In a recent address to the International Safety Equipment Association, Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, provided a number of rulemaking updates.
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Workplace Safety & Health Company IH consultants are trained to inventory and assess confined spaces of various types and sizes.
Industrial Hygienists may wear Hazmat or other chemical protective clothing when evaluating highly hazardous atmospheres or environments.
An IH consultant uses sound level meters to assess noise levels in industrial environments.
Industrial Hygienists place noise dosimeters on factory employees to monitor employee exposure to noise levels.
Lockout/tagout involves assessing a machine’s operation and identifying all energy sources.
Tagout of electrical switches in a control room warns employees not to start equipment.
An Industrial Hygienist uses an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer to determine lead-based paint concentrations on a facility’s exterior.
We do air sampling for airborne contaminants using sorbent tubes.
Industrial Hygienists use a filter cassette equipped with a cyclone to collect respirable dust samples.
In a recent address to the International Safety Equipment Association, Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, provided a number of rulemaking updates.
On average, over 2000 in the United States suffer an eye injury every single day! Almost one million Americans have experienced some vision loss due to eye injury, which results in more than $300 million in lost work time, medical expenses and workman’s compensation. Close to 70% of these accidents occur because of a flying or falling objects, with most of those objects being smaller than the head of a pin!
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and it’s the perfect time to review current safety guidelines and implement wellness and safety protocol for eye health. It’s also a good idea to have an eye safety checklist. Don’t have one? Here’s a quick eye safety checklist to get you started:
Evaluate Safety Hazards and Create Safe Work Environment
• Identify safety hazards and minimize any hazards from falling or unstable objects
• Eliminate hazards by using machine guarding, work screens or other engineering controls
• Check equipment and tools on a regular basis to make sure they are working properly and that safety features are in place
• Train employees how to use tools properly – including re-training employees on a regular basis to make sure they are continuing to keep safety top of mind
• Make sure eyewash stations are stocked and properly functioning – and employees are trained on how to use these stations
• Keep all nonessential people away from hazardous areas – and if they must be in the area, make sure they have essential safety equipment such as hardhats and safety goggles
Wear Proper Eye and Face Protection
• Make sure to have the correct forms of eye protection that fit right and stay in place
• Check to make sure goggles and safety glasses are clean and not scratched
• Use anti-dust or anti-fog sprays to prevent build-up, and replace damaged lenses or shields
Instill Workplace Safety Practices
• Always brush, shake or vacuum dust and debris from hardhats, hair, forehead and brow before removing protective eyewear
• Do not rub eyes with dirty hands or clothing
• Clean eyewear regularly
Even so-called minor eye injuries can cause life-long vision problems and suffering. Workplace eye safety is imperative! Protect your employees from becoming an eye injury statistic!
Working in trenches and excavations can be hazardous, and trench collapses pose great risk to workers. To raise awareness of preventable incidents, compliance assistance specialists with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the Southeast are conducting outreach to educate employers and employees on the hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/region4/11282018
Two million poisonings are reported to poison centers across the United States each year, and since 1961, the third week in March has been dedicated as National Poison Prevention Week to create awareness. Even though childhood fatalities from accidental poisoning has dropped significantly through the years, the rate of fatalities due to accidental poisoning in all age groups has more than tripled in the past 50 years. Accidental poisoning is now the most common cause of accidental death in America.
Much of the increase is attributed to fatal drug overdoses, both legal and illegal drugs. Our blog, The Opioid Crisis and the Workplace, discussed how this crisis is affecting the workplace. Even though the number of what one would classify as a workplace fatality to poisoning is relatively small when compared to unintentional drug overdoses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than 50,000 employees die each year from long-term occupational hazards such as chemical exposures.
There are four different categories of occupational hazards classified as poisons:
1. Agricultural and industrial chemicals
2. Drugs and healthcare products
4. Biological poisons
When thinking about these four possible poisons, there are few industries that could completely escape exposing their employees to them, so keep these tips in mind to protect your employees:
• Ventilate work areas where hazardous substances are used and stored
• Enclose hazardous operations to prevent dangerous vapors from escaping into areas where employees are, so they do not breath in such vapors
• Restrict entry into hazardous areas to only those who are authorized, trained and properly equipped to do so
• Require the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) specifically designed to protect one against the specific hazardous substance employees are working with
• Use proper decontamination procedures to prevent exposures to poisons and the risk of spreading contamination throughout the workplace…or even into your employees’ homes, affecting their families
Each year, OSHA comes out with their Top 10 Violations, and both Hazard Communication and Respiratory Protection are consistently on this list, so even though National Poison Prevention Week is touted as March 17-23 this year, it’s something we all should be doing every week. Need help or guidance? Workplace Safety and Health, Inc. is ready – call us at 317-253-9737.
Believe it or not, spring really is just right around the corner! And for over 50 million Americans that means those budding leaves and flowers bring a host of misery, including relentless sneezing, runny and congested noses, watery eyes, sore throat and headaches by way of pollen. Spring allergies can begin as early as February in the Midwest with tree pollen followed by grass a bit later.
For those in the workforce who suffer from spring allergies, this time of year can make it difficult to focus on the job or on proper safety measures for two reasons: the allergy symptoms themselves and the medications taken to combat them.
Here are some workplace and lifestyle tips to help win the war against springtime allergies:
• Make sure your work areas are well ventilated and have proper humidity
• Regularly dust work areas
• Change air filters frequently
• Clean or replace soiled, dusty or moldy carpet – pollen and other allergens get transferred easily from clothing and shoes
• Working outside:
o Wear NIOSH-approved masks, which can filter at least 95 percent of pollen and other airborne allergens
o Wear long pants, long sleeves, and gloves to protect your skin from allergens
o Work when cloudy skies and calm winds, if possible – pollen counts are higher on sunny, breezy days
• Take antihistamines that are low- or non-sedating during the day, including Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), Fexofenadine (Allegra) or Desloratadine (Clarinex) – there are also many nasal sprays and even allergy shots that can help alleviate symptoms
• Wash and change your clothes frequently as pollen clings to clothing
• Cover up when working outside – long pants, long sleeves, gloves and masks
• Install HEPA filters to capture pollen in your home
• Keep your furry family members off the furniture as pollen gets trapped in pet hair and then transfers onto your couch, bed and chairs
• Do not line dry your clothing outside – dry clothes indoors
• Monitor pollen levels daily throughout spring and summer
• When pollen levels are high, keep your windows closed and limit your outdoor activity
It is estimated that missed work and reduced productivity due to allergies cost U.S. companies more than $250 million a year. Taking these steps both in the workplace and personally can combat the effects of spring allergies and make for happier and safer employees!
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/trade/10302018
There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017. Where do these numbers come from? As part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordkeeping requirements, many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Those injuries deemed minor and only requiring first aid do not need to be recorded, and certain low-risk industries are exempted unless OSHA asks them to report. Keep in mind, though, even if you are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records, all employers are still required to report any workplace incident that results in a serious injury, illness or death. For any fatality, you must report within 8 hours of being informed of the fatality, and for any in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees, amputation, or loss of an eye, you must report within 24 hours of being informed.
Many employers are also required to post summaries of all work-related injuries and illnesses from the previous year between the dates of February 1 through April 30. OSHA’s injury summary posting requirement is one way they remind employers and employees about the importance of workplace safety by highlighting the need to address potential hazards. This information is crucial to help employers, workers and OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand industry hazards and implement worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards, which then helps prevent future workplace injuries and illnesses.
Form 300A, which is a summary form template that employers must post is available online. The summary must be posted in an easily accessible and discernable area, and even if your business was fortunate and had no injuries or illnesses in the past year, the form must still be posted. These records must be kept for five years, and if requested, copies must be provided to current and former employees or their representatives.
Have questions concerning OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements? Workplace Safety & Health Inc. is just a phone call away – 317-253-9737.
Almost 60 per cent of truck drivers in a recent Canadian study reported experiencing musculoskeletal (MSD) pain and discomfort on the job, even though it may be preventable. "Given the fact that MSDs account for nearly one-half of all work-related illnesses and the transportation sector makes up a significant portion of that, understanding the risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders is important," said lead author Sonja Senthanar, a doctoral candidate in the School of Public Health and Health System.
When we think of typical New Year’s resolutions, spending time with family and friends, working out more, losing weight, getting fit, or quitting smoking usually come to mind, but have you thought about how to improve your health and safety while on the job?
Most of us spend a considerable amount of time on-the-job, so incorporating some steps both personally and professionally to keep yourself healthy and safe every day will help us keep those more personal resolutions on track as well!
Improving the safety and security of your workplace should be on everyone’s list, not just company management! Here are some workplace safety resolutions to keep in mind as an employee:
Don’t Repeat the Same Mistakes
Review the accidents from the previous year. Has your company put things in place to ensure those same issues will not happen again? Did they offer sufficient safety training to new and current employees? If not, decide right now to make changes to prevent the same accidents from occurring and discuss with management how together you can make 2019 the year of safety.
Review Company Policies
In many cases, company policies are only possibly read when you start employment, but it’s a good habit to review policies every year as situations change and new rules and laws are imposed. Also, if you know of a new rule or regulation that has not been included in your company’s policies, be proactive and inform them about it. It could save you or one of your co-worker’s lives.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you are wondering about something, chances are others are as well, so ask those questions. Asking questions allows more open communication between the workers and management and may even prompt them to modify safety rules and regulations they did not consider being a safety hazard.
Make It a Habit to Personally Check Your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Making sure your PPE is in top working order is something you should be checking throughout the year, so make it a habit to personally check to make sure your safety vest still properly fits or that your shoes still have intact soles to keep your feet from slipping. What about that helmet or those safety glasses? Are they still in great shape or do they need to be replaced?
Your company should be consistently looking at their workplace safety plans to make sure they are keeping you as safe and healthy as possible while on the job, but you as an employee can take steps as well to ensure your own personal safety while working. By following the above four resolutions, you are not only making sure you are safe on the job, but you are probably helping to make those more personal resolutions such as spending more time with family and friends ring true as well during the New Year! By the way, everyone at Workplace Safety and Health Inc. wishes you and yours a very safe 2019!
Back in August, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the April 26, 2018, explosion and subsequent fires at the Husky Superior Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The initial explosion occurred in the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) at approximately 10:00 am while the refinery was shutting down the FCCU for periodic maintenance and inspection.
It’s the new year! Time for a fresh start or at least a great time to reassess and reevaluate the safety and security of your workplace. Time to evaluate those emergency plans and your facility’s security, schedule and conduct drills and training exercises, as well as review last year’s accidents and make sure your company has put steps in place to ensure they are less likely to happen again.
Need some more concrete ideas on those safety and security resolutions? Here’s a list of some of the more common ways you can improve your company’s workplace safety:
• Test your notification and alarm systems
• Conduct annual safety training drills with all your staff, making sure you cover a variety of emergency situations, including weather issues, fires, workplace violence, spills, falls, etc.
• Review, reassess and update your crisis management response plan, including who is in charge of certain aspects and remind them of their responsibilities, and involve local law enforcement and health professionals as they may have insight you did not consider
• Upgrade your facility’s security, which could include revising visitor badges and staff access cards, upgrading the locking systems for doors and windows, upgrading or maintaining all security monitoring systems, and if possible, hire security professionals
• Create or evaluate your current internal system for employees to voice concern or make suggestions about workplace safety and security, making sure they feel safe bringing up ideas
• Create an employee health and wellness program to help your team members have an avenue to deal with life stressors, which affect their work habits
• Bring in experienced workplace safety professionals to conduct a workplace safety risk assessment
As an occupational health and safety consulting firm, Workplace Safety & Health Co. Inc. specializes in risk management. Our primary concern is helping our customers reduce health risks, injuries, and illnesses while promoting their profitability through sound health and safety management practices. We are here now and throughout 2019 to make this year a safer year for you and your team members. Give us a call at 317-253-9737.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed two sets of factsheets—one for structural firefighters and their healthcare providers and another for wildland firefighters and their healthcare providers—to increase awareness about the signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis and help fire fighters get early treatment to prevent more serious medical problems.
Entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-08-21-18.html
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), an independent, non-regulatory federal agency appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, is responsible for investigating the root causes of major industrial chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities with the vision of having a nation safe from chemical disasters. The agency, which consists of chemical and mechanical engineers, industrial safety experts and others with many years of chemical industry experience, was created under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
While the agency does not issue fines or citations, it does make recommendations to plants, regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industry organizations and labor groups. In its almost 30-year history, the agency has deployed to over 130 chemical incidents and issued more than 800 recommendations that have led to many safety improvements for a variety of industries. In addition to specific accident investigations, the agency also reviews more general chemical accident hazard issues, which has led to new recommendations to OSHA and EPA for regulatory changes.
