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A top OSHA official recently gave an overview of where the agency stands with creating new and updating existing regulations.
OSHA deputy administrator Jordan Barab updated attendees at a U.S. Small Business Labor Safety Roundtable. An attendee presented an overview of Barab’s presentation in The National Law Review.
Barab said these four rules pending final agency action are on top of OSHA’s to-do list:
-Confined Space in Construction
-Silica
-Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems, and
-Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (electronic recordkeeping).
Of those four, Barab said Confined Space in Construction would be released first. That standard would align closely with the confined space standard for general industry.

Read entire article - http://www.natlawreview.com/article/jordan-barab-gives-regulatory-update-small-business-association-sba-roundtable-meeti

OSHA recently announced it is accepting applications for targeted-topic training grants and capacity-building training grants through the 2015 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The annual grant program is named in honor of the late Susan Harwood, a former director in OSHA's Office of Risk Assessment. Harwood’s 17 years of service with the agency led to the development of worker protection standards for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead.

The grants fund the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs and the development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education for workers and employers to help them identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards.

The types of grants solicited vary from year to year. This year, two types of capacity-building grants are offered: capacity-building pilot and capacity-building developmental grants. Capacity-building pilot grants are aimed at assisting organizations in assessing their needs and formulating a capacity-building plan before launching a full-scale safety and health education program. Capacity-building developmental grants are intended to be used to improve and expand an organization's capacity to provide safety and health training, education and related assistance to target audiences. Capacity-building developmental grant recipients may be eligible for up to three additional 12-month follow-on grants, based on satisfactory performance.

Funding opportunity announcements can be found at http://www.grants.gov, where new applicants must register and returning applicants must confirm accuracy of their registration information before completing the application. OSHA states that the registration process generally takes three to five business days, though it may take as long as four weeks if all steps are not completed in a timely manner. OSHA recommends that organizations new to the System for Award Management allow for an additional 14 days for registration to obtain a commercial and government entity code.

With that in mind, applicants are encouraged to begin the registering with www.grants.gov as soon as possible. Applications for both targeted topic training grants (SHTG-FY-15-01) and capacity building grants (SHTG-FY-15-02) must be submitted electronically, no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 2, 2015. No extensions will be granted.
Short OSHA-developed webinars aimed at helping prospective applicants understand the application process can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/index.html.

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

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