, unless you are one of the following:

  • Gym or health club
  • Dental office
  • Private school
  • Swimming pool
  • Medical provider
  • Caregiver

If you do have one on site, you then become responsible for having a complete program in place. It’s not like securing a first aid kit to a wall and walking away from it. It needs to be effective and ready to use at any given moment. You need to have site assessments, medical direction and oversight, training, proper equipment, maintenance, post treatment protocol, and documentation.

Even with all these added responsibilities, it may be your best bet.

If your job site is remote and medical facilities aren’t nearby, then having an AED could save lives. Just make sure you do your homework and are committed to following through. Once you assume responsibility for this kind of treatment, you can open yourself up to liability if it’s not used properly.


shocked bacon

"No. But, if you do have one, you better have a clear plan in place if you want to avoid liability and litigation."

- Bacon

What do I need to wear in an arc flash situation?

When you’re working with arc flash, you need fire-resistant (FR) clothing and equipment to protect yourself. What’s arc flash? It’s a hazard that can happen when you’re working around electric. What happens in arc flash is an electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another. Then there’s a big boom that could result in severe injury or death.

Sometimes arc flash is due to dust, corrosion, crossing of wires, condensation or faulty installation. So, if there’s a risk of these hazards, you’ll want to use the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 70E standard when choosing FR clothing.

People often get arc flash requirements confused with flash fire situations.

Flash fire is a sudden and intense fire that happens when air and a flammable substance mixes. The fire is usually extremely hot, quick and moves rapidly.

The results from flash fire are usually cataclysmic and will cause severe injury or death. So, the requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) will be different. With flash fire hazards, you’ll want to use the NFPA 2112 standard that has specific requirements for design, certification, testing and performance of flame-resistant fabrics.

Whatever standard you need to follow, know the hazards and always check the labeling on these garments to be sure they are legit. There are a lot of phonies out there and you don’t want to take a chance with arc flash or flash fire.


"Here’s a golf clap for even asking this question. Most people get this topic confused all the time and think that arc flash hazards are the same as flash fire. "

- Bacon
smug bacon

How often does eyewash need to be cleaned and cartridges changed out?

It all depends on the manufacturer. That’s where you want to start. They will be able to provide you will a cartridge change out schedule and you can also use the expiration date on the package as a rule of thumb.

Also, check the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific unit for inspection and maintenance requirements. The requirements will change depending on whether or not it’s a plumbed unit or portable, as well. You’ll probably have to use a water additive if its a portable eyewash to make sure the flushing liquid remains clean, clear and ready to use.

A competent person must be designated to visually inspect and activate your eyewash station weekly to make sure it’s working, the flow rate is adequate (0.4 gallons per minute for 15 minutes) and decide if water additives needs to be added to the flushing liquid.

No one wants hot or cold water shooting into their eye, so make sure that the water is tepid (between 60°-100° F). During this time, the water should also be checked to make sure that it’s clean and free from bacteria or debris that could harm the eyes. And every year, your station should be inspected and meet ANSI Z358.1-2014 requirements.

OSHA just upped the ante and increased their penalties by 80% for failure to comply with ANSI Z358.1-2014. So, make sure you train your employees on how to use their eyewash stations and make sure it’s clean and ready to use. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to maintain your first aid equipment than it is to fork over money for medical bills.


"Don’t eyeball it for cleanliness. There’s a bunch of requirements you need to meet and a quick onceover doesn’t cut it. "

- Bacon
content bacon

What footwear is appropriate if working in a high voltage environment?

One thing to know about buying the right kind of protective footwear is that you need to buy quality footwear in the first place. Think about it. You’re asking your shoes to absorb your body weight several thousand times a day. Every step you take, every move you make, you shoes are taking a beating.

You wonder why you’re tired every night and you’re wearing generic, safety shoes from the clearance rack.

We get it. Safety shoes and boots cost money, but quality lasts.

And, the right footwear will both protect you, your workers and give you some comfort so you aren’t dragging at the end of the day.

When choosing the right protective footwear, you need to think about the hazards you work with every day.

  1. Do you need a protective toe?
  2. Does your protective toe meet compression and impact tests?
  3. Do you need puncture-resistance?
  4. What about slip-resistance?
  5. What other work conditions do you need to factor in?

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk appropriate footwear for high-voltage requirements.

First things first, you need to make sure your steel-toe safety boot meets NFPA 70E requirements and has an all-leather Electrical Hazard (EH) rated sole. You cannot, and we repeat cannot, have any metal or steel showing.

Any tear, tiny hole or gap is a direct entry point for any electric element to enter your footwear and head straight into you. You also need to be sure your feet remain dry at all times because that can compromise the safety shoe as well.


curious bacon

"Well, your old gym shoes ain’t gonna cut it. "

- Bacon

What's the difference between quantitative and qualitative fit testing?

