Volume No. 43
Emergency & Fire Prevention Plans for
Hazard Corner: Fatality Occurs While
Cooperative SHARP & Alliance Programs
Outreach Train-the-Trainer Class
Fleet Safety -
Have You Considered This Issue?
Emergency & Fire Prevention Plans for Nursing Homes
By: Usha Maru,
Today, emergency plans are on nursing
home administrators minds. More and more frequently, government and businesses
are involved in emergency situations and are being caught unprepared.
Administrators are asking the question, “How shall we prepare for emergencies to
minimize human pain and loss and property damage?” In this article we are going
to focus on the requirements for nursing homes to prepare effective emergency
action and fire prevention plans.
Nursing homes today provide skilled
care to patients who may or may not be able to evacuate themselves. Therefore,
the nursing home has the responsibility of providing for the safety of the
patients and for the employees. As we all know, in the last decade major
nursing home fires have occurred in Hartford, Connecticut and Nashville,
Tennessee. Neither nursing home had automatic sprinkler systems and a total of
31 residents died.
Prior to these events, nursing homes
had an option to follow the 1967 edition of the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code. Now all nursing homes have to adopt the
2000 edition of the NFPA Life Safety Code, an updated version of the fire code.
According to the State of Connecticut
Public Act No. 05-187 “Not later than July 31, 2006, each chronic and convalescent
nursing home or rest home with nursing supervision licensed pursuant to Chapter
368v shall have a complete automatic fire extinguishing system.” In addition,
the act requires all nursing homes to submit a plan for employee fire safety
training and education to the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department
of Public Safety (DPS)and to the Department of Labor (DOL) by July 1, 2005.
This plan shall at a minimum comply with standards promulgated by the Federal
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) including but not limited
to standards listed in 29 CFR 19Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office.38, 19Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office.39, and 19Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office.157, as adopted
pursuant to chapter 571 of the general statutes, or 29 USC Section 651.
According to the DPH,
the State of Connecticut has a total of 249 nursing homes. Out of these, 198
have complete sprinkler protection, 39 have partial sprinkler protection and 12
have no sprinkler protection. These 12 nursing homes are now working with the
state and are in the phase of installing sprinkler systems.
OSHA requires that all employers
develop and implement an emergency action and fire prevention plan. Most
nursing homes have plans but deficiencies are common and some examples of the
most common deficiencies discovered during CONN-OSHA consultations are listed
drills become routine and employees are not aware of the details.
The plans are
not updated for the changes in staff, structure, and/or in specific details of
2nd and 3rd shifts are not trained.
employees are not trained.
responsible for too many things such as: evacuating the patients with their
needed equipment (like oxygen), evacuating themselves, informing local fire
and/or ambulance services and other nursing homes, etc.
are not comprehensive, therefore administration and employees are not aware of
the fact that the plan, the way it is developed, is not feasible to implement.
not checked thoroughly.
The plan does
not include details for other emergencies such as natural disasters, medical
emergencies, violence, etc.
Most of the
time a generic non-site specific plan is acquired. For an emergency action
and fire prevention plan to be effective it is crucial that the plan be site
In addition to these considerations,
some structural considerations are also important to minimize the spread
and damage due to fire. Air handling systems are required to shut down
automatically when the fire alarm is triggered to prevent the spread of smoke.
Vertical openings or penetrations between floors are required to be protected.
In one fire incidence, plumbing penetrated the ceiling of a group shower room
and this unprotected vertical opening allowed smoke to migrate to upper floors
in the building.
The emergency action and fire
prevention plan should be site-specific. Training should be conducted utilizing
the developed plan for all employees. During the training if any
deficiencies in the plan surface or ideas to improve the plan come up, these
issues should be evaluated and the plan should be updated accordingly. Follow
up training should be performed on a regular basis.
Hazard Corner …
Fatality occurs while trimming trees
maintenance worker lost his life while cutting down a tree in Southern
Connecticut. A three-man grounds maintenance crew was working clearing brush
and trees from a fence line in a park; the ground was covered with snow.
The victim was
working at ground level using a chain saw to cut down an 18” diameter oak tree.
The upper branches of this oak tree were tangled with vines that also entangled
the upper limbs of a nearby cherry tree. As the oak tree was cut through, these
vines acted like ropes binding the two trees together. The cherry tree now
supported the weight of the two trees. Unfortunately, the base of the cherry
tree was rotted and could not support the load and both trees fell.
witness statements, when the cherry tree began to fall, the victim attempted to
flee but slipped on the snow. The falling trees struck him while he was lying
on the ground. The victim was transported to a local hospital by ambulance
where he succumbed to his injuries.
