OSHA Proposes Cutting Silica Dust Exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed long-awaited rules on Friday to limit crystalline silica, a move it said would prevent nearly 700 deaths a year by reducing exposure to these very small particles that can cause lung cancer and other diseases. OSHA faced heavy pressure from labor leaders, who argued that the current exposure…

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Computer work is a pain in the… everywhere

Computer work

If you use a computer for extended periods of time you likely have experienced eye fatigue and pain or discomfort in the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck or back. The good news is that in most cases, corrective measures are relatively simple and inexpensive.

A survey of actual computer use will help you determine which workstations and individuals should be targeted for further evaluation. Highest priority should be given to those individuals who experience symptoms and spend more than 2 hours per day at a computer.

The following guidelines are intended to help you understand and reduce health risks associated with computer workstations. Since no two people are identical, different styles, models, and sizes of furniture and accessories may be needed. Here are some general rules to follow:Computer work

  1. The work surface should be of sufficient area to accommodate the computer and all associated materials. There should be adequate space beneath this surface for the operator’s legs and feet.
  2. The keyboard and mouse should be directly in front of the operator at a height that favors a neutral posture (23 to 28 inches). When placed at standard desk height of 30 inches, keyboards and input devices are too high for most people. The objective is a posture with upper arms relaxed and wrists straight in line with the forearm. Wrist rests may also help and are built into most keyboard holders.
  3. The monitor should be positioned at a distance of approximately arm’s length and directly in front of the operator. The top of the screen should be no higher than eye level. A monitor placed on top of the computer can easily be lowered by relocating the computer. Many monitors are height adjustable, stackable monitor blocks or even phone books can be used to achieve the desired height. Adjustable monitor arms enable easy height adjustment for workstations with multiple users.
  4. A well designed chair will help with posture, circulation and back strain reduction. Desired features of a chair include: pneumatic seat height adjustment, back height adjustment, seat depth adjustment (either by moving the back of the chair or moving the seat pan), and 360 degree swivel.
  5. Additional accessories can improve operator comfort. Document holders can minimize eye, neck and shoulder strain by positioning the document close to the monitor. A footrest should be used where the feet cannot be placed firmly on the floor. Task lamps will illuminate source documents when room lighting is reduced.
  6. Glare should be eliminated through methods that include reduction of room lighting; shielding windows with shades, curtains or blinds; positioning the terminal at a right angle to windows; and tilting the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting. Glare screens are not normally necessary.

Lastly, to maintain a safe, comfortable, and productive office all computer users should receive some basic training covering the potential health effects that may result from poor posture and work habits, early warning symptoms, workstation adjustment, and other self-help protective measures.

If you want more information on ergonomics assessments or training contact Randy Free at 407-353-8165 or email him at rfree[at]safetylinks.net

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OSHA Focuses on Isocyanates Via National Emphasis Program

OSHA has announced a new National Emphasis Program for occupational exposure to isocyanates that will focus outreach and inspections on specific hazards in the manufacturing, maritime and construction industries.

On Dec. 3, 1984, over 40 tons of methyl isocyanate and other lethal gases including hydrogen cyanide, leaked into the northern end of Bhopal, killing over 3,000 people in its immediate aftermath and causing ongoing health issues for thousands more. More recently, a large explosion and fire that took the lives of two workers and injured several more at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, W. Va., in August 2008 was caused by a thermal runaway reaction during the production of an insecticide containing methyl isocyanate.

OSHA’s new National Emphasis Program for isocyanates will target the serious health effects from occupational exposure to isocyanates. OSHA develops national emphasis programs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a 3-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will focus on workplaces in manufacturing, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths.

To view the original article, visit HERE.

Don’t forget, Safety Links provides industrial hygiene work with a highly experienced Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) on staff. For more information about our services or to schedule a meeting, call us at 407-760-6170 or email at info@safetylinks.net

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Behavioral Safety 101; Positive Reinforcement

Here’s for a little Friday morning positive reinforcement:

The Science of Behavioral Safety 101: A Little Praise Goes a Long Way
Never underestimate the power of acknowledging people for behaving safely or supporting others to do the same.

We probably have all heard the old adage: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Well, there’s plenty of science to support it.

