Friday, May 29, 2015

Safety Lately 5/29/15

Safety Lately is a weekly podcast from ASSE, covering the latest news in OSH. This episode covers changes to MSHA’s subpoena authority, NIOSH collaborating with Wikipedia and a renewed alliance between OSHA and CCAR.



You can download the episode here

Like what you heard? Look for more podcasts at our multimedia page. You can also connect with ASSE on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

"Try This, Not That" Advice to OSH Pros From ADI

Sometimes, it's good to be reminded of what works and what doesn't work, whether you're talking food choices, sleep habits or occupational safety. To give OSH professionals a visual reminder of effective safety practices, Aubrey Daniels International (ADI) has created an infographic that highlights seven safety practices, such as focusing on lagging indicators or discouraging near-miss reporting, that are generally ineffective and what companies might try instead, such as needs-based training and safety coaching. You can view and download the infographic on the ADI website.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

SICK Offers Six Steps for Machine Safety

SICK, a leading manufacturer of safety sensors and systems for machinery, has updated its 180-page “Guidelines for Safe Machinery – Six Steps to a Safe Machine.” According to SICK, the guide contains safety requirements and guidelines that aim to protect machinery and people. It briefly reviews laws, regulations and standards for many world regions, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the European Union, then details six steps to designing a safe machine: 1) risk assessment; 2) safe machine design; 3) engineering controls; 4) administrative measures; 5) machine validation; and 6) operation. 

Download a free copy on the SICK website.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NIOSH Collaborates With Wikipedia In New Communications Effort

NIOSH has been using what it calls a “Wikipedian-in-Residence” in collaboration with
©iStockphoto.com/Chagin
online encyclopedia project Wikipedia. The collaboration makes NIOSH just the second federal agency to work with the user-editable site, the fifth-largest in the world.

The reason behind the collaboration is that Wikipedia has a much larger reach than NIOSH and by lending its resources to the encyclopedia, the agency hopes to provide greater access to its vast resource of safety and health information. The “Wikipedian-in-Residence” is tasked with improving areas of the site that would benefit from more information as well as creating new articles. Resources used to do this include literature reviews, epidemiological research and chemical data. In addition, images from NIOSH’s collection are available in the free image repository Wikimedia Commons.

Read more about the collaboration at the NIOSH Science Blog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How's Lockout/Tagout in Your Facility?

Brady's latest infographic encourages viewers to conduct a lockout/tagout scavenger hunt in their facilities. “It’s one thing to talk about the components needed for lockout tagout, it’s another to get out on the floor and locate them,” says Brady's Tim Bandt, noting that the infographic is an effective way to make sure employees are familiar with a site's lockout/tagout program and related tools. “This infographic helps employers evaluate their program and determine if there are any gaps to improve on.” The infographic includes a series of questions to guide users on a site walk through to find six important elements of a lockout/tagout program.

OSHA & CCAR Renew Alliance for 5 Years

OSHA has renewed its alliance with the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR). The alliance will provide CCAR members with training and resources to help protect the safety and health of workers in the car repair industry, as well as information on workers' rights and employer responsibilities under the OSH Act.

©iStockphoto.com/josemoraes
OSHA's Alliance Program works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources; share information about agency initiatives, resources, and programs with workers and employers; and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. CCAR, was established in 1994 and is a nonprofit organization that provides safety, pollution prevention and HazMat training, along with educational and environmental best practices for the global motor vehicle industry.

The 5-year agreement will see both parties develop training for automotive lift safety and working with absorbed glass mat batteries and automotive air conditioning refrigerant with an emphasis on the hazards of contaminated refrigerant.

"Workers in automobile repair shops are exposed to a variety of chemical and physical hazards," says OSH Administrator David Michaels. "Our renewed alliance will continue to focus on training and education about the hazards workers face in their jobs and the necessary actions that employers must take to keep them safe."

