Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ASSE Publishes New College Texts

ASSE has published eight new textbooks for college and university students. Edited by Joel M. Haight, Ph.D., P.E., these peer-reviewed texts were written by SH&E professionals and intended as primary texts for core SH&E undergraduate courses.

Developed from The Safety Professional's Handbook, Second Edition, the textbooks were developed based on a survey of the publication's authors who are university instructors. Each chapter contains learning objectives and review questions.

The textbooks include:

  • Environmental Safety and Health Regulations;
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering;
  • Hazard Prevention through Effective Safety and Health Training;
  • Hazardous Material and Hazard Communication;
  • Industrial Fire Protection;
  • Principals of Industrial Safety;
  • Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Workplace Health Hazards;
  • Workplace Hazard Prevention Management.

The textbooks provide in-depth analysis and discussion, case studies and examples of the core competencies expected of undergraduates as they enter professional practice, including SH&E regulations, applied science and engineering and best practices.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NSC Announces 2013 CEOs Who "Get It"

Eight leaders of national and multinational organizations, representing a range of industries, have been recognized for their dedication to safety excellence by National Safety Council (NSC). CEOs Who “Get It” is NSC’s annual recognition of business leaders who demonstrate world-class safety. According to NSC, each of these leaders understand that safety is not only the right thing to do, but that creating a culture of safety is also a business imperative.

NSC recognizes leaders of organizations who have a firm grasp on what it calls the “journey to safety excellence”—the quest to drive workplace injuries and fatalities to zero—and its four key pillars: committed leadership and employee engagement; sound safety processes and procedures; continuous risk reduction; and measuring and improving performance. This year’s honorees are:
  • Teri Bristol, chief operating officer, FAA, Air Traffic Organization,Washington, DC;
  • Richard Fox, CEO, CDM Smith, Cambridge, MA;
  • Anthony Orlando, president and CEO, Covanta Energy Corp., Morristown, NJ;
  • Richard Sarles, general manager and CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority,Washington, DC;
  • David Seaton, chair and CEO, Fluor Corp., Irving, TX;
  • Michael Sims, general manager and CEO, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative Inc., Oxford, OH;
  • Major General Peter Talleri, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations Pacific/Commander, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler;
  • Bill Wright, president and CEO, Petrochem Insulation Inc., Vallejo, CA.
"The strong example these leaders have set in living the journey and protecting their employees is something we hope all business leaders will follow,” says NSC’s Janet Froetscher.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide Exposure, OSHA Says

According to OSHA, each year workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning. OSHA is reminding employers that they need to protect workers from the dangers of carbon monoxide exposure. The agency's Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet provides tips and resources to help employers take precautions. To reduce risk, employers should install an effective ventilation system, try to not use fuel-burning equipment in enclosed spaces and install carbon monoxide detectors.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Canada Releases Standard on Workplace Psychological Health and Safety

A new Canadian standard has been released that is designed to help companies and employees improve workplace psychological health and safety. The voluntary standard, “Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, Promotion and Guidance to Staged Implementation,” focuses on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors. The National Standard of Canada was released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Bureau de normalisation du Qu├ębec (BNQ) and CSA Group.

"One in five Canadians experience a mental health problem or mental illness in any given year and many of the most at risk individuals are in their early working years,” says MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley. “It’s time to start thinking about mental well-being in the same way as we consider physical well-being, and the standard offers the framework needed to help make this happen in the workplace.”

The standard provides a systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, including:

  • identification of psychological hazards in the workplace;
  • assessment and control of workplace risks associated with hazards that cannot be eliminated (e.g., stressors due to organizational change or reasonable job demands);
  • implementation of practices that support and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace;
  • growth of a culture that promotes psychological health and safety in the workplace;
  • implementation of measurement and review systems to ensure sustainability.

“This voluntary national standard is the result of a collaborative effort between MHCC, BNQ and CSA Group, and is supported by scientific literature from many relevant areas of workplace health and safety, social science and law,” says CSA Group’s Bonnie Rose. “Workplaces with a positive approach to psychological health and safety have improved employee engagement, enhanced productivity, and a better financial outlook.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Survey Shows Mining Executives Rank Workforce Safety as Highest Priority

Results from a recent survey show new trends and shifting attitudes among mining executives. The study identified worker safety and managing capital projects as the highest priorities of today’s mining executives, followed closely by maximizing production effectiveness.

