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.

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