Friday, January 23, 2015

ISO 45001 Status Update

Market pressures and public demand following workplace disasters such as the Bangladesh garment factory fires and the Gulf oil spill have boosted interest in global adoption of ISO 45001, a global consensus standard for occupational health and safety management systems. ANSI’s Scott Cooper offered a compelling case about why such a standard is needed in “Improving Worker Safety in Global Supply Chains," which was published in the October 2014 issue of ASSE's Professional Safety.

ASSE also supports the project, serving as secretariat of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO PC-283, which is developing the standard. However, TAG members have determined that additional work is needed before the project can advance to the next ISO stage. View the U.S. TAG’s comments on the draft standard at Based on feedback received from the participating countries, ISO PC 283 will prepare a revised draft for review. Download ASSE’s latest tech brief on the standard at

Thursday, January 22, 2015

DOT Issues Final Rule on Air Travel With Musical Instruments

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a final rule that requires U.S. airlines to accept musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights, “provided certain conditions are met.” DOT reports the final rule implements section 403 of the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. “This final rule implements the statue, and it will go a long way toward keeping instruments safe when they fly—from allowing them in the cabin if there is space for safe stowage, to letting passengers buy a seat for certain large instruments,” says DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.

DOT reports, that “musical instruments as carry-on items are treated no differently from other carry-on items and storage space should be made available for all carry-n items on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.” Also, carriers are not require to give special treatment or priority over other carry-on luggage.

For more conditions and information on the final rule, visit DOT’s website.

Cintas Offers Tips for Preventing the Spread of Illness at Work

CDC recently announced that the flu has reached epidemic levels in the U.S. due to a severe strain and a less effective flu vaccine. Increased cold and flu outbreaks result in more absences, greatly reducing productivity. To help organizations keep employees safe and healthy this flu season, Cintas Corporation offers four illness-fighting tips.

Tips for minimizing the impact of workplace illness include:

1) Clean and disinfect surfaces to remove germs. Infection prevention is key for maintaining health and safety among the workforce. Infections can spread when people touch surfaces contaminated with illness-causing pathogens. Organizations should focus on frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces so that germs are removed. These surfaces include doorknobs, phones, desks, light switches and elevator buttons.

2) Follow hand hygiene rules to prevent the spread of illness. Proper hand hygiene is another important infection prevention method. Employees should be reminded to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, or with hand sanitizer, to reduce the transmission of pathogens from one’s hands to his/her mouth or from one person to another.

3) Provide relief through well-maintained first-aid kits and cabinets. Organizations should keep first-aid kits and cabinets stocked with a variety of solutions, including individually-packaged, non-drowsy headache and pain relief, to help alleviate unpleasant aches and pains.

4) Prepare employees for increased outbreaks. Employees must be on board with infection prevention strategies. Businesses should teach workers how to reduce the spread of illnesses through proper etiquette, such as coughing and sneezing into their arms and taking medication at the first sign of illness. Manger can also remind workers where to find the first-aid cabinet and highlight some its key features.

For more information visit

ASSE's Move to Park Ridge, IL, Nears

ASSE's new headquarters office at 520 N. Northwest Highway in Park Ridge, IL (60068), is quickly rounding into shape. The move will take place in early February 2015. The new facility is 2 miles from the Society’s current location in Des Plaines, IL. Built in 1992, the three-story building has 32,000-sq-ft office space and a 10,000-sq-ft basement. Check out this video of the Society's name being installed on the sign in front of the office. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Report Details Use & Effectiveness of PAPRs in Healthcare

A new report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) summarizes presentations, discussions and outcomes of a 2014 workshop arranged to help prioritize and accelerate NIOSH activities to update certification requirements for powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) for use in healthcare.

IOM organized this workshop at the request of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) at NIOSH, to discuss improving PAPR design and standards, increasing education and strengthening the implementation and use of PAPRs in healthcare settings. According to the report, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the recent Ebola virus outbreak highlighted the importance of PPE and raised questions about how best to ensure appropriate and effective use of PPE to reduce disease transmission.

The workshop summarizes the discussions on current standards and regulations, the experiences of healthcare and emergency response workers and the design and research needs for PAPRs intended for use by healthcare workers.

Click here to read the full workshop or download the PDF.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Technology Use Lagging in Managing Ergonomics, Survey Finds

According to a study by Humantech, most ergonomics programs are managed using paper-based methods. "The Role of Technology in Managing Ergonomics Programs" reports a trend among multiple-site companies toward specialized ergonomic software. However, most companies that use software have adapted a general purpose program to manage ergonomics. 

The firm's goal was to build on information gathered in past benchmarking studies and better understand the practices of managing workplace ergonomics. "One of the greatest challenges in managing ergonomic in today's workplace is the administration of program data," says Humantech's Walt Rostykus. "The current ergonomics software solutions really help, plus they make records available to all people at all sites in real time."

