Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Smart Headlights Make Driving in Precipitation Safer

A team of engineers at Carnegie Mellon University is developing a technology to make driving in rain or snow safer. Can you imagine headlights that can see between the raindrops? That’s just what researchers at the Illumination and Imaging (ILIM) laboratory at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon have created.

Standard headlights illuminate not only the road ahead, but also rain and snow, which creates glare and limits visibility. The ILIM team has devised a prototype “smart headlight” system that can avoid precipitation and maintain adequate illumination of the road and surrounding environment.

The system works by using a high-speed camera to record the location of raindrops and snowflakes. “All we have to do is use very simple models of motion to predict where they’re going to be in the next few milliseconds,” says lead researcher Srinivasa Narasimhan in a radio interview. Individual beams in the smart headlight can be turned on and off to avoid these particles. “So you’re streaming those beams of light in between the raindrops and snowflakes so that the light won’t hit any of these particles and therefore you may not see them,” Narasimhan says.

EHS in India

ASSE’s new India Chapter, in collaboration with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, organized the “Workshop on Construction Safety” this past June. This free program, supported by L&T Hydrocarbon Construction & Pipelines and Praxair India Private Ltd., was another milestone event for the India Chapter. The interactive workshop consisted of 62 participants and included information on best practices in construction, managing safety on a large scale, and observing and modifying unsafe behaviors. According to R Bharadwaj and Gurudas Bandyopadhyay, members of the India Chapter, the workshop proved successful and is yet another step India has taken to include EHS in the workplace. Fore more information, visit ASSE India.

New NIH Office to Support Emergency Care Research

National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed its Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR) to focus on the health of patients who need emergency care. According to NIH, OECR will be "the focal point for basic, clinical and transitional emergency care research and training across NIH." Among many goals, OECR will focus on encouraging career development for those training in emergency care research; coordinate funding opportunities; and represent NIH in government efforts to improve U.S. emergency care systems.

NIH Director Francis Collins says although the agency has always supported emergency care research, now it has one main office where greater efforts can be made. "The NIH OECR will focus on speeding diagnosis and improving care for the full spectrum of conditions that require emergency treatment," Collins says.

Monday, July 30, 2012

International Workshop to Focus on Technology Solutions for First Responder Safety

Worcester Polytechnic Institute will host the 7th Annual International Workshop on Precision Indoor Personnel Location and Tracking Technology, Aug. 6-7 in Worcester, MA. Sponsored by the Science and Technology Directorate fo the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the workshop provides a forum for researchers and developers working in indoor location and tracking to share technical knowledge and to define the current state of tracking technologies. This technology is designed to help firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel quickly locate and rescue colleagues who become lost, disabled or trapped inside buildings.

The focus of this workshop is tracking of emergency responders and systems that provide tracking and position information on such personnel. Topics will also include the applicability of commercial location-aware systems to the needs of the first responder community, and standards development for location and tracking systems.

Also of note, DHS's Science and Technology Directorate will provide a public demonstration of its first responder location system, known as GLANSER--the Geospatial Location Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders. In the demonstration, the system will undergo a rigorous test designed and executed by a team of first responders from the Worcester Fire Department. Testing will involve two scenarios: a search and rescue mission to locate a lost firefighter, and an attempt to help two firefighters who become separated to find each other. The event will also feature technology demonstrations by more than a dozen companies, universities and safety groups.

To join the conversation, follow the workshop on Twitter @WPINews and use hashtag #WPIPPL2012.

EPA's Battle of the Buildings Competition Underway

EPA reports that a record number of 3,200 buildings are competing in its Energy Star program's 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings. The buildings are competing to improve energy efficiency, protect health and the environment and decrease utility costs. The agency says that teams use  EPA's Portfolio Manger to keep track and measure monthly energy consumption. The public can follow progress online, and winners of the year-long competition will be announced in April 2013.

CCOHS Podcasts Address Psychosocial Connection to Workplace Safety, Job Safety Analysis

Each month, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) posts Health and Safety To Go! podcasts. In this month's 16-minute podcast, Dr. Keven Kelloway explains what positive psychology is and how it relates to workplace stress. Listen to the podcast now.

CCOHS also has posted an encore presentation of its nearly 4-minute podcast on the basics of conducting a job safety analysis. Listen to the podcast now.

