Monday, April 30, 2012

New FTA Website Links to Earth Day

DOT's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) agency has launched a new website in conjunction with Earth Day, which was on April 22, 2012. FTA reports the new website "highlights reliable, sustainable transit to reduce our carbon footprint and help secure an independent energy future." The site provides information on how the public can help decrease harmful transit emissions, what sustainable transit projects are currently underway in the U.S. and how to help create sustainable communities.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Alcoa Speakers to Discuss Best Practices in Safety Webcast

A webcast from The Conference Board, “Safety: Journey to Zero Fatalities and Serious Injuries,” will feature representatives from Alcoa, who will discuss best practices, lessons learned and the company’s overall approach to safety and enhancements to reach the goal of zero fatalities. The session is designed for executives, managers and directors of safety, health and environmental. The speakers are Robert Bear, Vice President of EHS for Alcoa’s Global Primary Products Business, and Jeff Shockey, Director, Corporate Safety, for Alcoa.

Check Out OSHA's Fall Protection Campaign

One of OSHA's fall protection
campaign posters
OSHA's fall protection campaign website provides resources and tips to help prevent falls. The campaign involves three steps:
  • Plan.
  • Provide.
  • Train.
Numerous educational resources are available for workers and employers to gain knowledge about how to work safe and prevent worker injury and death from falls. Resources include training tips, posters, media resources, fact sheets and much more. Visit the site today to learn more about the campaign.

Workers’ Memorial Day

April 28 marks Workers’ Memorial Day, which honors the lives of those who have been injured or killed on the job. In the U.S., 12 workers die on the job every day. “This is intolerable,” says OSHA assistant secretary of labor David Michaels. “On this solemn occasion, we urge everyone to raise their voices in support of workers’ rights and to remember those who have paid the ultimate price of unsafe working conditions. Making a living shouldn’t include dying.” For more information, click here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Contribute to ASSE’s Body of Knowledge

The Body of Knowledge is a benefit of ASSE membership. It is a living online reference that represents the collective knowledge of the profession. Contribute to the discussion, and explore the collection of peer reviewed best practices documents, templates, checklists and white papers.

Prevention Through Design

In accordance with NIOSH’s national initiative to address S&H needs in the design process or “design out,” Humantech offers tips to ensure the workplace design is ergonomically-friendly while still on paper.
·         Train all design engineers in fundamental ergonomics concepts and ensure that they follow a set of mandatory design guidelines.
·         Create an ergonomics checklist to confirm that all design guidelines have been followed for every design.
·         Hold ergonomic gate reviews early in the launch process. These reviews should happen before construction begins and before suppliers get involved.
Preventing ergonomic issues early in the design phase is a cost-effective way to enhance occupational safety and health.  For more information on NIOSH’s Prevention through Design initiative, click here.

Initiative Aims to Attract More Women to Clean Energy

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has teamed up with MIT Energy Initiative to create a three-part plan that will attract more women to the clean energy profession and help advance into leadership positions. The plan will help implement the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment initiative or "C3E." The plan was announced at the recent Third Clean Energy Ministerial in London, England. DOE reports the "plan is designed to translate the goals of C3E into concrete, meaningful action in the U.S." Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the plan will help "leverage the skills and experiences of women nationwide to help solve important national and international energy challenges."

DOE reports that the new U.S. C3E plan will include ambassadors who will help recruit and retain qualified women in the field; an awards program that will recognize mid-career professionals who are contributing to the advancement of women in clean energy; and an invitation only symposium to be held in September 2012.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Do You Manage Change?

Manufacturing and production facilities are ever-changing. Procedures are continually updated, and equipment is either modified or replaced. In the recent ByDesign article, “Managing Change in Manufacturing & Production Facilities,” the author explains how a robust management of change process can help prevent these improvements from creating problems, such as off-spec products and catastrophic events.

In what ways do you use management of change (MOC) principles in your safety practices? Can MOC be used outside of manufacturing and production?

