A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

September 24, 2009

Chamber of Commerce Posts H1N1 Flu Guide

UPDATE: H1N1 Flu Guide
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just released: It's Not Flu as Usual: An H1N1 Business Preparedness Guide with suggestions on how to keep employees healthy and maintain business operations during the upcoming flu season.

The guide includes a 10-point preparedness checklist and a list of Internet resources on topics like federal guidance for workplace planning, vaccines, antiviral drugs, face masks and respirators.

You can download the guide at

September 16, 2009

Safety Tip: Using a Fire Extinguisher

how to use a fire extinguisher

This article has moved to our new blog.

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2008 Workplace Fatality Data:

Most Injuries Down, Fire and Suicides Up

The Bureau of Labor Standards reports 5,071 fatal work injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2008, down from 5,657 for 2007. Although these results are preliminary, they represent the smallest annual preliminary total since 1992, when the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program began.
Based on preliminary counts, the rate of fatal work injuries for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007. These numbers are no doubt
impacted by the increasing unemployment rate and economic conditions of 2008, especially the downturn in construction.

News and Notes; Safety Humor

News iconNews and Notes

A revision to the OSHA Acetylene Standard replaces outdated references with updated references reflecting current industry practices in the acetylene industry.

The Dept. of Health and Human Services announced late last week that early trial data shows H1N1 influenza vaccines are well tolerated and induce a strong immune response in most healthy grown-ups when administered in a single dose. The World Health Organization reports that in the United States, regional increases in influenza activity are being reported, most notably in the south eastern states.

The CDC is releasing new guidance that employers should take now to decrease the spread of seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu in the workplace and to help maintain business continuity during the 2009-2010 flu season. The guidance includes additional strategies to use if flu conditions become more severe and some new recommendations regarding when a worker who is ill with influenza may return to work.

OSHA just published a final rule revising the personal protective equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring and marine terminals standards. The new rule concerns requirements for eye- and face-protective devices and head and foot protection. The new rule takes effect October 9.

A new International Standard developed by the ISO aims to protect lives and cut costs associated with fires in built environments. ISO 23932:2009, Fire safety engineering - General principles, provides general principles for engineers to assess the level of fire safety for new or existing built environments. The standard reviews how fire safety engineering analyses and assessments should be conducted, and includes links to more specific standards.

Safety Humor

Two workmen were digging a trench when one of them started shouting and jumping around. The other one thought his partner had hit an underground power cable and was being electrocuted, so he followed good safety protocol and used a wood-handled shovel to separate his friend from the electricity. Fortunately, the first worker wasn't being shocked but had panicked when a wasp flew up his pants leg. He didn't get stung... but his partner hit him so hard with the shovel that it dislocated his shoulder.

National Preparedness Month

Are You Ready for National Preparedness Month?
How quickly your company could get back to business after a tornado, fire, flood or terrorist attack often depends on emergency planning done today. Ready Business is a national public service campaign that helps owners and managers of small to medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of such emergencies.

Sponsored by FEMA, Ready Business is intended to raise awareness of the need for emergency planning and motivate business owners to:
  • plan to stay in business
  • talk to employees, and
  • protect their investment

The Ready Business website outlines commonsense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready. It provides practical steps and easy-to-use templates to help you plan for your company's future. These recommendations reflect the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Standard (NFPA 1600) developed by the NFPA and endorsed by the ANSI and the Department of Homeland Security. It also provides useful links to resources providing more detailed business continuity and disaster preparedness information.

Is your business or workplace Ready?
  - Review a Small Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Guide at comparitech.
  - Emergency Exit and Severe Weather signs and labels from can help employees and visitors find their way to safety in a disaster situation.

OSHA Fire Prevention Plans

Are Fire Prevention Plans Required for All Workplaces?
Not necessarily. OSHA standards for facilities using the following flammable materials require fire prevention plans:
   - Ethylene Oxide (1910.1047)
   - Methylenedianiline (1910.1050)
   - 1,3 Butadiene (1910.1051)
All fire prevention plans must:
   - Be available for employee review
   - Include housekeeping procedures for storage and cleanup of flammable materials and flammable waste
   - Address handling and packaging of flammable waste (Recycling of flammable waste such as paper is encouraged)

Fire Prevention Week

October 4-10 is Fire Prevention WeekFire Prevention Week 2009 focuses on burn awareness and prevention. While most public efforts will target children and home safety, burns are a common workplace injury. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports approximately 152 fatalities from fires and explosions in 2008, an increase of 16 percent from 2007.
At home and on the job, communication is key to preventing fire-related injuries. Fire Safety Week is a perfect time to remind employees of fire safety precautions and to review and practice fire safety procedures. Check with your local fire department for activities and information, or visit the NFPA Fire Prevention Week website.

Effective Emergency Action Plans

The Seven Elements of Effective Emergency Action Planning
What should your employees do when a welder's torch sets off a fire in a renovation project? How should workers at a construction site react when the sky takes on the greenish cast that suggests a tornado may be developing? What happens if a noxious chemical is released in an office building?
With an emergency action plan that anticipates and prepares workers for such scenarios, their response will be automatic - and effective. The experts at Safety Management Group have outlined seven steps that provide a solid framework for emergency action planning. Read more here.