August 11, 2011

In This Update
Manual Materials Handling Workshop Scheduled for October in Cincinnati
Student Workers Still At Risk
1 in 5 Fortune 500 Companies Ban All Cell Phone Use While Driving
Chemical Labeling Failure Results in Death
Safety of Health Care Workers May Be Seriously Deficient
New Study Looks at Slip-Resistant Shoes in Food Service Industry
Roof Parapet May Not Provide Roof Edge Protection
Safety Efforts and Health Promotion Combine for Synergy
ASIS Makes Crisis Management Standard Available
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.
Manual Materials Handling Workshop Scheduled for October in Cincinnati
Join NIOSH for the upcoming Manual Materials Handling Workshop: Matching Solutions to Problems, Oct. 11 -12 at the Hyatt Regency in Cincinnati, Ohio. The purpose of the workshop is to develop, through roundtable discussions, engineering solutions for manual materials handling jobs in retail, wholesale, and warehouse industries. This workshop is jointly sponsored by the NORA Wholesale and Retail Trade Sector and the NORA Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Sector. To register or for more information click here.

Illegal loader ridingStudent Workers Still At Risk

OSHA has long warned that student employees are at significantly greater risk of injury than are regular, full-time staff. However, we continue to find situations such as the one illustrated here where management has failed the kids. This crew, employed by a local town, was seen with a student driver and two student helpers hanging on to the side rolling at a good clip down a residential street on a loader. The frustrating thing about this is that the violation was basic, something that everyone who works with such equipment is expected to know, rather than some obscure rule that a supervisor might be forgiven for failing to communicate.  

1 in 5 Fortune 500 Companies Ban All Cell Phone Use While Driving

According to a recently released study by the National Safety Council, one in five Fortune 500 companies has a total ban on cell phone use while driving that covers all employees.

The early results indicate productivity either increased or remained at the same level for 40 percent of companies with total bans. About half the companies with total bans recently implemented their policies and could not yet say if productivity has been affected.

For a free NSC Cell Phone Policy Kit, click here. To learn why hands-free devices offer no safety benefit, read the NSC white paper by clicking here

Antifreeze container imageChemical Labeling Failure Results in Death

A 53-year old Colorado metalworker has died as the result of drinking selenous acid that he thought was Gatorade. The report in the Bongarde Safety Briefing of Aug. 3 says the blue acid, used to etch the metal staircase he was assembling, was stored in a Gatorade bottle that he assumed was a refreshing energy drink. Death took two days. The photo accompanying this article was provided by the Naval Safety Center and shows an iced tea jug that was actually filled with antifreeze, but without proper labeling. Workplace or home, any container that holds something other than the liquid described on the label must be appropriately labeled for the contents. No exceptions!

Safety of Health Care Workers May Be Seriously Deficient   
A long-time associate-an occupational physician-now leads occupational and environmental safety for a big-name clinic in another state. He recently shared some frustrations with me about the state of safety in the healthcare community. Published studies, he says, document significant under-reporting of incidents. Half the nurses report needlesticks they get, but physicians report less than one in eight. Reports of assaults on staff by patients (deranged or otherwise) are even lower.

Both the Joint Commission and CMS are focused on patient safety, he says, and they pay little attention to employee safety. There is a myth that if JC/CMS requirements are met, OSHA will be satisfied as well. "That is SO not so," he adds.

Addressing the rapidly increasing cost of healthcare, he told me "I'm amazed that this story gets so little attention from the media, from the regulators, from the payers, and from the public. And where are the unions? Where's NIOSH? Would you expect the companies you work with to tolerate higher-than-base inflation cost increases year after year from a supplier that isn't trying to control their (comp) costs? So why do they?" Sobering thoughts.

Shoes imageNew Study Looks at Slip-Resistant Shoes in Food Service Industry

NIOSH has begun a randomized controlled trial to study the effectiveness of slip-resistant shoes in reducing slip and fall injuries in the food service industry. ARAMARK, a company in the food service industry, is collaborating in this NIOSH-led research by providing access to its workforce. The study involves the participation of approximately 4,000 employees and will continue for three years. For more information, contact Jennifer Bell at

Roof edge photoRoof Parapet May Not Provide Roof Edge Protection     
The question was recently raised in an on-line safety discussion group about the adequacy of a two-foot high masonry parapet around the edge of a flat roof to serve as fall protection for employees and contractors doing roof maintenance. The answer from all group respondents was consistent-roof edge protection must be 42 inches high. There are alternatives, however, and they consist of extending the height of the parapet with railings, fall arrest systems, interior guide or guardrails or interior warning lines. For an excellent video on this subject produced by the operating engineers union, click here. With regard to access hatches, ANSI standard A14.3-2008 sec requires handles for all roof access.

Safety Efforts and Health Promotion Combine for Synergy 

Employers who integrate their safety initiatives with their health and wellness programming have the potential to improve the overall health and productivity of their workforces, according to a paper published in the June issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM). To read an ISHN magazine article on the paper, click here

ASIS Makes Crisis Management Standard Available 

Organizational Resillence: Security, Preparedness and Continuity Management Systems, ASIS SPC.1-2009 is a comprehensive management systems approach for security, preparedness, response, mitigation, business/operational continuity, and recovery for disruptive incidents resulting in an emergency, crisis, or disaster published by the American Society for Industrial Security. The PDF document is available from ANSI 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