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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with what is happening at OSHA as well as other workplace safety news. Includes a report on the significant OSHA citations announced the previous week. Plus we scan national and local (and world) publications for workplace safety news. This is your source for the latest safety news.


Monday, October 20, 2014

PPE: Using it Correctly, and CDC Revising Standards

http://www.graphicproducts.com/infographics/personal-protection-equipment.php

PPE – Correct Type, Proper Use, Safe Removal

PPE has been in the spotlight lately due to a nurse contracting Ebola while wearing PPE. Two theories are that she was wearing it incorrectly or that she did not remove it properly. Proper gear removal is an aspect of protection that can easily get forgotten by those working with chemicals or other contaminants. Though PPE can prevent you from contacting hazardous substances, if you remove it incorrectly you can get splashback without even realizing it.

Some good can come of this incident if it serves as a reminder to others to review PPE procedures and training. OSHA has this extremely comprehensive PPE guide to pretty much everything you need to know about PPE. For health care workers, the World Health Organization has this helpful poster of correct PPE removal procedures.

And here's a free guide to PPE requirements for the top 12 safety categories.

CDC Revising PPE Protocols

Meanwhile the CDC is revising its healthcare PPE protocols, expected to release sometime this week. The revisions center around more stringent PPE which does not expose skin.  >> Video and full story

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Ebola: Pentagon Support Squad and Healthcare Worker Viewpoint

Healthcare Worker Concerns: One Woman's Story

What are healthcare worker options through all this? Can they opt out of providing care if they don't feel safe? >> Hear one woman's story

Pentagon Forms Ebola Support Squad

The pentagon is also forming a 30-person team to assist civilian medical professionals with Ebola treatment.

Regional Proactivity: New York's NYCOSH Steps it Up

Interestingly, regional materials are starting to spring up.

NYCOSH, The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, has put together Ebola fact sheets for employers, not just for healthcare workers but for the general worker population.

"Coordination among agencies at all levels of government is critical in preventing the spread of Ebola," said Guillermina Mejia, safety and health director at DC37, New York City's largest public employee union. "The City of New York should immediately adopt strict protocols and procedures and implement them in both clinical and nonclinical settings. Education and training as well as hands-on drills are important steps towards breaking the chain of infection. DC 37 and other unions are meeting with city representatives to address potential risks to our members if a case is diagnosed in the city."

NYCOSH also pointed to the results of the recent National Nurses Union study, which found most nurses think their hospitals are not adequately prepared for the Ebola virus.
"Much more needs to be done to educate all workers, as lack of information leads to heightened fear and confusion," Charlene Obernauer, NYCOSH executive director, referring to OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard.

The study--which polled over 700 nurses from 31 states--said that 80% of nurses have still not received communication from their hospital as to how to deal with potential Ebola patients. It also said that one-third of nurses say their hospitals do not have adequate PPE.

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Dollar Tree cited for Hundreds of Violations; Burlington Northern Fires Worker after Injury

https://www.osha.gov/index.html

Dollar Tree Stores Cited for Hundreds of Violations

WATAUGA, Texas, $262,500 in fines – Across the nation, Dollar Tree Stores have been cited for 234 safety and health violations since 2009.In the past five months, OSHA has issued more than $800,000 in fines to Dollar Tree Stores for the same or similar violations.

Since 2009, OSHA has received complaints from Dollar Tree Stores employees in 26 states. Dollar Tree Stores employs approximately 17,600 full-time and 69,800 part-time workers. OSHA began investigating the Watauga store after receiving a complaint about dangerous conditions.  >> Find out about Dollar Tree's violations

Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC Fires Worker after Injury

KANSAS CITY, Kansas, $225,000 in back wages and damages – Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC wrongfully terminated an employee in Kansas City after he reported an injury to his left shoulder, according to OSHA. The company has violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act, and was ordered to pay the electrician $225,385 in back wages and damages.   >> Read about this wrongful termination




 

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Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Pass an OSHA Inspection, Airborne Hazards, and Ebola

Is Your Workplace as Safe as you Think it is?

You can wait for injuries, OSHA fines, and possibly fatalities, or you can conduct a self-audit and be sure your workplace is as safe as you can make it. Think of it as a win-win: either it's very safe and you'll enjoy the self-validation of knowing that, or it isn't, and you can fix the hazard areas before something bad happens.  >> How to conduct a safety audit

OSHA on the way? How to pass an OSHA inspection

When Workplace Hazards Wander

Your workplace is pretty safe. The staff works hard to keep it that way and management takes it seriously. Great, you're safe.