National Take-Back Initiative

This Saturday between 10:00 a.m.and 2:00 p.m., the DEA is issuing another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day that will allow those who have accumulated unwanted and unused prescription drugs to safely dispose of them. Americans who took part in the administration’s last take-back day turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 sites that were available nationwide. The DEA, with the help of law enforcement and community partners, has removed a total of 995,185 pounds (498.5 tons) of medication from circulation in the three prior take-back days over the past 13 months. “With the continued support and hard work of our more than 3,945 state, local and tribal law enforcement and community partners, these three events have dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, and increased awareness of this critical public health issue,” says DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. To find a local collection site, click here

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Outdoor Workers Be Wary of Insects

Many insects benefit from a warmer winter and early spring, resulting in higher mosquito populations than normal, says Insect Shield President Jason Griffin. “The mosquito is the world’s deadliest animal,” he says. “In the U.S., Lyme disease is the highest risk, but other tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and erhlichiosis all pose significant threats.” The forestry industry, mining companies, and oil and gas companies have a large proportion of their workforce operating outdoors and need to take extra precautions against insects. Permethrin treatment of clothing, either done at home or bought, provides passive insect protection that does not need to be reapplied throughout the day, Griffin suggests. DEET-based repellent is also effective but may be limited to a few hours so reapplying it is vital. When it is practical, insect control at work sites can be very effective. Always choose insect repellents that have been registered by the EPA, he adds. Not only should outdoor workers be wary, but the general public should as well. For more information, click here.

EU-OSHA Launches Healthy Workplaces Campaign

U.K.'s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a video podcast in which HSE Chair Judith Hackitt provides an overview of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work's (EU-OSHA) Healthy Workplaces 2012-13 campaign, "Working Together for Risk Prevention." The campaign runs from April 2012 through late 2013.

"The campaign's focus involves two key elements," says Hackitt. "One is about involving the workforce in identifying and managing the risks and finding solutions to risks in the workplace, and the second is about real positive leadership from the top of organizations which by its very nature means engagement with the workforce."

Agencies Renew Alliance to Protect Roadway Construction Workers

OSHA and the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners have renewed their alliance to protect workers in roadway construction work zones. OSHA reports the 2-year agreement will create fact sheets for paramedics, police officers, truck drivers and others who deal with work zones on the correct PPE to wear and how to properly enter/exit work zones. As the agency says in its press release, "The Alliance will focus on preventing worker injuries and deaths from construction vehicle run overs and back overs, and focuses on increased outreach to non-English speaking or limited English speaking workers."

For more information, visit OSHA's Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems Need Love Too

Dry pipe valves and dry pipe systems are used in areas subject to freezing temperatures, and their inspection, testing and maintenance are critical for effective fire protection.

Walt Beattie’s article “Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems” in the latest issue of Fireline outlines what should be included in a typical self-inspection program and provides guidelines for complying with the requirements of NFPA 25.

For our members who work in fire protection, what tips do you have for testing and maintaining dry pipe sprinkler systems?

10 Steps to Prepare for HazCom 2012

In a follow-up webinar on GHS compliance, Glenn Trout, President and CEO of MSDSonline, discusses 10 steps to take to prepare for HazCom 2012.
1. Accept that GHS is a Reality: This has been a longtime coming; the final rule goes into effect May 25, 2012.
2. Be on the lookout for GHS-Formatted Safety Data Sheets: Ensure that font-line employees are on the lookout for SDSs and know what to do with inbound ones.
3. Review Written Hazard Communication Plan:  This is one of the first things OSHA asks during an inspection and needs to be updated to account for changes with new GHS transition. Training is essential as well.
4. Update Written Chemical Inventory: Written chemical inventory is an important part of the written plan. It is key to managing the churn of new/revised SDSs so know what chemicals are in your facilities and have corresponding SDSs for each one.
5. Manage the MSDS/SDS Churn: All U.S. manufacturers and distributors must reclassify chemicals and create updated SDSs and labels for downstream users. Downstream users, employers and managers should prepare for the SDS churn and expect entire MSDS library to turn over in a short amount of time.
6. Get a label strategy: Compliant Hazcom 2012 labels on shipped containers have six mandatory elements – start thinking about that and build a strategy.
7. Start Planning for Employee Training: Employees must know how to read and understand revised labels and SDSs by Dec. 1, 2013. The benefit to this is that they can serve as early warning system for employers since employees must be trained on the process of replacing MSDSs with SDSs and must complete training on all updates by June 1, 2016. Employers should start training as soon as possible.
8. Talk to Vendors about GHS: Find out suppliers’ plans and timelines for meeting GHS transition (manufacturers are June 1, 2012, and distributors are Dec. 1, 2015). The sooner vendors are compliant with HazCom 2012 the easier it will be on everyone.
9. Remember SARA Obligations: Facilities with obligations under SARA Title III may need to provide new and updated SDSs and chemical inventory information to local and state emergency-planning agencies.
10. Use Available Resources: Simplify compliance by allowing experts to guide you through the GHS transition. Utilize all available resources from OSHA, suppliers, new sources, educational resources and more.

It was also mentioned that OSHA will retain the framework of HCS. The only changes include provisions that need to be aligned with GHS. This will maintain or enhance the level of protection provided by HCS. 

