Gerry Spanger, president of EZ Trap, New Brunswick, N.J., shows his ac condensate traps. Model EZT 210 with float switch tells you when the trap is blocked. A watertight lower cap opens for easy access to clean the drain pan outlet inside the unit.
CHICAGO - Don't assume you and your employees already operate in a safe workplace. It's often not enough when OSHA comes calling, and not enough to prevent accidents from taking place. "Critical elements of an effective safety program" was part of the theme at a first-time seminar prior to the 24th annual Chicagoland Sheet Metal Contractors Association (CSMCA) held at the Drury Lane conference center in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., just outside Chicago. The seminar was presented by independent safety consultant Phillip Colleran, a former OSHA employee.

Some employers are tempted to throw up their hands and say they can't keep up with the confusing assortment of OSHA rules and regulations that affect their workplace. But don't let that be your excuse. Instead, Colleran said, try putting together a simple but effective on-site job safety manual for each employee. Something as simple as a "dimestore notebook" approach is one giant step towards complying with federal safety regulations, and showing the inspection officer that you have done so.

"There are probably only about 40 rules that affect your work place directly that should be written down, and communicated to your employees," Colleran said. "These are the most common ones that are used every day and the ones that lead to the most accidents when they aren't followed." In some cases, if necessary, this simple but effective device can be considered a legal document, he said, and if an employee still is guilty of a safety violation it might influence whether an OSHA officer considers the employer to be at fault, or whether they instead consider it an isolated incident of employee misconduct.

It was the first time CSMCA offered a pre-trade show seminar, and it was well attended.

At the show, one new product shown was an economy standoff regulator by Duro Dyne. It features a base with 908 or 458 bend for square or round duct, available in 1, 11/2 or 2 in. height, made of 16 ga. galvanized steel. Also, Masterduct of Houston showed its new line of fabric hoses for hvac applications.