SafetyNet News and Highlights

November 2008

Department of Labor Publishes the SHARE Scorecard

The Department of Labor published the FY 2008 Safety, Health, and Return-to-Employment (SHARE) scorecard, the Department of the Interior (DOI) fails two.  DOI received red dots for Total Case Rate (TCR) and Post Production Days (LPD) and green dots for Lost Time Case Rate (LTCR) and Timeliness of filing claims.  A spike in fourth quarter injuries prevented DOI form achieving all four goals.  The Scorecard can be viewed at http://www.dol.gov/esa/owcp/dfec/share/perform.asp?filename=summary.asp

The Department will be analyzing the accident reports filed in FY 2008 to learn what happened and to develop a strategy for pro-actively managing employee injuries and illnesses. 

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OSHA Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for New Respirator Fit-Testing Protocol

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (www.osha.gov) for a new fit-testing protocol, the Abbreviated Bitrex Qualitative Fit-Testing (ABQLFT) protocol. The agency is accepting public comments until Feb. 25, 2008.

The ABQLFT has a shorter exercise duration than the current methods.   The ABQLFT protocol shortens the duration for each of the seven fit-test exercises from one minute to 15 seconds.  The proposed protocol would apply to employers in general industry, shipyard employment and the construction industry.

Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=14879

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OSHA CRANE AND DERRICK PROPOSAL PUBLISHED

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a proposed rule intended to protect employees from hazards associated with using cranes and derricks in construction activities.  The proposal has three main requirements for the employer:

1. The employer would have to determine if the ground being constructed on is sufficient to support the anticipated weight of hoisting equipment and associated loads.
2. The employer then needs to assess hazards within the work zone that might affect the hoisting equipment, such as power lines, objects or people that would be in the work zone.
3. The employer would be required to assess equipment through inspections to make sure that it is in safe operating condition. Employees would also be trained to recognize hazards associated with the use of the equipment. Crane operators would have to be trained and certified.

OSHA will also be launching a three-tiered initiative to address crane operations focusing: on the providing of information to the construction industry and other stakeholders; offering enhanced resources to OSHA inspectors who address crane safety; and implementing a National Emphasis Program on Crane Safety.

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OSHA REOPENS RULE ON CONSTRUCTION SAFETY

On October 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it was reopening the rulemaking record on a proposed rule to raise the level of safety for construction workers. The record is to be reopened for a month due to a possible error in the tables that calculate the minimum approach distance for certain voltages.

The original rulemaking period had closed on July 14, 2006. The technical committee responsible for creating the tables on which the proposal was based discovered an error in their calculation of minimum approach distances for certain voltages. The table shows the limit to how close an employee, or the conductive object the employee is holding, may safely get to an energized circuit part.

The proposed rule would provide an update on an existing rule and create a performance standard on the construction of electric power transmission and distribution installations. Consistent with the agency's general industry rule, the rule would add provisions related to host employers, flame resistant clothing and training.

Comments related to the minimum approach tables mentioned above should be sent by November 21 to the federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov, Docket No. OSHA-S215-2006-0063.

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NEW ISO NANOTECHNOLOGY REPORT

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued a report October 1, which outlines best practices for performing risk assessments and characterizing nanoparticle exposure in occupational environments. The new report contains the most comprehensive set of guidelines for working safely with nanomaterials.  The report was based on NIOSH's "Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology" from 2006 and is entirely informative in nature.  This report summarizes all available knowledge and builds a foundation for the development of more science-based safety and occupational health guidance.

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HOUSE MOVES TO BAN ASBESTOS

Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives to ban asbestos in virtually all products. The Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2008 (H.R. 6903) would prohibit the current limited exemptions for the import, manufacture, processing or distribution of asbestos-containing products.  The proposed House bill would also establish a public education program to increase awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos containing products and provide information about asbestos-related diseases.

