Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OSHA Campaigns to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers

With spring on the horizon, OSHA wants to remind workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. Through its Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, the agency continues to provide up-to-date heat-related safety information, training tools for employers to use and posters to display at their worksites. In addition, many of the new resources target vulnerable workers with limited reading skills or who do not speak English as a first language. OSHA will continue to add information and tools to this page throughout the summer. The agency is also partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on weather service alerts. Click here for more information.

10,000+ Have Joined Study on Potential Health Effects of Deepwater Spill

Nearly 2 years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 10,000 cleanup workers and volunteers have enrolled in the Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) STUDY, a national effort to determine whether the spill led to physical or mental health problems. The study is being conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

"Ten thousand people have stepped forward to help find answers for their community and for the health concerns that linger after the oil spill," says Dale Sandler, chief of NIEHS's Epidemiology Branch and principal investigator of the study. But the agency wants information from more people. Individuals may be eligible for the study if they:
  • are at least age 21;
  • performed oil spill cleanup work for at least 1 day;
  • supported the cleanup effort in some way or completed oil spill worker training.
Study participants must complete a telephone survey. Most participants also complete an in-home medical exam, and provide blood, urine and other samples. Upon completion of the medical exam, participants receive a $50 gift card.

For more information, call (855) NIH-GULF (855-644-4853) or visit the GuLF STUDY website here

First Climate Leadership Awards Presented

One individual and 20 organizations have received the inaugural Climate Leadership Awards. Awarded by EPA, Association of Climate Change Officers, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change), and The Climate Registry, the awards recognize corporate, organizational and individual leadership in addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution.

Organizational Leadership award recipients:
San Diego Gas & Electric

Individual Leadership award recipient:
Gene Rodrigues, Director of Customer Energy Efficiency and Solar at Southern California Edison

Supply Chain Leadership Award recipients:
Port of Los Angeles

Excellence in GHG management (Goal Achievement):
Campbell Soup Co.
Casella Waste Systems
Conservation Services Group
Cummins Inc.
Fairchild Semiconductor
Intel Corp.
International Paper
SC Johnson

Excellence in GHG Management (Goal Setting):
Bentley Prince Street
Campbell Soup Co.
Ford Motor Co.
Gap Inc.
Ingersoll Rand

New Guide to Improve Medical Standards Development

A new publication from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) aims to provide guidance for standards development in the medical device industry. To address current safety aspects, the ISO/IEC Guide 63:2012, Guide to the Development and Inclusion of Safety Aspects in International Standards for Medical Devices, replaces a 1999 edition. ISO reports that the updated guide was created to improve the interface between standards development committees and stakeholders, and to make the best use of resources by creating safety standards for devices that are in demand. For more information, visit the ISO website.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Honeywell Scholarship Program Promotes STEM Careers

For the next two weeks, 254 students from 30 countries and 30 U.S. states and territories are participating in the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA), thanks to scholarships awarded by Honeywell. The event is a leadership and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Two week-long sessions provide students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through technology- and science-oriented workshops and lectures, as well as team exercises such as simulated astronaut training that bring these studies to life.
The HLCA program is designed to encourage high-school students to pursue STEM-related careers. During the course of the program, students meet with scientists, engineers and former astronauts to reinforce core leadership competencies and provide them with first-hand professional experiences. Students engage in interactive challenges such as designing, building and testing their own rockets, bridge structures and DNA extraction experiments.

HLCA is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative. “The program is designed to help develop a new generation of leaders, engineers and scientists by honing their skills in purposeful leadership, effective communication, integrated planning, team trust and cohesion, and critical thinking,” says Tom Buckmaster, president, Honeywell Hometown Solutions.

