SafetyNet News and Highlights

December 2009

GAO: Underreporting Injuries Causes OSHA Data Inaccuracies

On Monday, Nov. 16, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report stating that workers and employers are underreporting injuries, which hampers the accuracy of data, while also finding problems with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) audit process.   In response, OSHA agreed to adopt the GAO’s recommendations. OSHA will move swiftly to implement the GAO report’s recommendations and published notice that they are already in the process of launching a recordkeeping National Emphasis Program.

Some of the GAO recommendations included: requiring inspectors to conduct interviews with workers during the records audits or using a substitute if a worker is not available; reduce the time between the date in which illness and injury data is recorded and when it is audited; and to increase education on which illness and injuries should be recorded under recordkeeping standards.

Violence in the Workplace: Still a Safety Issues

In the wake of the Fort Hood and Orlando shootings, workplace violence is a safety topic that needs to be addressed. Murder is the second leading cause of death at the workplace and is something that can be prevented with a proper plan and a “no-violence” policy set in place.  Some precautions that can be taken to reduce the threat of workplace violence include conducting a thorough background check on all new hires, providing training, having an open-door policy so employees feel inclined to speak to managers about any problems, creating a “no tolerance” policy towards any act of violence, creating protocol on reporting workplace violence and making sure security methods are up-to date and working. 

Bringing Safety and Health Home: Get a Taste for Safe Holiday Cooking

Cooking is the number one cause of home fires largely because people start to cook something, are distracted, and forget it’s on the stove. Distractions are highest during the busy holiday season when the kitchen often becomes the gathering place for visiting family and friends. The Home Safety Council is urging families to practice safe cooking habits to prevent injuries while preparing and enjoying holiday meals which include:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the range, especially when frying food.
  • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.
  • Keep your cooking area clean. Do not let grease build up on the range top, toaster oven or in the oven.
  • Keep children and pets away from the range when anyone is cooking and keep a close eye on them at all times. Put tape on the floor three feet around the stove to create a “kid-free” zone. Teach children to stay away from the stove.
  • Before you start to cook, roll up sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.
  • If clothes do catch fire, "Stop, Drop, Roll and Cool" by dropping immediately to the ground, crossing hands over your chest and rolling over and over or back and forth to put out the flames.
  • Cool the burned area with cool water right away and seek medical attention for serious burns.
  • If you can, cook on the back burners.
  • Always turn pot handles toward the back of the range to prevent small children from reaching and pulling down a hot pan.
  • Keep pans, hot drinks and trays that have just come out of the oven away from the edge of counters and tables where children cannot touch them.

Product safety recalls for December 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelDecember09.html   

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November 2009

OSHA Releases H1N1 Fact Sheets for the Workplace

With the H1N1 Flu strand now widespread in 48 states across the U.S., the government is stressing the need for education and proper preventative measures in keeping the flu at bay. On Nov. 9, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released precaution and protection fact sheets for employers and workers. The information on the two fact sheets are targeted to the readers (works or employers). The Press Release all the fact sheets list information on workplace controls, safe work practices, etc. Read OSHA’s for more information on the H1N1 Fact Sheets.

Bringing Safety and Health Home: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

With the shorter and colder days setting in, heating the house is unavoidable and so is learning about the hazards of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a clear, odorless gas that is sometimes the product of a leaky furnace, gas appliances, automobiles and even some fireplace flues. CO poisoning can result in loss of consciousness, coma or even death. Here are some symptoms that may occur if CO levels are above 10 percent:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Mild confusion or disorientation
  • Irregular breathing or heartbeat

Animals are also susceptible to CO poisoning and will show the same symptoms as humans. In case of a leak, evacuate everybody in the home immediately to fresh air and call 9-1-1. CO poisoning is dangerous, but it is also preventable. Here are some tips to avoid CO poisoning:

  • Install CO alarms on each level of your home. Keep them at least 20 feet away from fuel burning appliances.
  • Check if furnace panels are in place and the fan compartment door is closed while the furnace is running.
  • Check and replace air filters regularly.
  • Check to see if flames burn steady and blue, anything else may indicate a gas or CO leak.
  • Make sure your furnace has no signs of rust, dust or corrosion.

DOI Safety Council increases partnerships with safety and health work groups

The Safety and Health Council elected to increase their participation with other standing safety and health work groups at DOI. These work groups include: Wildland Fire; Aviation; Diving; Watercraft; Industrial Hygiene; SMIS Users Group; Emergency Management, and the OHV/ATV group.

Product safety recalls for November 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelNovember09.html

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October 2009

AHA Releases Policy Statement on Worksite Wellness Programs

On October 14, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a policy statement concerning “Worksite Wellness Programs for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention.” The policy addresses the importance of the work environment and type of work as factors in worksite wellness programs and CVD prevention. The policy goes on to recommend how to incorporate different CVD prevention components in employee wellness programs. Heart disease continues to remain the leading cause of death not just in the U.S., but globally.

To read more on the AHA policy, please visit: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192653.

Safety and Health at Home: Fireplace Safety

Many people live in homes that require fireplaces and wood burning stoves for heating.  Heating homes with wood has risks, which is why heating fires make up 36 percent of all home fires. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has the following tips to follow when starting your fireplace this fall:

  • Make sure your chimney or wood stove is cleaned and inspected every year. A buildup of creosote is a major cause of home fires.
  • Fix any cracks, blockages and leaks and clean out any build-up in the chimney that could start a fire.
  • Clear the area around the hearth. Make sure there are no flammable items close to the fireplace or wood burning stove.
  • Use a metal mesh screen when using your fireplace; never leave glass doors closed when a fire is burning.
  • Open flues before fireplaces are used, never restrict air supply to fireplaces or stoves; this could increase buildup of creosote.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Burn only seasoned hardwood like oak, ash or maple.
  • Do not burn trash or cardboard in a fireplace or stove.
  • Install fire alarms on every floor and inspect them monthly. Smoke detector batteries need to be changed at least once a year.
  • Keep young children away from working wood stoves andheaters to avoid contact burn injuries.

For more information on fire safety, please visit: www.usfa.fema.gov.