Join EPA's New Discussion Forum

EPA has created a discussion forum, EPA Conversations, as a place where the public can share ideas, tips and information concerning the environment. The agency has grouped topics into eight categories, such as everyday green tips and improving air quality, and users can vote on a topic by agreeing or disagreeing. The agency encourages the public to "Look beneath the surface, address the issues and expand the conversation."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Integrating Wellness Into Your Occupational Health & Safety Program

As National Employee Wellness Month approaches, now is the time to find new and innovative ways to make wellness a permanent part of your occupational health and safety program. A recent article in the Health & Wellness Branch’s publication, Wellness Report, offers ideas and tips for merging wellness with health and safety.

We would love to hear how you and your companies will recognize National Employee Wellness Month this June—post your comments here!

CSB Releases Safety Video on Fatal Hot Work Explosion

CSB released a new safety video today detailing a fatal 2010 hot work accident that occurred at the DuPont facility near Buffalo, NY. The 11-minute video, entitled “Hot Work: Hidden Hazards,” details the events leading up to the accident and uses a computer animation to show how hot work being conducted on top of a tank led to the deadly explosion. CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso says they hope the dramatic depiction will result in greater emphasis in safety during hot work activities like welding and grinding. In the video, he emphasizes that hot work is often seen as a routine activity, but can prove deadly if fire and explosion hazards are not recognized.  The video is available to stream or download on and may be viewed on their YouTube channel.

ANSI Approves Motor Vehicle Operations Safety Standard

ANSI has approved the revised standard, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1-2012, Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations. The standard calls for organizations to have a written motor vehicle safety program that defines organizational requirements, responsibilities and accountability for drivers and motor vehicle safety. It provides guidance for occupant restraints; impaired driving; distracted driving; aggressive driving; journey management; and fatigue. Guidance also includes driver qualifications; vehicle management; and incident reporting and analysis. Sample policy forms are included. The standard becomes effective August 20, 2012.

Share Your Earth Day Photo With the World

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, 2012. EPA encourages the public to snap a photograph on Earth Day to illustrate what the environmental day looks like. EPA's Greenversations blog gives instructions to take a photo any time during the 24-hour period of Earth Day, then upload it to your Flickr account and share it with the State of the Environment group. The agency is accepting entries until midnight (ET) on Saturday, April 28. EPA will highlight one photo from each U.S. state or territory and also will feature the state with the most participation.

NIOSH FACE Program on Twitter

NIOSH's Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program is now on Twitter. The program seeks out work environments at high risk for injury, then formulates prevention strategies to help EHS professionals and others intervene in the workplace. Their primary activities include:
  • Conducting surveillance to identify occupational fatalities;
  • Performing investigations of specific types of events to identify injury risks;
  • Developing recommendations designed to control or eliminate identified risks;
  • Making injury prevention information available to workers, employers and EHS professionals.
Click here to follow FACE or read more here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

USDA Reports a Decrease in Farm Injuries to Youths

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that from 2001 to 2009, the injury rate for farm workers age 19 and younger has decreased by more than 60%. The report, "2009 Injuries to Youth on Farms", says that the total injuries to these youths declined from 8,588 in 2001 to 3,191 in 2009. Data was collected from a telephone survey of about 50,000 farms sponsored by USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service and NIOSH. The Occupational Safety & Health Reporter says the USDA report may play a part in the discussion on proposed changes to child farm labor rule. 

Tell Your Story During NAOSH Week

North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week is celebrated each May. ASSE wants you to get involved in NAOSH Week to help educate the public about the benefits of a safe workplace, and the importance of occupational safety and health professionals. Get involved: Watch the video, visit the website and tell your story.

The Aging Workforce

In a recent interview with AARP, Humantech Vice President Josh Kerst discusses why older workers tend to produce better quality products. “One of the myths out there is that the older workforce can’t provide me with the same level of quality, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Kerst says. “We see that they tend to be more satisfied on the job, definitely more engaged and when you meet their needs, you get a better quality product and a healthy person.” He adds that the growing number of older workers in the workforce mean employers must recognize that “one size does not fit all” in terms of job design. To keep the aging workforce safe and healthy on the job, Kerst offers these tips:
  1. Work Reach – Older workers often have a reduced range of motion. Employees should always be able to “shake hands with work” and bring it into the comfort zone.
  2. Lighting – Older workers need two to three times more light than their younger counterparts, so natural, low-glare, high-quality lighting is essential. The less reflective, the better.
  3. Sound – It is important to mask sounds because certain sounds can become more distracting to an older worker. Remember the ABCs of sound – absorb, block and control.
  4. Sitting versus Standing –Sitting puts 50% more pressure on the back than standing.  Sit/stand workstations give employees the option to do both and help them become less static throughout the day.
“What we’ve seen is that older employers, given the opportunity to learn, are on par with the rest of the workforce,” Kerst says. They are eager to learn and do not get injured at a higher rate than younger employers, he adds. For more information on workplace ergonomics, click here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

