January Safety Theme – Slips, Trips, & Falls

Slips, trips, and falls are frequent causes of incidents both on and off the job. According to OSHA, slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry incidents and result in back injuries, strains and sprains, contusions, and fractures. Additionally, they cause 15% of all incidental deaths and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.

What Causes Slips, Trips and Falls?

A slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and walking surface. A trip occurs when a person’s foot contacts an object or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance. A fall occurs when a person is too far-off balance. People slip on water or oil spills; they trip over small objects and electrical cords; and they fall off ladders, chairs, or down stairways.

There are many situations that can cause slips, trips, and falls and they can be prevented, but only if everyone does his/her part. First, always be alert to potential hazards in unfamiliar surroundings. Spot-check walkways and work areas to be sure that no trip or slip hazards exist. Even more importantly, when you find a fall hazard, make sure that something is done to correct it. The majority of slips, trips, and falls at work are caused by obvious hazards, most of which could have been easily corrected. Water and oil spills, small objects on the floor, electrical cords, and objects projecting out into walkways will eventually trip someone, so take a moment to eliminate these obvious hazards.

Tips for Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls

  • Always practice good housekeeping. Don’t leave loose objects on walking working surfaces.
  • Never leave water or oil spills unattended. If they can’t be cleaned up immediately, set up a barrier so that people know about the hazard.
  • Never allow an object to sit on stairways or ramps. Cartons, boxes, and other obstacles are especially dangerous here.
  • Always use a ladder or stepstool. Never stand on a chair, desk, shelf, crate, box, or any other unstable items to reach something. If you must routinely reach items in high locations, purchase a ladder or stepstool to allow it to be done safely. Before each use, every ladder and stepstool should be inspected to make sure safety feet are present and there are no damages. Ladder safety training is required if you must use a ladder or for stepstools greater than 32 inches.
  • Report or repair loose or damaged handrails, stairway treads, mats, and walkway runners. Sometimes even a small worn spot can cause someone to trip or fall.
  • Wear proper footwear. Wear footwear that is appropriate for the conditions inside and outside.
  • On smooth or wet surfaces, always wear shoes with slip resistant soles.
  • Ensure proper lighting. Report burned out lights, as well as walkways and work areas that are too dark.
  • When walking, don’t carry loads that block your vision. If you can’t see where you are going, a trip and fall is inevitable.
  • Post signs to warn of dangerous areas. For example, paint edges where elevation changes occur with yellow paint to alert employees to the change in elevation.
  • Use hand or safety rails on stairways. It’s the best way to keep your balance.
  • Report any floor openings that are not protected. These openings can cause very serious falls.
  • Keep away from the edge of unprotected floors/roofs that are elevated. If you lose your balance while working close to the edge, gravity is always going to win!
  • Exercise caution when rising, sitting or reaching from a rolling task chair or stool.
  • Always sit up straight and have hips far back on the seat. Do not sit on the edge of the seat.
  • Always grasp the seat or arms while attempting to sit or rise. Inspect the chair regularly for wear and tear or damages. 5-legged chairs and stools are much more stable than 4-legged chairs and stools.
  • Use soft-wheeled castors on hard flooring surfaces (i.e. tile) and hard-wheeled castors on soft flooring surfaces (i.e. carpet).
  • Watch for imperfections in the flooring, such as damaged chair mats or floor tiles or ripped carpet, that may cause imbalance and falls from rolling task chairs or stools.

graphic with tips to avoid slips, trips, and falls in winter weather

Photo source: New York Times

National Safety Month Spotlight – Safety Director Jim Mangas

Photo of Heritage Safety Director Jim Mangas

Jim Mangas, CSP (Certified Safety Professional)  
  BS – Occupational Health & Safety
   MS – Occupational Health & Safety

June is National Safety Month, and one of the topics of focus this year is Building a Safety Culture.  “Safe and Compliant or Not at All” is one of our core values here at Heritage, and part of upholding that value means having not only an experienced leader at the head of our safety operations, but someone with a passion for it. In March of this year, Jim Mangas joined the Heritage team as our new Director of Safety. He came to Heritage with nearly 20 years of safety leadership – including direct relevant experience in manufacturing and chemical environments.  He leads with vision, focus and a positive attitude – and has a proven track record for establishing and executing safety programs and processes across organizations. We interviewed him to get his perspective on building a safety culture, and what that means in our industry and at Heritage.


