OSHA seeks nominations for members to serve on Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced that nominations are being accepted for six new members to serve on the 16-member Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH).

FACOSH advises the Secretary of Labor on matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. This includes providing assistance to the Secretary and OSHA in an effort to reduce and keep to a minimum the number and severity of injuries and illnesses in the federal workforce. FACOSH also encourages each federal executive branch department and agency to establish and maintain effective occupational safety and health programs.

Nominations will be accepted for three federal agency management representatives and three labor organization representatives. Members will serve terms not to exceed three years.

Nominations may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. Nominations must be submitted by September 4, 2012.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

To view the original OSHA press release, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=22626

 

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Forty-Two Percent of Factory Workers Suffer From Hearing Loss

According to a research done by the University of Michigan School of Nursing, 42% of factory workers exposed to noise have hearing loss. The worst part, however, is that about 75% of them claimed having good hearing when asked. The study was done on 2,691 workers from the Midwest automobile factory.

In turn, what researchers concluded from this study is that “a need for development of reliable and valid self-report measures of hearing loss” was the key to better self-reporting hearing ability from workers.

Because specific sources of their hearing loss were not exactly determined—whether it was work-related, environmental, biological, etc.—they did mention a need for surveillance methods, safety policies, and programs to help evaluate the effectiveness of hearing conservation programs, identify health concerns, and prevent occupational hearing loss.

To view the original article, visit http://ehstoday.com/health/news/workers-fail-self-report-hearing-0702/.

For questions regarding occupational noise testing and safety implementation, call us at 407-505-2803 or visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/industrial-hygiene/noise for more information.

 

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Need Fire Extinguisher Training for Your Crew?

Who requires fire extinguisher training?

OSHA requires fire extinguisher training for your staff if they are expected to user fire extinguishers. Here is what the OSHA regulations say:

1910.157(g)(1) Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, the employer shall also provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage firefighting.

1910.157(g)(2) The employer shall provide the education required in paragraph (g)(1) of this section upon initial employment and at least annually thereafter.

Our hands-on approach includes instruction on the following topics:
  • Overview of the fire protection equipment
  • Review of proper procedures and fire evacuation routes
  • Emergency preparedness training
  • Alertness to fire hazards
  • Review of the types of fire extinguishers and their proper use
  • Identification of the classes of fires and how each is fought
  • Hands on extinguisher practice
Watch a preview of one of our hands-on classes held in Orlando, FL:

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To register for a class or schedule onsite training, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/safety-courses-for-all-industries/fire-extinguisher-training-hands-on

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Foot Wear Safety

A common question we often receive from our safety partners is: When and where is foot protection required?

The OSHA standards for foot protection are performance-based. In other words they do not specifically explain when foot protection is required they only state that “each affected employee shall wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole…”  For that reason it is important to review the type of hazards your employees face in addition to the policies of your customers.

In any case, all safety foot wear must have the proper approval. OSHA originally referred to the ANSI Z41 standard however in 2005, the ANSI Z41 standard was withdrawn and replaced by two new American Society of Testing Material (ASTM) International Standards. The new ASTM standards are F2412-05 Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and F2413-05 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection.

So you are probably still wondering when and where is foot protection required…

Typically safety footwear with impact protection would be required for:

Carrying or handling materials such as packages, objects, parts, or heavy tools that could be dropped; and, for other activities where objects might fall onto the feet.

Similarly safety footwear with puncture protection would be required:

Where sharp objects such as nails, wire, tacks, screws, large staples, scrap metal, etc., could be stepped on by employees, causing a foot injury.

Some occupations (not a complete list) for which foot protection should be routinely considered are:

Shipping and receiving clerks, carpenters, electricians, mechanics and repairers, plumbers, drywall installers and lathers, welders, laborers, landscapers, window installers, timber cutting and logging, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers.

Keep in mind that OSHA does not state that approved foot protection is required for these areas/activities; rather, they give you the responsibility for determining what foot protection is necessary and when it is necessary!

 

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Fourth of July Fireworks, Be Safe Not Sorry

Everyone enjoys fireworks and around this time of the year, patriotic flashing colors coming from our neighbors’ yards and shooting up in the sky cannot seem more appropriate. However, if you are one of the many Americans who celebrates the Fourth of July this way, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that some fireworks can be dangerous. So when you go out this weekend to pick out Tuesday’s firework line-up, it is highly recommended that you only buy consumer fireworks from a licensed store or stand.