EPA Publishes Greenhouse Gas Inventory

EPA's Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010 is the agency's 17th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory, which tracks emissions and provides historical data. The reports says that an overall emissions increase of 3.2 % from 2009 to 2010 was caused by an increase in energy consumption across all economic sectors. In addition, total emissions of the main gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride) increased by 10% from 1990 to 2010. Visit EPA to learn more about the report.

NAS Publication Summarizes Presentations From Nanoparticles Workshop

A new publication from National Academy of Sciences summarizes the presentations and discussions from a workshop that explored new opportunities, challenges and approaches to characterizing small particles and understanding their impacts.

Held by the National Research Council’s Chemical Sciences Roundtable, the workshop included presentations highlighting the critical importance of small particles in environmental science, materials and chemical sciences, biological science and engineering. Also, several presentations highlighted new advances in characterizing small particles, including static, dynamic, experimental, computational and theoretical approaches.

The summary publication, Challenges in Characterizing Small Particles: Exploring Particles From the Nano- to Microscales, may be downloaded free in PDF form, or a paperback edition is available for purchase.

OSHA Directive on Workplace Fatalities

OSHA has released a new directive that helps representatives communicate investigation procedures with victims’ families following a workplace fatality. Under the directive, OSHA representatives must speak to the victim’s family early in the inspection process, establish a point of contact and maintain a working relationship with the family. They will explain the timeline of events and provide the family with updates throughout the investigation as well. Once the investigation is closed, the agency will address findings and clarify questions to the family. If an employer has been issued citations, the family will receive copies. For more information, visit OSHA’s directive page.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tips to Stop Feet from Aching

Matching ones shoe to ones work environment is essential for workers to perform tasks with minimal pain and to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls. Injuryfree offers tips on what shoes fit best for employees who stand, sit or walk while working.
For Standing:
  • Shoes should not change the shape of the foot. For example, shoes with very narrow toes force toes into an unusual position.
  • Shoes must have good grip at the heel, room for toes to wiggle and good arch support.
  • Shoes should not be completely flat or have a heel higher than 2 inches.
  • Shoes should protect from workplace hazards and should have shock-absorbing soles if the workplace has cement or metal floors.
For Sitting
  • The best posture for sitting is to have feet flat or supported with a footrest as needed.
For Walking
  • Walking shoes should be similar to those chosen for standing, and should provide excellent shock absorption and support.
  • Shoes should be less than 2-in. high. If you must wear heels for meetings or events, keep a good pair of walking shoes available to change into later.
They also recommend that workers who stand for longer periods of time use a footstool or a bar if possible to alternate the weight on each foot. Another thing to consider is using an anti-fatigue mat to help alleviate foot pressure. For more information, click here.

ANSI's Standards Boosts Business Campaign Features Video Gallery

ANSI's Standards Boost Business (SBB) campaign now features a video gallery on its website. The videos include interviews with corporate and industry experts/leaders who discuss the importance of businesses participating in standardization. They discuss the strategic and financial advantages that such participation can result in. The website also includes case studies, a section on the importance of standards, toolkit resources and a list of SBB partners.

According to ANSI, SBB "is an outreach initiative to help U.S. businesses understand the power of standardization in driving business growth, spurring innovation and advancing U.S. competitiveness.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Proposed Rule to Require Electronic Reporting for Chemicals

EPA's new proposed rule would require electronic reporting, rather than paper-based reporting, for various information submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The agency says the electronic reporting "will increase the speed with which EPA can make information publicly available, increase accuracy, and provide the public with quick and easier access to chemical information."

EPA says the electronic format will pertain to submitting information relating to chemical testing, and safety and health reporting. If the rule is finalized, the agency says it will only accept data and reports that are submitted through its Central Data Exchange. For more information, visit EPA's website.

ASSE Society Election Winners Announced

The results are in for ASSE’s 2012 Society Elections. Click here to see who will be taking office July 1. Congratulations to all winners!

Happy National High Five Day!

