Monday, September 29, 2014

ASSE Backs NTSB Call for States to Adopt 0.05 BAC Level for Impaired Driving

ASSE offered National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) support for its call to adopt measures that can encourage states to reduce the legal standard of driver impairment due to alcohol consumption, as measured by blood-alcohol content (BAC), from 0.08% to 0.05%. This comes in the wake of NTSB’s position statement included in the 2013 Safety Report Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving.

The statement calls for action by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to reduce the legal standard based on NTSB's reviews of recent studies, its evaluation of motor vehicle crash statistics, as well a review of the motor vehicle operating standards and highway safety statistics in numerous developed countries worldwide.

According to the Society's statement, its members' interest in advancing highway safety is based on their professional commitment to work with employers to manage occupational safety and health risks that prevent workers from returning home alive and uninjured to their families each day. ASSE also notes that its members are aware that more workers in the U.S. die in transportation incidents than from any other cause. In 2012, transportation incidents accounted for more than 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While ASSE realizes that changing the standard will not solve the problem on its own, nor will it prevent repeat offenders of DUI and DWI incidents, the Society believes this change can still have an impact in an area where currently one-third of all fatal crashes involve a driver under the influence of alcohol.

Read the full release from ASSE's Government Affairs here.

NOIRS 2015: Call for Abstracts

NIOSH has issued a call for abstracts for the upcoming National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS 2015). The event, scheduled for May 19-21 has the theme of "Advancing Occupational Injury Research Through Integration and Partnerships." The call for abstracts applies to both oral and poster presentations; abstracts must be 350 words or less and describe original research related to occupational injury. Abstracts are due Dec. 1, 2014; acceptance letters will be sent via e-mail by Feb. 1, 2015.

NOIRS 2015 is hosted by NIOSH in partnership with ASSE, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, National Safety Council and the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research.

Visit the site to review topics of interest for NOIRS 2015.

Friday, September 26, 2014

NTSB Special Investigation Report, Looks at Recent Surge in Railroad Worker Deaths

© Tremblay
Earlier this week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a special investigation report on the recent increase in railroad and rail transit roadway workers fatalities on, or near, tracks.

The Special Investigation Report on Railroad and Rail Transit Roadway Worker Protection details 14 of the 15 fatal incidents in 2013. An increasing number of railroad fatalities over the past three years prompted the NTSB to look more closely at the issue of roadway worker safety and to recommend actions to address these issues.

According to the agency, railroad and rail transit roadway workers are subject to a unique set of on-the-job risks and hazards. In 2013, 11 deaths resulted from freight railroads incidents and four were on commuter or transit railways. The average number of railroad worker fatalities has fluctuated but has remained about 6.4 per year from 1990 to 2013.

Among the report's findings are that comprehensive job briefings could help prevent incidents and that national inspection protocols for work activities are necessary to ensure the safety of roadway workers. The agency has issued recommendations calling for additional training, harmonization of standards, a national inspection program and greater stakeholder participation in roadway worker fatalities, among other measures.

Click here to view an abstract of the report.

EPA Announces New Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts

EPA has announced new efforts to reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases common in refrigeration and air conditioning applications. Three new actions will be implemented to support transitioning to environmentally friendly alternatives to HFCs, including: 
·      listing additional fluorinated and non-fluorinated chemicals as acceptable alternatives in various applications;
·      identifying refrigerant management options to reduce HFC emissions from air conditioning and refrigeration equipment;
·      organizing a series of sector-specific workshops regarding transitioning away from potent HFCs.
More information is available on EPA’s website.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CPSC Hosts Kids' Carbon Monoxide Poster Contest

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is sponsoring a safety poster contest that teaches and warns about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO). The contest is open to U.S. students in grades 6, 7 or 8 (children of CPSC employees are not eligible). Suggested ideas for posters includes:

  • CO facts;
  • steps to take to protect against CO poisoning;
  • how to recognize CO exposure and symptoms;
  • how to install and test CO alarms.
All poster entries must be received by Feb. 27, 2015, along with the parental consent form. Visit CPSC's website for prize information and more contest details. 

