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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com

July 20, 2011

July: Top News This Month

  • OSHA chief says to expect Globally Harmonized System for chemicals next month
  • EPA proposes hazardous waste recycling changes
  • New study identifies ladder safety best practices
  • NTSB announces Top 10 areas of focus for coming year
  • OSHA proposes more injury recordkeeping changes

July Welcome

July is a great time for picnics, family reunions, vacations and all the other summertime activities. But all the fun times can distract some workers from thinking about workplace safety - which could ruin their summer and yours.
 
This month's Connection addresses workplace hazards from ladders and high temperatures to chemicals, needlesticks and more. I hope you'll share some of this information to help keep your employees safe and smiling through the summer.

Have a safe month
Paul Sandefer, President

July Customer Comments

Here's what our customers are saying about this month:

You can find the signs you need, that no one else carries. And the custom sign process is extremely pain-free.
Donald T., Ohio

A one-stop shop for all signs.  No need to shop around.
Derek R., Menna Development & Management, Clearwater, Florida

In looking for AED location signs for our church, Compliance Signs was the only company I could find on the Internet to meet all our needs.
Cathy F., North Carolina

EPA Proposes New Safeguards for Hazardous Waste Recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new safeguards for recycling hazardous materials, modifying its 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule.

Under the proposal:
  • Facilities that recycle on site or within the same company would be subject to enhanced storage and recordkeeping requirements, as compared to the current rule.
  • Companies that send hazardous materials off site for recycling would have tailored storage standards and be required to send materials to a permitted hazardous waste recycling facility.
  • All forms of hazardous waste recycling would be required to meet regulations designed to ensure materials are legitimately recycled and not being disposed of illegally.
EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

What's New at ComplianceSigns.com -July 2011

You'll find more than 1,400 new signs and labels at ComplianceSigns.com, and many more new and updated products are on the way. Highlights of these recent additions include:

160+ new Parking Signs with a variety of messages, including reserved parking, bus loading zone, student drop off, parking lot markings and more. Browse parking signs.

E15 ethanol labels and Ultra-Low Sulfur Fuel signs and strip labels to identify specific fuel applications. See them here.

Designated No Smoking Area signs and labels with directional arrows to identify non-smoking areas and policies. Includes clear labels with front or back adhesive for doors and windows. See them here.

We've also added Spanish and English / Spanish bilingual versions of hundreds of signs, including: IN / OUT door signs and stickers; Trash / Dumpster & Waste Management; Truck Safety; Area of Refuge; Employees Only; Hydraulic Vehicle Lift and more. These signs make your safety messages clear to your Spanish-speaking employees and visitors.

Watch for Food Safety, Kitchen and Restaurant signs later this month.

Get Ready for Chemical GHS - in August?

OSHA will issue the globally harmonized system (GHS) for classification and labeling of chemicals next month, according to remarks made in May by OSHA head Dr. David Michaels at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo. Although there's no information about a GHS implementation date on the OSHA web site today, there are several resources that explain the system and how it differs from current labeling standards.

The GHS provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards and specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety data sheets. Under the GHS, labels would include signal words, pictograms, and hazard and precautionary statements and safety data sheets would have standardized format.

It is anticipated that all existing hazard communication systems will need to be changed in order to apply the GHS. For example, in the U.S. EPA and OSHA would be expected to require hazard pictograms/symbols on labels.

The need for GHS labels and/or Safety Data Sheets is expected to vary by product category or stage in the chemical's life cycle from research/production to end use. For example, pharmaceuticals, food additives, cosmetics and pesticide residues in food will not be covered by the GHS at the point of consumption, but will be covered where workers may be exposed (workplaces), and in transport.

The exact requirements for labels and Safety Data Sheets will continue to be defined in national regulations. Expect to hear more on this in the weeks ahead. 

OSHA Proposes Injury / Illness Recordkeeping Changes

OSHA has proposed changes that would require employers to report any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours. Reporting amputations is not required under the current regulation.

OSHA also proposes changes to the list of industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs. You can learn more with updated resources at the OSHA website (links below).

