A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

January 26, 2010

January News & Notes

New Symbol Required for Florida Structures with Light-frame Truss Construction.
A new rule added to the Florida Fire Prevention Code now requires placement of an approved identifying symbol on structures constructed with light-frame trusses to warn emergency personnel that such trusses are in use. Rule 69A-60.0081 applies to commercial, industrial or multi-unit residential structures of three units or more that use horizontal or vertical light-frame truss-type construction in any portion. Browse and order approved symbols for roof, floor or roof-and-floor truss construction at

NIOSH Announces New Office of Construction Safety and Health. The construction industry employs about 8% of U.S. workers, but accounts for 22% of workplace fatalities - the largest number reported for any industry sector. In December, NIOSH announced its new Office of Construction Safety and Health to address the special problems in construction and ensure coordination of construction safety and health research. Construction is one of eight sectors NIOSH is targeting via the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).

Flu Cases Fluctuating. The Centers for Disease Control reports influenza-like illness increased significantly throughout the country during the holiday season after steadily declining in November and early December. However, overall flu activity decreased slightly during the first week of January, as reported in FluView. Flu activity is expected to continue for several more months, and the CDC urges businesses to review pandemic response plans and prepare for the possibility of higher-than-normal absenteeism.

Texting While Driving is now Banned in Illinois. The state joins 18 others and the District of Columbia in banning drivers from text messaging while driving. The law prohobits drivers from sending or reading text messages and e-mails while driving. It is also illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving through a construction zone or school speed zone. Keep current on state texting laws and state hand-held cell phone bans with interactive maps available at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) recently launched the Z790 Standards Initiative to develop the "Prevention Through Design (PTD): Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes" standard. ASSE says approximately 40% of work-related fatalities are design related. PTD (or safety through design) integrates hazard analysis and risk assessment methods early in the design and engineering stages, taking action to eliminate or reduce work-related hazards by designing them out of the project. PTD can be applied to facilities, materials and equipment during construction, manufacture, use, maintenance and disposal/demolition. Read more here.

Top Nine Topics of '09

Here's a recap and links to the top nine Compliance Signs Connection topics of 2009, determined by what readers clicked on the most.

1. OSHA. From the
Top 10 Documents You'll Need When OSHA Arrives to a Hazard Assessment and PPE Needs Guide to the Top 10 Safety Violations of 2009, OSHA was the hottest topic for Connection readers, although it was just ahead of topic #2.

2. H1N1. No surprise here, because the H1N1 pandemic touched every state. And it's not done yet! The most popular articles included
How to Prepare for Swine Flu in Your Workplace, the Chamber of Commerce H1N1 Flu Guide and our survey of H1N1 in Your Workplace.

3. ComplianceSigns products were also popular choices, including our new
Sign Posts and Mounting Hardware, Fire Exit Signs and State No Smoking Signs.

4. Safety Management Group articles about
Effective Emergency Action Plans, Winter Worksite Dangers and Strategies that Set the Tone for Safety.

5. Winter Safety Information including a feature article on
Winter Workplace Safety and Tips to Prevent Cold-Related Injuries.

6. NFPA information of all kinds was popular, including
Understanding the NFPA Diamond and our easy-to-use Custom NFPA Sign Generator.

7. Cell Phones were featured in the December issue:
Cell Phone Safety Makes Good $ense, as well as the NSC Cell Phone Policy Kit.

8. ANSI/OSHA topics. Our
FAQ: OSHA or ANSI? received a lot of interest, as did our Understanding ANSI/ASME Pipe Marking Standards and Help Me Choose page.

9. DOT information rounds out our "Top Nine of '09" popular links, including
New DOT Guide: What You Should Know About Developing a Hazmat Training Program and Rules to Enhance Pipeline Safety.

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Will Ergonomic Regulations Make a Comeback?

OSHA recently announced its intent to reinstate the "musculoskeletal disorder" column on its Injury and Illness 300 Log. The agency is also developing a proposed rule to add a definition of musculoskeletal disorders to the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Notice of the proposed rule-making and opportunity for public comment is expected this month.

Some labor experts say this is one of several signs that employers will face more regulation related to ergonomics. Under the proposal, OSHA would restore the column employers use when recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). OSHA says the MSD data will help about 750,000 employers and 40 million workers track injuries at individual workplaces, and improve occupational injury and illness information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The MSD column was removed from the OSHA 300 Log in 2003.

Ergonomic-related regulations were implemented in 2000, but were revoked in 2001 and the Ergonomics Standard was repealed in 2001. Since then, OSHA has evaluated ergonomic issues by using the General Duty Clause of the Act. According to the labor law publication Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives, "It does not appear that the new regulations will fully reinstate all the provisions that were repealed in 2001, particularly the recordkeeping provisions, which if fully reinstated likely would be challenged in court."