Seat belt use up in 2009 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration

More people are using seat belts nationwide, according to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report released Sept. 18, is based on data from NHTSA's National Occupant Protection Use Survey. Researchers found seat belt use increased in 2009 to 84 percent, up one percentage point from 2008. More statistically significant was that 86 percent of occupants surveyed reported using seat belts during weekends, compared with 83 percent in 2008. More people also are buckling up in states that have primary seat belt laws, compared with states with secondary enforcement laws. Primary laws allow law enforcement officers to pull over a vehicle if they observe an unbelted driver or front-seat passenger.

Daylight-saving time leads to workplace injuries: study

Switching to daylight-saving time gives workers more daylight hours, but also increases the rate of workplace injury, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. As part of the study, researchers from Michigan State University in East Lansing examined NIOSH mine injury data of U.S. miners from 1983 to 2006 and conducted telephone interviews with 41,204 workers sampled from the general public. They found that following such an advance, employees slept 40 fewer minutes, experienced 5.7 percent more workplace injuries and lost 67.7 percent more workdays because of injuries. Switching back to standard time in the fall showed no significant effects.

Product safety recalls for October 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelOctober09.html

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September 2009

H1N1 Vaccine Approved by FDA

The highly anticipated vaccine for this year’s H1N1 flu virus was approved Tuesday, Sept. 14, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Limited amounts of vaccinations will become available the first week of October, with 45 million doses arriving by Oct. 15. Over 90,000 sites across the U.S. will have the vaccination readily available. These sites include schools and clinics, which have been chosen by state health departments. This year, those who wish to receive the flu vaccine must take it twice: once for the regular flu strain and once for the H1N1 flu strain.

OSHA Issues Final Rule Affecting PPE Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule on Sept. 9 that revised Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) standards, reflecting current national consensus standards. The rule will affect current requirements for eye and face, head and foot protection for the general industry, shipyard, longshoring and marine terminal standards. The rule will go into effect on Oct. 9.

Bringing Safety and Health Home: National Preparedness Month

Every September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready campaign launches its National Preparedness Month. This September, FEMA is hoping to change America’s perceptions on emergency preparedness by educating them on what it really means to be “ready.” The three basic steps for any home to be well prepared for an emergency are: get a kit, make a plan and be informed.

Get a kit: While preparing for a possible emergency, you should assemble a kit or bag of supplies that are basic for survival. This kit should probably include:

  • Water: it is suggested you store one gallon per person, per day for up to three days.
  • Food: make sure you pack enough non-perishable food for up to three days. Also bring a can opener for canned goods.
  • Flash light: make sure to pack extra batteries.
  • Radio: either a battery-powered radio or a hand crank radio that will work well when the power is out. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries for these.
  • First Aid kit: check that it is filled with the appropriate supplies before an emergency strikes.
  • Cell phone with chargers in case there is still a signal to call for help.
  • Local maps: these are essential for finding an evacuation route.
  • Tools: a wrench or pair of pliers can be useful to turn off utilities.
  • Moist towelettes, trash bags and plastic ties: these can be used for personal sanitation.

Make a plan: in case your family and/or friends are not together when an emergency hits, a well-prepared plan will allow you to know how to contact one another, how to get back together and what to do in different situations.

  • Identify an out-of-town contact: if the emergency is local, it might be easier to contact somebody long distance than across town. This person can act as the group communicator for those who are separated from the group at the time of emergency.
  • Be sure everybody in your family knows the emergency contact number and is equipped with cell phones, loose change or a phone card.
  • Set a meeting place in case your family is separated.
  • Subscribe to alert services which will text your phone about emergency updates, road closings, inclement weather, etc.

Be informed: The best way to be prepared is to know more about potential emergencies in your area and the best methods of response. It would be wise to have several emergency plans for the different type of emergencies, both natural and man-made.

For more information on National Preparedness Month, please visit www.ready.gov.

Bringing Safety and Health Home: Rural Road Safety

The National Farm Safety and Health Week is Sept. 20-26 and will focus on the importance of rural road safety. While only 40 percent of road travel occurs on rural roads, 60 percent of road fatalities take place on rural roads, according to University of Missouri.

Drivers, especially those unfamiliar with rural road travel, should keep basic safety rules in mind:

  • Pass vehicles with caution; do not assume the driver knows you are there.
  • Be patient. Farmers will pull off the road at an available location to allow you to pass.
  • Slow down immediately when a triangular red and orange slow-moving-vehicle sign is present.
  • Be aware of wide left turns. Don’t assume that a farm vehicle that pulls to the right is making a right hand turn or letting you pass.

Product safety recalls for September 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelseptember09.html

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August 2009

Marine terminal safety issues on the agenda at OSHA's Maritime Advisory Committee meeting

The Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) will meet Sept. 1-2, 2009, in Newport News, Va., to discuss injury and fatality data initiatives and defective containers, among other topics.  The Shipyard and Longshoring workgroups will meet Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The full committee meeting will convene Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The workgroup and committee meetings will be held at the Newport News Marriott Hotel.

The committee advises the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA on issues relating to occupational safety and health policies, programs and standards in the maritime industries, focusing on the shipyard and marine cargo (longshoring) handling industries. The committee makes recommendations on issues related to reducing injuries and illnesses in the maritime industries, improving OSHA outreach and training programs through innovative partnerships, and expediting the development and dissemination of OSHA maritime standards.

Written comments for consideration by MACOSH should be submitted no later than Aug. 18, 2009, to Danielle Watson, Office of Maritime, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210; telephone 202-693-1870; or fax to 202-693-1663.

New OSHA document discusses combustible dust hazards

Hazard Communication Guidance for Combustible Dusts (PDF version) is a new guidance document recently published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that assists chemical manufacturers and importers in recognizing the potential for dust explosions, identifying appropriate protective measures and the requirements for disseminating this information on material safety data sheets and labels.

Combustible dusts are solids finely ground into fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air under certain conditions. Types of dusts include metal (aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic or rubber, biosolids, coal, organic (such as flour, sugar and paper, among others), and dusts from certain textiles.

The document addresses the combustible dust hazards in relation to the Hazard Communication Standard, which is designed to ensure that chemical hazards are evaluated and the information concerning them is transmitted to employers and workers.