How did you get started in health & safety? Why did you choose this path?

My first few years out of high school I was a firefighter/paramedic. I started doing some safety work on the side and it sparked my interest, so I went into the field full time. I like safety because we get the chance to prevent something bad from happening. As a firefighter/paramedic we were mostly reacting to something that happened. Safety professionals get the opportunity to get ahead of the incidents and make a difference.


What is the biggest challenge(s) you have faced as a safety leader/director during your career?

I feel like my biggest challenge has been getting company leaders to move beyond compliance, that the OSHA standard is not enough in many cases. Unfortunately, many feel that doing the minimum is enough.  I am sure many safety professionals have heard the same line that I have for many years “We only have to meet the OSHA Standard”. I read a quote somewhere that says, “the minimum is one small step above inadequate”. That is exactly how I feel. We must continually find better, safer ways to work. Safety has to evolve with the workplace. To do this, companies should be looking at industry best practices and benchmarking others that are doing safety right


How can businesses make safety more ingrained in their culture?

Safety must be a core value, the highest regarded value. It is the highest held value because it’s about people. Safety is not a value that is just talked about but one that we live out. It must be the way you do everything in your business. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor must act upon this value.


Why did you decide to join Heritage?

Growing up in Indiana, Heritage is a well-known company, family owned, and they have a great reputation. Not only are they a safe company, but they lead the way in safety.  I wanted to work for a company that gives back to the community, and Heritage does that in many ways.


What does Heritage’s core value of “Safe and Compliant or Not at All” mean to you?

I love this, it was one of the first things I read on the website before I interviewed for the role. This means that if our workers get into a situation that is not safe or not compliant, they have the power to stop. We will not start the job or finish the job until we are certain it can be done safely. Every Heritage employee, visitor and contractor has that power. This means we are living out the value and that is exactly what we want.


What initiatives are you most excited about implementing or advancing at Heritage?

Heritage has a great Health & Safety Process. Our culture is very safety driven. For me, that means the foundational safety principles are in place and working well. I will be focusing on continuous improvement looking for better ways to do safety. We will be implementing a Serious Injury & Fatality Prevention (SIF) Process. We want workers to be able to identify SIF potential in their routine, everyday tasks so we can stop it before anything happens. With SIF, you can’t take the business as usual approach, it takes a paradigm shift to make the needed impact.


To learn more about National Safety Month, visit:

To learn about some of our safety initiatives, check out some of our other blog posts on the topic:


Heritage Marks 10 Years as a SmartWay® Transport Partner

Today marks 10 years that Heritage has been a part of the SmartWay® Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the transportation industry. Since we joined the partnership in 2010, we’ve won two Excellence awards, which go to the top two percent of SmartWay Partners who have made significant contributions to reducing the impact of transportation on air quality.

Heritage serves customers all over North America, and participating in the SmartWay program for the past decade has played a major role in reducing our total carbon footprint.

Participation in the program means making smart decisions on equipment, routing, and driver behavior.  The process of data tracking creates a framework for measuring and encouraging year-over-year improvements. To be eligible to display EPA SmartWay decals, a tractor or trailer must each comply with strict program guidelines:

List of improvements made under the smartway program


By moving away from 2014 and 2015 model year tractors, Heritage saw an average of $6,730 in fuel cost savings per tractor. We also went to the Thermo King Envidia APU (auxiliary power unit). This APU allows our drivers to enjoy comforts of home while out on the road without having to keep our tractors idling during breaks. Along with investing in fuel saving technology, we’ve also focused on safety. We’ve added cameras, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems on the tractors to keep our drivers and all people on the roads safer.

Having an extensive transportation network enables us to safely treat and dispose of waste in the best way possible, regardless of where it is generated. But we recognize that transportation has an impact on the environment too, and by participating in EPA’s SmartWay program, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and making our transportation activities more sustainable.