NTSB Announces "Most Wanted List" for Transportation Safety

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a new list highlighting the top 10 safety issues impacting transportation safety nationwide. To combat these safety risks, the NTSB will focus its efforts on these top 10 issues in the next year:
  1. Pilot and air traffic controller professionalism
  2. Human fatigue
  3. Teen driving safety
  4. General aviation safety
  5. Motorcycle safety
  6. Required safety management systems
  7. Runway safety
  8. Alcohol-impaired driving
  9. Bus occupant safety
  10. Image and onboard data recorders

Study of Workplace Ladder Falls Offers Safety Insights

A survey of U.S. workers injured by falls from ladders identifies common activities that often lead to injuries - and offers areas to target for fall prevention.

In a study of 306 injured workers who were treated in emergency rooms, 51% of falls occurred when using step or trestle ladders, 40% when using extension or straight ladders, and 9% while using other ladder types (rolling, etc.). The workers were primarily from construction, installation, maintenance and repair professions. Fifty-percent of the workers had <3 years of job experience; however 31% had >10 years.

At the time of their fall, 51% of workers were standing or sitting while performing work directly from the ladder- most often installing, hanging an item or performing a repair. Another 28% were climbing down the ladder, while 11% were climbing up. Ladder movement was the most reported cause of falls (40%), but lost balance and foot slips / missed rungs were also common. Environmental conditions played a role in <10% of cases.

Injuries were most frequently to the arm, elbow or shoulder,followed by the head, neck or face. Diagnoses were primarily fractures, strains, sprains, bruises or abrasions. Ladder falls comprise 16% of all US workplace fall-related fatalities.

The survey findings suggest some good targets for safety intervention:
  • Tasks involving less than three points of contact with the ladder
  • Proper ladder set-up, such as anchoring or tying off the top of the ladder
  • Sitting or facing away from the ladder rungs/steps
  • Descending from the working position
Best practices for ladder users include:
  • Using three points of contact at all times on the ladder
  • Pausing for several seconds with the head in a neutral position before descending, to help restore balance
  • Looking at the next lower step/rung before moving the foot that will be placed on it
  • Facing the ladder at all times and keeping the body within the side rails
  • Following manufacturer recommendations on maximum working height
The study is available online from the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.

Article Explores Hazards, Risks of Chemicals and More

If you're responsible for managing chemicals or other hazardous materials, you'll be interested in an informative article titled simply "What is Hazardous?" that appears in the July issue of Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

The article identifies and explains the six primary hazard categories, then goes on to discuss the delicate relationship between hazard and risk. It also discusses public health hazard categories and begins a discussion of risk management.

Author David C. Breeding, CSP, CET, CHMM, addresses the conundrum surrounding hazardous materials this way: "A material of relatively low hazard can present substantial risk, while a material with a high hazard might present no measurable risk in certain circumstances."

Safety professionals commonly define hazards as anything with the potential to cause harm, while risk is the probability of a negative outcome from exposure to a hazard. These definitions are easily applied to many workplace situations, from extension cord use to machine guards.

Substances are defined as hazardous if they have one or more of the following characteristics: flammable, corrosive, toxic, or reactive. Additionally, substances are defined as hazardous if they are specifically listed by regulation. For example, OSHA, EPA, and DOT publish lists of materials deemed hazardous.

The article is good reading for anyone who works with chemicals or other "hazardous" materials.

July News and Notes

EPA Sets E15 Ethanol Rules, Requires Pump Labels
On June 23, the EPA finalized regulations to prohibit use of gasoline containing greater than 10% ethanol in vehicles, engines and equipment that cannot use E15.The regulations require all E15 fuel pumps  to have a label that informs consumers about what vehicles and equipment can, and cannot, use E15. These requirements will help ensure that E15 is properly labeled and used once it enters the market. Learn more about the new rules here, or order labels that meet the new requirement here, or browse fuel signs and labels here.
 
 
STOP STICKS Campaign Targets Sharps-Related Workplace Injuries
NIOSH has developed the STOP STICKS campaign of community-based information and education to raise awareness about the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries in the workplace.  A  campaign user's guide and resources are available at the CDC website.

