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September, 2012

Techlines is a quarterly enewsletter that provides important safety information and news that affects professionals like you.

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In this issue:

Avoiding Cold Stress Injuries

With the start of winter it is important that employers and employees be ready for the cold. Cold stress is an injury or illness caused by low temperatures, wind speed, wind chill and wetness or a combination of all of these cold-weather realities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Cold Stress Equation (Low Temperature + Wind Speed + Wetness = Injuries & Illnesses) illustrates how all the aspects of winter weather can work together to create injuries and illness. Cold stress injuries include hypothermia, frost bite, and chilblain, to name a few.

Hypothermia occurs when cold temperatures cause your body to use up its stored energy resulting in a low body temperature (95°Fahrenheit or colder). Low body temperatures can affect the brain making it harder to think clearly. For this reason, hypothermia is especially dangerous. Symptoms begin with shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination and confusion. Victims can develop blue skin, dilated pupils, slow respiration and loss of consciousness. If you believe someone is experiencing hypothermia, call for emergency assistance. Immediately move him/her into a warm area, remove any wet clothing, give warm beverages (if conscious) and wrap the victim in a blanket.

Frost bite is an injury that is caused when body parts begin to freeze. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, stinging or aching in the affected areas and bluish or pale, waxy skin. A worker suffering from frostbite should seek a warm environment right away. Victims should avoid walking on frostbitten feet or toes to prevent additional damage. Try to warm the affected area using the victim’s own body heat (holding a hand under their arm for example). Try to avoid heating pads, stoves or heat lamps as the affected area can burn easily.

Chilblains are injuries where damage to the capillary beds in the skin has occurred. This is caused from repeated exposure to cold temperatures. This can be freezing temperatures to the 60°F range. The damage typically is permanent and will return with future exposures to cold. Symptoms include redness, itching, blistering, inflammation and possible ulcerations. Someone suffering from chilblains should try to slowly warm the skin, use corticosteroid creams to relieve itching and swelling and try to keep any blisters clean and covered. Always try to avoid scratching the affected area.

It is important to protect your workers. When possible, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures should be avoided. When these conditions cannot be avoided, it is essential to take some basic precautions:

  • Move into warm areas during breaks and lunches
  • Wear appropriate clothing and multiple layers
  • Protect ears, face, hands and feet
  • Drink warm liquids
  • Add hot packs to your first aid kit
  • Shield work areas from wind
  • Monitor your and your coworkers physical conditions

It is necessary to be able to recognize the dangers associated with exposure to the cold. Once the body is unable to warm itself, cold related injuries and illness can occur. Knowing the facts on cold exposure and following these few simple guidelines can help ensure a safe and healthy winter season.

Sources:

The Cold Stress Equation:
http://www.osha.gov/Publications/coldcard/coldcard.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Workplace Safety and Health Topics Cold Stress
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/coldstress/
Princeton University Environmental Health and Safety Cold Stress
http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/coldstress/coldstress.htm

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2011 Nonfatal Injury and Illness Rates Summary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the rate of reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses for 2011 was unchanged for the first time in a decade. During this decade the rate of total recordable cases injury and illness incidence rate for private industry had declined significantly each year since 2002.

Nearly 3.0 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2011. This resulted in an incidence rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.

More than one-half of the nearly three million cases were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer or restriction – commonly referred to as DART cases. These cases occurred at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers. Other recordable cases – those not involving days away from work, job transfer or restriction – accounted for the remaining cases.

The total recordable cases were highest among mid-size private industry (employing between 50 and 249 workers) and lowest among small establishments (employing fewer than 11 workers).

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting and accommodation and food services were the two private industry sectors that experienced increases in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2011. These were driven by increases in crop production, animal production, limited-services restaurants and full-service restaurants.

The health care and social assistance sector and retail trade sector experienced rate of injuries and illnesses declines in 2011. These declines were noted in hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, supermarkets, other grocery stores and several other industries.

Approximately 95% of the nearly three million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were injuries. Approximately 75% of these injuries occurred in service providing industries and the remaining 25% in goods-producing industries.

Occupational illness cases were highest in service-producing industries (64%) with health care and social assistance accounting for approximately 25% of all private industry illness cases.

To view the BLS report, visit http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf.

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics U.S. Department of Labor Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2011.