Ventyx, an ABB company, completed its annual Mining Executive Insights survey in late 2012. According to the firm, the survey represents the views of 374 mining companies. Most respondents were C-level executives, vice presidents or directors across different mining sectors, including coal, gold, copper, iron ore, zinc and nickel.

Respondents identified their current priorities by level of importance as follows:
  • ensuring workforce safety (31%);
  • managing capital projects (25%);
  • maximizing production effectiveness (21%);
  • ensuring equipment operates reliably and predictably (8%).

“Our research shows the mining industry remains cautious about the strength of global economic recovery. In response, many mining organizations have begun looking inward, especially in regard to the labor market,” says Bas Mutsaers, Ventyx’s senior vice president of mining industry solutions. “In doing so, they have shifted their focus from finding qualified workers anywhere, at any cost to ensuring the workforce they currently have is efficient, well-informed and safe.”

“At the same time, these companies aren’t seeing a tradeoff between worker safety and profitability,” he adds. “In other words, the same technologies and best practices that improve safety also improve performance and efficiency.”

According to Ventyx, the study demonstrates how closely mining executives correlate worker safety and mine productivity. When asked to identify their primary safety initiatives, 64% of respondents selected “development of skills, best work practices and situation-based decision making.”

Mutsaers says mobile and other new technologies allow companies to change their traditional approach to training and skill development. “There is definitely an opportunity for mining organizations to leverage emerging technologies to transform how they educate and empower their workers to reduce safety incidents and improve efficiencies.”

For complete survey results, visit

NPR Charts Deadliest Jobs in America

A recent post on NPR's Planet Money: The Economy Explained blog features an infographic on the deadliest jobs in America. The post also presents some interesting facts and stats about those occupations. Be sure to give it a look.

Changes Made to OSHA Lab Standard Improve Hygiene Plans

OSHA has made revisions to its standard 29 CFR 1910.1450, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories. The agency says the changes highlight significant developments in laboratory practices. Key revisions include guidance for designing a hygiene plan for laboratories using hazardous chemicals. This addresses hazards of working alone in laboratories; guidelines for working safely with nanoparticles; an emphasis on physical hazards in laboratories such as machinery and equipment; emergency planning and security; and development of a safety culture in laboratories.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Flu-Prevention Tips

With the dangers of the current flu season, Kimberly-Clark Professional is reminding people of precautions they can take in addition to vaccinations to protect themselves against getting sick.

Kelly Arehart, global innovation manager for The Healthy Workplace Project, Kimberly-Clark Professional, offers these flu-prevention tips:
  1. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Viruses on surfaces like sink faucets and door handles can spread rapidly, especially in public places such as offices and schools. Cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes can reduce surface contamination on these germ hot spots. Facilities that provide these and other tools to employees, teachers and students can make a difference. Using a “wash, wipe, sanitize” workplace protocol can reduce the probability of catching the flu or cold by 80%, and can reduce surface contamination by 62%.
  2. Wash hands often. This is particularly important before eating, after using the restroom and after being outside. Use soap and warm water for 20 seconds. It is also important to dry hands with a clean, fresh towel. Use instant hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  3. Prevent the spread of germs by covering nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing and throwing the tissue away. Use an antiviral tissue, since some cold and flu viruses can live up to 24 hours on regular tissues.
  4. If a tissue is not handy, cough or sneeze into your elbow to prevent the spread of germs. One sneeze can spray up to 3,000 infectious droplets into the air.
  5. If you get sick, stay home. CDC recommends that those who have flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.
Photo courtesy stock.xchng/evah

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Interview: ASSE’s India Chapter

ASSE’s India Chapter continues to grow since its launch nearly a year ago. Click here to read an interview with ASSE President Rick Pollock and ASSE members Jitu Patel, R. Bharadwaj, R. Karuppasamy and M. Vijay Kumar from the latest issue of World Focus, the International Practice Specialty’s online publication.

These members were all involved in the India Chapter’s development and launch. Read why the chapter was created and how it will meet its goals, as well as the needs of its membership, from this point forward.