The goal of fit testing is to make sure your respirator is protecting you. What good is a respirator if it doesn’t fit properly?

We’re just going to assume that you chose a respirator and cartridge based on the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) you need based on the work you’re doing. If you didn’t do that...well, you may as well be wearing a handkerchief over your mouth and nose.

So, a qualitative fit test makes sure there is a seal on  your respirator so it can do its job. It’s basically a pass/fail test that uses your sense of taste or smell or your reaction to irritants to detect leakage into the respirator. It doesn’t measure the levels of leakage, but gives you an idea if your mask is working.

  • Isoamyl Acetate: has a banana-like smell.
  • Saccharin: leaves a sweet taste in your mouth
  • Bitrex: leaves a bitter taste in mouth.
  • Irritant Smoke: causes coughing.

A quantitative fit test doesn’t rely on your sense. Which may be a good thing if you’ve killed your taste buds or have a dull sense of smell. This form of fit testing measures at a particle level the amount of a substance that is leaking into your mask.

  • Generated Aerosol– aerosol dispensed into a booth or test chamber and any leaks into respirator are measured.
  • Ambient Aerosol– laser technology measures aerosol concentrations inside and outside of a mask without a chamber
  • Controlled Negative Pressure– a fixed vacuum is created on the facepiece with special adapters that then measure air flow or leak rate.


With higher APFs you’ll want to use quantitative testing to make sure your respirator has a good seal, so that your filtering cartridge can do it’s job. You know filter out all the junk like fibers, particulates, organic vapor or acid gas—so it doesn’t end up in your lungs.


"One tests if there is a seal. One tests to see how good that seal is."

- Bacon
annoyed bacon

What type of gloves should be used when handling chemicals?

Your hands are kind of a big deal. And you’d be surprised how many people don’t wear safety gloves at all, much less the right ones.

When choosing the right chemical glove you need to know what you’re working with. You need to know what chemical compound you are handling and what the strength of it is. Is it a base or an acid? Check your safety data sheets (SDS) and then use that info when shopping for a glove. Glove manufacturers should have a chart you can use to find the safety glove that matches the hazard. Use it.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when selecting a pair of chemical-resistant gloves:

  1. Permeability: The rate a chemical will move through the glove you are exposed to a dose of the chemical.

  2. Degradation: The amount of time gloves will provide protection before the gloves begin to deteriorate, weaken or otherwise degrade.

  1. Glove Material: There are many materials that safety gloves can be made out of and they all have a specific job to dol. Gloves can be made from nitrile, PVC or a combination of both. They can be comprised of polymers, butyl rubber, neoprene, or even laminate. Choose wisely.

Other Protective Features: How much protection do you need? Will your hand or arm be submerged? Is there a splash risk? Do you need extra grip or coating for wet or oily applications? Does the glove need to be meet FDA food handling regulations? Do you need to avoid snagging, puncturing or abrasions?


questioning bacon

"Do you know what you’re handling? Before you throw on any old pair, know this—all chemical gloves are not the same."

- Bacon

I need a hard hat. But,what the heck do the classifications mean?

Some of these classifications can sound confusing. But, instead of getting all febuddled, let’s slow down and remember what a hard hat is supposed to do. Protect your head, right? Ok, so they’re broken down into two types:

Type 1: Protection for the top of your head

Type 2: Protection for the top and sides of your head.

If there’s a chance that an object could come into direct contact to the side of your head, certain hard hats have extra material for protection from side impact. There, so that’s simple. Now what do the different classes mean?

Class C Conductive: If you’re not working with electrical hazards and just need protection from bumping your noggin, you can get away with a Class C. Just remember they don’t offer any protection against electricity.

Class E Electrical: If you don’t want electricity to go through you, you need a barrier. Class E hard hats offer protection up to 20,000 volts of electricity and high voltage/shock protection.

Class G General: If you are working in low voltage situations you may be able to wear a Class G hard hat. They only offer protection up to 2,200 volts though, so keep that in mind.

Just remember that if you’re working in high heat application like foundry work, you’ll want a more specialized hard hat. Look for one that is constructed with materials that can withstand heat better than traditional plastic. You don’t want a hard hat that melts on your head.  

Here’s another tip, free of charge: Make sure you change out your suspensions at least once a year. Mark the date on the inside of your hard hat, so you can keep track. And it’s time for a new hard hat when it has signs of cracks, dents, discoloration, brittleness, pliability, thermal impact or any other noticeable changes.

A busted up helmet is about as useless as lipstick on Bacon.


smug bacon

"They mean what level of protection they provide from falling objects popping you on the head."

- Bacon