EU-OSHA Report Helps Make the Business Case for OSH

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has published a new report that reviews the literature on cost-benefit analysis of occupational safety and health, and presents case studies of interventions in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to the report, SMEs often have limited resources and need to data to support economic arguments for implementing OSH policy. The report examines both new case studies and those from existing literature to demonstrate the benefits of OSH improvements.

Download the full report and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation.

Indiana Hospitals to Offer Free Mental Health Counseling for Public Safety Employees

Starting in October, the City of Indianapolis is partnering with hospitals to give free mental health counseling services to public safety employees. 

Many public safety employees such as police officers, paramedics and firefighters are often exposed to traumatic events that can take a psychological toll leading to high stress levels. While the city's Employee Assistance Program offers counseling services to city workers, they are not often taken advantage of, as many workers show concern that utilizing them may affect their careers.  

The hope is that by offering another phone number outside of the existing option workers will feel less hesitant to call.

NIOSH offers resources on its Traumatic Incident Stress page that help identify symptoms, ways for workers to maintain their health in an emergency environment, as well as recommendations on how to stay healthy after an incident occurs. The page also offers links to NIOSH publications specifically focused on traumatic incident stress.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ASSE Backs NTSB for Tougher Standard on Impaired Driving

© Loiselle
ASSE is backing the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) effort to encourage states to reduce the legal standard for alcohol-impaired driving from a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% to 0.05%.

In a letter to Christopher A. Hart, acting chairman of NTSB, President Patricia M. Ennis, CSP, AMR, wrote, “ASSE’s interest in seeing that the legal standard for driver impairment is lowered arises from our members’ interest in doing whatever is reasonably possible to make driving safer.”

In the U.S., more workers die on highways than in any other workplace setting. According to a report by NTSB, success in addressing this issue has plateaued. “Since 1995, although the annual number of fatalities has declined, nearly one in three of all highway deaths still involves an alcohol-impaired driver. The cause of these deaths is well understood and preventable, yet even the most concerted efforts have not kept thousands of lives from being lost,” noted the report authors.

“On the release of NTSB’s 2013 Safety Report, Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving, the members of [ASSE's] Transportation Practice Specialty took it upon themselves to develop a position paper supporting NTSB’s call.”

Ennis noted that a lower BAC, increased education, in-vehicle devices and other measures addressed in Reaching Zero will help significantly to manage these driving risks.

“We know the task of achieving a 0.05% BAC across the country will be long and challenging," Ennis wrote. "We encourage you to include ASSE if there are opportunities to work together with the NTSB and its partners in helping advance this effort. The members of our Transportation Practice Specialty in particular are eager to work to support the adoption of this measure”

Click here to learn more.

National Farm Safety & Health Week: "Protecting What Matters" is Sept. 21-27!

The annual National Farm Safety and Health Week will be observed Sept. 21-27, 2014. This year's theme is "Protecting What Matters" and the campaign focuses on promoting awareness of safe farm practices to everyone involved in agriculture and to the general public.

“What matters most is the lives, the health, and the well-being of our families and co-workers,” said Robert Aherin, Extension agricultural safety specialist and professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois. 

Aherin said Illinois averages about 32 deaths related to farm work each year. Resources available online include public service announcements and webinars on moving farm equipment on roads during harvest season, tractor safety, health assessment and prevention programs for agricultural producers, as well as sections on child safety and grain bin entry. 

Global Outreach: ASSE Meets With COSHA in China

ASSE President Trish Ennis (left) meets with
COSHA President Zhang Baomin (right) in Beijing.
An ASSE delegation including 2014-15 President Trish Ennis, CSP, ARM, met with representatives from the China Occupational Safety and Health Association (COSHA) in Beijing, China, on Sept. 22, 2014, to discuss concrete steps for future cooperation between the two organizations in areas such as training and joint conferences. Ennis will also be presenting a session, "Promoting a Culture of Safety Through Effective Leadership," at the 7th China International Forum on Work Safety Program in Beijing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Executive Order Mandates Actions for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Every year, more than 2 million people in the U.S. develop infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 of those people die as a result, according to a report issued by CDC. According to the agency, antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent health threats facing the U.S. population today.

To address these risks, the White House announced a series of actions by President Barack Obama and his administration including an executive order, a new national strategy and a report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The executive order directs federal departments and agencies to implement the national strategy. The strategy is a five-year plan for enhancing domestic and international capacity to the prevention and containment of outbreaks, maintaining the efficacy of current and new antibiotics and developing and deploying next-generation diagnostics, antibiotics, vaccines and other therapeutics.

