July 21, 2011

In This Update
Business Drivers Pose High Liability Potential
OSHA Targets Summer Heat-NOAA Offers Heat Watch Web Page
Horizontal Plastic Injection Molding Machine Safety Checklist Available
Q&A: Medical Aspects of Respirator Program
OSHA Issues Scissor Lift Hazard Alert
New Carcinogen Report May Affect Hazard Communication Programs
Sleeping at Work-the Question of Discipline
OSHA Initiates NEP for Primary Metals Industries
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.
Kid on car photoBusiness Drivers Pose High Liability Potential
An article in the June issue of ISHN magazine (www.ishn.com ) suggests employers be very diligent about who is driving vehicles on their behalf. Company or personal vehicle, professional driver or temp, even running volunteer errands on behalf of the company, can all lead to major settlements if something goes wrong. If the employee driver lacks skills to drive safely, has demonstrated at-risk behaviors, lacks license or permits, or has not received adequate and ongoing driver safety training, the company can be on the hook in the event of a crash. To read the full article, click here  and register (it's free).

heat photoOSHA Targets Summer Heat-NOAA Offers Heat Watch Web Page

Heat, especially this summer, has become a major concern of OSHA as a result of thousands of reports of worker heat exhaustion. Employers are urged to visit the NOAA heat watch page for information and suggestions about dealing with heat illness. To access the page, click here .

injection molding photoHorizontal Plastic Injection Molding Machine Safety Checklist Available

The IRSST, a Quebec research institute, has produced, in collaboration with professionals from the plastics processing industry, a simple tool for checking the safeguards for horizontal plastic injection molding machines. The safety checklist was based on the recognized North American standard ANSI/SPI B151.1 - 2007. For a free PDF copy of the checklist, click here.

Q&A: Medical Aspects of Respirator Program

A reader has asked for information about physical exams and medical surveillance for the respirator program. Historically, a physical exam was required, but a change in the regulation a few years back dropped that. Today, employees who will be using respirators must complete a comprehensive medical questionnaire that is then reviewed by a health care provider to identify any potential concerns. For most people, an exam is not required. The regulation can be found at 29CFR1910.134(e) with the questionnaire in Appendix C (mandatory). There is also a Lab Safety Supply EZFacts document on the topic available here.

lift photoOSHA Issues Scissor Lift Hazard Alert    
As a result of the death of a Notre Dame student employee last October, OSHA has issued a hazard alert about using scissor lifts to film events and functions. Scissor lifts are commonly used by colleges and high schools to film athletic and band activities. Hazards associated with scissor lifts include using the equipment during high winds or bad weather; overloading the equipment with heavy objects; removing the guardrails during operation; and driving the lift on uneven or unstable ground. The alert recommends precautions to reduce the risk of these and other hazards. Click here  for a copy of the alert. 

New Carcinogen Report May Affect Hazard Communication Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the National Toxicology Program's (NTP) 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), one of the two cancer lists referenced in OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). As a result, employers that manufacture, distribute, or use any of the eight chemicals with new or updated listings in the 12th RoC need to determine if the changes have any impact on their existing hazard communications programs.

The 12th RoC added two substances-formaldehyde and aristolochic acids-to its list of known human carcinogens, and six substances-captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine (a botanical, not be confused with the drug Ritalin) and styrene-to its list of chemicals and biological agents that are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. For chemicals like styrene and formaldehyde, which are already listed as carcinogens by the NTP or other organizations, the impact of the listings in the 12th RoC is likely to be minimal because many of the HCS requirements have already been triggered by the previous listings.


To read the press release on the report, click here.

Sleeping imageSleeping at Work-the Question of Discipline     
The folks at Circadian recently received a question about whether the law supports discipline of an employee caught sleeping on the job. Here's what they said. "First off, it's not a good idea to automatically discipline a worker caught sleeping unless evidence exists that the nap was deliberate - such as a worker lying down under his desk with a pillow. Circadian rhythms, not irresponsibility, are to blame for many involuntary "sleep attacks" on the night shift. But if you do observe what you consider a willful intent to sleep, the key, from a legal standpoint, is to be consistent. For more on the answer, click here . You can also discuss the issue with Kathy Novak, the Rochester Business Alliance Director of HR Services, at 256-4618.

OSHA Initiates NEP for Primary Metals Industries 

OSHA has issued a new directive establishing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for the primary metals industry. The purpose of this NEP is to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to harmful chemical and physical hazards in industries that extract and refine metals. These include those that manufacture nails, insulated wires and cables, steel piping, and copper and aluminum products. For more information on the NEP, click here .   For more information on the hazards of various metals and solutions to control exposures, visit OSHA's Toxic Metals page by clicking here.

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Lawrence H. "Chip" DawsonView my profile on LinkedIn
Dawson Associates
Rochester Business Alliance Coordinating Consultant for HSE
1434 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14610-1619
(585) 461-1549