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Ask a Technical Support Specialist

Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer

What is carbon monoxide and how is it produced?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, poisonous, deadly gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning/combustion of any fuel that contains carbon – coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas. Products and equipment that produce CO include vehicle engines, stoves and ranges, lanterns, furnaces, fireplaces and grills. At work, CO buildup can occur in operations near furnaces, ovens, generators, forges and kilns when they are fired up to operating temperatures.

What level of carbon monoxide is dangerous?
Health effects depend on the CO concentration and length of exposure, as well as each individual’s health condition. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “Most people will not experience any symptoms from prolonged exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 parts per million (ppm) but some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue, and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations (above 150 ppm to 200 ppm) disorientation, unconsciousness and death are possible.”

 
Mark
Technical Support
Specialist

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) time-weighted average permissible exposure limit is 50 ppm.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the most-common symptoms are headache, dizziness, general feeling of weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Exposure to very high concentrations of carbon monoxide can result in loss of consciousness and death.

How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented?
To help prevent CO poisoning:

  • Install CO detectors that will detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide
  • Install and operate gas-burning appliances in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating instructions
  •  
  • Inspect furnaces annually and any required service should be performed by a qualified professional
  •  
  • Never repair fuel-burning appliances if you do not have the proper knowledge, tools and skills to do so
  •  
  • Never operate a gas-burning generator or tool near an enclosed space such as a garage or house
  •  
  • Never use portable fuel-burning equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent – unless that equipment’s operating instructions say it is designed for that type of use
  •  
  • Never use ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home
  •  
  • Never leave a vehicle running while it is in an attached garage – even if the garage door is open
  •  
  • Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in a room where people are sleeping
  •  

Where should carbon monoxide detectors be installed?
Always install CO detectors according to the manufacturer’s instructions. CO has about the same density as air so the detectors can be installed into a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall. In order to help prevent false alarms, do not install CO detectors next to or above fuel-burning appliances. Do not locate CO detectors near heating or cooking appliances or in humid areas. Do not install CO detectors near heating vents or where they can be covered by draperies or furniture. The CPSC recommends installing CO detectors in the hallway outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of the home.

What are the different types of carbon monoxide detectors and how do they work?
There are two types of carbon monoxide monitors – conventional high-level monitors designed to prevent acute carbon monoxide poisoning and low-level monitors designed to protect against chronic carbon monoxide poisoning.

High-level detectors comply with Underwriters Laboratories Standard UL-2034. Per Section 1.3 of this Standard, “Carbon monoxide alarms covered by this standard are not intended to alarm when exposed to long-term, low-level carbon monoxide exposures or slightly higher short-term transient carbon monoxide exposures, possibly caused by air pollution and/or properly installed/maintained fuel-fired appliances and fireplaces.”

There are three main types of sensors used in CO detectors:

  • Metal Oxide semi-conductor sensors are the original technology for CO detectors. Heated tin oxide reacts with carbon monoxide to determine the level of CO. This type of sensor requires more power than a battery can provide, so CO detectors with this type of sensor are wired into the building’s electrical system. Some models may be equipped with a battery backup.
  • Biomimetic sensors are discs coated with a gel that darkens when contacted by carbon monoxide. This color change triggers the alarm. This type of sensor technology is found in both plug-in and battery powered detectors.
  • Electrochemical sensors – with this type of sensor, the presence of CO initiates a chemical reaction which creates an electrical current that sets off the detector’s alarm. This type of sensor is very sensitive and gives precise readings at low levels of CO, whereas other types of sensors tend to only provide readings at higher levels of CO.

Sources:

Consumer Product Safety Commission:
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/466.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
Underwriters Laboratories:
http://ulstandardsinfonet.ul.com/scopes/scopes.asp?fn=2034.html
Carbon Monoxide Survivor:
http://carbon-monoxide-survivor.com/carbon-monoxide-detectors-types.html

Extra! Extra! Read All About It . . .

Did you know that Grainger’s 2013 Safety & Compliance Directory is available just for the asking? This Directory puts information on hundreds of government, private and nonprofit organizations that deal with safety right at your fingertips.

The 2013 Safety & Compliance Directory is chock full of important information for governmental agencies like hotlines, district, area and regional offices for the Coast Guard, DOE, DOT, EPA, OSHA and more. You’ll find a section on internet resources for safety and health-related websites complied for your convenience.

