Marshall Institute Safety Policy

1. Safety Policy Statement

2        Safety and Health Responsibilities

2.1       Leadership Responsibilities

  • Provide all employees and field resources a copy the Marshall Institute Safety Program – Policy and Procedures
  • Ensure that a safety representative is designated and is carrying out its responsibilities as described in this program
  • Ensure that sufficient employee time, support, and funds are available for safety compliance
  • New employees are put through an initial basic orientation and any other needed training for their assigned position
  • Ensure employees are carrying out their responsibilities as described in this program
  • Ensure that incidents are fully investigated and corrective actions taken to prevent any hazardous conditions or behaviors from happening again
  • Ensure that a record of injuries and illnesses is maintained as described in this program
  • Set a good example by practicing personal work safety activities, following established safety rules
  • Report unsafe practices or conditions to the employees of the area where the hazard was observed
  • Observe the employees you supervise working. Promptly correct any unsafe behavior. Provide training and take corrective action as necessary.

2.2      Employee Responsibilities

  • Follow safety rules described in this program, OSHA safety standards and training you receive
  • Report unsafe conditions or actions to the safety representative promptly
  • Report all near-miss incidents to the safety representative promptly
  • Report all injuries to the safety representative promptly
  • When required, always use personal protective equipment (PPE) that is clean and in good working condition
  • Do not remove or defeat any safety device or safeguard provided for personal protection
  • Encourage co-workers by your words and example to use safe work practices on the job
  • Make suggestions to leadership or safety representative about changes you believe will improve employee safety



3        Employee Participation

3.1        Ask Questions

If you are ever in doubt regarding the safe way to perform a task, please do not proceed until you have consulted your leadership or the safety representative.  Employees will not be asked to perform any task that may be dangerous to their health, safety or security. If you feel a task may be dangerous, inform leadership at once.

We strongly encourage employee participation and your input on health and safety matters. Please inform leadership or the safety representative of any safety concerns. Employees may report potential hazards and make suggestions about safety without fear of retaliation. We appreciate, encourage, and expect this type of involvement! The success of the safety program relies on the participation of all employees. Though it is Marshall Institute’s responsibility to provide for the safety, health and security of its workers during working hours, it is the responsibility of each employee to abide by the rules, regulations and guidelines set forth.

Remember, failure to adhere to these rules will be considered serious infractions of safety rules and may result in disciplinary actions.

3.2        Safety Representative

A safety representative will be appointed to help employees and leadership work together to identify safety issues, develop solutions, review incident reports and evaluate the effectiveness of our safety program. Marshall Institute conducts a weekly staff meeting consisting of leadership and employees.  Health and safety issues are part of the weekly agenda and all employees are required to bring forward any health, safety or hazardous incidents or suggestions to improve the health and safety of all. 

3.3        Reporting Safety Issues

All accidents, injuries, potential safety hazards, safety suggestions and health and safety related issues must be reported immediately to the safety representative. If you or another employee is injured, you should contact outside emergency response agencies, if needed. If an injury does not require medical attention, an Employee Report of Accident Form must still be completed in case medical treatment is later needed and to ensure that any existing safety hazards are corrected. The Employee’s Claim for Worker’s Compensation Benefits Form must be completed in all cases in which an injury requiring medical attention has occurred.

Federal law (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that we keep records of all illnesses and accidents which are work related. The North Carolina state Workers’ Compensation Act also requires that you report any workplace illness or injury, no matter how slight. (On occasion, small injuries can escalate to more serious conditions.)  If you fail to report an injury, you may jeopardize your right to collect workers’ compensation payments as well as health benefits. OSHA also provides for your right to know about any health hazards which might be present on the job. Should you have any questions or concerns, contact leadership for more information.



4        Process Safety Management – General Rules

Unexpected releases of toxic, reactive, or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals have been reported for many years in various industries that use chemicals with such properties. Regardless of the industry that uses these highly hazardous chemicals, there is a potential for an accidental release any time they are not properly controlled, creating the possibility of disaster.

Process Safety Management is a method used to prevent or minimize the consequences of these potentially catastrophic events. Marshall Institute field resources (employees and subcontractors) have a responsibility to participate in and support a client’s Process Safety Management process.

