March 23, 2010

In This Update
Stand-alone Training Rarely Effective
Abusive Bosses Avoid Negative Consequences If Also Productive
15,000 High Rate Workplaces Receiving OSHA Letters
Chemical Exposure Tool Available
Michaels Reiterates Tough OSHA Stand
OSHA Schedules Pittsburgh Public Hearing on HazCom Rule
OSHA Issues Bulletins on Electrical Hazards and Amputations in the Workplace
Coil Nailers Recalled by Hitachi Koki Due to Serious Injury Hazard
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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.
Report CoverStand-alone Training Rarely Effective
A study by NIOSH and the Ontario Institute for Work and Health (IWH) has confirmed what many of us may have suspected over the years - training, by itself, has not been found to reduce injuries or improve worker health. For training to be effective in preventing occupational injuries and illness, it also requires management commitment and investment and worker involvement in a comprehensive hazard identification and risk management program. Another finding of the study was that trainee engagement during the session was essential to training success. As we've suggested many times over the years, the use of a canned video or the reading of a list of regulations and requirements is most likely a waste of time, money and resources. To download a copy of the full report, click here.
Abusive Bosses Avoid Negative Consequences If Also Productive
A new study by University of Iowa researchers lends credence to the idea that supervisors who are productive have a long leash when it comes to bad behavior. The study, "Perpetuating Abusive Supervision: Third Party Reactions to Abuse in the Workplace," examines how third parties reacted to bad behavior on the part of supervisors. While many past studies have shown how the targets of the abuse react, this is the first scholarly effort at determining the reactions of others who see it or hear of it.
 
The study found that those third parties tend to accept the abuse if the supervisor is seen as productive and effective and they don't feel like they're the next target. "When a supervisor's performance outcomes are high, abusive behavior tends to be overlooked by third parties when they evaluate a supervisor's effectiveness," the researchers wrote. "In contrast, abuse plays a predominant role when parties judge the personal appeal of the same high-performing abusive supervisor."
 
In terms of practical application, abuse is stressful on others and often illegal, hence dealing with abuse regardless of the productivity of the supervisor should be seen as essential. To read more on the study, click here.
15,000 High Rate Workplaces Receiving OSHA Letters
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified and sent letters to approximately 15,000 workplaces with the highest occupational injury and illness rates and is urging the employers to take action to remove hazards causing the high rates.
 
The employers are those whose establishments reported the highest "Days Away from Work, Restricted Work or Job Transfer Injury and Illness" (DART) rate to OSHA in a survey of 2008 injury and illness data. For every 100 full-time workers, the 15,000 employers had 4.5 or more injuries or illnesses that resulted in days away from work, restricted work or job transfer. The national average is 2.0.
 
The letter encourages employers to consider hiring an outside safety and health consultant, talking with their insurance carrier, or contacting the workers' compensation agency in their state for advice. A good starting point for Rochester Business Alliance members on the list is to utilize the services of the Business Alliance. For a preliminary discussion, contact me (Chip Dawson) or Barb Cutrona.
ART logoChemical Exposure Tool Available
Member states of the European Union are now using a new tool that gives much improved assessments of human exposure to chemicals. The Advanced REACH Tool (ART) version 1.0 incorporates a mechanistic model of inhalation exposure and a statistical facility to update the estimates with the user's own data. This combination of model estimates and data produces more refined estimates of exposure and reduced uncertainty. If you are interested in learning more about ART, click here.
Michaels Reiterates Tough OSHA Stand
Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, testified on March 15 before the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee's Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. Michaels discussed the Department of Labor view on the Protecting America's Workers Act - supportive. He also stated that stronger OSHA enforcement will save lives. "Most employers want to do the right thing. But many others will only comply with OSHA rules if there are strong incentives to do so. OSHA's current penalties are often not large enough to provide adequate incentives, and we are very low in comparison with those of other public health agencies," said Michaels.
OSHA Schedules Pittsburgh Public Hearing on HazCom Rule
OSHA will host an informal public hearing March 31 at the Marriott Pittsburgh City Center on the proposal to align the agency's hazard communication standard with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The proposed rule will improve the consistency and effectiveness of chemical hazard communication and reduce workers' chemical-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities. For details on the hearing, click here.
OSHA Issues Bulletins on Electrical Hazards and Amputations in the Workplace
OSHA has produced two new Safety and Health Information Bulletins (SHIBs) to help protect workers from electrical hazards and amputations in the workplace. The "Certification of Workplace Products by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories" SHIB helps workers and employers understand and prevent electrical hazards, such as fire, arc flash, explosions, electric shock and electrocution, caused by the installation and use of products or equipment not tested or certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. The "Hazards Associated with the Unintended (Double) Cycling' of Mechanical Power Presses" SHIB stresses how amputations can be prevented by ensuring the proper installation and function of safety devices that stop a mechanical power press from operating when a worker's hand is placed at the point of operation. To download the testing laboratory bulletin, click here. To get a copy of the Amputation bulletin, click here.
Nailer photoCoil Nailers Recalled by Hitachi Koki Due to Serious Injury Hazard
The CPSC has announced a voluntary recall of Hitachi Coil Nailers. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. About 50,000 were sold between September 2002 and October 2005 in the United States. The nailers could have a faulty feeder that can allow nails to be ejected sideways, posing a serious injury hazard to the user or bystanders. The firm has received 37 reports of nails being ejected sideways, including 15 reports of injuries. The injuries were primarily in the eye region, including five reports of partial blindness. The units were sold at Lowe's, Home Depot and other building supply stores. For more on the recall, click here.

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