Also included in this year’s edition are the Top 20 Quick Tip Documents based on views by Grainger customers. Other topics covered are the variety of safety services offered by Grainger including Online Safety Manager, free monthly safety and health webinars, safety newsletters, technical safety product support, MSDS Complete, Safety Data Sheet organizer and managed inventory control programs.

To obtain a copy of the 2013 Safety & Compliance Directory, please contact your Grainger representative or visit your local Grainger Branch. Can't wait? You can check out an online version of this handy resource now!

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OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements

It’s that time of year again. Companies that are required to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are reminded to complete their Annual Summary of Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A) by February 1, 2013.

OSHA’s Form 301 – Injury and Illness Incident Report is one of the first forms that must be completed when a recordable, work-related injury or illness occurs. Within seven calendar days after receiving notification that a recordable work-related injury or illness has occurred, the OSHA Form 301 (or an equivalent form) must be completed. Some state workers’ compensation, insurance or other repots may be acceptable substitutes. To be considered an equivalent, the substitute must contain all the information asked for on the Form 301.

The Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300) is used to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and to note the extent and severity of each case. Should an incident occur, the log is used to record specific details about what and how it happened.

OSHA Form 300A contains the calendar year covered (2012), the company name and address, the annual average number of employees, the total hours worked by all employees and the totals from columns G through M of the OSHA Form 300 – Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. If no cases were recorded during 2012 then the summary still must be completed with zeros entered into all of the spaces provided on the form. The OSHA Form 300A must be:

  • Posted from February 1 – April 30
  • Displayed in areas where other notices are normally placed – typically they are posted where the Labor Law posters are placed
  • Certified with the signature of a company executive, indicating that the information is correct and complete to the best of the employer’s knowledge
  • Retained for five years following the calendar year to which they relate

An area that generates a lot of recordkeeping questions is what events need to be recorded. OSHA has a web tool to help users determine whether injuries or illnesses are work-related and recordable under the OSHA Recordkeeping rules. The OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor is an interactive tool that simulates an employer’s interaction with a Recordkeeping rules expert. The Advisor relies on the users’ responses to questions and automatically adapts to the situation presented.

According to OSHA, responses put into the program are strictly confidential and the system does not record or store any of the information. The Advisor helps employers determine whether the injury or illness is work-related, whether a work-related injury needs to be recorded, and which provisions of the regulations apply when recording a work-related injury or illness.

Source:

OSHA Forms for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses – http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/new-osha300form1-1-04.pdf

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Parking Lot Safety

In much of the country, winter weather conditions pose additional parking lot safety concerns for pedestrians and drivers. We’ve gathered some tips that can help you and your employees stay safe when parking lots become treacherous.

Tips for pedestrians:

  • Always use crosswalks and designated paths – do not walk in roadways
  • Avoid snow drifts, they can obscure your view of oncoming traffic and also obscure you from drivers
  • Do not walk behind or in front of moving vehicles and expect that they will be able to stop or avoid hitting you
  • When crossing roadways, make sure you can be seen – make eye contact with the driver. Do not cross the vehicle’s path if you suspect the driver did not see you, is not paying attention, or does not acknowledge your presence. Be aware that you may not be visible to the cursory glance if the color of your coat or jacket blends into the background, or in low-light or nighttime situations
  • Avoid distractions while walking through parking lots or crossing roadways. Turn off electronic equipment, especially if wearing earphones. Be aware that snow cover tends to muffle noise from vehicles and that hybrid vehicles emit very little sound – do not rely on your hearing to alert you to approaching vehicles
  • When walking on ice or snow-covered surfaces, take small, shuffling steps and walk more slowly
  • Do not carry large, heavy items that may affect your balance and/or block your vision
  • If possible, leave your hands free to ensure proper balance
  • Be especially careful at night, when ice becomes invisible

Parking lot safety tips for all seasons:

  • Park in well-lit areas as close to the door or entrance of the parking area or destination as possible
  • When leaving your vehicle, make sure all the windows are rolled up and the doors are locked. Any valuables should be stored out of sight
  • When leaving the vehicle, be aware of your surroundings
  • Remember where you parked!
  • When returning to your vehicle, have your keys out and ready. Be aware of anyone lurking or hiding in the parking area
  • Once in your car, immediately lock the doors, start the car, and leave

Sources:

National Safety Commission:
http://alerts.nationalsafetycommission.com/2011/02/parking-lot-safety.html
Winter Safety Tips in the Workplace:
http://www.soyouwanna.com/winter-safety-tips-workplace-6600.html
Safety.com:
www.safety.com/articles/parking-lot-safety