  • All employees will be trained in the work practices necessary to perform their job
  • All employees will be made familiar with the known potential fire, explosion or toxic release hazards related to their job, the process, and the applicable provisions of the emergency action plan
  • All employee training will be documented with name, date taken, etc.
  • All employees shall abide by clients’ safe work practices to include but not limited to:
    • Lockout/Tagout
    • Confined Space Entry
    • Opening process equipment or piping
    • Control over site entrance protocols
    • Permit to work process
    • Hot work permit process
    • PPE
  • The client will be informed if Marshall Institute’s work will present any unique hazards or if any hazards are found during our work onsite
  • All incidents, injuries and near misses will be reported immediately
  • Marshall Institute will respect the confidentiality of all trade secret information

5        Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

5.1        Hazard Identification

Hazard Identification is the process used to identify all the possible situations in the workplace where people may be exposed to injury, illness or disease. This process will be used before a new job is started or whenever a change is made to the process, building, work environment, methods or systems of work. Marshall Institute is committed to aggressively identifying hazardous conditions and practices which are likely to result in injury or illness to employees.  After being trained in the Hazard Identification process, all Marshall Institute employees and sub-contractors will be involved with this process.

5.2        Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is the process used to determine the likelihood that people may be exposed to injury, illness or disease in the workplace arising from any situation identified during the hazard identification process. A risk assessment is then carried out to classify and rank the hazards based on the likelihood of the event occurring and the severity if it did.

In addition to reviewing injury records and investigating incidents for their causes, Marshall Institute will regularly check the workplace for hazards as described below:

5.3        Behavior based safety

Employees and subcontractors may be observed at any time to monitor job performance and safety behaviors. Observers will be able to monitor at-risk behaviors and engage employees while they are performing their tasks. Employees must be made aware that at any time, leadership may observe their work habits for efficiency and safety to themselves and others. Observation of employee’s job performance is a positive way to ensure we are working together for the safety and well-being of all. During observations, feedback may be supplied to mentor employees in the safe method to perform their tasks. Feedback sessions are performed to improve job performance and safety, and have no ill consequences for the employee being observed. However, if the employee shows repeating safety violations, he or she will be subject to disciplinary action.

The purpose of this observation is to improve productivity and ensure all employees are following the health and safety program set forth in this manual and in accordance with OSHA standards. The observer is required to address good safety behavior positively and address bad safety behavior with a feedback session.  The employee will participate in the feedback session and be given an opportunity to discuss why the bad safety behavior occurred.  Leadership will then coach and train the employee on the proper and safe way to accomplish the task.

6        Incident Investigation, Record Keeping, and Review

Employees are required to report any injury or work-related illness to leadership regardless of how serious. Leadership is required to fill out an Injury and Illness report (OSHA’s form 301) for serious injuries.  For minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes, incidents can be entered in to the “work related injuries and illness log” that is maintained by the safety representative.

6.1        Leadership shall:

  • Investigate a serious injury or illness using procedures in the “Incident Investigation” section below

6.2        The Safety Representative shall:

  • Determine from the Employee’s Report, Incident Investigation Report, and any claim form associated with the incident, whether it must be recorded on the OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Log and 300-A Summary according to the instructions for that form
  • Each month before the first scheduled Monday meeting, make any new injury reports and investigations available to the staff members for review

Any employee can view an OSHA log upon request at any time during the year.

6.3        Incident Investigation Procedure

If an employee dies while working or is not expected to survive, or when three or more employees are admitted to a hospital as a result of a work-related incident, The safety representative will contact the North Carolina Department of Labor-OSH within 8 hours after becoming aware of the incident. If the incident occurred at a client site, they will be notified within 24-hours. The toll-free notification number is: 1-800-NCLABOR.  The safety representative must talk with a representative of the department.  The safety representative must report: the employers name, location and time of the incident, number of employees involved, the extent of injuries or illness, a brief description of what happened and the name and phone number of a contact person.

  • DO NOT DISTURB the scene except to aid in rescue or make the scene safe.

Whenever there is an incident that results in death or serious injury a preliminary investigation will be conducted by leadership of the injured person(s), a person designated by leadership, the safety representative and any other persons whose expertise would help the investigation.

The investigation team will take written statements from witnesses, photograph the incident scene and equipment involved.  The team will also document as soon as possible after the incident, the condition of equipment and any anything else in the work area that may be relevant.  The team will make a written “Incident Investigation Report” of its findings.  The report will include a sequence of events leading up to the incident, conclusions about the incident and any recommendations to prevent a similar incident in the future.  The report will be reviewed by the entire Marshall team.

