Nominations for OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health Are Seeked

OSHA has recently announced that they are now accepting nominations for eight new members to serve on the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health.

Groups in which the nominees are interested in representing can be an employee, employer, public, and state and health agency. All members serve for two years except for the representative designated by the Department of Health and Human Services and appointed by the Secretary of Labor.

If you’d like to submit a nomination, visit www.regulations.gov where you can also view the Federal Register notice for additional details.. You can also submit by mail or fax. The deadline is January 7.

To view the press release, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=23241.

 

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What Four More Years of Obama Means To OSHA

According to Aaron Trippler, director of government affairs for the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the president’s re-election is unlikely to result in any drastic changes for OSHA.

Some of the things believed OSHA will keep focusing on are the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) and possibly finally updating permissible exposure limits (PEL’s). On another note, Trippler also believes that OSHA will likely focus their funds on enforcement and the impact it has shown, and the relationship between federal OSHA and state plans, since 50 percent of their budget is received from them.

To read the article, visit http://ehstoday.com/osha/how-will-obama-s-re-election-impact-occupational-safety-and-health?page=1.

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OSHA’s Advisory Committee On Construction Safety and Health To Meet in Nov.

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) has a meeting scheduled by OSHA on November 27-30 in Washington, DC. It will consist of meetings divided in Work Groups and a full committee at different times. ACCSH Work Groups will meet Nov. 27-28 and the full committee on Nov. 29-30.

The ACCSH works as an advisor to the Secretary of Labor and Assistant Secretary of Labor of OSHA. The full committee agenda will include Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor and updates from the Directorate of Construction. The Work Group meetings will include the topics: Health hazards, emerging issues, prevention through design, training and outreach, and injurly and illness prevention programs.

To submit any comments or requests, visit their Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. You can also submit by mail or fax.  All comments and requests must be submitted by Nov. 16, 2012.

 

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CPSC Urges Consumers to Change Batteries in Alarms This Weekend When Changing Clocks for Daylight Saving Time

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is encouraging consumers to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms this weekend.

“When changing clocks this weekend for Daylight Saving Time, remember to change the batteries in smoke and CO alarms,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Fresh batteries in alarms are essential to keeping your alarm working and on guard to protect you and your family.”

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4, 2012.

About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that don’t work. CPSC also recommends that consumers test their alarms once each month and place smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom.

Fire departments responded to more than 366,700 residential fires nationwide that resulted in more than 2,300 deaths, more than 12,500 injuries, and $7.09 billion in property losses annually, on average, from 2008 through 2010.

CO alarms are equally important and should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. There was an average of 183 unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning deaths each year from 2006 to 2008. To protect against CO poisoning, schedule an annual professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces and chimneys. Keep portable generators outside, far from the home when they are being used.

 

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Safety Tips for Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Now that Hurricane Sandy has finally passed, it has unfortunately left large amounts of recovery and planning for months ahead.

Whether you live in the area of the disaster or have been sent to work there, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has recently offered these tips for the aftermath:

  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off (Visit our Carbon Monoxide blog post for more info).
For more information on disaster recovery and federal assistance programs, visit http://www.ready.gov/.

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Safety Industry Salary Survey Results Show Improvement

A salary survey sent by Safety + Health to 13,410 of their subscribers on August 13 received positive results on their small response rate of 9.9%.

About 52% respondents expect or have received a bonus or raise this year.

Out of the 1,322 that responded, 14.8% have a salary of $100,000 to $125,000 and 28.4% are between 53-59 years old.

Almost half of the respondents also stated having a four-year degree. Finance and real estate industries were the most likely to receive a bonus this year, followed by utilities.

To view the survey visit, http://www.nsc.org/safetyhealth/Pages/Salary-Survey-2012_1012.aspx?utm_source=In+this+issue+–+Nov+2012&utm_campaign=inThisIssueNov12&utm_medium=email#.UJE0JMWHKSp.

 

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Stay Warm, But Safe from Carbon Monoxide Danger

Here in Florida, as the temperature quickly drops to levels we don’t like or are used to, make use that any space heaters you might be using aren’t causing harm. For weather hazards that we ARE more used to here and the upper east coast currently experiencing, like hurricanes, beware of gas-fueled portable generators. Because carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, it is extremely important to be aware of any exposure to it with any of these.

For more information on the dangers of CO and how you can prevent any danger, visit OSHA’s Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf.

