MAKING WORKERS SAFER AROUND THE NATION

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - www.osha.gov - has unveiled a new Publications page on its website that allows visitors to access the agency's resources in a more efficient, user-friendly way. “The OSHA Publications page is one of the most popular pages on the agency's website,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. “The page was redesigned in an effort to make the site's content easier to access, while maintaining OSHA's commitment to providing valuable safety and health materials.”

Visitors may order up to 25 copies of up to five publications using the new ordering capability. The feature is similar to “shopping carts” found on commercial websites, and helps visitors keep track of the publications and number of copies ordered.

Other new OSHA initiatives and products include:

  • The addition of two new modules for its “Ergonomic Solutions for Electrical Contractors” e-Tool. The “Installation and Repair” module describes hazards encountered by employees who often dig trenches and pull and feed wire. The “Prefabrication” module discusses ergonomics-related hazards including heavy manual lifting, repetitive movements, and awkward or stationary positions.

  • Instruction that details OSHA policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that handle combustible dusts and that may have the potential for a dust explosion. Combustible dusts can come from metal, wood, plastic, textiles and organic materials such as grain, flour, sugar, paper, soap and dried blood. Dusts also can come from textile materials.

  • Safety and health topics page to help cleaning and maintenance industry employers protect the health and safety of their employees. The page features information from OSHA and other organizations on the types of hazards common in the cleaning and maintenance industry.

  • “Thermoforming” module for the Plastics Machinery section of the Machine Guarding eTool. The module identifies potential hazards and possible solutions to reduce injuries from thermoforming, a manufacturing process using a thermoplastic sheet or film that is fed into an oven, and then heated, formed and trimmed.

  • Guidance to help employers select and use the appropriate slings when handling and moving materials. “Guidance on Safe Sling Use” will aid users in the safe selection and use of slings, including synthetic round slings.

  • Three actions to protect workers exposed to butter flavorings (diacetyl): (1) Initiating rulemaking under the OSH Act; (2) Issuing a Safety and Health Information Bulletin, and (3) Providing Hazard Communication Guidance.

  • QuickCard offering advice on the appropriate equipment and personal protection for the safe capture of an animal. “Rescue of Animals (Dogs) by Disaster Relief Personnel” also provides guidance on how to avoid being bitten, and what to do if attacked.

New from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - www.cdc.gov - and its National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - www.cdc.gov/niosh - are:

  • NIOSH Science Blog to further communicate and stimulate discussion on scientific issues related to NIOSH's research and recommendations. The blog provides an expeditious system for partners and stakeholders to present ideas to NIOSH scientists and each other, while engaging in scientific discussion with the goal of protecting workers.

  • Web resource on “MRSA and the Workplace,” which offers recommendations for preventing the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA).

  • Updated brochure on the “NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program.”

  • Advice and assistance in the form of Safety and Health Topic pages or other communications tools addressing:

    • Inclusion of donning process and instructions in its list of NIOSH-approved disposable respirators.

    • Employers whose workers may be exposed to metalworking fluids, including education of employees about personal protective equipment.

    • Evaluation of noise levels in the healthcare and social assistance sector, including recommendations regarding hearing protection.

    • Body artists, who are at potential risks of work-related exposures to blood-borne pathogens in applying tattoos or piercings;

    • Employers and outdoor workers on protecting themselves against Lyme disease;

    • Workers with developmental disabilities;

    • The horse-racing industry;

    • Fighting wildfires;

    • Preventing worker deaths and injuries from contacting overhead power lines with metal ladders;

    • Ergonomics for construction workers; and

    • Preventing worker injuries and deaths from explosions in industrial ethylene oxide sterilization facilities.

  • Publications for the agriculture industry covering injuries to youth on farm operations, 2004; injuries to youth on Hispanic farm operations, 2003; and injuries to youth on racial minority farm operations, 2003.

From the National Academies' Institute of Medicine (www.iom.edu) is a report evaluating personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers during an influenza pandemic. The report identifies three critical areas for urgent research and policy action: (1) understand influenza transmission, (2) commit to worker safety and appropriate use of PPE, and (3) innovate and strengthen PPE design, testing and certification.

PPE in this study includes respiratory protection, gloves, gowns, face shields, eye protection, and other equipment that will be used by healthcare workers and others in their day-to-day patient care responsibilities. The study may be purchased from the National Academies Press, www.nap.edu, or may be read online free of charge.

From the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) - www.msha.gov:

  • Is a new concept to assist miners in evacuating an underground mine quickly and safely during a mine emergency. MSHA demonstrated its “Great Escape” rescue system, which was developed by MSHA's Office of Technical Support, at the agency's Approval and Certification Center in Triadelphia, W.Va.

  • Comes word of a new process for collecting civil penalties. These include: (1) A new mailing address for all civil payment penalties (U.S. Department of Labor/MSHA, P.O. Box 790390, St. Louis, MO 63179-0390); (2) Electronic funds transfer for payments that are made by check, and (3) Assessment statement delivery by Federal Express.

  • Proposed penalties of $163,000 against Doe Run Co. of St. Louis following a fatal accident in April 2007 at its Brushy Creek Mine and Mill in Bunker, Mo. A worker lost his life when the haul truck he was operating left the road and overturned at the underground lead-zinc mining operation.

From the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) - www.acoem.com - is a report indicating that employees with symptoms of burnout are less likely to participate in work-based interventions - such as stress reduction or occupational training - than workers without burnout. The findings appeared in the September issue of ACOEM's peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

From the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association (CSDA) - www.csda.org - are:

  • Eleven health and safety courses added to its online training resource. Topics include personal protection, jobsite safety, lockout/tagout safety and hearing protection. Call 727-577-5004.

  • The “Reducing Silica Exposure Fact Sheet,” which is one element stemming from a partnership with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that is designed to foster a safe work environment and advance safety and training of sawing and drilling professionals. Concrete cutting, coring, drilling, quarrying and the production or laying of brick/block are jobs that can create an airborne exposure to silica and potentially cause silicosis, CSDA said.

From ISEA member Klein Tools (www.keintools.com/truck) is the “Great Klein Truck Giveaway,” an end-user promotion to celebrate the company's 150th anniversary. Contest participants can enter by visiting Klein's website through March 30, 2008. The Grand Prize is a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi pickup; other prizes include Klein Tools products. Participants must be 21 years old and be legal residents of the United States. In 1857, Klein Tools' founder and blacksmith Mathias Klein forged the first-known U.S.-made pliers in Chicago.

From the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) — www.sra.org — is a report summarizing health effects from inhalation exposures stemming from 9/11. “The principal health effects experienced by GZ (Ground Zero) workers were pulmonary effects: a persistent cough, bronchial hyperactivity and an increased risk of asthma,” the report states. “The pulmonary effects…have been attributed to inhalation of highly alkaline dust, and also inhalation of (synthetic vitreous fibers), such as glass fibers. Fine particles in metals, such as Cr and Ni in the initial dust cloud could have irritated or sensitized individuals to further response…” The study, “Assessment of Inhalation Exposures and Potential Health Risks to the General Population that Resulted from the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers” appears in the SRA's peer-reviewed journal Risk Analysis.

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