SafetyNet News and Highlights

December 2010

OSHA to Hold Hearing on Walking-Working Surfaces Rule

OSHA’s proposed revisions to walking-working surfaces standards are designed to prevent an estimated 20 deaths and 3,700 injuries every year by reducing and eliminating slip, trip and fall hazards.  The proposed changes would bring the existing standards into line with walking-working surface standards for the construction and shipyard industries.

OSHA will hold a public hearing on January 18, 2011, at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. Please visit OSHA’s website to find out more.



OSHA directive continues program for protecting federal workers

OSHA recently issued a directive updating its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program, known as FEDTARG, for fiscal year 2011. FEDTARG outlines procedures for carrying out programmed inspections at some of the most hazardous federal workplaces, including all those reporting 100 or more lost time cases during fiscal year 2010. Changes to this directive include updating OSHA's recordkeeping violation policy and defining a lost time case as an incident in which a worker loses time from work beyond the date of the injury. See the directive for more information on FEDTARG 2011. FEDTARG is run by OSHA's Office of Federal Agency Programs, which represents federal worker safety and health issues.



National emphasis program and directive are aimed at providing safer conditions for shipyard workers

OSHA extended its Shipbreaking National Emphasis Program Nov. 4. Shipbreaking is the process of dismantling an obsolete vessel's structure for scrapping or disposal. Shipbreaking workers face hazards including falls from scaffolds and ladders, burns from welding torches, and illnesses from exposure to asbestos, lead and other substances (see OSHA's Shipbreaking eTool for more information). The Shipbreaking NEP schedules programmed inspections of shipbreaking operations under contract with the U.S. Navy and the Maritime Administration to ensure that workers are being properly protected. The NEP supports OSHA's goal to reduce injuries and illnesses among Latino workers, who make up a significant portion of the shipbreaking workforce.

OSHA also issued a Nov. 4 directive updating employer requirements to provide shipyard workers with Personal Protective Equipment--such as gloves, safety harnesses, and goggles--needed to safely perform their jobs. Among other things, the directive clarifies the PPE that employers must provide at no cost to their workers and under what circumstances employers must pay for replacement PPE.



OSHA extends comment period and announces stakeholder meeting on noise control interpretation

OSHA announced in the Dec. 14 Federal Register that the agency is extending by 90 days the official comment period on the proposed "Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise." Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments online, by mail or by fax by the March 21, 2011, deadline.

Responding to continuing high levels of hearing loss among employees in the nation's workplaces, the notice proposed clarifying the term "feasible administrative or engineering controls" in OSHA's occupational noise exposure standards to make enforcement consistent with that of all other OSHA standards. The agency will also hold a stakeholder meeting before the end of the comment period to listen to the concerns of businesses and workers about the proposed noise interpretation. See the news release for more information.

"We are intending to hold this stakeholder meeting before the comment period ends and it will provide an opportunity for all interested parties to provide their comments to the agency. Our common objective is to ensure that workers do not lose their hearing without overly burdening employers," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "OSHA will take all stakeholder comments seriously and will fully consider impacts on business and workers before determining what final action, if any, we will take."



Committee will meet to advise OSHA on construction worker safety and health

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health will meet Dec. 9-10 in Washington, D.C., to discuss recent OSHA activities and their impact on construction workers. In conjunction with the full committee meeting, ACCSH work groups, including the newly-established Injury and Illness Prevention Program work group, will meet Dec. 7-8. The agenda for the ACCSH meeting includes remarks from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and the Directorate of Construction, updates on Injury and Illness Prevention Program rulemaking and the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and ACCSH work group reports. The other ACCSH work groups that will meet are Silica and Other Construction Health Hazards, Green Jobs, Diversity -- Women in Construction, Multilingual Issues, Nailguns, Training and Education and Prevention by Design. See the Federal Register notice for more information on the ACCSH meeting.



Michaels informs national conference of public health professionals about OSHA's efforts to update chemical exposure limits

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels participated in a panel discussion Nov. 8 in Denver at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting. Representatives of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board also took part in the panel discussion on efforts to reduce occupational health disparities and advance worker rights and protections.

Michaels shared with the audience OSHA's efforts to address the agency's outdated workplace chemicals Permissible Exposure Limits. Most of OSHA's PELs were adopted when the agency was first created and have remained unchanged even though health data indicates many chemicals pose hazards to workers at levels below those permitted by many of OSHA's PELs. OSHA held a Web forum in August to solicit nominations on the top chemicals of concern and received more than 130 nominations for OSHA to focus its initial efforts. Using those nominations, input from the OSHA field, and other preliminary information, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will work together on an exercise to categorize the chemicals in a draft list according to their toxic characteristics. Using information learned from this exercise, as well as other research, OSHA's goal is to soon have a final list of chemicals on which to focus the agency's efforts.



Michaels promotes partnership of state and federal agencies at Washington occupational safety and health symposium

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels addressed the staff of Washington's Division of Occupational Safety and Health by teleconference during the Nov. 16 State Plan Safety and Health Symposium in Tumwater, Wash. In his remarks broadcast to the approximately 350 DOSH occupational safety and health professionals gathered at the symposium, Michaels commended the Washington state agency for the "integral part it plays in the national OSHA effort," as do all 27 OSHA-approved State Plans. This included Washington DOSH citing Tesoro Corporation for almost $2.4 million -- the largest citation in the state's history -- for an oil refinery explosion that killed seven workers in April. "This was a preventable tragedy, and I commend you for the hard work it took to pursue this case," said Michaels. He also addressed the importance of federal OSHA working with all State Occupational Safety and Health Plans to address deficiencies revealed in a recent OSHA evaluation and improve worker protections:

"It's up to us -- federal OSHA and the State Plans -- to work together to level the playing field by enforcing rules that everyone must follow to ensure fair competition in the marketplace. Good employers and workers everywhere are depending on us to deliver a consistent, coherent and compelling message, coast to coast: Competition, limited resources or just 'being too busy to bother' can never be an excuse to gamble with human lives."



