Executive Order Provides State and Local Governments with 100% Reimbursement for COVID-19 Related Costs, Including PPE

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presidential administration has issued an executive order, “Memorandum to Extend Federal Support to Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States,” effective January 21, 2021.

In Section 3 of the memorandum, “Assistance for Category B Emergency Protective Measures,” it states that FEMA shall provide the assistance that may be required by States, local governments, and Tribal governments to “provide for the safe opening and operation of eligible schools, child-care facilities, healthcare facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters, transit systems, and other eligible applicants.”

It continues, “This assistance may include funding for the provision of personal protective equipment and disinfecting services and supplies.”

According to this, state and local governments are eligible to receive 100% reimbursement for costs associated with PPE and other supplies  for COVID-19, under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. Prior to this order taking effect, states were required to cover 25% of COVID-19 related costs eligible for reimbursement.

This funding for PPE is available until September 30, 2021.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSA has been and continues to be prepared to provide PPE to help keep frontline workers safe, including those serving in healthcare and government.

MSA products appropriate for this funding include:

  • Optimair® TL PAPR
    • NIOSH-approved powered air-purifying respirator with loose-fitting hoods and tight-fitting facepieces that helps to protect against particulates, toxic gases and vapors, or a combination. The low-profile hood options reduce the ear coverage area, allowing for the use of a stethoscope, while also maintaining eye and face protection. The Optimair TL PAPR is in stock and discounted pricing is available.
  • Advantage® 290 Half-Mask Respirator
    • First-ever NIOSH approved elastomeric respirator without an exhalation valve. In addition to providing up to P100 level protection for the wearer, the elimination of the exhalation valve allows for the wearer’s exhaled breath to be filtered and contained. This source control reduces the likelihood of contaminating the surrounding area, making the Advantage 290 ideal for sterile environments.

Read more about the executive order here.

How Safety Solutions Can Help Improve Safety Outcomes

Safety professionals seek to address safety issues effectively. However, while trying to be efficient, many focus only on the first layer of information available and center their attention on solving the immediate problem. Overlooking a situation and rushing into a solution not only brings the risk of making wrong decisions but also prevents organizations from attaining sustainable results and from improving their safety programs.

Having a clear view on your safety context is key to improved safety outcomes

To avoid falling into this trap, safety managers need a clear view of the organization’s safety context- or what is called a great “quality of perception” (QoP) This is important because the more realistic understanding safety teams have of the reality of their safety programs, the more likely they are to make accurate decisions. But how to get there?

Quality data in a format that helps make sense of things is the key to success.  This information provides relevant insights, allowing safety managers to be confident that they are making the correct decisions and taking the correct steps to accomplish their safety goals.

When it comes to improving QoP, complexity is the enemy. Opting for a simpler, focused approach can simplify the decision-making process. When data is so clear that it brings actionable insights, safety managers need less time and effort to be fully aware of what is happening. Decision-making is easy because it is evident what needs to be done. Let´s take as an example a smart –or connected — gas detection solution. Each component of the solution contributes to and influences the quality of the data:

  • Smart sensors:  

Influence data accuracy at three levels: type, quantity (concentration levels) and time (for how long the exposure occurred).

  • Smart devices:  

Make connectivity with other devices and the cloud easy. They also report on device condition and provide status information.

  • Smart software:  

More than having gas readings available in one place for compliance, the smart software brings information at a glance and actionable insights to support accurate and swift decision-making.

Smart solutions not only help safety professionals to automate compliance management and reduce risks, but also help them learn from data and improve the “QoP”

Evaluating your QoP and using data for improved safety

Learning from and increasing the “QoP” is all about using even basic data wisely.  If you want to evaluate your “quality of perception” and understand how you can use your data intelligently, here is a model that can help you.

If you have read this article it means you are concerned about continuously improving your safety program and aiming for enhanced operational safety. Congratulations! You are on your way to program excellence by transforming your good practices into best practices.

If you want to know more about smart gas detection solutions, visit our site.