Friday, May 22, 2015

House Democrats To Bargain with GOP for MSHA Subpoena Authority

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives want to give subpoena authority to MSHA and will
attempt to pass mine safety amendments as part of a bargain with Republicans currently in control of Congress. Mine safety reform legislation has been introduced in Congress numerous times since 2007, and all attempts so far have been unsuccessful.

©GETTY IMAGES/GYI NSEA
Currently, MSHA must rely on subpoena authority during investigations used by some states unless it calls a public hearing. The subpoena provision entitled the “Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2015” would give MSHA independent subpoena authority for investigations and inspections without calling a hearing.

U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) said at an April 23 subcommittee hearing that she and Democrat Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) had reintroduced sweeping reform legislation containing a provision that would allow MSHA to issue subpoenas to compel witness testimony and the production of documents during investigations and inspections.


Other provisions of the proposed legislation include increasing penalties for some violations, strengthening whistleblower protections and broadening the definition of what constitutes a “significant and substantial” violation.

Read more about this potential change at The National Law Review

Safety Lately 5/22/15

Safety Lately is a weekly podcast from ASSE, covering the latest news in OSH. This episode covers respiratory protection in hospitals, OSHA's new rights and responsibilities poster, and automated safety in cars.

You can hear the episode here

Like what you heard? Look for more podcasts at our multimedia page. You can also connect with ASSE on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Second WISE Retreat Taking Place At Safety 2015 in Dallas

ASSE’s Women in Safety Engineering (WISE) Common Interest Group will hold its second Personal Development Retreat: "WISE-up!" on June 6 in Dallas, TX, as part of Safety 2015. We spoke with Administrator Jennifer Zipeto and founding member Kelly Bernish to get a preview of what to expect from the daylong event.

The retreat will offer opportunities for WISE members to develop or refine their personal development. “We really felt like having a common theme through the retreat was helpful to build the agenda and this year we obviously wanted to go with something else that builds on things we learned from last year,” says Bernish.

Zipeto says that it is not a professional development retreat, instead a more personal one. “It is a networking opportunity and skill building,” she says. “Women have a different set of expectations for themselves as far as home and work. We have a very strong drive to be successful at work, but also we are the main caregiver at home a lot of the times. Not always. It is a balancing act, so we wanted to focus on personal growth and development.”

The retreat environment is unique for two reasons, says Zipeto. “It is the same group of people last year, we had 60 people and we’re looking at about 60 to 70 this year. That size group spending the whole day together gives us the opportunity to learn about each other as people and professionals,” she says. “The other thing is that it is all women. There is a commonality and the length of time together (with) the kinds of things we’re talking about. If you bare your soul a little bit with the people in the room that you are getting to know very well in a short period of time it allows for a great bonding experience and development.”

There is still time to register for this year’s retreat, and it is not just limited to women. Even though women were the only attendees last year, “WISE Guys” dropped in occasionally.

For prospective attendees, there are a few reasons to attend the retreat that may not be readily apparent after just reading the event description. “They will walk away with a greater self-awareness and some really great skills (as well as) thought-provoking exercises that will cause them afterward to think about where they are going in life in general, not just from a professional perspective,” says Bernish.

If you are attending the full Safety 2015 in Dallas go to the Safety 2015 website,  “Register Online” and choose Registration Step #7 and select “WISE Retreat". If you are not attending Safety 2015, but want to attend the "Wise Up!" retreat, register online as a stand-alone event here. You can also contact ASSE Customer Service.

Monday, May 18, 2015

NCAP Finds Self-Braking Cars Reduce Collisions by 38%

The widespread adoption of self-driving cars is still a decidedly futuristic concept, but automated vehicle safety functions on the market today are showing promise—with some caveats.

A recent report from Ars Technica notes that European road safety research organization European New Car Assesment Program concluded that having a car automatically slam on the brakes to avoid low-speed crashes leads to a 38% reduction in rear-end crashes. This statistic came from analyzing various autonomous emergency braking (AEB) cars, comparing them to cars without the technology in incidents during which the car either struck a car in front, or was being struck from behind.

