On Safety

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Good advice over time

June 30, 2014

Good advice doesn’t change much over time: Look both ways before crossing the street. Think before you speak. When it comes to workplace safety, sometimes old advice also can stand the test of time.

A recent hazard alert from Minnesota’s OSHA program outlines some helpful safety information on power presses. Much of that information was derived from a National Safety Council data sheet, which isn’t unusual – the council offers its members many safety information sheets to help ensure workplace safety.

But the particular data sheet Minnesota used was from 1963.

The council’s data sheet has been updated a few times since 1963, the latest in 2007, but much of the information remains the same, suggesting that some good advice never gets old.

The same could be said for many of the ideas behind standards OSHA currently is pursuing. For example, the agency’s proposed Silica Standard would adopt a permissible exposure limit NIOSH first suggested 40 years ago. Additionally, control methods for this hazard have been well-known for at least 75 years.

Technology changes, and with that will come new and better ways to protect workers – no doubt. But it is worth keeping in mind that sometimes lessons and advice from the past still carry weight.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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