This health, safety and environment electronic update comes from Chip
Dawson and the Rochester Business Alliance as a service to member
companies. There are currently 290 names on the list.
Dawson Article Published...Workplace liability: Traps, pitfalls and landmines is a new article from the Dawson keyboard that has been published in the October issue of Industrial Safety and Hygiene News (ISHN). I think you'll find my thoughts there helpful regardless of your work responsibilities. You'll find it here. Let me know if you have any questions or points to add.
Work Stress Doubles Heart Attack Risk...In a Canadian study, recently published in JAMA, people who have suffered a heart attack and return to work in stressful jobs have double the risk of a second heart event as those who return to low stress work. According to the study authors, the numbers of people at risk are huge and workplace stress is often underestimated. For more on the study, go to the Toronto Globe and Mail article by clicking here.
OSHA Issues New Guidance on Slings...A new guide on the selection and use of slings when handling and moving materials was recently issued. The document, Guidance on Safe Sling Use, updates the 1975 standard by including information on synthetic round slings, and newer grade materials being used in alloy steel chain and wire rope slings. Improper selection and use of slings can result in sling failure or load slippage that can lead to injuries or death. Click here for the guide.
Youth Safety Curriculum...NIOSH has developed Youth@Work: Talking Safety, which is a foundation curriculum in occupational safety and health for schools. According to NIOSH, the curriculum is the culmination of many years' work by a consortium of partners dedicated to reducing occupational injuries and illnesses among youth. The curriculum is available here and is meant to be used in a classroom or other group training setting, It has also been customized for each state and Puerto Rico to address state-specific rules and regulations. The entire booklet includes instructions for teachers and a step-by-step guide for presenting the material. A quick review suggests it's an excellent program to take to your local school and to use in your orientation of new youth employees and interns.
Be Red Cross Ready...The Business Roundtable has announced a formal alliance with the American Red Cross to strengthen national preparedness for disasters. This collaboration includes several activities to help the private and nonprofit sectors work together to strengthen the disaster response system, including:
Enhancing corporate and individual employee preparedness efforts by encouraging them to Be Red Cross Ready
Expanding a model program to train employees to serve as Red Cross volunteers during a disaster
According to the head of the Business Roundtable team driving the initiative, business must be prepared to do more when disaster strikes. The initiative makes it clear that company readiness must take an outward look in addition to inner preparations. For details, click here.
Check Fire Extinguisher Corrosion...We've just received a report of a fatality in Indonesia where an operator attempted to activate a gas cartridge dry chemical fire extinguisher. As the individual pulled the trigger, the corroded bottom blew off and the released pressure drove the extinguisher upward, catching the individual under the jaw. This is the reason for monthly visual inspections of fire extinguishers. If corrosion, pitting, rusting is present, the fire extinguisher should be taken out of service and replaced until it can be tested by a competent fire extinguisher service facility. In particular, look for problems with extinguishers stored outdoors, in wet or damp environments, or where corrosive materials are stored or used.
On-line Emergency Planning Tool...Project HOPE has prepared an on-line tool that individuals can use to enter important information about family members, employment, medical issues and other critical facts. Upon completion of the form, the entered data will be combined into a comprehensive emergency management document the individual can then print out and that will provide additional guidance and tips. The amount of data requested is extensive, but for those who have the patience to complete it, it appears that the end document could prove very helpful. To begin, click here.
Lyme Disease Safety and Health Topic Page...A new topic page, located here, provides employers and workers with recommendations for protecting themselves from tick bites. Outdoor workers, particularly those located in the northeastern and north-central states, are at highest risk of exposure to infected ticks. The page outlines symptoms and diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
On-Line Emergency Training...The U. S. Fire Administration has begun a new web-based training system that is open to business and the public as well as first responders. The eight courses available so far are intended for individuals who cannot attend the national academy. While most are specific to the fire service, some may be useful to company emergency responders, site emergency managers and community emergency trainers. For details, click here, click on "new students" and then on "browse courses now".
What's Your Fatality Goal?...According to the New York Times, the government of South Africa has set a goal of reducing mine deaths by 20 percent annually. But roughly 200 of South Africa's 400,000 mine workers died in both 2005 and 2006, and the pace this year so far is about the same. As I write this, 600 of 3600 gold miners are still a mile underground following the collapse of their primary elevator. Isn't it comforting to see what incident rate reduction goals can do? If I'm being too subtle, just skip such goals - they don't work. Instead, set goals to improve safe behaviors and accomplish other positive actions in the name of safety. Reduced incidents will be the natural byproduct of the effort.
Clutter Degrades Productivity...According to a survey by Cableorganizer, 93 percent of business professionals rate their work space as "cluttered" and 30 percent acknowledge that their work space is so cluttered it "hinders productivity." Then there are the 11 percent who embarrassingly confess they can't see their workspace through all the clutter. The survey also shows that cluttered workspaces have negative implications beyond aesthetics. It affects peoples emotional state, causes them to be disorganized and feel incompetent or even "downright depressed. For more information on the study, click here.
Information on Shiftwork Issues...For several free "white papers" on various shift work issues, click here.
OSHA Offers Tips for Computer Users...The agency encourages computer users to:
Place the computer monitor so that the top line of the screen is at or below your eye level.
Alternate the hand with which you operate the pointer/mouse.
Use a wrist rest to maintain straight wrist postures and to minimize contact stress during typing and mousing tasks.
Assure that your chair's backrest conforms to the natural curvature of your spine, and that it provides adequate lumbar support.
OSHA's Computer Workstations e-Tool offers more helpful hints, including visual aids and checklists that employees can use to prevent ergonomic hazards.Click here for more information.
OSHA Seeks Comments on Emergency Response Standard...OSHA published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Sept. 11 Federal Register seeking input from the public to determine what action, if any, the agency should take to further address emergency response and preparedness. Current OSHA standards do not reflect all of the major improvements in safety and health practices that have already been accepted by the emergency response community and incorporated into industry consensus standards. This RFI is intended to gather information about current thinking and practices relating to emergency responders and skilled support employees. Comments are being accepted until Dec. 10, 2007. Refer to the Federal Register notice for information on submitting comments.
Flaws In Emergency Preparedness...In a fascinating series of demonstration projects, the Redefining Readiness project is examining why our national system of emergency readiness is not up to the task of protecting Americans. The project is being conducted by the Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health at The New York Academy of Medicine and is funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Redefining Readiness addresses a fundamental flaw that is undermining efforts in all areas of emergency preparedness. Currently, planners are developing emergency instructions for people to follow without finding out whether it is actually possible for them to do so or whether the instructions are even the most protective action for certain groups of people to take. For more on the project - and for things to consider in your site emergency planning - click here. As you search around, you'll find several booklets you can download and use.
Timberland Recalls Steel-Toe Boots...The Timberland Company is voluntarily recalling Timberland PRO Direct Attach Steel Toe Series boots made in the Dominican Republic and sold nationwide between September 2005 and September 2007. Product testing has demonstrated that the boots may not comply with applicable safety standards for compression and impact resistance. Consumers could suffer impact foot injuries. No injuries have been reported. Click here for more information.
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Lawrence H. "Chip" Dawson Dawson Associates Rochester Business
Alliance Coordinating Consultant for HSE 6 Saddle Ridge Trail Fairport,
NY 14450-9584 (585) 425-1639