Employees at Risk of Hearing Loss: What Employers Can Do to Help

Millions and millions of employees show up, do their job, clock out, and go home, day after day, month after month, year after year. For some 22 million, however, this workday routine harbors a hidden danger: potential for permanent hearing loss from exposure to loud noise in the workplace.1

Yet, according to every major regulatory and protection agency from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to the World Health Organization (WHO) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), workplace hearing loss is 100 percent preventable.

Why, then, are U.S. businesses paying more than $1.5 million annually in penalties for improper implementation or non-compliance with OSHA’s hearing conservation program?1

Perhaps it’s because when it comes to loud and harmful noise in the workplace, people understand the need for hearing protection devices (HPDs) yet are unaware of what goes into selecting proper HPDs.

Not only can proper HPDs protect employees against hearing loss, they have the potential to save employers an estimated $242 million annually in workplace-related hearing loss disability through Workers’ Compensation.1


When workplace noise and vibration occur at a high level or continue for an extended period of time, workers are at higher risk of experiencing temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Among those at high risk include industrial workers who are exposed to potentially damaging, high-noise situations as a result of equipment and processes associated with production, manufacturing, foundries, mills, and shops.

These high-noise situations often result from a combination of machine components and such operations as: crushing, cutting, extrusion, grinding, punching, riveting, and sanding.

While machine work and operations may be all in a day’s work for some employees, the associated noise can result in hearing loss that’s gradual, painless, and progressive. Unfortunately, it affects some 24 percent of U.S. workers, making occupational hearing loss one of the nation’s most common work-related hazards.2,3


The cost of noise-induced hearing loss is shocking with a wide-reaching and holistic effect on a person’s physical, emotional, and occupational well-being.4

Physical: Excessive and/or prolonged noise can destroy inner ear nerve endings, causing permanent damage that affects a person’s ability to perform daily tasks.

Psychological: Noise-induced hearing loss can cause a wide range of mental disorders such as irritability, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, isolation, and hostility.

Occupational: Hearing impairment often interferes with communication, concentration, and job performance; is a contributing factor to workplace accidents and injuries; and may have a negative impact on a worker’s lifetime earning potential.5


So, what can employers do to help their employees reduce exposure and conserve their hearing? Namely, implement an effective and ongoing hearing conservation program that includes three key components.

Test and monitor.

Naturally, the goal of employers through a hearing conservation program is to ensure safe, healthful working conditions for employees. OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.95,6 Occupational Noise Exposure is a good place to start, along with the hearing conservation guidelines issues by the Canadian Standard Association (CSA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and International Association for Standardization (ISO).

Under these guidelines, employers with employees exposed to an 8-hour TWA (time-weighted average) of 85 decibels or greater should:

  • Monitor exposure levels and repeat monitoring when noise increases as a result of changes in production, process, equipment, or controls.
  • Perform baseline hearing tests (audiograms) on affected employees.
  • Conduct annual audiograms on affected employees and compare them to baselines.

Evaluate and ensure the adequacy of HPD attenuation for the specific noise environment.

Employers must comply with OSHA’s attenuation guidelines, as outlined in the hearing protection standard Part 1910, Subpart G, Appendix B. The guidelines state that employers must calculate attenuation values and evaluate HPD attenuation for the noise environment in which it will be worn.

For example, while earplugs have their rightful place in some hearing conservation programs, foam earplugs have the potential to deliver more attenuation variability than, say, custom-molded earplugs. Earmuffs, on the other hand, deliver less attenuation variability than either foam or custom-molded earplugs. The attenuation calculation, therefore, should be a key determinant in selecting the proper solution for the environment.

Fit, provide, and train employees on the use and wear of suitable HPDs.

While the OSHA standard requires the use of hearing protection, the standard does not mandate just what kind of HPDs to provide. Instead, it states in 1910.95(i)(3) that “employees shall be given the opportunity to select their hearing protectors from a variety of suitable hearing protectors provided by the employer.” This can leave employers feeling a bit in the dark as to how to decide which HPDs to offer.