According to CDC, detecting, preventing and controlling antibiotic resistance requires a coordinated effort. To support the national strategy and combat antibiotic resistance, the agency is working to address the threat in these four areas:
  • Preventing infections: Avoiding infections initially reduces the amount of antibiotics that have to be used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop during treatment. 
  • Tracking: CDC gathers data on antibiotic-resistant infections, causes of infections and whether there are particular reasons (risk factors) that caused some people to get a resistant infection. 
  • Improving antibiotic use: One of the most important actions needed to greatly slow the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections is to change the way antibiotics are used.
  • Drug fevelopment: Antibiotic resistance occurs as part of a natural process in which bacteria evolve, new antibiotics will always be needed to keep up with resistant bacteria as well as new diagnostic tests to track the development of resistance. 
Visit the CDC website for more information.

FRA Proposed Rule Aims to Safeguard Against Rolling of Unattended Trains©scanrail
DOT's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that aims to protect communities from crude oil and hazardous materials incidents by strengthening requirements for securing unattended freight trains. According to FRA, the proposed rule would require railroads to:
  • prevent trains or vehicles transporting specified hazardous materials from being left unattended on a mainline track or side track outside a yard, unless specific securement requirements;
  • develop a plan identifying such locations or circumstances, verify securement by qualified persons and ensure that locks on locomotive cab are secure;
  • include securement requirements in job briefings;
  • perform additional inspections by qualified persons when emergency responders have been on equipment;
  • install locking mechanisms on locomotive doors and repair them in a timely manner. 
"While our existing securement regulations have been largely successful, it's important in light of events over the past year that we take additional steps to mitigate risk here in the U.S.," says FRA's Joseph Szabo. "This rulemaking will solidify our existing securement regulations and provide additional safeguards against the rolling of unattended freight trains, especially those carrying hazardous materials."

Mayors Say U.S. Oil Trains Must Be Drained of Explosive Gas

In the comments of a new sweeping federal safety plan, U.S. mayors and safety officials will tell regulators that dangerous gas should be removed from oil train shipments to prevent future disasters.

In July, the Department of Transportation (DOT) first proposed measures meant to end fiery train accidents of trains carrying oil from North Dakota across the U.S. Tank cars carrying flammable gas would be forced to move at slower speeds under the plan. But the failure to address vapor pressure, a measure of how much volatile gas is contained, is a major omission cited by critics. Officials have studied vapor pressure since July 2013, when a runaway oil train derailed in the Quebec village of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people in a fireball that shocked many with its explosiveness.

Until recently, official findings on vapor pressure were in line with industry-funded studies--that North Dakota fuel is similar to other light crude oil deemed safe to move in standard tank cars. However, DOT said recently that it did not properly handle prior samples and that a precision device called a floating piston cylinder is needed to reliably detect vapor pressure dangers. On that admission alone, officials want it removed from train cars.

A Reuters article says that "responses to the DOT's plan are due by Sept. 30, and so far more than 100 comments have been received. Typically in a contentious rulemaking major stakeholders submit their views just before the deadline."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Volkswagon Ad Puts Movie-Goers in the Texter's Driver's Seat

Patrons entering a Hong Kong movie theater not long ago were asked to leave their cellphones on as they entered the show. As they settled into their seats, rather than the usual array of previews and ads, the video playing on the screen showed a person driving a car on a two-lane road. The scenes showed the road from the driver's vantage point, putting the movie-goers in the driver's seat. Suddenly, mobile phones around the theater began to buzz. Click here to see what happened next.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall Protection Tops FY 2014 Top 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Standards

OSHA has announced the preliminary top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1. 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014). Based on the available data, fall protection was again the most prevalent issue by a wide margin.

The top 10 for FY 2014, as of Aug. 11, 2014:
·      Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,143
·      Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,161
·      Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,029
·      Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,223
·      Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,704
·      Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,662
·      Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,490
·      Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,448
·      Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,200
·      Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 2,056

2013 Fatal Work Injury Rate Fell 0.2% From 2014, Per Preliminary BLS Data

© Cudic
2013 appears to have seen fewer fatal work injuries than 2012, according to a recent release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to research conducted for the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2013 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, compared to a final rate of 3.4 per 100,000 FTEs in 2012. Specifically, 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2013, a decrease of 223 from 4,628 in 2012.

