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OSHA and Health Canada announced recently the development of a 2016-2017 Workplace Chemical Work Plan to ensure future workplace chemical requirements are acceptable in both the United States and Canada without reducing safety.

According to a news release from OSHA, the plan involves activities to support developing materials to assist stakeholders with implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS), coordinating opinions on issues that come from international discussions on GHS, and maintaining alignment between the U.S. and Canadian requirements for implementing the GHS when revisions are made.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33039

Tagged in: OSHA

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While it might cause us to shudder to think, winter is just around the corner. And the freezin’ season, of course, comes with its own set of challenges.

Driving in cold weather, carbon monoxide exposure from using generators inside, shoveling snow and clearing roofs, fires, and slips and falls are just some of the hazards posed by winter weather and our responses to it.

The OSHA’s online page 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 downed trees.

The Ready.gov webpage at https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather offers a number of tips and precautions to take before driving in winter weather conditions, especially if watches or warnings have been issued. Some of those include:
-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 beneath tires.

When it comes to strenuous activities to do in the snow, few compare to shoveling the white stuff. Anyone shoveling snow may become exhausted, dehydrated, and/or experience back injuries, or heart attacks. With those possibilities in mind, a recommended practice before shoveling is to warm up first. That means scooping small amounts of snow at a time and pushing the snow rather than lifting 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," OSHA advises.

When removing snow from roofs and working at heights, OSHA recommends employers evaluate snow removal tasks for hazards. That includes planning how to do the work safely and how workers can be protected from hazardous work conditions, preferably by using snow removal methods that do not call for workers to venture out onto roofs. Employers should determine the right type of equipment and PPE (personal fall arrest systems, non-slip safety boots, etc.) for the job and make sure that workers are trained on how to use them properly.

To prevent slips and falls on snow and ice, employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice and spread deicer as soon as possible after a winter storm. Proper footwear is a must for walking on snow or ice. OSHA notes 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."

With the "Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge” the Labor Department and OSHA are inviting entrepreneurs to develop solutions for preventing workplace hearing loss.

OSHA said the dual goals of the challenge are to inspire creative ideas and raise business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation.

According to OSHA, 22 million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace hazards every year, while hearing loss disability costs $242 million annually in worker's compensation.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=32913

Tagged in: OSHA
OSHA recently asked employers and safety professionals to share their techniques for keeping workers safe from extreme heat. The agency stated it has since received many responses and was impressed with the innovative efforts to keep workers safe during extreme heat conditions.
 
Tagged in: OSHA

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day an average of about 2,000 workers in the United States suffer job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment.

October has been designated Eye Injury Prevention Month, but reviewing eye and face protection protocols with employees and ensuring they are not only using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job but that they know how to use it correctly is a sound practice any time of year.

Injuries to the eye in the workplace can take a number of forms from chemicals or particulate matter in the eye and cuts or scrapes to the cornea. Other common causes of eye injuries are splashes, steam burns, and exposure to ultraviolet or infrared radiation.

Common forms of PPE for the face and eyes safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and full face respirators. The PPE chosen depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, the type of other PPE to be used, and a person’s vision needs.

Under OSHA Face Protection Standard 1910.133(a) (1), it is the responsibility of 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 uses eye protection that 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 an individual engaged in operations that involve eye hazards to wear “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.”

According to these standards, a person should always wear properly fitted eye protective gear when:

-Doing work that may produce particles, slivers, or dust from materials like wood, metal, plastic, cement, and drywall;

-Hammering, sanding, grinding, or doing masonry work;

-Working with power tools;

-Working with chemicals, including common household chemicals like ammonia, oven cleaners, and bleach;

-Using a lawnmower, riding mower, or other motorized gardening devices like string trimmers;

-Working with wet or powdered cement;

-Welding (which requires extra protection like a welding mask or helmet from sparks and UV radiation);

-“Jumping” the battery of a motor vehicle;

-Being a bystander to any of the above situations.

OSHA urges employers not to rely on PPE devices alone to protect against eye hazards. Keeping a watch on eye safety means personal protective gear should be one part of a safety environment that includes engineering controls and robust safety practices.

Tagged in: Eye Injury OSHA

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