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OSHA recently published a guide to help small business employers comply with the agency’s Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. That guide, entitled Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime, describes the steps employers are required to take to protect employees in general industry and maritime from the hazards associated with silica exposure. These requirements include: assessing worker exposures; using engineering and work practice controls to keep exposures below a specified safety threshold; and offering medical exams to certain highly exposed workers.

Enforcement of the final rule in general industry and maritime is scheduled to begin June 23, 2018.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3911.pdf

Tagged in: OSHA

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It's natural to want to focus on our strong points, but when it comes to developing preparedness plans, it's at least as beneficial to take a hard look at our weakest links.

September 2017 marks the 14th annual observance of National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security.

Much of the focus for the themed month centers around being ready to deal with emergencies and disasters at home, but the occasion also raises the issue of being prepared for emergencies at work.

Most businesses already have (and all should have) plans in place to deal with weather emergencies and hazardous materials. But it's just as important to have a documented response in place for things like accidents and acts of violence by people.

To do so, FEMA recommends conducting a risk assessment -- a process of identifying potential hazards, assessing vulnerabilities and considering both their potential impacts and likelihood of occurring.
Such points could range from deficiencies in the way a structure is built to its security to its fire protection or HVAC system.

Examples include things like not having a working sprinkler system to limit damage in the event of a fire, or having an inadequate system in place to alert authorities when there is one.

As important as it is, a risk assessment is just one subset of the five points FEMA prescribes in developing a preparedness program at work:
•Program Management
◦Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
◦Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program
•Planning
◦Gather information about hazards and assess risks
◦Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
◦Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
•Implementation
Write a preparedness plan addressing:
◦Resource management
◦Emergency response
◦Crisis communications
◦Business continuity
◦Information technology
◦Employee assistance
◦Incident management
◦Training
•Testing and Exercises
◦Test and evaluate your plan
◦Define different types of exercises
◦Learn how to conduct exercises
◦Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan
•Program Improvement
◦Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
◦Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
◦Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements

What's in your plan?

The rapid development of low-cost desktop three-dimensional (3D) printers has led to a boom in popularity for goods manufacturing at home. An obvious question is whether the pollutants such as organic compounds and ultrafine particles are safe. The rapid development of low-cost desktop three-dimensional (3D) printers has led to a boom in popularity for goods manufacturing at home. An obvious question is whether the pollutants such as organic compounds and ultrafine particles are safe. 

The results of a study in published in a recent issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) show that commonly used and commercially available thermoplastic filaments (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, polylactic acid, polyethylene terephthalate, and nylon) used in these printers emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the printing process.

Read entire article - http://oeh.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15459624.2017.1285489

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Whenever people lift heavy objects, perform repetitive tasks, or sit for long periods of time, they are at risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) involving muscles, tendons, and nerves. Given how often such situations occur as part of everyday life on the job – whether it’s working along a production line or sitting for long hours at a computer workstation – it’s little wonder OSHA has found that MSDs developed at work are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness.

In a number of industries, a worker’s likelihood of injury is increased by workplace exposure to risk factors, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively.

MSDs have increasingly been the focus of studies into how ergonomic principles can be used to prevent work-related injuries. Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people, their work, and their physical work environment. The goal of ergonomics is to evaluate the total human being, both mental and physical, and then apply sound principles to each individual's needs, whatever the body size, shape, and personal limitations. 

By introducing ergonomic principles, it’s possible for employees who work with heavy machinery or who sit at a desk, to begin enjoying health benefits now and become more invigorated, comfortable, and productive over time.

Some organizations wait until employees develop MSD symptoms before seriously considering the ergonomics of a job situation. However, ergonomic evaluations are most effective before problems arise. And because MSDs and other health issues related to poor ergonomics often take time to become noticeable, it’s important to find an ergonomics solution sooner rather than later to prevent any new or additional injuries from happening.

The major purpose of ergonomics is to fit the job to the individual and promote healthy and safe work practices. Workplace Safety & Health Company can assist you with your ergonomic risk identification, assessment, and solution needs.

Workplace Safety & Health Company specializes in evaluating employee workstations, assessing potential for injury, prioritizing stations based on risk, and making appropriate recommendations in order to reduce or eliminate worker ergonomic-related risks. Contact us to learn more.

Tagged in: OSHA

OSHA in mid-June posted a memo for the General Public asking for input on its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The agency is opening a docket for the public to submit documents and comments on the VPP.OSHA in mid-June posted a memo for the General Public asking for input on its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The agency is opening a docket for the public to submit documents and comments on the VPP.

OSHA’s VPP recognizes and rewards employers in private industry and federal agencies that have implemented effective safety and health management systems. Eligible employers must maintain injury and illness rates below national averages for their sectors.

The agency said it is looking for information on the future direction of the programs. According to a release, “OSHA is seeking to reshape the VPP so that it continues to represent safety and health excellence, leverages partner resources, further recognizes the successes of long-term participants, and support small program growth.”

To comment on OSHA’s VPP programs, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal (https://www.regulations.gov/) and use Docket No. OSHA-2017-0009. The docket will remain open until Sept. 15, 2017.

Read entire article - https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=OSHA-2017-0009-0001

Tagged in: OSHA

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