A review of the incident revealed that a workplace hazard
assessment of the site had not been performed and that the employees had not
been trained in chain saw safety. Before beginning any job, it is essential
that a hazard assessment to identify actual and potential hazards be performed
and that the employees be trained in the safe use of all equipment. Appropriate
personal protective equipment must also be selected and used to ensure adequate
employee protection at all times.
CONN-OSHA’s Cooperative SHARP & Alliance Programs
CONN-OSHA’s Safety and Health
Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) is a program developed to recognize
small business employers with exemplary safety and health programs. If your
business employs less than 250 employees at one site and have not more than 500
employees at all sites nationwide, are on OSHA’s high-hazard list or special
emphasis program list, be a single-fixed site, have been in business for at
least one year and have injuries and illness rates below the national average
for your industry, your company may be eligible to participate in SHARP. To be
accepted into SHARP is a great achievement and sets you apart from your business
peers. Once you have received your SHARP status, your worksite will be exempt
from programmed inspections during the certification period.
The journey to SHARP status comes
about through a process in which CONN-OSHA’s consultation staff conducts an
initial assessment of a company interested in participating. The company then
knows how well it is managing safety and health and has identified its strengths
and weaknesses. This allows the company to focus its energy, develop an action
plan and begin working toward its goal. CONN-OSHA staff will return, as needed,
to provide assistance and guidance. When the company is ready, a consultant
conducts a final assessment, and, if the company qualifies, recommends it for
SHARP approval. SHARP approval lasts one to two years. In order to re-qualify,
SHARP companies are expected to work toward continuous improvement of their
safety and health management systems. Current SHARP members include:
Corporation, Branford, Conn.
Corporation, Middlefield, Conn.
Corporation, Inc., Putnam, Conn.
South Windsor, Conn.
Systems, Inc., Branford, Conn.
Hawley, Inc., Unionville, Conn.
Recognizing the value
of Federal OSHA’s Alliance Program, CONN-OSHA has developed an alliance program
for Connecticut businesses and organizations. Alliances allow organizations
committed to workplace safety and health to work with CONN-OSHA to prevent
injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Alliance Program participants are
groups that may include: employers, labor unions, trade or professional groups,
government agencies, and educational institutions.
Alliances must meet short and long
term goals that fall into three categories: training and education, outreach and
communication, and promoting a national dialogue on workplace safety and
health. These Alliances have proven to be valuable tools for both CONN-OSHA and
its Alliance participants.
Benefits of participating in an
alliance include building trusting, cooperative relationships with CONN-OSHA
and Federal OSHA representatives, networking with others committed to
workplace safety and health, and leveraging resources to maximize worker safety
and health protection.
The current CONN-OSHA
Alliances that include CONN-OSHA and
the U.S. Department of Labor Bridgeport and Hartford Area Offices are:
Business and Industry Association (CBIA)
Tree Protective Association, Inc.
For more extensive information on the
SHARP program you can access CONN-OSHA’s web site at:
For more information on the Alliance
Program you can go to Federal OSHA’s web site at:
CONN-OSHA Outreach Train-the-Trainer Class
Seventeen Connecticut State Department
of Education Technical High School teachers completed the #501 Trainer Course in
Occupational Safety & Health Standards for General Industry on July 11, 2005.
Representing 11 of the 20 Connecticut technical high schools, these teachers are
now qualified to conduct Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-and 30-hour general industry training in
accordance with the guidelines provided by the Federal OSHA Training Institute.
After high school students successfully complete the Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-or 30-hour training,
these teachers are now authorized to issue students a General Industry Safety &
Health OSHA Outreach course completion card. This course is nationally
recognized as an entry-level introduction to OSHA Standards, providing the
students with valuable safety training that employers recognize.
The first two Train-the-Trainer
classes held in 2004 provided by CONN-OSHA to Technical High School teachers
were construction-related classes. This was the first General Industry class
held so far. To date, 37 teachers have been certified by CONN-OSHA, 13 schools
out of 20 now have qualified teachers. “Our goal is to enable every
vocational technical high school graduate to possess either the Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-hour
Construction Safety & Health or the Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-hour General Industry Safety & Health
OSHA Outreach course completion card,” says CONN-OSHA Director Richard Palo.
“The technical high
school teachers that volunteered to complete this rigorous 40-hour class and
passing a standardized written final exam are to be congratulated on their
passion for safety & health, and their commitment to the quality of education
for their students,” remarked Palo. “It is apparent that the priority of these
teachers is to teach their students the importance of safety as a life skill,”
continued Palo. “As teachers, they are constantly stressing the importance of
safety awareness, and they understand the potential impact they may have on
their student’s future. This training partnership helps to close the gap
between classroom theory and the realities of hazards in the workplace.”