Whenever there is an incident that did not but could have resulted in serious injury to an employee (a near-miss), the incident will be investigated by leadership or a team depending on the seriousness of the injury that would have occurred.  The “Incident Investigation Report” form will be used to investigate the near-miss.  The form will be clearly marked to indicate that it was a near miss and that no actual injury occurred.  The report will be forwarded to the safety representative to record on the incident log.

7        Subcontractor Management Plan

Marshall Institute may employ subcontractors to complement our workforce. In the event of this happening a review of their training and safety documentation will occur. Safety metrics such as TRIR, DART and Fatality Rate will be reviewed. Upon acceptance by Marshall Institute the subcontractor will assume all of the responsibilities of a Marshall Institute employee.

Subcontractors will be held responsible for following the content of the Marshall Institute Health and Safety Program. Subcontractors will be included in all Safety meetings (pre-job, tailgate, kick-off, orientation, post-job performance reviews), Job Safety Analysis, Hazard Assessments, etc. subcontractors will be responsible for following all Safety rules and regulations at Marshall Institute client’s worksites.

8        Stop Work Authority

Marshall Institutes’ Stop Work Intervention (SWI) process will follow the industry standard stop, notify, correct and resume method. When an unsafe condition is identified the SWI will be initiated halting the job, it will be coordinated through Leadership who will notify all affected personnel of the SWI, the issue can then be corrected and work can resume.

All Marshall Institute employees have the right, the authority and the obligation to suspend any work that poses unmitigated risks to the safety or health of people and/or damage to property or the environment. Any known or suspected hazard or unsafe condition shall be reported immediately to leadership. Work will not resume until the issues and concerns have been properly investigated and addressed.

Stop Work Interventions (SWI) are encouraged when needed and will not be subject to any reprimand or retribution for employees exercising their rights. All Stop Work Interventions will be reviewed by leadership to look for lessons learned, common issues, opportunities for improvement, etc.

8.1        Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Employees (all) and subcontractors – initiate a Stop Work Intervention (SWI) when warranted, support the intervention of others and properly report all SWI actions
  • Leadership – create a culture where SWI is exercised freely, honor requests for SWI, work to resolve issues before operations resume, ensure all SWI actions are properly reported, complete follow-up actions, resolve SWI conflicts when they arise, recognize proactive participation and hold accountable those who do not comply with our SWI policies

9        Disciplinary Policy

Employees are expected to use good judgment when doing their work and to follow established safety rules. We have established a disciplinary policy to provide appropriate consequences for failure to follow safety rules. This policy is designed not so much to punish as to bring unacceptable behavior to the employee’s attention in a way that the employee will be motivated to make corrections. Leadership will enforce this rule. The following consequences apply to the violation of the same/similar rule or the same/similar unacceptable behavior:

  • First Instance – verbal warning, notation in employee file, and instruction on proper actions
  • Second Instance – written reprimand, and instruction on proper actions
  • Third Instance – 1-5-day suspension, written reprimand, and instruction on proper actions
  • Fourth Instance – Termination of employment

10        Basic Safety Rules

The following basic safety rules have been established to help make our company a safe and efficient place to work.  These rules are in addition to safety rules that must be followed when doing particular jobs or operating certain equipment.  Those rules are listed elsewhere in this program.  Below are some general safety rules to assist you in making safety a regular part of your work. Other safety procedures may be posted in the break room or a specific work area.

  • Never do anything that is unsafe in order to get the job done. If a job is unsafe, report it to leadership or safety representative.  We will find a safer way to do that job
  • Do not remove or disable safety devices, keep guards in place at all times on operating machinery
  • Never operate a piece of equipment unless you have been trained and are authorized
  • Use your personal protective equipment whenever it is required
  • Obey all safety warning signs
  • Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or using them at work is prohibited. Being intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance while performing work or while on company premises (or at a client location) except medications prescribed by a physician which do not impair work performance, safety, or judgement.
  • Possession of firearms, explosives or weapons of any kind is expressly prohibited by Marshall Institute policy. Marshall Institute believes it is important to establish a clear policy that addresses weapons in the workplace. Specifically, Marshall Institute prohibits all persons who enter company property or a client location from carrying a handgun, firearm, knife over 3” in blade length, or other prohibited weapon of any kind regardless of whether the person is licensed to carry the weapon or not. Any employee disregarding this policy will be subject to immediate termination
  • Marshall Institute has a no Smoking policy in the building. Smoking is only permitted outside the building, at least 25 ft away from any entry or ventilation intake.  Please remember to conform to our client policies when working at a client site
  • Horseplay, running and fighting are prohibited
  • Leave desk, file or cabinet drawers firmly closed when not in use
  • Open only a single drawer of a file cabinet at a time
  • Arrange office space to avoid tripping hazards, such as telephone cords or calculator electrical cords
  • Clean up spills immediately to prevent slips and trips. Do not allow scraps to accumulate where they will become a hazard and pick up all debris immediately. Good housekeeping helps prevent injuries
  • Do not throw objects. Always carry or pass them
  • Know where fire extinguishers are and how to use them

