Magazine article Risk Management

Online Safety Management Resources: Surfing to Safety

Magazine article Risk Management

Online Safety Management Resources: Surfing to Safety

Article excerpt

For most computer users, mentioning the words "safety" and "Internet" in the same sentence suggests ways to prevent a virus from crippling a computer or to screen out inappropriate material. But for risk and safety managers, the words suggest the Internet's value as an electronic pathway to a world of occupational health and safety resources.

One of the best starting points for online research comes from an agency that defines many other aspects of a safety manager's job. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Administration's Web site (http://www.osha.gov) allows users to review agency regulations and standards, such as OSHA's draft guidelines for workplace violence prevention and ergonomic protection. Similarly, booklets offering advice on workplace safety topics such as emergency plans, OSHA inspections, job hazard analyses and specific hazardous substances can be downloaded from the site, while other OSHA documents can ordered online.

In addition to the publications, OSHA has made several software programs available at the site. An expert system program that helps companies comply with the agency's confined spaces standard can be used online, and similar programs that generate reports, letters, checklists and statistics related to fire safety, asbestos and the cadmium standard can be downloaded.

Extensive ergonomics information is available from a fully searchable Web site (http://www.osha-slc.gov) maintained by OSHA's Technical Center in Salt Lake City. The site features summaries of enforcement settlements, prevention information, publications that describe the ergonomic aspects associated with specific actions and industries, and information about training seminars. Summaries of initiatives addressing nursing homes, scaffolding, tuberculosis and other programs are also available online.

Similar information can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy's "Environmental, Safety and Health InfoCenter" (http://nattie.eh.doe.gov/ map.html), which lists a series of safety and health bulletins on topics ranging from the Year 2000 problem to the fire hazards associated with ventilation ducts and indoor slip-and-fall prevention.

Several states with large occupational safety programs also maintain Web sites. Although some sites offer little more than basic office directories, others are more useful. Perhaps the most comprehensive information can be found at California's Department of Industrial Relations site (http://www.dir.ca.gov), which provides a series of state-specific regulatory and prevention documents as well as a description of the agency's workplace consultation services. …

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