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Stay Healthy - Wash Your Hands

Staying healthy, especially in the winter months, can be a challenge. One of the easiest ways to help prevent infection is to wash your hands. Hand washing (when done correctly and at the most critical times) can be extremely effective in preventing germs from infecting you and spreading them to others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hand washing should be done at these critical times:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill
  • Before administering medication
  • Before and after treating an injury, like a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing a diaper or caring for a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal waste, leashes, food bowls, treats and petting animals
  • After touching and handling garbage, soiled clothing or shoes
  • Before and after inserting and removing contact lenses
  • After handling household or garden chemicals

In addition to these guidelines, always wash your hands when they are soiled or appear dirty. Good hand washing technique is simple and when consistently followed will become a natural practice in no time. Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold), apply soap to the hands and work up a lather by rubbing your hands together. Work the lather over the whole surface of the hands including the backs of the hands, in between the fingers and under the nails. Continue to work in the soap lather for at least 20 seconds. Some tricks to keeping the time to around 20 seconds – mentally sing the ABC song or the Happy Birthday song. Then rinse your hands completely under running water and dry with a clean towel or air dry.

Although washing your hands with soap and water is the most reliable way to clean your hands, what if you don’t have the basics of running water or soap? Hand sanitizers that are alcohol based and have at least 60% alcohol can be an effective way to help in these cases. Hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on the hands, but they are not effective against all germs. For the best results apply the sanitizer to the palm of the hand, rub your hands together and over the surface, through the fingers and the back of the hands until you feel that your hands are dry. Hands sanitizers should dry as the alcohol is rubbed into the skin surface.

Hand washing is especially important in child care settings because it is normal for children to touch many surfaces throughout their day. Children are especially susceptible to gastrointestinal and respiratory conditions. Good hand washing techniques can be taught to children early to promote a lifetime of good practice and good health. Most hand sanitizers are safe for use on children’s hands as well (be sure the sanitizer is dry before the child touches surfaces). You should also properly store hand sanitizers to keep them out of the reach of children. Limiting the spread of germs through good hand washing practices, especially for the young, is an excellent way to help keep everyone healthy.

For more information on hand hygiene critical care and healthcare settings, visit the CDC website.
For hand washing when disaster strikes, visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/handhygiene.asp.
Limiting the spread of the Flu virus through proper hand washing, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/

Sources:

Hand Washing: Do’s and Don’ts – MayoClinic.com
CDC Features – Wash Your Hands – cdc.gov

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Summary of 2011 Fatal Occupational Injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, preliminary counts show a total of 4,609 fatal work injuries recorded in 2011. This is down from a final count of 4,690 fatal work injuries in 2010.

The preliminary rate of fatal work injury in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, compared to a final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 in 2010.

For the last three years, increases in the preliminary counts have averaged 166 fatalities per year. Final 2011 data will be released in Spring 2013.

Key preliminary findings of the 2011 census are:

  • Overall, 89% of the recorded workplace deaths occurred in private industry with service-producing industries accounting for 51% and goods-producing industries accounting for 38%. Government accounted for 11% of the recorded workplace fatalities
  • Fatal occupational injuries by major event were transportation incidents (41%), violence and other injuries by persons or animals (17%), contact with objects and equipment (15%), falls, slips and trips (14%), exposure to harmful substances and environments (9%) and fires and explosions (3%)
  • Roadway incidents accounted for the greatest number of work-related transportation fatalities. Roadway collisions with other vehicles and pedestrian vehicular incidents accounted for the greatest number of fatalities
  • Transportation and warehousing surpassed construction in having the highest number of fatal injuries in 2011
  • Fatal work injury rates were highest for fishers, logging workers, and aircraft pilots and flight engineers in 2011
  • Fatal work injury rates for workers 45 years of age and older where higher than the overall rate, and the rate for workers 65 years of age and older was more than three times the rate for all workers

To view the complete census visit:
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf
http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm#2011
http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0010.pdf

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics U.S. Department of Labor National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2011 (Preliminary Results)

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Swine Flu Update

Swine influenza, or swine flu, is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza viruses. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, over the last few years there have been numerous human cases reported. Because of the recent transfer of the swine flu to humans, it is important to know what the symptoms are, if you are at risk and how to prevent it.

Swine flu symptoms are very similar to that of a seasonal flu. Symptoms include – fever, coughing, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms will typically start to develop about one to three days after exposure and can continue for up to eight days.