Senators Snowe, Enzi Question OSHA Stance on VPP

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) have asked Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to reconsider the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) stance on several issues, including funding for its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). Both legislators call for the secretary and OSHA to reconsider its position and fully fund and staff VPP. They state that any weakening or threat to the programs could undercut the ability of small businesses to adequately protect their employees.
Sen. Snowe serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Sen. Enzi is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and has introduced legislation to write VPP into law with the Voluntary Protection Program Act (Senate Bill 3267). For more information, please visit Sen. Snowe’s website.



Assistant Secretary Michaels Comments on State-Plans, VPP

As part of prepared remarks broadcast to Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries State-Plan Safety and Health Symposium, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels stated that OSHA found no dire problems after a recent audit of state-plan programs except for a few cases where budget concerns could place them in danger.

Concerning VPP, Michaels stated, “VPP participants especially offer examples of workplaces where management and labor work together with superior results. We wish all workplaces would live up to the VPP model, which is why OSHA would like to preserve these programs. They have a place in our toolkit.” He went on to say that, after a year and a half review of VPP, it will be more consistently implemented, ensuring its integrity.

To read more, visit the Occupational Safety and Health website.



Product safety recalls for December 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereldec10.html

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November 2010

OSHA advises retail stores to protect workers from dangerous overcrowding during holiday sales events

OSHA is encouraging retailers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during major sales events this holiday season, such as the Black Friday sales that take place the day after Thanksgiving. In 2008, a worker was trampled to death during a Black Friday event when a mob of shoppers rushed through the doors of a large store to take advantage of the sale.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels sent a letter* to the CEOs of 14 major retail companies, along with a copy of OSHA's fact sheet, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers. The store where the 2008 worker fatality occurred was not using the kind of crowd management measures recommended by OSHA.
"Crowd-related injuries during special retail sales and promotional events have increased during recent years," Michaels said in the letter. "Many of these incidents can be prevented by adopting a crowd management plan, and this fact sheet provides retail employers with guidelines for avoiding injuries during the holiday shopping season."
See the news release for more information.



OSHA will hold hearing on proposed rule to prevent worker fatalities and serious injuries from falls in general industry

OSHA will hold an informal public hearing in Washington, D.C., starting Jan. 18, 2011, on the proposed rule revising the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment standards to improve worker protection from slip, trip and fall hazards.
The proposed rule will prevent annually an estimated 20 workplace fatalities and more than 3,700 injuries that are serious enough to result in lost work days. "This proposal addresses one of the leading causes of work-related injuries and deaths and we need to have the best rule possible to ensure that we effectively address this serious hazard," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels.
Construction and maritime workers already receive safer, more effective fall protection devices such as self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope descent systems, which these proposed revisions would also require for general industry workers.
The hearing will be held at the Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. Comments may be submitted online, or by mail or fax by the Nov. 30 deadline. See the Federal Register notice for more information on how to submit comments or a request to attend the hearing.



Michaels responds to decline in workplace injuries and illnesses causing lost work days

Results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses released Nov. 9 show that from 2008 to 2009 there was a nine percent decline in the number of nonfatal occupational illnesses and injuries requiring workers to take days away from work to recuperate. With a total of 1,238,490 cases last year for private industry, and state and local government, BLS reported that the rate of such cases also decreased by five percent, to 117 for every 10,000 full-time workers. Local and state government workers had much higher rates of injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work than workers in private industry. In a statement, OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels said:
"The BLS report is significant in that, for the first time, it reports incidence rates for workers in state and local governments, half of whom work in states where public employees have no OSHA coverage. All employers, private and government, can use the data released today to focus on areas with high incidence rates, and find and fix hazards to prevent future occurrences. OSHA's challenge, and therefore America's challenge, is to remain vigilant and keep the health and safety of America's workers a priority, for no job is a good job unless it's a safe job."
See the BLS news release for detailed information on the injuries and illnesses statistics.



OSHA warns of occupational health hazards from food flavorings

OSHA released a Safety and Health Information Bulletin on health hazards posed to workers by occupational exposure to certain chemicals used to add flavor and aroma to food and other products. Occupational Exposure to Flavoring Substances: Health Effects and Hazard Control explains that the food flavoring diacetyl, as well as some diacetyl substitutes, can burn the eyes, cause soreness in the nose and throat, and irritate the skin and produce a severe lung disease that has disabled or killed workers. Known initially as "popcorn lung," the disease was first described among workers exposed to the flavoring compound diacetyl, which is used in the production of low-fat, butter-flavored popcorn. However, recent laboratory studies demonstrated that work environments where chemicals are used as substitutes for diacetyl, such as flavoring manufacturing plants and plants where flavors are added to snack foods, baked goods, and candy, may also harm airways in animals. If workers exposed to diacetyl or substitute chemicals experience symptoms including persistent cough and shortness of breath, they are advised to ask their employers to send them to a doctor for evaluation.

