A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

May 19, 2015

May Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of recent workplace safety news and resources from around the web:

Free Materials for National Safety Month in June national safety month logo  

Join the National Safety Council in raising safety awareness during National Safety Month in June. The annual event seeks to reduce leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities. This year focuses on prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, ergonomics, emergency preparedness and slips, trips and falls. Sign up at to receive free posters, checklists and English or Spanish fact sheets for your workplace. Register for materials here.

 NIOSH Calls New ANSI Nail Gun Standard Insufficient

In a recent blog post, NIOSH takes exception to the new ANSI nail gun standard, saying "... the revised ANSI standard does not reflect current scientific research evidence and is therefore not sufficiently protective of workers." NIOSH participated in the consensus process used to revise the standard, and recommended changes consistent with current scientific research about nail gun safety risks, and interventions to reduce them. Those changes were not included in the ANSI standard, so NIOSH is now encouraging employers and workers to rely on NIOSH nail gun publications for the most protective recommendations concerning nail gun safety. Read more here.

Updated OSHA Heat App Helps Workers Avoid Heat Stress

The updated OSHA Heat Safety Tool is an app that calculates the heat index for and displays a risk level to outdoor workers. It also offers reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. It's available for iOS and Android in English and Spanish. Learn more here

Study Shows Firefighters Have Increased Cancer Risk

A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examined firefighters in the statewide California Cancer Registry and found that firefighters had increased risks for several major cancers. Of the 32 cancers assessed, the risks of 14 cancers were significantly elevated in one or more firefighter groups. Data from 1988-2007 showed firefighters had increased risks for cancers including melanoma, acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma and cancers of the esophagus, prostate, brain, and kidney. Learn more here.

Free Toolkit to Help Protect Hospital Workers from Transmissible Diseases

OSHA and NIOSH have released a Hospital Respiratory Protection Toolkit for health care employers. The kit covers respirator use, existing public health guidance on respirator use during exposure to infectious diseases, hazard assessment, the development of a hospital respiratory protection program, and additional resources and references on hospital respiratory protection programs. Respirators are used to protect against exposures to airborne transmissible infectious diseases as well as chemicals and certain drugs that may be used in healthcare settings.  OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard requires that health care employers establish and maintain a respiratory protection program in workplaces where workers may be exposed to respiratory hazards. Download the kit here (pdf). Find more resources on OSHA's Worker Safety in Hospitals page.

OSHA Examines Cost Workers Pay for Injuries

OSHA’s report, Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job, examines the toll of work-related injuries and illnesses on workers, their families and the U.S. economy. OSHA research shows the costs of workplace injuries are borne primarily by injured workers, their families and public-funded programs - not employers. Changes in state-based workers’ compensation insurance programs have made it increasingly difficult for injured workers to receive full benefits. Workers typically bear 50 percent of injury costs, compared to just 21 percent borne by Workers' Compensation. Download the report here (pdf).

New NIOSH Report Recommends Ban on Tobacco and E-cigarettes in All Workplaces

The new recommendations build on previous recommendations regarding tobacco use in the workplace, and include public review and comment on an earlier draft document. The report is the first NIOSH guidance to include recommendations on e-cigarettes. Because of the limited data available on the safety of exposure to e-cigarette emissions, NIOSH recommends these products be included in indoor smoking bans. NIOSH also recommends that employers incorporate tobacco cessation support programs into a more comprehensive approach that addresses the overall safety, health, and well-being of workers. Read more.

Free Publications Address Fall Protection in Roofing and Construction

Fall protection was the most frequently cited OSHA standard during fiscal year 2014. With this in mind, the agency has developed two publications to help construction workers avoid falls from roofs:
  • Protecting Roofing Workers provides information about personal fall arrest systems, worker rescues, using fall-restraint and guardrail systems, ladders, scaffolding, lifts and emergency action plans.
  • Fall Protection in Construction includes information about Subpart M, which has criteria for fall protection in construction work. It also gives examples of fall protection requirements in construction, specifically in the areas of leading edges, low-slope roofs, steep roofs and overhand bricklaying.

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