From years of investigating chemical accidents, the CSB has found that effective emergency response training and planning, along with better communication between the company, emergency responders and the community, are critical to preventing injuries and fatalities. Here are some responsibilities for each of those key groups to ensure a better response in case of a chemical accident:
• Maintain current emergency response plans
• Communicate frequently and openly with residents, businesses, and emergency management officials about chemical hazards in their community and emergency response plans
• Train employees to respond properly to chemical emergencies and to evacuate when appropriate
First Responders’ Responsibilities:
• Have proper hazmat training and equipment
• Conduct frequent drills and exercise plans to respond to possible chemical releases
• Communicate with companies in their communities that deal with chemicals
• Know the key facility contacts in case of an emergency
• Understand the hazards of the chemicals used at local facilities
• Support and maintain active local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) and up-to-date community response plans and teams
• Develop detailed evacuation and shelter-in-place plans that identify when and how community members are to respond to different types of emergencies
• Establish redundant communication systems to notify residents of a chemical emergency
Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries or illnesses that result from overexertion or repetitive motion. They include soft-tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, tears, hernias, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders that result in days away from work most commonly involve the back alone.
Every year, OSHA unveils the agency’s top 10 violations for the previous fiscal year during the National Safety Council Congress & Expo, which is the largest annual gathering of safety professionals. The preliminary data collected covers violations cited between October 1, 2017 through September 30th, 2018.
Most of the list does not vary much through the years, with the top seven being the same as last year’s listing, but this year saw one brand new violation make it into the top ten – Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment/Ear and Eye Protection, which replaced Electrical Wiring Methods.
Here’s this year’s OSHA’s Top Ten Violations:
1) Fall Protection – General Requirements (7,270 violations): This violation has held onto the top of the OSHA’s annual list for several years and includes failure to provide proper fall protection near unprotected sides and edges and low-slope/steep roofs.
2) Hazard Communication (4,552 violations): Holding onto the number two spot for several years, this citation is due to lack of a written program, inadequate training, and failure to properly develop or maintain safety data sheets.
3) Scaffolds (3,336 violations): Holding tight to this ranking for the past few years, this violation includes lack of proper decking, failure to provide personal fall arrest systems and/or guardrails where required, and failure to ensure that supported scaffolds are supported adequately on a solid foundation.
4) Respiratory Protection (3,118 violations): In many cases, citations were issued at facilities for providing ill-fitting equipment, failing to implement a proper program or failing to provide medical evaluations.
5) Lockout/Tagout (2,944 violations): Most citations for this violation were for failing to establish any kind of energy control procedure, and other violations included for poor employee training, failure to develop machine-specific procedures, and lack of proper lockout/tagout equipment.
6) Ladders (2,812 violations): Common citations include failure to have side rails extend three feet beyond a landing surface, using the top step of a stepladder, using ladders for unintended purposes and using ladders with broken steps or rails.
7) Powered Industrial Trucks (2,294 violations): In this category, citations were usually issued for such violations as fork trucks and similar vehicles that were not up to code or damaged and still being used, improper training or certification for those operating forklifts, and failure to recertify forklift operators.
8) Fall Protection (1,982 violations): This violation focuses on the training aspect, including all required persons received training and by a competent person. It also includes failure to certify training in writing and failure to train the proper use of guardrails and personal fall arrest systems.
9) Machine Guarding (1,972 violations): These citations usually include such violations as failing to guard points of operation and ensuring such guards are securely attached to machinery or properly anchoring fixed machinery.
10) Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment/Ear and Eye Protection (1,536 violations): New to the top 10 list, this violation is usually cited concerning the failure to provide eye and face protection from flying objects as well as caustic hazards, gases and vapors. Another common citation includes allowing employees to wear their own prescription lenses in addition to protective equipment, which led to obscured views.
These ten violations represent about 60 percent of the total incidents for 2018, and even though most safety professionals are not surprised by OSHA’s annual listing, what is pretty concerning is that the total number of violations on this list represent a 10.19 percent increase, or 2,942 more violations than in 2017. Everyone here at Workplace Safety & Health Co. would love to see a decrease in violations in 2019, and we are here to help you do just that. Contact us at 317-253-9737 to talk about how we can help you keep your employees - your most valuable assets - safe on the job.
NIOSH has issued a guide intended to help employers select appropriate air-purifying respirators based on the environment and contaminants at specific jobsites.
The winter months are upon us, and what that means is colder weather, maybe some snow and ice and the flu. Between 5-20 percent of Americans catch the flu annually, and it is estimated that 70 million workdays are missed every year as a result, costing employers between $3 billion and $12 billion per year.
The flu season usually runs from December to March, and CDC data from 1982 through 2016 shows the flu peaked in February for 14 of those seasons and in December for seven of them, and a for the rest of the years, it was between March and January. That means the flu season lasts one-third of every year, so what can you do to protect yourself and help reduce the spread of the seasonal flu in workplaces? Here are few recommendations by CDC:
1. Get the flu vaccine every year, especially if you are considered increased risk
Although the flu vaccine’s effectiveness varies from year to year, it has been proven to keep you from getting the flu, makes the flu less severe if you do get it, and keeps you from spreading the flu to your co-workers, family and others. Those usually considered high risk are the elderly, pregnant women, small children, persons with certain medical conditions (i.e. asthma, lung disease, heart disease, etc.).
2. Stay at home if you are sick
If you have a fever and respiratory symptoms, please stay home until 24 hours after your fever ends without the use of medications. But realize too that not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms may include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting.
3. Use basic hygiene to stop the spread of germs and viruses
Basic hygiene includes all the things our parents and kindergarten teachers stressed! Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (sing the happy birthday song, if you aren’t sure just how long 20 seconds is), and if there is no soap and water available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizing rub. Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes, and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve(s). After your sneezes and coughs, wash those hands!
4. Wipe down common work areas with a disinfectant
Any work area that is frequently touched, including telephones, computer equipment, copiers, etc, should be cleaned with a disinfectant regularly. Refrain from using coworkers’ desks, phones, computers or other work equipment, and if you must use them, consider cleaning it first with a disinfectant.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers provide working conditions that are free from known dangers, including sicknesses such as the flu. All employers should implement a program that combines the above recommendations to protect workers and reduce the transmission of the seasonal flu virus in the workplace. Need help establishing such a program at your workplace? Workplace Safety & Health, Inc. is just a phone call away – 317-253-9737.
A notice published by NIOSH last month updates the agency’s position regarding facial hair and the selection and use of respiratory protective devices and clarifies the NIOSH definition of respirator-sealing surfaces. The notice applies to all primary seals of tight-fitting full- and half-facepiece respirators and to tight-fitting respirator designs that rely on a neck dam seal.
Since the energy crisis of the mid-1970s, indoor air quality (IAQ) has become a common discussion point when it comes to keeping workplaces safe and healthy for their employees. In a past blog, we discussed the main sources of IAQ in the workplace, including building location, inadequate ventilation and hazardous material. OSHA also identifies these key attributes that lead to IAQ complaints:
• Improperly operated and maintained heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems
• Moisture incursion and dampness
• Presence of outside air pollutants
• Presence of internally generated contaminates
Here are some typical Frequently Asked Questions concerning IAQ according to OSHA:
1. What is “Indoor Air Quality”?
Indoor air quality, also called indoor environmental quality, describes how the inside air can affect a person’s health, comfort and ability to work. It can include temperature, humidity, poor ventilation (lack of outside air), mold or exposure to other chemicals.
2. What are the most common causes of IAQ problems?
The most common causes are not enough ventilation, which includes not allowing enough fresh outdoor air to come in or contaminated air being brought into the building; poor upkeep of ventilation and HVAC systems; dampness and moisture due to water damage or high humidity; construction or remodeling; and indoor and outdoor contaminated air.
3. How can I tell if there is an IAQ issue at my workplace?
Do you notice your own symptoms, such as headaches and sinus issues, when you are at work, but they clear up after you leave the building? This could be a sign that the air contains contaminants. A couple other signs include unpleasant or musty odors, or the building is hot and stuffy.
4. Is there a test that can find an IAQ problem?
Even though there are specific tests for asbestos and radon, the majority of IAQ issues requires more measurements being checked, including temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations and air flow, as well as inspections and testing of the ventilation and HVAC systems. It’s also a good idea to do a building walk-through to check for odors and look for leaks and water damage.
5. What should I do if I think there is an IAQ problem at work?
Ask your employer to check the ventilation, HVAC systems and to make sure there is no water damage. Even though OSHA does not have specific IAQ standards, under the Act, it is your employer’s responsibility to provide workers with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury. You also have the right to contact OSHA and request a workplace inspection.
The importance of the air we breathe is many times taken for granted. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is essential in the workplace, and if air quality is poor, the health and productivity of your employees will most likely decrease.
A Harvard School of Public Health study in 2015 discovered that people who work in well-ventilated offices have significantly higher cognitive function scores when responding to a crisis or developing a strategy. Those working in “green” conditions, which included enhanced ventilation and conditions with increased levels of CO2 had, on average, double the cognitive function scores of those participants who worked in conventional environments.
Reduced cognitive functioning abilities aren’t the only issue when IAQ is poor. Poor air quality in the workplace also causes such symptoms as allergic reactions, physical fatigue, headaches and eye and throat irritation. These health problems are costly to a business as they often lead to higher levels of absenteeism.
The main sources of poor air quality in the workplace include the following:
Building location – if located close to a highway, on previous industrial sites or on an elevated water table can cause dust and soot particles, dampness and water leaks, as well as chemical pollutants
Hazardous materials – even though asbestos has been banned for several years, it is still present in many public buildings; it is estimated that 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos in the workplace
Inadequate ventilation – IAQ is very dependent on an effective, well-maintained ventilation system that circulates and replaces used air with fresh air; if the system is not working correctly, it can lead to increased infiltration of pollution particles and humid air
Although OSHA does not have specific IAQ standards, it does have standards about ventilation and standards on some of the air contaminants that can be involved in IAQ issues. And the General Duty Clause of the Act itself requires employers to provide workers with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury.
Even though there is no single test to find an IAQ issue, there are measures that can be taken, as well as inspections on the ventilation and HVAC systems and a building walk-through to check for odors and look for tell-tale signs of water damage and leaks. Workplace Safety & Health’s mission is to provide our clients with premier occupational safety and health services designed to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses, which promotes client profitability. Give us a call at 317-253-9737.
Roadside inspectors placed nearly 1,600 trucks and buses out-of-service for brake violations during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s unannounced Brake Safety Day on April 25.
According to CVSA, a total of 11,531 roadside inspections were conducted on Brake Safety Day, and 1,595 commercial vehicles, or 13.8 percent of those inspected, were placed out-of-service.
More than 700,000 employees injure their eyes at work each year in the United States – that’s more than 2000 a day! Three hundred thousand of these injuries send employees to the emergency rooms each year, and 10-20% cause temporary or permanent vision loss. The most common causes for eye injuries are from flying bits of metal or glass, tools, particles, chemicals, harmful radiation or a combination of these hazards.
Experts believe using proper safety eyewear could have prevented, or at least lessened, 90% of the eye injuries occurring at work. Other than using the right eye protection, knowing the eye safety dangers at work is extremely important. Complete an eye hazard assessment, described in 29 CFR 1910.132 and Appendix B to Subpart I, and then eliminating hazards before starting work, such as machine guarding, work screens or other engineering controls. Doing these three things can greatly reduce the likelihood of a workplace eye injury.
But what type of safety eye protection should you wear? That really depends on the hazards at your workplace. If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, you must wear at least safety glasses with side shields. If you are working with chemicals, you should wear goggles. If you are working near hazardous radiation, such as welding, lasers or fiber optics, then you must use specific eye protection for such jobs, including safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that specific task.
Here are a couple other tips to keep in mind to promote eye safety in the workplace:
• Employees should have regular comprehensive eye exams to verify their vision is adequate to complete their jobs safely.
• When an employee already has reduced vision, company provided prescription glasses or goggles would ensure more protective eyewear usage
• Make sure all employees know where the nearest eyewash station is at work and how to use it to properly clean their eyes
Your eyesight is your most critical sense. Protect it by making sure you are wearing the most appropriate and well-fitting eye safety protection – for Eye Injury Prevention Month and every month afterwards.
Starting in July 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires businesses across the U.S. to submit workplace illness and injury reports digitally.
Read entire article - http://www.ehstoday.com/osha/5-ways-comply-new-osha-digitized-reporting-regulations
It is estimated one in every five American workers is over the age of 65, and in 2020, one in four will be over 55, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Silver Tsunami, as the phenomenon of the older population (aged 55 and older) being in the workforce has been named, will account for more than 25 percent of the U.S. workers by 2022, up from 14 percent in 2002.