Bringing Safety and Health Home: Protect Your Home While on Vacation

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), more burglaries occur in July and August than in any other months of the year*. The Home Safety Council suggests that you walk around the perimeter of your home to objectively evaluate its vulnerability to break-ins before packing your bags for vacation. Look at your home the way a burglar would and make any changes needed well before you leave town.

Follow the steps below to make your home less vulnerable to break-ins this vacation season:

  • Put bright lights over porches and walkways in the front and back.
  • All doors to the outside and windows should have working locks.
  • Garage and shed doors need working locks too.
  • Before you leave, walk through each room of your home to make sure all doors to the outside, sliding doors and windows are securely locked.
  • Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed under windows so burglars can't hide in them.
  • Keep ladders stored in a locked shed or garage so they can't be used to climb into your home.
  • Keep shades or curtains closed over garage and shed windows and your home windows after dark.
  • Don't leave toys, tools and equipment in the yard.
  • Make your home look like someone is there.
  • Install timers on select lights inside your home.
  • Do yard work before you leave.
  • Have a family member or friend bring in your mail and newspaper while you are gone.
  • Wait to make sure your automatic garage door is fully shut before leaving the driveway.

*FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program (2004)

Product safety recalls for August 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelaugust09.html

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July 2009

OSHA Targets Federal Worksites for Inspection

On June 24, 2009, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that they will target federal worksites for inspection along with contractors who are supervised by federal agencies. Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab said: “OSHA’s mission of protecting worker safety doesn’t begin and end with private industry.”  The Federal Agency Targeting Program (FATP) details procedures OSHA staff must follow when conducting safety procedures of hazardous federal worksites. These sites will be selected based on information from the 2008 Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs reports that list sites with large numbers of lost time injuries. To view the OSHA press release for more information, please visit www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=18143.

OSHA Warns Workers about Heat-Induced Illness

It is the middle of summer, which means the days are long and hot and heat-induced illnesses are on the rise for outdoor workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns employers to take “preemptive measures” to reduce chances of heat-induced illnesses for their workers. Such measures include sufficient hydration, wearing lighter clothing and reducing physical exertion.  Heat-induced illnesses include heat-stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Employers and workers should know they are subject to heat-induced illness if they are working in environments with high temperature and humidity. Symptoms of illnesses include dry or hot skin, confusion, irrational behavior, high body temperature and loss of consciousness.  For more information and safety tips, please visit www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=18131.

ASSE Tips on Loading Dock Safety

The American Society of Safety Engineers outlined safety tips for loading dock workers, keeping in mind that many workers over the age of 55 are staying on the workforce and are subject to serious injuries involving falls, being hit by large objects and transportation incidents; all common hazards of loading docks.  Recommended safety improvements include installing skid resistant floors, increasing the amount of light at the loading dock and eliminating heavy lifts. ASSE advises bureaus and offices to add hydraulic or air-powered lifts to their loading docks, which require no heavy lifting or manual interaction. The loading dock itself can be improved upon by installing a modular dock bridge. In terms of skid resistant floors, ASSE suggests loading docks be kept tightly sealed and provide durable seals around parked trucks. 

For more information on safer loading docks, please visit http://ohsonline.com/articles/2009/07/01/dock-design-for-a-changing-workforce.aspx.

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Bringing Safety and Health Home: Sun Safety

Summer means outdoor recreation, which can be done safely. Over exposure to the sun’s Ultra Violate Rays lead to painful burns, vision damage, wrinkles and skin cancer. With skin cancer representing over 50 percent of all types of cancer, sun safety is extremely important. Before heading out to fun summertime activities, keep in mind these tips to keep your skin safe and healthy.

Sun Tips:

  • The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so try to stay in the shade as much as possible
  • Learn the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is high and the UV rays are strong
  • Even on cloudy days, 80 percent of the sun’s rays are still passing through the clouds, which make perfect conditions for sunburns
  • Try to cover up as much as possible, bring hats and large-framed glasses with you

Sunscreen tips:

  • If you are out in the sun for over 20 minutes, use sunscreen.
  • Try to buy sunscreens that are greater than SPF 15: the higher the SPF, the more protection you have against damaging rays
  • Try to use a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and don’t forget to apply to ears, tops of feet, behind the knees and lips
  • Waterproof sunscreen loses its effect after 80 minutes in water, so REAPPLY … even if you are not in the water

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Product safety recalls for July 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljuly09.html  

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June 2009

OSHA Strengthens Outreach Training Program

In an effort to increase the credibility and integrity of the Outreach Training Program, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is improving how trainers become authorized to teach workers and employers about workplace hazards and is ensuring that the trainers comply with OSHA program guidelines. This comes in response to finding some fraudulent trainers who have not provided the appropriate training in accordance with the program.  The use of independent trainers has allowed OSHA to significantly extent its training capabilities, however, there have been fraudulent or unscrupulous trainers providing training in OSHA’s name without OSHA’s consent.

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Bringing Safety & Health Home: Grilling Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gas and charcoal grills caused an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,900 outdoor fires in or on home properties in 2005, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $137 million. To make sure your next barbecue doesn't go up in flames, the Home Safety Council recommends the following safety tips:

  • Designate the grilling area to a “No Play Zone” keeping kids and pets well away until grill equipment is completely cool.
  • Before using, position your grill at least 10 feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.
  • Always stay by the grill when cooking.
  • Only use starter fluid made for barbeque grills when starting a fire in a charcoal grill.
  • Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to be sure it is working properly and not leaking.
  • Never use a match to check for leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t attempt to light the grill again until the leak is fixed.
  • Never bring a barbeque grill indoors, or into any unventilated space. This is both a fire and carbon monoxide poisoning hazard.