Researchers note that widespread adoption of AEB technology is required to get the best results. Automatically applying the brakes requires following traffic to be alert enough to react and not cause a chain of crashes. AEB cars might also be more likely to be struck from behind, since the car has a quicker reaction time than a human driver.

Obama Administration Allows Shell to Drill in Arctic

The Obama administration recently gave conditional approval to allow Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. to start drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean this summer. 

©iStockphoto.com/Brad Martin
It is a major victory for both Shell and the petroleum industry, which has looked for years to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. They are considered to hold vast reserves of oil and gas. In the event it obtains the remaining permits, Shell would be the only company drilling in the federal waters in the Arctic.

The decision from Department of the Interior is a blow to environmentalists, who have pressed the Obama administration to reject proposals for offshore Arctic drilling. They say that a drilling incident in Arctic waters could have far more devastating consequences than the deadly Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, when an explosion killed 11 and sent millions of barrels of oil  into the water.

The move came just 4 months after the Obama administration opened a portion of the Atlantic coast to new offshore drilling. Department of the Interior's approval of the drilling was conditional on receiving approval of a series of remaining drilling permits for the project.

The administration had initially granted Shell a permit to begin offshore Arctic drilling in 2012. However, the company encountered numerous safety and operational problems as two of its oil rigs ran aground and had to be towed to safety. In 2013, the department said the company could not resume drilling until all safety issues were addressed. A review by the department concluded that Shell had failed in a wide range of basic operational tasks, like supervision of contractors that performed critical work. The report was harshly critical of Shell management, acknowledging that it was unprepared for the problems it encountered operating in the Arctic. Find additional information on the timeline related to Shell's plan on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management website.

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Toolkit Aims to Better Protect Hospital Workers From Respiratory Hazards

©iStockphoto.com/hidesy
OSHA and NIOSH have developed a new toolkit to assist hospitals in developing and implementing effective respiratory protection programs to protect hospital staff from the transmission of aerosol transmissible diseases (ATD) and other respiratory hazards.

The Hospital Respiratory Protection Toolkit details the importance of respirator use and identifies existing public health guidance on respirator use during exposure to infectious diseases.

Many healthcare professionals are at risk for exposure to ATD pathogens, to help employers reduce these risks OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard, requires that healthcare employers establish and maintain a respiratory protection program in workplaces where workers may be exposed to respiratory hazards. Appendix D of this toolkit provides users with an editable document that can be customized to meet the specific needs of a hospital.

To supplement the toolkit and assist hospitals in implementing respiratory protection programs, The Joint Commission developed Implementing Hospital Respiratory Protection Programs: Strategies from the Field. The document, produced in collaboration with NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, identifies common challenges, provides specific examples and examines the role of leadership, quality improvement, fit testing and training challenges, and program evaluation.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Safety Lately 5/15/2015

Safety Lately is a weekly podcast from ASSE, covering the latest news in OSH. This episode covers teaching safety with stories, a new system for reporting near-misses in offshore oil and gas and onboard video systems in commercial vehicles.

You can hear the episode here

Like what you heard? Look for more podcasts at our multimedia page. You can also connect with ASSE on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

OSHA Updates Job Safety & Health Poster

OSHA has redesigned the Job Safety and Health—It’s the Law worker's rights and employer
responsibilities poster seen in workplaces.

Last updated in 2007, the new version of the free poster advises workers that they have the right to request an OSHA inspection, receive information and training on job hazards, report an injury or illness, and raise safety and health concerns with their employer or OSHA without retaliation. It also informs employers of their legal obligation to provide a safe workplace. Updates include new obligations for reporting every fatality and every inpatient hospitalization, amputation, and loss of an eye.

While it is not required, OSHA encourages all employers to adopt an injury and illness prevention program. Suggested elements should include management leadership, worker protection and hazard identification, among others.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

OSHA Updates Heat Safety Tool

According to OSHA, heat illness affects thousands of workers every year. In an ongoing effort to help keep outdoor workers safe, OSHA has updated its free app to calculate worksite heat index and risk levels and educate users about how to respond to a heat emergency.