Under Lock & Key: The Most Important Piece to Your Lockout Program

Recently, Brady Client Services hosted a webinar titled “Under Lock & Key: The Most Important Piece to Your Lockout Program”. Brady employees Courtney Bohman and Amy Berkey, as well as Kyle W. Morrison, Senior Associate Editor of Safety + Health magazine conducted it.

Lockout/Tagout continues to be one of OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations. Understanding regulations isn’t enough – success and compliance in the workplace is based on a key component – employees.

The major focus of the presentation was breaking existing barriers between lockout/tagout programs and employees to reach compliance. The thought is by instituting processes to simplify those programs allowed for greater employee understanding and the ability to tailor them for those who use them every day.

The webinar outlined the discussion with the four pillars of an Effective Lockout Program – Regulatory Basics, OSHA’s Top 10 Citations List, Breaking Down Barriers and Tailoring to Your Employees.

Regulatory Basics broke down industry standards primarily in the U.S. and some internationally – specifically Canada and Europe. This part of the presentation talked about “industry workers performing servicing and/or maintenance on machines or equipment and who are exposed to the unexpected energization, startup, or release of hazardous energy.” In addition, it broke down who these regulations apply to, what activities are covered and not covered.

The discussion then spent a significant amount of time discussing OSHA’S Top 10 Citations List. Lockout/Tagout citations usually placed fifth in the Top 10 list over the past ten years. There was an analysis of the list as a whole, specifically the top five, and it was stated the citations were not specific to one industry, as manufacturing plants, paper mills and slaughterhouses are represented in the citation statistics.

Then the webinar moved deeper into “Breaking Down the Barriers” which explained the difference between an OSH Program vs. an OSH Management System and how to best identify a company’s lockout/tagout efforts and offered a way to implement the right system. Management buy in was stressed as a critical component at this stage, and the presentation broke down the levels of employee involvement in order to make system implementation successful. The last section explained how best to tailor the systems to employees, suggesting services support (consulting with others, investing improvements, audits) and work efficiency support (lockout devices, visual signage, software and systems) to increase the value of the safety culture within the company.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

ASSE Comments on Proposed National Total Worker Health Agenda

In a letter to NIOSH Director John Howard, ASSE President Trish Ennis, CSP, ARM, applauds NIOSH for its efforts to advance the integration of safety and health with wellness through the proposed National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) National Total Worker Health Agenda, but also encourages the agency to go one step further. In her comments, Ennis, urges NIOSH to more adequacy address how to best implement total worker health organizationally as well as who should be responsible for this implementation.

According to Ennis, practical, easy to communicate strategies, resources and tools are a must to help convince the employers and workers of the importance of total worker health. “We assume NIOSH has every intention to fulfill its research to practice imperative in these goals," she writes, "but, as with many issues in occupational safety and health, if research cannot be successfully translated to the most basic training and tools available to a worker in a workplace setting, the research is ultimately ineffective.”

Organizations that want to implement new programs look for fairly clear deliverables from research that can tell them not only what programs work or do not work but also how to implement the programs. While the proposed plan is an excellent beginning, ASSE believes that these adjustments will help organizations achieve Total Worker Health.

OSHA: Cotton Clothing Not Protective Against Electric Arcs

OSHA’s final rule for electric power generation, transmission and distribution states that untreated cotton can ignite and continue to burn when subjected to incident heat energy above its ignition threshold.

While wearing cotton clothing as a layer in a clothing system can effectively increase the system’s arc rating, OSHA does not consider cotton clothing to be protective.

OSHA offers resources for handling arc hazards and other common electrical hazards online. 

SeminarFest Presenter Dr. Mike Crant on CBS's "48 Hours"

Dr. Mike Crant will be presenting Leadership and Decision-Making Skills at SeminarFest on
Saturday, Feb. 7. Crant was recently featured on recent episode of CBS's "48 Hours" in a segment where he was interviewed about excuse making, the topic he studies at University of Notre Dame.

Crant's presentation at SeminarFest will teach attendees how they can achieve a higher level of leadership that will help them inspire others to perform at their best. The next step, Crant says, is to follow this line of thinking to achieve more thoughtful and appropriate decisions.