There are many risk factors that that may make you more susceptible to not only getting the swine flu but also recovering from it. The risks factors are very similar to that of a seasonal flu. Children under the age of five years, adults over the age of 65, anyone pregnant, or anyone with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart disease, and weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for more serious complications. Anyone with these risk factors should avoid pigs and pig areas at fairs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends anyone who develops flu like symptoms to notify their doctor immediately of their symptoms and any possible exposure to pigs.

As it is important to be aware of the risk factors associated with the swine flu, it is equally important to be aware of how to prevent it. First and foremost, the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine. There are several strains of the swine flu – H1N1 virus, H3N2 virus, and H1N2 virus. Research is done to determine which three flu viruses will be most prevalent and then the yearly vaccines are made accordingly. Other routine preventative steps include:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Washing your hands often
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick
  • Avoid contact with sick animals
  • If you are experiencing flulike symptoms, stay home and limit your contact with others

Although the swine flu is most prevalent in pigs, it can be transferred to humans and cause symptoms very similar to that of a seasonal flu. It can cause serious complication for higher risk patients so it is important to be aware of your risks and know how to help prevent the spread of the swine flu.

Source:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Top Ten Most Cited Violations for Fiscal Year 2012

The National Safety Council Congress and Expo was the venue for the presentation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) preliminary top 10 most frequently cited safety violations for fiscal year 2012 (October 2011 to September 2012).

Top 10 Cited Violations for 2012

  • Fall Protection (1926.501)
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  • Scaffolding (1926.451)
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  • Ladders (1926.1053)
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  • Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
  • Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  • Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303)

Even though this is a preliminary list (not all violations have been added to OSHA’s reporting system) the final list order is not expected to change.

The listing continues to paint a familiar picture each year. While some violations may swap rankings, the makeup of the top 10 rarely changes.

Historical Perspective – Fiscal Years 2002 – 2012
Ranked by Number of Violations

VIOLATION FY 2002 FY 2003 FY 2004 FY 2005 FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012
 
Fall Protection 1926.501 3 3 3 3 2 3 2 2 2 2 1
 
Hazard Communication 1910.1200 2 2 2 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 2
 
Scaffolding 1926.451 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3
 
Respiratory Protection 1910.134 4 5 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 4 4
 
Ladders 1910.1053       10 9 8 8 7 5 8 5
 
Machine Guarding 1910.212 7 6 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 10 6
 
Powered Industrial Trucks 1910.178 8 8 8 6 6 6 7 8 8 7 7
 
Electrical, Wiring Methods 1910.305 6 7 6 7 7 7 6 6 7 6 8
 
Lockout/Tagout 1910.147 5 4 4 5 5 5 4 5 6 5 9
 
Electrical, General Requirements 1910.303 9 10 9 9 10 10 10 9 9 9 10

 

FY 2002 Number 10: Mechanical Power- Transmission Apparatus 1910.219
FY 2003 Number 9: Bloodborne Pathogens 1910.1030
FY 2004 Number 10: Mechanical Power- Transmission Apparatus 1910.219

Source:

www.osha.gov

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Winter Wonderland?

Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’? In the lane, snow is glistening…

Winter is upon us and for most of the U.S. this means the onslaught of cold-weather storms. Winter storms are a result of a combination of cold air, moisture and lift. Lift is something that raises the moist air to form clouds and ultimately to buildup precipitation. An example of lift is warm air colliding with cold air coming across a front. This collision of air temperature extremes causes lift and the buildup of moisture.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), winter storms are deceptive killers. Statistics show that 70% of winter weather related deaths are from automobile accidents in snowy and icy conditions and 25% are related to the effects of hypothermia.

Each season the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NWS do their best to keep us informed of potential oncoming winter storms. Being able to understand winter weather terms can help us prepare should it be necessary to travel or work in the frigid weather.

Flurries

Light snow falling for a short duration, little to no accumulation or a light dusting of snow is expected.

Snow Showers

Snow falling at various intensities for brief periods of time, some accumulation is possible.

SquallsSqualls

Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulations of snow can be significant. These are best known in the Great Lakes region.

Blowing SnowBlowing Snow

Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes snow drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or snow that has accumulated on the ground and picked up by gusty winds.

Blizzard

Winds over 35 miles per hour (mph) with snow and blowing snow reducing visibility to near zero.