The OSHA Heat Safety Tool, originally developed in 2011 and now updated for the latest iPhones, allows users to calculate the heat index and risk level for his/her worksite. The app automatically provides the current conditions and maximum heat at a location and can accept manual input if users don't have cell service. Additionally, users can choose to receive reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at any given risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness.

The OSHA Heat Tool is available in both English and Spanish for Android and iPhone devices. Click here to learn more.

BSEE Announces Near-Miss Reporting System, Annual Report

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has launched a near-miss reporting system in an effort to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas operations.

BSEE’s SafeOCS initiative is a voluntary, confidential program designed to gather and analyze near-miss data. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics will analyze the statistics to search for safety trends and gain a better understanding of offshore risks. The phone line – (844) 738-9OCS – is for Outer Continental Shelf workers, companies and others to report near misses. BSEE plans to launch a website for the program in June.

The agency also released its first-ever annual report. The document covers 2014 and includes summaries, comparisons and industry trends, as well as an outline of ongoing strategies to reduce risks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NTSB Releases Report on Commercial Vehicle Onboard Video Systems

©iStockphoto.com/Tony Tremblay
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a safety report about the benefits of commercial vehicle onboard video systems and recommendations to make these systems more effective. Commercial vehicle onboard video systems can either continuously record or start recording once a trigger event occurs. In the event of a crash, NTSB uses information from the onboard videos to investigate and determine the probable cause of the crash, to make recommendations to prevent future crashes, and to reduce loss of life and injury.

According to the agency, its report discusses advantages of the video systems and highlights improvement areas such as the need to be able to see the driver and each occupant’s seating location, the need to be able to see forward of the vehicle, optimized frame rate and low-light recording capability. Proper installation and maintenance of these systems is also a concern.

In addition, the report lists recommendations that address improper camera positions, benefits of systems that capture events inside and outside the vehicle and facilitating research into real-world scenarios to mitigate occupant injuries.

OSHA Issues Construction Confined Spaces Rule

OSHA has issued a final rule to improve safety for construction workers in confined spaces. According to the agency, the rule will offer construction workers protections similar to those that manufacturing and general industry workers have had for 20 years. The rule has some differences tailored to the construction industry, including requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards.

"Unlike most general industry worksites, construction sites are continually evolving, with the number and characteristics of confined spaces changing as work progresses," says Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSH David Michaels. "This rule emphasizes training, continuous worksite evaluation and communication requirements to further protect workers' safety and health."

In a May 6, 2015, post, John Martin and Shontell Powell of Ogletree Deakins note the following five differences between OSHA's general industry standard and the newly issued rule for construction:
  1. A competent person must now evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.
  2. Employers must continuously monitor confined space atmospheres, whenever possible. 
  3. Multiemployer construction sites must coordinate their activities in “more detailed provisions,” to avoid introducing hazards into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside the space. 
  4. Lookouts or equipment must continually monitor engulfment hazards, such as flash flooding when workers are performing work in a storm sewer. OSHA suggests posting “[a]n electronic sensor or observer posted upstream from the work site” to alert workers and give them time to evacuate the space safely.
  5. Employers may now suspend, instead of cancel, a permit, if, for example, entry conditions change or an unexpected event requiring a temporary evacuation of a space occurs. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.

OSHA's Proposed Beryllium Rule Remains in Limbo

A new article from the International Business Times says the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has spent 8 months reviewing a proposal to strengthen rules on beryllium exposure, overshooting its deadline by more than 5 months. It is the latest delay in regulations that have been more than 13 years in the making.

As many as 134,000 workers in the U.S. are currently exposed to beryllium – mostly in the aerospace, ceramics, construction and electronics industries, according to research by NIOSH. When the metal is ground into dust and inhaled, it can cause chronic beryllium disease, a potentially fatal lung disorder. Some people are more sensitive to beryllium than others. As it stands, OSHA's existing beryllium exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter dates from research conducted in the 1940s.

