Survey—25% of Workers Unsure of How to Protect Themselves in a Workplace Emergency

When looking for a new job, it’s not unusual to take job security into consideration. But how often do workers think about security on the job? A recent press release from CareerBuilder® looks at how safe workers feel in their workplaces and how well they feel their companies work to ensure their security.

According to the survey, while the vast majority of workers (94%) feel their office is a secure place to work, nearly a quarter of workers (23%) say they would not know what to do to protect themselves if there was an emergency in their office that posed a physical threat.

The national online survey was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll® between February 11 and March 6, 2015, and included a representative sample of more than 3,000 full-time, U.S. workers across industries and company sizes.

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When asked about their feelings of security in regards to specific forms of threat, three in 10 employees (30%) do not feel their workplace is well protected from a physical threat from another person, and the same percentage (30%) feel their workplace is not well protected from a digital hacking threat.

Most workers (85%) feel their workplace is well protected in case of a fire, flood, or other disaster, and 83% feel their workplace is well protected from weather-related threats.

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One in five workers (21%) report their company does not have an emergency plan in place in case of fire, flood, or other disaster, and 1 in 4 (26%) say the same of extremely severe weather. Even more workers (40%) don’t believe their company has an emergency plan in place in case of a physical attack from another person or a technology security breach.

“Ensuring a safe and secure work environment should be of the utmost importance in any workplace,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “Keeping employees protected means not only putting measures in place to keep them safe, but making sure employees are aware of the policies and procedures [so] they can protect themselves, too.”

You can keep your organization’s safety needs up to date with®.

1 thought on “Survey—25% of Workers Unsure of How to Protect Themselves in a Workplace Emergency”

  1. Machine Safety:

    I recently attended the AWSF woodworking Expo in Las Vegas. I looked at a vast variety of large and small machinery and found some that were missing very important safety devices like emergency stops and the proper point of operation safeguarding.

    One manufacturer of a large machine was selling their machine with exposed belts and pulleys so if you purchased that machine and OSHA came into your facility for an inspection, your company could receive a potential serious citation and a fine of $7,000.00. Worse yet, if your employee was caught in this hazard, they would receive an amputation.

    Other manufactures had emergency stop devices that were properly color-coded according the ANSI / NFPA 79 electrical standards for machinery but these devices were missing the wording “emergency stop:” Only General / General International machines had the right emergency stop devices on their small to midsize machines. We observed some manufacturers building machinery that did not even have an emergency stop or point of operation guard installed. My hat is off to the General / General International line of machinery since they built safety into their product line. I would recommend their equipment to anyone and you know that I usually do not do this.

    I talked with many other machine manufacturers about their product line and it is important to note that most sales professionals that were selling machinery at this show could not answer my basic safety questions about their own machinery such as were the clear windows made out of plexiglass or polycarbonate or if the cutter came loose from its quill / tool holder would this clear window be strong enough to stop the cutter. A lot of the color coding of hazards on the new machinery did not meet the ANSI 535 or OSHA standards which this standard is incorporated by reference in 29 CFR 1910.6 — 1910.6(e)(66) ANSI Z535.1-2006 (R2011), Safety Colors, reaffirmed July 19, 2011; IBR approved for §§ 1910.97(a) and 1910.145(d).. Many of the safety pictographs that were used on these machines were the wrong colors. So beware when buying new machinery.

    I viewed three woodworking machine manufactures that were showing their table saws, Bosch, Sawstop and General / General International. Out of the three table saw manufacturers that I viewed only the General / General International line of machines had the proper saw blade guard / shield installed. As a matter of fact, only General / General International had their machines at this show that were properly safeguarded and color-coding. This included disc sanders, drill presses, bandsaws and other types of machines.

    The other two table saw companies had a blade guard / shield that only covered the front part of the blade but the rear was wide open thus potentially violating OSHA woodworking standards. I asked these other two manufacturers why their blade guard / shield did not cover the rear of the blade and their answer was “it met European standards”. I will say that if you purchase the Saw Stop accessory blade guard /shield that has a dust collection system on it, then in my opinion it may have met the intent of OSHA but they did not use this blade shield at the show. Remember these are blade shields and not blade guards since if you claim it is a guard, a person should not be able to reach over, under or around the safety device and allow access to the cutter / point of operation.

    If you have the other type of blade guard / shield that according to the manufacturers of the saws state they meet European standards, then I would ask to see a letter from OSHA to Saw Stop or Bosch that states OSHA will allow the use of the European style blade shield. If you get that letter, I would love to have a copy of it and I will retract my statements on here. As far as I know most of the readers on here are from America. When I approached this subject with Saw Stop at this show, they stated that OSHA has viewed their presentations many times and have never said anything. I have a hard time believing that one since here are the OSHA standards.

    OSHA standards requires:

    1910.213(a)(12) For all circular saws where conditions are such that there is a possibility of contact with the portion of the saw either beneath or behind the table, that portion of the saw shall be covered with an exhaust hood, or, if no exhaust system is required, with a guard that shall be so arranged as to prevent accidental contact with the saw.