To view a Carbon Monoxide safety video, visit http://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/blog/entry/carbon-monoxide-deaths-increase.

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In Florida, Halloween Safety Focus Is On Drivers

“Keep the party off the road” is the message that the Florida Highway Patrol is giving to the public for they Halloween festivities this year. From Oct. 25 through Nov. 4, the Patrol joins thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies to launch the crackdown on impaired drivers.

“The Patrol continues to make driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement a priority,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “In an effort to get impaired drivers off the road, troopers will be vigilant throughout the state with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crack down.”

These are some of the tips recommended to stay safe this Halloween:

Plan a safe way to get home before the festivities begin.

Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get home safely.

Remember, friends don’t let friends drive drunk.

To view the news release, visit http://www.flhsmv.gov/news/pdfs/PR102412.pdf.

 

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Halloween Safety

Halloween Jack o Lanterns

With Halloween right around the corner, it is important to always consider these basic principles to help keep your children and everyone else safe when trick-or-treating or out and about:

Halloween Jack o Lanterns

  • Young children should always go trick-or-treating with an adult.
  • If your child goes with friends plan their entire route and make sure you know what it is.
  • Make sure that all costumes are flame retardant and stay clear of lit jack-o-lanterns.
  • Always check your child’s candy before they eat it.
  • Provide your child with a cellular phone if possible.

In addition you should instruct your children on the following rules:

  • Be cautious of strangers.
  • Accept treats only in the doorway. Never go inside a house.
  • Visit only houses where the lights are on.
  • Walk, Do not run.
  • Cross the street at the corner or in a crosswalk.

For more information visit http://www.halloween-safety.com.

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Bucket Truck Safety

Bucket Truck Image
Bucket trucks are complex and require specialized training to operate. In order to ensure your safety, and the safety of others working in the area, it is important that you know the risks you face.

By Trevor Reschny, CSP

Few pieces of equipment are as complex and create more dangers to the operator than a bucket truck. If you have bought one, or even rented one, you’ll know that the user guides and repair manuals are easy to locate. On the other hand there is no “training manual” for bucket truck operators.

Power tools, scaffolds and even ladders typically have free sources for self-study training, with much emphasis on safety. But for some reason nothing is available that addressed the safe usage of a bucket truck.

OSHA does provide a basic outline but it is short on specifics. In addition each work environment has its own issues regarding safe practices and fall protection but all require safety guidelines, training and periodic recertification.

Bucket Truck Image

Common Hazards

Strains and injuries caused by improper lifting and climbingInjuries common while using a bucket truck include:

  • Falls from as little as five feet, which can result in broken bones
  • Tip-overs and collapses, endanger personnel in the bucket and on the ground
  • Being struck by falling objects (mostly endangers workers on the ground)
  • Getting caught between equipment and fixed structures (especially fingers)
  • Being knocked out of a bucket when the truck is struck by another vehicle
  • Electrocution or physical injury due to electric shock

Damage and injuries occur when:

  • Inspections are not performed according to the manufacturers recommendations
  • The truck is not properly positioned and secured for use
  • The operator is not fully aware of objects around, above and below the bucket
  • Tools and parts are not secured in their proper place
  • The manufacturers limits are exceeded

Driving and Locating the Truck

  • A bucket truck is one of the most complex forms of aerial lift devices. Driving a bucket truck to the site and positioning it correctly requires special skill and knowledge. Even a small truck weighs over four tons and cannot stop on a dime. The first time you have to stop your truck suddenly you’ll realize why bucket trucks are notorious for rear-impact collisions.
  • A three ton lift places the center of gravity of the truck very high; observe tip-over signs on curves and exit ramps. Heavy trucks easily get stuck off-road, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Bucket trucks have poor rear visibility and should not be backed up unless you finds it absolutely necessary and have a spotter. You should also want to install a backup-alarm to warn anyone in the vicinity that a dangerous operation is being performed. Placing the truck in the ideal location takes knowledge of the boom length, manufacturer’s limits, and surface conditions.

Training Requirements

  • OSHA establishes mandatory requirements for training and certification by employers. OSHA defines training requirements in 29 CFR 1910.268.
  • The regulation says: Employers shall provide training in the various precautions and safe practices described in this section and shall ensure that employees do not engage in the activities to which this section applies until such employees have received proper training in the various precautions and safe practices required by this section.”
  • If you are not trained and qualified on a piece of equipment you should not use it. Using unqualified operators carries the risk of higher costs, lost time and increased liability.

