What's New

New ISO Symbol



Did you know the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) adopted a new symbol meaning “to warn of an arc flash”? Many workers die each year as a result of arc flash explosion accidents – and most are killed because they failed to wear proper PPE. Use of proper labeling on electrical equipment can help to protect people from the risk of arc flash explosions.

There was no single standardized graphic for an arc flash explosion hazard until ISO adopted a symbol meaning “To warn of an arc flash.” The new arc flash symbol has been registered in ISO 7010 Graphical symbols – Safety colors and safety signs – Registered safety signs.

The change was made with the help of ANSI’s U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the ISO standards committee responsible for safety signs, colors and symbols – ISO/TC 145. The symbol went through a three-year registration process prior to its adoption into ISO 7010.


What’s Driving OSHA Inspections Now?


Some changes at OSHA in the last couple of years are impacting the way the agency chooses where to conduct inspections. Three in five (60%) OSHA inspections in federal fiscal year 2016 (which ended Sept. 30, 2016) were due to injuries/fatalities, employee complaints or referrals. These are known as unprogrammed inspections. The rest of OSHA’s inspections focus on industries and employers where known hazards exist, such as combustible dust and chemical processing, hexavalent chromium and shipbreaking (programmed inspections). All inspections aren’t equal. The emphasis on injury-related inspections comes from OSHA’s requirements for reporting fatalities and severe injuries, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2015. Employers must report a fatality within 8 hours, and an amputation, hospitalization or loss of an eye within 24 hours. Federal OSHA conducted 31,948 inspections in FY 2016, down from 35,820 in FY 2015. This was partially by design. With its budget remaining about steady and without additional resources, OSHA decided to count inspections differently. Before FY 2015, each inspection was counted the same. Now OSHA uses its Enforcement Weighting System. The EWS takes into account that certain types of inspections use more resources than others. Each inspection is assigned a number of enforcement units (EUs).

Greater resources, more impact.

The new EWS system encourages conducting more time-consuming inspections that require greater resources but also have more impact. Some examples: Cases with fines totaling more than $100,000 get the most EUs: 8. Process safety management cases are ranked 7 EUs. Fatalities or serious injuries count as 3 EUs. For more on this story, go to safetycompliancealert.com and search for “new statistics.”