This demographic shift has made the issue of workplace safety, especially for those of advanced age, in the forefront of many discussions, prompting safety professionals and researchers to strategize on best practices to accommodate them. The risk of injuries increases with age, and rehabilitation from an injury also increases dramatically. Data from the 2014 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses showed that among injured construction workers, the median days away from work averaged 20 for 45-54 age group, 21 for workers 55-64 years old and 37 for those 65 and older.
This same survey data showed employees aged 45 to 54 experienced musculoskeletal disorders at a rate of about 40 per 10,000 full-time workers – the highest among all demographics. Older workers were much more likely to experience trunk, back, shoulder and knee injuries than their younger counterparts. Also, the risk of fatal falls across all industries increases with age. While workers aged 20-24 years old accounted for 8.2 percent of fatal falls in 2014, the rate for older groups increases with age:
• 45-54: 16.8 percent
• 55-64: 20.7 percent
• 65 and older: 27.3 percent
Many injuries to the older population lead to disabilities as their bodies take much longer to heal or may never get back to their pre-injury state. Disability plays a big role when working with our aging population. The American Disability Act (ADA) requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals. For older workers with disabilities, reasonable, and often simple and inexpensive, workplace accommodations can promote job retention, including:
• Accessible parking spaces
• Screen magnification software
• Periodic rest breaks away from the workstation
• Part-time work schedules
• Flexible scheduling due to stamina issues or the effects of medications
• A sit-stand desk
• Time off for medical treatment
• Enhanced health and wellness programs and disability management
With trends showing the continued aging workforce increasing, employers should take initiatives to create more age-friendly workplaces. Need some help putting strategies in place, give us a call at Workplace Safety – 317-253-9737.
Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the United States, at an estimated annual cost of $8.1 billion. Skin cancer can be serious, expensive and sometimes deadly.
National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September. Even though this push tends to be a reminder we must prepare ourselves and our families for a multitude of Mother Nature disasters and encourages us to take time to learn lifesaving skills such as CPR and first aid, we must not forget the workplace.
Disasters can manifest in a variety of ways, and the workplace is definitely not exempt. Tornadoes, floods and weather-related disasters bring havoc, and do you know if your employees know what to do in such situations? What about workplace violence? A chemical spill? A fire? Taking preventative measures and planning ahead are important aspects to staying calm and keeping your employees safe.
First step is making sure there is an evacuation plan in place. Ready.gov recommends regularly testing your building’s communication system as it is of the utmost importance that employees can clearly hear instructions. If no such system is in place, have a backup plan, such as speaking through a bullhorn to relay information. Other tips include:
• Make sure every floor of the building has two exits that are kept clear
• Assign specific evacuation roles to employees to help direct co-workers to safety and to account for all employees being present
• Contact your local fire department to create an evacuation plan for workers with disabilities
Mother Nature has been on a bit of a rampage in the recent years, and while Indiana may not technically be in tornado alley, it seems we are just across the street! If severe weather is a threat, sound a distinct warning and move all workers to the strongest part of the building or structure. It is important to conduct regularly scheduled emergency drills, so employees know what to do and to ensure the building’s safe areas provide enough room for everyone.
Workplace violence is a serious occupational hazard, ranking in the top four causes of death in the workplace for the past 15 years. Ready.gov recommends if gunfire is suspected, employees should find a hiding place and stay quiet. If possible, workers should hide in a room – under a desk and away from windows and doors – and lock and barricade the door. Employees should stay hidden until authorities, such as the police, release them.
If you suspect a gas leak or chemical spill has occurred, National Safety Council recommends the following acronym – E.S.C.A.P.E.:
• E: Exit the area
• S: Secure the scene
• C: Call 911
• A: Assess the problem
• P: Pull your building’s fire alarm
• E: Exit the building
In honor of National Preparedness Month, make it a point to ensure the safety of your workers. Workplace Safety & Health is here to help you do just that. Give us a call – 317-253-9737.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Jax Utilities Management Inc., a Jacksonville utilities contractor, for exposing employees to trenching hazards. The company faces proposed penalties of $271,606.
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/region4/03072018
Manual dexterity – the use of hands, fingers and thumbs to perform everything from very basic to very complex motions - is something we may take for granted much of the time.
But when these most intricate and useful manual appendages find themselves in harm’s way, the results are hard to ignore.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a million workers visit the emergency room with hand injuries each year. Approximately 110,000 hand injuries result in lost time at work (1) with the average hand injury resulting to six days away from the job. The average claim is about $6,000, while the average workers' compensation claim comes to about $7,500. In all, the hands account for about 13 percent of all industrial injuries each year.
Depending on the industry, some workplace injuries routinely involve the possibility of exposure to toxic materials through the skin. In fact, the Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (2) from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lists approximately 450 organic substances for which skin protection is required.
As the body’s largest organ, the skin represents a major route for chemical exposure. Toxins can damage the skin directly, be absorbed into the body through the skin or enter through hand-to-mouth transfer. To complicate matters, results of numerous studies indicate that chemical absorption through the skin can go unnoticed by someone going about his or her work routine.
So, one might argue, when it comes to chemical protective clothing for the hands, why not just have workers don heavily insulated, chemically impervious mitts and be done with it? The reason, of course, is that most jobs require a level of tactility that limits the practicality of such a design, even it were possible to fabricate.
Here’s another argument for not just throwing on any old set of gloves. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Occupational Safety and Health Administration/OSHA), 30 percent of workers who suffered hand injuries were wearing gloves that were inadequate, damaged or were the wrong type for the hazard. Perhaps even more telling is that the other 70 percent who sustained a hand injury were not wearing gloves at the time of the incident (3).
When it comes to choosing chemical protective clothing, organizations should weigh factors such as cost, practicality, toxicity, and workplace exposure conditions.
OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard (1910.132) calls for a hazard assessment that includes conducting a survey of each operation, identifying specific potential hazards, organizing the data and analyzing the information. This analysis should include a determination of the level of risk and seriousness of the potential injury from each hazard found in the area.
It’s important to keep in mind that commonly available glove materials provide only limited protection against many chemicals. Gloves also represent an opportunity for sweat to build up, leading to potential discomfort and health issues. That means selecting the best fit for a particular application, which includes determining how long gloves can be worn and whether they can be reused (4).
Because they are not always reliable as a source of protection, gloves are not recommended by NIOSH or OSHA as a primary defense against chemical exposure.
Rather, chemical protective clothing for the hands should be one part of a comprehensive approach that includes practices such as isolation, training and environmental monitoring.
1. 2014 USA National Safety Council. 2014 injury data.
What Is Safe + Sound Week? A nationwide event to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/
The Consumer Products and Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of Honeywell Fibre-Metal E2 and North Peak A79 hard hats. These hats can fail to protect users from impact, posing a risk of head injury.
Read entire article - https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2018/honeywell-recalls-hard-hats-due-to-risk-of-head-injury
Opioid prescriptions have nearly quadrupled since 1999 in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These pain killers are addictive, and that addiction has caused a rippling effect across our communities and in the workplace.
The latest numbers from CDC show that 64,070 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, a 21 percent increase over the year before. Approximately three-fourths of these deaths are now caused by opioids. While the opioid crisis is usually portrayed as a problem with the jobless population, some studies have shown that around two-thirds of those who report abusing painkillers are still employed.
Since 2012, the number of people dying from drug or alcohol related causes while on the job has been growing by at least 25 percent each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While this statistic is striking, many others in the workplace right now are using prescription drugs to manage pain and not being able to perform to their potential. Around 70 percent of employers surveyed by the National Safety Council (NSC) have seen some impact of prescription drug use – from missed shifts to impaired work.
When a job involves heavy machinery, having mentally aware workers with fast reflexes is required to keep not only themselves safe, but those around them as well. Opioids hamper brain function and productivity, resulting in an increase in workplace accidents and workers’ compensation claims. According to a study, the opioid abuse costs businesses $16.3 billion in 2013 in disability claims and productivity, and medical costs for opioid abusers are close to twice that of non-abusers. Along these same lines, the average worker misses about 10 days per year, but those abusing pain medication or using heroin miss an average of 29 days of work per year (NSC).
The combination of lowered productivity, higher health care and substance abuse treatment costs, as well as missed work, add up to an economic burden of $78.5 billion, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). To try to combat the drug crisis, many employers are turning to drug testing in pre-employment screening, but make sure the panels you are using include specific testing for opioids.
Other than drug testing, employers can take a more proactive stance, including having an opioid use education component as part of their program. Another thought is to provide training for supervisors on the signs of abuse and knowing how to refer employees to their Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if applicable, or help them seek medical treatment. Some companies have used “lunch and learns” to discuss opioid abuse and mental health issues with employees, as well as promoting alternative pain management options, such as chiropractic or osteopathic manipulative treatments.
The opioid crisis is impacting our country in epidemic proportions, and the workplace is feeling the effects in many ways.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Premier Behavioral Health Solutions of Florida Inc. and UHS of Delaware Inc., the operators of Bradenton-based Suncoast Behavioral Health Center, for failing to protect employees from violence in the workplace. Proposed penalties total $71,137.
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/region4/05022018
Back in 1982, OSHA developed the Control of Hazardous Energy regulation to help protect workers who routinely service equipment in the workplace, and it went into effect in 1989. This regulation is now commonly known as the lockout/tagout (LOTO) regulation, and it outlines specific action and procedures for addressing and controlling hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment (General Industry -29 CFR 1910.147). The regulation also addresses a number of other OSHA standards, including but not limited to Marine Terminals, Construction, Electrical and Special Industries.
So what is hazardous energy? When machines or equipment are being prepared for service or maintenance, they often contain some form of hazardous energy, which is any type of energy that can be released and cause harm. Energy sources include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal and other energy sources. Failure to control such hazardous energy can cause serious injuries and death, and many injuries include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating or fracturing body parts. Some examples of such injuries include the following:
Every workplace should have an energy control program in place, with LOTO safety being part of that program. A LOTO procedure should include the following six steps:
1. Preparation – the employee must investigate and have a complete understanding of all types of hazardous energy that might need to be controlled, including identifying the specific hazards and how to control that energy
2. Shut Down – shut down the machine or equipment that will be serviced and inform any employee affected by the shutdown
3. Isolation – isolate the machine or equipment from any source of energy, which may include turning power off at a breaker or shutting a valve
4. Lockout/Tagout – the employee will attach lockout/tagout devices to each energy-isolating device – these devices should not be removed by anyone except by the person performing the lockout, and the tag should include the name of the person and other needed information who is performing the LOTO
5. Stored Energy Check – hazardous energy can be “stored” within the machine, so during this step, any potentially hazardous stored or residual energy must be released, disconnected, restrained or made non-hazardous
6. Isolation Verification – doublecheck/verify that everything was done correctly, and the machine or equipment is de-energized
It is estimated there are at least three million workers who service equipment routinely, including craft workers, electricians, machine operators and laborers. Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries, and those who are injured lose an average of 24 workdays recuperating. Compliance with LOTO standards prevents on average an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.
Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. offers a Lockout/Tagout program, which includes effective programming, procedure writing and labeling, training and data management. In the past 15 years, Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. has authored over 15,000 energy control/lockout-tagout procedures for the automotive, food & beverage, pharmaceutical, medical device, and ferrous & non-ferrous metals industries. Give us a call to see how we can help you implement or update your LOTO program and train your employees on those life-saving procedures – 317-253-9737.
NIOSH Alert - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-110/pdfs/99-110sum.pdf
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has requested information on the use of automated technologies in the transportation of hazardous materials, according to a document published in the Federal Register March 22.
PHMSA has issued this request for information to ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials “in anticipation of the development, testing and integration of Automated Driving Systems,” according to the document. The Federal Register notice cites the growing presence of automated technologies in the transportation system, particularly on highways and over rail.
Did you know in the United States that cloud-to-ground lightning happens 20 to 25 million times a year? Even with such frequency, for some reason, lightning is overlooked too often as an occupational hazard. It doesn’t get the attention of other deadly weather storms, such as hurricanes, floods or tornadoes, because it doesn’t result in mass destruction or mass casualties. But anybody working outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects or near explosives or conductive materials have a significant risk to being struck by lightning.
In a typical year, the central Ohio Valley, including Indiana, sees some of the most frequent lightning activity across the United States. Summertime is the peak season for lightning and a great time to educate your employees about lightning and what precautions should be taken to prevent worker exposure to this dangerous natural force.
Lightning 101 – When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
Remember, there is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm, so seek full-enclosed, substantial buildings with interior wiring and plumbing as these will act as an earth ground. But what if workers are caught outdoors? These are National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) recommendations to decrease the risk of being struck:
Many people often wonder about the safety of their own vehicle during lightning. There have been enough reported incidences and injuries to know the myth of being completely safe in a car is just that - a myth. If you find yourself in your car during a lightning storm, it is best to pull off to the side of the road, turn on your emergency blinkers, turn off the engine and put your hands on your lap until the storm passes. Do not touch door or window handles, radio dials, CB microphones, gearshifts, steering wheels and other inside-to-outside metal objects.