According to CCOHS, you can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player, or you can subscribe to the series on iTunes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

ASTM Develops Standard to Improve Glass Industry Safety

ASTM International has approved a new standard to improve safety in the glass industry. ASTM E2875/E2875M, Guide for Personal Protective Equipment for the Handling of Flat Glass, was developed by Subcommittee E34.35 on Safe Handling of Glass. According to ASTM, the standard was developed as a result of heightened interest as a result of incidents involving the handling of annealed glass.

The goal of the standard is to help employers select PPE to best protect workers from hazards that cannot be mitigated through engineering, administrative or work practice controls. The standard highlights critical areas of risk to the body from glass handling, particularly to the neck and other major artery areas, discusses the need for risk assessment and explains cut test standards.

OSHA Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee

OSHA has announced that nominations are being accepted for four members to serve a two-year term on the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH). The committee, which began under the OSH Act to advise on its programs and policies, is seeking one representative from each of the following categories: public; management; occupational safety; and occupational health. Nominations may be submitted electronically at the Federal eRulemaking Portal, by mail or in person, and are due Sept. 10, 2012.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

FEMA Creates New Youth Preparedness Council

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created its first-ever Youth Preparedness Council, which includes a select group of youth leaders who will share ideas, experiences and solutions to help during disaster situations. According to FEMA, youth council members were nominated for their ability to represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and will be expected to relay information back to their communities. The 13 members range in age from 13 to 17.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do You Practice Sustainable Safety Management?

In “Sustainable Safety Management” from the latest issue of The Monitor, Bernd Freibott indicates that many accidents occur as the consequence of a series of minor lapses or failures. He maintains that modern incident management must include everybody in the company and that everybody needs access to the right information and tools to report hazards, near misses and unsafe behavior. These tools, in turn, need to be tailored for nonexpert users and for occasional users. According to Freibott, usability and suppleness of an incident management application are crucial for user acceptance
and for the successful setup of appropriate tools and processes.

So how is incident management treated within your organization? Is it a collaborative process or an administrative process? We want to hear from you!

ASTM Launches Two New Journals

ASTM International is seeking submissions for its two new journals, Advances in Civil Engineering Materials (ACEM) and Materials Performance and Characterization (MPC). Both journals are online only, and peer reviewed. ASTM is seeking original technical papers, review papers and technical notes.

ACEM covers all aspects of material processing, structure, properties and performance of materials in civil engineering systems, such as concrete, asphalt, steel, polymers and polymeric composites, and wood for use in pavements, bridges and buildings.

MPC features articles on the theoretical and practical aspects of the structure, processing, properties and performance of materials used in mechanical, transportation, aerospace, energy systems and medical devices. These materials include metals and alloys, glass and ceramics, polymers, composite materials, textiles and nanomaterials.

NCCCO to Issue Separate Certification Cards

In order to make it easier for employers and state and federal authorities to determine qualifications of crane operators, the NCCCO is issuing separate certification cards to CCO-certified crane operators who also have been certified in the CCO rigger and/or signalperson categories. The new cards, which are accepted nationally as official proof of certification, have been designed to meet OSHA requirements. For easy recognition, operator CCO cards continue to have a black band across the bottom, while rigger and signalperson cards display a green band. In addition to this change, the cards will show the full 5-year certification period instead of a common expiration date. However, the new policy of separate expiration dates does not affect the crane operator certification program, says NCCCO Program Manager Joel Oliva.  Currently, the commission has nine crane operator designations, three crane inspector designations, two rigger designations and a signalperson designation. New certifications for digger derrick operators and lift directors are currently in development for launch before the end of 2012.

Near Miss Reporting Webinar Is Today

ASSE's "Near Miss Reporting: The Missing Link of Safety Culture Revolution" webinar will discuss concepts that may help facilitate a zero incident culture within your organization. In addition, the session will discuss tools that can be used to counter possible inhibitors to a zero-incident culture; processes that the end user may view as added value; and cultural inhibitors that can block success.

