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Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fuel in such things as cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, grills, fireplaces, and portable generators. When this gas builds up in enclosed spaces, those in the area can be poisoned as the gas displaces oxygen in the blood, depriving the heart, brain, and other vital organs. Large amounts of this gas can overcome a worker within minutes without warning.

The main source of workplace exposure to CO is when an internal combustion engine is operated indoors or in confined area, increasing those toxic levels, especially if they are not properly maintained. Other culprits could include kilns, boilers, fires or furnaces.
Initial warning signs of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness and nausea. Those symptoms will continue to worsen during prolonged or high exposures, and then can include vomiting, confusion and collapse.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to keep your workplace as safe as possible. When it comes to carbon monoxide poisoning, the best bet to managing exposure is to eliminate the source. One method is to substitute non-gas producing equipment, such as battery-powered engines, for those vehicles and machinery that emit CO. If that is not possible, here are some risk control measures to consider:
1. Stop using diesel or gas equipment indoors
2. Modify the work areas to reduce exposure and improve ventilation
3. Test air regularly in areas where CO may be present
4. Maintain equipment that produces CO
5. Develop a written exposure control plan to help employees understand the risks – awareness can be prevention in many cases
6. Install carbon monoxide monitors with audible alarms
7. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) if the CO exposure cannot be minimized

If a worker is experiencing CO poisoning, it’s imperative to act fast! Get the victim to fresh open air and call 911. Every year, thousands of American workers are killed outright from carbon monoxide poisoning, making this poisonous gas one of the most dangerous industrial hazards. Take steps today to mitigate the chances of your workforce’s exposure to this invisible killer.

The Biden Labor Department violated the Administrative Procedure Act by delaying, then withdrawing, a Trump-era rule that made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors, a federal judge in Texas said. Judge Marcia A. Crone invalidated the DOL’s actions and reinstated the Trump rule, siding with the Coalition for Workforce Innovation, which represents gig-economy companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.

Read entire article - Business Groups Get Trump Independent Contractor Rule Reinstated (bloomberglaw.com)

It’s National Safety Month – a time to focus on working conditions around the country and how each of us can help create a safer environment for all. Workplace Safety has been helping businesses do just that for over 20 years. We specialize in risk management with a primary concern of helping our customers reduce health risks, injuries, and illnesses while promoting their profitability through sound health and safety management practices.

Some of our services include, but are not limited to:

At Workplace Safety, every month is a Safety Month. Our ultimate goal is to help you protect your most valuable asset – your employees. Contact us at 317-253-9737 or info@workplace-safety.com to see how we can do just that for you!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a new enforcement initiative that will target one of the agency’s top priorities after the appearance of COVID-19: indoor and outdoor heat-related workplace hazards.

Read entire article: OSHA Workplace Safety Heat Hazard Emphasis Program (natlawreview.com)

Summer and thunderstorms go hand-in-hand and that means lightning! For those who work in outdoor spaces, lightning safety is definitely something to keep in mind at all times. We’ve all probably have heard the phrase, “when thunder roars, go indoors.” Here are some common Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to outdoor safety and lightning:  

Do:

  • Check the weather forecast. Be aware of upcoming storms, and if the forecast calls for thunderstorms, make sure you have adequate safe shelter options.
  • Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters could be a home, offices, shopping centers or even a hard-top vehicle with the windows rolled up.
  • Seek shelter immediately if a thunderstorm is heading your way to remove yourself from the danger. If there is no shelter available, these actions may reduce your risk…but does not remove you from the danger completely:
    • Get off of any elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
    • Never lie flat on the ground (goal is minimum contact on the ground), but you can crouch down in a ball-like position with your head tucked and hands over your ear.
    • Do not shelter under an isolated tree – ever!
    • Do not use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
    • Get out of and away from any water immediately.
    • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, which as power lines, barbed wire fences).

Don’t:

  • Stay in open vehicles (convertibles, motorcycles, golf carts), structures (porches, gazebos, sports arenas), or spaces (golf courses, bodies of water, playgrounds).
  • Stay near tall structures – avoid leaning on concrete walls as lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls and flooring.
  • Venture out too quickly after a thunderstorm – it is recommended to shelter in place for at least 30 minutes.

Lightning can occur any time of year, but July is generally the month with the most lightning, and lightning casualties are highest during the summer with 2/3 of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6pm. Take steps this summer to keep yourself and your team members safe while working outdoors when a thunderstorm is heading your way!

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