Thursday, October 31, 2013

FAA Expanding Passenger Usage of Electronic Portable Devices During Flights

DOT's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is providing airlines with implementation guidance on how to expand passenger use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight. FAA has determined that airlines can expand PED usage while doing so safely. According to the agency, "passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions." FAA reports the decision was based on feedback from airline representatives, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry.

FAA produced a list of top things passengers should know about the expanded use of PEDs on airplanes:

  • Make safety your first priority.
  • Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline.
  • Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval and changes its PED policy.
  • Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
  • Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. WiFi may be used if the place has an installed WiFi system.

For the complete list and for more information, visit FAA's website.

Virgin America Singing About Flight Safety

Time to put away that Sky Mall magazine, close the laptop, switch off the iPod and watch the in-flight safety video. Virgin America has produced a catchy, music-themed safety video that hits on all the crucial topics to remind passengers of in-flight safety rules and guidance. Check it out here.


Helping Older Adults Prevent Fires & Falls

NFPA has produced a new version of Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults. Fire departments and other educators can use the free materials to reach older adults with fire and fall prevention messages developed especially for them.

According to NFPA, the program’s long-standing foundation remains the same: 16 safety messages–eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention. “Over the next decades, the population of older adults will increase dramatically,” says NFPA's Karen Berard-Reed. “The new version targets adults who are just entering their older years. We hope to encourage these ‘younger’ older adults to develop important safety habits that will carry them through their senior years and help those around them develop safer behaviors.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

9 Keys to Creating a Safe Multigenerational Workplace

Earlier this month, at the National Safety Congress & Expo, Robert Pater, the managing director of SSA/MoveSMART, presented “Sustaining Safety: Both Older and Younger Workers” to provide tips on how safety professionals can meet the needs of workers of all ages.

According to Pater, there are 9 keys to sustaining safety for both older and younger workers:

  1. Plan beyond sustaining. Rather than simply training younger workers to ultimately replace older workers and continue operations at a consistent level of efficiency, managers should encourage continued growth among workers of all ages.
  2. Know that what’s good for older workers can also be good for younger workers. While older workers may have physical conditions that require them to conserve energy and maintain balance, if younger workers use the same techniques, they may prevent cumulative trauma and keep them working safely at older ages than previous generations.
  3. Adapt and modify what you can. Workers of any age may be able to perform tasks more safely by using the right equipment.
  4. Strengthen strengths and reduce weaknesses. Employees of various ages can work together to strengthen the workforce as a whole. A common weakness of younger workers is lack of experience, which can be reduced by having older workers mentor younger workers. Likewise, a common weakness of older workers is that they know little about emerging technology, an area about which they can learn from younger workers.
  5. Boost control. Rather than merely giving workers tools to improve their safety on the job, safety professionals should teach workers how they can improve their own safety at work.
  6. Self-monitor. Acknowledging and monitoring your own weaknesses can bring about a reduction in those weaknesses.
  7. Relationship between home and work. Everyone, regardless of age, can recognize that there is life beyond work. To get people to pay attention to warnings and guidance, safety professionals should demonstrate that there is a strong off-work safety component to all approaches to safety.
  8. Train everyone about strengths and weaknesses. All age groups have certain strengths and weaknesses. Young workers are ambitious, but at the same time may be over-confident. Older workers may have a more realistic view of what the organization needs, yet they may be resistant to the changes their company needs in order to grow. By identifying these strengths and weaknesses, workers can better self-monitor and can also gain an awareness of what other workers may be experiencing.
  9. There’s a lot everyone can do. Responsibility for safety should not be placed solely on workers of a certain age or on workers of certain positions. Instead, group dialogue on safety should be promoted so that workers of all ages, positions and departments can share concerns and state their needs.
An earlier blog post discusses Pater's ideas about skill sets that affect workers of all ages.

The Theater of Safety

Have you ever used safety theater? In his Vantage Point article in the October 2013 issue of ASSE's Professional Safety, Terry Thedell defines safety theater as "safety-realted activities intended to provide feelings of improved safety that do little or nothing to actually make conditions safer or reduce the risk of injuries or illnesses." He cites several examples, such as safety poster or slogan campaigns that often only alienate the workforce and divert limited resources.

