Frederick M. Hueston

Stone Forensics

Many stone fabricators and restoration contractors and installers will be visited by their local OSHA inspector this year. What should one do when OSHA comes knocking? 

The best thing to do is to be prepared. Preparation means having everything in order. This includes your safety manual and HAZCOM program. There is a website that offers HAZCOM and Safety manuals for the stone industry at Make sure your MSDS are available and complete. The following checklist should help you be ready when OSHA comes knocking. Remember, it’s not if, it’s a matter of when OSHA will pay you a surprise visit.

Note: OSHA also has voluntary compliant programs available. This means you call them up and have them visit your facility. They will not fine, you but will tell you what you need. Check with your local OSHA office at the following link

Self-Inspection Checklists

The following checklist topics are by no means all-inclusive. You should add to them or delete items that do not apply to your business; however, carefully consider each item and then make your decision. You should refer to OSHA website for standards and specific guidance that applies to your work situation. These lists can be fairly long, so I’ll include a couple of checklists that all granite fabrication shops should be using.

Checklist Topics

  • Employer Posting
  • Record Keeping
  • Health and Safety Program
  • Medical Services and First Aid
  • Fire Protection
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • General Work Environment
  • Floor and Wall Openings
  • Hand Tools and Equipment
  • Portable (Power Operated) Tools
  • Abrasive Wheel Equipment Grinders
  • Machine Guarding
  • Lockout/Tagout Procedures
  • Welding, Cutting and Brazing
  • Compressors and Compressed Air
  • Compressors/Air Receivers
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Hoist and Auxiliary Equipment
  • Industrial Trucks– Forklifts
  • Entering Confined Spaces
  • Environmental Controls
  • Flammable and Combustible Materials
  • Hazardous Chemical Exposure
  • Hazardous Substances Communication
  • Electrical
  • Noise
  • Identification of Piping Systems
  • Materials Handling
  • Transporting Employees & Materials
  • Control of Harmful Substances
  • Sanitizing Equipment and Clothing

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Clothing Self Checklist

  • Has the employer determined whether hazards that require the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – head, eye, face, hand, or foot protection – are present or are likely to be present?
  • If hazards or the likelihood of hazards are found, are employers selecting appropriate and properly fitted PPE suitable for protection from these hazards and ensuring that affected employees use it?
  • Have both the employer and the employees been trained on PPE procedures, i.e., what PPE is necessary for job tasks, when workers need it, and how to properly wear and adjust it?
  • Are protective goggles or face shields provided and worn where there is any danger of flying particles or corrosive materials?
  • Are approved safety glasses required to be worn at all times in areas where there is a risk of eye injuries such as punctures, abrasions, contusions, or burns?
  • Are employees who wear corrective lenses (glasses or contacts) in workplaces with harmful exposures required to wear only approved safety glasses, protective goggles, or use other medically approved precautionary procedures?
  • Are protective gloves, aprons, shields, or other means provided and required where employees could be cut or where there is reasonably anticipated exposure to corrosive liquids, chemicals, blood, or other potentially infectious materials? See the OSHA Blood Borne Pathogens standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030(b), for the definition of “other potentially infectious materials.”
  • Are hard hats required, provided and worn where danger of falling objects exists?
  • Are hard hats periodically inspected for damage to the shell and suspension system?
  • Is appropriate foot protection required where there is the risk of foot injuries from hot, corrosive, or poisonous substances, falling objects, crushing, or penetrating actions?
  • Are approved respirators provided when needed? (See 29 CFR 1910.134 for detailed information on respirators or check OSHA’s website).
  • Is all PPE maintained in a sanitary condition and ready for use?
  • Are food or beverages consumed only in areas where there is no exposure to toxic material, blood, or other potentially infectious materials?
  • Is protection against the effects of occupational noise provided when sound levels exceed those of the OSHA Noise standard?
  • Are adequate work procedures, PPE and other equipment provided and used when cleaning up spilled hazardous materials?
  • Are appropriate procedures in place to dispose of or decontaminate PPE contaminated with, or reasonably anticipated to be contaminated with, blood or other potentially infectious materials?