In the spirit of National High Five Day on April 19, ASSE is hosting a “fun-raiser” this week, asking members and non-members to give $5 or more by supporting the Foundation. Back in 2002, three students from the University of Virginia created this holiday and celebrated with lemonade and a profusion of high fives. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for our programs, which focus on developing future EHS professionals. To donate, visit

Friday, April 13, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day with ASSE

To commemorate this year’s Earth Day (April 22), ASSE is allowing all members to join our Environmental Practice Specialty for only $10. The Environmental Practice Specialty focuses on environmental management, water and air quality, solid and hazardous waste, emergency planning and response practices, chemicals and toxicology, legislative and regulatory monitoring, and expert testimony and resources. Members receive valuable networking opportunities, technical publications and educational resources. This offer applies to new Environmental Practice Specialty Members only. Use the code 1203APRIL and join today!

CSB Public Meeting Will Vote on DuPont Report

CSB will hold a public meeting on April 19, 2012, in Buffalo, NY, concerning the fatal DuPont explosion that occurred back in November 2010. The meeting begins at 6 p.m., and the agency will present its investigation of the flammable vapor explosion. In addition to the investigation, CSB says the meeting also will cover topics such as flammable gas monitoring, tank isolation and hot work permits.

Registration is not required to attend the meeting, however the agency encourages those who plan on attending to preregister by Saturday, April 14, 2012, to ensure adequate seating. For more information on the meeting and how to preregister, visit the CSB website.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

AAPCC Launches Campaign Geared at Young Adults

When results are only a click away, it seems almost logical to go straight to the Internet for health questions and answers. However, the AAPCC is encouraging young adults, specifically those of college age, to call their help hotline instead of searching online for answers to poison-related questions. This week, the AAPCC and poison centers around the country launched the “Unquestionable Answers” e-poster campaign featuring questions that are better off answered by doctors, nurses and pharmacists at poison centers. The posters, which can be seen on Facebook, Twitter and other blogs, encourage young adults to call their local poison center when they have questions about potential toxins, rather than rely on Internet answers from inaccurate or inexperienced sources. For more information on this campaign, visit their Facebook page or website.

OSHA Seeks Safety & Health Training Grant Applications

OSHA is seeking applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The agency says that two types of grants will "fund training for workers and employers in recognizing workplace hazards and control measures, and understanding their rights and responsibilities." The two types of grants are: targeted topic training grants; and training and educational materials development grants.

The grants are available to labor unions; non-profit, community and faith-based organizations; colleges and universities; joint labor/management associations; and employer associations. Applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. (EDT) on May 17, 2012.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Website Provides Healthcare-Related Infections Info

The Joint Commission's new Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) portal contains various information and resources on HAI, how to identify risk and much more. The website provides podcasts, toolkits, webinars, articles and links to educational resources to ensure healthcare professionals are informed about HAI, and how they can prevent and control such infections.

GHS Toolkit

An updated GHS Toolkit for the new HazCom standard is now available from Safetec. Their comprehensive toolkit is intended to help educate organizations about the implementation of GHS rules and regulations. It includes an overview, a six-step transition guide and a whitepaper on the GHS “Purple Book.” These new standards affect all Americans who handle, use or store hazardous materials. Download the updated toolkit here.

ASSE Publishes Second Edition of The Safety Professionals Handbook

ASSE has published the second edition of The Safety Professionals Handbook, which includes updates on essential information for the SH&E professional. The two-volume set includes two new chapters: Sustainability and the SH&E Professional; and Best Practices in Industrial Hygiene. Other updated topics include:
•environmental and engineering management systems;
•information management systems;
•substance abuse prevention and workers’ compensation;
•the aging workforce;
•OSHA training requirements;
•OSHA Outreach Training Program;
•new approaches and updated regulatory requirements.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NHTSA Launches New Child Seat Safety Site & Videos

On average, car crashes killed almost two children (12 years and younger) and injured 325 children each day in 2010, NHTSA crash data shows. This fatality rate could be reduced by half if the correct child safety seats were always used. In an effort to better inform parents and caregivers about car seat safety, NHTSA has launched a new website, along with new public service announcements, showing the correct car seat for a child’s age and size. The site also features important information on proper car seat use and installation through videos, recall notifications and NHTSA’s car seat ease-of-use ratings. For more information on child passenger safety, visit
Image courtesy of Home Front Communications. 

ASTM Uses Videos to Help Explain Standards

An article in ASTM's March/April 2012 Standardization News explains how ASTM has begun using videos in some standards. The videos demonstrate procedures and help users understand how to properly utilize the standard. Videos are available to subscribers of the Standards and Engineering Digital Library Plus product.

