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Thinking Safety July 2012 eNewsletter

Thinking Safety eNewsletter

Thinking Safety Monthly eNewsletter

Keep Your Employees Healthy

July 2012  |  Issue #4

Safety FAQ

QWhat does the CDC recommend to use for tick repellent? A The CDC recommends that consumers use repellents that contain 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on the exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should not let their children apply the product on themselves and should avoid the hands, eyes, and mouth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workplace health programs can greatly benefit not only employees, but the entire company. They can lower direct costs such as insurance premiums and worker's compensation claims, but also lower indirect costs such as productivity and absenteeism.

The CDC states that workers in America today spend more than one-third of their day on the job, giving employers a way to promote the health and safety of their employees. The use of effective workplace programs and policies can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for the 138 million workers in the United States.

Workplace Health Programs Can Include:

  • Health education classes
  • Access to local fitness facilities
  • Company policies that promote healthy behaviors such as a tobacco-free campus policy
  • Employee health insurance coverage for preventative screenings
  • A healthy work environment created through actions such as making healthy foods available and accessible through vending machines or cafeterias
  • A work environment free of recognized health and safety threats with a means to identify and address new problems

If your company doesn't already have a health program in place, the CDC suggests these four steps to building a program:

  • Assessment – Define the risks and concerns of employee health and describe current health promotion activities and areas for improvement
  • Planning – Develop the components of your program which includes setting goals, prioritizing them, and then developing the infrastructure to support those goals
  • Implementation – Involves all the steps needed to put health promotion strategies into place and making them available to employees
  • Evaluation – Researching the merit, worth, and significance of all health promotion action/activity

The CDC Workplace Health Model can be a tool to help you design your workplace health program.

View Grainger Quick Tips No. 114 to get more information about safety incentive programs which, in addition to having a workplace health program, can help reduce workplace injury and illness costs.

Grainger offers a variety of safety-related incentive products as well.

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Ask a Certified Safety Professional

Ask a CSP   by Wes Maertz, CSP

Technical Support Specialist
Certified Safety Professional
B.S.E. in Occupational Safety
14 years at Grainger

Question: Are physicians the only medical professionals allowed to perform medical evaluations for respirator use? (FR p.1211)

Answer: No. A variety of health care professionals may do this depending on the scope of practice permitted by the state's licensing, registration, or certification agencies. Each employer must check with the state licensing agency to see if other health care professionals under their state law can independently perform this evaluation, or must do so under the direction of a licensed physician. See attachment 3 of this OSHA document titled "Q & A on the respiratory protection standard". It references all the State Licensing Boards in the United States, to assist in determining compliance with this provision.

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Hazard Communication Challenges

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published the final rule for aligning hazard communication standard to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) in March of this year. Since the final rule, several petitions have been filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals. The petitioners are asking for a review of OSHA's final rule revising the current hazard communication standard to align with GHS.

There are at least four groups filing appeals including: The American Petroleum Institute, the American Tort Reform Association, CropLife America, as well as a combined group of industries including the American Chemistry Council.

The details on the appeals will not be available until the initial complaints are filed with the court.

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Foodborne Illnesses

Summer is the season for feasting in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, eating under the sun can culminate in a variety of food-related concerns if precautions are not taken to help ensure the safety of the food sitting outdoors. Why are foodborne illnesses more common in the summertime and what can be done to reduce the risk?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), summer is the peak season for foodborne illnesses. During this time of year, food bacteria can grow more rapidly, and taking perishable food from a controlled kitchen environment (thermostatic-controlled cooking, refrigeration and washing facilities) to the outdoors can be dangerous.

Here are some simple rules to follow to help prevent foodborne illness:

  • Pack your cooler full and distribute ice evenly. A full cooler stays cold longer. Don't keep the cooler in a vehicle trunk. Keep the cooler in the shade and avoid repeated openings.
  • Pack beverages in a separate cooler from the food. The beverage cooler is usually opened more frequently.
  • Thaw frozen meat and fish intended for cooking on the grill overnight in the refrigerator. Wrap raw meat and fish tightly to keep juices from contaminating other foods in your cooler.
  • Pack perishable foods in small containers for more thorough chilling.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before packing.
  • Eat deli foods within hours of purchase, or buy them the day before and chill thoroughly overnight.
  • Cook meats and fish thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to confirm a safe cooking temperature.
  • Place grilled foods on a clean plate. Never place cooked food on a platter or work surface that contained raw food.
  • Don't leave foods with meat, eggs or dairy ingredients sitting out–these spoil easily.
  • Don't allow other food to sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90º or higher) reduce that time to an hour.
  • Keep utensils and food covered. Insects can carry salmonella and other germs.
  • Bring along sanitizing hand wipes, antibacterial gel or a bottle filled with soapy water to wash your hands before and after handling food.

You can read more on why foodborne illnesses peak in the summer by visiting the USDA website or the Partnership for Food Safety Education's (PFSE) resource page.

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Time for Tick Checks

Summer is here along with all its traditional activities like gardening, camping, hiking, and playing outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a tick awareness page that covers the guidelines that help in the awareness of ticks. The feature covers tickborne diseases, prevention, tick checks, and what to do if you find an attached tick. It also covers what you can do in your own yard and what to do to prevent ticks on animals. An important reminder is that this page is not only for the leisure activities of summer, but is it also useful for all who work outdoors. Grainger offers a Tick Removal Kit that may help you with your needs.

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July Webinar: Implementing Global Harmonized System (GHS) into Your Hazcom Program

Did you know the Hazcom program will soon be replaced with GHS? Join Grainger Technical Product Support Specialist, Kelli Baker, for a webinar on Thursday, July 26th at 1 p.m. as she tackles all things GHS related. Topics include background on the new standard, major changes, and key dates to remember.

Register Now!

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Think Safety. Think Grainger.®

Rely on North America's largest distributor of safety products. You'll also find a network of safety resources that help you stay in compliance and help protect employees from hazardous situations. Count on Grainger for lockout tagout, fall protection equipment, confined space products, safety signs, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency response and so much more!

Please Note
The content in this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific compliance questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.

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