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October 2008

Department Responds to OIG Audit Report on Health and Safety Concerns at Department of the Interior’s Facilities

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has reacted to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Final Audit Report on the Health and Safety Concerns at Department of the Interior’s Facilities, (Report Number C-IN-MOA-0011-2006) by creating Work Groups to respond to individual recommendations.  The goal of the audit was to determine if the Department and bureaus have effectively addressed health and safety issues related to facilities.  The Work Groups include:

  • Mitigation Reporting Work Group to investigate ways to mitigate deficiencies across DOI.
  • Organizational Structures Work Group to determine the optimal structure for the DOI safety and health program.
  • Strategic Plan Work Group to develop a DOI safety and health strategic plan with milestones.
  • Abatement Work Group to investigate ways of tracking hazard abatement.
  • Budget Work Group to insure the safety and health program is adequately resourced.
  • Training Work Group to insure that safety and health training requirements are met.
  • Awards Work Group to identify awards and award categories that better align with DOI ceremony structure.

The full report can be viewed at: http://www.doioig.gov/upload/2008-G-00171.pdfPDF Format

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OSHA PROPOSES CHEMICAL HAZARD COMMUNICATION SYSTEM

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is internally circulating a draft proposal to implement the United Nation's Globally Harmonized Classification and Labeling System (GHS) for chemicals. The agency has not yet submitted the proposal to the Office of Management and Budget. It is not yet known when OSHA will issue the proposed rule, but the Unified Agenda due out this month should list when it will be addressed.

According to project officer for GHS in OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance Maureen O'Donnell, the proposal will include GHS's 16-section Safety Data Sheet. However, OSHA does not have jurisdiction over some of those 16 sections, such as the environmental risks and transportation sections.

O'Donnell explained manufacturers will bear the greatest burden due to rewriting their hazard communication documents and revising their training, however, it will be to their benefit in the long run. Manufacturers will be able to enjoy the largest benefit in terms of health and safety protection, trade and consistency in safety data sheets. Currently, the language in data sheets may be confusing to workers who may have an education level below 10th grade. GHS will use a simpler language and will only require about 30 minutes to train workers to read.

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  Bringing Workplace Safety & Health Home: Garage Safety

For many American homes, one of the most dangerous rooms is the garage.  The garage houses flammable liquids such as paint thinners and gasoline.  Liquids that produce invisible explosive vapors should be stored outside the house to avoid a fire hazard. Also, install a smoke detector and mount a fire extinguisher in the garage area.

Most of the time the, garage acts as "catch all" to many items not wanted in the main house. These items can often clutter and cause many trip hazards. It is important to keep trip hazards in mind when stacking items in the garage. Also, this room is usually poorly lit so remember to keep a spare flashlight by the door and have light switches installed at every entrance to provide adequate lighting.

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OSHA on Parking Lot Injuries – Record Them

OSHA has issued a letter of interpretation that states that employers must record employee injuries when they occur in the employers’ parking lots.  The letter, posted on OSHA’s website on September 2, 2008, addresses two situations during which the workers were injured when they fell to the ground as they were exiting their vehicle in the establishment’s parking lot.

The letter states that “…an injury or illness must be considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the injury or illness…” and defines the work environment as the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment.  Work relatedness is presumed under Part 1904 for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment…”  Under OSHA's recordkeeping regulation, company parking lots and company access roads are included within the definition of "establishment." 

There is an exception to this situation.  The case must meet three conditions:

  • First, the injury must occur when the employee is commuting to or from work, and not when the employee is traveling in the interest of the employer.
  • Second, the injury must take place in the company parking lot or company access road (the work establishment).
  • Finally, the injury must result from a motor vehicle accident.

The complete letter of interpretation is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=27094

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US Workplace Fatalities Down 6% in 2007

Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries indicates a 6% reduction in work-related injuries in 2007 from 2006.  There were 5,488 fatal worker injuries in the United States in 2007, compared with 5840 for the previous year.