11     Personal Protective Equipment

Marshall Institute ensures that field resources (employees and subcontractors) working at client sites have appropriate PPE for the environment they are working in.

Marshall Institute will provide retraining for the following conditions:

  • The jobsite conditions change sufficiently to merit retraining
  • We determine that a Marshall Institute field resource is not using proper PPE or at appropriate times
  • Marshall field resource uses PPE improperly
  • Marshall field resource does not understand or does not demonstrate the skill to properly use PPE.

It is your responsibility as a Marshall Institute field resource (employees and subcontractors) to assess the jobsite to determine safe practices for completion; acquire, and use any PPE that will be required when at a client site.

Under no circumstances shall defective or damaged PPE be used by Marshall Institute field resource(s) (employees and subcontractors). Further, PPE shall be stored and cleaned regularly to ensure it is safe, fit-for-use, and complies with the client site’s safety and other policies.

11.1     PPE types:

  • Safety glasses – Check prior to use for broken or missing components (such as side shields) and for scratched lenses. Safety glasses must have a “Z87.1” marking on the frame.  If they are prescription glasses, the initials of the lens manufacturer must be stamped into the corner of the lens to show that they are safety glass lenses
  • Leather gloves – Check prior to use for good repair; no tears or worn areas. If exposed skin exists, dispose of gloves and obtain a new pair
  • Safety shoes – Required by some clients, supplied by the field resource, boots/ shoes must be in good repair and comply with “ASTM F2413” standard at minimum
  • Hearing protection – Use of approved ear plugs or ear muffs may be required if work site sound levels exceed 90dbA
  • Hard Hats – When required hard hats shall be worn. Hard hats shall meet ANSI Z89.1-XXXX standards
  • Respirator – Not typically used by Marshall Institute field resources (employees or subcontractors) as we primarily provide consulting and implementation services. However, if there becomes a need, the client site will provide respirator and associated equipment for the scope of work. The field resource and client site would also be required to maintain the equipment and fit-for-use condition throughout the contracted scope of work.
  • Other PPE Types – As needed on a case-by-case basis and industry we contract with

12     Covid and Safe Work practices

Marshall Institute desires to support our client’s business success, while protecting the health of our employees, subcontractors and clients. To meet this outcome, we observe the following practices and considerations regarding pre-travel, travel, and delivery of work.

12.1     Pre-Travel and Onsite Activities

12.1.1        Vaccination Status

Marshall Institute has not mandated that our employees must be vaccinated, however, most of our employees and field resources are vaccinated. All field resources (employees and subcontractors) will follow the client site or corporate COVID policies. If required by our client, we will communicate with clients ahead of time on the vaccination status of the selected field resources.

12.1.2        Perform Pre-Travel Self-Check

Field resources will assess their health pre-travel by self-screening for covid symptoms. These checks will be performed beginning 7-days before travel to a client site. Our company will follow the latest CDC published COVID-19 guidelines and it is our intention for no potentially infected field resource to visit a client site.

12.1.3        Onsite Work

Our overall approach will be to minimize impact to the client’s site resources and only move through the work site as necessary to perform the contracted scope of work. While delivering in-person work at our client’s site, our field resources will:

  • Wear N95 or KN95 masks, or well fitted mask when necessary, or required
  • Avoid handshaking and other close contact during site visits.
  • Limit use of shared items or tools such as door handles/knobs, staplers, copiers, computers, desks, etc.
  • Our field resource(s) (employees and subcontractors) will wash their hands regularly and use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear masks and observe social distancing then picking up food (breakfast, lunch, dinner). They will use drive-throughs and curbside restaurant service whenever possible.
  • Where possible our resources will take breaks and lunches away from client site personnel and site common areas to minimize possible exposure for either party.