On the other hand, heavy equipment, such as backhoes, bulldozers, loaders, graders, scrapers and mowers, which have an enclosed rollover system canopy (ROPS) are considered safe, so you should shut down the equipment, close the doors and sit with hands in lap until the storm has passed. Smaller equipment without ROPS, such as small riding mowers, golf carts and utility wagons, are not safe, and you should leave these vehicles for safe shelter.
Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for their employees, which includes but is not limited to having an Emergency Action Plan that addresses lightning safety protocol for outdoor workers, posting information about lightning safety at outdoor worksites and offering safety training to their employees. Workplace Safety & Health Co. is here to help you keep your employees safer in thunderstorms and in all kinds of weather.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are more common among workers exposed to loud noise at work, according to a NIOSH study recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Researchers found that a quarter of U.S. workers reported a history of noise exposure at work.
NIOSH researchers analyzed data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey to estimate the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty, and heart conditions within U.S. industries and occupations. The researchers also examined the association between workplace noise exposure and heart disease.
National Safety Month is observed annually every June to promote safety throughout the country and focus on reducing leading causes of death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), nearly 5200 American workers died while doing their job in 2016. That averages to more than 14 people per day! It’s a 7 percent increase from 2015, and it’s the first time in nearly a decade the number has surpassed 5000.
More workers lost their lives in transportation incidents than any other event in 2016, accounting for about one out of every four fatal injuries. Workplace violence injuries increased by 23 percent, which made it the second most common cause of workplace fatality. With the nation’s opioid crisis, drug abuse and deaths have entered the workplace at an alarming rate. A BLS’s report from December showed the number of overdoses on the job increased by 32 percent in 2016, and the number of drug-related fatalities has increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012. Even though these three are significant, workplace deaths are increasing percentage-wise among many different demographics.
Safety in the workplace is vital, and employers must take bigger steps to encourage and increase workplace safety. Here are some basic ways employers can help ensure the safety of all workers:
Employees may roll their eyes when they are required to attend regularly scheduled safety trainings, but proper training is a necessity – not only for your employees’ safety, but you will be held liable for the incidences. During these trainings, encourage your employees to share ideas on how to improve safety. One great topic for a staff training – first aid training.
Develop a Workplace Safety and Health Plan
Identifying hazards in your workplace and taking steps to eliminate or minimize them are great first steps in keeping work spaces safer, but also take it further by developing a safety plan listing such hazards, telling your employees what you will do to ensure their safety and what you expect from them. Make sure your employees have access to a first aid kit and the AED equipment.
Inspect Your Workplace
Regularly scheduled workplace inspections are very important. Check tools and equipment to make sure they are well maintained and safe. Make sure your workplace is relatively clean and clutter-free. When properly carried out, these inspections can help you proactively identify and address hazards before they cause safety issues.
Are you rewarding employees for completely a job before deadlines, under budget or high productivity? This mentality to get it done quickly could compromise safety. Why not reward those who have followed all your safety rules and have consistently provided efficient work? This puts the emphasis on safety instead of productivity.
Want more ideas on how to promote a safer work environment? Contact us at Workplace Safety & Health, Inc. at 317-253-9737.
Millions of workers are exposed to noise in the workplace every day and when uncontrolled, noise exposure may cause permanent hearing loss. Research demonstrates exposure to certain chemicals, called ototoxicants, may cause hearing loss or balance problems, regardless of noise exposure. Substances including certain pesticides, solvents, and pharmaceuticals that contain ototoxicants can negatively affect how the ear functions, causing hearing loss, and/or affect balance.
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib030818.html
It’s been a long winter – and a cold spring, but summer is just around the corner, which means hot weather is on its way. For the many people exposed to higher temperatures as part of their job duties, it’s time to review how to prevent heat-related illnesses (HRI’s). Every year, thousands of workers in the United States suffer from serious HRI’s, which if not addressed can quickly turn from heat exhaustion to heat stroke, which has killed on average 30 people every year since 2003. Jobs that are at a higher risk of HRI’s include, but are not limited to, firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers and factory workers.
You might wonder how does excessive heat affect the body? Our bodies usually maintain a stable internal temperature by circulating blood to the skin and through sweating, but when the outside temperature is close to or even warmer than normal body temperature, sweat may not be able to evaporate, so it’s less effective. If the body cannot get rid of the excess heat, it stores it, which causes an increase in core temperature and heart rate. If the body continues to store heat, you begin to lose concentration and have difficulty focusing, you may become irritable or sick and lose your desire to drink. The next stage is most often fainting and even possibly death. The body temperature can rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes!
Five Categories of Heat-Related Illnesses
Preventative Actions to Protect Employees
Hot Weather Safety Tips for Employees
The National Fire Protection Association announced recently that it has created a new tool to help building owners, facility managers, and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) proactively assess risk in high-rise buildings with combustible facades. The NFPA said the tool, Known as EFFECT™, an Exterior Facade Fire Evaluation Comparison Tool, was needed because enforcement authorities and those responsible for managing large portfolios of high-rise buildings have lacked a tool to assess and prioritize remediation work, according to NFPA.
Just take a look at OSHA’s Fat Cat report and the most common theme on the fatality report is a fall, usually from some sort of construction job site. Fall from heights is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction, accounting for one-third of on-the-job injury deaths in the industry. Each year in the U.S., more than 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured, and the statistics for 2016 show that of the 991 construction fatalities, falls accounted for 370.
Overall, fatality injuries in construction are higher than any other industry in the United States, with the majority of them occurring in establishments with fewer than 20 employees. About two-thirds of those fatal falls were from roofs, scaffolds and ladders.
Many, if not all, of these deaths could have been prevented with these common-sense safety precautions* including:
• Planning ahead to do the job safely before starting each and every job.
• Providing the right equipment for working at heights.
• Training workers to use the equipment properly and to work safely on roofs, ladders and scaffolds
Preventing Roof Falls
• Wear a harness and always stay connected
• Make sure your harness fits
• Use guardrails or lifelines
• Guard or cover all holes, openings and skylights
• Don’t disconnect from the lifeline
• Don’t work around unprotected openings or skylights
• Don’t use defective equipment
Preventing Ladder Falls
• Choose the right ladder for the job
• Maintain three points of contact
• Secure the ladder
• Always face the ladder
• Don’t overreach
• Don’t stand on top or on the top step of a stepladder
• Don’t place the ladder on unlevel footing
Preventing Scaffolds Falls
• Use fully planked scaffolds
• Ensure proper access to scaffolds
• Plumb and level
• Complete all guardrails
• Ensure stable footing
• Inspect before use
• Don’t use a ladder on top of the scaffold
• Don’t stand on guardrails
• Don’t climb cross-braces
*DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2012-142, Fall Prevention Fact Sheet - http://stopconstructionfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Campaign-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Even though construction falls are the majority of fatality-related falls, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 261,000 private industry and state and local government workers miss one or more days of work yearly due to injuries from falls on the same level or to lower levels. Fall injuries are a big financial burden, accounting for an estimated $70 billion annually in the United States through workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with occupational fall incidences.
To increase awareness for fall prevention, OSHA incorporated National Safety Stand-Down Week five years ago. This year’s event takes place May 7-11. OSHA is asking employers to set some time aside during that week to have an open discussion with employees about falls and how to prevent them. Workplace Safety and Health Co. is here to help you lower employee injury rates. Give us a call at 317-253-9737.
The percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates indicate, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The travel organization is promoting the reuslts of a recent study as the most in-depth drowsy driving research ever conducted in the U.S. using footage of everyday drivers.
Read entire article - http://newsroom.aaa.com/2018/02/drowsy-driving-dont-asleep-wheel/
A CDC study on occupational asthma deaths in the United States finds an estimated 3,664 to 6,994, or approximately 204 to 389 annually from 1999 to 2016, that could be attributable to occupational exposures and were therefore potentially preventable. Published Jan. 19 in MMWR, the study indicates the highest asthma death rates were among adults ages 55–64 and that asthma mortality was significantly elevated among men in food, beverage, and tobacco products manufacturing, other retail trade, and miscellaneous manufacturing, and among women in social assistance.
Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6702a2.htm?s_cid=mm6702a2_e#contribAff
Did you know homicide is the fourth leading cause of a workplace death? Workplace violence is a serious occupational hazard, and it has ranked in the top four causes of death in the workplace for the past 15 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4679 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2014, 403 were workplace homicides.
Workplace violence is defined as violence or the threat of violence against workers, and nearly two million American workers report having been victims each year. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can be any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior. Workplace violence can strike anywhere. Some occupations are at a higher risk, including workers who exchange money with the public, deliver passengers, goods or services, or work alone or in small groups during late nights or early mornings in high crime areas, but no one is immune.
Too often in today’s headlines, we hear stories of workplace and school shootings or the late night Uber rides that end up as tragedies, and we are left wondering what can be done. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSH Act) General Duty Clause, employers are required to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their workers. This might be easier to accomplish when thinking about safely working equipment, being provided with safety gear such as gloves and hats or even being protected from toxic chemicals, but protection against workplace violence?
Well, there are steps that can be taken. First and foremost, the best protection employers can offer is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by their employees as well as having a workplace violence prevention program. Workplace violence policies should be included into accident prevention programs, employee handbooks or the manual of standard operating procedures, and they should cover what conduct is unacceptable, what to do if they witness or are subjected to workplace violence, and how to protect themselves.
OSHA offers a fact sheet that covers how employers can help protect their employees, including securing the workplace and providing drop safes. Nothing can guarantee an employee will not become a victim of workplace violence, but the fact sheet covers some steps to hopefully reduce the odds, including learning how to recognize potentially violent situations and alerting supervisors of any concerns.
April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month, and Workplace Safety and Health Co. is ready to help your employees become more aware of the potential impacts of violence in the workplace and better equip themselves to help prevent, mitigate and respond to such incidents. Call us to learn about our workplace violence training program – 317-253-9737. We look forward to hearing from you.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently published its newly revised version of ISO 31000, Risk management – Guidelines.
According to the organization, the ISO 31000:2018 is a shorter and clearer guide to help organizations improve planning and decision-making through the use of risk management principles.
Read entire article - https://www.iso.org/news/ref2263.html
With winter weather (hopefully) behind us, April typically marks the beginning of road repair work in many states. It’s also a good time for motorists to remember their obligation to look out for the safety of those who share the roadways.
That’s a message that National Work Zone Awareness Week, which this year run from April 9-13, aims to highlight. Its theme, "Work Zone Safety: Everybody's Responsibility”, focuses the safety issues surrounding work zones and necessity of awareness and planning on the part of everyone they affect. That includes everyone from road and utility workers to police and emergency responders to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
In Indiana, for instance, road workers are more likely to be killed in motor vehicle crashes than from any other hazard on the job, including those involving workplace violence and machine-related accidents. Since 2014, at least 12 people on average have been killed each year in INDOT roadway work zone crashes. Eighty percent of those killed are motorists or their passengers.
That’s according to the Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL). The department’s website also mentions that the most common causes of collision noted by police include:
-Following too closely.
-Unsafe lane movement.
-Failure to yield right-of-way.
-Ran off roadway.
-Ran over object in roadway.
-Improper lane change.
The most common types of collision from these cause are rear-end, same direction sideswipe, head-on between two motor vehicles, and leaving the roadway.
For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm
All 50 states, two U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C., are now all joined by FirstNet, a wireless broadband network to be dedicated to public safety. The statutory 90-day decision period for state governors to opt in or out of the FirstNet proposed Radio Access Network (RAN) buildout plan expired Dec. 28, and every state accepted the FirstNet deployment plan. Three U.S. territories – American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands – have until March 12, 2018 to make their decisions.
Congress passed legislation to establish the network in 2012. Since then, the First Responder Network Authority worked closely with public safety to develop customized plans for building the network in each state and territory.
Read entire article - https://www.firstnet.gov/news/first-responder-network-goes-nationwide
Better safe than sorry should be the motto of every workplace when it comes to the possibility of injuries, and eye injuries are no exception. March is designated as Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and your eyesight can be at risk in numerous ways.
The National Safety Council states, “all it takes is a tiny sliver of metal, particle of dust, or a splash of chemical to cause significant and permanent eye damage.” Almost 2000 people in the United States injure their eyes while working every day, and of these injuries, one third of them are severe enough to be treated at the hospital emergency room. This means almost one million Americans have experienced some vision loss due to eye injury, which has resulted in more than $300 million in lost work time, medical expenses, and worker’s compensation.
Many occupational eye injuries occur because employees are not wearing any eye protection while others result from wearing improper or poorly fitting eye protection. OSHA estimates 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented through the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the eyes. Some of the most common types of eye (and face) protection include safety spectacles, goggles, welding shields, laser safety goggles and face shields. Each type is designed to protect against specific hazards. For more specifics on PPE, check out OSHA’s publication on the subject - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3151.pdf.