Psychological research has shown us time and again that positive reinforcement is the single most powerful tool in our arsenal for eliciting and maintaining desired behavior. It’s true when it comes to parenting children and it’s true when it comes to creating safe work environments. Strategic use of positive reinforcement is effective and highly cost-efficient.

To view the article, visit HERE.

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ANSI and ASSE seeking U.S. stakeholders to support the standard’s development

NEW YORK, July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –Following the tragic deaths of thousands of garment factory workers around the world in the past year, including over 1,100 people in a factory collapse in Bangladesh, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has announced that it will develop a new standard for global occupational health and safety (OH&S) with the goal of providing governmental agencies, industry, and other affected stakeholders with effective, usable guidance for improving worker safety in countries around the world. The work will be overseen by ISO Project Committee (PC) 283, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements.

“This proposed occupational health and safety standard represents one of the most significant consensus standards activities in the last 50 years,” said S. Joe Bhatia, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) president and CEO. “It has the potential to significantly and positively impact occupational health and safety management on a global level.”

To support this effort, ANSI and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) are seeking participants for a U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for ISO PC 283. All U.S. experts and interested stakeholders in OH&S management are strongly encouraged to get involved and help influence the development of this important standard.

The U.S. TAG to ISO PC 283 will advise ANSI on voting positions relevant to the proposed OH&S management standard, and will carry out detailed discussions on issues related to its development. As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI accredits U.S. TAGs to develop and transmit U.S. positions on ISO technical activities. Following the TAG’s accreditation by ANSI, ASSE will head up the U.S. work effort by serving as the U.S. TAG administrator to ISO PC 283.

“Time and time again we’ve seen how investment in OH&S management can help to make work environments safer, while also serving to improve overall organizational performance and boosting the bottom line,” said Kathy Seabrook, CSP, CMIOSH, EurOSH, president of ASSE.

“ISO PC 283 will be doing critically important work, and the U.S. needs to have a strong, active and engaged role in this activity,” added Mr. Bhatia. “ANSI and ASSE encourage all interested U.S. stakeholders to get involved in this significant new global standards initiative.”

For more information about the U.S. TAG to ISO PC 283 and the opportunity to take part in this critically important work, click here. To access the TAG membership application form, click here.

About ANSI

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is made up of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents the interests of more than 125,000 companies and organizations and 3.5 million professionals worldwide.

The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and is a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

About ASSE

Founded in 1911, the Chicago-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 35,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to http://www.asse.org/.

SOURCE American National Standards Institute

RELATED LINKS

http://www.ansi.org/

To view the original article, visit http://m.prnewswire.com/news-releases/iso-to-develop-new-global-occupational-health-and-safety-standard-216807451.html.

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Choosing Chemical-Resistant Gloves

Chemical Resistant Glove

Chemical-resistant gloves are important when working with chemicals. The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is often the first place people go to find glove recommendations however most SDS’s provide generic or incomplete information glove selection. That is when you’ll have to refer to a glove manufacturers test chart.  The test data is generally from a laboratory environment and with one specific chemical. Glove manufacturers generally do not test chemical mixtures and don’t consider other variables in your application, such as hot or cold temperatures and cut hazards. Below are chemical guide links for some of the larger glove manufacturers selection charts:

Chemical Resistant Glove

On these chemical-resistance guide charts, you will find gloves made from many different materials. Different glove materials can react differently to individual chemicals. An important consideration when choosing a protective glove for working with chemicals is how the specific chemical reacts with the glove material. A SDS that only specifies an acid-resistant glove is misleading because one glove material might work fine with hydrochloric acid, but provide little or no protection from nitric acid. Gloves are generally tested and rated in three categories for chemical compatibility: degradation, breakthrough time and permeation rate. All three should be considered when selecting a glove.

Degradation is a change in physical properties of the glove material. Common effects include swelling, wrinkling, stiffness, change in color or other physical deterioration. The degradation ratings indicate how well a glove will hold up when working with a specific chemical. Degradation tests vary by manufacturer. There is no standardized test that is used by everyone in the industry. However, the glove material usually has constant exposure to the test chemical and the percent weight change is then determined at time intervals.

Degradation is one critical factor when choosing a glove but other considerations are chemical breakthrough time and the permeation rate of the glove with the chemical. Degradation is usually the first test. Most manufacturers do not test permeation or breakthrough time if the chemical causes significant degradation to the glove material. Degradation alone can be enough to disqualify a glove for use with a chemical.