One consideration should be comfort. Why? Because research shows workers will not wear HPD consistently and correctly if it is ill-fitting, awkward, or uncomfortable for any length of time. Not wearing HPD, of course, leads to increased noise exposure and greater risk for hearing loss, as demonstrated by a five-year study of audiometric data from 20,000 employees. 7 This same study also concluded that HPDs should be selected as much for comfort, convenience, and communication, as for ability to reduce noise.

While earplugs may, at first, seem like a simple, obvious, and cost-conscious solution to noise in the workplace, they are not necessarily the best solution for the grimy, grubby conditions of industrial facilities. In general, safety-conscious employers will want to evaluate over-the-ear, cap-mounted HPDs, which are more suitable for their unique working environment and comfortable enough for workers to wear all the time every time.


There’s no getting around it. To be effective in helping prevent workplace-related hearing loss in noisy environments, HPDs must be worn constantly when noise levels are high. That means they must be comfortable enough for workers to wear them for as long as necessary. The fact is, if HPDs are removed for even a brief period of time, hearing protection and attenuation are dramatically reduced.

The new MSA V-Gard® Cap-Mounted Hearing Protection Line provides enhanced comfort, top-of-the-line performance, and upgraded style and fit. Learn more about MSA’s hearing protection line on our website or download our whitepaper – 4 Things Every Safety Manager Must Know About Hearing Protection –  below.


(1)U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “Occupational Noise Exposure.” https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/

(2)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention.” https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/default.html

(3)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Occupational Hearing Loss (OHL) Surveillance.” https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ohl/default.html

(4)Mil Med Res. “The Impact of Hearing Impairment and Noise-Induced Hearing Injury on Quality of Life.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4830069/

(5)Hearing Health Foundation. “Workplace Hearing Loss.” https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/hearing-loss-in-the-workplace/

(6)U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “By Standard Number / 1910.95 – Occupational noise exposure.” https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.95

(7)US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. “Do Hearing Protectors Protect Hearing?” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4671486/

Additional Sources:

National Institutes of Health. “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.” https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss

NIOSH. “Controls for Noise Exposure.” https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noisecontrol/

OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Subpart G, Occupational Health and Environmental Control, Appendix B. https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=9737&p_table=STANDARDS

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. “Hearing Protectors Fact Sheet.” https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/prevention/ppe/ear_prot.html

How To Future-Proof Your Gas Safety Program with Connectivity

Taking your safety monitoring program to the cloud is key to future-proofing your gas safety program. Until recently, shifting to cloud software for safety monitoring wasn’t first on the list of must-haves.

Yet, many workplaces face issues stemming from a need to keep non-essential workers at home. Without cloud-enabled solutions, your teams can’t access time-critical data remotely. Once your data is in the cloud, safety managers have key data points at their fingertips, helping them make accurate decisions.

Along with data access, you can use intelligent insights to create better training programs while ensuring compliance. Learn how to develop a world-class monitoring system by connecting your portable gas detector devices to the cloud.

Why Choose Cloud Connected Gas Detection Solutions

Today’s workplaces are almost fully connected via various wireless devices, cloud networks and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. As remote work increases, leaders want employees to access critical data from any location with an internet connection. According to Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, 61% of respondents list migrating more workloads to the cloud as a top priority.

Yet, many industries have been slower to adopt cloud-enabled solutions for their gas detection programs – though many realize the importance of business continuity and believe that cloud technologies support remote teams and on-site safety. Key benefits of web-based software for gas detection include:

  • Access to equipment records and the ability to generate reports, gather information about alarms, test results or device status becomes easier and enables safety program improvements.
  • Centralized data logs from a fleet of portable gas detectors results in automated compliance and being prepared for audits.
  • Access to user-friendly dashboards 24/7 from any device with an internet connection, makes action points clear and empowers safety managers with valuable insights.
  • Reduction in worksite interruptions allows teams and leaders to focus on high-level safety decisions and actions.

Manage Your Portable Gas Detection Fleet

Safety managers spend hours overseeing programs at different plants, including developing reports for incidents or maintenance and manual recordkeeping. Cloud solutions streamline operations and put all information in one place.