Heated Seats and Laptops Can Lead to Skin Rash

Doctors continue to remind the public that prolonged exposure to heated seats or hot pads can lead to a skin rash dubbed “toasted skin syndrome.” This sponge-patterned skin discoloration and inflammation, known formally as erythema ab igne or EAI, also comes from the extended placement of laptops on laps. Chronic, prolonged skin inflammation can up the chances for squamous cell skin cancer, which is notably more aggressive than the most common skin cancer, states Dr. Anthony J. Mancini, dermatology chief at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, in an MSNBC article. Because the heat is not high enough to burn the skin, the effects often go unnoticed until a rash appears. This rash is known to occur more frequently in workers whose jobs require being close to a heat source, including bakers and glass blowers. To watch a video on EAI, click here.

Winners of Facebook App Contest Announced

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has revealed the winners of its Facebook Lifeline Application Challenge. The contest challenged software application developers to create an app that could establish connections in the event of an emergency.

First-place winners Evan Donahue and Erik Stayton (Team ALP) developed an app called Lifeline. According to DHHS, the app "allows Facebook friends to collaborate on tracking the user’s status in a disaster-affected area so these friends can easily find the user’s lifelines and contact them to report that the user is safe or if the user appears to be missing." It also features a news feed and links to resources. DHHS says the app will launch within months.

Second place went to team JAMAJIC 360, which included David Vinson, Erick Rodriguez, Gregg Orr and Garth Winckler.And, the third-place prize went to the app called AreYouOk?, developed by TrueTeamEffort, which included 11 University of Illinois students led by Alex Kirlik. 

Standard Covers Public Safety Communications Competencies

Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International has released for comment a candidate American National Standard (ANS) that identifies the core competencies and minimum training requirements for the public safety communications supervisor. Candidate APCO ANS 3.102.1-201x focuses on competencies and training for the position that is typically tasked with managing daily operations, performing administrative duties and maintaining employee relations within public safety communications centers. The standard refers to this function of the position commonly titled “supervisor;” however, agencies may title the position differently.

Download the draft standard here. Submit comments by April 9, 2012, to

Monday, February 27, 2012

2009 I-Codes Available in eBook Format

Delmar, part of Cengage Learning, has created seven eBooks from codes published by International Code Council (ICC). Known as I-Codes, these are are comprehensive, coordinated building safety and fire prevention codes that benefit public safety. Building industry professionals can digitally access I-Codes through Kindle or NOOK devices. Through a partnership with ICC, Delmar will provide eBook versions of the following popular ICC products:
  • 2009 International Residential Code
  • 2009 International Building Code
  • 2009 International Fire Code
  • 2009 International Plumbing Code
  • 2009 International Mechanical Code
  • 2009 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2009 International Energy Conservation Code
“The I-Codes are one of the most important resources for professionals within the building industry,” says Delmar’s Greg Clayton. “Even though the 2012 codes were just recently released, 67% of states are still actively using the 2009 I-Codes.”

Raising Awareness About Repetitive Strain Injuries

RSI Awareness Day is Feb. 29, and Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is encouraging EHS professionals to devote some time that day to discussing repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Check out CCOHS's Ergonomics topic page here. Find information from OSHA here and from NIOSH here. Learn more about ASSE's Ergonomics Practice Specialty here.

Milliken to Host Two Safety Benchmarking Conferences

Milliken President and CEO Joe Salley, along with other company safety experts, will host two safety conferences this spring at the Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. At these conferences, which will take place March 20-22 and May 22-24, practitioners from Milliken’s consulting and educational service, Performance Solutions, will provide a full demonstration of the company’s esteemed Safety Way system. Aimed at organizations that have reached a plateau in safety performance and are dissatisfied with the status quo, this system offers tried and true expertise from seasoned professionals who understand firsthand the process and product of Milliken’s safety culture. Each experienced practitioner uses the company’s award-winning approach that has been developed over the past two decades after benchmarking best practices around the world. The price to attend the conference is $1495 per person, $1395 per person for teams of 3 or more or $995 per person for teams of 6 or more which include one or more corporate-level sponsors as a participant. For more information or to register, call Wendy Nelmes at 864-503-1780 or click here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Have a Podcast Weekend

If you’re snowed in this weekend, or just don’t feel like going anywhere, why not cuddle up to your MP3 player and download some free podcasts? Here are a few resources that might appeal to the SH&E professional:

FAA Mobile App

FAA Mobile, the new mobile website from U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, allows users to stay connected to while on the go. App features include: aircraft N-Number information, U.S. airport status and delays, new and press releases, advisory circulars and more. Visit the website to confirm mobile device compatibility.