Breakthrough time is the elapsed time between initial contact of the chemical on one side of the glove material and the analytical detection of the chemical on the other side of the glove material. This test is conducted per ASTM F739 standard test method for resistance of protective clothing materials to permeation by hazardous liquid chemicals. The higher the result, the longer it takes for the chemical to pass through the glove material. The actual time reported on the chemical is usually listed on the compatibility charts. If breakthrough did not occur, the data reported is typically ND (none detected) or > (greater than) the indicated test period. The times generally reflect how long a glove can be expected to provide resistance when totally submerged in the test chemical.

Permeation rate is a measurement that describes the rate of a chemical passing through the glove material at the molecular level. This process is similar to how a balloon loses air after enough time passes even though it is still tied and has no visible holes. The thickness of the glove can greatly affect the permeation rate.

Manufacturers report permeation rate in different ways. Some report in micrograms of chemical per square centimeter of glove material per minute. The higher the result, the more of the chemical that passes through the glove material. Other manufacturers rate the permeation similar to that done for degradation: excellent (E), good (G), fair (F), poor (P) and not recommended (NR). If chemical breakthrough does not occur, permeation is not measured. This is reported as ND (none detected) or NT (not tested), depending upon the manufacturer. This test is also conducted per ASTM F739.

If you want more information on PPE assessments or training contact Trevor Reschny. 407-760-6107 or email him at treschny[at]safetylinks.net

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The Benefits of Fleet Safety

truck with bumper sticker
Are your company vehicles costing you too much money to operate or are they actually a benefit to your overall business operations?

There are two distinct groups of company vehicles; primary and incidental. The primary vehicles are those that can be used to generate income for your business by being able to establish charges for their usage, which is billed to the customer.

Incidental fleets or vehicles are those units that generate no operating charges, yet are essential for company personnel to conduct business, such as those company owned vehicles that are assigned to job foremen, superintendents, project engineers, sales, maintenance staff, or material delivery personnel.

These vehicles may be costing your company more than the fuel, insurance, and upkeep that it takes to maintain them.

Did you know that in addition to the normal expected costs, job related vehicle incidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities and lost time injuries, which cost companies millions of dollars in additional expenses?

You may have a safety program in place with policies and procedures intended to protect your employees from workplace hazards and exposures related to the job activities associated with your operations. Does your company safety program or risk control measures, address the necessary steps to afford the same level of controls and protection for the company vehicles that are provided to employees in order to carry out their day to day activities?

The following four step fleet program is a good start.

Step #1: Administrative Commitmenttruck with bumper sticker

Top management/ownership must be committed to fleet management, showing that they are genuinely concerned for the safety and well-being of all employees within the organization while operating and using company vehicles. The next step in the process is to have written policies and procedures. Policies should be written and spelled out covering issues such as: Safe Use and Operations of Company Vehicles, Drug & Alcohol Usage, Driver Qualifications, Driver Screening, Personal Use, Distractions (electronics, cell phones, eating, etc.), Accident Reporting Procedures, and Disciplinary Measures.

Step #2: Driver Control

The company needs to establish the necessary controls to assure that they are allowing only qualified employees to operate company vehicles. Qualified means not only meeting state and federal regulations for having the proper license to drive, but they also meet other qualifying requirements established by the company.

Other qualifying criteria, in addition to a valid driver’s license, include age requirements, physical capabilities, experience, passing company written and road tests, and an acceptable driving history. A drivers’ prior driving history should be verified through a current motor vehicle report (MVR) secured through the state where their license was issued.

Specifics regarding your company driver requirements should be spelled out in the fleet policies. “Acceptable” driving history should also be outlined. What constitutes a “non-acceptable” driving history should be included in the company policy. Some non-acceptable criteria generally include items for prior convictions within a specified period such as; Driving Under the Influence (DUI’s) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI’s). Five (5) years prior is usually the recommended time period for DUI’s or DWI’s. Suspension or revoked driver’s license within the last three years, along with convictions for causing a death while operating a vehicle, hit and run or careless/reckless driving are other infractions that should make the unacceptable category.