Using a central web-based location gives users a single truth source while supporting proactive oversight and increasing worker productivity. Furthermore, an updated gas detector safety program ensures continued compliance with safety policies and government regulations.

Safety managers connect their MSA portable gas detection devices to a cloud software service to:

  • Access data from anywhere. As long as you have an internet connection, you can locate, share or download reports about your fleet using any device.
  • Oversee fleet compliance. Search up-to-date records to discover which gas detectors are experiencing sensor issues or aren’t getting regularly bump tested.
  • Assess risks. Review safety incidents and determine root causes while delivering real-time feedback and updating safety programs.
  • Drive worker accountability. Look at device usage and make recommendations to improve response times.

Monitor Your Worksites Remotely

Every second counts when it comes to worksite safety. Yet the rise of remote workforces leaves safety managers disconnected from on-site activities. Without eyes on your portable gas detection fleet, it’s tough to make fast decisions or get the employee contact information needed for immediate responses.

Remote safety managers use cloud solutions for real-time monitoring of a portable gas detection fleet to:

  • Leverage real-time awareness. Use the Grid Live Monitor to get real-time alerts of man-down alarms, panic button presses or device concerns. Doing so helps safety managers to assess movement and response from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Rely on a field device manager. You have crucial information about sensor life, compliance status and current detector readings with a device manager. This data helps crews stay aware while responding quickly.

Start Future-Proofing Your Gas Safety Program

With more and more activities moving to the cloud, isn’t it time your portable gas detection safety program does the same? You can take advantage of big data and sensors by connecting your safety managers to real-time device data. Learn more about future-proofing your safety plan by requesting a Safety io demo.

How to Meet OSHA Training Standards During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Earlier this year, OSHA issued an Enforcement Memo “Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic,” outlining special provisions and exceptions to meeting OSHA Standards for training requirements based on the mitigations put in place in workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Are The Challenges to Meeting OSHA Standards During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Mitigation protocols including business closures, travel restrictions, limits on the number of people in group gathering, no-visitor policies, and other stay-at-home requirements have impacted companies around the world. Without the regular, day-to-day business operations in place, OSHA has recognized the challenges in continuing training, auditing, equipment inspections, testing, and other essential safety and industrial hygiene services.

What Changes Has OSHA Implemented?

Recognizing these challenges, OSHA has announced that Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) should “evaluate whether the employer made good faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards during the course of an inspection. When considering whether or not an employer engaged in “good faith” compliance efforts, CSHOs should also “evaluate whether the employer thoroughly explored all options to comply with the applicable standard(s) (e.g., the use of virtual training or remote communication strategies).”

If an employer cannot demonstrate any efforts to comply with standards, a citation may be issued; however, in cases where an employer has made attempts to comply in “good faith,” Area Offices “shall take such efforts into strong consideration in determining whether to cite a violation.”

What Options Are Considered “Good Faith” To Meet OSHA Standards?

As outlined in the OSHA memo, the use of virtual training or remote communication strategies are examples of options to show “good faith” in efforts to meet standards during these unprecedented times.

As one solution, MSA Safety offers Virtual Led Training (VLT) courses for a variety of subjects including Confined Space and Fall Protection, Competent User Level for Portable and Permanent Instruments, and RITE, FIRST, and CARE certification and recertification. VLT courses are conducted via the WebEx video conferencing platform with an MSA Training Instructor in the same manner as the current in-person training, and follow the same class format and content that would happen on-site.

Learn more about VLT and register for courses here.

The Future of Gas Detection – EHS Today eBook

According to the International Labour Organization, each year approximately 2.78 million workers die as a result of occupational accidents and work-related diseases, and another 374 million workers suffer from non-fatal occupational accidents. Thousands of those workplace injuries and deaths every year involve hazardous gases – a threat that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

This new eBook from EHS Today, sponsored by MSA – The Safety Company, provides a collection of resources designed to enhance your atmospheric testing efforts and safety at any job site, including how gas detection has progressed through the years, the keys to effective gas monitoring programs, and best practices that can be integrated into your current processes.

Click here to download The Future of Gas Detection eBook.