Videos are completed and produced by ASTM staff and the technical committee video task group. The agency says the videos are not meant to replace standards, rather they are "designed to provide additional benefit for the standard's users." Those interested in including a video for a committee's standards should contact their technical committee's staff manager. Read the ASTM article for more information.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Take the diabetes risk test to discover if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Those at a greater risk for getting type 2 fit in the following categories:

  • People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG);
  • People over age 45;
  • People with a family history of diabetes;
  • People who are overweight or do not exercise regularly;
  • People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure;
  • Certain racial and ethnic groups (exp., Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives);
  • Women who had gestational diabetes or who have had a baby weighing 9-lbs. or more at birth

To prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends sticking to a well-balanced diet, increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. For more information, click here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Employers: Salute Your Safety Professional

Employers are encouraged to recognize the important work that SH&E professionals do every day in ASSE’s “Salute Your Safety Professional” initiative. The program runs in conjunction with North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, May 6-12. Employers and coworkers can celebrate the efforts of their occupational safety and health professionals and safety teams by participating in Occupational Safety and Health Professional (OSHP) Day, May 9. To offer your salute, fill out and submit the electronic form along with photos. The names of those saluted will be highlighted on ASSE’s OSHP Day websites, during the May 7th NAOSH Week kick-off events, and at Safety 2012, ASSE’s annual Professional Development Conference and Expo in Denver, June 3-6.

New App for NIOSH Lifting Equation

Humantech has released a new mobile app based on the popular NIOSH Lifting Equation, which was created in 1991 to help recognize physical stressors associated with manual material handling and lifting tasks. The HT NIOSH Lift Calculator for the iPad and iPhone quickly and effectively calculates the risk associated with manual material handling tasks. It can evaluate both existing and proposed lifting conditions to determine the recommended weight limit for a specific task, and it can identify those jobs that might require ergonomic intervention. The app, available in both metric and standard measurement, can be purchased on iTunes.

Training Video Provides Insights for DOT Mock Collections

DOT has released its Mock Collection video as a training tool for inspectors and/or those who administer or evaluate mock urine collections for transportation employees. The video provides the necessary steps to take during collections and to ensure that collectors are following the appropriate DOT collection procedures and requirements. According to the agency, the video also will provide more insight and specific information that will aid in the collection process.

Friday, April 6, 2012

OSHA to Focus on Hazards in Nursing Homes

Through a new national emphasis program (NEP), OSHA will target nursing homes and residential care facilities to protect workers from serious safety and health hazards common in medical industries. Under the NEP, the agency will focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards for 3 years to reduce occupational illnesses and injuries. These hazards include exposure to blood and other potentially infectious material; exposure to other communicable diseases; ergonomic stressors related to lifting patients; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls.

Aircraft Safety: ASSE Catches Up with David Soucie

Airline passengers can never judge a pilot's mental stability, but they can react both positively and effectively in the case of a midair-meltdown like that which happened late last month, says FAA safety management expert David Soucie. After a JetBlue pilot was removed from the cockpit and kept subdued until landing, ASSE caught up with Soucie [read our original interview here] to learn how one crew member took action. “There is little we can do to guarantee the mental stability of any pilot in the cockpit, particularly when they have the pressure of serving as anti-terrorist intelligence agents in addition to flying the plane,” he says. Although the required medical exam is intended to identify physical and mental conditions that could impair a pilot's ability to fly, an examiner’s ability to ensure continued mental stability is limited. In the recent JetBlue incident, the co-pilot used his risk IQ to save passengers and crew, Soucie says. Following a system that Soucie has dubbed REPAIR, the co-pilot: 
  • Recognized the change in the pilot's behavior (R); 
  • Understood the severity of the problem in the cockpit environment (E); 
  • Prioritized the need to mitigate the pilot’s behavior over flying the aircraft (P); 
  • Analyzed alternatives (A); 
  • Overrode his training and institutionalized behavior as second in command by taking control of the cockpit (I); 
  • Realized the risk (R).
Soucie calls this a shining example of high risk IQ. “This event clearly punctuates the need to continuously monitor our individual and aggregate capabilities within each area of REPAIR,” he says. “Doing so enables us to act quickly and instinctively when faced with the unexpected.” This will also show areas for improvement, he adds.

MSHA Publishes Final Rule on Examinations in Underground Coal Mines

In today’s Federal Register, MSHA has published the final rule, Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines for Violations of Mandatory Health or Safety Standards. The rule requires mine operators to identify and correct hazardous conditions and violations of nine safety and health standards that address ventilation, methane, roof control, combustible materials, rock dust, equipment guarding and other safeguards. In addition to examining for hazardous conditions as in the existing regulations, the rule requires mine operators to record the actions taken to correct conditions and violations.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mine Safety Bill Introduced

In December 2011, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced H.R. 3697, the “Mine Safety Accountability and Improved Protection Act” (see also "Capito Introduces Mine Safety Bill" from the Vol. 11 No. 2 issue of Mining Matters). Her legislation seeks to streamline the conference and appeals process, improve implementation of mine safety and health regulation and hold violators accountable by increasing penalties—both financial and criminal—for violations of the law to create a safer working environment for miners.