BLS will release finalized 2013 data late in spring 2015. In the past 5 years, average increases to the preliminary count have been 165 cases, so the count may be closer than it looks at present.

BLS notes several data trends:
  • “Fatal work injuries in private industry in 2013 were 6% below the 2012 figure. The preliminary 2013 count of 3,929 fatal injuries in private industry represents the lowest annual total since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992.”
  • “Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were higher in 2013, rising 7%. The 797 Hispanic or Latino worker deaths in 2013 constituted the highest total since 2008. Fatal work injuries were lower among all other major racial/ethnic groups.”
  • “Fatal work injuries involving workers under 16 years of age were substantially lower, falling from 19 in 2012 to 5 in 2013—the lowest total ever reported by the census. Fatal work injuries in most other age groups were also lower in 2013, though fatal work injuries among workers 25 to 34 years of age were higher.”
  • “Work-related suicides were 8 percent higher than in 2012, but workplace homicides were 16% lower. Overall, violence accounted for 1 of every 6 fatal work injuries in 2013.”
  • “The number of fatal work injuries among firefighters was considerably higher in 2013, rising from 18 in 2012 to 53 in 2013. The large increase resulted from a few major incidents in which multiple fatalities were recorded, including the Yarnell Hill wildfires in Arizona that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters.”
  • “Fatal work injuries among self-employed workers were lower by 16% from 1,057 in 2012 to 892 in 2013. The preliminary 2013 total represents the lowest annual total since the series began in 1992.”

Additional data and analysis is available at the BLS website.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In Wake of Manhattan Fires, ESFI Emphasizes Power Strip Safety

Two Manhattan fires that occurred on Aug. 17 and 18 have prompted the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to release an advisory regarding the dangers of overtaxed circuits
and improper power cord use. The fires left one person dead and another severely burned. Both are being blamed on overloaded power strips.

ESFI offers these tips for safely using power strips and cords:

Power Strips

  • Do not overload a circuit. Know the circuit’s capacity and the power requirements of all items plugged into the power strip and into all the other outlets on the circuit, as well as any light fixtures on the circuit.
  • Heavy reliance on power strips is an indication of an inadequate number of outlets to address power requirements. Have additional outlets installed if needed.
  • A surge suppressor only protect the items plugged into the supressor, not back along the circuit into which it is connected.
  • Plug multiple plug outlets directly into mounted electrical receptacles; do not chain them together.
  • Ensure that all power strips and extension cords are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Power Cord Safety

  • Use extension cords on a temporary basis only; unplug and safely store them after every use.
  • Do not place power cords and extension cords in high-traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture, and never nail or staple them to a wall or baseboard.
  • Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet.
  • Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or tool being used.
  • Keep all electrical items and extension cords in good condition. If an item is damaged, repair the item or dispose of it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CDC Infographic: Prevent Spread of Cold & Flu

CDC has produced an infographic to help remind children how to prevent the spread of cold and flu, particularly Enterovirus D68, a respiratory illness spreading across the Midwest. Although designed for kids, everyone can help prevent the spread of disease by following these six simple rules.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover Your coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces
  • Stay home when you’re sick

Study Shows Residents Living Near Gas Wells Report More Health Issues

A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal of the National Institutes of Health, found that living near natural gas wells or fracking operations may increase the risk for a variety of health issues.

© Strathdee
Nearly 500 people participated in the study as researchers conducted a random survey of 180 households with ground-fed water wells in southwestern Pennsylvania, where natural gas extraction activity is significant. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, there were 624 active natural gas wells in the survey area. Ninety-five percent of those wells produce gas via hydraulic fracturing.

Researchers compared proximity of gas wells to the frequency of self-reported skin, respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neurological symptoms over the past year. Although the study does not claim that the wells cause the health problems, results do suggest a link between the prevalence of some symptoms and proximity to gas wells. The study found those living 1 kilometer or closer to gas fracking wells were more than twice as likely to report skin conditions and upper respiratory symptoms as those living more than 2 kilometers away.

Click here to learn more.