When asked if the proposal is a prelude to a broader ergonomics regulation, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said, "We are simply putting the MSD column back on the OSHA log as was originally intended in the 2001 issuance of OSHA's recordkeeping standard. MSDs continue to be a major problem for American workers, but at this time, OSHA has no plans for regulatory activity."

Despite this statement, Hunton & Williams says it doesn't mean ergonomics is not on the agenda for the Department of Labor. "Several officials within OSHA have made statements suggesting that new regulations may be coming," they state, noting that new OSHA head David Michaels has spoken in favor of new ergonomic standards.

Watch for more details in future issues, or read more now with these links:
OSHA announcement on regulatory priorities
- Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives ergonomics article

Ergonomics Can Fix Hidden Hazards in the Workplace


According to the 2008 Workplace Safety Index, overexertion was by far the single-biggest cause of disabling workplace injuries, accounting for more than a quarter of all injuries that caused employees to miss six or more days of work. Yet many people responsible for jobsite safety don't give it as much thought or attention as they should. This article from the experts at Safety Management Group explains the problem and gives tips that can help reduce injuries in your workplace.

NIOSH Launches Respirator Information Page

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently launched a web page with information that can be used to verify which respirators are approved by NIOSH, how to get them and how to use them. The new page addresses three key areas:

NIOSH-Approved Respirators - What are they, how can they be identified and where to get them

Use of NIOSH Respirators

Ancillary Respirator Information - Questions and answers (Fact Sheets), respirator myths, the science of respirator function and performance, and respiratory protective devices not approved by NIOSH.

For more information:

- Visit the Respirator Trusted-Source Information page.
Visit the NIOSH respirator topics page.
Browse respirator safety signs at

Safety Tip: Fall Protection

Falls are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. Here are some fall protection tips from OSHA:
 Identify all potential tripping and fall hazards before work starts.
Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights, stairwells and roof openings/edges.
Inspect fall protection equipment for defects before use
Select, wear and use fall protection equipment appropriate for the task.
Secure and stabilize all ladders before climbing them.
Never stand on the top rung/step of a ladder.
Use handrails when you go up or down stairs.
Practice good housekeeping: Keep cords, welding leads and air hoses out of walkways or adjacent work areas.

Fall protection and ladder/scaffold safety signs can help workers remember these important tips.

New OSHA Boss Outlines Top Priorities

"OSHA has been fortunate in 2010 to receive a substantial budget increase - enough to significantly increase the number of inspectors we can put into the field. But there's only so much a dedicated inspector can do when many of our standards are out of date," says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels.
Here are the priorities he outlined for the agency at the NIOSH Going Green Workshop in mid December, just days after taking over the top spot at OSHA.
1. Ensure workers are engaged in the work process. It's clear that we must move toward a permanent system where employers and workers come together, on a basis of mutual respect, to assess and abate hazards. I've long advocated that every employer establish a Comprehensive Workplace Safety and Health Program that features management leadership, worker participation, and structure that fosters continual improvement.
2. Improve chemical safety. OSHA currently regulates about 500 chemicals, based mostly on science from the 1950s and 1960s. And OSHA has issued just two chemical standards in the past 12 years. The European Community's REACH program will provide American industry and workers with more and better information about the chemicals they are exposed to. The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals will also contribute consistency, efficiency and additional information.
3. Integrate prevention through design. This is about fundamental change that integrates safety efficiently and thoroughly. Prevention through design asks: Why should we go back and expend time and resources retrofitting hazardous industries to make them safer when we have the ability and the opportunity to begin fresh and make work safe from start to finish?
4. Aggressively pursue rulemaking for urgently needed standards.
This will require input from scientists, engineers, academics, students and workers, as well as business allies who will say "yes" to sensible changes and participate in the rulemaking process with constructive comments and insight.
5. Enhance workers' voice in the workplace. Workers must have much better information about their rights, the hazards they face and controls for those hazards.
Read Dr. Michael's full comments here or browse our huge selection of OSHA safety signs here.

In The January Issue

Happy New Year!

I send a big "Thank You" for helping make 2009 the best year yet for We've enjoyed serving you, listening to you and responding to your needs. I'm truly proud of our 99% customer satisfaction rating and all the changes we've made this year to better meet your needs - including our new, greener packaging that our great customers suggested.

We look forward to serving you in 2010, and hope you have a great year. Here's what you'll find in this month's newsletter:

Top priorities for OSHA in 2010
News and opinions on new ergonomic regulations
Helpful NIOSH respirator information A recap of our top nine stories of 2009

Keep those suggestions coming!Paul Sandefer, President