Even though we normally think of work-related eye injuries happening from working with metal, wood, UV radiation burns or chemicals, there’s another culprit posing a threat to our vision – technology, specifically computers. Over exposure to computer screens may not permanently damage our vision, but it can make our eyes feel irritated and fatigued and may cause them to lose their ability to function properly. Computer vision syndrome is the most common eye problem, which is spending too much time in front of a computer screen without enough breaks. This can cause headaches, neck pain, back strain and dry eye. Studies have shown that when staring at a computer screen for extended periods, we do not blink as often, which prevents eyes from staying lubricated and moistened.
Here are some tips to keep your eyes feeling comfortable for those who spend many hours in front of a computer screen:
• Reposition your screen to keep any direct light source from causing a glare.
• Keep the computer roughly 30 inches away from your eyes.
• Remember the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
• Remember to blink frequently.
Let’s celebrate Workplace Eye Wellness Month by keeping these tips in mind and protecting those eyes!
A rating system helped predict which solutions construction workers would use to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). That’s according to a study (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22693/pdf) by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri that was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
In the study, three analysts, including an occupational-medicine physician and two occupational therapists, rated the likelihood that construction workers would adopt 16 different solutions to tasks that could cause MSDs.
That was followed by the use of 2007 rating system to score the likelihood that the construction workers and their contracting companies in the previous study would adopt each solution. The rating system includes relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, ability to try the solution (or trial ability), and observability. The researchers then added a sixth category, usability, to the system.
According to the researchers, the findings show that the rating system could help predict the adoptability of simple solutions to prevent MSDs among construction workers.
Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/research-rounds/resroundsv3n6.html
Clocks will spring forward on Sunday, March 11 as we begin Daylight Saving Time. Even though we welcome the bright mornings as a signal that winter is finally coming to an end, we do miss that lost hour of sleep and we might even have to deal with our body clock disruption.
Now you may think one hour of lost sleep isn’t much, but many of us deal with lack of sleep on a regular basis. The effects of fatigue are far-reaching and can have an adverse impact on all areas of our lives, including workplace safety.
March is Sleep Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to remind people that getting a good night’s sleep is a necessity. More than 43% of workers are sleep-deprived, and sleep deprivation and drowsiness on the job can be a major safety issue, especially in safety-critical positions that involve operating machinery, driving or other tasks that require alertness.
Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but 63 percent of Americans reported their sleep needs are not being met each week. According to Circadian (link to website - http://www.circadian.com/), a global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock, sleep deprivation is frequently the root cause of decreased productivity, accidents, incidents and mistakes which cost companies billions of dollars each year.
Sleep deprived individuals are poor communicators, have decreased vigilance and slower response time, become distracted easily, and are more prone to engage in risky decision making. Interesting point is if you have four or more nights of less than seven hours of sleep per night, it can be the equivalent to a total night of sleep deprivation and that can affect your functioning for up to two weeks.
And what about operating machinery or driving while sleepy? Drowsy driving is impaired driving, and the National Safety Council research showed:
• You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if fatigued
• Losing even two hours of sleep is similar to the effect of having three beers
• Being awake for more than 20 hours is the equivalent of being legally drunk (22 hours of sleep deprivation results in neurobehavioral performance impairment that are comparable to a 0.08 percent blood alcohol level)
The loss of sleep is not only detrimental to workplace safety, it is a major player in employees’ overall health. Chronic sleep-deprivation causes depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. It is estimated fatigue costs U.S. employers more than $136 billion a year in health-related lost productivity.
So, time to get some shut eye in the name of workplace safety and health!
Changing behavior could help many more Americans avoid cancer. That’s according to a new American Cancer Society (ACS) study that calculates the contribution of several modifiable risk factors to cancer occurrence. The study finds that more that more than 40 percent of cancer cases and deaths in the U.S. are associated with these major modifiable risk factors, many of which can be mitigated with prevention strategies.
Read entire article - https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/more-than-4-in-10-cancers-and-cancer-deaths-linked-to-modifiable-risk-factors.html
Although it might not always feel like it (particularly in the depths of mid-winter), February is the shortest month.
For many kinds of workplaces, it’s also time to post workplace injury summaries from the previous calendar year.
The U.S. Department of Labor requires companies to post Form 300A from Feb. 1 through April 30 each year. The form shows a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred over the previous year. The form also shows the annual average number of employees and total hours worked during the calendar year.
The form must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are normally posted.
Required on the summary is the total number of work-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year and that were recorded on OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
What if an organization had no recordable injuries last year, you ask? That’s always good news, but it must still be reported, simply by placing zeroes on the total lines.
Exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness posting requirements are companies with 10 or fewer employees and employers in certain industries in the retail, services, finance, insurance and real estate sectors. For more on this, visit https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/ppt1/RK1exempttable.html.
How can you recognize whether an injury or illness is considered work-related by OSHA? If an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition, it’s work-related. A work environment includes the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment.
For more information on posting requirements, contact the recordkeeping coordinator at your OSHA Regional office (refer to https://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html). If your workplace is in a state with its own occupational safety agency, reach out to the state plan office (visit https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/ for a directory).
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently published "Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices," a guidance document for industry and the FDA staff and said it is the world's first agency to provide a comprehensive technical framework to advise manufacturers creating medical products on 3D printers.
The document, available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/UCM499809.pdf, addresses a range of issues, from design, software, and materials (both starting materials and reuse of materials) to post-processing, device testing, biocompatibility, and labeling.
Read entire article - https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm587547.htm
Prolonged blasts of arctic air throughout much of Eastern United States in December and January have reminded us just how severe and dangerous winter weather can be, especially for those who find themselves outdoors in it.
Anyone exposed to extreme cold, such as in a work environment, may be at risk of cold stress – when body heat is lost faster than it can be produced. What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary from region to region. That means that in places typically unaccustomed to wintry weather, even near-freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Such weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems.
OSHA's Cold Stress Guide at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/cold.html offers a number of tips for avoiding cold stress on the job, while reminding employers of their responsibility to keep workers safe under Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
According to the guide, “Employers should train workers on how to prevent and recognize cold stress illnesses and injuries and how to apply first aid treatment. Workers should be trained on the appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment and work practices to reduce the risk of cold stress.”
Some of these are common sense practices, like wearing inner and outer layers of clothing to stay both dry and warm, donning a hat and/or hood, and putting on waterproof and insulated gloves and boots.
Others involve taking frequent breaks in a warm area, working in pairs so either one might spot danger signs, and notifying a supervisor or calling for medical help immediately if a worker has signs or symptoms of hypothermia or another cold-related illness or injury.
Still others involve engineering controls like providing radiant heaters to warm workers in outdoor security stations, and where possible, shielding work areas from drafts or wind to cut down on wind chill.
Perhaps the two most salient points in OSHA’s Cold Stress Guide are recommendations that both employers and employees be proactive and alert, both good practices for dealing with winter – and workplace safety – in general.
There were a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2016, representing a 7-percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015. That’s according to the most recent Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This marked the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded by the CFOI since 2008. The fatal injury rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.4 in 2015, the highest rate since 2010.
Read entire article - https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm
CDC has deactivated its emergency response for the Zika virus and will resume normal program operations. A team of experts from across the agency, called the Zika Coordination and Operations Transition Team (ZCOTT), will lead the transition from EOC activation to routine, long-term activities and will ensure timely coordination and collaboration on scientific, communication, and policy activities.
The agency activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on January 22, 2016 in response to the devastating effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0929-eoc-deactivation-zika.html
If you’re accustomed to ignoring surveys offered through everything from sales receipts to emails to online pop-ups, here’s one it pays to lend an ear to.
Noise, or undesirable sound, is one of the most common health problems to be found in many workplaces. Practically all workplaces directly involved in manufacturing, construction, or mining create noise as a by-product. While this cannot be totally eliminated, the negative health effects of noise can be limited by wearing the proper personal protective equipment and, in some instances, implementing engineering and/or administrative controls.
Noise can also be detrimental to job performance, increase fatigue, and cause irritability. Perhaps the most widely known harmful result from exposure is noise-induced hearing loss. Such losses can be either temporary or permanent; the extent of the damage is dependent mainly upon the intensity and length of exposure.
In the early 1980s, OSHA announced 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. It’s worth noting that continued exposure to more than 85 decibels (dBA) of noise may cause gradual, but permanent, damage to hearing.
The OSHA hearing conservation program for industry has five parts. They are:
-Noise Monitoring: Sound levels must be measured to determine the degree of potential employee exposure and what safeguards may be needed.
-Hearing Testing: All employees in a hearing conservation program must be tested annually.
-Employee Training and Education: Employees in a hearing conservation program must be trained every year on hearing protection.
-Hearing Protectors: Hearing protection devices should be made available to all employees according to the noise risks identified.
-Record Keeping: A company must maintain records on sound level results, equipment calibration results, and hearing test records of employees, along with its educational activities.
Fortunately, a noise survey of a workplace environment can be used identify where high noise levels are most likely to occur, leading to a more efficient hearing conservation program.
Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. can provide this service, which can be used to help identify employees who need to be included in a noise control program and whether to implement engineering controls to reduce exposure. Need assistance with preliminary engineering control selection? Give us a call. We can even assist third party engineers with design guidance – telling them what is needed and let them do the design work.
As always, thanks for listening!
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is asking whether it should develop a new contamination control standard that identifies best practices for cleaning firefighters' PPE and how gear should be handled after possible exposure to contaminants, or, instead, add that information to the existing NFPA 1581 standard.
There’s no mistaking the value in lifelong learning, but training courses – whether they last a few hours or a few days, can sometimes seem daunting to anyone enrolled in them.
A 2015 Microsoft study found that the average person’s attention span is about 8 seconds. While that finding and others like it might suggest that any productivity or safety message at work is playing to a sold-out crowd at Short Attention Span Theatre, a new trend known as microlearning seeks to capitalize on that apparent shortcoming.
As the name suggests, microlearning courses are shorter than traditional training: A single microlearning session aims to teach one particular lesson in a concentrated way – a single presentation typically ranges from 2 to 5 minutes. Such sessions are typically more convenient than traditional classroom settings, too: Most microlearning formats are easily accessed from smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers, while organizations can choose to offer courses either at specific times or an on-demand basis.
Considering the time many people spend watching video – one recent study found that many Millennials spend upwards of a total of three hours a day gazing into the electronic ether – the concept of brief, targeted lessons with clear-cut goals seems like a logical progression in eLearning.
In the few years since such courses have been offered, there is evidence to suggest that putting forth the effort can bear fruit. As chronicled in the 2016 Fortune magazine article "Corporate Training Gets an Upgrade for the Facebook Generation," Walmart developed an app for its warehouse workers comprised of three-minute instructional videos on performing common tasks safely. Each lesson was followed by a short test. Following a trial period of six-months, injury claims at the company’s warehouses fell by nearly half. The magazine also looked at a private Facebook group created by PayPal aimed at helping its employees help each other troubleshoot by watching videos of short classes. One major takeaway was that the number of workers who finished at least two training courses every six months doubled. During that same period, PayPal was able to reduce its training expenses by nearly a 25 percent.
It’s clear that such a method – taken by itself – has its limits. For example, a two-day personal protective equipment training course cannot adequately impart all its lessons in a single five-minute video, no matter how motivated the student and concise the course material. And instructor-led courses have the versatility of responding to students’ learning pace and questions in an organic way. However, when microlearning sessions are incorporated in the framework of a longer course in complementary ways, such as when some lessons are transferred to video as prerequisites for attending a brick-and-mortar course or when they are used in conjunction with one to introduce or reinforce concepts, it appears that the sky (or the Cloud) is the limit.
NIOSH announced recently that it is launching a Center for Occupational Robotics Research to assess potential benefits and risks of robot workers and develop guidance for safe interactions between humans and robots.
According to NIOSH, the decision to create the new center to assess the benefits and risks and to develop guidance for safe interactions between people and robots was based on the fact that while increasing numbers of robots enter the 21st century workplace, the benefits and potential risks of robots in the workplace are not fully known.
Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/robotics/default.html
Heads up – a final rule from OSHA on updating general industry walking-working surfaces and protection standards has been in effect since Mid-January, though the effective dates for several provisions are being spread out over a period that extends all the way to November 2036.
The final rule includes revised and new provisions addressing, for example, fixed ladders; rope descent systems; fall protection systems and criteria, including personal fall protection systems; and training on fall hazards and fall protection systems. In addition, the final rule adds requirements on the design, performance, and use of personal fall protection systems.
Most of the rule became effective January 17, 2017, 60 days after it was published in the Federal Register, but some provisions delayed effective dates, including:
-Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (May 17, 2017),
-Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (May 17, 2017),
-Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (November 20, 2017),
According to OSHA’s website, the final two protection factors that must be completed by November 2018 are to:
-Install personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (by Nov. 19, 2018).