Step #3 Vehicles: Selection, Maintenance and Inspections

Company vehicles should be properly selected based on type and usage. A vehicle safety features should be included in the selection process. Maintenance intervals should be established and conveyed to the drivers. Tracking and follow-up with the drivers to assure that these intervals are met reinforces the company’s commitment of having safe, well-kept vehicles in the hands of those operating them. Like maintaining company vehicles, inspecting them on a regular basis is equally important.

Step #4 Regulatory Compliance

Determine whether the company vehicles fall under the scope of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations because of their usage, vehicle size (weight), and/or materials transported, handled or towed? Drivers of company vehicles, based on the factors previously noted, may be required to carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Additional endorsements for the CDL may also be required for specific driving operations, including chauffeuring more than 15 people.

Beyond just the drivers licensing requirements, there are other documentation requirements necessary to comply with the D.O.T. regulations. This documentation includes previous employment verification, drug and alcohol screening, and driving history verification.

Step #5 monitoring

Use a “How am I Driving” Bumper Sticker reporting system: How many times have you been cut off and wished the other vehicles had a bumper sticker? By using a “How am I Driving” campaign you will begin to experience more cautious drivers and ultimately fewer collisions.

Our How am I Driving? System includes a toll free call center where the public can easily report their observations. After words an observation report will be emailed to you so corrective action can be taken. We offer this monitoring service for Safety Partners with small to medium fleets for as low as $150/ year!

Our fleet safety solutions are the most cost effective and professional solutions available! For more information on our new Fleet Safety Initiative call Randy Free at 407-353-8165

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Safety Links’ Trevor Reschny, CSP featured in new book, Accidents Waiting To Happen by Rick Dalrymple

Accident Waiting To Happen Book

Trevor Reschny, CSP, president of Safety Links Inc. has recently been featured in the new book “Accident Waiting To Happen: Best Practices In Workers’ Comp Administration and Protecting Corporate Profitability” by Rick Dalrymple, CPIA, CMIP.

Be sure to turn to page 191 for “Behavior Based Safety Systems (Modern Safety Management)” by Reschny, covering topics: The Safety Evolution, Traditional Safety Programs Yields Marginal Success, Modern Safety Management Model, and Behavior based Safety.

To purchase a copy, visit your local bookstore or online at http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Dalrymple/e/B00D4NJ9VG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1.

Accident Waiting To Happen Book

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OSHA announces new National Emphasis Program for occupational exposure to isocyanates

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a new National Emphasis Program to protect workers from the serious health effects from occupational exposure to isocyanates. OSHA develops national emphasis programs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will focus on workplaces in general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths.

“Workers exposed to isocyanates can suffer debilitating health problems for months or even years after exposure,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this program, OSHA will strengthen protections for workers exposed to isocyanates.”

Isocyanates are chemicals that can cause occupational asthma, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cancer. Deaths have occurred due to both asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis from isocyanates exposure. Respiratory illnesses also can be caused by isocyanates exposure to the skin. Isocyanates are used in materials including paints, varnishes, auto body repair, and building insulation. Jobs that involve exposure to isocyanates include the spray-on polyurethane manufacturing of products such as mattresses and car seats, and protective coatings for truck beds, boats, and decks.

OSHA’s Web page on Isocyanates provides additional information on recognizing potential hazards, as well as OSHA standards that address isocyanates in the general, construction and maritime industries.

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.

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To read the original press release, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=24273.

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Best Practices for Nail Guns

I bet if you surveyed your employees who regularly use nail guns you would find that most of them have had at least one nail gun incident.

These tools have made production much faster and safer however they demand some respect!

Here are some basic rules for using your nail gun:

  • Never use your nail gun with the nose guard safety spring missing.
  • Always read and follow the instructions provided with the tool.
  • Wear safety glasses (trust me on this one!).
  • Do not point the tool towards yourself or others, no matter how far away they are.
  • When you are moving about the work area – keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
  • When leaving the tool unattended, turn off the air supply or disconnect the air hose.
  • Never rest the gun against any part of your body, or try to climb a ladder with the gun cradled against your body.
  • Do not work above other trades. Always be aware of the possible danger to your workmates, and take whatever precautions are required.
  • Do not use any nail that is not of a type suited to the nail gun and the purpose for which it is being used.

Remember that a nail gun is a time saving tool — but it cannot save the time when you are in the emergency room.

Use it safely! To learn more or to schedule equipment operation training, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/equipment-operation.

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