August 20, 2010

In This Update
Safety Management Training Offered at Business Alliance
Engineered Nanoparticles "Risk Unquantifiable"
Staying Safe in Extreme Heat Conditions
Literacy's Impact on Workplace Health and Safety
EU Health Promotion Yields Positive Outcomes
Michaels Asks Congress for More Power for OSHA
Neck Pain Evidence Summary
OSHA Review Project Eliminates Outdated and Duplicative Standards
OSHA Gets Heavy Input On IIP Proposal
OSHA Enhances On-site Consultation Web Page
Incidental Storage or Use of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
OSHA Addresses Record Number of Egregious Cases
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.
Safety Management Training Offered at Business Alliance
The Rochester Business Alliance top-rated safety management series is running the week of Sept. 13. You'll find Leading the Safety Process (created especially for the management team) on Monday and Friday mornings (Sept. 13 & 17) and OSHA Recordkeeping (a hot list item for OSHA right now) on Tuesday morning with Safety Committee Operations (newly revised) on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday (Sept. 15) all day features Managing the Emergency and Accident Investigation Fundamentals (complete with training on the TOR root cause analysis process) on Thursday morning (Sept. 16).
 
To register, call Barb Cutrona, RBA VP of business information, training and events, at (585) 256-4642 or e-mail her at Barb.Cutrona@RBAlliance.com.
Engineered Nanoparticles "Risk Unquantifiable"
The Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute (IRSST) has just published its second edition of "Engineered Nanoparticles: Current Knowledge about Occupational Health and Safety Risks and Prevention Measures" and the news is less than comforting. Looking at nanoparticle (NP) data through 2004, OHS knowledge was very fragmentary but research in this field was rapidly growing. The current document aims to assess the state of knowledge in this field and summarizes the data available until early 2010.
 
Overall, what emerges is that NP remain a cause for concern in OHS. The literature gives very little information specific to NP relating to their physical hazards like fires or explosions. As for health hazards, many toxicological studies on different substances have demonstrated toxic effects on various organs. It is found that in general, an NP will normally be more toxic than the same chemical substance of larger dimensions, but it is currently impossible to determine which measuring parameter for exposure is best correlated with the measured effects.
Staying Safe in Extreme Heat Conditions
NIOSH wants to help your people stay safe while working in extreme heat conditions by providing access to information on preventing, recognizing, and responding promptly to the warning signs. To access the information, click here and also here.  Finally, the NIOSH Fast Facts on the topic are available for download by clicking here.
Literacy's Impact on Workplace Health and Safety 
A report by the Conference Board of Canada summarizes the results of a two-year research project that examined the impact of literacy skills on health and safety in the workplace.

Workplace health and safety is dependent on policies and procedures being understood and carried out as directed - and adherence to health and safety policies and procedures requires comprehension and communication skills from all concerned. Low literacy skills are not an acceptable cause for substandard work or for not meeting quality thresholds.
This 48-page research report outlines the value - including direct and indirect benefits - of investing in literacy with the expected outcome of achieving higher levels of health and safety in the workplace. For a PDF copy of the report, click here. You will need to register with the Conference Board, but the document is free.
EU Health Promotion Yields Positive Outcomes   
The EU OSHA organization has found many positive benefits to an active workplace health promotion effort. The key, they have found, is employers actively helping staff improve their own general health and wellbeing. For a single-page summary of benefits and target areas, click here. The page also has links to for fact sheets and case studies.
Michaels Asks Congress for More Power for OSHA
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels told the House Committee on Education and Labor that the agency needs greater enforcement power to provide workers with the safety and health protection they deserve. Michaels testified at a July 13 hearing on the Miner Safety and Health Act (H.R. 5663). This legislation provides amendments to the OSH Act that would increase OSHA's civil and criminal penalties, enhance whistleblower protections and victims' rights, and give OSHA the authority to require abatement of serious hazards even if and while the employer contests citations issued for them. This legislation would also expand the rights of workers and victims' families.
Neck Pain Evidence Summary
A Canadian evidence summary is available for health-care professionals who treat patients with neck pain, ranging from mild pain to whiplash. The summary presents helpful and unhelpful treatments as well as guidance on assessing patients. To download the summary, click here.
 
The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) created the summary to share the evidence synthesis completed by The Bone and Joint Task Force on Neck Pain. IWH worked in concert with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, the Ontario Chiropractic Association and some members of the Executive Committee of the 2000-2010 Bone and Joint Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders to prepare this summary.
OSHA Review Project Eliminates Outdated and Duplicative Standards
OSHA's proposed Standards Improvement Project-III will revise and remove requirements within several OSHA standards that are outdated, duplicative or inconsistent. This rulemaking will help keep OSHA standards up-to-date and will help employers better understand their legal obligations to protect worker safety and health. These recommendations follow two previously successful SIP phases in 1998 and 2005 and evolved through the agency's review of its standards, public comments and recommendations from the Office of Management and Budget. The public may submit comments on the SIP-III proposed rule online, by mail or by fax. See the news release for more information.
OSHA Gets Heavy Input On IIP Proposal
OSHA's third meeting seeking public input on its proposed Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule was attended by approximately 85 participants. A broad range of interests, including unions, trade associations, professional organizations, large and small businesses, and other governmental agencies were represented. Attendees at the June 29 meeting in Washington, D.C., offered suggestions on how to develop a rule that will help employers reduce workplace injuries and illnesses through a systematic process addressing workplace hazards. Due to capacity crowds at the first three meetings, two more meetings have been scheduled for Washington and Sacramento.
OSHA Enhances On-site Consultation Web Page
OSHA has redesigned its On-site Consultation Web page to enhance its usefulness to small and medium-sized businesses across the country seeking free and confidential advice on increasing workplace safety. The redesigned homepage answers frequently asked questions about the benefits of the On-site Consultation Program and explains the process for initiating a consultation visit and the consultant's role in the process. The page also provides answers to questions about the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program and offers Success Stories from small businesses that achieved safety and health excellence through the On-site Consultation Program and SHARP. A Quick Links box and Small Business Resources section present users with relevant information and OSHA resources for the small business community. To access the page, click here.
Incidental Storage or Use of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
We are routinely asked about the need for flammable and combustible liquid cabinets or a room for the incidental storage of such materials. Here's what OSHA has to say about the issue. If you are an industrial plant where flammable or combustible liquids are incidental to the principal business, 1910.106(e)(2)(ii)(b) of the general industry standards says "the quantity of liquid that may be located outside of an inside storage room or storage cabinet in a building or in any one fire area of a building shall not exceed: 25 gallons of Class IA liquids in containers, 120 gallons of Class IB, IC, II, or III liquids in containers, 660 gallons of Class IB, IC, II, or III liquids in a single portable tank.
OSHA Addresses Record Number of Egregious Cases
"There's a new sheriff in town," Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis warned during her 2009 swearing-in ceremony. Following up on that warning, OSHA is aggressively enforcing its standards when employers show indifference to protecting the safety and lives of their workers. During the past year and a half, OSHA investigators have issued citations for egregious violations in 17 cases, including those involving BP Products North America, Kleen Energy and Cooperative Plus. This is more than twice as many egregious cases as were issued during the two years before the current administration took office.

OSHA inspectors cite egregious violations when an employer shows multiple instances of willful and flagrant indifference to correcting workplace hazards, many of which tragically result in worker fatalities, worksite catastrophes (such as explosions or chemical releases) or large numbers of worker injuries or illnesses. "We will not tolerate this type of blatant and egregious disregard for the health and safety of workers. Employers need to know there will be consequences," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels.

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