OSHA has also issued a one-page Worker Alert on diacetyl hazards.



OSHA hosts public meeting on Globally Harmonized System of labeling chemicals

OSHA is inviting interested parties to participate in an open, informal public meeting Nov. 30 to discuss proposals in preparation for the 20th session of the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The Globally Harmonized System was formally adopted by the United Nations in December 2002. The GHS is a single, harmonized system for classification of chemicals according to their health, physical, and environmental effects. It also provides harmonized communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets.

The public may attend without prior notice a meeting of the U.S. Interagency GHS Coordinating Group hosted by OSHA in the Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the meeting is to provide interested groups and individuals with an update on GHS-related issues and an opportunity to express their views for consideration in developing U.S. government positions for the upcoming U.N. meeting, which will take place Dec. 7-9 in Geneva, Switzerland. See the Federal Register notice for more information.



Michaels outlines history and future of worker protection in Columbia University lecture

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels was a guest lecturer at Columbia University's public health school Nov. 4, where he addressed faculty and students about life-saving progress in worker safety and health. Michaels observed that 2011 will be "a great year to recognize two significant anniversaries in the history of worker safety and health reform" -- the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire that provoked unions to back and the government to enact major reforms in working conditions; and the 40th anniversary of OSHA opening its doors and bringing sweeping reform to workplaces across America. Michaels highlighted milestones along the path of labor reform in the 20th century, including workers' compensation, the establishment of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the contributions of Frances Perkins, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's influential secretary of labor who witnessed the Triangle factory fire and advocated regulation of child labor, better working hours and fair wages for workers. Michaels' remarks concluded with a review of the challenges of unfinished reforms that OSHA, employers and workers will face in the coming years.



Indiana OSHA to hold annual occupational safety and health conference

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration is partnering with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Indiana Chapter of the American Industrial Hygiene Association to host its annual Safety and Health Conference and Exposition from Feb. 28 to March 2, 2011, at the Indianapolis Marriott East. Industrial hygienists, contractors, plant managers and all those interested in occupational safety and health are invited to attend. The conference and expo will provide information on improving workplace safety and health for all Indiana workers by reducing hazards and exposures in the workplace environment that result in occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Registration for the conference is now open online.



Product safety recalls for November 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelnov10.html

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October 2010

NIOSH BACKGROUNDER ON DISTRACTED DRIVING: WORK-RELATED HAZARDS AND RESOURCES FOR SAFETY

October 5, 2010
Contact: Fred Blosser, (202) 245-0645

Distracted driving is a danger under any circumstances. Drivers are a risk to themselves and others when they take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off what they are doing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,500 Americans were killed (16 percent of all traffic crash fatalities) and 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that reportedly involved distracted driving. When someone is behind the wheel while on the job, distracted driving becomes an occupational hazard.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related death. While it is not known with certainty how many of those incidents involve distracted driving, there is no reason to think that the role of distracted driving in fatal work-related crashes is any less than in fatal crashes in the general population.

Mobile workers routinely communicate with offices and dispatchers through cell phone calls and text messaging. The work environment may impose additional risks through in-vehicle telematics: systems that provide information on clients, schedules, and inventory. The desire to increase productivity and efficiency, as well as pressures created by tight schedules and unforeseen delays, can provide incentives for workers to make calls, send text messages, or access in-vehicle information systems while driving.

“While the basic distractions of cell phone calls or text messaging are similar whether one is driving on work time or on personal time, there are sources of distraction and incentives to engage in distracted driving behaviors that are unique to the workplace,” noted John Howard, M.D., Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). “Someone driving on personal time has the leisure of waiting to return a friend’s call or text message. In these situations, minimizing risk is a matter of changing personal behavior and habits,” Dr. Howard said. “Workers, however, may be required or pressured by job demands to engage in distracted driving behaviors. Strong employer policies to curb the use of cell phones and in-vehicle technologies while driving are an important tool in creating a safe driving culture within an organization.”

Dr. Howard added, “NIOSH applauds the efforts of the Departments of Transportation and Labor to highlight the important role public and private employers can play in reducing distracted driving. We join them in urging employers to set policies to prohibit text messaging while driving. In addition, NIOSH will continue to work with our federal and other partners to support further efforts to reduce distracted driving in the workplace.”

NIOSH resources for reducing risks of distracted driving and other factors associated with work-related motor vehicle injury and death include:

Work-Related Roadway Crashes: Prevention Strategies for Employers
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-136/default.html

Work-related Roadway Crashes: Older Drivers in the Workplace
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-159/

NIOSH Topic Page: Motor Vehicle Safety
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/motorvehicle/

Source of statistics:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [2010]. Distracted driving 2009
(Publication No. DOT HS 811379)
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811379.pdf

Page last updated: October 5, 2010
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Education and Information Division


U.S Department Of Labor

Assistant Secretary for
Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, D.C. 20210

October 4, 2010

Dear Employer:

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States, and its often fatal consequences are a threat to your workers, your business and the public.

Because millions of workers’ jobs require them to spend part or all of their work day driving ― visiting clients and customers, making site visits, or delivering goods and services ― the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Transportation (DOT) are joining forces in a campaign to stop distracted driving and save lives.

Year after year, the leading cause of worker fatalities is motor vehicle crashes. There’s no question that new communications technologies are helping business work smarter and faster. But getting work done faster does not justify the dramatically increased risk of injury and death that comes with texting while driving.

