February 25, 2010

In This Update
Failure to Provide Fall Protection Leads to $539,000 Fine
New York State Ready for Public Health Emergency
Is Fatigue a People Problem?
Backdoor Access to World-Class Performance
Safety Professional Dies in Connecticut Plant Explosion
OSHA Reschedules "OSHA Listens" Public Meeting
Free Safety Images Available
OSHA Proposes Change to Injury/Illness Data Collection
Quick Links
Chip DawsonThis health, safety and environment electronic update comes from Chip Dawson and the Rochester Business Alliance as a service to member organizations.
Roofer imageFailure to Provide Fall Protection Leads to $539,000 Fine
OSHA has fined the C.A. Franc construction company $539,000 following the investigation of a roofing worker who fell 40 feet to his death at a Washington worksite. The Valencia, PA, roof installer was cited for 10 willful citations for failing to protect workers from falls. "Mr. Franc knowingly and willfully failed to protect his workers from falling to their death," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "We will not tolerate this type of blatant and egregious disregard for the health and safety of workers."
Unfortunately, my experience suggests that failure to protect workers at height is a very common problem. If you click on the photo to the right, you'll see one of the recent shots I've taken of residential roofing workers and their protection. Clearly, a very long rope attached to a harness with enough slack to allow the worker to impact the ground before the rope tightens meets neither the letter nor intent of the fall protection regulations. If you have people working above grade, consider the cost of good equipment properly used vs. a citation or death.
Public SafetyNew York State Ready for Public Health Emergency
A report in ISHN Magazine cites a study by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that found 40 percent of the states were poorly prepared for public health emergencies such as the H1N1 flu outbreak. However, New York is one of only eight states that scored 9 out of 10 on key indicators of preparedness. For a copy of the full report, click here.
Tired photoIs Fatigue a People Problem?
It's not uncommon for workers, especially those on shifts, to face fatigue while at work. It's also rather common for managers to suggest tired people simply do not take care of themselves. That, however, may be faulty thinking. According to the folks at Circadian Technology - specialists in shift work - working nights and sleeping days is extremely difficult. For example, people who try to sleep around 11 a.m. are able to get only about four hours sleep under the best of conditions. Even starting at 7 a.m., most people get only four and a half hours sleep. For a look at the research supporting this position, click here.
Backdoor Access to World-Class Performance
Strange, isn't it? If things are going "south" in an organization, management too often invests in some expensive and perhaps questionable scheme to get back on track. Not necessary, say the folks that oversee the Baldrige Awards. Just focus on safety, diversity, and ethics. Those are the elements that employees and customers can easily embrace and, once embraced, lead to other positive changes. For a brief, helpful article on the topic, click here.
Safety Professional Dies in Connecticut Plant Explosion 
Chris Walters, an American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) member since 1981, died Feb. 7 in a power plant explosion in Middletown, Connecticut, where he was working as a contract safety manager. Walters had master degrees in safety management and occupational safety and health and was a certified safety professional. He sent most of his professional life in St. Louis and only recently took the job in Connecticut. No details are available on his activities in the power plant at the time of the explosion.
OSHA listens imageOSHA Reschedules "OSHA Listens" Public Meeting
The Agency has rescheduled the "OSHA Listens" public meeting for March 4 because of the recent blizzard in Washington. The meeting's goal is to solicit comments and suggestions from OSHA stakeholders on key issues facing the agency. Attendance is full and registration is closed. However, a webcast of the meeting will be available from 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. on the day of the meeting. To view the webcast, click here.
Ladder imageFree Safety Images Available
If you're interested in free, mostly high-quality images specific to construction safety and health, The Center for Construction Research and Training eLCOSH web site may have what you're looking for. There are lots of photos and many that are useful in an industrial setting. The one illustrated here shows a common unsafe practice by stepladder users in any work environment - standing too high on the ladder. To access the site, click here.
OSHA Proposes Change to Injury/Illness Data Collection
OSHA is proposing to revise its Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting regulation by restoring a column on the OSHA Form 300 to better identify work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The rule does not change existing requirements for when and under what circumstances employers must record musculoskeletal disorders on their injury and illness logs. It would require employers to place a check mark in a column for all MSDs they have recorded. For more information, click here.

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