-Ensure existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are fitted with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (by Nov. 19, 2018).
Nearly a full 18 years later (November 18, 2036, to be exact), cages and wells (used as fall protection) must be replaced with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet.
Even if your workplace doesn’t take personnel to such heights, there’s plenty of reason to pay attention to potential slip and fall hazards.
OSHA lists falling as one of the most common causes of workplace fatalities. The risks are even greater when a fall occurs to a lower level, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified as the most deadly type of fall on the job.
Workplace Safety & Health Co. stands ready to help workplaces be safe places to tread. We offer courses in Fall Protection and a wide range of other training topics, from OSHA Recordkeeping and Lockout/Tagout, to First Aid /CPR and Excavation Safety (and quite a few in between). Contact us for more information on how we can help your organization stay on a good footing.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced recent the availability of a new software platform to track and monitor emergency response and recovery worker activities during all phases of emergency response following a natural disaster or other public health emergency.
The software, ERHMS Info Manager™, is a custom-built product developed by NIOSH for emergency responder organizations to use to implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework.
Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/erhms/erhms-info-manager.html?s_cid=3ni7d2-pr-erhmsim-09052017
Sometimes downward trends are a good thing. When they reflect a decrease in injuries, there’s little room for argument.
According to estimates released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. That’s nearly 48,500 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases than the year before. Specifically, the 2016 rate of total recordable cases (TRC) fell 0.1 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, adding to a pattern of declines that, with the exception of 2012, has continued since 2004.
Those numbers were based on the bureau’s annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
Four private industry sectors—construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade—showed what the BLS said were statistically significant reductions in the TRC rate of occupational injuries and illnesses in 2016.
Of those four sectors, only retail trade (at 122,390) and manufacturing (at 118,050) showed more than 100,000 days away from work (DAFW) cases. Of these two sectors, only manufacturing had a decrease in both the count and incidence rate for DAFW cases last year.
In all, the BLS reported there were 892,270 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2016 that led to days away from work in private industry, a slight change from the number reported for 2015. The overall private industry incidence rate for DAFW cases was 91.7 per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016. The median number of days away from work — a measure of the severity of such cases — was 8 in 2016, unchanged from 2015.
Finance and insurance was the only sector where the TRC rate of injuries and illnesses increased in 2016. However, the relatively low number of cases reported there yielded the lowest rate among all private industry sectors at 0.6 cases per 100 FTE workers.
Meanwhile, the TRC rate of work-related injuries and illnesses was unchanged among 14 other private industry sectors in 2016.
-19 percent (22,040) of the DAFW cases were the result of falls, slips, or trips in 2016, a drop of 1,470 cases from 2015 levels.
-Sprains, strains, or tears accounted for 30 percent (35,110) of the DAFW cases – a decrease of 2,480 cases from 2015. These cases occurred at a rate of 28.2 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016, down from 30.3 cases in 2015.
-Cuts, lacerations, or punctures accounted for 13 percent (14,960) of the DAFW cases in manufacturing, a decrease of 720 cases from 2015.
Some of the other standouts from the 2016 survey:
-The rate of other recordable cases (ORC) declined by 0.1 cases, while rates for the case types days away restricted transferred (DART), days away from work (DAFW) and days of job transfer or restriction only (DJTR) — were unchanged from 2015. In fact, the rate of DJTR cases has stayed at 0.7 cases per 100 FTE workers since 2011.
-Nearly a third of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were of a more serious nature and led to days away from work.
-Injuries and illnesses to production workers accounted for 64 percent (75,070 cases) of total DAFW cases in manufacturing in 2016, a decrease of 3,510 cases from 2015.
-Transportation and material moving workers’ injuries and illnesses accounted for 18 percent (21,100 cases) of the total DAFW cases in manufacturing – a decrease of 950 cases from 2015. This equated to an incidence rate of 17.7 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016, down from a rate of 19.0 such cases in 2015.
-Other leading events or exposures in manufacturing in 2016 were contact with object or equipment (with 35.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers) and overexertion and bodily reaction (with 34.1 cases). Both rates were essentially unchanged from 2015, however.
A pair of smokestacks at Ball State University in Muncie are coming down this summer. Their removal signals the final stages of an $83 million, multi-year project to replace the coal-fired boilers that used the stacks for exhaust with a closed-loop geothermal system at the state school in eastern Indiana.
As we transition from warmer to cooler weather this season, it’s worth remembering that lower temperatures bring with them their own particular health and safety risks.
That was underscored recently by a recent study that found that cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather. The study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, corroborates another study that found cold kills more than twice the number of people in the United States than does heat.
On the surface, such findings might not seem surprising. Low temperatures can pose more problems for our cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Still, media accounts of health problems caused by summer heat waves, often in large urban areas, dominate much of our collective attention to weather’s harsher effects.
As we know, direct exposure to freezing temperatures can be a safety hazard. So, too, can any precipitation that comes with them. Snow and ice can quickly change surface conditions, making everyday activities like as walking and driving a challenge. And things like overexertion from clearing snow from paths and roofs, carbon monoxide exposure from indoor generators, and fires from misplaced or misused supplemental heating devices are all part of the cold weather hazards landscape.
To cut down on the risk of slips and spills on snow, employers should clear snow and ice from- and spread deicer on walking surfaces as soon as possible after a winter storm. But wintertime pedestrians should also be prepared to dress accordingly. OSHA recommends 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."
Those manually removing snow from walkways can quickly become exhausted or dehydrated. Common injuries from shoveling snow involve the muscles of the back. For those attacking the white stuff head on, a simple best practice is to scoop small amounts of snow at a time and shove it rather than heave 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," recommends OSHA. The agency also recommends making sure powered equipment, such as snow blowers, are properly grounded to prevent electric shock or electrocution.
When removing snow from rooftops and working at height, OSHA recommends employers first evaluate snow removal tasks for hazards. That includes making a plan, such as looking for ways to do the job without actually setting foot on the rooftop. Just as important, employers should identify the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job and ensure that workers are trained on how to use it correctly.
OSHA’s online resource 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 fallen limbs or trees.
The Ready.gov webpage at https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather offers a number of precautions to take before driving in winter weather, especially if there are watches or warnings in effect. Some of those tips are:
-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 under tires.
With the ever-growing use of social media, it might come as no surprise that Ready.gov also offers a Winter Weather Safety Social Media Toolkit (https://www.ready.gov/winter-toolkit) with winter weather safety and preparedness messages to be shared through social media channels.
A new report from ASSE's Center for Safety and Health Sustainability covers its second analysis of how recognized "sustainable" companies report occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Entitled "The Need for Standardized Sustainability Reporting Practices," the report recommends global initiatives that index corporate sustainability should include companies' commitment to safe and healthy for workers.
Lists can be useful for many things, perhaps most especially when they offer insight into ways to do something better. In what has become an annual tradition, OSHA recently released its preliminary list of top 10 safety violations for the federal fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.
In general, the list changes little from year to year. FY 2017 was no exception. The top five most-cited violations – Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection and Lockout/Tagout, respectively, ranked the same as they did in FY 2016. The sole new entry to the top-10 list for FY 2017 was Fall Protection Training Requirements, which came in at No. 9.
The announcement of the most recent preliminary list came during the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo 2017 in Indianapolis.
The agency noted that not all violations had been added to its reporting system, but said that the final list was not anticipated to change.
From greatest to least, the top 10 work safety violations as compiled by OSHA for FY 2017 were:
1. Fall Protection in construction (29 CFR 1926.501): 6,072 violations
This category’s frequently violated requirements included unprotected edges and open sides in residential construction and failure to provide fall protection on low-slope roofs.
2. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200): 4,176 violations
Topping the list of violations in Hazard Communication was not having a hazard communication program. The next most frequently violated requirement within this category was not having or not providing access to safety data sheets.
3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451): 3,288 violations
Common violations in this category included improper access to surfaces and lack of guardrails.
4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134): 3,097 violations
At the top of the list in this category was failure to establish a respiratory protection program. That was followed by failure to provide medical evaluations.
5. Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147): 2,877 violations
Inadequate worker training and inspections not completed accounted for the most frequent violations in this category in FY 2017.
6. Ladders in construction (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,241 violations
Improper use of ladders, damaged ladders, and using the top step were the most violations recorded by OSHA as it closed its books on FY 2017.
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178): 2,162 violations
Inadequate worker training and refresher training violations included topped the list in this category.
8. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212): 1,933 violations
Exposure to points of operation were at the top of the types of violations within this category.
9. Fall Protection—training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503): 1,523 violations
Making its debut on the top 10 list, common violations in Fall Protection included failure to train workers in identifying fall hazards and proper use of fall protection equipment.
10. Electrical—wiring methods (29 CFR 1910.305): 1,405 violations
Violations of this standard came from most general industry sectors, including food and beverage, retail, and manufacturing.
Beyond its place as a historical record, the list can be viewed as a tool for shaping future efforts.
“I encourage folks to use this list and look at your own workplace,” said Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, who helped announce the top-10 list at the conference.
NIOSH recently announced a mobile app aimed at calculating the risks involved in performing lifting tasks. The NIOSH Lifting Equation mobile application, NLE Calc, is a tool to calculate the overall risk index for single and multiple manual lifting tasks. The application provides risk estimates to help evaluate lifting tasks and reduce the incidence of low back injuries in workers.
Nearly half of U.S. workers surveyed in a recent report say they are exposed to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions.
The American Working Conditions Survey, conducted by the Rand Corporation, collected detailed information on a broad range of working conditions in the American workplace. The survey also found that negative conditions aren’t just physical: Nearly one in five workers in the U.S. said they are exposed to a hostile or threatening social environment at work.
Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs) appear to be on their way to becoming as common a sight in buildings and gathering places as fire extinguishers. The potentially life-saving devices can be found in a growing number of schools, churches, courthouses and businesses – and with good reason. CPR from a trained bystander can double or even triple a heart attack victim's odds of survival.
Yet the results of two recent surveys commissioned by the American Heart Association suggest there is a gap between the people’s appreciation of these potentially live saving techniques and their ability and willingness to use them.
One survey found that while many in the workplace recognize the value of training, their good intentions haven't necessarily meant an increase in the number of people trained in comprehensive first aid, which involves both CPR and the AED use. Perhaps even more telling, 56 percent of respondents did not even know where an AED could be found where they work.
This first survey included polled 500 general industry/labor employees, most of them working in construction or manufacturing. Forty-six percent indicated that their employers offered no first aid or CPR+AED training.
More than a third indicated that they had not received first aid or CPR+AED training through their current employer.
Forty percent said they did not believe it was necessary to learn the location of AEDs in public places such as airports and large-scale public venues.
At the same time, most of these same employees believe they or someone in the workplace will know how to perform CPR+AED or first aid in the event of an emergency.
The other AHA-commissioned survey collected responses from more than 1,000 environmental health and safety managers and human resource managers from a variety of industries.
Their responses suggested they, too, appreciate the value of workplace training during or outside of business hours: About a third indicated that someone’s life had been saved inside or outside of the workplace as a result of proper first aid and CPR+AED training from their organization.
At Workplace Safety & Health Company, we are committed to helping to make workplaces safer by offering training in First Aid/CPR (including AED and bloodborne pathogens), as well as:
-Aerial lift safety training
-Confined Space Entry and Rescue
-Asbestos Operations and Maintenance
Whatever your workplace safety concern, contact us – we’re here to help.
The number of accidents involving roof and rib falls or coal bursts has significantly reduced. That's according to statistics compiled by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which also found that such incidents remain the leading cause of injuries in the mining industry.
Since 2013, roof falls led to the deaths of five continuous mining machine operators and injured 83 other operators.
In response, MSHA launched the Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program, which runs through September and focuses on continuous mining machine operator safety.
October is National Indoor Air Quality Month, an observance aimed at drawing attention to the quality of what we breathe every day. It’s comes at an appropriate time, as the outdoor weather starts to turn colder and many of us will tend to spend an increasing amount of time outside of work by staying indoors.
Many people spend much of their working hours indoors year round, of course. In recent years, public health authorities have taken a critical look at what we are breathing at the office. Not surprisingly, a growing body of research suggests that poor air quality has a negative impact on health and productivity. In the 1980s, the term Sick Building Syndrome was coined to describe multiple health issues linked to improperly designed and/or ventilated buildings. These include ailments such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, or eye/throat irritation – symptoms that may cease after an occupant leaves the building.
Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that sought to compare the risks of environmental threats to public health show that indoor air pollution from sources such as secondhand smoke, radon, organic compounds, and biological pollutants are consistently among the top five factors.
In general, most indoor air quality problems in the workplace can be traced to six main sources:
-Inadequate Ventilation – This involves lack of adequate fresh air and uneven distribution of fresh air within a structure.
-Humidity and Temperature – These concerns involve levels outside the normal range of human comfort.