The webinar begins today at 11 a.m. (CDT). Interested participants can visit ASSE's Virtual Classroom website for more information and to register.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Motor Vehicle Crashes High in Urban Areas

Despite declining injury and fatality rates, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) remain a leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC. In 2009, a total of 34,485 MVC deaths were reported among Americans, and 22% of those who died were aged 15–24 years. The CDC took data from the 50 most populous metropolitan areas and determined that in these cities 8.2 per 100,000 residents died in vehicle crashes, compared with a national rate of 11.1. The evidence suggests a need to better learn how urban development patterns might relate to MVC deaths and how to implement appropriate strategies to reduce these deaths. It also serves as a warning to the public to be extra cautious when driving in an urban area. Learn tips to avoid distracted driving here. For more information on these stats, click here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

NIOSH Guide Helps Small Business Address Workplace Safety

U.S. Department of Commerce reports that 70% of workplaces employ fewer than 20 people. Yet, these companies, on average, suffer higher fatality rates compared to larger organizations, according to a 2006 RAND report. To help small business owners find workplace safety resources, NIOSH has published Small Business Safety and Health Resource Guide. The online tools contains summaries of and links to more than 50 websites produced by commercial, academic and government organizations, NIOSH reports, adding that each listed resource was reviewed for relevance, ease of use, cost and credibility.

Submit Photos for NFPA's Second Firewise Photo Contest

Winners of NFPA's 2014 Calendar Firewise Day Photos Contest will be displayed in the 2014 Firewise calendar. Interested participants should submit their original photographs of their community's Firewise Day events or activities. Photos should capture community members actively participating in the events, such as a community clean-up event or cleaning up brush and tree limbs. The contest runs until Nov. 2, 2012, and 15 photos will be selected. Winners will be announced Feb. 8, 2013.

CSB Chair Says Focus on Broader Safety Indicators Needed to Prevent Oil Industry Disasters

"Better safety data could help prevent oil industry disasters,” says Rafael Moure-Eraso, chair of U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), in an op-ed piece published on the Houston Chronicle website. Discussing how statistics can be misleading, Moure-Eraso uses the example of the March 2005 explosion at a Texas City BP refinery that killed 15 workers. The incident occurred shortly after refinery personnel had been congratulated at a celebratory lunch for an outstanding safety record., Moure-Eraso says. “But the basis of the kudos—data indicating a low personal injury rate from accidents like slips, trips and falls—blinded operators, managers and top executives to more significant data concerning overall process safety that were warning that something catastrophic could hit the refinery.” Read the complete article at the Houston Chronicle’s website, then tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Polish & Russia Versions of Fall Prevention Fact Sheet Available

OSHA has issued Polish (OSHA Publication 3545) and Russian (OSHA Publication 3549) translations of its “Plan/Provide/Train” fall prevention fact sheet. These fact sheets share guidelines for working safely on ladders, roofs and scaffolds. The fact sheet is also available in English (OSHA Publication 3533-04) and Spanish (OSHA Publication 3534-04). 

OSHA also recently issued a sticker (OSHA Publication 0078) featuring OSHA’s “Safety Pays/Falls Cost” message.  You can download the facts sheets, sticker and other publications from OSHA’s Publications page.

Mining Fatalities Are Preventable

Nine metal/nonmetal miners and 10 coal miners died in work-related accidents in the last six months, states Joseph A. Main, MSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor. Falls, exploding vessels, powered haulage accidents and drowning were just some of the causes of death. What’s particularly alarming, Main adds, it that three of the fatalities involved supervisors. “Fatalities are preventable,” he says. “Many mines operate every shift of every day, year in and year out, without a fatality or a lost-time injury.” Fatalities can be prevented by using the following:
  • safety and health management programs;
  • workplace examinations before and during shifts;
  • effective and appropriate training.

According to Main, MSHA has put together several programs and materials about safety and health, such as their “Rules to Live By” prevention program. “We are united in our determination that all miners go home safe and healthy at the end of each shift,” he says. For more information, visit MSHA’s website

ASSE Call for Nominations Due August 15

Are you looking for a way to volunteer your time and talents to ASSE? The Society is accepting nominations for qualified professional members to serve on its Board of Directions and/or Regional Operating Committees in the 2013 Society Elections. In addition to Regional/Area positions, the following are up for election:
  • Senior Vice President
  • Vice President-Professional Affairs
  • Vice President-Professional Development.

For nomination packets and more information, contact ASSE Customer Service at (847) 699-2929 or customerservice@asse.org.

How to Handle Conflicting Contract SH&E Requirements

In her article, “Dealing with Conflicting Contract SH&E Requirements” from the latest issue of Military Matters, Pamela K. Wilkinson, M.S., stresses that SH&E professionals must gain knowledge of the procurement process to avoid conflicting SH&E requirements. She recommends that both buyers and suppliers include SH&E professionals in the procurement and bid-writing processes to avoid introducing hazards into the workplace.