Managing Musculoskeletal Disorders

After having noticed a broad interpretation of ergonomic programs in practice, Humantech’s Walt Rostykus, CPE, offers five different approaches for managing MSDs.

  1. Change the work and workplace. Design new or change existing workstations, tools and equipment to fit the people doing the work. This approach uses engineering controls (adjustments and changes in the physical workplace) and administrative controls (changes to work planning like job rotation, rest breaks, and slowed pace). These controls are best supported by ergonomists, engineers and professionals qualified in ergonomics.

  2. Change the person. Change the capabilities, fitness and stamina of the person doing the work. This is personal fitness and wellness, and includes elements of stretching, exercise and conditioning. This tactic depends on the willingness and participation of individual employees, as well as their existing physical condition. This approach is typically supported by fitness trainers/specialists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.

  3. Change how work is done. Get people to behave differently in hopes of reducing exposure to MSD risk factors. This is behavioral modification, and may include behavior-based safety programs, training and awareness campaigns and use of body mechanics. This requires individuals to change their perception of work and risk, and change how they perform work. This approach is typically supported by behavioral safety professionals/programs, training, and fitness trainers.

  4. Fit the person to the task. Measure the physical abilities (strength, reach, range of motion) of an individual and match his or her individual capabilities to the task. This includes conducting functional job analysis and pre-work screening to match functional job descriptions. It requires an investment in performing tests on each employee and the time to match them to the physical demands of a task.

  5. Fix the person. When a person experiences an MSD or sprain/strain injury, he or she must be diagnosed and treated, and then managed in the return-to-work process. This is medical management, a reactive program to reduce the losses due to injuries that have occurred. This program is best supported by healthcare providers (nurses and doctors) qualified in occupational health.

“Depending on your company resources, you may choose one, several or all of the above approaches,” Rostykus adds. “We do, however, recommend that the first approach (ergonomics) be the foundation of your process. For if it is done well, you become less reliant on the other approaches.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ISO Brochure on Food Safety & Standards

A new brochure, ISO & food, features the benefits of ISO standards and how they help ensure safety within the food industry. The organization reports that the publication highlights its consensus-based approach, which helps the development of tools for all stakeholders to use, including agricultural producers, regulators, food manufacturers and consumers. It also makes the case for implementing ISO voluntary standards, which could encourage quality, safety and accountability. The brochure is available for free download on the ISO website.

NTSB to Hold Attentive Driving Forum in March

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold a 1-day forum, Attentive Driving: Countermeasures for Distraction, March 27, 2012, in Washington, DC.  With panelists representing federal and state government, law enforcement, researchers and industry groups, the forum will examine driving distractions and discuss the differences in how states have adopted restrictions. It will also explore education campaigns, and discuss the effectiveness of safety technology currently available in vehicles. A webcast will make the forum available to the public. NTSB says it will release a detailed agenda as the event nears.

Center for Rural Health & Safety Benefits Community

Reaching its 20th anniversary last year, the Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety at Carle reached new heights by providing education to more than 4,800 people through a number of safety-related classes and training sessions. The sessions, recommended for emergency workers and farmers of all ages, are free to those in Carle’s service area. Though agriculture training is the basis for the Center and for most of the classes offered, other participants can benefit from these trainings. The Center certified more than 600 adults in CPR and first aid in 2011 and reached more than 2,000 youth. In addition, 995 children were reached at Progressive Ag Safety Days, coordinated by Carle and hosted in surrounding counties. At Safety Days, experts teach children a number of lessons, from fire and roadway safety to sun and chemical safety. To learn more about the history of the Center, see the full list of 2011 results and register for 2012 classes, visit

I2P2 Discussion Delayed

OSHA has notified the potential small entity representatives (SERs) for OSHA’s upcoming Small Business Advocacy Review panel for OSHA’s forthcoming Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (I2P2) rule that there will be a "brief delay" in the panel process while OSHA finalizes the materials for the panel and SERs. OSHA will provide additional information on the revised schedule in the near future.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Share Your "Community College to Career" Experience

The Community College to Career 3-day bus tour begins today. The tour, which will include Jill Biden and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, will stop at several community colleges to recognize and learn more about model industry partnerships that help train and educate students to enter the workforce.