13     First Aid

In the event an employee is injured on the job, first aid kits are available for them to treat their own injuries. In the event of a serious injury, 911 or medical response will be summoned. If medical assistance is not readily or reasonably accessible, a certified employee can provide first aid. No employee is required to treat another’s wounds. Marshall Institute will recognize all employees as “Good Samaritans” whether they are certified or not. In the event “Good Samaritan” assistance is rendered, barrier protection is available in the first aid kits. Marshall Institute is not responsible for any exposure to blood or body fluids that the “Good Samaritan” may incur.

If an injury occurs:

  • A first aid kits are placed throughout the office. The contents of the kits have been prepared for the specific environment for which they are being used. These kits are checked routinely by the Safety Representative for completeness. An inventory of each kit is taped to the inside cover of the box.  If you are injured, promptly report it to leadership
  • If your eyes or body are exposed to corrosive or injurious materials, the area must be washed/flushed as soon as possible. Affected body parts should be drenched immediately and the contaminated clothing removed.
  • In case of serious injury, do not move the injured person unless absolutely necessary. Only provide assistance to the level of your training and authorization.  Call for help.  If there is no response, call 911

14     Bloodborne Pathogens

Aids/HIV and Hepatitis B are the primary infectious diseases of concern in blood. All blood should be assumed to be infectious. These diseases can both be deadly. Employees and subcontractors are not required to perform first aid as part of their job duties.

In the event of a bleeding injury where first aid is needed, use gloves, if possible, to prevent exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. The injured person can often help by applying pressure to the wound. Gloves and a mouth barrier for rescue breathing are available in the first aid kits.

If you are exposed to blood while giving first aid wash immediately with soap and water and report the incident to a supervisor. The appropriate follow-up procedures will be initiated.

15     Driving Safety

During company hours, when on assignment for Marshall Institute or on assignment for a client, employee’s must:

  • Be authorized to operate a motor vehicle on company time
  • Have a current valid Driver’s license for the vehicle being operated
  • Ensure that the vehicle is of the correct size and is only used for its intended purpose
  • Must not be under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or any medication that alters mental state
  • Must report any traffic violation or vehicle accident immediately
  • Must do a pre-drive safety inspection of the vehicle to ensure it is in safe working order before operation
  • Wear seat belts and ensure all passengers are wearing seat belts
  • Ensure that loads are secure and do not exceed the Manufacturers specifications or legal limits
  • Employees must obey all posted speed limit postings and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Employees must only use cell phones or any other electronic devices when the vehicle is at a complete stop and the vehicle is in the parked position. Texting or reading while operating a vehicle is prohibited
  • Employees must not participate in any other distracting behavior that will jeopardize the safety of his or her self or their passengers

16     Ladder Safety

Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. The following safe practices address the placement and use of ladders

16.1     Work Rules for Ladders:

  • Ladder rungs, cleats and steps shall be parallel, level and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use. All ladders must meet the following:
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.25 or ANSI A14.1-2000 for wood
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.26 or ANSI A14.2-2000 for metal
  • ANSI A14.5-2000 for fiberglass
  • Before you use a ladder check it for defects such as loose joints, grease on steps, or missing rubber feet
  • During inspection or when in use, if a ladder is found to be defective it must be tagged as such and shall be physically removed and placed out of service until it is repaired or replaced
  • Place ladders securely
  • Do not stand on boxes, chairs or other devices not intended to be used as ladders
  • Do not stand on the top two steps of a ladder
  • Do not paint a ladder! You may hide a defect
  • Do not use a ladder as a brace, workbench or for any other purpose than climbing
  • Do not carry objects up or down a ladder if it will prevent you from using both hands to climb
  • Always face the ladder when climbing up or down
  • If you must place a ladder at a doorway, barricade the door to prevent its use and post a sign
  • Only one person is allowed on a ladder at a time
  • Always keep both feet on the ladder rungs except while climbing up and down. Do not step sideways from an unsecured ladder onto another object
  • If you use a ladder to get to a roof or platform, the ladder must extend at least 3′ above the landing and be secured at the top and bottom
  • Do not lean a step ladder against a wall and use it as a single ladder. Always unfold the ladder and lock the spreaders
  • Set a single or extension ladder with the base 1/4 of the working ladder length away from the support (4 to 1 ratio)

17     Housekeeping

Neatness and good housekeeping are signs of efficiency. You are expected to keep your work area neat and orderly at all times—it is a required safety precaution. If you spill a liquid, clean it up immediately. Do not leave tools, materials, or other objects on the floor, which may cause others to trip or fall. Keep aisles, stairways, exits, electrical panels, fire extinguishers, and doorways clear at all times.