Keith Wrightson, a workplace-safety expert at Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group pushing for an updated regulation, says his group wants the exposure limit lowered to 0.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Since the 1970s, NIOSH has backed a limit of 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter.

Once OMB finishes its review, OSHA has to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking and solicit public comments before issuing a final rule, which could take another year. The delay stems from the agency’s compliance with the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act, applicable only to OSHA, EPA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - which requires that the agencies undergo a special consultation process with business representatives before issuing new rules.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Higher Nurse-to-Patient Ratio Law Improves Nurse Injury Rates by One-Third

©iStockphoto.com/Spotmatik
Research published in in the May 2015 issue of the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health suggests that higher nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals might reduce nurse injury rates by one-third. A 2004 California law mandating minimal nurse-to-patient ratios prompted the research. While specific ratios vary according to context, the standard is approximately 1 nurse for every 5 patients.

“We found that the law was associated with 55.57 fewer occupational injuries and illnesses per 10,000 registered nurses per year, a value 32% lower than the expected rate without the law, based on injury and illness rates before the law was enacted. The corresponding estimated reduction in injury and illness rates for licensed practical nurses was 38%,” writes study author Paul Leigh, Ph.D.

While additional research is needed, the authors of the study hypothesize that improved staffing rations could reduce back and shoulder injuries and needlesticks, among other hazards.



Using Stories Effectively to Teach Safety

©iStockphoto.com/Peter Booth
In the May 2015 issue of Professional Safety, Mitch Ricketts discusses how training and information can have a powerful impact on safety-related attitudes and behaviors. The article, "Using Stories to Teach Safety: Practical, Research-Based Tips," provides insight and examples on how to use stories effectively and includes the following tips: 
  • Use a balance of stories and generalized information. Stories help audiences understand the personal relevance of a message, leading to behavior change, while nonnarrative information (general facts) help audiences gain a more thorough understanding of the issues, leading to changes in knowledge and attitudes. 
  • Use stories to illustrate key points, but keep stories focused and relevant. Avoid unnecessary details and tangents that may detract from the message’s main theme.
  • Use stories that clearly demonstrate convincing cause-and-effect relationships. Safety stories are most effective when connections between causes and effects are indisputable and when told in chronological order.
  • Use stories whose central characters share important attributes with audience members. Stories are more effective when audience members can understand the actions and motives of at least one story character. Impact tends to be greatest when story characters are similar to audience members with respect to occupation, life experiences, values or other important characteristics.
  • Use stories that involve familiar situations, but unexpected outcomes. Stories have great personal impact when they include surprising events in everyday settings. Use stories with ordinary beginnings so audiences will know what should happen next. This will help them appreciate the significance of any unfortunate outcomes that could have been prevented.
  • Use stories that emphasize preventive measures the audience members can control. For example, stories for workers should involve solutions that would be under their own control (and not the control of management); otherwise, they may conclude the responsibility lies with others (rather than themselves). 
  • Use stories that develop suspense so the audience will want to know the outcome. People become emotionally engaged in suspenseful stories. To create suspense, use stories that involve important issues and ask the audience to discuss possible outcomes before telling them what actually happened.
  • Use stories in which outcomes would change if the characters acted differently. Messages should prompt audience members to consider the personal significance of preventive measures and outcomes. Make sure each tragedy in the stories could have been prevented, and ask trainees to discuss how the lives of characters would be different had the precautions been implemented.
  • Use images to illustrate the important objects and events in the stories. Information is more easily understood when it is presented using a combination of words and images, rather than words or images alone. Use photographs, videos, sketches or working models to illustrate important or potentially confusing events. 

