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Air Quality Awareness Week, usually held the last week of April, is an annual opportunity to engage communities in conversations on air pollution and health. Why do we need a themed week to draw our attention to something so basic? Maybe it’s because it’s free, or maybe it’s because we usually can’t see it, but we often take our air for granted. Air quality obviously is important for everyone, everywhere, and that includes the air in a work environment.

One measure of air quality, the Air Quality Index (AQI), can be used to help plan activities outdoors. Finding the day’s AQI report is becoming increasingly easy. It’s available on the Web (http://www.airnow.gov), on many local television weather forecasts, and via free e-mail tools and apps (http://www.enviroflash.info and http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html). After finding the forecast for a local area, checking the health recommendations can show how to reduce the amount of pollution breathed in.

At Workplace Safety & Health Co., our primary concern is to help our customers reduce injuries and illnesses while promoting their profitability through sound health and safety management practices – and that includes helping to identify and manage risks posed by air quality. Whether your employees’ work environment is indoors, outdoors, or both, our consultants can determine your business's air quality exposures through monitoring, mapping, surveys and evaluations that include qualitative air contaminant hazard assessments, air monitoring, and quantitative air contaminant exposure assessment. Give us a call and breathe easier.

Tagged in: air quality

A recently published study from NIOSH examined hearing difficulty and tinnitus in various industries, based on data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. This provided detailed, self-reported information on hearing difficulty, tinnitus, and exposures to occupational noise. Some other findings are that:
-Seven percent of U.S. workers never exposed to noise on the job had hearing difficulty, 5 percent had tinnitus, and 2 percent had both conditions. Among workers who had at some point in their working careers been exposed to occupational noise, the prevalence was 23 percent, 15 percent, and 9 percent, respectively.

-Workers in agriculture, forestry, and the fishing and hunting industry had a significantly higher risk of hearing difficulty, tinnitus, and their co-occurrence. Manufacturing workers also had significantly higher risks for tinnitus and the co-occurrence of tinnitus and hearing difficulty.

-Workers in life, physical and social science occupations, and personal care and service occupations had significantly higher risks for hearing difficulty. Workers in architecture and engineering occupations also had significantly higher risks for tinnitus.

-Workers in sales and related occupations had significantly lower risks for hearing difficulty, tinnitus and their co-occurrence.

The study is the first to report prevalence estimates for tinnitus by U.S. industry sector and occupation and provide these estimates side by side with prevalence estimates of hearing difficulty, according to the agency. According to NIOSH, hazardous noise affects approximately 22 million U.S. workers.

Read entire article - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-02-01-16.html

Tagged in: NIOSH

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Whether it’s on the way to-, from-, or for the purpose of work, reaching the destination safely involves the driver being focused on the task at hand: driving.

Over the past decade or so, distracted driving has emerged as a major public safety concern – as well it should. Distracted driving remains one of the main causes of transportation-related accidents. According to Distraction.gov, the federal government’s website on distracted driving, in 2013, 3,154 people in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. That’s a 6.7% decrease in the recorded number of fatalities from the previous year. However, approximately 3,000 more people were injured in 2013 compared to the 421,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, and the National Safety Council’s theme this year is “Take Back Your Drive.” One estimate by the NSC puts the number of crashes caused by cell phone use and texting while driving at 1.6 million each year. It’s easy to blame the devices themselves, but a growing body of research suggests that they are part of larger picture, one in which they are just another set of contributors to a state of mental distraction.

A newly published study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute seems to support this.1 In looking into which type of activity puts a driver at greater risk of being involved in a vehicle crash – a state of emotional agitation or performing activities such as using a hand-held cell phone – emotional agitation came out on top, researchers found. A person who is observably angry, sad, crying or emotionally agitated is almost 10 times more likely to experience a crash. The risk of a crash more than doubles when drivers perform activities that require them to take their eyes off the road, including reading emails or texts, or using a vehicle’s built-in touch screen.

Other research suggests that it isn’t the physical activity of operating a device (or devices) while driving that is the major cause for concern; rather, as some studies involving the use of hands-free cell phone use have shown, cognitive distraction caused by switching between language comprehension and processing the external cues needed to drive properly may be partly to blame.

It’s something to ponder – just maybe not when you’re behind the wheel.
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1. http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2016/02/022316-vtti-researchdistraction.html

Tagged in: Distracted driving

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ASIS International (ASIS) recently hosted a joint stakeholder meeting to address active shooting incidents. More than 100 experts from the security, fire, law enforcement, EMS, life safety, professional associations and government fields discussed existing resources, the crossover between security and fire disciplines, operational solutions, management procedures, building design and construction issues, and cost considerations with an emphasis on preparation and planning. According to the NFPA, the intent of the collaborative effort was, and will continue to be, to examine gaps and exchange knowledge as they relate to active shooter events.

Read entire article - http://nfpatoday.blog.nfpa.org/2016/02/nfpa-and-asis-hold-joint-stakeholder-meeting-to-address-active-shooter-incident-preparation-and-planning.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nfpablog+%28NFPA+Today+BLOG%29

Tagged in: NFPA

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a rulemaking proposal designed to enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers. The Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), to be published in the Federal Register, would update FMCSA’s safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections – along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports – in order to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis.

 Read entire article - https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-proposes-new-rule-determining-safety-fitness-motor-carriers

 

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