    1910.213(c)(1) Each circular hand-fed ripsaw shall be guarded by a hood which shall completely enclose that portion of the saw above the table and that portion of the saw above the material being cut. The hood and mounting shall be arranged so that the hood will automatically adjust itself to the thickness of and remain in contact with the material being cut but it shall not offer any considerable resistance to insertion of material to saw or to passage of the material being sawed. The hood shall be made of adequate strength to resist blows and strains incidental to reasonable operation, adjusting, and handling, and shall be so designed as to protect the operator from flying splinters and broken saw teeth. It shall be made of material that is soft enough so that it will be unlikely to cause tooth breakage. The hood shall be so mounted as to insure that its operation will be positive, reliable, and in true alignment with the saw; and the mounting shall be adequate in strength to resist any reasonable side thrust or other force tending to throw it out of line.

    Bosch and Sawstop both have a safety bypass switch installed on their machines to allow cutting other materials or wet materials thus if you are misusing this machine that complies with ANSO 01.1 woodworking standards and cutting other materials other than wood, then in my opinion, you would knowingly be exposing your employees to the risk of a potential amputation. From the Saw Stop website FAQ: Can I cut conductive materials?
    Saw Stop Answer: Yes. You can operate the saw in Bypass Mode which deactivates the safety system’s braking feature, allowing you to cut aluminum, very wet/green wood (see above) and other known conductive materials. Why would any manufacturer tell you to potentially misuse a piece of woodworking equipment and worse yet tell you to bypass the safety device that suppose to protect you from injury. By the way Saw Stop also admits that you can be seriously injured on their machine quote for their website

    “Can I get a serious injury using a SawStop saw?
    In the vast majority of cases, coming in contact with the spinning blade will result in a minor cut. However, if your hand moves into the blade at very high speed, it is possible for you to receive a serious injury.”

    Bosch is coming out with a saw that has the same kind of safety device that Saw Stop has and it also has a bypass switch on the machine but according to this Bosch manufacturer representative who was at the show, he stated that BOSH only recommends that the by-pass switch should only be used when cutting wet wood. The manufacturer of Bosch stated that their machines should not be used for cutting anything but wood.

    Have you heard of Whirlwind

    Senses when fingers are in danger and STOPS the saw blade in 1/8 OF A SECOND!

    Developed by veteran woodworker David Butler, the patent-pending Whirlwind Tool™ BLACK BOX table saw emergency blade brake is a simple bolt-on/removable device which can be easily and inexpensively incorporated into use with millions of existing saws and machine tools. The prototypes showcased on this site differ from all previous table saw blade guards and emergency blade brakes, with a built-in “electronic fence” blade enclosure. Removable, extended safety shields can be wide or narrow to offer varying safety margin depending on user comfort and experience.

    If the operator approaches or touches the clear blade guard fence, the proximity detector will immediately shut down the saw motor and stop the blade, without damage, in one-eighth of a second — long before the operator can contact the spinning blade. The saw can be restarted almost immediately. Table saw miter cuts, bevels, narrow rip cuts, non-through cuts and dadoes have all been implemented with the BLACK BOX prototype.

    Metal Cutting and Fabrication

    According to this manufacturer since 2012, the BLACK BOX has been used for metal cutting and fabrication. with a simple modification woodworking guards an employer is able to cut metal on a band saw and two types of theur table saws. In addition to the revolutionary, new BLACK BOX system showcased here, Whirlwind™ health and safety technologies have been successfully implemented using the Makita bench top, Delta, Powermatic and Rigid saws. The site features a number of videos but you won’t get to see a great deal of detail. There are, however, a number of intriguing things about this system. First, the brake is triggered BEFORE you touch the blade, which means no stitches and no bandaids. It passes the “hot dog test” without so much as a scratch on the wiener! Second, the braking mechanism does not destroy your blade and doesn’t seem to require replaceable parts. Third, the system incorporates what looks to be flawless dust collection. Not sure how this part works but they seem to push it as a feature. Once again the machine should have a variable motor to adjust to the right speed for the materials being cut.

    As many people know, I stand up for safety and protecting workers especially from being injured on machinery. If you have a Saw Stop machine then I suggest you read the entire set of FAQ’s on the Saw Stop website site and then make a decision on who makes a safe product. For the best of me, I do not know why a manufacturer would ever put in writing on how to by-pass a safety device or give ways to potentially misuse a piece of woodworking equipment and potentially put a worker at risk.

    At this show Saw Stop was demonstrating their machine and the sales person stated to the viewers that she removed the blade shield intentionally so that the viewers could see how fast the brake worked when she sent her hot dog through the machine. I think she committed a very serious and willful unsafe act just to sell a machine and she and her company put everyone at risk at that show. Cutting hotdogs on their machines is not the way to discuss safety but it is good for the hotdog business. What would OSHA do if they caught you with a table saw and the blade shield missing? They would cite you for a serious hazard. Safety is Safety and trying to sell a machine to a bunch of people who may not know the OSHA or State OSHA regulations is not the way to sell a machine.