According to ASSE, attendees will better understand that leadership and management require different skills, and be better able to practice three key concepts associated with effective leadership: building credibility, achieving reciprocal respect between leaders and workforce, and acting as an agent of change.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

MSHA Issues Final Rule on Proximity Detection

MSHA has announced a final rule that will require underground coal mine operators to equip continuous mining machines with proximity detection systems. The rule takes effect 60 days after its Jan. 15, 2015, publication date in the Federal Register.
Since 1984, 35 coal miners have died after becoming pinned, crushed or struck by these machines. The use of proximity detection helps protect against these incidents. This technology uses electronic sensors to detect motion or identify the location of one object relative to another. The system can signal a mining machine to stop before it can injure or kill miners working in proximity.
“Simply put, the proximity detection final rule will save lives and has the potential to dramatically improve the safety of mining operations,” says Joseph Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

American Red Cross 'Monster Guard' App Teaches Kids About Emergency Preparedness

American Red Cross has launched a new free app, “Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies” that teaches kids about emergency preparedness and disasters. The app is intended for 7- to 11-year-olds and guides them in a game style format. The format is set in the Monster Guard Academy, where the user is a recruit who trains to prepare for disasters (e.g., home fires, severe weather) and practices what to do if one happens. “The Monster Guard App game is emergency preparedness disguised as fun,” says American Red Cross's Russ Paulsen. “As children direct the monsters to identify fire hazards, locate a safe room in a house and select items needed for their emergency supplies kit, they are learning how to prepare for emergencies,” he says.

The app is best experienced on a tablet, but it will also work on other mobile devices. The app is available for iOS 7 and I platforms and Android OS 4x and up. For more information or to download the app, visit

BLS: Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away Decreased in 2013

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has announced that the overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work decreased in 2013. The rate dropped by 2.2 cases per 10,000, from 111.8 in 2012 to 109.4 in 2013. This is a drop of nearly 2%.

BLS also reports “in 2013, there were 1,162,210 days-away-from-work cases in private industry, state government, and local government, essentially the same number of reported injuries and illnesses as in 2012. The median days away from work to recuperate—a key measure of severity of injuries and illnesses—was 8 days in 2013, one fewer than reported in 2012.”

Key findings include:
  • The private sector rate for days-away-from-work cases was 99.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers and was not statistically different from 101.9 in 2012. 
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for 4% of the cases in the private sector in 2013, with a rate of 4.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. 
  • Musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 33% of all injury and illness cases in 2013. Nursing assistants, and laborers and freight, stock and material movers incurred the highest number of such cases in 2013. 
Additional takeaways and data are available on the BLS website.

Respiratory Protection Violations High on OSHA List

OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards for FY2014 has been released. Among some of the common violations seen year to year, respiratory protection violations come in high at number four.

Among the sections cited under the violation, medical evaluation general requirements, establishing and implementing written respirator protection programs, and covering situations when respirator use is not required rank among the highest with more than 500 violations each. Others with high violation counts include those that fall under the umbrella of respirator selection general requirements as well as ensuring employer used respirators are fit tested.

Convergence Training’s blog offers respiratory protection training resources that include a free respiratory protection word game, a free respiratory protection glossary of all terms as well as links to NIOSH resources on respirators. The site also links to OSHA resources on respirators and the agency's respiratory protection e-tool.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Combatting Cold Stress

© lugaresi
As temperatures drop across the nation, the threat of cold stress must be kept in check. CDC offers guidelines online to prevent and treat prominent types of cold stress, including hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot and chilblains. CDC offers a reference document providing early and late symptoms of each, and first aid best practices.

CDC defines the most common manifestations of cold stress as:

A condition in which the body uses up its stored energy and can no longer produce heat. Often occurs after prolonged exposure to cold temperature.
An injury to the body that is caused by freezing, which most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.
Trench Foot
An injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions that can occur at temperatures as high as 60 °F if the feet are constantly wet.
Ulcers formed by damaged small blood vessels in the skin, caused by the repeated exposure of skin to temperatures just above freezing to as high as 60 °F.


CDC recommends various of preventive measures to avoid cold stress, including limiting the amount of time one spends outside, avoiding interacting with cold metal surfaces with bare skin and keeping chemical hot packs in a first aid kit.

Of course, the conventional wisdom of wearing clothes that protect the ears, face hands and feet is invaluable. Boots should be waterproof and insulated. Wearing a hat can reduce the loss of body heat from the head.

CDC also recommends carrying extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid.

Dangers of a Sleep Deprived Workforce

Two-thirds of Americans admit they are not getting enough sleep during the week. According to Circadian, sleep deprivation is a societal epidemic spanning across all countries and economic statuses. Unfortunately, this issue is often overlooked by organizations that are unaware of the affects sleep deprivation can have on a workforce, including decreased productivity and an increased risk of incidents which cost companies billions of dollars each year. In an effort to combat these issues and help employers recognize the signs of sleep deprivation and fatigue, Circadian released the 10 Dangers of a Sleep Deprived Workforce.

Dangers of having a sleep deprived workforce include:

  • decreased communication;
  • performance deteriorations;
  • increased risk of becoming distracted;
  • driving Impairments;
  • increased number of errors;
  • poor cognitive assimilation and memory;
  • poor mood appropriate behavior;
  • greater risk taking behavior;
  • inability to make necessary adjustments; and
  • effects of sleep deprivation compound across nights.
By knowing the dangers, managers can begin to monitor, manage and mitigate the effects of sleep deprivation. For more information, click here.