But safety theater does have a place, Thedell explains. "Under some circumstances, the perception of safety may be more important to workers than the actual level of safety. . . . Employees and the public often feel comforted by any well-meaning action that is taken in a crisis."

Before using safety theater, Thedell recommends answering these questions:
  • Is there a firm understanding of what or who you are trying to protect from a clearly defined risk or problem? 
  • What are the real safety risks? How severe are the consequences ? How often will the problem occur and to whom? 
  • How well does the proposed solution reduce those risks? Is the solution actionable? Can it be enforced? Can its effects be measured? 
  • Does the proposed solution cause any problems? Have unintended consequences been considered? 
  • What costs and trade-offs does the solution create? Are they acceptable?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

EPA Releases Greenhouse Gas Emission Data

EPA has released its greenhouse gas data which provides information on carbon pollution emissions and trends by industry, gas, region and facility. The agency reports that in the 2 years since reporting began, emissions have decreased by 10% due to more utilities switching to cleaner burning natural gas. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says that releasing the data to the public helps encourage commonsense solutions to climate change. "Putting this data in the hands of the public increases transparency, supports accountability and unlocks innovation," she says.

The data can be accessed through EPA's online tool FLIGHT. Users can view trend graphs by sector and facility, and download charts and graphs for use in reporting. 

What's Your Safety Leadership Score?

In his October 2013 Leading Thoughts column in ASSE's Professional Safety, Doug Gray highlights five key leadership competencies and asks readers to score their abilities in each area (1 = low; 5 = high):
  1. Be a great communicator, not an average communicator, and certainly not a poor communicator. Listen well. Speak well. Be able to connect with an audience, then motivate that audience. Be able to train others. Your score: ____
  2. Be smart. Know industry standards. Know where to find the answers. One leader may need skills in case management or workers’ compensation while another may need skills in risk management and compliance. Groups such as ASSE, National Safety Council, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, Construction Industry Institute and Construction Users Roundtable are good places to start. Your score: _____
  3. Be a good problem solver. Actively seek data, ask great open-ended questions, listen openly and develop multiple solutions. Then share your recommendations factually, without emotion or judgment, without any modifiers, such as adverbs or adjectives. Your score: _____
  4. Demonstrate strong analytical skills. Interpret data, then share it in a meaningful way. Accept multiple points of view, including conflicting perspectives. Connect the dots. Stay focused on the big picture requirements to save money and minimize risk. Your score: _____
  5. Be committed to professional development, not merely as a job requirement for CEUs. Read professional journals such as Professional Safety. Be active in industry-specific associations. Discuss ideas openly. Seek mentors and coaches. Be flexible and coachable. Your score: _____
So, how do you fare in each area?

ANSI Portal Offers Free Access to Standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has launched its Incorporated by Reference Portal, offering free, read-only access to standards that have been incorporated by reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. The standards are available for online viewing in PDF format but cannot be downloaded or printed.

Standards that can be viewed using the portal include more than 60 standards provided by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), as well as various standards by the International Electrotechnical Commission, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the American Welding Society, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Additionally, the portal provides links to other standards that can be viewed by accessing the websites of organizations responsible for their development. Those organizations include the National Fire Protection Association, Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and the Manufacturers Standardization Society.

Click here for more information about the portal.

Friday, October 25, 2013

OSHA Extends Silica Comment Period

OSHA is adding 47 days to the public comment period for the agency's proposed crystalline silica rulemaking. Originally set to end Dec. 11, 2013, the comment period will now end Jan. 27, 2014.
OSHA is also extending the deadline to submit notices of intention to appear at its informal public hearings from Nov. 12, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013. The agency says public hearings will begin March 18, 2014.

Find additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings, is available here. Members of the public may comment on the proposal here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New OSHA Chemical Safety Resource

OSHA has introduced an online toolkit for employers and workers to assist in transitioning to using safer chemicals. The toolkit introduces a 7-step process for transitioning to safer chemical use, and each step is thoroughly outlined on its own webpage, answering questions workers may have and providing additional resources.