For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership visit

Heritage SmartWay Transoprt Partner 10 year certificate

Learn more about our Transportation and Hazardous Waste Services 

To Improve Safety Today, I …

2nd Annual Saline County Family Safety & Preparedness Expo

Benton, AR – If you are located in the Saline County AR area, come out and see us at the Benton Event Center for the 2nd Annual Saline County Family Safety & Preparedness Expo.  It is tonight, September 18, 2019 from 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm.  Over 50 companies from across Central Arkansas are expected to attend and host tables.  This gives the families in our community to walk through the exhibit area and get information regarding Public Safety, Health and Preparedness.  There will be safety demonstrations, preparedness activities for the children, free hot dogs and popcorn.  There will also be a raffle to win some items donated by the companies exhibiting.

We will be there along with our King Vac Truck.  Come out and see us.

PPE Levels of Protection

In honor of our first HAZWOPER training for the year this past week, we want to take this opportunity to reshare a popular article we originally posted in January of 2016. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect the body against contact with known or anticipated chemical hazards has been divided into four levels. These levels have been established and agreed upon by the US EPA, US Coast Guard, OSHA, DOT, NIOSH, and other agencies.

Level A

Level A protection must be used when the highest level of skin, eye, and respiratory protection is required based on measured levels or potential for high concentrations of atmospheres, vapors, gases or particulates, or when a high potential for skin contact with harmful materials exists. Level A equipment includes:

  • Pressure-demand (positive pressure) full-face self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or airline respirator with escape SCBA;
  • Totally encapsulating vapor tight chemical-protective suit;
  • Hard hat;
  • Gloves – outer and inner, chemical resistant;
  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe, and shank; and
  • Two-way radio (worn inside suit).

Level B

Level B protection must be used when the highest level of respiratory protection is required (as in Level A), but a lesser degree of skin protection is required. Level B equipment includes:

  • Pressure-demand (positive pressure) full-face SCBA or airline respirator with escape SCBA;
  • Hooded, chemical resistant clothing, such as one or two piece splash suit or disposable chemical resistant coveralls;
  • Gloves – outer and inner, chemical resistant;
  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe, and shank;
  • Hard hat; and
  • Two-way radio (worn inside suit).

Level C

Level C protection must be worn when airborne contaminants are known and the criteria for using air purifying respiratory is met. Level C equipment includes:

  • Full-face or half-mask air purifying respirators with cartridges approved for the type of exposures likely to be encountered;
  • Hooded, chemical resistant clothing, such as overalls, and long-sleeved jacket, one or two piece splash suit or disposable, chemical resistant coverage;
  • Gloves – outer and inner, chemical resistant;
  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe, and shank;
  • Hard hat; and
  • Two-way radio.

Level D

Level D is the basic work uniform that should be used whenever necessary. It provides only minimal protection. Level D equipment, used as appropriate, includes:

  • Boots – chemical resistant, steel toe and shank;
  • Gloves;
  • Safety glasses; and
  • Hard hat.

Additional PPE

If you work in a position that poses other or additional risks it may be beneficial to use added PPE such as a face shield (if you are working near sparking activity), noise canceling earmuffs if you are working around loud equipment, a dust mask if you will be around non-hazardous flying particulates, and a reflective safety vest to help ensure you are always seen.

Today and every day, talk about your facility safety culture and how to promote the use of PPE at all times to protect the safety and health of yourself and your co-workers.


Learn about our Hazardous Waste Services.

Winter Safety

Are You Working Safely?

Do you feel as if you are conducting safe workplace techniques? Do you think you could be doing things to make your work environment safer? By taking extra precautions, we have the ability to take initiative and make work safe. It is our responsibility to act safely whether it be at work, home or on the road. With winter quickly approaching, and in some places already having set up camp, we need to consider winter safety. 

Safety at Work

Winter causes many problems, especially when it comes to slipping. Slips and trips happen throughout all four seasons, but winter poses more of a threat because of the falling temperatures. From a company standpoint, we need to make sure we provide a work environment where our employees can perform their job safely and efficiently. Removing snow from all areas helps keep our employees from slipping or falling. Clearing parking lots, sidewalks and all other walkways makes sure your employees have a clear path to go to and from the building or site. Along with snow, we need to make sure there is not an overabundance of ice that is built up in any area. Any spots that are icy should be salted to ensure it melts and is not causing anyone to slip. When an ice patch is identified, there should be a caution sign placed at the time salt is put down. This is going to warn employees to watch their step and to proceed cautiously.