Quick Tips to Help Truckers Sleep Better

NIOSH is marking Truck Driver Appreciation Week by publishing "Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers." The booklet outlines the importance of sleep for truck drivers and what they can do to ensure that they get a good night’s sleep while on the road and at home. According to BLS, in 2009, truck drivers experienced 16.8% of all transportation-related fatalities and 2.04% of the nonfatal injuries requiring days away from work, even though they only made up 1.0% of the U.S. workforce.

The tips and recommendations focus on
  • improving your sleep environment;
  • preparing for better sleep;
  • what to avoid before bedtime.
“Sleep plays a critical role in our personal well-being; being on the road for long periods without getting adequate sleep may place truck drivers at higher risk for vehicle crashes, as well as create other health concerns,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “This new resource provides easy to implement solutions that will help truck drivers stay safe and well while on the job and continue their good work.”

For more information and strategies for managing sleep, visit the NIOSH Work Schedules topic page The agency also has a blog post highlighting Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

NFPA Seeks Comment On Proposed Tentative Interim Amendment to NFPA 1851

NFPA is seeking public review and comment on a proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.
The proposed TIA No. 1160 includes the following from the 2014 edition:
·Reference: through;
·5.1.2, A.5.1.1, A. through A.;
Comments on this proposed TIA should be addressed to by Oct. 14, 2014. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the secretary, Standards Council, by the closing date.

Monday, September 15, 2014

NFPA Seeks Public Review of Proposed 350 Confined Spaces Standard

NFPA Seeks Public Review of Proposed 350 Confined Spaces Standard
NFPA is seeking comment on the first draft of the NFPA 350 Confined Spaces Standard. All comments will be considered by a technical committee at the second draft meeting, planned for the first quarter of 2015. Comments can be submitted through Nov. 14, 2014.

Per NFPA, the “guide is intended to protect workers who enter into confined spaces for inspection or testing or to perform associated work from death and from life-threatening and other injuries or illnesses and to protect facilities, equipment, non–confined space personnel and the public from injuries associated with confined space incidents.”

Comments may be submitted at, with a free NFPA account.

Any individual interested in applying to the technical committee can apply online. One is not required to be a committee member or an NFPA member to be involved in the revision process. Individuals seeking to participate or with other questions on the revision should contact

CSB Warning Against Use of Methanol During Lab Experiments After a Nevada Museum Fire

CBS has issued a statement urging all schools, museums and science educators to discontinue the use of methanol during laboratory and classroom combustion demonstrations. This statement follows an investigation a flash fire earlier this month at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum (The Discovery) in Reno, NV.

CSB investigators spent two days examining data and reviewing safety procedures after nine people were hospitalized following the Sept. 3, 2014, flash fire at the museum. It was determined that the incident occurred during a “fire tornado” demonstration in which salts of different elements were combusted in a dish in the presence of alcohol-soaked cotton balls, while spinning on a lazy Susan-type rotating tray producing a tornado-like colored flame that rises in the air.

Methanol-soaked cotton balls where used for this version of the experiment, and when one of the cotton failed to ignite more methanol was added from a four-liter (one gallon) plastic bottle. Still likely smoldering, the cotton ball ignited the freshly added methanol and flashed back to the bottle. Burning methanol then sprayed from the bottle toward the audience of adults and children.

This incident is similar to a number of others that have occurred around the country during lab or classroom demonstrations where methanol has been used as a fuel for combustion.

Methanol readily emits heavier-than-air flammable vapors and the liquid has a low flash point, meaning it can ignite at room temperature in the presence of an ignition source. According to the agency, this creates unacceptable risk of flash fire whenever any appreciable quantities of methanol are handled in the open lab or classroom in the presence of pervasive ignition sources, such as open flames, heat sources or sparks. Flashback is another significant risk, as was the case in Reno, NV.

The recent incidents of methanol fires in schools are just one example of what can happen when lab demonstrations are used without a thorough review of the hazards or the development of robust safety procedures.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso urges all schools, museums and science educators to discontinue any use of bulk methanol – or other similar flammables – in lab demonstrations that involve combustion, open flames or ignition sources. Safer alternatives exist for demonstrating the same scientific phenomena. Any use of methanol or other flammables should be either avoided completely or restricted to minimal amounts, which have been safely dispensed at remote locations. 