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Take a “Hands-On” Approach to Home Safety

As the temperature heats up and the school year winds down, start summer safely by celebrating Home Safety Month in June. The Home Safety Council is asking parents and caregivers to take simple hands-on steps to protect the entire family against the five leading causes of home injury – falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning.
To kick off Home Safety Month, the Home Safety Council launched a new, interactive Web site – www.homesafetycouncil.org! The new Web site includes a video library, discussion forums, home safety games, quizzes and a complete suite of safety tips. The site addresses the following specific life stages:

  • Start Safe: babies and toddlers
  • Great Safety Adventure: pre-school to middle school age children
  • My Safe Home: safety for the entire family
  • Safe Seniors: older adult safety

The site also includes online quizzes and interactive features to engage both safety professionals and consumers:

  • What Kind of Safety Mom Are You? – a series of quizzes that test parents’ safety knowledge.
  • Share Your Story – an opportunity forpeople to share and discuss how home safety has impacted their lives.
  • Home Safety Online Community – interactive forums to share best practices, ask questions, express challenges and discussaccomplishments.
  • MySafeHome Tour – invites visitors to tour a virtual home room-by-room to learn about the leading causes of home injuries and simple steps they can take to prevent them.
  • Safety Video Library – includes all of HSC’s educational videos, as well as national media coverage highlights.

For more information about Home Safety Month, visit www.homesafetycouncil.org/homesafetymonth.

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Product safety recalls for June 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljune09.html 

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May 2009

OSHA CONFIRMS CONTINUANCE OF VPP

The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association, Inc. (VPPPA) issues a news release with confirmation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Jordan Barab, that OSHA is not suspending the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). Recent media coverage of Acting Assistant Secretary Barab’s statement on April 30, 2009, before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has caused some confusion for VPP sites and the safety and health community. He stated that, “We need to better utilize the resources that we already have. In order to direct more of OSHA’s existing resources into enforcement and to provide time to address concerns in an upcoming GAO Report on the efficacy of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, I have informed the field staff that we will suspend the previous administration’s practice of establishing goals for new Voluntary Protection Program sites and Alliances.”

In response to the resulting confusion, Acting Assistant Secretary Barab called VPPPA’s Executive Director R. Davis Layne and assured him that OSHA is not suspending VPP. The Acting Assistant Secretary stated that changes represent a shift in OSHA focus toward enforcement, but do not equate to an elimination of OSHA’s VPP.

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Bringing Safety & Health Home: Over-the-Counter Medicine Safety

It is important to stay safe when using over-the-counter (OTC) medicine. Here are a few tips from the APPPA to remember when taking OTC medicine.

  1. Always read and follow the drug facts label. The label tells you what the medicine is for, how and when (and when not) to take the medication, the product's active and inactive ingredients, possible interactions or side effects and warnings.
  2. Pay special attention to the active ingredients if you are taking more than one OTC or prescription drug to avoid taking too much of a particular ingredient, which can be dangerous. Many drugs – OTC and prescription alike – contain the same active ingredient. Never take more than one drug with the same active ingredient unless your doctor specifically tells you to.
  3. Choose OTC products that treat only the symptoms you have. If you have a cough, buying cough medicine or drops is what you need, not a multi-symptom, extra powerful cold medicine. Keep it simple and only look to treat your exact symptoms.
  4. Talk to your doctor if taking an OTC medicine becomes more than a temporary practice or your symptoms do not go away, since most OTC medicines are only intended for short-term use.
  5. Keep a list of all the medicines and nutritional supplements you take and share it with your doctors and loved ones. A personal medication record of all your medicines and OTC drugs is helpful and should be brought along to all doctor’s appointments. Also share your personal medication record with your pharmacist.
  6. Make your doctor aware of your full medical history as well as your eating habits.
  7. Bring any questions you have to your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional.

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Bringing Safety & Health Home: Safe Driving in Wet Conditions

As much of the east encounters rain, it’s important to remember to stay safe while driving on wet and slippery roads. Here are a few tips to remain safe while driving in the rain. When the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt causes tires to lose traction. Less obvious is the fact that rain reduces driver perception — it's harder to see through the rain — and also decreases visibility through its action on headlights, windshields and the road itself. While most people know to slow down in the rain, there are definitely other tips that will help keep you, and those who share the road with you, from becoming a statistic.

Exercise extreme caution after a long dry spell. During a dry period, engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When mixed with water from a new rainfall, the road becomes extremely slick. Continued rainfall will eventually wash away the oil, but the first few hours can be the most dangerous.

Allow for more travel time. You should plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet. Keep in mind that traffic is likely to be moving slower as well. There's also the possibility that your preplanned route may be flooded or jammed. Whatever the case, rushing equals higher risk.

Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally. Not only does this increase the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, it also lets the driver behind you know that you're slowing down. Also, be more meticulous about using turn signals, so that other drivers know your intentions, and take turns and curves with less speed than you would in dry conditions.

Most of America's roads are crowned in the middle, which means that the water will run off to the sides. If possible, stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles.

Don't use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there's the chance your car could actually accelerate. Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals — not a great idea when reaction time is so important.

If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around it or choose a different route. It could be that it's covering a huge gaping maw into the front door of hell. Well, maybe not, but water splashing up into your car's engine compartment could damage its internal electrical systems. Also, a pothole may be hiding under the water, just waiting in ambush to damage a wheel or knock your suspension out of alignment. If you can't gauge the depth, or if it's covering up the side curb, try to avoid it.

Don't attempt to cross running water. You'll probably get into trouble if the force of the water is greater than the weight of your vehicle. All-wheel drive isn't going to be much help if your vehicle is being pushed sideways. Don't end up like those folks on the nightly news who had to abandon their cars to Mother Nature.

After you cross a puddle, tap on your brake pedal lightly to dry off some of the water on your rotors.

Turn on your headlights, even when there's a light sprinkle. It helps you see the road, and more importantly, it helps other motorists see you. However, don't blast your high beams in the rain or fog — it'll obscure your view further, as the light will reflect back at you off the water droplets in the air. If your car is equipped with foglights, you may find it helpful to turn these on, as they throw a little extra light on the road while making your car easier to see.

Watch out for pedestrians. An ordinarily observant pedestrian may become distracted by fiddling with an umbrella or a rain slicker. Plus, raindrops deaden sound, so the usual audio clues for measuring car distances become obscured. Keep a sharp lookout for people in the road.

If it's raining so hard that you can't see the road or the car in front of you, pull over and wait it out.

Track the car ahead of you. Let the car ahead pave a clear path, so to speak, through the water.

Give a truck or bus extra distance. Their extra-large tires can create enough spray to block your vision completely. Avoid passing one, but if you must pass, do it as quickly as safety allows.