How have you benefited from including SH&E professionals in your procurement and bid-writing processes? What are your tips for integrating safety into procurement activities?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

CDC Offers Free iPad App

CDC's new iPad application offers important information from the agency's website. The free app is available to download and allows users to access CDC health articles, recent data on public health issues, the agency's Preventing Chronic Disease journal, the Public Health Matters blog, an image library, press releases, podcasts, social media and much more.

ISEA to Host Roundtable on Confined Space Safety

International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) will host a roundtable in Washington, DC, that will bring together confined space safety experts, users, suppliers and representatives from government to share their perspectives and address questions on various challenges associated with confined space entry. The event, which will be held Aug. 21, 2012, is free of charge, but registration is required. Fill out the registration form, or contact ISEA's Joe Walker for details.

Powered Haulage Safety

Powered haulage accidents have accounted for 99 mine fatalities since 2001, according to MSHA. A total of 72 fatalities occurred at surface mines, 21 at underground mines and 6 at surface facilities. Proper equipment maintenance, sufficient operation equipment inspections and adequate planning could have helped miners avoid these accidents. In an effort to decrease these alarming numbers, MSHA offers best practices: 

• Equipment operators should be familiar with the working environment at all times. 
• Never attempt to jump from a moving truck or machine.
• Conduct operational checks before working. This will help to identify any defects that may affect
the safe operation of equipment.
• Maintain all braking systems in good operating condition.
• Operate mobile equipment at an appropriate speed for the conditions of the roadway, grade, visibility and traffic.
• Thoroughly review the operator’s manual during training.
• Identify hazards around conveyor systems and design guards.

It is essential to train all workers to recognize workplace hazards and to stay clear of normal paths of travel for mobile equipment, MSHA adds. For more information, visit www.msha.gov

CSB to Host Expert Panel on Safety Performance Indicators July 23-24

U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will host a two-day hearing on effective safety performance indicators, during which it will release preliminary findings from its investigation of the Macondo well blowout, explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico. The meeting will be held July 23-24 at the Hyatt Regency (1200 Louisiana St) in Houston, TX. It is free and open to the public. Learn more about the event here. CSB is asking those interested in attending to register in advance by sending an email to register@csb.gov.

Announced panelists include:
  • Kelly Kleim, vice chair, ANSI/API Recommended Practice 754 Task Group, and chief process safety engineer, ExxonMobil Chemical; 
  • Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor 
  • Kim Nibarger, health, safety and environment department, United Steelworkers International Union 
  • Kenneth E. Arnold, chair, Committee on the Effectiveness of Safety & Environmental Management Systems for Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Operations 
  • C.R. (Charlie) Williams II, executive director, Center for Offshore Safety, and chief scientist, well engineering and production technology, Shell 
  • Joe Stough, vice president, Innovation Technologies, IHS

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DOE Video Series Highlights Communities & Clean Energy

A new video series from U.S. Department of Energy, "Clean Energy in Our Community," features small U.S. communities that are trying to become more sustainable, investing in the green economy and incorporating clean energy into residents' lives. The video series also will highlight how colleges and universities play a role in shaping their communities' clean energy economy. Visit the website to view the first video, which features Luther College in Decorah, IA.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Agencies Agree to Improve FRA Whistleblower Protection

DOT's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and OSHA have signed an agreement to improve enforcement of the whistleblower provision in the Federal Railroad Safety Act, which protects employees from retaliation when they report safety violations. According to FRA, the agreement states that, "FRA will refer railroad employees who complain of alleged discrimination to OSHA, and OSHA will share copies of the complaints it receives with FRA." In addition, both agencies will develop training for FRA on how to process complaints of retaliation and to assist OSHA in recognizing violations.

Study Shows Sitting Can Reduce Life Expectancy

A new study shows that sitting for long periods of time can reduce life expectancy, and this even affects individuals who get physical exercise on a daily basis. “Sedentary behavior is something we need to take note of beyond telling people to get 30 minutes of activity a day,” says lead researcher of the study, Peter Katzmarzyk, to the Wall Street Journal. “We have people who can meet that guideline. However, if you’re sedentary or sitting the other 20 hours a day, you’re still going to be at risk for that.” The results of the study indicate that the U.S. population would live 2 years longer if adults reduced their sitting time to less than 3 hours a day. To do this, Katzmarzyk suggest that workers try to stand as much as possible. “Typically when you’re on the telephone you can stand with speaker phone,” he says. “Instead of emailing someone in the office, just get up and go talk to them.” Just a few simple steps can lead to longevity. To read the full study, click here

Monday, July 16, 2012

What's That, You Say?