Visit the CSB website for more information.

Buckle Up: 75% of Car Seats Installed Wrong

Parents want to keep their kids safe in the car, but sadly, 75% of child safety seats are installed incorrectly. The Buckle Up for Life campaign, by Toyota and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, has worked for a decade to educate people about properly using car seats to keep kids safe in vehicles. A 1-minute video from the group pokes fun at parents' frustrations of installing child safety seats.

"While our new PSA takes a decidedly humorous look at installing a car seat, I think many parents would say we aren't too far off from reality," says Toyota's Latondra Newton. "I don't know anyone who has not struggled with a car seat or watched a friend or family member do the same. But the truth is that a properly installed car seat can mean the difference between life and death in a crash."

Buying FR Clothing? Here's What You Should Know

Investing in flame-resistant (FR) clothing protects workers and saves lives. How can EHS professionals ensure that they are making the best purchase decision? Workrite Uniform offers this list of "10 Things to Consider When Buying FR Clothing.”
  1. Delivers protection: FR clothing should offer the correct level of protection against the identified hazard, bet it electric arc, flash fire or molten metal splatter.
  2. Offers guarantee: Protection offered by FR clothing should be guaranteed for the life of the garment.
  3. Meets standards: FR clothing should meet or exceed safety and performance standards, such as ASTM F1506 and NFPA 2112 .
  4. Provides comfort: FR clothing should be comfortable to wear (soft, smooth, fit well) and should not interfere with job performance standards.
  5. Manages moisture: FR clothing should provide moisture control, with sweat-wicking and fast-drying properties.
  6. Retains fit: FR clothing should have a good level of fit retention with low shrinkage rates when laundered.
  7. Remains durable: FR clothing fabric should be strong and should resist abrasion.
  8. Maintains strength: FR clothing should be built to last, including strong seams and reinforcement in high-stress areas.
  9. Retains color: The color of FR garments should have good retention after laundering.
  10. Vendor supports: The company from which you purchase FR clothing should have expert staff readily available to support FR needs and answer questions.
"All FR products have a balance of properties, including protection, cost, comfort, appearance, color
selection and wear life," Workrite explains. "Each company should select the product that provides the best protection for its specific workplace hazards."

The company also post white papers and tech briefs on FR clothing and industry standards such as NFPA 70E on its website.

Friday, September 12, 2014

NFPA Releases Report on "Fire Loss in U.S. During 2013"

NFPA's report, "Fire Loss in the U.S. During 2013," provides an overall look at fires that occurred in the U.S. in 2013, including civilian fire fatalities and injuries, property damage and intentionally set fires. The report finds that:
  • Every 25 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the U.S.
  • Fire departments responded to 1,240,000 fires, which is a decrease of 9.8% from 2012.
  • There were 3,240 civilian deaths resulting from fires, an increase of 13.5% since 2012.
  • There were 15,925 injuries as a result of fire, which is a decrease of 3.5% from 2012. 
The report also includes estimates of fires by type (i.e., outside, structural, vehicle), fires by population size, a definition of terms and NFPA educational resources.

Parents: Download Kids' Activities About Carbon Monoxide Safety

Back to school is a good time to teach kids about carbon monoxide safety. The Allstate Blog offers some fun activities parents can download to help children learn about CO safety. While there, parents can also learn some basic safety precautions they can take with their furnace and chimney to get ready for winter and keep the whole family safe from CO poisoning.

OSHA Retools Guidelines on Small Farm Regulations

OSHA has formally clarified that it cannot regulate family farms with 10 or fewer employees and recognizes that post-harvest activities integral to farming operations–including drying and storing grain–are exempt from federal regulation.

The guideline comes in response to controversy over OSHA’s inspection of small farms and levying
high fines based on a memo issues in June 2011. While it was intended to clarify to inspectors where they were allowed and not allowed to conduct inspections, many small farms were levied high fines due to the confusion over the language in the memo.

Since 1976, an appropriations rider has kept OSHA from using appropriated funding to conduct enforcement activities on farms with 10 or fewer non-family employees that have not maintained a temporary labor camp within the preceding 12 months.

The new memo also defines farming operations and explains operations that are not considered a small farm.

Read the updated OSHA memo here.