How do you predict the mining industry will respond if this bill is signed into law?

CSB Seeks Comment on 5-Year Strategic Plan

U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is requesting comment on its draft strategic plan for 2012-2016. It includes the board’s strategic goals, objectives and associated measures for managing and evaluating agency operations. Comments are requested by April 12, 2012. Visit the CSB website for details.

The draft plan has three strategic goals:
Goal 1: Conduct incident investigations and safety studies that involve accidental releases or potential releases of hazardous chemical substances.
Goal 2: Improve safety and environmental protection by securing implementation of CSB recommendations and broadly disseminating CSB findings.
Goal 3: Preserve the public trust by maintaining and improving organizational excellence.

ASSE Foundation Announces Scholarship Winners

The ASSE Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the 2012 Scholarship & Professional Education Grant recipients. Thanks to support from our generous donors, the Foundation is awarding nearly $168,000 to 99 individuals. View the 2012 scholarship and grant recipients here and here. There are many ways to partner with the ASSE Foundation. From our Legacy Trust Program, which allows dedicated safety professionals to continue moving the profession forward with what they leave behind, to our visionary scholarship or grant for donors who have the means to provide an annual scholarship, the giving never stops. For more information on donating through the Foundation, visit our website. 
Congratulations again to our 2012 scholarship and grant recipients!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do You Suffer from Scotosis?

An article in the Management Practice Specialty's publication, The Compass, addresses a condition called scotosis, which, according to the author, is a "cultivated collective blind spot we develop to ward off knowledge that might upset our customary way of viewing the world." The article suggests that scotosis within the SH&E profession can prevent safety practitioners from seeing a new or bigger picture. Have you experienced scotosis in your workplace? What do you believe is the cure for this condition?

Click here to learn more about ASSE's Management Practice Specialty.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Offers Teen Driving Tips

In support of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy is providing free programs, such as a distracted driving demo, parent/teen workshops and driving assessments, to raise awareness of the effects of teen distracted driving. In addition to demonstrations and workshops at its facility in Los Angeles, CA, the academy is offering “Top 10 Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers” on its website.

Work-Related Asthma

Asthma – an irreversible lung condition that causes inflammation and obstruction of the airways – affects 1 in 10 Canadians, says Dr. Michael Pysklywec, Occupational Health Physician at the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. His podcast on CCOHS’ most recent health and safety report discusses who is at risk for work-related asthma and how the condition is diagnosed. According to Pysklywec, almost any work sector is at risk, but high-risk industries include healthcare, agriculture and those who work in bakeries and hair salons. Affected workers will have shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness or wheezing and need to see a doctor immediately to properly identify it. He describes the 3-step process to identifying work-related asthma.

1. The doctor makes a formal diagnosis, usually requiring conventional breathing tests.

2. The doctor suspects work-related asthma and determines if there are sensitizers* in the workplace. Workers can help doctors by providing a clear medical exposure history, paying particular attention to symptoms in and away from work. In addition, it is helpful when workers provide MSDSs as well.

3. Finally, the doctor gives a subjective test, which typically involves a lot of breathing exercises. These exercises are done both while the patient is at work and away from work to compare differences.

“They [workers] need to be aware that if they’re diagnosed with sensitizer-induced, work-related asthma, then they must be removed from any further exposure,” he says. “If they continue to be exposed, their asthma is going to worsen.” From educating workers and employers on what causes asthma to establishing measures that substitute or eliminate potential sensitizers, prevention is the main key in effectively managing this disease. Asthma surveillance programs that consist of breathing tests should be a part of safety programs in high-risk industries, Pysklywec adds. To learn more, read our post on how to prevent work-related asthma here.

*Sensitizers are defined by OSHA as "a chemical that causes a substantial proportion of exposed people or animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure to the chemical."

DOL Introduces New Hall of Honor

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has transformed its Hall of Fame into its new Hall of Honor. The exhibit recognizes and highlights contributions that organizations, men and women have made that have positively influenced the American way of work and life. The exhibit honors efforts that have resulted in elevated working conditions, wages and over-all quality of life for U.S. workers and communities.