ASTM Publishes Standards for Accident and Disaster Control

ASTM Standards for Accident and Disaster Control, a compilation from ASTM International, is now available on CD-ROM. The compilation includes 185 standards for accident and emergency management from ASTM Committees E54 on Homeland Security; F12 on Security Systems; F32 on Search and Rescue; and F30 on Emergency Medical Services. Topics include:

  • management and operations;
  • decontamination;
  • operational equipment;
  • training and education;
  • security and locking devices;
  • emergency response and warning systems;
  • fire, chemical, biological and radiological incidents.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

International Treaty on Mercury

The World Health Organization has approved a new international convention that will reduce the harmful health effects of mercury, a chemical known to travel long distances in the atmosphere and accumulate in fish ecosystems. Mercury is significantly detrimental to human health and may cause permanent damage to the nervous system, particularly the developing nervous system. Infants, children and women of child-bearing age must be extra cautious because the chemical can be passed from a mother to her unborn child.

The treaty, which evolved from extensive analysis of evidence and a series of negotiations involving more than 140 countries, establishes numerous protective measures, including controls on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants and the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The treaty also includes an article dedicated to health. For more information, click here.

MSHA's Final Rule Addresses Pattern of Violations

MSHA has announced it will publish a pattern of violations final rule that aims to strengthen safety in the most dangerous U.S. mines. The agency reports the final rule "will ensure that mine operators monitor and address the most hazardous safety problems in their mines." In addition, it strengthens the agency's ability to respond to dangerous mines and improve the safety and health for miners.

Monday, January 21, 2013

DOL Announces Winners of Worker Safety & Health App Challenge

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the winners of the DOL Worker Safety and Health App Challenge. With prizes totaling $30,000, the challenge asked participants to use publicly available government information (e.g., OSHA and NIOSH data) to create an app that would help educate young workers on the safety and health risks in real work scenarios.

Submissions were required to achieve two goals:
  • provide tools that demonstrate the importance of knowing about workplace safety and health hazards;
  • provide tools to help young workers understand their rights in the workplace.
Winning apps were selected in each of four categories:
  • Grand Prize: Working Safely Is No Accident, by the University of Tennessee Construction Industry Research and Policy Center;
  • Safety and Health Data Award: USW Chemical Safety, by United Steelworkers;
  • Worker’s Rights Award: No Jack – Young Workers’ Safety Campaign, by Montana State Fund;
  • People’s Choice Award: Ergonomics iOS Application, by Sidharth G., of Austin, TX.
Visit the winners gallery to view the winning submissions.

OSHA Discusses Tools to Improve Workplace Safety

Many employers now recognize that safety management not only prevents accidents, but also improves business, says OSHA Chief David Michaels in an interview with Bloomberg BNA. "In fact, well-managed, profitable companies manage for safety,” he adds.

Despite this promising news, there are still many companies who don't give priority to safety and health. “There are many, many other employers who are unaware of our standards, or have some idea that they might be making a mistake, or that there might be a violation, but for whatever reason don't feel like they need to abate that hazard immediately,” Michaels says in the interview.

In these instances, OSHA uses different tools for different employers to encourage them to move safety to the forefront. One example he gives is the OSHA's use of press releases to publicize citations, which is something it will continue doing. He also mentions that OSHA will be collaborating with NIOSH on future initiatives and tools. Many of the tools OSHA uses all focus on the same thing, Michaels says. "Saying not just, 'Abate hazards,' but really, 'Change what you're doing in the workplace in a way that makes a big difference and that will really reduce injury and illness.'" It is better to encourage and incentivize action, rather than prescribe it, he adds. For more information, click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Communicating Silica Hazards Using Safety Sign Standards

Geoffrey Peckham’s article, “Applied Semiotics: Communicating Silica Hazards Using New Best Practice Safety Sign Standards,” from the latest issue of the Construction Practice Specialty’s publication Blueprints, explains how industry-wide use of ANSI Z535.2-2011 principles can provide the construction industry with a standardized means to communicate silica hazards.

Many common construction activities, such as tunneling, dry sweeping, stonecutting and rock drilling, have the potential to place workers at risk of exposure to crystalline silica hazards.

A content-rich safety sign that employs graphical symbols, standardized severity level color-coding and carefully chosen wording can increase awareness of silica hazards in the workplace and can define and implement proper workplace procedures that use specific PPE. Click here to read more.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Static Electricity & Relative Humidity

During the winter months, when outdoor temperatures are cooler, the reduction in relative humidity due to heating the air to a comfortable working temperature is much greater than during the summer. Therefore, the trend is for static problems to become much more of a problem during the winter, especially in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Alan P. McCartney’s article, “Static Electricity & Relative Humidity,” from the latest issue of the Fire Protection Practice Specialty’s publication Fireline, clears up many of the common misconceptions about static electricity and shows how understanding the effect of relative humidity on materials’ electrostatic properties can help prevent static hazards.