More than half of factory workers who thought they had excellent or good hearing actually suffered hearing loss and didn’t even recognize the problem. That's the key finding of a new research study conducted by the University of Michigan School of Nursing, which suggests that healthcare providers need better methods of testing and protecting hearing among factory workers.

Of 2,691 noise-exposed automobile factory workers surveyed, 76% reported excellent or good hearing. However, formal hearing tests revealed that 42% of those workers actually suffered hearing loss. This finding suggests that self-reported hearing loss is poorly related to the results of formal hearing testing. In other words, many factory workers might have hearing loss and not even realize there’s a problem.

Read more about the study itself here.

MSHA Video on Mock Mine Rescue

MSHA, in collaboration with Consol Energy BMX, Pennsylvania state agencies and emergency response teams, recently put on a mock mine emergency to determine what aspects of mine rescue are successful and what need improvement.  Consol Energy BMX shut down their facility for a day to simulate the very realistic fire that trapped workers underground. The simulation tested a new seismic location system that allowed trapped miners to signal from 980 ft underground by pounding with a timber on a roof bolt. The system then detected the seismic signals and recorded the results on a chart. A new mine rescue communications system and the MSHA Permissible Mine Rescue Robot were also proven successful during this event. According to Joseph Sbaffoni, Director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mine Safety, this is the best training out there: “It brings all the parties together and it enables us to see how we’re going to interact, how we’re going to work together, how we’re going to draw on each other’s resources.” To watch the video on this mock emergency, visit MSHA’s website

Friday, July 13, 2012

OSHA Wildfire Tips

Unfortunately, it often takes a devastating event like the recent Colorado wildfires to remind the public how quickly disaster can strike. To lessen damage and fatalities in future wildfire disasters, OSHA offers wildfire preparedness tips and evacuation plans for workers. According to the Administration, it is essential to discuss in advance what conditions will activate the plan and who will be in charge. Plans should be reviewed with all employees, and any necessary training should be administered. In the event that there is not enough time to evacuate or if workers are caught in circumstances where they cannot follow the evacuation plan, FEMA offers guidance on what to do during a wildfire if in a vehicle, in a residence or out in the open. For more information on how communities can prepare, click here

CSB Identifies Strategies Through 2016

U.S. Chemical Safety Board's (CSB) 2012-2016 strategic plan includes a Most Wanted Program that the agency will use to focus its outreach initiatives surrounding key recommendations. It also outlines three key goals:

Goal 1: Conduct incident investigations and safety studies concerning releases of hazardous chemical substances. This drives the agency's core mission by ensuring that it selects and completes incident investigations that will generate recommendations with high preventive impact. It also focuses the agency on developing and completing safety studies with an emphasis on emerging safety issues.

Goal 2: Improve safety and environmental protection by ensuring that CSB recommendations are implemented and by broadly disseminating findings. CSB's widely viewed safety videos are an important component of this goal.

Goal 3: Preserve the public trust by maintaining and improving organizational. This goal binds all agency processes using best practice project management. This includes all of the agency’s administration and services functions.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What Are Your Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving?

Since distracted driving events account for an increasing percentage of crashes, the Transportation Practice Specialty has established a Distracted Driving Taskforce. The taskforce has developed a list of tips to combat distracted driving among those who drive regularly as part of their job.

In today’s fast-paced world when so many of us are expected to be “connected” at all times, how do you resist the urge to text, talk on the phone or reach for an object while driving (on or off the job)?

Grill Safety

There’s nothing like grilled grub in the summertime. While peak grilling season is underway, the NFPA wants to remind everyone about safe grilling techniques:
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
According to statistics, gas grills tend to have a much higher risk than charcoal or other solid-fueled grills.  No matter which grill you use, always take precautionary measures.