Defog your windows. Rain will quickly cause your windshield to fog up. Switch on both front and rear defrosters and make sure the air conditioning is turned on. Most cars' climate control systems will automatically engage the A/C when the windshield defrost function is selected.

If you start to hydroplane, don't brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must brake, tap the brake pedal (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down).

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Pneumatic Nail Gun Safety Tips

Nail guns drive nails and staples into building materials. Injuries or fatalities can result from improper use.

Hazards

The operator and coworkers are at risk. Eyes, hands and fingers are especially at risk. Nails can: Splinter or blow out fragments from the material. Puncture the back of the material. Fire completely through the material and strike workers behind the nailing surface. Pose contact hazards, such as nails striking electrical wires.

Common Tool Types

Sequential tools: Require nose (workpiece contact) to be depressed before the trigger is pulled.
Two-step sequence makes accidental firing less likely.
Can be used for most nailing tasks.

Contact tools:

Tool fires anytime the trigger and nose (workpiece contact) are both depressed.
Trigger can be held down to allow "bump firing".
Use for nailing on flat surfaces.

CAUTION: If trigger is depressed, the tool will fire anytime the nose is depressed; can also cause unwanted double firing of nails.

Safe Work Practices and PPE

Follow manufacturer's tool labels and operating manual.
Wear safety glasses with side shields.
Never defeat or modify safety features.
Keep fingers away from trigger when not driving nails.
Sequential tools have reduced risk of accidental and double firing.
Avoid line of fire hazards in front of and behind material; position yourself (especially your free hand) out of the line of fire. Never point nail gun at anyone. Watch for coworkers behind the nailing surface.
Disconnect the gun to perform maintenance, move to another work area, or clear jams.
Train on safe operating procedures, proper body placement and correct PPE use.
NOTE: The tool must meet applicable OSHA guarding standards.

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Product safety recalls for May 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmay09.html

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April 2009

OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sent letters to more than 13,500 employers nationwide notifying them that their injury and illness rates are considerably higher than the national average. The letters explained that the notification was a proactive step to encourage employers to take action now to reduce these rates and improve safety and health conditions in their workplaces. 

OSHA identified businesses with the highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses through employer-reported data from a 2008 survey of 80,000 worksites (this survey collected injury and illness data for calendar year 2007). Workplaces receiving notifications had rates more than twice the national average among all U.S. workplaces for injuries resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer. Employers receiving the letters were also provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards for their specific industry. The letter offered assistance in helping to reduce these numbers by suggesting, among other things, the use of free OSHA safety and health consultation services provided through the states, state workers' compensation agencies, insurance carriers, or outside safety and health consultants.

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U.S. Labor Department's OSHA orders Southern Air Inc. to withdraw retaliatory lawsuit and pay more than $7.9 million to 9 whistleblowers

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Southern Air Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based air cargo carrier, to withdraw a lawsuit it filed against nine former employees and pay them more than $7.9 million in wages, damages and legal fees. Southern Air filed a defamation lawsuit against the former employees in Connecticut Superior Court in May 2008 after some of the workers raised air carrier safety concerns with Southern Air, OSHA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The workers, all former flight crew members, subsequently filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA. OSHA's investigation found that the company's lawsuit was filed in retaliation for the workers' protected activities under the whistleblower provisions of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21).

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OSHA's new guidance document focuses on mandatory respirator selection provisions added to existing Respiratory Protection standard

A new guidance document published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Assigned Protection Factors (APF), provides employers with information for selecting respirators for employees exposed to contaminants in the air. OSHA revised its existing Respiratory Protection standard in 2006 to add APFs and Maximum Use Concentration (MUC) provisions. APF means the workplace level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is able to provide to workers. The higher the APF number (5 to 10,000), the greater the level of protection provided to the user. APFs are used to select the appropriate class of respirators that will provide the necessary level of protection against airborne contaminants. Such exposures can come from particles or a gas or vapor.

MUC represents the limit at which the class of respirator is expected to provide protection. Whenever a hazard's exposure level exceeds MUC, employers should select a respirator with a higher APF. MUC means the maximum atmospheric concentration of a hazardous substance for which a worker can be expected to be protected when wearing a respirator.

APF and MUC are mandatory respirator selection requirements that can only be used after respirators are properly selected and are used in compliance with the entire standard. The Respiratory Protection standard requires fit testing, medical evaluations, specific training and proper respirator use. The standard applies to general industry, construction, longshoring, shipyard and marine terminal workplaces.

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U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA revises Field Operations Manual to enhance enforcement and compliance assistance

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its Field Operations Manual to provide OSHA compliance officers with a single comprehensive resource of updated guidance in implementing the agency's mission to more effectively protect employees from occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities. This is part of OSHA's continuing commitment to make its standards and enforcement activities transparent.

The Field Operations Manual, formerly called the Field Inspection Reference Manual, constitutes OSHA's general enforcement policy and procedures for use by the agency's field offices in conducting inspections, issuing citations and proposing penalties. It is the guiding document for OSHA's compliance officers, whose mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women. The manual assists compliance officers in scheduling and conducting inspections, enforcing regulations, and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. It also offers guidance on how to inform employers about OSHA's free On-Site Consultation Service and compliance assistance. The manual is available online at: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-00-148.pdf.

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Product safety recalls for April 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelapr09.html

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March 2009

BLS to Begin Recording Contractor Fatalities

Beginning in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will begin tracking contractor fatalities. With the increasing number of contractor work and the amount of risk typically involved in these jobs, these statistics will help the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) be aware of the condition of the contractor sector.

The construction industry has experienced a rise in contractor jobs. According to BLS, specialty contractors make up 63.4 percent of the U.S.'s construction workers compared, to 57.4 percent twenty years ago. Healthcare is also using an increased number of contractors.

NIOSH Issues Medical Screening Guidance for Nano Workers

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued interim guidance for medical screening and hazard surveillance for workers who could be exposed to engineered nanoparticles.

Also recommended is standard industrial hygiene: identifying processes that involve production and use of engineered nanoparticles and continued use of established medical surveillance to detect any increase in the frequency of adverse health effects.