Keep your desk and work area clean, organized and orderly.  Easily accessible trash receptacles and recycling containers are located throughout the building. Please put all litter and recyclable materials in the appropriate receptacles and containers. Always be aware of good health and safety standards, including fire and loss prevention.

Please report anything that needs repairing or replacing to leadership immediately.

18     Property and Equipment Care, Machines, Power and Hand Tools

It is your responsibility to understand the machines and hand or power tools needed to perform your duties. Good care of any machine, hand or power tool that you use during the course of your employment, as well as the conservative use of supplies, will benefit you and Marshall Institute. All machines, power and hand tools will be maintained in a clean and safe condition. If you find that a machine, hand, or power tool is not working properly or in any way appears unsafe, discontinue use and notify leadership immediately so that repairs or adjustments may be made.

Under no circumstances should you start or operate a machine you deem unsafe, nor should you adjust or modify the safeguards provided.  Guards shall be in place and operable at all times while the tool is in use. The guard may not be manipulated in such a way that will compromise its integrity or compromise the protection in which intended. Guarding shall meet the requirements set forth in ANSI B15.1.  Any machine or tool that is identified as unsafe, will be tagged and shall be physically removed from service until it is repaired or replaced.

The use of proper PPE such as safety glasses or goggles, gloves, etc. when operating machines or working with power or hand tools is mandatory. We will continue to provide a clean, safe and healthy place to work and we will provide the best equipment possible.

You are expected to work safely, to observe all safety rules, and to keep the premises clean and neat.

19     Safe Lifting

Back injuries are considered by OSHA to be the nation’s #1 workplace safety problem. Back injuries are often very painful, very expensive to diagnose and treat and can cause a long term or lifetime disability. By following a few simple rules this type of injury can be avoided.

19.1     Work Rules for Lifting:

  • Do not lift on slippery surfaces
  • Test the load before doing the lift
  • Get help if the load is too heavy or awkward to lift alone. Ask for assistance when lifting heavy objects or moving heavy furniture
  • Break the load down into smaller components, if possible, to provide a comfortable lift
  • Do not overexert! Bend your knees, get a firm grip on the object, hold it close to your body and space your feet for good balance
  • Lift using your stronger leg muscles, not your weaker back muscles
  • Avoid using your back for lifting
  • Make sure you have a good handhold on the load
  • Do not jerk the load or speed up. Lift the load in a smooth and controlled manner
  • Do not twist while lifting (especially with a heavy load). Turn and take a step
  • Keep the load close to the body. Walk as close as possible to the load. Pull the load towards you before lifting
  • Avoid long forward reaches to lift over an obstruction
  • Avoid bending your back backwards to loft or place items above your shoulder. Use a step stool or platform
  • Do not lift while in an awkward position
  • Use a mechanical device such as a forklift, hoist, hand truck or elevatable table whenever possible to do the lift or to bring the load up between the knees and waist before you lift
  • Back injury claims are painful for the employee or subcontractor and expensive for the company. Lift safely!

20     Ammonia Awareness

20.1     What is Ammonia?

Ammonia (NH3) is one of the most commonly produced industrial chemicals in the United States. It is used in industry and commerce, and also exists naturally in humans and in the environment. Ammonia is essential for many biological processes and serves as a precursor for amino acid and nucleotide synthesis. In the environment, ammonia is part of the nitrogen cycle and is produced in soil from bacterial processes. Ammonia is also produced naturally from decomposition of organic matter, including plants, animals and animal wastes.

Some chemical/physical properties of ammonia are:

  • At room temperature, ammonia is a colorless, highly irritating gas with a pungent, suffocating odor.
  • In pure form, it is known as anhydrous ammonia and is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture).
  • Ammonia has alkaline properties and is corrosive.
  • Ammonia gas dissolves easily in water to form ammonium hydroxide, a caustic solution and weak base.
  • Ammonia gas is easily compressed and forms a clear liquid under pressure.
  • Ammonia is usually shipped as a compressed liquid in steel containers.
  • Ammonia is not highly flammable, but containers of ammonia may explode when exposed to high heat.

