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Indiana Department of Labor

DOL > INSafe > FAQs FAQs

  1. INSafe Division
  2. INSafe Consultation 
  3. Common Safety and Health Questions  
  4. Globally Harmonized System (GHS) 
  5. Lockout/Tagout 
  6. Recognizing Excellence: INSHARP 


What is INSafe?

INSafe is Indiana's OSHA consultation program. INSafe Safety and Health Consultants work with Hoosier employers to provide workplace safety and health consultation, training and compliance assistance for Indiana’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (IOSH ACT). INSafe services are free, confidential and conducted at an employer’s worksite. A request for an onsite consultation must be submitted by the employer. To request a free on-site visit, please visit

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How do I contact INSafe?

INSafe can be reached by email, telephone or fax.

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Who does INSafe serve?

INSafe provides priority scheduling consideration to small employers (250 employees or less) and those employers operating in high-hazard industries. However, INSafe’s services are available to all Indiana employers who wish to request consultation services.

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How is INSafe different from IOSHA?

There are a few distinct differences between INSafe and IOSHA:

  • Unlike IOSHA compliance inspections, INSafe services are voluntary; the employer must request INSafe’s services. 
  • INSafe’s services are confidential, while IOSHA compliance inspections are a matter of public record. 
  • INSafe does not fine or penalize an employer for safety and health violations, whereas IOSHA issues citations for violations of occupational safety and health standards. 
  • INSafe also provides guidance to the employer by providing them with the resources needed to identify and eliminate worksite hazards.

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Are INSafe services provided in Spanish?

All services offered by INSafe, including consultations, training and related materials are available in Spanish. For information on services available in Spanish please visit

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What is an INSafe consultation?

INSafe workplace safety and health consultations are provided in three distinct disciplines: general industry, construction and industrial hygiene. INSafe consultants can conduct a full-service consultation, which includes the employer’s entire worksite, a review of safety and health programs and OSHA injury and illness records. INSafe consultants may also conduct a limited-scope consultation, focused on a specific issue which may include a safety or health issue, employer process, piece of equipment/machinery or written program.

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How do I request an INSafe consultation?

Because INSafe consultation services are voluntary, an employer’s request for INSafe services must be in writing. The INSafe consultation request form may be found online at

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Will INSafe inform IOSHA Compliance about violations they find at my company?

Information about your company or consultant findings are not shared with IOSHA enforcement, provided you correct serious hazards. However, in the event that there is an imminent danger (immediate risk of life or threat of serious injury), INSafe may refer the case to IOSHA.

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What do I do if I cannot afford workplace safety and health training?

Through an employer’s request for consultation, an INSafe consultant may work with an employer to determine appropriate workplace safety and health training needs. In many cases an INSafe consultant will coordinate with an employer to provide the training onsite.

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Can my employer make me work when it's too hot or too cold in my workplace?

Generally speaking, yes. There aren't any regulations which list what temperatures would specifically be considered too hot or too cold to work safely. However, in certain extreme cases, the employer may be subject to citation under the General Duty clause.  That is the basic standard which states an employer must provide a working environment reasonably free of health and safety risks.

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How often should I inspect extension cords?

Extension cords must be visually inspected before any shift for external defects and for evidence of possible internal damage. Equipment which remains plugged in once put in place and is not exposed to damage does not need to have its extension cord isually inspected until it is moved. If there is a defect or evidence of damage, the defective item must be removed from service.

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How often am I required to clean up my jobsite?

The housekeeping regulations regarding construction sites are contained in 29 CFR Parts 1926.25 and 1926.252. These standards require that during the course of construction all scrap and debris shall be removed at regular intervals and be kept cleared from work areas, passageways, stairs, in and around buildings and be removed from the immediate work areas as the work progresses.

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Am I required to train my employees in CPR and or first aid?

The employer must ensure that adequate first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care for the injured employee. This means employees must be trained in first aid and CPR or the facility must be located in “near proximity” to a medical facility.

While the first standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term 'near proximity' to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace.

OSHA does exercise discretion in enforcing the first aid requirements in particular cases. At workplaces such as offices, where the possibility serious work-related injury is less likely, a longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be acceptable.

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Is there a rule dealing with poor indoor air quality?

Generally speaking, no.  However, individual contaminants in the air may be regulated by existing OSHA rules. This means that there are rules in place to control the amount of a specific substance in the air. For example, OSHA would not regulate whether or not the air is "clean", but the rules do restrict the amount of carbon monoxide, lead, hexavalent chromium and many other pollutants which a worker can be exposed to. If you have questions, please contact INSafe at 317-232-2688 or to file a complaint contact IOSHA at

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Are there OSHA regulations which deal with smoking?

OSHA regulations related to smoking have to do with creating a fire and or an explosion hazard.  There are no IOSHA regulations related to second-hand smoke health effects.

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What are the guarding requirements for my particular machine?

Machine guarding requirements are contained in subpart O of 29 CFR Part 1910. Remember, requirements apply to all employees - including the operator, those working nearby and even employees who just walk past the machine.