A Team Approach to Construction Fall Prevention

OSHA's National Fall Prevention Stand-Down continues this week as part of the agencies effort to raise awareness of measures that all employers can take to prevent falls on the job. In response to the ongoing campaign, Zurich North America, a leading construction insurance provider,
offers these six safety tips to help construction employers reduce falls:
  1. Assess site hazards to determine the appropriate equipment needed for a job.
  2. Invest in proper equipment, ensuring that it is used appropriately and with caution.
  3. Inspect and remove any fall exposures while securing materials so they don’t fall.
  4. Train employees on fall protection and equipment inspection, having accountability in place for ignoring safety precautions.
  5. Document safety training and noncompliance with protocols.
  6. Before starting work, discuss the day’s tasks, required tools and potential hazards.
“We try to inspire everyone in the construction industry to be leaders in safety," says Zurich's Eric Lambert. "It’s a philosophy and strong team approach that can lead to safer projects. It can be as simple as employees meeting before each shift to discuss hazards and ways to prevent them.”

Friday, May 8, 2015

Leviton Teaches Safe Electrical Wiring to DIYers

Leviton has launched a site that houses a series of online tools to help educate homeowners on how to safely complete DIY electrical wiring projects. Each month, the site details new projects, blog posts and videos highlighting different electrical solutions, codes and products, as well as installations and safety tips.
Resources housed at LearnitatLeviton.com include:

  • Project of the Month video series features a monthly electrical upgrade project to help improve home safety and energy savings. Examples include replacing existing switches with dimmer switches, and installing self-test GFCI receptacles, humidity sensors and timers.
  • How-to videos offer step-by-step instructions on how to upgrade home electrical devices to help improve home safety and save energy.
  • Tech Talk Blog explains the inner workings of electrical devices.
  • Proper termination practice videos teach safety tips and best practices for safely working with home electrical devices.

Safety Lately 5/8/2015

Safety Lately is a weekly podcast from ASSE, covering the latest news in OSH. This episode covers a report from ASSE and NIOSH, a new rule on confined spaces in construction, and changes in flame resistant clothing and PPE standards.

You can hear the episode here. 

Like what you heard? Look for more podcasts at our multimedia page. You can also connect with ASSE on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

NIOSH to Offer Free, Confidential Screenings for Coal Miners

©iStockphoto.com/Daniel Froese
NIOSH will offer a series of free, confidential health screenings to coal miners throughout the U.S.,
starting in June. The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust.

Screenings will be held at sites throughout Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, starting the week of June 21 and ending on Aug. 1, 2015. All coal miners (current, former, underground, surface) are welcome.

“Our priority and concern is to protect the health and safety of coal miners which includes a dedicated effort towards early detection,” says NIOSH Director John Howard. “Through this free and confidential program miners can be protected from potential diseases down the line.”

The screening will include a work history questionnaire, a chest radiograph and spirometry testing. Blood pressure screening will be offered as well. NIOSH will provide each individual miner with the results of his/her own screening. By law each person’s results are confidential. No individual information is publicly disclosed.

Additional information is available online. Interested persons can also call the toll free number (888) 480-4042.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

OSHA & NCTE Join Forces

©iStockphoto.com/Maxim Malevich
OSHA and National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) have announced an alliance to share information, develop compliance assistance tools and resources, and educate workers and employers about rights and responsibilities in the workplace. NCTE is a social justice advocacy organization for transgender people, formed in 2003.

A report released by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 55% of transgender people surveyed lost a job due to bias. Twenty-two percent of workers in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported that they were denied access to gender-appropriate restrooms on the job.

"Through this alliance, we will jointly work with the NCTE to develop products and guidance materials to improve workplace safety and health for all workers," says David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor.

ASSE & NIOSH Issue Joint Report on At-Risk Workers

ASSE and NIOSH have issued a joint report that explores overlapping vulnerabilities facing young Hispanic immigrants who work in the construction industry. The report examines why this population is at increased risk for injury and death on the job. Hispanics were the only ethnic group to see an increase in the number of workplace fatalities in 2013. Prior studies have shown that because of their work in dangerous occupations, Hispanic immigrant workers experienced a higher occupational mortality rate (5.9 per 100,000 full-time employees) than all other workers (4.0 per 100,000 full-time employees), according to statistics collected from 1992 to 2006.