"Leaders in business, the health community, and public policy have widely agreed on the need for prudent occupational safety and health strategies in the growing nanotechnology industry," NIOSH Acting Director Christine Branche, Ph.D., said. "NIOSH is pleased to help provide scientific guidance for such strategies, which are integral for maintaining U.S. leadership in the global nanotechnology market."

For complete article, please visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-02-13-09.html.

Bringing Safety & Health Home: Thunderstorm Safety

With spring and warmer weather approaching, so are showers and thunderstorms. Here are a few tips to keep you, your family and your home safe during a thunderstorm.

When outside

* Trees are a primary cause of power outages today. Often when trees are planted too close to power lines, high winds and lightning can knock tree limbs and sometimes even whole trees into the lines, making the lines fall. If you see a downed power line, leave the area and immediately call 9-1-1. Keep pets, children and others away from the area. Remember - never touch a downed power line or any object touching a power line and never try to remove tree limbs from downed power lines.

* If a power line falls across your vehicle, call 9-1-1 and stay put until help arrives. Your tires provide important insulation from electric currents. Stepping out of your car could make you part of a complete electric circuit, resulting in electric shock or even death.

* If caught outside when a storm hits, seek shelter immediately in a building or car. If this isn't an option, go to a low-lying, open space away from trees, poles or metal objects. If you're caught in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. Lightning typically strikes the tallest object around.

When at home

* Protect electronic equipment and appliances by installing surge protectors or by unplugging valuable electronics. * Keep an emergency kit handy with a flashlight, battery-powered or crank radio, bottled water and extra batteries if needed. Make sure to have the phone number for your retail electric provider handy in case you need to report a power outage.

* Exercise extreme caution if using candles during a power outage. Always keep candles away from flammable objects and never leave them burning unattended.

* If you choose to use a portable generator during a power outage, make sure the main circuit breaker in the electric service panel box is in the OFF position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed.

Newly Revamped Teen Workers Page on OSHA Web Site

March 2009

BLS to Begin Recording Contractor Fatalities

Beginning in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will begin tracking contractor fatalities. With the increasing number of contractor work and the amount of risk typically involved in these jobs, these statistics will help the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) be aware of the condition of the contractor sector.

The construction industry has experienced a rise in contractor jobs. According to BLS, specialty contractors make up 63.4 percent of the U.S.'s construction workers compared, to 57.4 percent twenty years ago. Healthcare is also using an increased number of contractors.

NIOSH Issues Medical Screening Guidance for Nano Workers

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued interim guidance for medical screening and hazard surveillance for workers who could be exposed to engineered nanoparticles.

Also recommended is standard industrial hygiene: identifying processes that involve production and use of engineered nanoparticles and continued use of established medical surveillance to detect any increase in the frequency of adverse health effects.

"Leaders in business, the health community, and public policy have widely agreed on the need for prudent occupational safety and health strategies in the growing nanotechnology industry," NIOSH Acting Director Christine Branche, Ph.D., said. "NIOSH is pleased to help provide scientific guidance for such strategies, which are integral for maintaining U.S. leadership in the global nanotechnology market."

For complete article, please visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-02-13-09.html.

Bringing Safety & Health Home: Thunderstorm Safety

With spring and warmer weather approaching, so are showers and thunderstorms. Here are a few tips to keep you, your family and your home safe during a thunderstorm.

When outside

* Trees are a primary cause of power outages today. Often when trees are planted too close to power lines, high winds and lightning can knock tree limbs and sometimes even whole trees into the lines, making the lines fall. If you see a downed power line, leave the area and immediately call 9-1-1. Keep pets, children and others away from the area. Remember - never touch a downed power line or any object touching a power line and never try to remove tree limbs from downed power lines.

* If a power line falls across your vehicle, call 9-1-1 and stay put until help arrives. Your tires provide important insulation from electric currents. Stepping out of your car could make you part of a complete electric circuit, resulting in electric shock or even death.

* If caught outside when a storm hits, seek shelter immediately in a building or car. If this isn't an option, go to a low-lying, open space away from trees, poles or metal objects. If you're caught in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. Lightning typically strikes the tallest object around.

When at home

* Protect electronic equipment and appliances by installing surge protectors or by unplugging valuable electronics. * Keep an emergency kit handy with a flashlight, battery-powered or crank radio, bottled water and extra batteries if needed. Make sure to have the phone number for your retail electric provider handy in case you need to report a power outage.

* Exercise extreme caution if using candles during a power outage. Always keep candles away from flammable objects and never leave them burning unattended.

* If you choose to use a portable generator during a power outage, make sure the main circuit breaker in the electric service panel box is in the OFF position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed.

Newly Revamped Teen Workers Page on OSHA Web Site

With the summer hiring season fast approaching, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has increased its online resources for teenagers, parents, educators and employers. New and improved areas of the Web site include:

  • successful training tools from pervious Teen Summer Job Safety campaigns
  • video clips with demonstrations of teens using safe work practices in construction and landscaping
  • a guide on how to file an OSHA complaint
  • links to information about hazards that teens commonly find on the job
  • frequently asked questions for small businesses looking to hire young workers

To learn more about how employers and employees can keep their work environment safe and health, visit www.osha.gov/SLTC/teenworkers/.

President Obama nominates Deputy Secretary of Labor

On March 3, President Obama nominated Seth Harris to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor. Harris is a former labor policy aide in the Clinton administration. While in the Clinton administration, he served as counselor to the labor secretary and as acting assistant secretary of labor for policy. He most recently served as the Obama transition project's agency working group leader for the labor, education and transportation agencies.

Prior to joining the Clinton administration, Harris served as a law clerk to Judge William Canby of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Gene Carter of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. He is also a professor and director of labor and employment programs at New York Law School.

Bringing Safety & Health Home: Home Safety Council's Research Shows Families Underestimate the Danger of Poisonings at Home

Accidental poisoning is the second leading cause of home injury death in the U.S., yet a survey by the Home Safety Council (HSC) found that only one percent of U.S. adults ranked poisoning at the top of the list when asked to identify their leading home safety concern. Only 18 percent of U.S. adults have put safety locks on cabinets or have posted the Poison Control Hotline near phones - two of the key actions the Home Safety Council recommends to reduce the risk and severity of poisoning injuries.

