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Top 10 lists can be entertaining, but they can also be eye-opening and informative. Take, for example, the 10 leading causes of workplace injuries in the United States.

The 2014 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index shows that the 10 most disabling injuries added up to $59.58 billion a year in direct workers’ compensation costs. That equates to well over $1 billion per week.

The index, compiled by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, used information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance from 2012 – the most recent year for which the data were available – to find which events caused employees to miss six or more days of work and then ranked those causes by total workers’ compensation costs.

Below is the list of 10 leading injury causes, followed by the percentage accounted for by each, and then the total costs in billions:
1. Overexertion involving outside source (lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, throwing): 25.3%; $15.1
2. Falls on same level: 15.4%; $9.19
3. Struck by object of equipment: 8.9%; $5.3
4. Falls to lower level: 8.6%; $5.12
5. Other exertions or bodily reactions (bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting, standing, walking): 7.2%; $4.27
6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle: 5.3%; $3.18
7. Slip or trip without fall: 3.6%; $2.17
8. Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects: 3.5%; $2.1
9. Repetitive motions including micro-tasks: 3.1%; $1.84, and
10. Struck against object or equipment: 2.9%; $1.76.

It should be noted that these categories account for 83.8% because there are additional categories beyond the top 10.

The previous index from Liberty Mutual stated that the top 10 injuries in 2011 accounted for $55.4 billion a year in workers’ comp costs – making an increase of 7.55% from year to year.

Tagged in: OSHA

The National Fire Protection Association is seeking comments on a Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) to NFPA 1999. Standard on Protective Clothing for Emergency Medical Operations. According to a press release, this TIA follows work conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other organizations and federal agencies that recognized the need for a national standard on personal protective equipment to protect emergency first responders from exposure to liquid-borne pathogens.

Read entire article - http://www.nfpa.org/press-room/news-releases/2014/nfpa-seeks-comments-to-help-protect-first-responders-from-ebola-virus

Each day, an average of 2000 workers in the United States suffer job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Even though March has been designated Workplace Eye Wellness Month, any time is a good time to review eye and face protection protocols with employees and ensure they are correctly using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task at hand.

According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately three out of every five workers who experienced eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or were not wearing the proper kind of eye protection for the job. Perhaps even more eye-opening was that the workers surveyed most often reported that they did not believe the situation called for protective eyewear.

Common eye injuries in the workplace are exposure to chemicals or particulate matter and cuts or scrapes to the cornea. Other common sources of eye injuries are splashes, steam burns, and exposure to ultraviolet or infrared radiation.

The PPE selected depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, the type of other PPE to be used, and an individual's vision needs. Common forms of PPE for the face and eyes include safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and full face respirators.

According to OSHA Face Protection Standard 1910.133(a)(1), it is up the employer to "ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards." That includes making sure the PPE eye protection provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects (OSHA Face Protection Standard 1910.133(a)(2). For those who wear prescription lenses, OSHA Face Protection Standard 1910.133(a)(3) requires that each affected employee "engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses."

Important and effective as they are in protecting against eye hazards, PPE devices are just one part of a safety environment that should include guards, engineering controls, and strong safety practices.
How is your workplace keeping an eye on employee eye safety?

OSHA has cited the Robertson Incorporated Bridge and Grading Division in connection with the death of a 16-year-old laborer who was fatally struck by the swinging cab and boom of a crane that was being disassembled at a construction site in Delta, Mo., on June 18, 2014. An OSHA investigation found the crane operator was unaware that the teen was directed to stand in an inadequately marked danger zone. OSHA has proposed penalties of $44,730, while the department’s Wage and Hour Division also assessed civil money penalties of $11,000 for violating Hazardous Order Number 7, which prohibits minors under age 18 from operating or assisting in the operation of power-driven hoists.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=27159

Tagged in: OSHA

We know that lead exposure can be harmful to our health, which leads us to ponder how it (along with other materials known to be hazardous, such as mercury and asbestos), could ever have been so widely used. The short answer is that its usefulness outweighed any known harmful effects then known. Today, we know that lead exposure can damage organs and the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. It also can be harmful in children’s development.

Most commonly, lead is inhaled as a dust or fume or is ingested accidentally. Because it can circulate throughout the body and be deposited in organs and bodily tissues, lead is considered a cumulative and persistent toxic substance.

When we think of lead exposure in everyday items, we often think of lead-based paint. Prior to the 1960s – and even up until the late 1970s – paint used in homes was most often lead based. Traditionally, lead oxide was used as a pigment. And because of their anti-bacterial and anti-mold properties, organic compounds, such as lead naphthenate, were used in house paints in small concentrations. The EPA established lead-based paint regulations in the 1990s after it was found that millions of children in the United States had been exposed to lead poisoning from paint peeling from walls.

Lead chromate continues to be used in applications such as primers for steel bridges and in the shipbuilding industry due to its anti-corrosion properties. Similarly, lead is still used in yellow highway paints in part for its resistance to the elements.

Whether at home or in the workplace, remodeling or renovation projects such as sanding, cutting with saws or torches, and demolition work can yield hazardous lead chips and dust by disturbing lead-based paint, resulting in an unhealthy environment. OSHA’s Lead Standard for the construction industry, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.62, addresses lead in a various forms, including metallic lead, all inorganic lead compounds, and organic lead soaps. Workplace Safety & Health Co. Inc. can provide industry-standard testing for lead-based paint according to OSHA standards. Our industrial hygienists cover a wide breadth of workplace environmental concerns, from noise to air quality, from chemical exposure to asbestos and lead paint identification. We can identify and evaluate hazards, and develop corrective action plans to solve your industrial hygiene problems efficiently and economically.

Currently, there are two methods recognized by the EPA for testing paint: X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis and paint chip sampling with an analysis by an accredited laboratory. At Workplace Safety & Health, we go a step further by using AutoCAD drawings and photographs to show the location and appearance of each surface coating we analyze.

So, before beginning that next renovation or construction project that you suspect might result in lead exposure, give us a call first and know what you’re dealing with.

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