Among the key findings in this initial analysis:

  • The construction industry continued to have the highest number of fatalities of any industry - 1178 deaths (21.5%)
  • The number of fatal falls in 2007 rose to a series high of 835--a 39 percent increase since 1992.
  • Transportation incidents, which typically account for two-fifths of all workplace fatalities, fell to a series low of 2,234 cases in 2007.
  • The 835 fatal falls in 2007 represented a series high for the fatality census.  The increase for falls overall was driven primarily by increases in falls on same level (up 21 percent from 2006) and falls from non-moving vehicles(up 17 percent).  Falls from roofs, however, were down 13 percent from the number in 2006.
  • Fatalities among government workers increased 2 percent. Four of the 106 federal employee fatalities involved DOI employees.
  • Fatalities among workers employed in protective service occupations rose 19 percent from 2006 to 2007, including police officers (up 30 percent), fire fighters (up 17 percent), and security guards (up 11 percent). 

The complete BLS report can be found at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

Home Safety Council Offers Advice and Resources to Help Families Prepare for Emergencies

Tornados, hurricanes, wildfire, earthquakes, flooding, fires and disasters often happen unexpectedly, leaving families no time to prepare to evacuate or seek shelter in their home. In support of National Preparedness Month, the Home Safety Council (HSC) is urging families to make a communications plan and assemble readiness kits now, in order to be ready for the unexpected later.  
 
A recent HSC survey found that while more than half of survey respondents (58 percent) have experienced a disaster first-hand, very few have taken action to prepare for another emergency. In fact, only 25 percent of those polled have assembled basic emergency supplies such as water, food and clothing.

"When a disaster occurs, it's already too late to make an emergency plan," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. "The time to get ready is now before disaster strikes. By investing a few minutes today, families will have the knowledge, supplies and the plan needed to safely and securely make it through any type of emergency situation." 

Develop a Family Communications Plan:

HSC encourages families to talk about the kinds of disasters that can occur in their area and make a plan to stay safe if a disaster should arise. Family communication plans should include:

  • Meeting places in and out of town
  • Phone numbers of in-town contacts
  • An address and phone number of someone out of town
  • A card for each family member including this information

Put Together a "Ready-to-Go Kit":

HSC encourages families to keep the following items in a backpack, tote or duffle bag to be ready if an emergency situation forces them to leave
home:

  • One gallon of water per person
  • A small amount of cash
  • Non-refrigerated food
  • A manual can opener
  • Plastic/paper plates, cups and utensils
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Change of clothes
  • Card with your contact information and the number of someone out of
    state to call
  • Pet food and supplies for one or more days; and leash or carrier
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Personal hygiene items, soap and hand sanitizer

"Ready-to-Stay Kit":

It is equally important for families to have extra supplies on-hand in the event an emergency situation forces them to remain in the home for several days. A "Ready-to-Stay Kit" contains all of the items in the "Ready-to-Go" Kit plus a few others. Prepare a "Ready-to-Stay Kit" with the following additional items stored in a plastic tub or other large, sturdy container:

  • Three gallons of water for each family member
  • Canned food and snacks for at least three days
  • Toilet paper
  • Non-scented bleach
  • Blankets
  • Books and games
  • Paper and pencils

For more information to help your family prepare for disaster, visit the Home Safety Council's new interactive safety destination, MySafeHome.org.

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Product safety recalls for October 2008

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereloct08.html

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July / September 2008

OIG Releases Audit Report on Health and Safety Concerns at Department of the Interior’s Facilities

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released their Final Audit Report on the Health and Safety Concerns at Department of the Interior’s Facilities, (Report Number C-IN-MOA-0011-2006).  The goal of the audit was to determine if the Department and bureaus have effectively addressed health and safety issues related to facilities.  The OIG found that some weaknesses remained in the DOI program including:

  • Deficiencies in the organization, coordination, staffing, and recordkeeping of health and safety programs.
  • Many facilities on DOI lands currently contain health and safety hazards.
  • When surveyed, some employees felt that serious deficiencies currently exist in their workplaces.

The full report can be viewed at: http://www.doioig.gov/upload/2008-G-00171.pdfPDF Format

The Department has responded by forming work groups to address the recommendations in the audit report. 

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News on the OSHA Front

HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING ON CONSTRUCTION SAFETY

On June 24, 2008, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing to determine whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is effectively enforcing safety rules for construction. The committee discussed the recent crane accidents in New York City and Las Vegas, which have made this a high-profile issue. On this occasion, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin Foulke, Jr., maintained OSHA's advancements and highlighted current initiatives to improve workplace resources, personnel and enforcement, including an 18 percent decline in the construction fatality rate since 2001. Foulke also stated that the administration is in the final stages of developing the proposed crane and derrick rule.