Propane grills:
  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills:
  • When using starter fluid, make sure it is only charcoal starter fluid. Never add any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
Follow these safety tips so that the only thing getting burned is the chicken (for taste purposes, we recommend a light blackening instead). To learn more, click here

Cleaning Safely

NIOSH and OSHA have teamed to produce "Protecting Workers Who Use Cleaning Chemicals," an  infosheet for building maintenance workers, janitors and housekeepers. Many employers are switching to green cleaning products because they are thought to be less hazardous to workers and the environment. The document provides information to employers on practices to help keep workers safe when working with cleaning chemicals, including green cleaning products. The agencies have also produced the "Protect Yourself: Cleaning Chemicals and Your Health" poster that's available for free download.

OSHA Training Event to Boost Federal Workers' Performance

OSHA is offering a 3-day training event for federal agency personnel who are responsible for ensuring the safety and health of other federal workers. Scheduled for July 31 - Aug. 2, 2012, the event will be held in Arlington Heights, IL, and offer seminars on workplace violence, ergonomics, hazard communication focused on the global harmonizing system and more. OSHA says, "This training event is intended to help federal managers implement and manage their injury and illness prevention programs which include finding and fixing workplace hazards."

Registration is open until July 24, and for more information, visit OSHA's Directorate of Training and Education website.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inherent Safety

Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has a new safety video that examines the concept of inherent safety and its application across industry: Inherently Safer: The Future of Risk Reduction” stems from an explosion in 2008 that killed two workers and injured eight others at the Bayer CropScience chemical plant in Institute, WV. The video is available to stream or download on and may be viewed on the CSB’s YouTube channel,

In the video, CSB Chair Rafael Moure-Eraso discusses the findings from CSB’s investigation and the catastrophic consequences that the explosion could have had on the surrounding community. The video discusses the four main components of inherently safer design:
  1. Substitute: Replace one material with another that is less hazardous.
  2. Minimize: Reduce the amount of hazardous material in the process.
  3. Moderate. Use less hazardous process conditions such as lower pressures or temperatures.
  4. Simplify. Design processes to be less complicated, and therefore less prone to failure.
As Moure-Eraso says near the end of the video, “The principles of inherently safer processing can be an effective way for chemical companies to eliminate or reduce hazards, prevent accidents and protect nearby communities."

NIOSH Provides Info for Emergency Medical Workers

NIOSH's new Emergency Medical Services Resources web page offers information for emergency medical service (EMS) workers and how they can stay safe and healthy on the job. The website, which originated from a project with NIOSH, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Office of Emergency Medical Services, provides reports and publications pertaining to occupational injuries to EMS workers; injury and illness data; NIOSH EMS reports; and additional links to resources.


CDC Live Twitter Chat

Summertime often equates to less days at the office and more days around the globe. However, this change in pace should not equate to a change in safety and health. Here to give travelers and healthcare providers health and safety tips are the CDC’s Director, Tom Frieden, and its Travelers’ Health Branch Chief, Gary Brunette. Together they will host a live Twitter chat on July 13 at 2:00 p.m. CST. Join the conversation by following Frieden on Twitter at @DrFriedenCDC.

No More Heartbreak at the Love Canal

In Niagara Falls, NY, in the 1800s, William T. Love attempted to connect the upper and lower Niagara River by a canal, but the project was never completed. This canal later turned into a dumping ground and subsequent public health disaster. Chemicals in the Love Canal led to birth defects, miscarriages and cancer in many of the residents living near the contaminated site.

However, thanks to a huge cleanup effort, the Love Canal was removed from EPA’s list of Superfund sites in 2004. Click here to read Jennifer Hatfield's article on the Love Canal, recently featured in the Vol. 11 No. 3 issue of EnviroMentor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making a Business Case for Safety

At Safety 2012, David Galt, senior legal editor for BLR, offered seven tips that safety professionals can follow when trying to convince management, and particularly the CFO, to invest in safety:

Step 1: Identify the business value drivers. To do this, review annual reports, learn business terminology and observe what Galt called "the winners"--those who get resources and people from management.

Step 2: Identify costs and losses. Here, Galt says, be sure to focus on risk of future loss as well as existing losses. Future losses are a key leading indicator for CFOs, he said.

Step 3: Identify investments in safety. What activities are being done for safety, what tasks are involved and what investment is being made.

Step 4: Link activities to the business drivers identified in step 1. This draws the path from safety to business outcomes clearly.

Step 5: Measure performance. What gets measured (correctly) gets attention.

Step 6: Communicate results. Make sure the results are relevant and communicated in business terms. And, more than anything, Galt advised, make your communications concise--otherwise you risk losing your audience.