The human toll is tragic. DOT reports that in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distraction and thousands more were injured. “Texting while driving” has become such a prominent hazard that 30 states now ban text messaging for all drivers.

OSHA is partnering with others across government, industry and the public to bring together important information and tools to attack texting while driving and other distracted driver hazards. We invite you to learn more about combating this problem at www.osha.gov and at DOT’s distracted driving website, www.distraction.gov.

Most employers want to do the right thing and protect their workers, and some have already taken action to prohibit texting while driving. It is your responsibility and legal obligation to create and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, and that would include having a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving. Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.

To combat the threat of distracted driving, we are prepared to act quickly. When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or who organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, we will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice.

I invite you to join us in observing "Drive Safely Work Week," October 4-8. During this week and throughout the year, let’s work together to prevent workers from being injured and killed on the road.

David Michaels, PhD, MPH

Distraction.Gov Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving

OSHA's Distracted Driving Initiative  |   Distracted Driving and Young Workers  |   Research |   
Additional Resources  |   Model Policies/Programs  |   Worker Rights

Map of texting bans
Map of texting bans


Product safety recalls for October 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereloct10.html

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September 2010

New Release
U.S Department Of Labor

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announces partnership with
US Department of Transportation to combat distracted driving by workers OSHA launching initiative to discourage texting while driving on the job

WASHINGTON - Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of worker fatalities, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation to combat distracted driving.

"It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving," said Secretary Solis. "It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality."

Prohibiting texting while driving is the subject of an executive order signed by President Barack Obama last year for federal employees and the subject of rulemaking by the Department of Transportation.

OSHA is launching a multi-pronged initiative that includes:

  • An education campaign for employers, to be launched during "Drive Safely Work Week" in early October, will call on employers to prevent occupationally related distracted driving, with a special focus on prohibiting texting while driving.
  • An open letter to employers to be posted on OSHA's website, http://www.osha.gov during "Drive Safely Work Week." The website also will showcase model employer policies and encourage employer and labor associations to communicate OSHA's message.
  • Alliances with the National Safety Council and other key organizations as outreach to employers, especially small employers, aimed at combating distracted driving and prohibit texting while driving.
  • Special emphasis on reaching younger workers by coordinating with other Labor Department agencies as well as alliance partners and stakeholders.
  • Investigate and issue citations and penalties where necessary to end the practice when OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving.

"We call upon all employers to prohibit any work policy or practice that requires or encourages workers to text while driving," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "The Occupational Safety and Health Act is clear; employers must provide a workplace free of recognized hazards."


Statement
US Department of Labor

Statement by US Department of Labor's OSHA Assistant Secretary
Dr. David Michaels on GAO whistleblower protection program report

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Government Accountability Office today issued a report titled, "Whistleblower Protection: Sustained Management Attention Needed to Address Long-standing Program Weaknesses." In response, Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels, issued the following statement:

"OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program exists because of a decades-old belief held by Congress, stakeholders, employers and society, that whistleblowers play an essential role in protecting workers and the public.

"Whistleblowers can make the difference between lawful workplaces and places where workers fear for their livelihoods and even their lives if they raise concerns.

"The leadership of the Department of Labor profoundly understands the cornerstone position that whistleblower protections have in the foundation of a strong worker protection program.

"With our available resources, OSHA is working hard to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from retaliation. We are in the process of a top-to-bottom review of OSHA's whistleblower protection program. This comprehensive review will cover policy, resources, equipment and work processes. The objective is to identify any weaknesses and inefficiencies in the program and improve the way we conduct this very important activity. In addition, we have hired additional personnel in the past year in an effort to more efficiently process cases.

"OSHA has already begun taking action on items recommended in the GAO report, such as requiring all investigators and their supervisors to complete mandatory investigator training over the next 18 months, setting strategic goals and performance measures for the whistleblower program, and providing new equipment to field staff.

"We are still studying other recommendations from the GAO, and appreciate their review and input."

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 19 laws protecting employees who report violations of various securities, trucking, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, workplace safety and health, consumer product safety, health care reform, and financial reform laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available online at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

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


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

SUMMARY: OSHA is proposing to revise its regulations for the federally- funded On-site Consultation Program to: Clarify the ability of the Assistant Secretary to define sites which would receive inspections

regardless of Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program (SHARP) exemption status; allow Compliance Safety and Health Officers to proceed with enforcement visits resulting from referrals at sites

undergoing Consultation visits and at sites that have been awarded SHARP status; and, limit the deletion period from OSHA's programmed inspection schedule for those employers participating in the SHARP program.

Written comments must be submitted on or before November 2, 2010.

To read the complete Proposed Rule click http://www.osha.gov/FedReg_osha_pdf/FED20100903.pdf


August 9, 2010

OSHA Issues Rule on Cranes and Derricks in Construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published the final version of a rule dealing with the use of cranes and derricks in construction. The rule, which will take effect on November 8, 2010, updates current standards that are 40 years old.

In addition to preventing leading causes of fatalities, the rule addresses ground conditions and establishes requirements for evaluating crane operators. Moreover, it updates the existing language to reflect decades of innovation in safety technology.