How to Understand and Use Your Gas Detector’s Data Logs

If you wait until an audit to look at your data logs, then you’re missing valuable opportunities to improve worker health and safety. From conducting risk assessments to driving employee accountability,  gas detector’s data logs, when correctly analyzed,  can provide valuable insights. Easily accessible data,  brought together in the correct format, can empower your safety teams by enabling them to make better decisions. Don´t wait any longer. Put your gas detector’s data to work for you today!

Overcoming the Big Data Challenge

Can you monitor worker responses to alarms or quickly drum up data from a three-year-old incident report? Or are you flying blind? Reading your gas detector’s data log gives you the information you need to make informed preventative maintenance and employee behavior decisions.

At MSA and Safety io, we translate big data into tangible learnings and present that small data to you in a format of actionable insights. Moreover, we supply planning insights to assist with proactive maintenance and eliminate the risk of human error, while giving your safety managers free time to drive meaningful behavioral safety improvements.

Use gas detection software services to automate compliance, reduce costs and create easy-to-understand reports. Safety managers rely on the Safety io Grid Fleet Manager and Grid Live Monitor for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Device alert awareness and control: Get a real-time understanding of gas exposures and instrument readings while live monitoring employee location and movement with satellite and street views. You can also receive online alerts about man-down alarms, device concerns and panic button presses.
  • Comprehensive field device manager: From employee contact details to battery, compliance and sensor life alerts, the Grid Live Manager puts all the data at your fingertips. Plus, you can access employee contact details and current detector readings.
  • Information access: Along with a daily e-mail about your fleet’s status, you can access fleet information from anywhere with an internet connection. Easily share calibrations, detector records or alarm reports by downloading and sharing them at any time.
  • Fleet compliance: Use your Grid Fleet Manager to determine what equipment is in use, who is using it, and which ones are available. You can also reduce downtime by decommissioning equipment requiring maintenance and ensure all gas detectors are bump tested, calibrated and that its sensors are functioning properly.
  • Risk assessment: Identify hazards, understand root causes and drive accountability using Grid Fleet Manager. Having this information helps you create safer processes and find training opportunities based on equipment usage information.
  • Ensuring proper equipment use: Label devices to specific workers or departments and gain valuable insight into worker behaviors. Understand if workers are acknowledging alarms according to best practices or simply turning the devices off. Identify which users went to work without bump testing the instruments.

Worksite Safety: Prioritize a Comprehensive Approach

Many data log systems make it hard to access, review, analyze and share information. And if you’re examining data from multiple sites or hundreds of portable gas detectors, then it’s nearly impossible to get a comprehensive view.

Fortunately, the Safety io Grid services put information at your fingertips regardless of your location. You can pull data logs from the cloud at any time and from anywhere. This gives you access to the information you need to oversee workers, correct behavior and reinforce your safety-first message. When it comes to connected worker safety, there are four mains pillars you should consider:

Automated compliance management:

The process of inspecting gas detection devices, calibrating them and bump testing is time-consuming and complex. By adding smart technologies, you can automate the compliance process and free up time to focus on higher-level objectives. Put all information about your gas detectors in one spot in the cloud. Doing so helps you get a broad look at gas detector compliance data.

Incident prevention and management response:

The goal is to prevent every incident but to get there, you want access to data analytics. Connecting to gas detectors for real-time incident reporting and increased worksite visibility helps you follow up and thoroughly document any problem. Use a comprehensive field device manager for current detector readings and alarm notifications to take action quickly.

Worker health and productivity:

Connected worker safety means figuring out how technologies, like connected gas detectors, can protect teams and safely boost productivity rates. Develop insights into worker safety by reviewing how and when devices are used. Use this information to identify training opportunities.

Active safety monitoring:

By giving safety managers access to data from anywhere with an internet connection, they can stay on top of safety activities without walking through the facility daily. From afar, safety managers can see employees’ locations using street and satellite views while getting real-time notifications of gas exposures and instrument readings.

Take Action to Improve Workplace Safety

Your gas detection data logs are crucial to fleet compliance. Yet, maintaining accurate records is only one element of your safety program. Use data logs to develop insights, optimize worksite safety and achieve successful outcomes. Learn more by scheduling a demo with Safety io.

