What’s Wrong With This Picture


According to CFR 1910.151(c), where 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.

In this case, the eyewash station was found in a state of disrepair, with missing caps, not inspected, tested, or maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.  This can cause serious injury, loss of vision and eye irritation from malfunction of the eyewash station and from the unsanitary conditions, making it not suitable for readily emergency use.

Finding a hazard is not enough, it only part of the safety process.  It is crucial to determine the root cause of the hazard and an effective process of hazard identification, assessment and prevention is implemented.  There are important factors to consider.   (1) The reason for this hazardous condition to exist.  (2) How this hazard was created.  (3) How long this hazard has been ignored. (3)  Policies or procedures in place to identify and prevent hazards in the workplace.  (4) Effective training provided to workers to identify hazardous conditions.  (5)  Effective procedures in place to ensure timely correction of hazards.  (6) Measures to prevent reoccurrence of hazards.

It is important to implement effectively communicated written procedures, to identify and prevent hazards and to track timely hazard correction.   This procedures must include regular, scheduled and unannounced in-house safety self-inspection and assessment of all work practices, equipment, work processes, work practices and worker safe behavior, to be accomplished by a designated person, on a regular and frequent basis.   It is recommended that this process be verified with follow up inspections to ensure hazards are properly identified by the assigned responsible persons, findings documented, conducted monthly and timely corrective actions tracked as well.  Workers should perform or participate in the performance of safety and health inspections of their own work areas or operations. Team efforts are highly desirable, especially for general inspections.  No inspection is effective unless each identified hazard is immediately corrected or appropriately scheduled for correction in the organization’s action plan for safety and health.

The results from in-house inspections and hazards identified must also be analyzed, to understand the root cause, as to how and why hazards found are created, what contributed to each hazard, to implement new policies or procedures to prevent each one from reoccurring.   Management must also perform a written analysis of hazards found during inspections, to identify trends, potential hazards and implement preventive measures to avoid reoccurrence in the future.

For more information about implementing an effective safety and health program, visit the USF SafetyFlorida website at www.usfsafetyflorida.com and also visit www.osha.gov/shpguidelines for the OSHA website “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs”.