The hall is located inside the North Plaza of DOL's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, DC, and is open during government working hours. Inductee portraits and biographies can be found on the online Hall of Honor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

CSB Publishes Safety Video Compilation

U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a compilation of safety videos, “Safety Videos Volume 2,” which highlight the investigation findings from several major incidents in recent years, and discuss the hazards associated with them. With its videos, CSB hopes to encourage viewers to apply lessons learned to real-world plant operations.

“Fatal Exposure: Tragedy at DuPont” details three incidents over a 33-hour period at the DuPont plant in Belle, WV; “Experimenting With Danger” focuses on hazards associated with conducting research at chemical laboratories in academic institutions; and “Iron in the Fire” discusses three 2011 iron dust fires that occurred at the Hoeganaes plant in Gallatin, TN.

The agency says it will continue to distribute “Safety Videos Volume 1,” a two-disc set of 25 videos released between December 2005 and March 2011. All safety videos are distributed free of charge. To date, more than 100,000 DVDs have been distributed, and downloads and streams from the agency’s website and YouTube channel total more than 1 million.

How GHS Will Affect Canadian Manufacturers and Employers

CCOHS has released information about the new HazCom standard and how its implementation will eventually affect Canadian manufactures, importers, distributors and employers. According to the center, effective dates for enactment are unknown as Health Canada still needs to develop an economic analysis, a revision of the federal legislation and a revision of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulations. New WHMIS laws are estimated to be updated by 2013 or later, followed by a transition period. All Canadian manufacturers who export goods to the U.S. will have to comply with the new GHS requirement when they become law. On the other hand, if you are a U.S. company shipping hazardous products into Canada, you will have to continue complying with WHMIS laws until GHS is implemented in Canada. Safety data sheets are accepted but must contain all of the required content as specified in the Controlled Products Regulations (Schedule I, Column III). It is also important to note that the GHS hazard classification may not always be the same as the WHMIS classification because of differences in terminology between the two systems. In addition, CCOHS adds that GHS labels will not be accepted. For more information and increased awareness about potential changes, visit the center’s GHS courses and check out their fact sheets.

Safety 2012 Early Registration Discount Extended

The early registration discount for Safety 2012 has been extended until Friday, April 6. To receive the discounted rate, be sure to call ASSE Customer Service at +1-847-699-2929, register online, download the registration form and fax to +1-847-768-3434 or have your registration application postmarked by April 6.

Monday, April 2, 2012

CSB Applauds AIChE Action on Reactive Hazard Awareness

CSB Chair Moure-Eraso and board
member John Bresland applaud
AIChE at 2012 spring meeting
Today at the 2012 AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety, U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chair Rafael Moure-Eraso commended American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) for exceeding CSB’s recommended action that resulted from the board’s 2009 investigation of a fatal reactive chemical explosion at T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, FL.

CSB recommended that AIChE work with Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology to include reactive hazard awareness in college chemical engineering curriculum. AIChE proposed changes to require proficiency in not just reactive chemical hazards but in all chemical process hazards among a broad range of engineering disciplines.

"The status of the recommendation reflects AIChE’s outstanding response that surpassed the objectives envisioned by the Chemical Safety Board,” says Moure-Eraso. “If future chemical engineers are given the proper educational tools, they will be able to more fully comprehend and better manage the hazards in a chemical manufacturing process.”

Share Your Six Words for the Planet

EPA and SMITH magazine are encouraging people to participate in the Six Words for the Planet project.  Participants should create a six-word essay about our planet that is original and has not been copyrighted. Find the rules and restrictions for entries in EPA's Greenversations blog post. Entries must be submitted by June 30, 2012. To view entries or to submit yours, visit here.

ASSE Offers Distracted Driving Tips

April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” and statistics show distracted drivers injure 500,000 people and kill another 6,000 people each year. On top of that, a recent Governor’s Highway Safety Association report found an increase in teen driver roadway crash fatalities in the first six months of 2011. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, ASSE’s Transportation Practice Specialty group has developed a tip sheet discussing crash force, distraction events, distance traveled in seconds and more. The group also gives the following suggestions for safe driving:

· Program your device so you do not answer and notify the caller that you will be driving and are not available to respond at the moment. If someone urgently needs to reach you, devise a procedure such as three rings, hang up, wait two minutes and call again. Repeat once to allow time to pull over safely.

· Know your route in advance and program it ahead of time if using a navigation system.

· Prepare the vehicle and yourself for driving, including your management of any distraction.

· Focus on driving. Maintain safe spacing or move to a less obstructed lane.

Minimizing distractions allows drivers to maximize their attention on the road. For more information on distracted driving, click here. Currently, 35 states, the District of Columbia and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers and many states now ban cell phone use by drivers. The list of states banning in-vehicle cell-phone use is here.