Except that you may not be. What do you do if a nearby facility DOESN'T take workplace safety seriously and their hazards wander out to become your problem?


Particularly when unsafe conditions permeate the air, hazards can travel and jeopardize the health—or even life—of others.  >> Read one man's experience with traveling hazards




Ebola in the Workplace: What Employers Should Know

In addition to keeping worker travel to a minimum--it's now in seven countries, including 2 confirmed cases in the U.S.--what can employers do to minimize the risk of employees contracting and spreading it? And what are an employer's legally mandated obligations?

If ebola is deemed a disability, it will be covered by the Americans Disabilities Act and employees should be provided with a leave of absence. As of this writing, verified U.S. cases are only in the Dallas area, and the major risk at present is healthcare workers, emergency response, and air travel workers. But it might be an ideal time to review emergency procedures to be prepared should the worst occur.  >> Ebola in the workplace - resources


Also: OSHA's Ebola standards, particularly 29 CFR 1910.1030, the Bloodborne Pathogens standard


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Last Week's Significant OSHA Citations


https://www.osha.gov/index.html

Employee Dies when Drain Sprays BPA

Ohio, $134,000 in fines – An employee at Haverhill Chemicals LLC was clearing a blockage on a drain line to a reactor when an expansion joint failed and caused a thermally heated chemical mixture to spew onto the employee. The mixture predominately contained Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and hydrochloric acid, acetone and phenol, used in the manufacture of resins, flame retardants and coatings. The employee died.

OSHA has cited the manufacturer for 21 serious and two other-than-serious safety violations. Many of the violations involve OSHA's Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals used in work. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  >> Full story

Construction Company Cited for 25 Violations

Connecticut, $107,100 in fines – Rockville Construction LLC faces fines for inadequate safeguards against lead exposure, respirator deficiencies, falls and electrical hazards.
The lead-related hazards included employee exposure to high lead levels from scraping lead-containing paint; the employer's failure to provide effective controls to reduce lead exposure levels; failure to determine lead exposure levels or conduct biological monitoring; and failure to train employees about lead hazards and safeguards.
In addition, the company had no written respiratory protection program, did not train its employees on the purpose, selection, fitting, use and limitations of respirators, and failed to conduct medical evaluations to determine workers' fitness to wear respirators.  >> OSHA’s regulation §1910.134, respiratory protection

Florida Construction Company Added to SVEP List

Florida, $355,300 in fines – GP Roofing & Construction LLC and Archer Exteriors Inc. were cited for 12 safety violations and placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
They were cited for three willful safety violations, four repeat violations, and three serious violations. A serious citation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.  >> Find out more


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Monday, October 06, 2014

Ebola, Standing at your Desk, and How Safe Is Your Workplace?

Workplace Health: Standing Versus Sitting at Desk Jobs

Forbes, the New York Times and The Guardian (UK) have all come out recently with their analysis from studies regarding the virtues of standing up at a desk job versus sitting down. The study--which involved more than four million participants--asserts that sitting can increase risk of cancer and even shave years off your life.

Writer Dan Kois decided to try out the concept by standing for a month.  >> Read about his experiences




Ebola in America: A Workplace Concern?

With only one incident that we know of, at this point it will generally only impact a few industries such as health care and travel. But this may be a jumpy time for employees when anyone around them appears to display symptoms, particularly in the Dallas area. If employees have reasonable justification to believe they might be risking exposure that could endanger their health, they are legally allowed to avoid exposure without repercussion. Current information says that there shouldn't be any risk outside of the healthcare workers that were exposed to the patient, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Ebola cannot be transmitted until symptoms are evident.

There is no inoculation for it at this time, so if employees are showing signs of alarm, it might be worth sending out an email or posting a memo covering the basics. CDC feels this is under control and there is a voluntary quarantine in effect of those that may have been affected so at this time there's no reason for alarm.  >> Ebola Q&A

Is Your Workplace—or Potential Workplace—Safe?

Of course you can judge it by the number of injuries there are, but sometimes there are potential hazards just waiting to claim victims. Particularly if you're considering a new job and would like to increase your odds of coming home injury-free each day, looking for earmarks of an unsafe workplace is important.  >> How safe is your workplace?

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