Sleet

Rain drops that have frozen into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when it hits a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow.

Freezing rain

Rain that falls to surfaces that have a below freezing temperature, causing the rain to freeze to the surfaces. The result is a coating or glaze of ice.

Staying ahead of winter storms by paying attention to the NWS announcements is one of the most reliable ways to help stay safe during winter weather emergencies.

If you are caught in a winter storm, try to find shelter, try to stay dry and be sure to cover any exposed parts of the body. If shelter is not available, prepare a lean-to or wind break to protect yourself from the wind. If you are able, build a fire for heat and to attract attention for search parties. If possible rocks should be placed around the fire to reflect and absorb heat.

If you are trapped in your vehicle, stay in the vehicle. Unless you can visually see assistance within 100 yards, do not stray away from your vehicle as disorientation can occur in snow storms and extreme cold. Run the vehicle motor for 10 minutes each hour to maintain heat. Be sure to open your window to allow some air circulation and limit any possible build-up of carbon monoxide. If there is snow accumulation, clear any that may be close to the exhaust pipe of the vehicle. Increase your visibility to any search and rescue by turning on the dome light (at night), tie a colored cloth to your antenna or door side mirror or if snow has stopped falling, raise your car hood.

If you must travel or work outside in a winter storm be aware of the dangers. Knowing what to expect, how to prepare and what to do in the event of a winter storm, can be a matter of life and death.

Sources:

National Safety Council:
http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/SafetyObservances/Documents/Winter%20Safety/WinterYourVehicleandYou.pdf National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/wntrstm.htm

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Worth Noting

TEXTING: Studies show that drivers who send or receive text messages focus their attention away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55-miles per hour, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded! OSHA has joined with the DOT, other Labor Department agencies and key associations/organizations to stop the dangerous practice of texting while driving. OSHA’s updated Distracted Driving brochure explains the dangers of texting while driving on the job and makes recommendations about what employers can do to keep workers safe. To order the brochure visit OSHA’s Publication Page.

WATERWAYS: The EPA has launched a new mobile app and website to help people find information on the condition of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams across the U. S. from their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. The How’s My Waterway app and website uses GPS technology or a user-entered zip code or city name to provide information about the quality of local water bodies.

GRANTS: OSHA recently awarded approximately $10.7 million in grants to 72 nonprofit organizations through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The focus of this grant program is to provide training and education for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces, and to inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the OSH Act. Target audiences include small businesses, underserved, low-literacy, and workers in high-hazard industries. Since 1978, more than 1.8 million workers have been trained through this program.

BLACK LUNG: Since its creation, NIOSH has been responsible for administering a program that provides underground coal miners with medical monitoring for “black lung”. Recently, the CDC’s Specifications for Medical Examinations of Underground Coal Miners final rule was issued. It supplements and updates the existing requirements for film-screen x-rays by establishing standards for digital chest imaging.

EDUCATION CENTERS: OSHA has announced the addition of four new OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers and the renewal of 24 existing OTI Education Centers to meet the demand for and deliver life-saving training to our country's employers and workers. Current OTI Education Centers offer training courses on OSHA standards and occupational safety and health issues. The new OTI Education Centers will provide additional outlets for safety and health training to workers and employers throughout the country.

ARSENIC: As part of an ongoing and proactive effort to monitor food safety and address contaminants in food, the FDA has released preliminary data on arsenic levels in certain rice and rice products. The FDA is in the process of collecting and analyzing a total of approximately 1,200 samples. This data collection will be completed by the end of 2012. Once the data collection is completed, FDA will analyze these results and determine whether or not to issue additional recommendations.

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Safety Calendar - Upcoming Events

March 17 – 21, 2013
PITTCON
Philadelphia, PA
(412) 825-3220
www.pittcon.org


On the Job Webinar Series

Upcoming Webinars

DECEMBER – Safety: Spill and Secondary Containment

Spills and Skills!

Accidents happen. Spills occur despite the best work procedures and practices. Required absorption materials, neutralizers and containment products differ based upon the spilled material. Responders may require different levels of training

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Please join us for our December On the Job Webinar Series® Spills and Skills – December 19, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. CT. Spill absorption materials, neutralizers and containment products will be discussed. OSHA’s spill response roles will be defined. Secondary containment requirements will be detailed.

Help protect your employees and facilities. Have the proper spill response materials on hand and ensure that each responder is properly trained. Register Now

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