MILLER SUGGESTS CHANGES TO OSHA ENFORCEMENT

During the June 24 house committee hearing, Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), suggested that OSHA consider changing its enforcement tools, as they are "apparently not working for the construction industry."

Several arguments were made, including the fact that penalties are usually assessed long after an inspection occurs, the fines are too low and are sometimes even further reduced when the company or site
negotiates with OSHA to reach a settlement.

Miller stated that he was not sure if he considered higher fines to be a better plan, but he did favor elements of the New York plan. The aggressive program in New York issues stop-work orders to immediately stop unsafe construction. Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that the new program brings the focus to the education of construction workers and prosecutes the "bad actors."

Senior vice president for construction at Denier Electric Co. in Columbus, Ohio, Mike Kallmeyer, also told the committee that there should be more emphasis on education, stating, "I believe that the most effective action for government is to aggressively promote its educational partnerships with the industry so that more employers have the resources to improve their workplace." Kallmeyer provided examples of partnerships, including the fact that Denier Electric is beginning the application process to participate in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs.

OSHA UNVEILS NEW FLOOD AND TORNADO CLEANUP AND RECOVERY WEB PAGE

Employers and employees involved in cleanup and recovery activities following the Midwest floods and tornadoes will benefit from a new Web page at www.dol.gov posted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

"We encourage employers and employees to access this vital information targeted to the conditions in which they will be working," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke Jr.

The floods and tornadoes recovery page features links to more than 40 fact sheets and easy-reference QuickCards® in English and Spanish with safety and health tips on hazards such as downed electrical wires, chain saws, general decontamination, and heat and sun, just to name a few. The information is easily accessible for downloading from the Web. Printed copies are available through local OSHA offices in the affected states (http://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html).

The site also features links to public service announcements to inform employees about hazards related to cleanup and recovery. Additionally, there is a link to 29 individual task- and operation-specific activity sheets that help employers evaluate hazards and provide guidance on reducing employee exposures during disaster operations such as floodwater removal, utility restoration and building assessment, among others.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

OSHA OFFERS SAFETY TIPS FOR WORKING IN SUMMER HEAT

The hot days of summer are here. Throughout the country, thousands of employees who work outdoors face the potential dangers associated with overexposure to heat. Factors such as working in direct sunlight, high temperature and humidity, physical exertion and lack of sufficient water intake can lead to heat stress.

"During the warm season, it is important to understand that exposure to heat can cause serious illness or death," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "We encourage employers and employees to take advantage of OSHA's many free resources that offer advice on how to stay healthy while working outside."

Exposure to heat can cause heat cramps and rashes. The most serious heat-related disorders are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Symptoms include confusion; irrational behavior; loss of consciousness; hot, dry skin; and abnormally high body temperature. Drinking cool water, reducing physical exertion, wearing appropriate clothing and regular rest periods in a cool recovery area can lessen the effects of working in summer heat.

Protecting Workers from the Effects of HeatPDF Format is a fact sheet explaining heat stress and how it can be prevented. The fact sheet Working Outdoors in Warm ClimatesPDF Format provides recommendations on how to protect employees from exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) and offers information on insect-caused illnesses such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. Employers and employees will find more practical tips for guarding against UV radiation in Protecting Yourself in the SunPDF Format, a pocket-sized card addressing skin cancer, describing its varied forms, and suggesting ways to block UV rays.

These outdoor work-related publications and others are free and can be downloaded from the Publications page on OSHA's Web site or ordered from the publications office at 202-693-1888. More information can be found on the Web sites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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Bringing Workplace Safety & Health Home: Lawn Mower Safety Tips

In the workplace it is easy to remember to keep safety as a main priority when operating heavy machinery. At a worksite there are signs demonstrating the required personal protective equipment (PPE), signs showing the pinch points and manuals to ensure safe operation. However, at home these constant reminders are not around, which makes it increasingly difficult to remember to keep safety as the top priority.