On its website, DOL says that although only a few community colleges will be visited on the bus trip, the agency wants feedback from partnerships across the nation. "We want to hear from community college faculty, students, business and community leaders about how these partnerships have benefited you and your community. Visit the website to share your experiences.

ASTM Green Meeting Standards Available

ASTM International has published a series of eight new standards to provide guidelines and environmental performance measures for creating green events, meetings, conventions and exhibitions. The standards were developed by ASTM’s Subcommittee E60.02 on Hospitality, part of ASTM Committee E60 on Sustainability, in partnership with the Convention Industry Council through its Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiative. APEX promotes development of industry-wide accepted practices to enhance efficiencies throughout the meetings industry.

The standards cover evaluation and selection of certain topics as they relate to sustainable meetings, events, trade show and conferences: destinations; exhibits; transportation; audio visual and production; communication and marketing materials; onsite offices; food and beverage; and meeting venues. A ninth standard on accommodations is still under development.

TSA Adds Customer Service Line for Passengers with Disabilities

TSA has launched a new helpline to keep all travelers up-to-date on airport screening processes. Although the agency has always had a customer service center, this line serves as an additional resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances. TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. Passengers are asked to call 72 hours in advance, and a live representative will be on the other line. Access TSA Cares toll free at 855-787-2227. Additionally, for travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Safety 2013 Call for Presenters

ASSE is accepting proposals for presentations for its 2013 Professional Development Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, NV, June 24-27, 2013. The program will reflect the breadth and depth of the profession, and address the professional development needs of SH&E professionals across the globe. Executive level and technical sessions geared to high level SH&E professionals are particularly desired.

Interested professionals are invited to submit a proposal to speak at Safety 2013 by July 13, 2012. Refer to the complete call for presenters for details.

New Crash Test Dummy Evaluates Child Safety Seats

A final rule issued by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) updates the current standard on child safety seats to include car seats and boosters for kids weighing more than 65 lb and up to 80 lb. To help evaluate the updated standard, the agency has created a new crash test dummy that will provide insight into how intact restraint systems will remain in the event of a crash.

Referred to as the "10-year-old child" dummy, NHSTA says the new addition "is the best tool currently available for measuring the risk of injury to a child using a higher-weight child restraint system in the event of a vehicle crash." In addition, the agency reports that the new dummy will help provide important information on safety seat requirements that need to remain current with new research and child restraint technologies.

Preventing Children from Burn and Scald Injuries

Each year about 481 children under the age of 14 die because of unintentional fires or burn-related injuries, says Candice Ahwah Gonzalez of Safe Kids Worldwide in this month’s FEMA Preparedness Call. The most recent data shows that nearly 90,000 children under the age of 14 sustained a nonfatal fire- or burn-related injury. In addition, data shows that scald injuries from a hot liquid are most prevalent for children under the age of 5. Gonzalez offers tips to prevent these kinds of injuries.

- Heat baby bottles in warm water and not in a microwave. Test them before for feeding to a child.
- When children are in the bathtub, watch them closely and test the water for hot spots. - A household with small children should never use tablecloths because they can easily be pulled down.
- Make a 3-ft area around the stove a kid-free zone.
- Cook on the back burners of the stove when possible and turn the pot handles toward the back so they cannot be easily reached by children.
- Keep appliance cords away from counter edges.
- Keep hot food and drinks away from counter edges.

“One of the things to remember is that most burn injuries occur in the home, mainly in the kitchen,” Gonzalez says. “Most of this [advice] seems elementary but these are the things that people are not doing that causes children to be burned.” For more information about preventing burn and scald injuries, click here.