“The safety community and the construction industry must take note of this report and work together to improve the safety conditions outlined in it,” says ASSE President Trish Ennis, CSP, ARM.

NIOSH and ASSE plan to work with community groups, national safety organizations, U.S. safety agencies and various Latin American consulates to develop tools to help this employee group and its employers better manage occupational hazards.

“Improving the health and safety of vulnerable populations recognizes that occupational hazards are distributed differentially,” says NIOSH Director John Howard. “This collaborative effort provides a foundation that addresses the specific needs of small businesses, minority populations and the many young workers who dedicate themselves to their work.”

The report was announced prior to the Society's America's At-Risk Workers symposium held May 6 in Washington, DC. Be sure to check out @PSJ_Cathy Twitter feed for sound bytes from the event.

OSHA Releases Two Fall Protection Publications

Fall protection was the most frequently cited OSHA standard during fiscal year 2014. With this in mind, the agency has published two publications aimed to help construction workers avoid falls from roofs.

Protecting Roofing Workers is a booklet that provides information about personal fall arrest systems, worker rescues, using fall-restraint and guardrail systems, ladders, scaffolding, lifts and emergency action plans.

Fall Protection in Construction includes information about Subpart M, which has criteria for fall protection in construction work. In addition, it provides examples of fall protection requirements in construction, specifically in the areas of leading edges, low-slope roofs, steep roofs and overhand bricklaying.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cintas Releases Guide on New Electrical Safety Requirements

May is National Electrical Safety Month. To help organizations understand new safety requirements for OSHA’s electrical safety standards, Cintas Corp. has released a free safety guide. “Navigating the Changes to OSHA's Electrical Safety Standards Specific to Flame Resistant Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment,” highlights changes to OSHA’s Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution (1910.269) and Electrical Protective Equipment (1926 subpart V) standards, important deadlines, flame resistant apparel and PPE options, flame resistant care and maintenance guidance and additional resources for safety professionals.

OSHA expects these changes will help prevent an estimated 20 fatalities and 118 serious injuries per year. Under the new revisions, companies will be responsible for providing workers with flame resistant apparel and PPE, and ensuring proper care and maintenance of the garments worn by their employees. Employers are expected to comply with the updated standards by April 1, 2015, but no citations will be issued until Aug. 31, 2015.

According to Cintas, understanding the new requirements, key deadlines and next steps will help organizations maintain compliance, keep workers safe and avoid fines.

Click here to download the free guide or visit www.cintas.com for more information.

Record Numbers to Hear Prevention Message: 2015 National Fall Safety Stand-Down


OSHA is predicting that a record number of companies and workers around the country will participate in the National Fall Safety Stand-Down over the next 2 weeks. “Last year’s Stand-Down was a big success. More than 5,000 employers talked about fall protection with more than 1 million workers. It was a tremendous commitment to safety on the part of businesses and workers alike. I am confident that we can do even better this year,” says U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. 

During the 2-week Stand-Down, employers and workers will voluntarily stop work to focus on these understanding and preventing fall hazards. According to OSHA, events are on tap in all 50 states. Here are just two example:
  1. U.S. Air Force will be hosting fall Stand-Downs at bases worldwide. "Fall protection or prevention is not only for activities related to heights that are encountered every day on the job, but also includes, for example, falls that can happen because of wet floors or obstacles on a walkway," explains Bill Parsons, Air Force Ground Safety chief. "We want everyone to remember that preventable falls are inexcusable and that we must continue to do all we can to protect ourselves and each other."
  2. Turner Construction and OSHA are cohosting an event at the U.S. Capitol Dome, which is currently being restored. Check out Turner's video on its 2015 event. Fall protection and scaffold training and demonstrations will be presented during this event, which is free and open to the public.
The National Safety Stand-Down Web page provides details on: how to conduct a stand-down; receive a certificate of participation; and access free education and training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. For a list of stand-down events free and open to the public near you, visit the Stand-Down calendar of events.