January 19, 2010

In This Update
New OSHA Chief Discusses Priorities
Refusing Medical Treatment
OSHA Schedules Hearings on Hazard Communication Standard
Safe Aisle Width for Fork Truck Operations
Hazardous Materials Management Course Offered Locally
Treatment Guidelines for Injuries to Hand, Wrist and Forearm Now Available
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Chip DawsonThis health, safety and environment electronic update comes from Chip Dawson and the Rochester Business Alliance as a service to member organizations.
David MichaelsNew OSHA Chief Discusses Priorities
During December in the first weeks on the job, OSHA Head Dr. David Michaels addressed a NIOSH Conference on Making Green Jobs Safe. In his remarks, he gave some additional insight into what he sees as the priorities for the Agency under his watch. Here are some quotes that you might find interesting.
"Workers should play a central role in safety and health." Reflecting on the long history at OSHA of analyzing things for years before regulations emerge, he said, "We must use our knowledge and skills to identify potential hazards as they emerge. We can't wait years for hazards to be completely characterized...."
Recognizing that OSHA only regulates 500 chemicals of the thousands of pure and mixed chemicals used in the workplace, he said "I have a vision of a greener world where there is full and complete hazard information available for every chemical and every chemical mixture...."
"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. While thousands of responsible employers already operate this way with excellent results, many other employers haven't gotten the message."
"As green industries grow, OSHA will be fully involved in the movement toward Prevention through Design." We'll see how things shake out over the next few months. 
FEMA photoRefusing Medical Treatment 
A question to an on-line discussion forum is one we hear often and bears repeating here. Can an employee injured on the job refuse medical treatment? The answer is a clear and consistent - yes. Here's the logic. Anyone can refuse treatment at any time for any reason (with the very limited exception of a court order). What you can do is require your employee to be examined for fitness for duty, but you cannot force treatment. If you have a situation such as this, the prudent option is to document the refusal of treatment in case the issue comes up later.
OSHA Schedules Hearings on Hazard Communication Standard
OSHA is scheduling informal public hearings on its proposal to revise the Hazard Communication Standard. The agency anticipates receiving several hearing requests. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m., local time, on the following dates: March 2, 2010, in Washington, DC, March 31, 2010, in Pittsburgh, PA; and, April 13, 2010, in Los Angeles, CA. Interested persons who intend to present testimony or question witnesses at any of these locations must submit (transmit, send, post or deliver) a notice of their intention to do so by January 18, 2010. For details on the process, click here.
Fork TruckSafe Aisle Width for Fork Truck Operations
A recent question about how wide an aisle should be got a straight answer from Joe Monaco of the National Lift Truck Operator Registry. Here's what he says: "At National LIFTOR, we recommend a path for typical forklifts operating in warehouses that is calculated using the following procedure (does not apply to automatically guided vehicles or motorized hand trucks)
  1. Place the routinely largest load fully onto the tines of the forklift that has the longest length and is authorized for the path in question.
  2. Place a mark on the floor at each corner of the forklift with its load (the marks give you a "footprint").
  3. Measure the diagonal length of the above footprint (D).
  4. Add to the Diagonal length (D) + 2 feet.
The final number, D+2 will be enough room to get optimum throughput - and may disappoint the design engineers who hoped they could get you a lot more storage space than this formula suggests.
Hazardous Materials Management Course Offered Locally
The Finger Lakes Chapter of Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers (FLACHMM) is offering the Essentials of Hazardous Materials Management in Avon on Feb. 3 through 5. The course will be held at the NYS DEC A-frame and offers a variety of professional development credits, including 24 CMPs approved for CHMMs and CMPs, and 24 PDHs of P.E. credits, and CIH IH credits of 4.01.  For more information, contact Tom Hudak, Phone (585) 506-2199.
Treatment Guidelines for Injuries to Hand, Wrist and Forearm Now Available
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has published new medical treatment guidelines for providing care to workers with injuries of the hand, wrist and forearm, The new guidelines, which represent the latest chapter in ACOEM's Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines, are available on line now via ACOEM's APG-I web application. To access the hand, wrist and forearm disorders chapter, click here

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