Tuesday, October 21, 2014

EPA's New Program Aims to Reduce Pesticide Drift

©iStockphoto.com/fotokostic
EPA's new Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program hopes to reduce pesticide drift, protecting people, animals and the environment. It is a voluntary program that encourages the use of verified, safer pesticide sprays that reduce exposure and pesticide movement. The agency reports that this drift action accounts for 70 million lb of pesticides that are wasted and/or aren't being used for their intended purpose.
The DRT program encourages manufacturers to test technologies (e.g., nozzles, spray shields, drift reduction chemicals) for drift reduction potential. The agency hopes manufactures will label products for use with DRT technologies. Four DRT ratings (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4) are given to technologies that have at least a 25% reduction in potential spray drift. Visit EPA's website to learn more about the program and how to participate.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Safe Kids Worldwide Releases Report on Teen Pedestrian Safety

Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, has released a new research report about the dangers teens face while walking. Safe Kids, along with FedEx, surveyed 1,040 teens ages 13 to 18 to discuss walking behaviors and their pedestrian experiences. The surveys revealed that 40% of the teems had been hit or nearly hit by a car, bike or motorcycle while walking.

The report, "Teens on the Move," says that in 2012, 874 teen pedestrians were killed and another 10,000 were injured from being struck by a vehicle. In addition, fatality data show 75% of teen pedestrian deaths occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. In conjunction with the report, an infographic is available for download.


Cal/OSHA Guidance for Protecting Healthcare Workers from Ebola

Although widespread outbreak of Ebola in the U.S. is unlikely, Cal/OSHA has partnered with state public health agencies to issue interim guidelines for occupations with the highest risk of exposure: healthcare workers, emergency responders, laboratory staff, mortuary workers, airline flight crews and airport staff, and quarantine operations staff.

In 2009, California adopted an occupational health regulation that specifically addresses infectious diseases like Ebola. This regulation, known as the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard, served as the foundation for the new guidelines, which recommend that employers:
  • Ensure that workers at risk of exposure to Ebola wear gloves, impermeable body coverings, face shields or other eye and face protection, and appropriate respiratory protection. All PPE must be adequate to prevent the passage of bodily fluids to the employee's clothing and skin. NIOSH-approved respirators must be used where infectious aerosols are likely to be present.
  • Train employees in the use of all applicable protective equipment, including respirators. Employees must be clearly instructed on how to safely put on and take off equipment.
  • Give employees opportunities to practice with the respirators and other equipment they will use.
  • Provide dedicated, separate areas for the donning and removing of protective gear.
  • Use either a buddy system or other means of assisting employees in donning and removing PPE. Employees who assist in removing contaminated equipment must also use PPE.
  • Provide additional protective gear, such as double gloves and disposable shoe and leg coverings, in environments where copious amounts of blood, vomit, feces or other bodily fluids are present.
  • Ensure that workers conducting aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation or bronchoscopy perform the procedures in an airborne infection isolation room, if feasible, or at least in a private room with the door closed. Employees exposed to these procedures must use NIOSH-approved respirators.
The California Department of Public Health has posted additional information on Ebola, and CDC has also posted specific information for healthcare workers and settings.

Friday, October 17, 2014

DuPont Solicits Applications for 2015 Safety & Sustainability Awards

DuPont is accepting applications for its 2015 safety and sustainability awards. The bi-annual competition invites entries from companies or organizations that can demonstrate significant achievements in safety, sustainability or operations excellence.

"Over the last decade, the DuPont Safety and Sustainability Awards have become widely recognized among industrial companies as a benchmark for workplace safety and sustainability," says James Weigand, president, DuPont Sustainable Solutions. "More importantly, they have helped to promote initiatives aimed at saving lives and protecting the environment."

Regional winners in each category will be announced in May 2015. The global winner will be announced at the award ceremony in September 2015. Awards will be judged on criteria including management commitment, cultural evolution, performance improvement, innovation and stakeholder engagement.

Deadline for applications for the 2015 awards is Feb. 1, 2015.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is Your Safety Program Mature?

Paul A. Esposito, CSP, CIH, vice president of ESIS Global Risk Control Services, is pulling double duty at SeminarFest 2015. He’ll give two presentations, “Achieving a Higher Level of Program Maturity” as well as “Auditing Safety and Health Management Systems.”

Esposito details a five-level continuum to evaluate safety. The first two levels encompass a compliance approach--both reactive and proactive. “Many companies are either waiting for things to happen and just react and keep their fingers crossed, while other companies are much more proactive,” he said.

The culture and human performance of how you design redundant controls to allow for the fact that human beings are going to make mistakes is level four. The fifth level is sustainability, which is the level many organizations are pursuing.

“Many people put programs together at all these various levels,” Esposito explains. “What I have found with my research and what I’m going to do with the workshop is teach people that the true validation that you’re actually implementing that level is whether you have the right complement of leading and lagging metrics,” he says. “In the workshop, we’re going to help people explain and evaluate what level they think they might be at, using various safety programs as examples.”

As Esposito notes, sustainability is the highest level on the continuum. “You want things to be sustainable so that if new leadership comes in place, or a company buys it out, programs are integrated enough throughout the organization. It is now a business expectation that these things get done irrespective of the leadership that shows up,” he explains.

It’s important to get stakeholders like operational groups, human resources and engineering departments involved in the continuum assessment because they can provide information on what level the organization is and how to get to the next level.

“Typically, most people will start small,” Esposito explains. “I use the analogy ‘bite the elephant one bite at a time.’ What most successful groups do is start with one program, one department, one site, and they’ll begin to implement these improvements so they learn within the organization what’s successful and what may be more of a challenge.”

Communicating the results is also important, and just not from upper management. “Communication is never a one-time event,” says Esposito. “It’s an ongoing involvement with stakeholders.”

Esposito is also presenting “Auditing Safety and Health Management Systems.” About that topic, he says, “We have to define what a safety management system is. I like to use an example that almost everyone can identify with which is an inspection program. We turn an inspection program into an inspection process.”

Visit the SeminarFest website for complete details.