The 7 steps are as follows:
  1. Engage. Form a team to develop a plan.
  2. Inventory & Prioritize. Examine current chemical use. 
  3. Identify Alternatives.
  4. Assess & Compare Alternatives.
  5. Select a Safer Alternative.
  6. Test. Pilot the Alternative.
  7. Implement & Evaluate the Alternative.
The toolkit also provides additional information, such as success stories and the basics of informed substitution and alternatives assessment

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Goes Global

This year's Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 20-26, is being recognized throughout the world. More than 35 countries are participating and will hold public awareness events throughout the week. As EPA reports, this year's theme "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," focuses on the importance of preventing harmful lead exposure and testing homes for the dangerous substance. "Joining with other countries to raise awareness about protecting children from the harmful exposure to lead will have a long-term positive effect on the health of children worldwide," says EPA's Jim Jones.

To help other countries educate their communities on lead poisoning, EPA translated its educational materials and provided custom resources for activities and events. Some of the international events include: a medical professionals conference in India; a report on lead levels found in household paint sold in the Philippines; and national outreach campaigns by the Georgian and South African governments.

Visit the Lead Poisoning Prevention Week website for more information, and to see which countries are participating this year.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NHTSA Unveils New Teen Safety Campaign

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a new campaign on teen driving safety to coincide with National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 20-26, 2013.

According to NHTSA data, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers 14-18 years-old in the United States. The new "5 to Drive" campaign, announced Tuesday, challenges parents to discuss five critical driving practices with their teenage drivers. The topics are designed to address poor driving decisions that have been shown to contribute heavily to the high death rate among teen drivers. 

"Safety is our highest priority, especially when it comes to teens, who are often our least experienced drivers," says Anthony Foxx, U.S. transportation secretary. "The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign gives parents and teens a simple, straightforward checklist that can help them talk about good driving skills and most importantly, prevent a tragedy before it happens."

The "5 to Drive" campaign encourages parents to visit and discuss with their teens one safety topic each day during national teen driver safety week. Campaign topics include:
  1. No cell phone use or texting while driving,
  2. No extra passengers,
  3. No speeding,
  4. No alcohol, and
  5. No driving or riding without a seat belt.
"Inexperience and immaturity, combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, and other teen passengers contribute to the high fatality rate of teens involved in fatal crashes," said David Strickland, NHTSA administrator. "I encourage all parents of teenagers to have an open discussion with their teen about the dangers common among young drivers and to make sure they use our '5 To Drive' program to develop the necessary skills to drive safely every trip, every time."

For more information on the "5 to Drive" campaign, visit or the NHTSA homepage.

BCSP Seeking Nominations for Awards of Excellence

BCSP is accepting nominations for the Third Annual BCSP Awards of Excellence. According to the group, the awards recognize CHSTs, OHSTs and CSPs who best represent certificants' outstanding leadership, knowledgeable expertise and commitment to the advancement of the EHS industry.

The awards will be presented during ASSE's Safety 2014 conference in Orlando, FL. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2014. Find guidelines, forms and highlights from the 2013 ceremony here.

2013 European Week for Safety & Health Focuses on Risk Prevention

The ongoing 2013 European Week for Safety and Health at Work, which ends October 25, is focusing on its message of "Working Together for Risk Prevention." Coordinated by European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the week is dedicated to promoting the Healthy Workplaces campaign and the benefits of quality leadership with worker participation. In addition, the week focuses on managers and employees working together to reduce risks. "The most effective results in managing and improving the safety and health of an organization are found when workers and their representatives are actively engaged with management—leadership is not enough," says EU-OSHA's Director Christa Sedlatschek.

Visit EU-OSHA's website to learn more about the event and for additional resources for occupational safety and health management.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DOT Announces $29 Million to Fund New Research on Transit Safety and Disaster Recovery

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced $29 million in available funds for competitive research for innovative public transportation projects. Grants will help transit agencies strengthen operational safety, prepare for natural disasters and improve emergency response capabilities.

Never before have funds available through the FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment Program been dedicated to implementing solutions specifically designed to strengthen safety and improve transit system resiliency.

“For the first time in FTA’s history, we’re calling on the transit industry, the private sector, universities and others to work with us to develop and implement innovative solutions that reflect our commitment to safety and bringing transit facilities into a state of good repair,” said Peter Rogoff, FTA administrator. “This will translate into real-world improvements that protect riders and taxpayers alike, ranging from reducing transit-related injuries to making transit systems less vulnerable to flooding and severe weather.”