How to Advance Your Worker Safety Program Using Practical Connectivity

An interesting way to improve your safety program is by expecting more from your gas detectors. With a proactive approach, you can increase worker accountability and device uptime while reducing safety management challenges. But, it’s tough to think ahead when you don’t have easy and functional data access.

If you spend hours retrieving incident reports or monitoring your portable gas detectors, it’s difficult to invest time into high-level tasks. Instead, set your devices for seamless connectivity, automated reporting and informed decision-making.

Going Digital With Gas Detection: A Proactive Approach to Safety Programs

Although continuous monitoring is essential, maintaining calibration records and compliance data is time-consuming. And managing your fleet of portable gas detectors gets more complex when your team in charge of safety can’t get into the office.

However, you can simplify matters by connecting your gas detectors to the Safety io Grid Fleet Manager. With your data secure in the cloud, it’s easier to remotely monitor gas readings and schedule maintenance. A flexible, user-friendly interface allows you to:

  • Get real-time data from anywhere with an internet connection at any time.
  • Oversee several sites and multiple gas detectors from one dashboard.
  • Ensure automatic backups for OSHA-compliant record-keeping.
  • Create and share reports even if you’re working from home.

Along with helping to creating a safer workplace, going digital helps you focus on achieving safety goals while taking a proactive approach to mitigating safety concerns.

Exploring the Benefits of a Cloud-Based Gas Detection Solution

Using a web-based service provides more than peace of mind. For example, the City of Asheville Water Resources Department attached its portable gas detectors to the Safety io Grid and “reduced the time they spent managing detectors by 60%.” By connecting your MSA detection equipment to Safety io Grid services, you’ll:

  • Improve your record-keeping process while reducing the time spent on administration.
  • Prioritize actions using a daily email summary about your fleet’s status.
  • Ensure accurate instrument maintenance records and strategically decommission devices for repair.
  • Leverage data for thorough risk assessments using live and historical data.
  • Develop better employee training programs using equipment usage information.
  • Reduce downtime with gas detectors that are routinely calibrated and bump tested.
  • Make informed decisions regardless of your location.
  • Decrease costs related to record storage and IT support services.

How to Improve Your Safety Program

Keeping up with today’s complex worksites requires information at your fingertips. Moreover, it’s vital to automate data collection so you can have the means to improve safety awareness and outcomes. When it comes to connected worker safety, there are four mains pillars you should consider:

  1. Automated compliance management
  2. Incident prevention and management response
  3. Worker health and productivity
  4. Active safety monitoring

To take a deep dive into each of them, we recommend you listen to this podcast. Before you can develop these pillars, you want data access and availability that delivers clear, actionable insights.

Make Worksite Safety a Priority

Asking yourself what you can do right now? Well, gas detection plays a big role in your workers’ and worksites’ safety. A great way to improve your safety program is by getting your gas detectors to do more for you. Start by pulling time reports from your last audit, inspection or incident. How much time did your team spend gathering data? Next, take steps to streamline your tracking and controls by connecting your portable gas detectors to Safety io Grid services.

How Technology is Transforming Gas Detection Safety

Matt DeLorenzo, business director for Safety io, an MSA Safety company, explains how technology is improving safety via a transformation of the way safety devices are managed, and how operator safety is monitored while at work.

Improvements in safety, both in practice and equipment, have essentially always stemmed from one thing: the availability of good information. In the past, that learning was often observational, based on talking to individuals, or derived from scrutiny or analysis of historic written and pictorial hard copy records.

Today, thanks to the advances in digital data capture and recording by sensors and devices, information is a commodity that is not in short supply. The seamless connectivity driving the Internet of Things is already touching workplaces globally. The latest flame and gas detection devices typically offer the ability to log performance and environmental data. But translating that into tangible learnings is not always easy.

The Big Data Challenge

Processing and intelligently analyzing large data volumes, particularly when gathered from “real-time” streams, is now one of the safety industry’s biggest challenges. For data to be meaningful, it has to provide real insight. That starts with being able to automatically detect, highlight, interrogate and share those events that are most relevant and significant to the operation of a device, or the ability of an worker to complete his or her work safely.