Click here to learn how you can protect employees from static hazards in the workplace this winter.

ASSE Releases Revised A10.32 Standard

ASSE's revised A10.32-2012 standard is available. Revisions to ANSI/ASSE A10.32, Personal Fall Protection for Use in Construction and Demolition Operations provide guidelines for all protection equipment, establish performance criteria for such equipment in construction and demolition, and provide recommendations for use and inspection. A10 Committee Chair Richard King says, "The revisions will further enhance our ability to provide a safe workplace for those employed on construction and demolition sites."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Flu Shots are Safe for Pregnant Women

A new study has found flu shots show no increased risk of pregnancy loss. In fact, it suggests that influenza during pregnancy has an increased risk of miscarriages and still births. Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) tested Norwegian pregnant women following the H1N1 influenza pandemic that took place between spring 2009 and fall 2010. NIPH researchers combined data from obstetrical visits, birth records and vaccination registries to see whether the flu vaccination posed a risk to pregnancy. The study found that influenza infection increases the risk of fetal loss by up to twofold, while the vaccination reduces the risk of fetal loss.

“Most important is that vaccinations protect pregnant women against influenza illness, which could be harmful for both the mother and the baby,” says co-author Allen Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D. “If pregnant women are worried about their fetus, then getting a flu shot is a good thing to do.” 

For more information, click here.

Agencies Issue Workplace Hazard Alert for Diesel Engine Exhaust

OSHA and MSHA have issued a hazard alert on workplace exposure to diesel engine exhaust particulate matter for construction and mining workers, and for those who work close to diesel engine-powered machinery. Short-term exposure can cause headaches, dizziness and irritation to eyes, nose and throat. Long-term exposure can increase risk of heart and lung diseases, as well as lung cancer.

To reduce exposure, both agencies recommend implementing engineering controls, such as installing exhaust filters and maintaining engines, and administrative controls, such as minimizing traffic congestion and having off-limits areas for diesel engines.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CSB to Hold Webcast of Meeting, Invites Public to Participate

CSB will hold a webcast on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, of its public meeting concerning the final report into the fatal 2011 explosion and fire that occurred at a facility used by Donaldson Enterprises near Honolulu, HI. According the the agency, the explosion and fire took place during the disposal of professional grade fireworks that had been illegally labeled for consumer use.

CSB Chair Rafael Moure-Eraso hopes the webcast will encourage "a dynamic meeting with questions and comments from a variety of viewers." Participants can register for the webcast or join the meeting in person in Washington, DC. The meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. (EST).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

EPA's Online Guide Helps Businesses Control Water Usage

To help facility owners and managers better control their water usage, EPA has released an online guide titled WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities. The guide features seven case studies about facilities who have demonstrated water savings, as well as tips and resources to help reduce water use, meet energy requirements, and reduce operating costs by understanding water use patterns and best practices.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are You a Hero at Work?

In his article, “A Hero at Work,” from the latest issue of the Management Practice Specialty’s publication The Compass, Mitch McCrimmon asserts that heroes can be their own worst enemy in the workplace. While heroes might excel at devising solutions or might enjoy the attention this brings, they often fail to foster dialogue, collaboration and joint ownership of decisions.

McCrimmon believes the increasing need for faster innovation and employee engagement demands closer collaboration, not excessive individualism. Click here to learn how to be less heroic, but more effective, in the workplace.

NHTSA Proposes Sound Requirements for Hybrid/Electric Vehicles

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that electric and hybrid vehicles must meet minimum sound standards to ensure pedestrian safety. According to NHTSA, the sounds would need to be detectable under various street noises and other background sounds when the vehicle is traveling under 18 mph.

"Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models while still providing an opportunity for pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired to detect and recognize a vehicle and make a decision about whether it is safe to cross the street," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says. For more information, visit NHTSA's website.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Latest Issue of JSHER Available Online

The latest issue of the Journal of Safety, Health & Environmental Research (JSHER) has been published (z-mag; PDF).

