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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s most recent National Roadside Survey shows declines in drunk driving but an increase in use of marijuana and prescription drugs on the nation’s roadways.

The survey found the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by nearly one-third since 2007 and by more than three-quarters since 1973.

Yet, the same study found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs, with one in four drivers testing positive for at least one drug that could affect safety.

Read entire article: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/nhtsa-releases-2-impaired-driving-studies-02-2015

Posted by on in Noise Measurement

Noise, or undesirable sound, is one of the most common health problems in many workplaces. Practically all companies involved in manufacturing, construction, or mining create noise. And because noise is inherent in many work processes, it cannot be totally removed. However, its adverse effects on health can be limited by knowing where to implement engineering controls, administrative controls and the use of proper personal protective equipment.

Perhaps the most widely known detrimental effect of noise is hearing loss, which can be either temporary or permanent. The extent of the damage depends primarily upon the intensity and duration of exposure. In addition to hearing loss, excessive noise levels can also lead to hazardous situations at work, such as an inability to hear warnings, a decrease in the ability to communicate with other employees, and impaired concentration.

In the early 1980s, OSHA established a hearing conservation amendment (29 CFR 1910.95, Occupational Noise Exposure Standard) that requires hearing conservation programs for all employees exposed to noise on an eight-hour, time weighted average (TWA) in excess of 85 decibels measured on an A-weighted scale (85 dBA). The permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA for an eight-hour TWA. (Something to keep in mind is that some states also have regulations that are at least as stringent as OSHA’s.)

Determining whether or not to use engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal protection devices or some combination to meet those requirements involves recognizing that a noise problem may exist, followed by identifying its source or sources and evaluating the extent of the problem. In some cases, identifying both the problem and its source can be obvious, such as when it is apparent that employees aren’t able to talk with one another at a reasonable distance near certain machinery. In many other cases, however, the source can’t be traced so easily, such as in places where multiple machines are in use.

Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. can help identify sources of noise in a work environment by conducting a noise survey, which normally includes personal noise exposure sampling using dosimeters and developing a noise contour map, clearly identifying noisy areas. The results can be used to locate specific noise sources, identify which employees should be included in a hearing conservation program, and then determine what form or forms of noise control are best suited to the situation. It all makes for a hearing conservation program that is both compliant and efficient.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is seeking public comment from partners and the public to help evaluate the impact of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). Feedback will be accepted until the federal docket is closed on March 24, 2015.

NORA is a partnership program to identify and address the most critical issues in workplace safety and health. It began in 1996 and by 2006 had a new sector-based structure. NIOSH is reviewing the accomplishments of NORA’s second decade and is preparing for the third decade, which starts next year.

To view the notice and provide comment, visit www.regulations.gov. Enter CDC-2015-0002 in the search field and then click ‘‘Search”.

Read entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora/

Tagged in: NIOSH

Posted by on in Uncategorized
Driving to...Distractions

When we think of safety at work, it’s important to consider that for many employees on their way to, from, or for work, safety centers around staying focused on driving. Yet distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of transportation-related accidents.

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, 3,328 people in the United States were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,360 in 2011. Another 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012, a 9 percent increase from the 387,000 people injured in 2011.

Each April, the National Safety Council – a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress – promotes Distracted Driving Awareness Month and encourages motorists to drive cell phone free. The NSC maintains that one concern contributing is the amount of communication devices built into some of today’s vehicles as well as those brought along for the ride. It isn’t the devices that are the problem, the NSC says: It’s the state of mental distraction to which they can contribute.

Distracted driving can come in a variety of forms and arise from a variety of causes, from eating or drinking to adjusting a radio or media player to reaching for an object. But perhaps the distraction most closely linked with the use of technology is the use of cell phones, particularly to send and receive text messages.

A popular notion is that cell phone improves productivity at work by cutting down on the “down time” experienced on the road. Yet, a 2009 survey of NSC members showed that 99 percent of companies with policies that prohibit the use of cell phones and messaging devices while driving saw no decreases in productivity – with some experiencing an increase in productivity – after the policies took effect.

Curiously, according to another poll conducted by the NSC, 53 percent of respondents indicated they believe hands-free devices must be safe to use if they are built into cars and trucks. The poll also found that 80 percent of respondents believe hands-free cell phones are safer to use while driving than hand-held models. Also, of the respondents who indicated that they using hands-free devices while driving, 70 percent indicated they do so for safety reasons.

The NSC recommends that companies ban all types of cell phone use while driving, including texting, hand-held conversations and hands-free conversations. All-out bans concerning cell phones continue to be a thorny subject, however. Something that might help to sell the concept to the private sector ahead of government is the issue of liability. For example, when an employee is injured off-site while using a cell phone for company business, does the incident trigger workers’ compensation coverage? If so, it will likely raise workers’ compensation rates – and insurance companies will likely offer strong defenses against such claims.

It’s all something to think about – just maybe not while driving.

 

Tagged in: Distracted driving NSC

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), has presented two companies with the 2015 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™ – a way to recognize organizations that have shown dedication to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss through excellent hearing loss prevention practices in the workplace.

Read entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-02-19-15.html

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