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What is the Globally Harmonized System?

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is an international approach to hazard communication.  It provides an agreed upon criteria for classification of chemical hazards, and a standardized approach to label elements and safety data sheets.

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Why are we switching to the Globally Harmonized System?

This was done to improve the safety and health of workers through more effective communication on chemical hazards. The current HAZCOM standard allows chemical manufacturers and importers to convey information about their various chemicals in whatever format they chose – which meant the same chemicals were labeled different ways from different companies.

 A standardized approach to classifying hazards and conveying the information is much more effective. This will enhance both employer and worker comprehension of the hazards and help to ensure appropriate handling and use of workplace chemicals.

The safety data sheet requirements establish an order of information that is also standardized. The harmonized format of the safety data sheets will enable employers, workers, health professionals and emergency responders to access the information more efficiently and effectively.

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What are the benefits of the Globally Harmonized System?

1) Enhanced worker comprehension of hazards
2) Provide workers quicker and more efficient access to information on safety data sheets
3) Cost savings to American Businesses
4) Reduce trade barriers by harmonizing with systems around the world.

OSHA estimates that the revised HCS will result in the prevention of 43 fatalities and 585 injuries and illnesses (318 non-lost-workday injuries and illnesses, 203 lost-workday injuries and illnesses, and 64 chronic illnesses) annually.  The monetized value of this reduction in occupational risks is an estimated $250 million a year.

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What are the differences between the new GHS and the existing Hazardous Communications Standard (HAZCOM)?

There are three major areas of change: hazard classification, labeling, and safety data sheets.
A) Hazard classification:  The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. 

B) Labels:  Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a signal word (Danger or Warning), pictogram showing the risks of the hazard and a
                 standardized statement for each type of hazard class and category.

C) Safety Data Sheets:  Will now have a specified 16-section format so that information is always laid out in the same manner.

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What compliance dates should I be aware of?

Dec. 1, 2013 - All employees must be trained on new label elements and the new Safety Data Sheet (Former MSDS) format.
June1, 2015 - Comply with all modified provisions of the final GHS rule (29 CFR 1910.1200)  except for distributors, who may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old
                     system until Dec. 1, 2015
June 1, 2016 - Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health
                      hazards During the 5 year transition period (from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016), manufacturers may use either the GHS , labelling and Safety Data Sheets
                      (SDS) or the current hazardous substances and dangerous goods classification systems.

After 31 December 2016, all workplace chemicals must be classified according to the GHS and labels and SDS must be updated.

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Are other countries going to use the GHS?

Yes. The new system is being implemented throughout the world by countries including; Canada, the European Union, China, Australia, and Japan.

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Are other U.S. agencies adopting this new system?

Yes. The Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission actively participated in developing the Globally Harmonized System.

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Where can I learn more?

OSHA's Globally Harmonized System information page can be found here.

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What is Lock out/Tag out

Lockout/Tagout is the process by which a machine, vehicle or process is made safe. "Lock out" is the process of physically securing and de-engergizing a machine. All sources of energy (including stored energy within the machine itself) must be disconnected or drained. The machine must be "locked out" so that it cannot be re-energized withour removing the lock out. The "tag out" portion refers to putting a tag on a machine to inform employees that the machine has been locked out and should not be used. This tag should list who is able to put the machine back into service once the repair has been made or maintenance has been completed.   

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Do I have to both a lock out and a tag out?

Yes. If it's at all possible to do so, simply tagging a machine as unsafe is not sufficient. It must be physically locked out as well.

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When does this standard not apply?

There are a few situations where lock out/tag out is not required.

A) Work on plug-in electric equipment where the hazards of unexpected energization or start up is controlled by the unplugging of the equipment and by the plug being under the
     exclusive control of the employee performing the servicing or maintenance.
B)  Hot tap operations involving transmission and distribution systems for substances such as gas, steam, water or petroleum products when they are performed on pressurized
     pipelines, provided that the employer demonstrates that: continuity of service is essential, shutdown of the system is impractical, documented procedures are followed and special
     equipment is used which will provide proven, effective protection for employees.

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Can I get a sample lock out/tag out program?

You can view a sample lock out/tag out program from INSafe here. This program is available at no charge. Please feel free to adapt this program to your workplace.

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What is the Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (INSHARP)?

The Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (INSHARP) was established to recognize, reward and promote occupational safety and health excellence. Indiana employers that are successful in receiving INSHARP participation status are recognized by the Indiana Department of Labor as model worksites for workplace safety and health management. Employers also receive an exemption from IOSHA general schedule inspections for the period in which their INSHARP certification is valid. For additional information, please phone (317) 232-2688 or email INSHARP at

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How do I request Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (INSHARP) participation?

Participation in the Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program is initiated at the employer’s request. The request will include a full evaluation of the worksite including hazard evaluation, safety and health program assessment, management commitment, employee participation and implemented employee training programs. For additional information, please contact INSafe at (317) 232-2688 or email INSHARP at

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Who are the current INSHARP participants?

A list of current INSHARP participants can be found here.

**For Occupational Safety and Health related FAQs, click here.