Consumer fireworks regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are packaged in bright colors and have safety warnings on the packaging. Typical consumer fireworks include fountains, cones, sparklers, fire crackers, bottle rockets and multiple tube products.

Illegal explosives are often unpackaged and are wrapped with plain brown paper. They are very unlikely to have any safety warnings, or place of manufacture. Many of them are hand made in illicit factories. They go by names such as M80, Quarter Stick or Cherry Bomb.

Also remember to follow these basic rules:

  • Only use fireworks outdoors.
  • Children under age 16 should only use fireworks with ADULT SUPERVISION.
  • Always have a bucket of water, or water hose, nearby.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix!

Parents should pay special attention to children using sparkers. Sparklers reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Children should not touch the lit portion of sparklers, throw them or play games with them. Sparklers can be dangerous, if used improperly.

Watch a 6 minute video on fireworks safety at http://www.fireworksafety.com/07/NCFSconsafety.html

For more information on safety tips, visit http://www.fireworksafety.com/.

 

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Hazard Alert Is Issued By OSHA & NIOSH To Ensure Silica Exposure Protection

silica hazard alert

silica hazard alert

After a study by NIOSH and oil and gas industry partners found silica a health hazard to workers during hydraulic fracturing operations, they –along with OSHA—took the appropriate steps to ensure their safety and brought it to focus with a hazard alert.

Following consultations with stakeholders and industry, the alert announced now meets the Obama administration’s focus on the importance of this specific issue.

Examples of exposure include transporting, moving, and refilling silica sand into and through sand movers, and along transfer belts and into blender hoppers, which counts for up to 99 percent of the silica in the air that workers breathe. The alert explains how a combination of engineering control, work practices, protective equipment, product substitution, and proper worker safety training can reduce health hazard exposure. Common health illnesses caused from silica exposure are silicosis and sometimes even lung cancer. Other linked diseases found are tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney and autoimmune disease.

“Hazardous exposures to silica can and must be prevented. It is important for employers and workers to understand the hazards associated with silica exposure in hydraulic fracturing operations and how to protect workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA and NIOSH are committed to continuing to work with the industry and workers to find effective solutions to address these hazards.”

To learn more on this hazard alert, visit http://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html.

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OSHA’s Florida crane safety stand-down. What measures are you taking?

Last week on Tuesday June 19, OSHA held a joint safety stand-down with different construction organizations to focus on crane operations throughout Florida. All contractors were to stop work and hold safety meetings to raise awareness about crane and rigging safety requirements.

The stand-down was organized by the following organizations:

  1. The Florida Crane Safety Alliance which included representation by OSHA, the Associated Builders and Contractors’ Florida East Coast, Central Florida, Gulf Coast, First Coast and North Coast chapters.
  2. The Associated General Contractors of America South Florida’s East Coast and Greater Florida Chapters
  3. The Construction Association of South Florida
  4. The Florida Crane Owners’ Council Inc.
  5. The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association and Crane Tech LLC

The Florida Crane Alliance held a signing of construction employers, associations and crane companies to assume responsibility and commitment to workers’ safety which was followed by this stand-down. To view  the flyer from the Florida Crane Alliance containing information on crane safety, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/cranehoistsafety/index.html.

Other cooperative programs between OSHA and safety-forward groups including consulates, unions, trade and professional organizations, educational institutions and more are also available. Through its alliance program, OSHA works with these organizations who are strongly committed to worker safety and health and whose ultimately goal is to prevent as many workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. To view these programs, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/index_programs.html.

For more information on the Florida Crane Safety Alliance, contact the following OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialists:

  • Vergie Bain – Fort Lauderdale Area Office; 954-423-0382;
  • Joan Spencer – Tampa Area Office; 813-626-1177
  • Mark Davis – Jacksonville Area Office; 904-232-2895

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The best practice of “5-S”

5S Before

Among the world-class manufacturing technologies perhaps the most widely used is the 5-S system.