Employer Responsibilities

It is our responsibility as an employer to provide a safe workplace. By examining work environment conditions, we are staying involved. By being involved we are going to personally know that everything is how it should be and is safe for the employees working in the area. If an accident were to happen we need to make sure we keep records or all work-related injuries and illnesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a little over 2 million nonfatal work-related injuries in 2016 alone. If we take the time as employers and employees to have a safe work environment, we can reduce the numbers of work related injuries.

Employee Responsibilities

Whether we work inside or outside there are winter safety steps we need to take in order to avoid injuries. Those of us who work outside need to become aware of our surroundings constantly throughout the day. If there are any spots that look slick, we need to take note, so we can avoid any accidents. Again, putting up caution signs and eliminating slick spots can reduce accidents. Working outside, we need to take care of our personal health as well. With temperatures that can reach into the negatives, we need to protect ourselves from frostbite and hypothermia. Add an extra layer to keep warm, cover your face to keep cold air from entering your lungs, causing respiratory issues. Even if we work inside we still need to take steps to be safe. When you are coming in and out of your facility, check your surroundings. Be sure to avoid any slick areas and report them to your building manager if there are any.

Are You Prepared?

Now you have some things to think about when making your work environment a safer place. We have the ability to take those extra steps, so let’s get out there and keep ourselves and others safe.

OSHA Safety Data Sheets: New Section Regulations, Part 3

Today we will round out our series on the new regulations surrounding the OSHA Safety Data Sheet. If you missed the previous posts, “OSHA Safety Data Sheets: New Section Regulations” or “OSHA Safety Data Sheets: New Section Regulations, Part 2” you may want to read them first. If you’ve read those already though read on to learn about the last five sections.

12. Ecological Information

Section twelve marks the beginning of the non-mandatory portion of the Safety Data Sheet and deals with ecological information. In this section you will find information to evaluate the environmental impact if the chemical or chemicals in question were released into the environment. According to OSHA, this section could include:

  • “Data from toxicity tests performed on aquatic and/or terrestrial organisms, where available (e.g., acute or chronic aquatic toxicity data for fish, algae, crustaceans, and other plants; toxicity data on birds, bees, plants).
  • Whether there is a potential for the chemical to persist and degrade in the environment either through biodegradation or other processes, such as oxidation or hydrolysis.
  • Results of tests of bioaccumulation potential, making reference to the octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow) and the bioconcentration factor (BCF), where available.
  • The potential for a substance to move from the soil to the groundwater (indicate results from adsorption studies or leaching studies).
  • Other adverse effects (e.g., environmental fate, ozone layer depletion potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, endocrine disrupting potential, and/or global warming potential).”

13. Disposal Considerations

This section (which is also non-mandatory) details suggested disposal practices, ways to recycle the chemical(s) or container, and safe handling practices. This section should also refer readers to Section 8 to minimize exposure. Potential information for this section includes:

  • A description of appropriate containers for disposal.
  • Suggestions of appropriate disposal methods.
  • A description of the physical and chemical properties that may affect disposal activities.
  • Language discouraging sewage disposal.
  • Any special precautions for landfills or incineration activities.

14. Transport Information

Section 14, which again is non-mandatory, provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemical(s) by road, air, rail, or sea. The information in this section might include:

  • UN number (i.e., four-figure identification number of the substance).
  • UN proper shipping name.
  • Transport hazard class(es).
  • Packing group number, if applicable, based on the degree of hazard.
  • Environmental hazards (e.g., identify if it is a marine pollutant according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)).
  • Guidance on transport in bulk (according to Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC Code)).
  • Any special precautions which an employee should be aware of or needs to comply with, in connection with transport or conveyance either within or outside their premises (indicate when information is not available).

15. Regulatory Information

The final non-mandatory section, 15 identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific for the product that is not indicated anywhere else on the SDS. This information could include any national and/or regional regulatory information of the chemical or mixtures (including any OSHA, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, or Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations).

16.Other Information

The final section indicates when the SDS was prepared or when the last known revision was made.The SDS may also state where the changes have been made to the previous version.

Hopefully you found this series of posts helpful! If so (and if you would like to see us write an eBook about this subject in the future) please let us know in the comments section! Additionally, for complete information you can visit the OSHA website here.