Step 7: Follow up. To be effective, follow up must be regular, consistent, and should indicate progress on tangibles and intangibles.

Submit Your Public Comment on HazMat Return Policy

Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) is seeking public comment to help create a reverse logistics policy concerning hazardous materials. According to the agency, reverse logistics occurs when a consumer product is returned to goes backward in the supply chain, and when it involves HazMat items, the chances for error increase. PHMSA reports return policies are usually straightforward, but "the effort is complicated when a consumer needs to return paint, batteries or other regulated hazardous materials."

The agency wants to know if a clear definition of reverse logistics will help promote the safe transport of hazardous materials during the process. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 3, 2012.

OSH Training for Teachers

EU-OSHA recently released a report stating that all educators should receive training about OSH in their working lives, and should learn how to incorporate risk education into their daily work. “Teachers not only need the basic knowledge and ability to embed risk education into their classroom teaching, they also need instruction and training about health and safety in the school environment,” EU-OSHA Director Christa Sedlatschek says. Using specific cases, the report explores training for teachers, as well as some other alternatives to safety management, such as the use of classroom materials for risk education and training trainers for the workplace. Some general success factors for promoting risk education include a concentrated safety management approach in schools, cooperation between OSH and educational professionals and an increased involvement from students, parents, teachers, school managers and local authorities. “Developing risk knowledge, attitudes and skills in young people before they enter work for the first time continues to be a priority for improving workplace safety culture, as well as for their own safety and well-being,” Sedlatschek adds. For the full report, click here

NFPA Issues Safety Alert: SCBA Facepiece Lenses

NFPA has issued a safety alert on self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepiece lenses, warning that they may undergo thermal degradation when exposed to intense heat. NFPA recommends that fire departments, fire academies and emergency service organizations inspect all SCBA facepiece lenses before and after each use. Those with cracks, bubbling, discoloring, gaps or other imperfections should be immediately removed from service. Visit the NFPA website for complete information and recommendations.

Monday, July 9, 2012

ISO Guidelines Address Cookstove Safety

A new ISO International Workshop Agreement IWA 11:2012, Guidelines for evaluating cookstove performance, defines criteria for clean, efficient and safe cookstoves. The agency says, "IWA 11 represents a critical first step toward a common understanding of how to define and verify clean stoves and fuels among all affected countries and stakeholders, and to encourage innovation to find even better cooking solutions."

The agency also reports that the guidelines are expected to reduce the safety and health risks that cookstoves may present, while encouraging the "large-scale adoption of clean cooking solutions."

Friday, July 6, 2012

AIHA's White Paper Discusses Role of OSHA

AIHA has released a white paper, "Perspective on the Role of OSHA in Advancing Occupational Safety and Health for the Nation," that highlights OSHA and the roles and issues that it faces. AIHA reports that the paper "addresses OSHA's current approach and opportunities for improved effectiveness in key areas enumerated in the agency's strategic plan and the 2011-16 Strategic Plan of the U.S. Department of Labor." In addition, the paper provides AIHA's insights on future responsibilities of OSHA and suggestions as to how the agency can fulfill those roles.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Digging Out of a Safety Rut

In the latest issue of the Transportation Practice Specialty’s publication, TransActions, Mark Mitchell, director of safety for Alaska Railroad Corporation, maintains that “safety needs to be changed not just in the railroad industry, but nationwide and worldwide.” Mitchell says, “The functional elements of safety are stuck in a rut, and the profession is responsible for digging out of that rut.”

What do you believe is the first step SH&E professionals must take to dig safety out of a rut?

EPA's Job Training Grants

The EPA has announced that it will award $3 million to 15 grantees through the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. The grants, which train and place unemployed individuals in local environmental jobs, target economically disadvantaged neighborhoods where both environmental cleanups and jobs are lacking. The Agency hopes that these investments stimulate the partnership among local workforce investment boards, community-based organizations, governmental agencies and educational institutions. The program also hopes to improve the skills of local labor while providing communities the flexibility to design training programs that meet their individual needs. The development of this green workforce will allow the trainees to attain skills that will make them competitive in the construction and redevelopment fields. For more information, click here

OSHA Accepting Nominations for Federal Advisory Council

OSHA is accepting nominations for six places on its Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health. The agency needs to fill three federal agency management representative positions and three labor organization representative positions. The Federal Advisory Council advises the Secretary of Labor on issues pertaining to the occupational safety and health of federal employees.