Approximately 4.8 million workers are employed at sites that utilize cranes and derricks. To read more, please click the link below to access the Department of Labor’s PDF on this rule http://www.osha.gov/FedReg_osha_pdf/FED20100809.pdf


Product safety recalls for September 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelsep10.html

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August 2010

US Labor Department's OSHA publishes proposed rulemaking to prevent injuries from slips, trips and falls on walking-working surfaces

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced in a notice of proposed rulemaking to require improved worker protection from tripping, slipping and falling hazards on walking and working surfaces. A public hearing on the revised changes will be held after the public comment period for the NPRM.  The NPRM describes revisions to the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment standards to help prevent an estimated annual 20 workplace fatalities and more than 3,500 injuries serious enough to cause people to miss work.

The current walking-working surfaces regulations allow employers to provide outdated and dangerous fall protection equipment such as lanyards and body belts that can result in workers suffering greater injury from falls. Construction and maritime workers already receive safer, more effective fall protection devices such as self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope descent systems, which these proposed revisions would also require for general industry workers.

The current walking-working surfaces standards also do not allow OSHA to fine employers who let workers climb certain ladders without fall protection. Under the revised standards, this restriction would be lifted in virtually all industries, allowing OSHA inspectors to fine employers who jeopardize their workers' safety and lives by climbing these ladders without proper fall protection.

More information is available in the Federal Register notice at http://s.dol.gov/3J.

OSHA explains requirements for protective clothing during oil spill beach cleanup operations

Workers wear protective clothing to prevent their skin from coming into contact with weathered oil. Skin contact with weathered oil can cause dermatitis. Workers who are on the beach, but are not going to come in direct contact with weathered oil, are not required to wear protective clothing. Any individual not wearing protective clothing should avoid coming in contact with the weathered oil. For workers involved in beach cleanup operations where solid tar balls or tar patties are being removed using shovels, rakes, buckets, etc., OSHA only recommends the use of gloves, boots and long pants, but not coveralls. In these cases, when such coveralls are not necessary, OSHA does not recommend using disposable coveralls because of concerns for heat stress. However, in other operations such as removal of oiled debris, cutting oiled vegetation, and mopping up liquid oil mousse , using chemical protective coveralls is warranted. These operations have a greater risk of skin contact with weathered oil; therefore, a greater level of protective clothing is necessary.

Summer Safety for Toddlers

During the summer months, toddlers are able to explore the home both inside and out.  Injuries to toddlers can happen in the blink of an eye and it is crucial that parents identify and fix dangers to prevent toddler injuries. The Home Safety Council (HSC) recommends parents look at each room in their home and the backyard from a child’s eye level to identify potential hazards.

Follow HSC’s tips to keep toddlers safe at home this summer:

Indoors:

Have window guards or window stops on upper windows, but make sure they can be opened quickly in case of a fire.

Children can choke on small things. If something is small enough to fit in a toilet paper tube, it is not safe for children.

Read the labels of all toys before you let your child play with them. Make sure your child is old enough to use that toy; the label will tell you the safe age.

Also, use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. For the top of stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure than “pressure gates.”

Outdoors:

Cover the ground under playground equipment with a thick layer (9-12 inches) of mulch, wood chips or other safety material.

When toddlers are near the water, always make sure you are within an arm’s reach of them.

Lastly, put a fence all the way around your pool or spa. The fencing should be at least five feet high with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Always keep the gate closed and locked.

For a complete list of toddler safety tips, please visit the Home Safety Council website.

Product safety recalls for August 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelaugust10.html

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July 2010

OSHA's Efforts to Protect Workers

OSHA has stationed safety and health professionals throughout the Gulf Region who visit worksites every day to protect oil response cleanup workers from health and safety hazards. OSHA staff is evaluating the safety at worksites around the Gulf, covering the vessels of opportunity, beach cleanup, staging areas, decontamination, distribution and deployment sites. When OSHA finds problems or learns about them from workers, it immediately brings them to the attention of BP and ensures that they are corrected. OSHA also raises its concerns through the Unified Command so they are addressed across the entire response area.

Heat Stress

Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, oil response workers, and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat. Prevention of heat stress in workers is important.

Recommendations for Supervisors:

  • Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in hot areas for cooler months.
  • Schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day.
  • Acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments.
  • Reduce the physical demands of workers.
  • Use relief workers or assign extra workers for physically demanding jobs.
  • Provide cool water or liquids to workers.
    • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar.
  • Provide rest periods with water breaks.
  • Provide cool areas for use during break periods.
  • Monitor workers who are at risk of heat stress.
  • Provide heat stress training that includes information about:
    • Worker risk
    • Prevention
    • Symptoms
    • The importance of monitoring yourself and coworkers for symptoms
    • Treatment
    • Personal protective equipment

Recommendations for Workers:

Avoid exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible. When these exposures cannot be avoided, take the following steps to prevent heat stress:

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.
    • Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing.
  • Gradually build up to heavy work.
  • Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity.
    • Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.
  • Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar.
  • Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.

Stakeholder Meeting on Injury and Illness Prevention Program

OSHA has invited interested parties to participant in informal stakeholder meetings on Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. OSHA plans to use the information gathered at these meetings in developing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program proposed rule. The discussions will be informal and will provide the Agency with the necessary information to develop a rule that will help employers reduce workplace injuries and illnesses through a systematic process that proactively addresses workplace safety and health hazards.  Their next meeting is the last week of June in Washington, DC.

Inspect Your Deck for Safety

Summer is in full swing and many families are planning their summer activities. Take time to inspect your deck for safety.  Deck collapse is a serious problem – and a potential hazard many families overlook. Some experts estimate as many as 20 million decks in the U.S. may be in danger of collapse, often because they were built incorrectly, have not been maintained properly or are beyond their lifespan of 10-15 years.