Campaign materials were developed mainly with operating room and emergency department audiences, but target audiences include clinical and nonclinical health care workers and health care administrators in hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, and home health care agencies. Learn more here.


California OSHA Steps Up Heat Illness Enforcement;  OSHA Offers Heat Resources
California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) has increased enforcement of heat illness prevention requirements at outdoor worksites across the state. After an initial push in mid-June, Cal-OSHA officials continued efforts as temperatures climbed to triple digits, finding violations of the heat standard across the state and shutting down one farming operation.

Cal-OSHA vows continued enforcement efforts, and OSHA has developed a nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. A new section of the OSHA website gives information about heat illnesses and how to prevent them. There are also training tools for employers to use and posters to display at worksites. Many of the new resources target workers with limited reading skills or those who do not speak English as a first language. OSHA will continue to add information and tools to this page throughout the summer.

SAFETY TIP: Basic Chemical Handling

Many chemicals have great potential to do great harm. Use these basic tips as a starting point to ensure safe chemical handling:
    1. Read the label. If you need more information, check the MSDS. 
    2. Dress the part. Wear proper protective clothing and equipment as required.
    3. Follow directions. If the label says, "use only with adequate ventilation," make sure you do.Never mix chemicals unless you've been trained and authorized.
    4. Know emergency procedures. Be familiar with first aid procedures, emergency eye wash showers and posted emergency phone numbers.
    5. Be careful. Don't work alone, don't hurry or take shortcuts.
    6. Report any suspected problems. Report any equipment that malfunctions or needs repair, as well as anything unusual about the chemicals.
    7. Keep your work area neat, clean and organized.
    8. Store everything properly. Close containers tightly. Keep flammables in a safe area.

Five Steps to Safer Scaffolding

OSHA reports that nearly two out of three construction workers frequently perform at least part of their work on scaffolding. Although they may not think of scaffolds as dangerous places, roughly 4,500 workers are injured each year in scaffold-related incidents, and as many as 50 die. As with so many other aspects of safety, being aware of the hazards and following proper procedures to minimize risks will eliminate much of the potential for problems and injuries. The safety experts at Safety Management Group have prepared an article on scaffold safety. Read it here or browse ladder / scaffold safety signs here.

MENU FOCUS: Truck / Aircraft / Vehicle Tab

We added hundreds of vehicle-related signs in recent weeks, and now we've updated our menu tab to make them all easy to find. Start at the Truck / Aircraft / Vehicle tab near the right side of the menu bar and you'll have fast and easy access to:

Truck Operation & Safety: This page features DOT labels and placards, Mirror/Reversed signs to view in mirrors, Frequent Stops, Large Truck signs, oversize load banners, How's My Driving and We Hire Safe Drivers, Truck Operation, Wide Turns & Tailgating and Seat Belt and Smoking reminders.

Vehicle Safety: This is the place to find signs and labels that aren't just for tractor-trailers, including: Student Driver signs and bumper stickers, Frequent Stops, Lift Safety, Motorcycle Safety, General Operation, how's My Driving, Cell Phone / Texting and more. 

Material Handling
: On this page you'll find links to hundreds of signs related to cargo, equipment and shipping / receiving, including: Forklifts, DOT, DoD Fire Division, Chemical Hazmat, Hazardous Waste, Shipping & Receiving, Truck Operation, Lift Operation and more.

Aircraft Safety: This page includes a variety of signs for aircraft safety topics including Aircraft Hazardous Material Notices, DOT, Shipping & Receiving, Forklifts, Lift Safety and Safety Tape.

Top 5 Links Last Month

These were the most popular articles / links in the June Connection:
  1. NIOSH Publication on How to Develop an Effective Lockout / Tagout Program
  2. Fall Protection Signs and Labels at ComplianceSigns.com
  3. OSHA Residential Fall Protection Page and Fall Protection Slide Show
  4. OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor Online Tool
  5. New Safety Tags Page at ComplianceSigns.com