Portable (Power Operated) Tools and Equipment

  • Are grinders, saws and similar equipment provided with appropriate safety guards?
  • Are power tools used with proper shields, guards, or attachments, as recommended by the manufacturer?
  • Are portable circular saws equipped with guards above and below the base shoe?
  • Are circular saw guards checked to ensure that they are not wedged up, leaving the lower portion of the blade unguarded?
  • Are rotating or moving parts of equipment guarded to prevent physical contact?
  • Are all cord-connected, electrically operated tools and equipment effectively grounded or of the approved double insulated type?
  • Are effective guards in place over belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets on equipment such as concrete mixers, air compressors, etc.?
  • Are portable fans provided with full guards or screens having openings 1/2-inch (1.2700 centimeters) or less?
  • Is hoisting equipment available and used for lifting heavy objects, and are hoist ratings and characteristics appropriate for the task?
  • Are ground-fault circuit interrupters provided on all temporary electrical 15- and 20-ampere circuits used during periods of construction?
  • Are pneumatic and hydraulic hoses on powder-operated tools checked regularly for deterioration or damage?

General Work Environment

  • Are all worksites clean, sanitary and orderly?
  • Are work surfaces kept dry and appropriate means taken to assure the surfaces are slip-resistant?
  • Are all spilled hazardous materials or liquids, including blood and other potentially infectious materials, cleaned up immediately and according to proper procedures?
  • Is combustible scrap, debris and waste stored safely and removed from the worksite promptly?
  • Is all regulated waste, as defined in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), discarded according to Federal, state and local regulations?
  • Are accumulations of combustible dust routinely removed from elevated surfaces including the overhead structure of buildings, etc.?
  • Is combustible dust cleaned up with a vacuum system to prevent suspension of dust particles in the environment?
  • Are the minimum number of toilets and washing facilities provided and maintained in a clean and sanitary fashion?

Medical Services and First Aid

  • Is there a hospital, clinic, or infirmary for medical care near your workplace or is at least one employee on each shift currently qualified to render first aid?
  • Have all employees who are expected to respond to medical emergencies as part of their job responsibilities received first aid training; had hepatitis B vaccination made available to them; had appropriate training on procedures to protect them from blood borne pathogens, including universal precautions; and have available and understand how to use appropriate PPE to protect against exposure to blood-borne diseases?*
  • Pursuant to an OSHA memorandum of July 1, 1992, employees who render first aid only as a collateral duty do not have to be offered pre-exposure hepatitis B vaccine only if the employer includes and implements the following requirements in his/her exposure control plan: (1) the employer must record all first aid incidents involving the presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials before the end of the work shift during which the first aid incident occurred; (2) the employer must comply with post-exposure evaluation, prophylaxis and follow-up requirements of the blood borne pathogens standard with respect to “exposure incidents,” as defined by the standard; (3) the employer must train designated first aid providers about the reporting procedure; (4) the employer must offer to initiate the hepatitis B vaccination series within 24 hours to all unvaccinated first aid providers who have rendered assistance in any situation involving the presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  • If employees have had an exposure incident involving blood borne pathogens, was an immediate post-exposure medical evaluation and follow-up provided?
  • Are medical personnel readily available for advice and consultation on matters of employees’ health?
  • Are emergency phone numbers posted?
  • Are fully supplied first aid kits easily accessible to each work area, periodically inspected and replenished as needed?
  • Have first aid kits and supplies been approved by a physician, indicating that they are adequate for a particular area or operation?
  • Is there an eye-wash station or sink available for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body in areas where corrosive liquids or materials are handled?

Employer Posting

  • Is the required OSHA Job Safety and Health Protection Poster displayed in a prominent location where all employees are likely to see it?
  • Are emergency telephone numbers posted where they can be readily found in case of emergency?
  • Where employees may be exposed to toxic substances or harmful physical agents, has appropriate information concerning employee access to medical and exposure records and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) been posted or otherwise made readily available to affected employees?
  • Are signs concerning exit routes, room capacities, floor loading, biohazards, exposures to X-ray, microwave, or other harmful radiation or substances posted where appropriate?
  • Is the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A) posted during the months of February, March and April?

Floor and Wall Openings

  • Are floor openings guarded by a cover, a guardrail, or equivalent on all sides (except at stairways or ladder entrances)?
  • Are toeboards installed around the edges of permanent floor openings where persons may pass below the opening?
  • Are grates or similar type covers over floor openings such as floor drains designed to allow unimpeded foot traffic or rolling equipment? 

These are just a few of the checklist pertinent to shops manufacturing countertops. Visit the website for self-check lists specific to the hazards of working with heavy materials.