When inspecting your deck, look for these five hazards:

  • Missing Connections – make sure all of the wood framing under your deck is tied together with metal connectors for a strong, sturdy deck.
  • Loose Connections – check to see if any railings or stairs are wobbly or loose.
  • Corrosion – look for red rust or other signs of corrosion that can weaken your deck.
  • Rot – over time, wood can rot and degrade, making it unable to support your deck properly.
  • Cracks – replace boards or posts with large cracks.

To help prevent deck collapse events this summer, the Home Safety Council is working with Simpson Strong-Tie to educate families about the importance of inspecting their decks for safety as least once a year. For more information, please visit www.homesafetycouncil.org.

Product safety recalls for July 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljuly10.html  

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June 2010

Louisiana Government and OSHA Advises Oil Spill Workers and Volunteers to Work Safely

As many cleanup workers and volunteers are being assembled in the Gulf Coast to aid in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup, the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services (DHH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are urging individuals involved in the cleanup to take safety and health precautions.  Some hazards involved in the cleanup include: skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lung irritation from crude oil exposure; heat stress; slipping and tripping on oily or rocky surfaces; heavy lifting injuries; trench foot; and nausea from chemical dispersants.  Information can be found on http://emergency.louisiana.gov/Releases/05262010-precautions.html  and http://www.osha.gov/Publications/Oil_Spill_Booklet_05.11_v4.pdf  for worker and volunteer safety guidelines.

New OSHA training emphasizes workers' right

"Introduction to OSHA," is a new two hour training component emphasizing workers' rights that will become required content in every OSHA 10- and 30-hour Outreach Training Program class.  The OSHA Outreach Training Program is a voluntary program that seeks to teach workers about their rights and how to identify, reduce, avoid and prevent job-related hazards. The program includes 10- and 30-hour courses in construction, general or maritime industry safety and health hazard recognition and prevention that is taught through a network of OSHA-authorized trainers.

OSHA developed the information on worker’s rights in support of the Secretary of Labor's goal of strengthening the voice of workers. This information affects hundreds of thousands of workers who complete Outreach Training Program classes each year, and more than 50,000 authorized OSHA Outreach Trainers. It focuses on the importance of workers' rights and advises them of their right to

  • safe and healthful workplaces
  • know about the presence and effects of hazardous chemicals
  • review information about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces
  • receive training
  • request/file for an OSHA inspection and participate in the inspection
  • be free from retaliation for exercising their safety and health rights

During the 10- and 30-hour outreach training program classes, OSHA trainers will cover topics on whistleblower rights and filing a complaint, and will provide samples of a weekly fatality and catastrophe report, material data safety sheet and the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

Stakeholder Meeting on Injury and Illness Prevention Program

OSHA has invited interested parties to participant in informal stakeholder meetings on Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. OSHA plans to use the information gathered at these meetings in developing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program proposed rule. The discussions will be informal and will provide the Agency with the necessary information to develop a rule that will help employers reduce workplace injuries and illnesses through a systematic process that proactively addresses workplace safety and health hazards.  Their next meeting is the last week of June in Washington, DC.

Bringing Safety and Health Home

A recent survey by the nonprofit Home Safety Council found that while nearly all (99 percent) parents said it was important to keep their family safe at home, many have not taken steps to prevent the leading causes of home injury – falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning.  The survey results point to the root of the home injury problem. Parents and caregivers need to take greater action to make their homes safer for the entire family and reduce the nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits that result from home injuries on average every year.  The Home Safety Council is offering information about home safety on their website: www.homesafetycouncil.org.

Product safety recalls for June 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljune10.html 

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April 2010

Program outline for the DOI Conference

The Department of the Interior’s Department-wide training conference is on June 17, 2010.  Full time and collateral duty occupational health and safety professionals, supervisors and managers are invited and encouraged to attend.   The conference will provide an opportunity for participants to attend training, network with peers, learn from experts, and share best practices.  The conference is the week of June 14-17, 2010, in conjunction with the American Society of Safety Engineer’s (ASSE) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.  

The DOI participants will be able to attend ASSE’s three day conference that includes technical sessions, key note speeches, and vender displays.  The technical sessions will provide basic safety and occupational health training that will benefit newer safety and health professionals.  DOI participants will also have a fourth day for a DOI specific track.  The DOI specific track will have a general opening session in the morning and bureau specific sessions in the afternoon.  The program outline for the DOI day follows:

8:00 am to 8:05 am – Open. 
8:05 am – 8:15 am – Welcome Pam Malam, Deputy Assistant Secretary - Human Capital and
                                   Diversity, Acting DASHO.
8:15 am to 8:30 am – Introductions of safety and health staffs, Directors, DASHOs, bureau
                                   safety managers.
8:30 am to 9:30 am – Keynote Training, Dr. E. Scott Geller, PhD
9:30 am to 9:45 am – Morning Break.
9:45 am to 10:05 am – Jon Jarvis, Director, NPS.
10:05 am to 10:25 am – Robert Abby, Director, BLM.
10:25 am to 10:45 am – Marcia McNutt, Director, USGS.
10:45 am to 11:00 am – Questions for Bureau Directors.
11:00 am to 11:20 am – Francis Yebesi, Director, OSHA Office of Federal Agency Programs.
11:20 am to 11:40 am – Pam Malam, Deputy Assistant Secretary - Human Capital and
                                   Diversity, Acting DASHO, Providing a Departmental Policy Update.
11:40 am to 12:00 noon – William Bass, former OSM Safety Manager, providing a perspective
                                          on life after safety.
12:00 pm to 12:15 pm – Wrap up of morning session.
12:15 pm to 1:15 pm – Lunch.
1:15 pm to 2:45 pm - Breakout sessions.
2:45 pm to 3:00 pm – Afternoon break.
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm – Breakout sessions.
4:15 pm to 4:20 pm – Re-assemble for Wrap-up session and closing.
4:20 pm to 4:30 pm – Pam Malam, Acting DASHO, wrap-up and losing comments.

