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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced recent the availability of a new software platform to track and monitor emergency response and recovery worker activities during all phases of emergency response following a natural disaster or other public health emergency.

The software, ERHMS Info Manager™, is a custom-built product developed by NIOSH for emergency responder organizations to use to implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework.

Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/erhms/erhms-info-manager.html?s_cid=3ni7d2-pr-erhmsim-09052017

Tagged in: NIOSH

Sometimes downward trends are a good thing. When they reflect a decrease in injuries, there’s little room for argument.

According to estimates released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. That’s nearly 48,500 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases than the year before. Specifically, the 2016 rate of total recordable cases (TRC) fell 0.1 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, adding to a pattern of declines that, with the exception of 2012, has continued since 2004.

Those numbers were based on the bureau’s annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

Four private industry sectors—construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade—showed what the BLS said were statistically significant reductions in the TRC rate of occupational injuries and illnesses in 2016.

Of those four sectors, only retail trade (at 122,390) and manufacturing (at 118,050) showed more than 100,000 days away from work (DAFW) cases. Of these two sectors, only manufacturing had a decrease in both the count and incidence rate for DAFW cases last year.

In all, the BLS reported there were 892,270 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2016 that led to days away from work in private industry, a slight change from the number reported for 2015. The overall private industry incidence rate for DAFW cases was 91.7 per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016. The median number of days away from work — a measure of the severity of such cases — was 8 in 2016, unchanged from 2015.

Finance and insurance was the only sector where the TRC rate of injuries and illnesses increased in 2016. However, the relatively low number of cases reported there yielded the lowest rate among all private industry sectors at 0.6 cases per 100 FTE workers.

Meanwhile, the TRC rate of work-related injuries and illnesses was unchanged among 14 other private industry sectors in 2016.

In manufacturing:
-19 percent (22,040) of the DAFW cases were the result of falls, slips, or trips in 2016, a drop of 1,470 cases from 2015 levels.
-Sprains, strains, or tears accounted for 30 percent (35,110) of the DAFW cases – a decrease of 2,480 cases from 2015. These cases occurred at a rate of 28.2 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016, down from 30.3 cases in 2015.
-Cuts, lacerations, or punctures accounted for 13 percent (14,960) of the DAFW cases in manufacturing, a decrease of 720 cases from 2015.

Some of the other standouts from the 2016 survey:
-The rate of other recordable cases (ORC) declined by 0.1 cases, while rates for the case types days away restricted transferred (DART), days away from work (DAFW) and days of job transfer or restriction only (DJTR) — were unchanged from 2015. In fact, the rate of DJTR cases has stayed at 0.7 cases per 100 FTE workers since 2011.
-Nearly a third of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were of a more serious nature and led to days away from work.
-Injuries and illnesses to production workers accounted for 64 percent (75,070 cases) of total DAFW cases in manufacturing in 2016, a decrease of 3,510 cases from 2015.
-Transportation and material moving workers’ injuries and illnesses accounted for 18 percent (21,100 cases) of the total DAFW cases in manufacturing – a decrease of 950 cases from 2015. This equated to an incidence rate of 17.7 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016, down from a rate of 19.0 such cases in 2015.
-Other leading events or exposures in manufacturing in 2016 were contact with object or equipment (with 35.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers) and overexertion and bodily reaction (with 34.1 cases). Both rates were essentially unchanged from 2015, however.

A pair of smokestacks at Ball State University in Muncie are coming down this summer. Their removal signals the final stages of an $83 million, multi-year project to replace the coal-fired boilers that used the stacks for exhaust with a closed-loop geothermal system at the state school in eastern Indiana.

https://magazine.bsu.edu/2017/01/09/ball-state-geothermal-project/

Tagged in: ball state geothermal

As we transition from warmer to cooler weather this season, it’s worth remembering that lower temperatures bring with them their own particular health and safety risks.

That was underscored recently by a recent study that found that cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather. The study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, corroborates another study that found cold kills more than twice the number of people in the United States than does heat.

On the surface, such findings might not seem surprising. Low temperatures can pose more problems for our cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Still, media accounts of health problems caused by summer heat waves, often in large urban areas, dominate much of our collective attention to weather’s harsher effects.

As we know, direct exposure to freezing temperatures can be a safety hazard. So, too, can any precipitation that comes with them. Snow and ice can quickly change surface conditions, making everyday activities like as walking and driving a challenge. And things like overexertion from clearing snow from paths and roofs, carbon monoxide exposure from indoor generators, and fires from misplaced or misused supplemental heating devices are all part of the cold weather hazards landscape.

To cut down on the risk of slips and spills on snow, employers should clear snow and ice from- and spread deicer on walking surfaces as soon as possible after a winter storm. But wintertime pedestrians should also be prepared to dress accordingly. OSHA recommends that a "pair of insulated and water resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months. Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway."

Those manually removing snow from walkways can quickly become exhausted or dehydrated. Common injuries from shoveling snow involve the muscles of the back. For those attacking the white stuff head on, a simple best practice is to scoop small amounts of snow at a time and shove it rather than heave it. "The use of proper lifting technique is necessary to avoid back and other injuries when shoveling snow: keep the back straight, lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body," recommends OSHA. The agency also recommends making sure powered equipment, such as snow blowers, are properly grounded to prevent electric shock or electrocution.

When removing snow from rooftops and working at height, OSHA recommends employers first evaluate snow removal tasks for hazards. That includes making a plan, such as looking for ways to do the job without actually setting foot on the rooftop. Just as important, employers should identify the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job and ensure that workers are trained on how to use it correctly.

OSHA’s online resource about winter hazards, https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/hazards_precautions.html, includes guidance for driving, dealing with stranded vehicles, shoveling snow and using powered equipment such as snow blowers, preventing slips on snow and ice, working near or repairing downed or damaged power lines, and removing fallen limbs or trees.

The Ready.gov webpage at https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather offers a number of precautions to take before driving in winter weather, especially if there are watches or warnings in effect. Some of those tips are:
-Keeping the gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing.
-Letting someone know your destination, route, and when you expect to arrive.
-Keeping a cell phone or other emergency communication device with you.
-Packing your vehicle with an emergency kit that includes thermal blankets, extra winter clothes, a basic tool kit, (including a good knife and jumper cables), an ice scraper and shovel, flashlights or battery-powered lanterns with extra batteries, and high calorie, nonperishable food and water.
-Having a supply of material such as rock salt or sand for extra traction under tires.

With the ever-growing use of social media, it might come as no surprise that Ready.gov also offers a Winter Weather Safety Social Media Toolkit (https://www.ready.gov/winter-toolkit) with winter weather safety and preparedness messages to be shared through social media channels.

A new report from ASSE's Center for Safety and Health Sustainability covers its second analysis of how recognized "sustainable" companies report occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Entitled "The Need for Standardized Sustainability Reporting Practices," the report recommends global initiatives that index corporate sustainability should include companies' commitment to safe and healthy for workers.

http://www.centershs.org/assets/docs/NeedForSustainabilityReporting-Final-August.pdf

Tagged in: sustainability

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