-Inside Contamination – Possible sources of contamination include office equipment such as copy machines, office and cleaning supplies, and chemicals that are stored indoors.
-Outside Contamination – As the name suggests, this includes contaminants brought into a work environment, such as by means of an improper air intake or changes in wind conditions (for example, exhaust gases drawn into a ventilation system).
-Microbial Contamination – This is typically associated with water leaks, water infiltration, increased humidity indoors, humidifiers, and contaminated ventilation ductwork – places that can harbor and encourage the growth of microbes.
-New Building Materials – The results from building materials that have just been installed (the familiar phenomenon of gasses emitted by new carpeting is one example). In new construction, processes known as “bakeout and “flushout” employ an unoccupied building’s heating, venting and air conditioning system to expedite the process of venting these gasses.
Fortunately, technology can also be employed to monitor and assess air quality in a building long after everyone has moved 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. That includes helping to identify and manage risks posed by air quality. Whether your workplace is indoors, outdoors, or both, our consultants can determine air quality exposures through monitoring, mapping, fact-finding surveys and evaluations that include qualitative exposure assessments, and air monitoring surveys. So call us. And start breathing easier.
The NIST Mass Spectral Library — one of the world's largest, most widely used databases used to identify unknown chemical compounds — just got bigger. In June, molecular fingerprints from more than 25,000 compounds were added to the library, bringing the total to more than 265,000.
Among the compounds whose fingerprints are included in this update are many dangerous drugs, according to NIST. They include dozens of synthetic cannabinoids and more than 30 types of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is driving an epidemic of overdoses nationwide.
While a desk or computer workstation might not seem like a place fraught with health risks, it's still important to be aware of the ergonomic hazards that may be lurking there.
OSHA, which has something to say on most things related to occupational safety, states that "employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workplace for their workers." That includes desks and computer work areas. And the agency has much to offer in the way of guidance for that particular work environment.
According to OSHA, "A well-designed and appropriately-adjusted desk will provide adequate clearance for your legs, allow proper placement of computer components and accessories, and minimize awkward postures and exertions."
The agency goes on to offer the following advice on installation, setup, and configuration of workstations that are both comfortable and productive.
Desk or Work Surface Areas
The Potential Hazards:
The Possible Solutions
•Work surface depth should allow you to:
•View the monitor at a distance of at least 20 inches (50 cm), and
•Position the monitor to achieve the appropriate viewing angle, which is generally directly in front of you.
•Using a corner rather than a straight run of desk may provide additional space and depth to accommodate large monitors or multiple items.
•The location of frequently-used devices (keyboard, phone, and mouse) should remain within the repetitive access (primary work zone)
The Potential Hazard: Edges
Some desks and computer equipment have hard, angled leading edges that come in contact with a user's arm or wrist. This can create contact stress, affecting nerves and blood vessels, possibly causing tingling and sore fingers.
To minimize contact stress,
•Pad table edges with inexpensive materials such as pipe insulation,
•Use a wrist rest, and
•Buy furniture with rounded desktop edges.
Areas Under the Desk or Work Surface
The Potential Hazards:
•Inadequate clearance or space under the work surface may result from poor design or excessive clutter. Regardless of the cause it can result in discomfort and performance inefficiencies, such as the following:
•Shoulder, back, and neck pain due to users sitting too far away from computer components, causing them to reach to perform computer tasks; and
•Generalized fatigue, circulation restrictions, and contact stress due to constriction of movement and inability to frequently change postures.
Provide, to the extent possible, adequate clearance space for users to frequently change working postures. This space should remain free of items such as files, CPUs, books, and storage.
Other tips on good working positions, what to look for when selecting workstation components, and guidance on maintaining a healthy workstation environment are available in OSHA's "Computer Workstations eTool" at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/
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
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:
◦Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
◦Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program
◦Gather information about hazards and assess risks
◦Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
◦Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
Write a preparedness plan addressing:
•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
◦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
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.
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
The early 21st century brought about a major change in the way we communicate using mobile electronics. The advent of the cell phone and its descendant, the smartphone, meant we were no longer bound to a nearby telephone receiver to hold voice conversations, send and receive text messages and email, post comments on social media and browse the internet. And yet, with this new freedom came new health and safety issues.
By now, we're likely all familiar with the dangers of driving while talking or texting on a cell phone. But research into smartphone use over the past decade or so shows that distracted driving isn’t the only hazard faced when going mobile with mobile devices.
More than four out of five adults in the U.S. (86 percent) report that they constantly or often check their email, texts and social media accounts, according to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) report "Stress in America™: Coping with Change" released earlier this year. The report’s findings suggest that attachment to devices and the constant use of technology is associated with higher stress levels among those who participated in the study.
This excessive technology and social media use has given rise to the “constant checker” — a person who checks his or her email, texts and social media accounts on a constant basis. The survey found that stress level is higher, on average, for constant checkers than for those who do not engage with technology as frequently.
On a 10-point scale, where one equates “little or no stress” and 10 means “a great deal of stress,” the average reported overall stress level for constant checkers is 5.3, compared with 4.4 for those who don’t check as frequently. Among the ranks of the employed in the United States who check their work email constantly on their days off, the reported overall stress level is even higher – 6.0.
Just under two-thirds of those surveyed (65 percent) indicated that they somewhat or strongly agree that periodically “unplugging” or taking a “digital detox” is important for their mental health. However, only 28 percent of those who say this actually report doing so. Other commonly reported strategies used by people in the U.S. to manage their technology usage include not allowing cell phones at the dinner table (28 percent) and turning of notifications for social media apps (19 percent).
For the past decade, the American Psychological Association has commissioned The Stress in America™ survey to measure attitudes and perceptions of stress among the general public and identifies leading sources of stress, common behaviors used to manage stress and the impact of stress on people’s lives.
The full report of the most recent study is available at http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/technology-social-media.PDF
The present regulatory approach toward safety and health in the workplace needs improvement. That's according to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), whose “OSHA Reform Blueprint” lists 12 points outlining changes to emphasize risk management, sharpen the agency’s focus on productive policies and fill gaps that limit OSHA’s ability to protect workers.
Read entire article - http://www.asse.org/assets/1/7/ASSE_Blueprint-_Reforming_Workplace_Safety___Health.pdf
If investing in safety at the workplace sometimes seems costly, there are numbers that show just how expensive the alternative can be.
The most serious workplace injuries cost companies in the United States $59.9 billion per year. That's according to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, which used figures from 2014, the most recent year statistically valid injury data are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance in order to identify critical risk areas in worker safety.
The index looks at what caused employees to miss six or more days of work and then ranks those reasons by total workers’ compensation costs.
Taking the top spot in this year's index was overexertion involving outside sources. That category includes lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects. Such injuries accounted for 23% of the total costs, or $13.79 billion.
The remaining categories in the top 10 were:
-falls on same level, $10.62 billion, 17.7%;
-falls to lower level, $5.5 billion, 9.2%;
-being struck by object or equipment, $4.43 billion, 7.4%;
-other exertions or bodily reactions, $3.89 billion, 6.5%;
-roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle, $3.7 billion, 6.2%
-slip or trip without fall, $2.3 billion, 3.8%;
-caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, $1.95 billion, 3.3%;
-struck against object or equipment, $1.95 billion, 3.2%, and
-repetitive motions involving micro-tasks, $1.81 billion, 3.0%.
That order in among the top 10 was unchanged from the previous year. What did change from year to year, however, was the share of the top 10 causes of serious workplace accidents. In 2014, the cost of all disabling workplace accidents was 83.4 percent, up by just under 1% from 2013. The report also found that falls on the same level and roadway incidents continued to increase.
At Workplace Safety & Health Co., our primary concern is to assist customers in reducing injuries and illnesses while promoting their profitability through robust health and safety management practices. A mock OSHA audit from Workplace Safety & Health Co. can provide valuable insight into the presence of unsafe conditions and/or unsafe work practices that may be present at your facility. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more about how we can help.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recently announced its support of the Accurate Workplace Injury and Illness Records Restoration Act. The bill, H.R. 2428, would reinstate the OSHA recordkeeping rule overturned this year by use of the Congressional Review Act. The Accurate Workplace Injury and Illness Records Restoration Act would allow OSHA to issue citations where violations of recordkeeping requirements continued for more than six months.
AIHA says accurate injury and illness records are essential in identifying and correcting workplace hazards.
We now know that lead exposure can damage the cardiovascular and central nervous systems and can be harmful in children’s development. So why does the toxic metal continue to be used in a variety of products? More to the point, what are some ways to help protect people and the environment from exposure?
The element's resistance to weathering and corrosion have been well known for centuries. The English word "plumbing" stems from the widespread use of the element known in Latin as "plumbum" (more widely known today by the chemical symbol "Pb") in pipes.
It's known that work such as sanding, cutting and demolition can produce hazardous chips and dust by disturbing lead-based paint. Yet, lead continues to be used in yellow highway paints, in paint primers for steel bridges and in the shipbuilding industry.
Prior to the 1960s (and up through the late 1970s), paint used in homes was most often lead based. Lead oxide was used as a pigment, while lead naphthenate was used in small concentrations due to its anti-bacterial and anti-mold properties.
In the 1990s, the EPA established lead-based paint regulations after it was determined that millions of people had been exposed to lead poisoning from paint peeling from walls. The most common ways for lead to enter the body are through inhaling it as a dust or fume or ingesting it accidentally. Once inside, lead can circulate and be deposited throughout the body, making it a cumulative and persistent toxic substance.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulates many aspects of lead exposure in the residential environment. Young children are especially vulnerable since they tend to place things into their mouth. More information can be found at: https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/enforcement/regulations
What it all boils down to is the fact that as materials that contain lead age, exposure will continue to be a human and environmental health concern. For that reason, lead abatement means that lead-containing materials and structures need to stay in good repair and that any work to them or their surroundings should be planned carefully.
Important initial steps in mitigating the health risks from lead hazards are to identify its presence and to determine exposure risks to people and to the environment.
Mitigating lead hazards can be achieved in four basic ways:
-Replacing part of an asset coated in lead-based paint with a part that is not.
-Enclosing a part or surface covered in lead-based paint with a solid barrier.
-Encapsulating a part or surface covered in lead-based paint to make it inaccessible
-Removing the lead-based paint.
Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established rules to keep employees safe from lead hazards at work.
OSHA in 1978 established a separate standard addressing Occupational Exposure to Lead (29 CFR 1910.1025) that includes a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for employees who work in general and maritime industries. The OSHA General Industry Standard sets 50 micrograms per cubic meter as the 8-hour time-weighted average concentration of lead in air. This is the maximum concentration to which a worker can be exposed, on a daily basis, over a working lifetime to prevent material impairment of his/her health or functional capacity. The standard also includes an action level of 30 micrograms per cubic meter, which triggers requirements for employers with regard to monitoring lead levels and providing for medical evaluation and treatment for employees if various thresholds are exceeded. A separate standard that applies to the construction industry (29 CFR 1926.62) was published in 1995 and specified the same PEL and action level.
In effect since 2010, the EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting Program sets standards for employers if their employees' work involves disturbing paint in residential, educational, or child care settings built before 1978, when the use of lead-based paint in such buildings was banned. According to those rules, workers must be trained and certified in lead-safe work practices.
The agency publishes a handbook (available at https://www.epa.gov/lead/small-entity-compliance-guide-renovate-right-epas-lead-based-paint-renovation-repair-and) for businesses to determine whether the program applies to them.
There are two methods the EPA recognizes for testing paint: X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis and paint chip sampling with an analysis by an accredited laboratory. At Workplace Safety & Health Co., in addition to using these test methods, we also use AutoCAD™ drawings and photographs in our survey reports to show the location and appearance of each surface coating we analyze. So before starting in on that next renovation or construction project that you suspect might lead to exposure to lead, call us first and be sure -- and safe.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has launched an initiative to focus on the hazards miners face when working in isolation. The initiative comes after five miners died in lone worker situations during the first three quarter of 2017.
MSHA inspectors and training specialists will now talk to miners and mine operators in "walk and talks" during regular inspection visits according to an agency news release.
Each day an average of 2,000 workers in the United States suffers job-related eye injuries requiring medical treatment. That’s according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),
Approximately three out of every five workers who experienced eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or were not wearing the proper kind of eye protection for the task. That’s according to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS also reported that in 2014 there were 23,730 eye injuries requiring time away from work that year, accounting for 6 percent of the total of all lost-time cases in both private industry and state and local government.
What we don’t need these statistics to tell us is that eye injuries can be life-changing. Their effects can range from simple eye strain to severe trauma that result in permanent damage or loss of vision. Blunt trauma can damage the eye directly or even the bones that surround it.
According to OSHA, thousands of workers are blinded each year from occupational injuries that could have been prevented through properly selected and fitted vision protection. Such personal protective equipment which must be worn by employees who are exposed to hazardous chemical splash, dust, and particulate matter.