DOL Stresses Safety for Workers Involved in Oil Cleanup

As workers clean up after the oil spill in the Gulf Coast region, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is consulting with federal agency partners and BP on safety measures for workers involved in the cleanup. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels visited Louisiana along with a team of cleanup professionals to ensure that workers receive proper training and protection from the hazards of oil byproducts, detergents, degreasers and dispersants.

Visit SMIS and the OSHA website for more information on worker safety guidelines during an oil spill cleanup.

Solis Releases Statement on Protecting America's Workers Act

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis released a statement April 29 in support of the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA), stating, "Drastic changes are clearly needed to enable American workers, businesses and government to address the needs and challenges of the 21st century workplace. Fines and penalties are simply too low, whistleblowers are not adequately protected and almost nine million public employees still lack the right to a safe workplace.” She added "The Protecting America's Workers Act seeks to address all of these problems, and I strongly urge its swift passage.”

PAWA would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 by increasing coverage to federal, state and local employees, increasing protections for whistleblowers and increasing penalties for certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration violators.

Product safety recalls for May 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmay10.html

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March 2010

OSHA Launches Safety eTool for Electrical Workers

With approximately 80 worker deaths annually due to electric shock, the safety of electric power workers is a focus of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is why the agency recently published the "Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard" eTool.

This eTool discusses OSHA’s “Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution” standard and provides information and training on preventative measures such as lockout/tagout, personal protective equipment and other electrical safety requirements.

To read more on the OSHA eTool, please visit the OSHA Web site.

Bringing Safety and Health Home: March is Poison Prevention Month

Already the second leading cause of accidental home injury overall, the number of poisonings happening at home is on the rise. In fact, adults age 22-55 are more likely to die from poisoning than any other age group. While the majority of these deaths are from the misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications, there are a number of common household items that can be poisonous in the wrong hands. Poison prevention is important for people of all ages.

The first step in poison prevention is a walk-through to look for potential poisons. Poisons can be things you eat, breathe, touch or get in your eyes, ranging from cosmetics and medications to cleaners and chemicals. Once all the poisons are located, they should be stored in a safe place, preferably locked away from children, stored on a high shelf, or secured in cabinets with child safety locks. 

Be Prepared

  • Know to call 1-800-222-1222 if someone takes poison. Call the Help number if you have a question about poison.
  • Keep the number by every phone.
  • Call 9-1-1 if someone won't wake-up, is having trouble breathing or is having seizures.

What to do with Potential Poisons

  • Know the things in your home that are poisons.
  • Read the labels of the products you use in your home.
  • Look for these words on bottles and packages: “Caution”; “Warning”; “Poison”; “Danger”; or “Keep Out of Reach of Children.”
  • Keep these things in a safe place. Keep them locked away from children. Store them on a high shelf if you can and away from food and drinks. Watch out for products with fruit shown on the labels. Children could think they are okay to drink.
  • Take all medicines and medical supplies out of purses, pockets, cabinets and drawers. Put them in a cabinet with a child safety lock.
  • Too much medicine or the wrong medicine can hurt or even kill you. Medicines for adults can kill children.
  • Have child safety caps on all chemicals, medications and cleaning products.
  • Keep medicines and cleaning products in their original containers with the original labels intact.
  • When you take medicine or give medicine, read the label every time. Use a dropper or medicine spoon. Keep track of when medicine has been taken.
  • Lock all medicine away. Some medicines that you can buy without a doctor's prescription can also be poison if you take too much or mix them with other things.
  • Be safe. Throw away medicines if you don't use them or they are old or the date has expired.
  • Do not put medicines in the sink or toilet. They can poison our water and make people and animals sick. Put the medicine in the garbage.
  • Take off the label before you throw the medicine container away if it has your name or any information about you.
  • If you have pills, crush them before you throw them out. Mix the pieces into old coffee grounds, sand or kitty litter.

For a complete list of poison prevention tips, visit: www.HomeSafetyCouncil.org.

Bringing Safety and Health Home: Protect Against Potential Hot Water Dangers in Your Home

When getting into a hot shower or bath, most people rarely ever think about getting burned. Hot tap water can burn and young children and older adults are the most vulnerable to hot water burns because of their thin skin.

Scald burns can happen fast, however, there are simple changes you can make at home to protect against hot water dangers. Whether bathing, cooking or handling hot food or drinks, follow the Home Safety Council’s safety tips below to protect your family from the risk of scald burn injuries at home.

In the Bathroom:

  • Use a thermometer to test the hot water coming out of the tap.
  • Set the water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When bathing children, fill the tub first. Then run your hand through the water to test for hot spots before helping children get in.
  • When children are in or near the tub, watch them closely. Young children and older people have thin skin. They burn more quickly.
  • Special tub spouts and shower heads are available that prevent hot water burns. These sense if the water gets hot enough to cause a burn and will shut off the flow of water.