    The last time I wrote on this issue, the Vice President of the product from Saw Stop chased me down at a NSC trade show and stated to me ” I hear you are telling people to not buy our product, to which I stated then and I am stating now ” beware when you purchase any manufacturers machinery, read everything that is on the manufacturer websites and in their owners / operators manuals and always get a letter from OSHA or Canadian Safety Authorities if you have questions on whether a piece of equipment meets their regulations”.

    Please also remember if you own a Saw Stop machine or other manufacturers woodworking machine they are manufactured under the ANSI O1.1 woodworking standard which is incorporated by reference in OSHA 1910.6 and can not be used to cut other materials such as plastic, composite or metals since these machines do not have a variable speed motor. But if you read the Saw Stop website, once again they say in writing that you can cut other materials with their saw and this statement is just wrong and someday someone will be seriously injured on their machine or other manufactures machines if they are not properly designed according the ANSI or CSA standard for that particular type of machine. I am not banging on this manufacture or other manufactures of machinery but lets really take a look at safety.

    Does OSHA even speak of this issue on using a woodworking machine to cut anything but wood and the answer is No. So is it ok? the answer is still No since OSHA has adopted the ANSI O1.1 standard under 29 CFR 1910.6 — 1910.6(e)(43) ANSI O1.1-54 (R 61) Safety Code for Woodworking Machinery, IBR approved for §1910.261(a)(3)(xvii), (e)(7), and (i)(2). OSHA in my opinion screwed up here by referring the 1910.261 standard and not to the 1910. 213 woodworking standard so if someone received an injury look out for them using the General Duty clause to cite.

    Back to cutting metal on a woodworking machine: Cutting Speed(CS) of a material is the ideal number of Feet-per-Minute that the tool-bit should pass over the work-piece. This “Ideal” cutting speed assumes sharp tools and flood coolant. Adjustments need to be made for less than ideal cutting conditions. Different materials (High-Carbon/Low-Carbon Steels, Aluminums, Different kinds of Plastics) have different Cutting Speeds and can be worked/cut at different rates. In addition, some tools or processes (like threading, knurling, or cutting-off) will need to be worked at slower speeds than the Cutting Speed would indicate. So using the Saw Stop or any other woodworking manufacturers machine to cut anything but wood is not recommended. Hopefully everyone reading this and who are safety professionals know this already. Here is a good site to visit on this issue of cutting other type of materials and their speeds.

    General Machine / General international was the only small woodworking machine manufacturer that had their machines like table saws, drill presses, bandsaws etc properly safeguarded and also properly color coded. When asked the question as to can I cut other materials on your machines like metal or plastic, they stated No and they recommend that you only use their machine for what it was designed to do cut wood. So in this case, I would consider buying a General or General International machine that seems to meet the OSHA and Canadian safety standards. I am also not saying that people who buy machinery that is made for cutting wood may have purchased the machinery with other intents and went against the manufacturers information and used these manufactures machines to cut other materials but if they do then they are misusing the machine for its designed purpose since the machine was not built to cut other materials and they certainly do not have variable speed motors to cut these other materials safely. I did view one manufacturer that had a variable speed motor on one of their saws but no machine guard on it so you could use that machine to cut all materials as long as you installed the proper machine guarding.

    At the present time Saw Stop is trying to stop Bosch from entering the American market. Here is where in my opinion greed takes over. I agree with trying to protect your patent but I also state that safety has no sides and if you come up with a good idea you should share it to help people become safe. My son and I have designed spindle sanding machine guards, disc sanding machine guards, belt sanding machine guards and we were the only ones in the United States to have designed these guards. Could we have paten them before showing them on the open market? Yes, but we were willing to show our guards while we were working in schools woodshops and our clients buildings across the United States and Canada to protect children in school shops and our clients protect their workers so they would not be injured on these types of machines. Do we care? No not if it protects one person from being injured. Here is a good read

    Here are the links that I feel you should read if you have woodworking equipment in your shops. If you have questions, as always you can write to me for my opinion on machine safeguarding.

    In February 2014, SawStop’s parent, SD3, filed an antitrust suit against Black & Decker, Ryobi, Hitachi, Bosch and other saw makers, claiming the saw manufacturers conspired against adopting SawStop safety technology. But a federal court dismissed that claim in August 2014.

    Links Read each question and answer carefully.

    Please understand that I am not in anyway attacking Saw Stop, Bosch or any other machine manufacturer, if their equipment prevents one injury from happening, then I say hurray for them but others are coming and these devices will be able to be used on other types of machines that are designed to cut other materials.

    Thanks for reading as Safety, Health and Environmental Professionals the safety of our workers should always be at the top of our list. Never use a machine for anything other than what it was built to do and built to the ANSI or CSA or other standards for that type of machine. By the way, if you have visited a Home Depot or Lowes lately and wonder why they block off their aisles when they were working in those areas, I know the guy who made that happen

    Have you heard about the Bumble Bee Tuna accident? Well the State of California CAL/OSHA is prosecuting the General Manager and their Safety Manager could this accident have been prevented? Yes it could have. How do I know? ask me and I will tell you. Lets take safety seriously.

    John F. (Jack) Podojil

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