Recent advancements of AI-enabled automated reporting tools allow safety managers to look beyond just managing safety compliance towards changing how workplace safety really works. The ability to analyze and review historical logged data and extract actionable information to reduce risk and improve workplace safety is transformative.

Insight to Plan Ahead

Data analysis and proactive maintenance can help to streamline the day-to-day monitoring of equipment, eliminate potential risk of human error, and free up time for safety managers to concentrate on driving meaningful behavioral safety improvements. Automatic notifications, for instance, can highlight when equipment components are likely to require maintenance or replacement, allowing pre-emptive action. Worker safety is improved, and costly downtime or operational delays minimized. Gas detectors, for example, rely on sensors that have a finite lifetime. Analysis of usage data can automatically highlight that a sensor’s end-of-life is approaching, and a replacement should be ordered. Similarly, correct detector operation is verified by using bottled gas testers before use. If the gas runs out, detectors cannot be tested. Safety protocol dictates that workers cannot work. Yet by providing automated alerts about remaining capacity, spare cylinders can be ordered earlier. The ability to instantly track equipment and its location digitally, without resorting to lists on clipboards, also offers significant savings in time and loss of assets.

An Essential Record

Historically, daily data would remain on each device and be routinely overwritten, unless an event prompted a sporadic download, or a written report. Today, maintaining historic central archives of detection device data – sometimes spanning decades – provides companies with an invaluable record. Any exposure incidents or toxic breaches can be thoroughly analyzed and documented.

For workers, the advent of real-time monitoring during operations via live feeds is revolutionizing safety. Data streaming can provide safety controllers and colleagues with situational awareness, physical status and the ability for workers to issue individual or team evacuation alarms and even mobilize first responders should a situation arise.

Engineering Value, Not Innovation, First

Developing next-generation safety technology is of course hugely dependent on innovation, but truly listening to and understanding customer needs and feedback to engineer the necessary hardware and software functionality is of equal importance. It’s listening carefully to customers’ feedback and applying those learnings in an innovative way that produces next-generation safety technology.

Adoption will stand or fall on the ability of solutions to add value to multiple stakeholders without completely changing the way safety management and procedures work. Seamless integration and easy, intuitive operation only comes from extended testing by everyone involved – from safety managers to supervisors to workers. Of course, innovation is meaningless unless the underlying outcome offers a real-world, practical benefit.

Expect the Best

There is no doubt that technological advances are having huge impact on the world as a whole. All things considered, the health and safety industry should embrace the opportunities new technologies provide to keep workers connected, thus providing an additional layer of safety through technology.

MSA’s mantra is certainly to encourage the industry to ‘expect more’ from gas detection programs. The whole reason behind the creation of Safety io is to pioneer technology advancements, with the ultimate goal of improving decision making, reinforcing best practices and pursuing a safety-first, injury-free workforce.

Learn more about Safety io here!

Meeting OSHA Requirements for Working at Heights While Maintaining Worker Comfort: One Transmission Company’s Solution

Recently, many utility companies needed to update their practices in preparation for and while working at heights, based on updates to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.269 regulation for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Previously, OSHA allowed “qualified climbers” to climb without the use of personal fall protection and just tie off when they reached their work position on the structure. However, OSHA removed this exemption in the latest regulation, requiring all climbers to now use 100% tie-off.

In response to these regulation updates, one major North American transmission company attempted to establish a method using two separate straps to tie off the user’s full body harness to the structure. However, this method soon proved to be too cumbersome, so the company determined that it needed a solution that allowed for a continuous climb without the need to connect, disconnect, and reconnect around every obstruction, allowing workers to pass freely through every intermediate connection point along the cable.

In addition, the company needed a partner to supply design services and compliant engineered vertical lifeline systems for their lattice towers and monopoles.

Download the case study below to learn more about how the company partnered with MSA Safety to find a solution to meet OSHA standards while maintaining worker comfort and ease of use.