Funding proposals will be considered these areas:
  • Operational Safety: Projects that develop and demonstrate new or improved technologies, methods and practices to increase the operational safety of public transportation services. 
  • Resiliency: Projects that increase the resilience and robustness of public transportation systems so they can better withstand natural disasters and other externally caused emergencies.
  • All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery: Projects to improve communications with emergency responders and demonstrate promising methods for restoring transit service in the wake of a major disruption.
Click here to learn more.

Tulgan Publishes New White Paper on Generation Z

In the October 2013 issue of Professional Safety, BruceTulgan wrote about bringing out the best in today’s young workers. “Because Gen Ys and Zs seem to disregard authority figures and at the same time demand a great deal of them,” Tulgan writes, “leaders and managers often find them maddening and difficult to manage.”

Tulgan and his firm, Rainmaker Thinking, have been studying generational differences and tracking young people in the workforce for two decades. In North America, the group known as Generation Z already comprises nearly 7% of the workforce. Being armed with the leadership tools and knowledge to manage this generation will become increasingly important over the next several years as this work population segment grows.

Rainmaker Thinking has published a new white paper on this generation and the challenges it brings to leaders today. The white paper identifies five key trends shaping this generation, and discusses key strategies for managing this growing segment of the workforce.

National Academy of Engineering Hosts Video Contest

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the National Academy of Engineering is hosting a video contest, Engineering for You (E4U). Interested participants must create a 1- to 2-minute video illustrating engineering contributions that serve human welfare and the needs of society. Among other prizes, the best overall video will receive $25,000, and the contest runs from Nov. 2, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

Visit the E4U website for more contest details.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Safety For Workers of All Ages

As the average age of retirement rises, workers continuously stay in the workforce at older ages, and 13.5% of today’s workers in the U.S. are 65 or older. The evolving workforce brings more diversity in age to many organizations, creating new challenges around planning safety for both older and younger workers.

Earlier this month, at the National Safety Congress & Expo, Robert Pater, the managing director of SSA/MoveSMART, presented “Sustaining Safety: Both Older and Younger Workers” to provide tips on how safety professionals can meet the needs of workers of all ages.

One of the most significant challenges older workers face requires a change of mindset to overcome negative beliefs about aging, says Pater. “You can teach an old dog new tricks; it’s just harder,” Pater says. He notes that many of today’s oldest workers are held back by self-fulfilling prophecies, explaining that when older workers think they cannot complete a task, they are often unable to do it even if they try.

Pater suggests that older workers “move from regretting to resetting,” by taking on a more positive outlook regarding their own abilities. “It’s never too late to change,” he says. “It’s possible to be stronger at 70 than at 30, but you’ve got to work harder.”

As part of his presentation, Pater outlined 5 skillsets to focus on that affect the safety of workers of all ages:

  1. Balance. During strenuous activity, the more balance an individual has, the less muscle s/he will need. This philosophy, often used in martial arts training, can also apply to work activities such as moving heavy objects. Pater recommends that if workers are reluctant to apply balance techniques to their job duties, safety professionals should take the time to show them how balance can be used in a recreational activity they enjoy, such as golf. “If you can find out what they really like and show them how balance improves that, they’ll listen,” says Pater.
  2. Agility. Range of motion and reaction time are important in any job requiring significant physical movement. Pater believes a key to expanding one’s agility is to think in terms of eye-hand coordination rather than hand-eye coordination. He explains that if your eyes look as far to one direction as they can before you turn your head in that direction, you will be able to turn your head farther than you would otherwise. Similarly, when lifting heavy objects, looking at the point to which you are moving the object can make lifting easier than it is when looking at the object in your grasp.
  3. Energy. Breathing techniques can often help workers save energy when performing job tasks. For example, many people have a tendency to hold their breath when leaning over or pushing something, which causes them to tire quickly. Workers can save energy by letting their breath out slowly while bending over and by remembering to breathe while pushing heavy loads.
  4. Focus. People of all ages need to be mentally active. Just as people need to keep moving in order to retain the ability to move, people need to keep learning in order to retain the ability to learn.
  5. Strength. Older workers especially suffer from cumulative physical trauma, including tissue deterioration, which Pater likens to the weakening of a piece of metal that has been bent in the same spot over and over again. Workers of all ages can lessen the damaging effects of repetitive tasks by learning how to safely use alternative muscles during strenuous work activities.

Watch for a future blog post presenting 9 keys to sustaining safety for workers of all ages.