Originally conceived to create a clutter-free, well-organized, spic-and-span working environment in factories, 5S is now seen as a widely applicable concept regardless of industry and size of company.

Safety Links has almost 10 years of practical experience assisting our Safety Partners including government agencies, manufacturers, and even medical providers implement the 5-S system.

The principle behind 5-S is that in order to achieve high levels of quality, safety, and productivity, workers must have a conducive working environment.  Conversely, a cluttered, disorganized workplace demotivates employees and hinders any attempt to improve their efficiencies.5S Before5S After

Before & After

For more information about the 5-S System (Click Here) or call Trevor Reschny at 407-760-6170

 

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Safety Tip – Aerial Lift

Are you guilty of using hazardous aerial lift procedures?

Falls, electrocutions, and collapses or tip-overs are some of the most prominent Aerial Lift device injuries, according to OSHA. These include boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, aerial ladders and vertical towers.

Watch this presentation on general Aerial Lift safety, share it with your staff or if needed, gather a meeting regarding the topic and work safely!

Aerial Lift Safety Tip

To learn more about a Aerial Lift safety training, visit us at https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/equipment-operation/aerial-lift or contact us at 407-353-8165 / info@safetylinks.net

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It’s hurricane season- Time to think about your business continuity plans

Although a disaster could affect your company at any time, the beginning of the hurricane season is a great time to further develop your Business Continuity, Contingency Planning & Disaster Recovery plans.

Developing a business continuity plan is an essential and unavoidable task. Although the creation of a sound plan may be a complex undertaking, it pays huge dividends in the event of an emergency. A great success story comes from one of our partners. In 2004 their Human Resources department would have lost the personnel records of over 1500 of their employees after a flood. Fortunately the vulnerability of their key business records was identified, and beginning the previous year they had digitized their paper records.

So what exactly is a Business Continuity Plan? In plain language, a Business Continuity Plan is how an organization prepares for future incidents that could jeopardize their core mission and their long-term competitiveness. These potential incidents include local incidents like building fires, regional incidents like hurricanes and national incidents like pandemic illnesses.

To start to develop or improve your plans follow these three basic steps.

Conduct Business Impact Analysis

The first step in a sensible business continuity process is to consider the potential impacts of each type of problem. After all, you cannot properly plan for a disaster if you don’t know the likely impacts on your business/organization.

A business impact analysis is essentially a means of systematically assessing the potential impacts resulting from various (unavailability) events or incidents

You should ask yourself “What do I do when we cannot use our facility?” or “What can I do now to better prepare my business unit to respond when our facility is unavailable?”  Why it is unavailable isn’t the issue. It could be as a result of a fire, tornado or massive power outage. Consider that your offices and all of the resources you have available for day-to-day operations are no longer available.

The business impact analysis is intended to help you understand the degree of potential loss (and various other unwanted effects) which could occur. This will cover not just direct financial loss, but other issues, such as reputation damage, regulatory effects, etc.

Develop Plan

Creation of a living business continuity plan is far from a trivial exercise. Every aspect of the plan must be carefully managed to ensure that it does not fall short when most needed.

Having stated this however, it is equally true that the creation of a plan is often made far more difficult than actually necessary.

Essentially your plan must describe what you are going to do in the event of an emergency and what you are going to do to limit your losses?

For example, how will you communicate with your employees and the press? How will you notify your customers and key vendors? How will you ensure that you have what you need to operate if something happens? This includes business information, records, statements, and so on.

In this plan you must also define who will be responsible for what, how will you train your staff and employees, in addition you must define how will you update and distribute the plan.

Plan implementation, maintenance and testing

Having developed your business continuity plan, it is sensible to actually implement it and to perform an overall audit… not just initially, but at regular intervals. This helps ensure that it remains current, and that it stands up to rigorous examination. This should also cover all the plan’s supporting contingency arrangements.

Various options are available. A common approach is to ‘brainstorm’ the plan, via intensive meetings and workshops.  Another is to hire specialist consultants – recognized experts in the field.

Please feel free to contact Safety Links if you need any assistance developing or evaluating your plan. Whether you are entirely new to business continuity management, or whether you have an established contingency plan already in place, we can help!

For professional assistance, give us a call at 407-353-8165 or email at info@safetylinks.net to start your business continuity plan.

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