The most common piece of machinery used at home is the lawn mower. Here are a few tips to remain safe while operating a lawn mower. Safety for All Mowers:

  • Never tamper with safety devices. Check their proper operation regularly.
  • Do not allow children anywhere near the area of operation.
  • Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them.
  • The blades on mowers spin very fast and can pick up and throw debris that could seriously injure a bystander.
  • Be sure to clean up the area to be mowed before you start mowing.
  • Do not operate a lawnmower with the discharge guard (reflector) or engine grass catcher installed.
  • The mower deck has spinning mower blades that can amputate hands and feet.
  • Do not allow anyone near the mower while it is running.
  • Always allow the mower blade(s) to stop completely before leaving the mower's operator position.
  • Always turn off mower when crossing a sidewalk or a driveway.
  • Be sure to completely read the safety information contained in the operator's manual.

Safety for Riding Mowers

  • Do not give children rides on a riding mower, even with the mower blades not turning.
  • Do not mow with a riding mower in reverse unless absolutely necessary.
  • Using a riding mower on a slope that is too steep or where you don't have adequate traction can cause you to lose control or roll over.
  • Always consult your operator's manual for safety messages concerning operation on a slope.

Safety for Walk-Behind Mowers

  • Do not put your hands or feet near or under the mower.
  • Never tilt a walk-behind mower; always keep all four wheels on the ground.
  • Do not pull the mower backward unless absolutely necessary. Always look down and behind before and while mowing backwards.

Safety for Electric Mowers

  • Use only recommended, grounded extension cords.
  • Mow away from the cord.
  • Never abuse the cord or use a frayed cord.
  • Always turn off the mower when you leave it, and unplug the cord from the outlet; never unplug by yanking the cord from the wall.
  • Never use an electric mower when it is wet or raining.

For a complete article and list of tips, please visit www.briggsandstratton.com/corp/safety_use/lawn_mower.aspx.

Source: VPPPA

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Safe Bicycling

Bicycling is one of the most popular ways to get around, whether for recreation, sport or transportation. An estimated 57 million Americans ride bikes ranging from high performance, touring bicycles, to mountain bikes—and dozens of variations in between.  With millions of cyclists on the roads—the same roads occupied by millions of motor vehicles that are larger, heavier and faster than bikes—the National Safety Council believes that defensive driving applies to people who pedal with their feet to travel, as well as to those who push on the gas pedal. Because about 900 bicyclists were killed and some 70,000 suffered disabling injuries (1999 statistics), it is clear that taking precautions in traffic and wearing protective equipment are a cyclist's best shields against unintentional injuries.

The Council offers the following tips for safe and enjoyable bicycling:

  • Obey traffic rules. Get acquainted with ordinances. Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
  • Know your bike's capabilities. Remember that bicycles differ from motor vehicles; they're smaller and can't move as fast. But, they can change direction more easily, stop faster and move through smaller spaces.
  • Ride in single file with traffic, not against it. Bicycling two abreast can be dangerous. Bicyclists should stay as far right on the pavement as possible, watching for opening car doors, sewer gratings, soft shoulders, broken glass and other debris. Remember to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
  • Make safe turns and cross intersections with care. Signal turns half a block before the intersection, using the correct hand signals (left arm straight out for left turn; forearm up for right turn). When traffic is heavy and the cyclist has to turn left, it is best to dismount and walk the bicycle across both streets at the crosswalks.
  • Never hitch on cars. A sudden stop or turn could send the cyclist flying into the path of another vehicle.
  • Before riding into traffic: stop, look left, right, left again, and over your shoulder.
  • Always be seen. During the day, cyclists should wear bright clothing. Nighttime cycling is not advised, but if riding at night is necessary, retroreflective clothing, designed to bounce back motorists' headlight beams, will make cyclists more visible.
  • Make sure the bicycle has the right safety equipment: a red rear reflector; a white front reflector; a red or colorless spoke reflector on the rear wheel; an amber or colorless reflector on the front wheel; pedal reflectors; a horn or bell; and a rear view mirror. A bright headlight is recommended for night riding.
  • Wear a helmet. Head injuries cause about 85 percent of all bicycling fatalities. The Council strongly urges all cyclists to wear helmets. The first body part to fly forward in a collision is usually the head, and with nothing but skin and bone to protect the brain from injury, the results can be disastrous.
  • In March 1999, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a uniform, mandatory federal safety standard for all bike helmets. All helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the U.S. must carry a label or sticker stating that they meet the requirements of the new standard. Cyclists who currently have a helmet that meets the ASTM, ANSI or Snell standards do not need to rush out to buy a new one; these helmets provide adequate protection. However, when it's time to replace a helmet because it has been outgrown or damaged in a crash, buying a helmet that meets the CPSC standard is recommended. The helmet should fit securely and should be worn low and near the eyebrows—not back on the forehead.