Nominations must be sumitted by Sept. 4, 2012, electronically or via mail or fax.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stay Cool Tips for Workers

High temperatures and sun-filled days may seem great for the holiday but proceed with caution, especially if you are working outside. Extreme heat, sun exposure and high humidity can result in a bevy of health-related issues. The CDC suggests workers should take the following steps to prevent heat stress:
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton. Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing.
  • Gradually build up to heavy work.
  • Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity, and retreat to cool areas when possible. 
  • Drink water frequently (approximately one cup every 20 minutes). Drink enough water that you never become thirsty.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated or sugary drinks.
  • Be aware that protective clothing or PPE may increase the risk of heat stress.
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers. 

If possible, avoid exposure to the sun and high humidity altogether. For more information on heat-related stresses and staying cool, click here

FRA's Proposed Rulemaking to Clarify Emergency Preparedness Requirements

A notice of proposed rulemaking, from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), would clarify some requirements of current emergency preparedness standards for passenger trains. The agency reports the rulemaking also would address issues that have come about since the standard were developed in 1998. The proposed rulemaking would:
  • ensure that personnel who communicate with first responders receive continuous training, and are inspected and tested on those skills;
  • specify  efficiency testing and inspection requirements for railroad employees;
  • limit FRA's need to approve administrative changes to approved emergency preparedness plans;
  • clarify that railroads must develop procedures in their preparedness plans for safe evacuation of passengers with disabilities.
Public comments can be submitted until Aug. 27, 2012. For more information, visit FRA's website.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Build Safe Chicago Initiative Works to Improve Construction Safety

The latest issue of the Construction Practice Specialty’s publication, Blueprints, features an interview with John Salley, project executive with Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., and Robert Cote, senior regional safety manager for Gilbane Building Company.

Both Salley and Cote are involved in Build Safe Chicago, a coalition of construction companies that work to improve occupational safety and health for Chicago construction workers. Does your city have similar initiatives to protect its construction workers or those working in other industry sectors? Let us know!

Keeping Eyes Safe in the Workplace

July is Eye Injury Prevention Month. Consider using these tips from Cintas Corp., to help protect your workers' eyes.
  1. Identify workplace hazards. Eye injuries can be caused by many different hazards including flying or falling objects, chemical exposure, contact with work equipment or objects, ultraviolent light emitted from welding and debris such as wood, glass and plastic. Conduct a safety walk-through to locate areas and tasks that pose as risks to workers. 
  2. Select appropriate eyewear. Eyewear must protect against the specific hazards employees will encounter and be properly fitted to each person. Since different styles have varying levels of comfort and must help protect certain eye dangers, purchase multiple types of eyewear, including prescription lenses for workers who require them. Consider having your company logo branded on glasses to encourage workers to take care of PPE and leave eyewear at work at the end of each day.
  3. Provide regular training. Nearly 60% of workers who sustain eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time, according to BLS. Use training to highlight eye injury statistics and workplace hazards, demonstrate how and when to wear eye protection, and how to properly care for it. Also provide guidelines on how to respond to an eye injury.
  4. Remove ineffective eyewear. Replace eyewear that scratches easily, is not anti-glare, fits poorly or is uncomfortable. Workers may not wear eyewear if it reduces their ability to perform their job or is uncomfortable. Set up a schedule to inspect eyewear for cracks or loose frames, and discard damaged PPE. 
  5. Provide emergency treatment options. Eyewash stations should be placed within 10 seconds of eye hazards to help flush eyes and relieve irritation. Clean equipment every few months or more often if necessary to maintain water and solution levels. Keep eye drops, eye wash and gauze stocked in first-aid cabinets that are easily accessible. 
  6. Promote PPE compliance through visual reminders. Safety signage can remind workers of specific hazards, the importance of using eyewear and proper emergency response. Place posters and signs near machinery, chemicals and in common areas such as break rooms. Make sure text is supplemented with pictures to warn employees whose first language may not be English. 
Learn more here.

Society Special Elections Results

The results are in for the 2012 Society special elections! The Nominations & Elections Committee is happy to announce our future safety leaders. 
Voting in the 2012 election ended on June 19, 2012, followed by a Tellers Committee review and verification. For more information on the 2013 Society elections, click here