In the Kitchen:

  • Wear long oven mitts to protect skin when cooking or handling hot food.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot pull them down. Use back burners when cooking.
  • Keep children away from the stove when cooking. Put tape on the floor so they can learn to stay out of the “no-kid-zone.”
  • Food cooked in the microwave can get very hot and cause a burn. Use oven mitts when you take off the lid; stir and test food before serving to make sure it is cool enough to eat.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not use tablecloths or placemats because young children can pull them down.
  • Use a “travel mug” with a tight-fitting lid for all hot drinks. This can help prevent a burn if the cup tips over.
  • Do not hold or carry a child while you have a hot drink in your hand.

If You Burn Your Skin:

  • Cool a burn with running water. Do this right away.
  • Keep the burned area in cool water for 3 minutes or longer. Do not put ice, butter or lotion on the burn. This could make it worse.
  • Call you doctor or 9-1-1 if the burn looks bad.

Product safety recalls for March 2010

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmarch10.html

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February 2010

OSHA QuickCards™ focus on safety in marine cargo handling operations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently developed three QuickCards™ addressing worker safety topics in marine cargo handling operations.  Gangway Safety in Marine Cargo Handling lists safety requirements for preventing falls from gangways, the walkways used for boarding and departing vessels. First Aid in Marine Cargo Handling explains workplace requirements such as assuring at least one person with a valid first-aid certificate is available at the terminal to provide medical assistance. Additionally, Lifesaving Facilities in Marine Cargo Handling lists safety requirements for lifesaving equipment such as personal flotation devices and stokes basket stretchers, among other equipment.

Industry operations covered in these Quick Cards include the transfer of cargo between ships, trucks, pipelines and other modes of transportation, and the operation and maintenance of piers, docks and associated buildings and facilities. QuickCards™ are pocket-sized, laminated cards developed by OSHA to provide brief, plain language safety and health information for workers.

US Department of Labor's OSHA proposes recordkeeping change to improve illness data

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to revise its Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting (recordkeeping) regulation by restoring a column on the OSHA Form 300 to better identify work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The rule does not change existing requirements for when and under what circumstances employers must record musculoskeletal disorders on their injury and illness logs.  Many employers are currently required to keep a record of workplace injuries and illnesses, including work-related MSDs, on the OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). The proposed rule would require employers to place a check mark in a column for all MSDs they have recorded.

The proposed requirements are identical to those contained in the OSHA recordkeeping regulation that was issued in 2001. Prior to 2001, OSHA's injury and illness logs contained a column for repetitive trauma disorders that included noise and MSDs. In 2001, OSHA separated noise and MSDs into two separate columns, but the MSD column was deleted in 2003 before the provision became effective. OSHA is now proposing to restore the MSD column to the OSHA Form 300 log.

For more information, view OSHA's proposal at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=21314. This notice will be published in the Jan. 29 edition of the Federal Register.

Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed rule electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the federal e-rulemaking portal; or by mailing three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210; or by fax at 202-693-1648 if the comments and attachments do not exceed 10 pages.  Comments must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking (Docket Number OSHA-2009-0044). The deadline for submitting comments is March 15. OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule March 9.

County Offers Winter Weather Fire Safety Tips

Escambia County, Florida, urged residents to take safety precautions while trying to stay warm this winter, specifically when using space heaters. The precautions they provided residents are applicable to DOI furnished housing as well.

Heating equipment is a leading cause of residence fires during the winter months, and trails only cooking equipment in home fires year-round.

According to the National Fire Protection Association annual fire department survey, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 64,100 reported home structure fires in the United States in 2006. These fires accounted for 16% of all home fires and were responsible for an estimated 540 deaths, roughly 1,400 injuries and $943 million in direct property damage. With this in mind, Escambia County offered the following safety tips involving heating equipment:

  • Properly inspect all heating equipment for frayed cords or exposed elements before use.
  • Space heaters need space. Keep heaters at least three feet away from all furniture, drapes, clothing and other combustibles.
  • Use only heaters designed for use in the home. Never use cooking appliances, such as ovens, or any heaters designed for outdoor usage indoors.
  • Only use heaters with safety features such as cut-off switches that turn them off if they accidentally tip over and those units with heater element guards that prevent combustible materials from contacting the heating element.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended. Turn them off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Keep heaters and their cords along with extension cords away from high traffic areas.
  • When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside every bedroom. Test the batteries every month and change them at least once a year.
  • If you have gas appliances, install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.

Alternative Heater Safety Tips

  • Allow your heater to cool before refueling and only refuel outdoors.
  • Fill your heater with only crystal clear, K-1 kerosene, not gasoline or camp stove fuel as both explode easily.
  • Keep the fire in the fireplace with a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs.
  • Carefully follow manufacturers’ installation and maintenance instructions.
  • Remember it’s always safer to add more blankets on your bed than to use a space heater while sleeping.
  • Electric blankets can be a serious fire hazard if defected or used improperly. Check your electric blanket for any damage from fraying, creasing or general wear and tear. Electric blankets that are more than 10 years old should be replaced and never use a wet electric blanket.

Actions should be taken to prepare for this and future cold weather events. Remember the “5 Ps” of cold weather preparedness:

  • Protect People
  • Protect Plants
  • Protect Pets
  • Protect Exposed Pipes
  • Practice Fire Safety

In case of a fire, stay low to the ground, beneath the smoke, and crawl to an exit using your escape plan.

Product safety recalls for December 2009

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelFebruary10.html   

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January 2010

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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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 12/15/10