A properly designed helmet has four characteristics:

  1. a stiff outer shell designed to distribute impact forces and protect against sharp objects;
  2. an energy-absorbing liner at least one-half inch thick;
  3. a chin strap and fastener to keep the helmet in place; and,
  4. it should be lightweight, cool in hot weather and fit comfortably.

There is no limit to the fun and healthful exercise gained from bicycling. Being careful, always, will give riders safer trips and greater peace of mind.

Source: National Safety Council

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West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus is primarily a disease of birds. It is commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East, but has also caused outbreaks in Europe. In humans, it can cause encephalitis, an infection of the brain. West Nile Virus is similar to the virus that causes St. Louis encephalitis, which for years has been found in the United States. West Nile had not been found in the United States before the late summer of 1999.

What are the Symptoms of West Nile Virus?

Most people infected by the West Nile Virus have no symptoms at all, or experience something that feels like flu. Symptoms of "West Nile fever" may include fever, headache, achy muscles, and extreme tiredness, perhaps with skin rash and swollen lymph glands. In a fraction of cases, the fever leads to encephalitis, which is fatal in some cases or may cause neurologic after-effects. There is no vaccine against West Nile, and no known "cure." As with other viral diseases, treatment consists of support until it has run its course. The incubation period "the time between an infectious bite and the onset of symptoms—is usually 5-15 days.

How Do You Get West Nile Virus?

Humans get the West Nile Virus largely from the bite of mosquitoes. Although some 150 species of mosquitoes are found in the United States, the primary transmitter of West Nile is Culex pipiens. The female mosquito catches the virus when it bites an infected bird, and can then pass it along if it later bites a human. Humans do not get it from other humans or animals.

The virus can infect many different species of birds and other animals, but crows seem particularly vulnerable, and monitoring programs focus on them. In fact birds were the key to solving the 1999 outbreak. CDC epidemiologists identified the West Nile virus and linked it to the human illness after pathologists found the disease in flamingos, herons, and bald eagles that had been dying at the Bronx Zoo. The virus has been found also in horses and a cat.

What You Can Do to Help Fight Mosquitoes?

  • Empty standing water in old tires, cemetery urns, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where "wrigglers" and "tumblers" live.
  • Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week if not more often.
  • Drain or fill temporary pools with dirt.
  • Keep swimming pools treated and circulating and rain gutters unclogged.
  • Use mosquito repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely.
  • Use head nets, long sleeves and long pants if you venture into areas with high mosquito populations, such as salt marshes.
  • If there is a mosquito-borne disease warning in effect, stay inside during the evening when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Make sure window and door screens are "bug tight."
  • Replace your outdoor lights with yellow "bug" lights.

Contact your local mosquito control district or health department. Neighborhoods are occasionally sprayed to prevent disease and nuisance caused by large mosquito numbers. If you have any questions about mosquitoes and their control, call your local authorities.

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Product safety recalls for July 2008:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljul08.html

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ASSE Suggests Changes to Confined Space Standard:

www.asse.org/newsroom/release.php?pressRelease=1088.

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U.S. Department of the Interior
Occupational Health and Safety Program - SafetyNet
1849 C Street, N.W., MS 5558-MIB • Washington, D.C. 20240
(202) 513-0767
..Last Updated on 12/08/08