"Perhaps the most important finding from our research is that parents and other caregivers aren't doing nearly enough to protect themselves and their families from serious home poison dangers," said Dr. Angela Mickalide, Director of Education and Outreach for the Home Safety Council. "This is a helpful reminder for all of us to take action against this major health problem."

The most critical actions the Home Safety Council recommends taking now are to read product labels and lock away those with the words "Caution," "Warning" or "Danger" on the label; properly use and maintain fueled appliances; install a carbon monoxide alarm near sleeping areas; and post the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) and other emergency numbers next to every phone and store them in cell phones.

The Home Safety Council also encourages adults to conduct a home walk-through, looking for dangerous products in every room and paying careful attention to the rooms where harmful products are most commonly stored.

Kitchen

In the kitchen, it is important to store all dangerous products away from food and drinks. Be especially aware of cleaning products with fruit shown on the label, which could be confused as being edible.

Bathroom

The bathroom is often home to the family's medications, which should be kept in their original containers with child-resistant caps and the original labels in tact. Keep each family member's medicines in a separate place so they don't get mixed up.

Garage & Storage Areas

Common items found in the garage such as chemicals, fuels, car fluids, pesticides and lawn/garden products are all poisons and should be kept in their original containers. Close the lid after use and always store these items in locked cabinets out of children's reach.

Poison Control Center

Every Poison Control Center across the nation can be reached by calling the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Post the help number and other emergency numbers near every phone. Call 9-1-1 if someone won't wake up, is having trouble breathing or is having seizures. If the person seems okay, but you think they may have taken poison or if you have a question about poisons, call 1-800-222-1222. The help number also provides local poison control information.

For a complete list of the Home Safety Council's poison prevention tips visit: www.homesafetycouncil.org/safety_guide/sg_poison_w001.aspx

For more information, please visit www.mysafehome.org.

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Product safety recalls for March 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmar09.html

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February 2009

OSHA publishes new Deck Barge Safety Guidance Document and Spud Barge Fact Sheet

Slips, trips and falls, fire and falling overboard are among the major safety topics addressed in two new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) online publications designed to protect maritime industry employees.

The Deck Barge Safety Guidance DocumentPDF Format was developed to educate employers and employees on preventing injuries and illnesses from hazards associated with deck barges. Other topics mentioned in the document are machinery and equipment, confined or enclosed spaces and training. The Spud Barge Safety Fact SheetPDF Format lists three methods that can prevent the spuds, which are vertical steel shafts that hold deck barges in place, from accidentally dropping or slipping. The fact sheet also offers safety measures for employers and employees working on barges and towing vessels. Both publications were produced as a result of a 2006 barge-related accident that caused five fatalities.

Deck barges and spud barges are flat boats or vessels that carry cargo and are also used in the marine construction industry for work such as pier or bulkhead construction, dredging, bridge construction and maintenance, and marine oil service.

Both the guidance document and the fact sheet identify the connection between proper controls, procedures and training, and they also seek to increase awareness of hazards and identify solutions to prevent injuries and fatalities.

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U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA announces informal public hearing on proposed cranes and derricks standards in construction

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold an informal public hearing on the proposed cranes and derricks in construction standard published in the Oct. 9, 2008, edition of the Federal Register (73 FR 59713).

The hearing will be held beginning March 17 at 10 a.m. EST in the auditorium on the plaza level of the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.

Participants who intend to present testimony must notify OSHA in writing by Feb.13. For participants requesting more than 10 minutes to present testimony or documentary evidence, OSHA must be provided with copies of the testimony or evidence by March 3.

Notice of intent to appear and copies of testimony or evidence may be submitted electronically to http://www.regulations.gov, the federal e-rulemaking portal. Alternatively, submissions of 10 pages or less may be sent via facsimile to 202-693-1648. Or, if submitting by mail, hand delivery or courier service, three copies may be sent to the OSHA Docket Office, docket number OSHA-2007-0066, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. The docket number, OSHA-2007-0066, must be included on all submissions.

Technical inquiries should be directed to Cathy Legan in OSHA's Directorate of Construction at 202-693-2020.

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U.S. Labor Department's OSHA to publish proposed rule on occupational exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl

The Jan. 21 edition of the Federal Register will contain a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on occupational exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl.

The proposal seeks public comments on issues related to occupational exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl, including the relationship between exposure to diacetyl and the development of adverse health effects; methods to evaluate and monitor exposure; methods to control exposure; employee training; medical observation for adverse health effects related to diacetyl exposure; and related topics.

The agency will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 90 days. To submit comments electronically, log onto http://www.regulations.gov, the federal e-rulemaking portal, and follow the online instructions. Alternatively, if comments do not exceed 10 pages, they may be faxed to 202-693-1648. Or, if submitting comments on paper by mail, hand delivery or courier service, send three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket Number OSHA-2008-0046, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Room N-2625, Washington, D.C. 20210.

SHA Enhance Enforcement Activities in FY 2008: Ensuring Safe and Healthy Workplaces The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) mission is to promote and to assure workplace safety and health and to reduce workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. OSHA continues to respond to new challenges from emerging industries, new technologies, and an ever-changing workforce by utilizing strategic mechanisms such as Site Specific Targeting (SST), National Emphasis Programs (NEPs), and the Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP).  The OSHA report on the success of their FY 2008 enhanced enforcement activities is available at: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/2008EnforcememtData120808.html

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USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service offers On-Line Food Safety Education

The Food Safety Inspection Service offers online food safety training to educate consumers about the importance of safety food handling and how to reduce the risks associated with food borne illness.  The service is located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/index/asp

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Spring into the season with home fire safety tips

Along with spring come thoughts of fresh air, flowers, and a sense of renewal. Getting organized and doing a bit of spring-cleaning helps to bring thatl fresh feeling into your home. Spring-cleaning is a great time to review important fire safety practices with your family. Answering the following questions will help identify some activities you can complete to work your way to preventing fire in your home.