This issue includes:
  • An editorial by Qingsheng Wang on fire and process safety
  • QSPR Studies Using Genetic Function Approximation to Predict the Chemical Reactivity of Noncyclic Hydrazines by Carlos A. Espindola-Calderon, Suhani J. Patel, Ammar Alkhawaldeh, Yuan Lu and M. Sam Mannan
  • Incident Analysis of Major Crowd Stampedes by Jacques Albert, Qingsheng Wang, Tingguang Ma and Michael Larranaga
  • Extracting Kinetic Information Using Power Measurements From Isothermal Calorimeters by Subramanya Nayak, M. Sam Mannan and Simon Waldram
To learn how you can contribute to future issues of JSHER, click here.

Forklift Safety

Workplace injury statistics show that the most common type of forklift-related injury is pedestrians being struck by a forklift, according to an article on This can result in very serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Since forklift certification is not renewed annually, it's easy for drivers to get overly complacent behind the wheel and forget the safety guidelines. For a safer workplace, InjuryFree suggests that managers regularly reiterate these points to forklift operators:

  • Stop and sound the horn at intersections and corners.
  • Keep the headlights on at all times for increased visibility.
  • Always make eye contact with pedestrians to make sure they see the forklift.
  • Always look in the direction of travel.
  • Check over both shoulders and honk the horn before reversing.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way, always let them pass first.

In addition to the forklift operators' responsibilities, pedestrians also must be cautious in work zones. Injury Free suggests including a pedestrian safety training session alongside operator training. Workers should know how to choose safer walking routes, to make eye contact with drivers, and to be alert when walking across aisles, intersections or around blind corners. Consider requiring staff who work near forklifts to wear high-visibility clothing as well, the article suggests. For more information, click here

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ASTM Launches Leadership Initiative

ASTM International has launched its Leadership Connection initiative to help promote the professional development opportunities resulting from involvement in standards development activities. The Leadership Connection site provides resources such as:

  • reference articles outlining strategies for succeeding as a standards professional;
  • best practices guidance for technical committee officers on orienting new members;
  • information for employers highlighting the value and impact of standards on business growth and corporate performance.

“ASTM membership offers one of the richest learning and professional development environments you’ll find anywhere,” says ASTM's Katharine Morgan, vice president, Technical Committee Operations. “It’s easy to find roles of added responsibility. Members who are committed to engage will find a clear and progressive path of leadership development.”

A central component to the Leadership Connection campaign is the ASTM Technical Committee Mentoring Program, which pairs a new ASTM member with a seasoned one for personalized instruction on the inner workings of technical committees.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ASSE to Host Oil & Gas Virtual Symposium Jan. 9

ASSE's Safety Issues in the Upstream Oil and Gas Sector virtual symposium is scheduled for Jan. 9-10, 2013. Interested participants can still register online. The 2-day event, sponsored by Cintas, will be presented in ASSE's webinar platform, with opportunities to network and earn 1.6 CEUs, as well as receive supplement learning materials, which include two prerecorded sessions concerning the oil and gas industry.

The virtual symposium aims to teach participants how to describe risks to those working in fracking operations, explain fall protection hazards to workers in the upstream oil sector, better manage safety-related decisions in projects with contractors, appraise emerging upstream oil industry trends and much more. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Proposed FDA Rules to Help Prevent Foodborne Illness

Two new proposed food safety rules from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) focus on foodborne illness prevention and product safety. According to FDA, one rule would require food producers who are planning that the food be sold in the U.S., to develop a formal plan for preventing the food products from causing foodborne illness. The second proposed rule suggests "enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms."

FDA reports that the proposed rules implement its Food Safety Modernization Act, and both are open for public comment for about the next 4 months.

Friday, January 4, 2013

ISO Certification Survey Results Available Online

International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) 2011 Survey of Management System Standards Certification is available for download through its website. ISO's Rob Steele says that the survey results show increases in certification for information security, energy management, environmental management, and within the areas of food safety, medical devices and automotive. Steele adds, "The survey is a pointer to the evolving global economy and of certification. A number of markets where certification took off in the early 1990s are showing signs of having reached maturity."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January Is National Radon Action Month

January 2013 is National Radon Action Month and agencies are urging the public to test their houses, regardless of geographic location or foundation type, as EPA reports that radon problems have been detected in almost every county in the U.S. In addition, CDC reports that radon gas causes more than 20,000 deaths in the U.S. per year. Visit the National Radon Action Month website to learn how you can become proactive in protecting your family and community.