Ammonia is a very efficient and a safe refrigerant when handled and maintained properly. Anyone working with ammonia has a responsibility not only to be thoroughly familiar with basic ammonia safety principles, but to observe all necessary precautions, and react promptly and appropriately in the event of an emergency.

In its pure form, it is known as anhydrous ammonia. Ammonia is also produced in the human body and is commonly found in nature. It is essential to the body as a building block for making proteins and other complex molecules. In nature, ammonia occurs in soil from bacterial processes. It is also produced when plants, animals and animal wastes decay.

20.2     Dangers of Ammonia exposure

Ammonia is an extremely hazardous chemical that is widely used in many industries. Ammonia can be explosive, especially in an enclosed space or when other flammable chemicals are present. By itself, the flammable range is between 15% and 28% by volume in air. When mixed with lubricating oils, the flammable range increases.

Ammonia will react dangerously with some chemicals – most notably, chlorine bleach. Ammonia is also incompatible with other halogens (for example, fluorine), oxidizing agents (for example, nitrogen oxide), and heavy metals (for example, mercury and silver).

20.3     How can you be exposed to Ammonia?

You can be exposed to ammonia from inhalation of the gas or vapors. Since ammonia exists naturally and is also present in cleaning products, exposure may occur from these sources. The widespread use of ammonia on farms and in industrial and commercial locations also means that exposure can occur from an accidental release or from a deliberate terrorist attack.

Anhydrous ammonia gas is lighter than air and will rise, so that generally it dissipates and does not settle in low-lying areas. However, in the presence of moisture (such as high relative humidity), the liquefied anhydrous ammonia gas forms vapors that are heavier than air. These vapors may spread along the ground or into low-lying areas with poor airflow where people may become exposed.

Some examples may include, but not limited to:

  • Working on/near industrial refrigeration machinery rooms, equipment and/or piping
  • Working in petroleum refineries
  • Working with/near agricultural fertilizer
  • Working in industrial process facilities
  • Working in or around industrial meat packing plants

20.4     What is Ammonia’s “Mechanism of Action”?

Ammonia interacts immediately upon contact with available moisture in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, respiratory tract, and particularly mucous surfaces to form the very caustic ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide causes the necrosis of tissues through disruption of cell membrane lipids leading to cellular destruction. As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.

Effects of inhalation of anhydrous ammonia range from lung irritation to severe respiratory injuries, with possible death at higher concentrations. Anhydrous ammonia is also corrosive and can burn the skin and eyes.

20.5     Exposure Levels

20.6     Effects of over-exposure to Ammonia

Exposure of the eyes to ammonia may cause burning, tearing, temporary blindness and severe eye damage. Exposure of the skin to ammonia may cause severe burns and blistering. Exposure of the respiratory tract (mouth, nose and throat) to ammonia may cause runny nose, coughing, chest pain, severe breathing difficulties, severe burns and death. Skin and respiratory related diseases could be aggravated by exposure. High concentrations of ammonia gas, liquid ammonia and solutions of ammonia can cause harm if inhaled or if they come into contact with eyes or skin.

  • Eyes – Tearing, edema or blindness may occur.
  • Skin – Irritation, corrosive burns, and blister formation may result. Contact with liquid may produce a caustic burn and frostbite.
  • Inhalation – Acute exposure may result in severe irritation of the respiratory tract, bronchospasm, pulmonary edema or respiratory arrest. Workers may also experience swelling and accumulation of fluid in the lungs, which can occur up to 24 hours after exposure.
  • Ingestion – Lung irritation and pulmonary edema may occur. Extreme exposure may result in death from spasm or inflammation. Brief inhalation exposure to 5,000 ppm may be fatal.