Smoke Alarms Yes No
Did you change the batteries in your smoke alarms when you changed your clocks forward?
Have you vacuumed your smoke alarms to ensure they are clean? (Dirt can cause the alarm to not work properly).
Do you have a smoke alarm on every floor of your house and outside all sleeping areas? (As of March 1, 2006 one smoke alarm must be installed on each storey).
Have you tested your smoke alarms at least once a month to ensure they are working?
Have you decided who in the house should be responsible to test the smoke by pushing the test button?
Home Fire Escape Plan Yes No
Do you have a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out of each room? Drawing a floor plan of your house and discussing exits with your family is important.
Have you decided where the safe place is for everyone to meet in case of a house fire?
Have you practiced a home fire drill this Spring, ensuring that everyone in your home knows all of the ways to escape the house and where the safe meeting place is?
Are all of the exits in your house clear of clutter and furniture?
Basement Fire Prevention and Furnaces Yes No
Have you left a 1-metre clearance around your furnace, hot water tank, from any combustible object (e.g. cardboard boxes, newspaper, etc.)?
Have you removed all flammable containers from the basement (such as propane, paints or cleaners that could explode)? If not, remove them right away and properly store them outside. Check the City of Ottawa website for waste management services for products such as paint
Have your furnace and heating appliances been serviced by a professional technician in the past year?

If you live in an apartment or high-rise building, contact the building management for information on the building’s fire escape plan.

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Product safety recalls for February 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelfeb09.html

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January 2009

Winter Safety Tips

Keeping Your Home Safe

  • Install a smoke alarm near bedrooms and on each floor of your home. Test it monthly. If it has a 9-volt battery, change the battery once a year.
  • Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm near bedrooms and on each floor of your home. If your alarm sounds, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that you press the reset button, call emergency services (911 or your local fire department), and immediately move to fresh air (either outdoors or near an open door or window). Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, get fresh air right away and contact a doctor for proper diagnosis.
  • Make sure heating equipment is installed properly. Have a trained specialist inspect and tune up your heating system each year.
  • Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn, including bedding, furniture, and clothing.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • If you use a kerosene heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Never put gasoline in a kerosene heater--it could explode. Before you refuel the heater, turn it off and let it cool down. Refuel outside only.
  • When using a kerosene heater, keep a door open to the rest of the house or open a window slightly. This will reduce the chance of carbon monoxide build-up in the room.
  • Have your fireplace chimney and flue inspected each year and cleaned if needed. Open the flue and use a sturdy fireplace screen when you have a fire. Burn only untreated wood; never burn paper or pine branches--pieces can float out the chimney and ignite your roof, a neighbor's roof, or nearby trees.
  • If you use a wood-burning stove, have the chimney connection and flue checked each year. Make sure the stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and coals.
  • Never use your range or oven to heat your home, even for a short time.

These safety tips are courtesy of: The Center for Disease Control, the National Fire Protection Association, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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Surviving A Winter Storm

  • Be prepared. Before cold weather hits, make sure you have a way to heat your home during a power failure. Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby when using alternative heating sources.
  • Keep extra blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, matches, a first aid kit, manual can opener, snow shovel and rock salt, and special needs items (e.g., diapers) on hand.
  • Stock a few days' supply of water, required medications, and food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked.
  • Monitor the temperature of your home. Infants and persons over age 65 are especially susceptible to cold. If it's not possible to keep your home warm, stay with friends or family or in a shelter.
  • Dress in several layers or cover up with blankets to maintain body heat.

These safety tips are from “Extreme Cold: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety,” a publication of the Center for Disease Control's National Center for Environmental Health.

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Clearing Snow And Ice

  • Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose, and ears.
  • Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor says it's okay.
  • Do light warm-up exercises before shoveling and take frequent breaks.
  • If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.
  • Don't drink alcohol before or while shoveling snow. Never smoke while shoveling.
  • Use rock salt or de-icing compounds to remove ice from steps, walkways, and sidewalks. Sand placed on walkways may also help prevent slipping.
  • If you use a snow blower (also called a snow thrower), follow these safety guidelines:
  • Read the owner's manual before starting your snow blower. Make sure you understand all the recommended safety steps.
  • Make sure all people and pets are out of the way before you begin.
  • Do not put your hand in the snow blower to remove impacted snow or debris. Turn the machine off and wait a few seconds. Then use a stick or broom handle to remove the material.
  • Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running.
  • Fill up with fuel before you start, when the engine is cool.

These safety tips are courtesy of: the National Safety Council, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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Driving In Winter Weather

  • Before winter arrives, have your car tuned up, check the level of antifreeze, make sure the battery is good, and check your tire tread or put on snow tires.
  • Keep emergency gear in your car for everyday trips:
    • cell phone
    • flashlight
    • jumper cables
    • sand or kitty litter (for traction)
    • ice scraper, snow brush, and small shovel
    • blankets
    • warning devices (e.g., flares, reflectors)
  • For long car trips, keep food, water, extra blankets, and required medication on hand.
  • Avoid driving in snow or ice storms. If you must travel in bad weather, drive slowly. Let someone know what route you're taking and when you plan to arrive so they can alert authorities if you don't get there.
  • If your car is parked outside, make sure the exhaust pipe and the area around it are free of snow before you start the car. Snow packed in or around the exhaust pipe can cause high levels of carbon monoxide in the car.
  • Don't sit in a parked car with the engine running unless a window is open. Do not let your car run while parked in a garage.
  • If your car stalls or gets stuck in snow, light two flares and place one at each end of the car, a safe distance away. Make sure snow has not blocked the exhaust pipe. Then stay in your vehicle and open a window slightly to let in fresh air. Wrap yourself in blankets and run your vehicle's heater for a few minutes every hour to keep warm.

These safety tips are from Center for Disease Control, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Safety Council.

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Walking In Winter

  • Dress in layers and wear boots with nonskid soles. Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
  • Walk on sidewalks if possible. If sidewalks are covered in snow and ice and you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic and as close to the curb as you can.
  • Don't wear a hat or scarf that blocks your vision or makes it hard for you to hear traffic.
  • When traveling with babies or small children, dress them in bright or reflective clothing. Always keep children--whether in a stroller or on foot--in front of you and as away from vehicular traffic.
  • Before you step off the curb, make sure oncoming cars and trucks have come to a complete stop.

These tips are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Additional Winter Safety Resources Can Be Found At:


Product safety recalls for January 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljan09.html

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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 12/21/09