A practical bucket truck safety course should:

  • Place emphasis on factors that may seem trivial but are not
  • Provide specific examples of dangers unique to the equipment
  • Supply you with handouts, checklists and references to use at your work

Fall Protection

  • While it is rare for an employee to fall out of a bucket, it is more common that one will bounce out when another vehicle hits the aerial lift truck.
  • OSHA regulations for fall protection are not clear when it comes to bucket trucks. Once you get more than six feet off the ground, personal fall protection is mandated by OSHA’s construction industry standard (1926.501).
  • The question is do we put someone in a body belt or a full body harness? As long as the person cannot fall farther than two feet, the belt is acceptable. If they could fall farther than two feet, a full body harness and lanyard are required. In a practical sense if you restrict the employees fall to two feet, then their lanyard cannot be more than two feet long. This would seriously restrict movement in the bucket, which is not always feasible. As a consequence, most people use a full body harnesses with a six-foot lanyards or a small self-retracting lanyard (SRL).
  • Oh yea…never belt off to an adjacent pole, structure or other equipment, except in an emergency.

Pre-Use Safety Check. Check the following each day before using a bucket truck:

  • Maintenance records that are up to date, or your knowledge of same
  • Wheels and tires. Check tire pressure
  • Fuel, engine oil levels and hydraulic fluid level
  • Hydraulic fluid, oil, fuel and cooling system leaks; listen for air leaks
  • Look for loose or missing parts, rust and deteriorating welds
  • Test ground level controls first, then all bucket controls before you go up
  • Safety devices such as railings, bucket door catches and redundant catches
  • Personal protection equipment: snaps that don’t stick; age of your hard hat
  • Any other items specified by the manufacturer

Check the Work Area

  • Never work on a slope that exceeds the limits specified by the manufacturer.
  • Check the area for soft spots, holes, drop-offs, bumps, and debris.
  • Check for overhead power lines, trees, building overhangs, etc.
  • Before moving the truck be sure that the boom is cradled and tied down and that all other equipment is secure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

You should wear the following personal protective equipment:

  • Hard hat
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves appropriate for the work being done
  • Personal Fall Arrest
  • Other equipment based on your tasks (i.e. Chain saw= Chaps, eye and face Protection)

Operating a Bucket Truck

  • Set outriggers, brakes, and use wheel chocks, even if you are working on a level slope. Automatic transmissions should be placed in park; manual transmissions in low gear.
  • If working near traffic, set up work zone warnings with cones, ropes and signs. (Refer to MOT requirements) (Link to http://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/mot-traffic-control)
  • Close and latch the bucket or platform door and attach the safety chain.
  • Stand on the floor of the bucket or lift platform. Never climb on anything inside the bucket to extend your reach.
  • Do not climb on tool brackets in the bucket or lean over the railing.
  • Never exceed the manufacturer’s load capacity limit. This includes the combined weight of the worker(s), tools and material.
  • Establish and clearly mark a danger zone around the bucket truck.
  • Never move the truck with workers in the elevated platform unless the equipment has been specifically designed and certified for this type of operation.
  • Use particular care when positioning the basket between overhead hazards, such as joists or under an overhang. If the basket moves, the worker in the bucket could become crushed between the rails and the fixed structure.

Emergency Escape

  • If you have a fleet of bucket trucks you can extract a stranded worker by dispatching another truck when the manufacturer’s provided backup systems fail.
  • You should be concerned with escaping from a bucket when working alone and the lift fails. There are several methods used when stranded in the bucket:
  • Auxiliary Power or Backup Pump
  • Emergency Lowering Valve or Holding Valve Bleeding
  • Escape Ladder or a Controlled Decent Rope
  • Lower Controls (with and without an incapacitated worker)

One last thing…You Must Know

  • How to drive the truck safely on the highway
  • How to locate and prepare the truck for aerial lift use
  • How to inspect the equipment before using it
  • Hydraulic equipment function and hazards
  • Insulating factors of the truck, if any
  • How to put on personal fall arrest equipment (PFAS)
  • How to operate the boom from the bucket and from the ground
  • Clearance above, below and alongside the bucket while using it
  • Emergency procedures for equipment failure and accidents

Remember bucket trucks are complex and require specialized training to operate. In order to ensure your safety and the safety of others working around you, it is important that you know the risks you face.

For more information or to take our bucket truck operator course, visit http://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/equipment-operation/bucket-truck.

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