Fleet Safety-Have You Considered this Issue?
Employers must ensure that operators
of vehicles used in the course of their operations are properly licensed, follow
safety precautions, and are adequately trained to drive the kind of vehicle used
on behalf of the employer, regardless if it is a personal or work vehicle.
At 9 am on October 27, 2005 at the
Connecticut Labor Department in Wethersfield, CT, CONN-OSHA is presenting “Part
2” to the previously offered “Safe Driving – Get There Safely EVERY
Time.” This 3-hour class is entitled “Vehicle Safety Management Program
(Fleet Safety),” and was designed to provide training on effective
implementation of safety-related policies and procedures related to Fleet
safety. After this course, participants will be able to:
the role of the safety supervisor in implementing quality fleet safety
on-site accident investigations and compile accident reports.
to successfully hire drivers with safe driving habits.
Implement strategies to improve
driver’s low-risk habit formation.
Identify safety-related training
needs and deliver effective safety training programs.
Accident control in a motor vehicle
fleet is critical. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA), the average motor vehicle crash cost to an Employer is
$16,500 (2003). The average cost if there is a fatal injury is $504,400.
Saving lives and minimizing injuries, protecting human and financial resources,
and protecting against catastrophic losses are every employers concern.
This class will provide a wealth of
information to assist those responsible for company drivers. With winter
driving on our door-step, consider this, U.S. Department of Labor statistics
show that 70% of workplace injuries during winter storms result from vehicle
accidents. Small changes in behavior behind the wheel can decrease the
likelihood of getting in a motor vehicle accident. Too often, adult drivers are
simply expected to be competent. Consider how you, if you are in a supervisory
role, can ensure that safe driving techniques and behaviors are modeled and
encouraged within your company.
For more information on Motor Vehicle
safety from the OSHA perspective go to
If you would consider hosting a
presentation of CONN-OSHA’s 3-hour “Safe Driving – Get There Safely EVERY
Time” class, please contact Thomas Hozebin, Program Manager at CONN-OSHA
CONN-OSHA Training Update ...
Roundtable Discussion Group
Third Tuesday of
The intent of
these free 90-minute workshops is to discuss safety and health issues in a
supportive and informal environment., These meetings cover subjects ranging from
evacuation plans and fire extinguishers to air quality and ergonomics. The
roundtable meetings are held from 8:15 am to 9:45 am. Pre-registration is
required. The location varies, be sure to call concerning the discussion
subject and the location. When you call you can request to be placed on an
E-mail distribution list so you will be automatically notified each month as to
the location and focus subject.
Vehicle Safety Management Program
(Fleet Safety) October 27, 2005
The total cost of a vehicle accident usually exceeds the amount recovered from
the insurance company. Accident control in a motor vehicle fleet is critical
because increased insurance premiums (among other factors) reduce profits. This
impact can be as devastating, if not more, to smaller fleets! A written safety
policy, developed, supported, and enforced by management should be part of every
employer’s overall safety & health management system. Items covered will
include: accident prevention, promoting safety activities, personnel training,
evaluating driver performance, reviewing incidents/accidents, identifying
problem operations or locations, vehicle maintenance programs, and
loading/unloading and handling materials.
Industrial Trucks November 8, 2005
With well over one million lift trucks in operation today, emphasis must be
placed on both operator and pedestrian safety. This half-day program will help
you understand OSHA safety and health regulations governing these pieces of
equipment, in addition to providing you with assistance in developing training
for your lift truck operators and other affected employees.
OSHA 300 Recordkeeping What Does
and Does Not Need to be Recorded December 6, 2005
The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the requirements and procedures
related to the OSHA 300 Log. The class will help develop skills to accurately
report occupational injuries and illnesses. Resources and reference materials
will be provided. The presentation will cover the recording requirements,
including a discussion of the employee/employer relationship, which pre-existing
cases can be limited in the OSHA forms, and exceptions for some categories of
injuries and illnesses. In the Class you will learn:
information you need to properly comply with the
the recording challenges are for needlestick injuries and tuberculosis.
How to address privacy
protections for injured and ill workers.
electronic options are for completing OSHA forms.
Classes are free
and will be held at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT in Conference
Room A from 9 am - 12 noon, unless otherwise noted.
To register for
any of these sessions, call John Able at (860) 263-6902 or send an email to
Pre-registration is required.
www.ctdol.state.ct.us/osha/osha.htm for more training information.
October 24, 2016