OSHA Face Protection Standard 1910.133(a) (1) states that 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 each affected employee “engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears 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.”
Common forms of PPE for the face and eyes safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and full face respirators. However, PPE selection depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, the type of other PPE to be used, and an individual’s vision needs.
OSHA standards recommend that 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 notes that ensuring PPE fits an employee properly is essential to effectively protecting that person; this is particularly true with eye protection. Without a good fit, protective eyewear is likely to be uncomfortable, to slip, and possibly to be damaged or even discarded. Again, we don’t need statistics to tell us that the consequences of even brief lapses in protection can be severe.
OSHA's Eye and Face Protection eTool (available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/eyeandface/index.html) offers a basic hazard assessment table to help employers begin the process of selecting proper PPE. The table lists five types of vision hazard that might be encountered at work – impact, heat, chemicals, dust, and optical radiation — and offers examples and common tasks related to each.
One final note: OSHA urges employers not to rely on PPE devices alone to protect hazards. Instead, personal protective gear should be a part of a safety environment that includes engineering controls and robust safety practices.
The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) recently released an updated version of its Personal Fall Protection Equipment Use and Selection Guide. The guide provides guidance for fall protection users and administrators in selecting, using, maintaining and inspecting fall protection equipment.
The document is prepared by manufacturers in the ISEA Fall Protection Group and describes the process of developing a corporate fall protection program, explains the components of fall protection systems, provides examples of how to select equipment for various types of work, and outlines steps for planning the use of fall protection systems. The guide also contains inspection and maintenance guidelines, definitions, a list of applicable OSHA regulations and U.S. and Canadian consensus standards, and links to ISEA companies and other sources of information.
Read entire article - https://safetyequipment.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/FPUserGuide2017.pdf
The month of June comes packaged with a number of themes, and one of them, National Safety Month, aims to cuts down on the chances that of one of those others isn’t tragedy.
National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and fatality at work, on the road, in the home and in communities. This year, the month’s special focus areas are ergonomics, preventing falls, preventing fatigue, and preparing for active shooters.
Whether or not your organization chooses to participate in the weekly learning themes offered by the National Safety Council (available at http://www.nsc.org/act/events/Pages/national-safety-month.aspx), June is a good time to look for ways to improve safety at the workplace, whether the environment is indoors, outdoors or both.
At Workplace Safety & Health Company, we are committed to helping to make workplaces safer the whole year round. Our specialized consulting services are based upon the specific needs of each client, and we stand ready to assist with industrial hygiene, confined space hazard, and qualitative exposure assessments, job safety analyses, confined space evaluations, indoor air monitoring, vapor intrusion monitoring, lockout/tagout surveys or industrial noise monitoring and mapping. Our goal is to help our customers prevent injuries and illnesses and to promote profitability by means of robust health and safety management practices.
Some of the training courses we offer include:
-Complying with OSHA 30-hour/10-hour courses
-Confined Space Entry and Rescue
-First Aid /CPR (to include AED and Bloodborne Pathogens)
-Asbestos Operations and Maintenance
Whatever your workplace safety concern, contact us – we’re here to help year round.
An estimated 553,000 lives have been saved since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. However, nearly 5,000 workers still die on the job each year from injuries, and another estimated 50,000 to 60,000 die from occupational illnesses.
Those figures are part of the most recent edition of Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, a report produced by the AFL-CIO that compiles occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths for the most recent year complete U.S. statistics are available, in this case, 2015. The organization releases the report to coincide with Workers’ Memorial Day.
Read entire article - https://aflcio.org/reports/death-job-toll-neglect-2017
We all know how hot it starts to get this time of year, but we don’t always appreciate how quickly heat-related stress can lead to serious health problems. Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States. To help call attention to that fact, the National Weather Service sponsors Heat Safety Awareness Day on the last Friday of May just a few weeks ahead of the official beginning of summer.
Heat safety awareness has year-round place in workplace safety plans, but it is especially important during the summer months.
Heat stress related injuries are often the result of the body’s inability to cope with prolonged exposure to extreme heat. It is of particular concern during the summer months, especially for people who work in factories, in construction, or on farms.
People at increased risk of heat stress include those 65 years of age or older, those who are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take medications that can be affected by extreme heat.
Being aware of the health and safety risks posed by exposure to heat in the workplace is a year-round concern, even in workplaces where temperatures can be regulated. In addition to burns from accidental direct contact with steam or hot surfaces, heat can also indirectly lead to other injuries by causing sweaty palms, fogged eyewear, and dizziness.
Preventing heat stress in employees is as important an aspect of safety plan design as any other. Employers need to educate workers on what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) offers a number of resources on heat safety at work, from fact sheets and infographics to blog posts and planning documents available at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/.
It’s not just seat cushions that are impacted by long periods of sitting. You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” There is evidence to suggest that the comparison is a fitting one. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), prolonged sitting is associated with a variety of negative health effects that include back and shoulder pain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and chronic diseases. What’s more, people who sit for long periods of time as part of their job can still be at risk for these conditions even if they otherwise meet recommended levels of physical activity outside of work.
New guidance from NIOSH known as Total Worker Health® (THW) offers employers solutions to the problem of prolonged sitting on the job, protecting employees from workplace injuries while helping them to improve their overall health and well-being, both on and off the clock.
According to NIOSH, a sedentary job is one that involves predominately sitting, with occasional walking, standing, and lifting no more than 10 pounds. Examples include management and professional work, office and administrative support roles, as well as cashiers, data entry, and call center employees.
Some of the ways organizations can reduce sedentary include offering the flexibility to have standing or walking meetings, providing sit-stand work stations and encouraging flexible rest breaks.
Not surprisingly, cutting down on worker sedentary time also spells benefits for employers. Some of the direct benefits, NIOSH says, include reductions in health-related expenses and in absenteeism. Some of the indirect benefits may include improved worker morale, better recruitment and retention, and even reduced injury rates.
For organizations considering incorporating TWH into their existing health and safety programs, NIOSH offers the following guidance:
-Include senior management support and worker participation in all health initiatives.
-Involve workers and their representatives in designing and implementing procedures and practices to reduce sedentary work and promote physical activity.
-Ensure that any program meant to advance workplace well-being has the commitment of organizational leadership.
-Evaluate existing resources and current policies, programs, and practices to find what works to promote physical activity and future needs.
-Allow workers more control over their activities, workloads, and schedules, and allow them to set up their workstations to take physical activity breaks after long periods of sitting.
-Educate managers and supervisors on ways to reduce job stress faced by workers.
-Ensure privacy by adhering to the regulatory requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, etc. and train staff in privacy and confidentiality.
-Link existing worker safety and health programs to current programs in use in the workplace.
-Offer organizational support to encourage physical activity such as walking or biking to work or during breaks.
-Provide health information about the risks of sedentary work to employees.
The full document, “Using Total Worker Health® Concepts to Reduce the Health Risks from Sedentary Work,” is available at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2017-131/.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA and partners including ASSE and AIHA are encouraging employers to hold special activities during June 12-18 – Safe + Sound Week. The event is a nationwide effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs in workplaces.
Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/
There are significant differences in short sleep duration – less than seven hours a night – among occupational groups. That’s according to a CDC study that is believed to be the first to evaluate short sleep duration in more than 90 detailed occupation groups and across multiple states.
Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-03-03-17.html
Updated OSHA regulations that went into effect in January 2017 stand to have a pervasive impact on all fall protection programs going forward.
In November 2016, OSHA issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (29 CFR 1910 Subparts D & I). The 500-plus page document sets compliance dates that go out as far as 2036, but many are much more pressing. In one example, workers exposed to fall hazards or who use fall protection equipment must receive training by May 2017.
Some of the key features of the new rule are discussed below.
A common concern with respect to roof work involves distance, specifically, what is considered to be a safe distance from the edge of an unprotected roof.
Although OSHA's previous position is that there is no safe distance, the new rule does provide some clarification on this point. The regulation states that work at less than 6 feet from the roof edge requires conventional means of protection (such as a guardrail, personal fall arrest systems, etc.). From a distance of 6-15 feet, the new rule allows for a designated area for infrequent or temporary work. These areas are defined in more detail in the rule’s commentary section.
Some of the new features clearly reflect an alignment with regulations on construction. One is that a warning line is required beginning at 6 feet from the edge.
Under the new rule, work at a distance greater than 15 feet from an unprotected edge does not require an employer to provide any fall protection – but only if the work is both infrequent and temporary. In this situation, the rule allows for an administrative control to be used in order to keep workers from being closer than 15 feet from an unprotected edge.
Guardrails, Ladders and Stairs
The new rule contains new information on common features such as guardrails, ladders and stairs.
One key feature of the new rule with respect to these devices is a number of additional approved types: They include alternating tread-type stairs, combination ladders and mobile ladder stand platforms. The rule also now includes specific requirements for spiral stairs and ship stairs. For falls of greater than 24 feet, the new rule requires the use of ladder safety systems. Enforcement of the requirements for new ladders is set to start in November 2018, and every ladder will be required to comply with this by 2036.
General industry regulations for guardrails are now aligned with construction rules and require a height of 42 inches (plus or minus 3 inches). Under the new rule, openings are required to be no larger than 19 inches. No longer allowed is the use of chains to close off access to openings or the use of a "parapet alternative" option that involved a shorter (30-inch) barrier, provided as it was of sufficient width (18 inches).
Competent and Qualified Persons
The new regulations address more than just hardware requirements, and one subset speaks more specifically than in the previous version to the roles of “Competent and Qualified” persons.
That includes distinct training and responsibilities for personnel who have those designations. There are specific references on the need for a Qualified Person for the following job functions:
-Worker training, which in the past was linked to the Competent Person
-Instances in which correction or repair involves structural integrity of a walking-working surface
-Inspection of knots in a lanyard or vertical lifeline
-Annual inspection of rope descent anchorages
One of the most significant features of the new rule is the need for fall hazard assessments. 29 CFR 1910.132(d) now requires workplace assessment. That means employers must ensure the following to be in compliance:
-Determine whether hazards are present and, if so, communicate that information to employees, select types of personal protective equipment for employees, and ensure its proper fit.
-Coordinate with other entities to assess hazards for multi-employer sites.
-Document the completion of assessments, including what workplaces were evaluated, who certifies that an evaluation was performed, and the date of the assessment.
Some researchers predict that more than two-thirds of U.S. adults aged 70 years or older will have “clinically meaningful” hearing loss by 2060.
That’s according to a study published In the March 2, 2017, edition of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Researchers looked at national population projection estimates using current prevalence estimates of hearing loss to forecast the growing number of hearing loss cases. According to the study’s authors, adults aged 20 or older with hearing loss will increase from 44.11 million in 2020 to 73.50 million in 2060, with the greatest increase occurring in older adults.
Read entire article - http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2606784
The use of branding to communicate an organization’s values to its customers and potential job candidates has become an important marketing tool, one that seems here to stay.
Yet, when we think of the many benefits that result from efforts to ensure a safe workplace, chances are that their ability to add value to an organization’s brand isn’t the first thing that springs to mind.
In a business climate in which having a recognizable brand on website and social media platforms has taken a strong hold, present employees are perhaps the foremost ambassadors of an organization’s brand with respect to safety culture.
In the previous installments of this series (Safety Culture, Safety is a Team Win), we discussed the importance of employee perceptions of a safety culture at work and how this can benefit everyone in the organization. The value of cultivating a team mentality in which everyone is enthused about the work the organization is doing and their role in it cannot be overstated.
Employees with a positive perception of safety culture not only deliver high quality products and services, their attentiveness to safety can manifest itself in fewer accidents and injuries. And team members showing their enthusiasm and support on social media both formally and informally can go a long way to sharing an organization’s safety message.
It’s also important to consider the potential impact apparent lapses in safety (or employees’ perceptions of them) can have when posted to social media and job boards.
A fundamental part of establishing and keeping a brand identity is by ensuring a sense of consistency of communications.
For instance, it may be possible to share a corporate mission with a core audience through various media, but the messages should be aligned to reflect a consistent personality, or voice.
Online media can be an effective tool for engaging readers and have them coming back for more. Those messages can include a mix of everything from testimonials to tips and hints. Just remember what has become a touchstone of social media: Always be of service. A typical recommendation is for education to outweigh self-promotion by a ratio of at least 3 to 1.
It’s important to view such communications as an ongoing conversation rather than as something to be set on auto-pilot and adjusted occasionally. The watchword here is “integrity.” Numerous studies, not to mention conventional wisdom, suggest that organizations that hold to their own values are likely to attract – and keep – like-minded employees.
The EPA has proposed three new rules to create a new process of prioritizing and evaluating chemicals under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The new law requires the agency to evaluate chemicals grandfathered into that act. The recently proposed rules are aimed at helping the agency evaluate quickly those chemicals currently in the marketplace.