20.7     Emergency Aid for Ammonia exposure

  • Eyes – If ammonia enters the eye, flood the eyes immediately with large quantities of potable water for at least 15 minutes. Contact lenses should never be worn when servicing ammonia related equipment, since the lens could trap ammonia in the eye and interfere with treatment. Eyelids should be held apart and away from eyeball for thorough rinsing. Continue irrigation with 10-minute breaks and 5-minute irrigation until medical attention is obtained. Medical attention must be received immediately, preferable from an ophthalmologist.
  • Skin – Flush with copious amounts of water for a minimum of 20-minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Do not rub but apply ointment on affected area. Clothing may initially freeze to skin. Ensure clothing is not frozen prior to removal. Seek medical attention immediately. Do not apply medication to the burned areas without medical advice.
  • Inhalation – Any conscious person who has incurred irritation due to inhalation of ammonia should proceed at once to a location free of ammonia and breathe fresh air. Seek medical attention or administer oxygen or artificial respiration, if necessary.
  • Ingestion – If conscious, give large amounts of water to drink. May drink orange juice, citrus juice or diluted vinegar (1:4) to counteract. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Should the patient vomit, place his face down with head lower than hips to prevent it from entering his lungs. Transport patient to a physician promptly.

20.8     Working Safely at Client Sites with Ammonia in use

Marshall Institute’s field resources (employee and subcontractors) shall be made aware of the host client’s contingency plans and provisions. Field resources must be informed by clients where ammonia is used in the host facility and made aware of any additional site-specific safety rules and protocols.

Marshall Institute’s field resources (employees and subcontractors) will not work with, handle, or store Ammonia. However, you must be aware of the presence of ammonia at client work sites, its effects, escape routes, and muster points to avoid exposure.

21     Emergency Planning

21.1     Fire Prevention

Know the location of the fire extinguisher(s) in your area and make sure they are kept clear at all times. Notify the safety representative if an extinguisher is used or if the seal is broken. Keep in mind that extinguishers that are rated ABC can be used for paper, wood, or electrical fires. Make sure all flammable liquids, such as alcohol, are stored in approved and appropriately labeled safety cans and are not exposed to any ignition source.

Evacuation maps for the building are posted thought the office.  They show the location of exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and where to assemble (Muster Point) outside if the building must be evacuated.  In the event a fire occurs and the building must be evacuated, all employees are required to proceed to the muster point outside the building and report in for roll call. All employees will receive training on how to use of fire extinguishers as part of their initial orientation.  A fire evacuation drill will be conducted annually.

21.2      In case of Fire, and Emergency Evacuation

  • If you discover a fire: Stop all work immediately. Tell another person immediately.
  • If the fire is small (such as a wastebasket fire) and there is minimal smoke, you may try to put it out with a fire extinguisher.
  • If the fire grows or there is thick smoke, do not continue to fight the fire.
  • Tell other employees in the area to evacuate.
  • Exit quickly, but do not run.
  • Do not stop for personal items.
  • Go to the designated muster point outside the building for roll call.
  • Do not go back into the building until instructed to do so.
  • If you are leadership notified of a fire in your area: Tell your employees to evacuate to the designated muster point.  Check that all employees have been evacuated from your area.
  • Verify that 911 has been called.
  • Determine if the fire has been extinguished. If the fire has grown or there is thick smoke, evacuate any employees trying to fight the fire.
  • Tell leadership in other areas to evacuate the building.
  • Go to the designated muster point and check that all your employees are accounted for.
  • If an employee is missing, do not re-enter the building! Notify the responding fire personnel that an employee is missing and may be in the building.

22     Security

Maintaining the security of Marshall Institute is every employee’s responsibility. Develop habits that ensure security as a matter of course. For example:

  • Always keep cash properly secured. If you are aware that cash is insecurely stored, immediately inform the person responsible
  • Always secure the alarm system before departing
  • Know the location of all alarms and fire extinguishers, and familiarize yourself with the proper procedure for using them, should the need arise
  • When you are the last to leave Marshall Institute’s premises make sure that all entrances are properly locked and secured, including the back door
  • If you are alone in the office, always keep all external doors locked

23     Parking Lot Safety

Remember to lock your car every day.  Courtesy and common sense in parking will help eliminate accidents, personal injuries, damage to your vehicle and to the vehicles of other employees. If you should damage another car while parking or leaving, immediately report the incident, along with the license numbers of both vehicles and any other pertinent information you may have, to the personnel department.

Marshall Institute cannot be and is not responsible for any loss, theft or damage to your vehicle or any of its contents.

24     Safety Training and Awareness

Training is an essential part of our plan to provide a safe work place at Marshall Institute. A designated Safety representative has been appointed to coordinate new employee orientation, safety awareness, and safety policy reviews.