No Smoking
Up in Smoke – Transport Bans on E-Cigarettes

On almost every corner in St. Louis recently are signs for “vapor rooms” or “vaping” locations. Curious, I did some research. These are locations where the newly popular electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are sold and used. We now have electronic devices that are alternatives to real cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco. Some of these devices are called an e-cigarette, e-pen or even an e-hookah. They work by using a lithium battery to heat an internal coil which vaporizes a mixture of various chemicals and flavorings, including nicotine which is then inhaled.

Last week one of our local news stations, Fox 2 Now, aired a story about injuries received from electronic smoking devices exploding or catching fire while in the hands or pockets of some users. The full story can be found here. Please be warned some of the images are graphic in nature.

As someone in the “safety business,” I was curious in regards to what regulations are currently in place for these items. Back in January of 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert that air carriers require these devices only in the cabin of the aircraft. This was followed by a June 2015 ICAO addendum that “prohibits the carriage of e-cigarettes in checked baggage and restricts the charging of these devices while on board the aircraft.” In May of this year, the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued their final rule on this topic. The final rule “prohibits passengers and crew members from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibits passengers and crew members from charging the devices and/or batteries on board an aircraft.” This final rule follows the interim one published in October 2015. As for using these devices during flight, it is prohibited. PHMSA’s previous policy prohibited their use, but to avoid confusion the Department is amending the rule to clearly state the ban. Also note that the charging devices and/or batteries for these devices are included in this ban.

What is interesting to note, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate e-cigarettes. This means there are no set of standards to determine what can be in the mixture that is vaporized and then inhaled. Another scary thought is that without some regulation, middle and high school students have easy access to these devices. In an article from the American Lung Association in August of 2014, a startling statistic was noted from a 2011 – 2013 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

The number of youth who used e-cigarettes but never used conventional cigarettes increased from 79,000 in 2011 to 263,000 in 2013. Among these youth, the study found 43.9 percent “intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year.” This is compared to only 21.5 percent who said they intended to smoke a cigarette but had never used an e-cigarette.

Isn’t it interesting that we have transportation regulations and bans in place for our safety on an aircraft but not for our overall health on the ground? While ICC Compliance Center won’t be able to help with that part, we can help with all of your lithium battery transportation needs including answering your questions and providing training.

Safety
June is National Safety Month

When you work in the field of safety, and so does your husband, it makes for interesting living situations. I no longer stand on a chair or stool to reach something on the top shelf. There are now ear plugs and safety goggles beside the lawn mower and weed eater in the garage. We have two fire extinguishers – one by the stove and one in the pantry. Our smoke detectors are checked twice a year from a ladder where three points of contact are maintained at all times. There is even an old Emergency Response Guidebook in my car for looking up UN numbers when I travel. Having lived this way for several years now, it surprises me when friends and family talk about near misses they have. Take heart other safety professionals, there is a month dedicated to our cause. June is National Safety Month.

The National Safety Council has outlined topics for each week of the month and even provides free downloadable resources in English and Spanish for each topic upon signup. I encourage you to do so as the resources are great. The link to the National Safety Council site can be found here. To sign up for the free materials, look to the right side of the website. Let’s take a look at each week and expand on the ideas.

This year the topics are as follows:

  • Week 1: Stand Ready to Respond
  • Week 2: Be Healthy
  • Week 3: Watch Out for Dangers
  • Week 4: Share Roads Safely

Stand Ready to Respond

For “Stand Ready to Respond” the focus is first aid and emergency response. Be aware and know how to respond appropriately in an emergency. The first step in many emergency situations is recognizing how you can best be of help. Have all emergency numbers, aside from 911, close to you or put them in your mobile phone for easy access. If and when you have to make that emergency call, be ready to answer some basic questions about the situation. Consider getting trained in CPR and First Aid.

Be Healthy

For “Be Healthy” the focus is on our overall health and the medicine we take. Almost everyone I know is at an age where eating healthy and exercising is important. I’m not ashamed to admit that turning 30 and 40 impacted my metabolism and not in a good way. In terms of medications we all have them around the house.  Some are needed daily while others are just for occasional use. What is important is if they truly are out of reach of children as every bottle states.

Watch Out for Dangers

For “Watch Out for Dangers” the focus is awareness. We should all be watching for possible places or situations that could be hazardous to ourselves, children and even the elderly. I constantly see people walking around a store or parking lot using their mobile phones. Can you truly be aware of your surroundings, other people or yourself when you are trying to have a conversation with another person at the same time? Think about your home. Consider if there are locations that could be unsafe for a young child or an elderly person should they visit.

Share Roads Safely

For “Share Roads Safely” the focus is pretty straightforward. Share the roads with other drivers including new teen-aged ones, road side work crews, bicyclists and motorcyclist. As a driver you are constantly making decisions. To do that well, driving should be the only thing you do with no distractions.

We should all be focused on being safe and avoiding injury. This goes for not just our work lives but our home lives as well. ICC Compliance Center is ready to help with all of your safety needs. We can provide you with signs, labels, packaging and many other “safety” services. Check us out today!

OSHA Update
Are you a One Percenter? Enforcement Delay of PSM 1% Concentration Policy

Recently in popular culture and the news the term “one percenter” can be heard. What does that mean, to be a one percenter? According to one urban dictionary site a one percenter is defined as a member of the top one percent of a population as decided by wealth. The term comes from the same rationale as being in the ninety-ninth percentile which means there is only one percent of the population who is better. So do you fall into the one percenter club? You might be surprised at the answer.

For those who are not familiar with the new one percent policy, let’s review some terminology and information on this standard. OSHA Standard 29 C.F.R. § 1910.119 which is the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals “contains requirements for preventing or minimizing the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. These releases may result in toxic, fire or explosion hazards.” Part of this standard is Appendix A (found here) which contains a listing of toxic and highly reactive hazardous chemicals that could present a potential for a catastrophic event at or above the threshold quantities. In 1991 the PSM Final Rule was published. It was followed by a series of letters of interpretation and compliance directives. In 1994, OSHA further defined the policy. The letter from 1999 basically stated:

“chemicals listed in Appendix A without minimum concentrations are covered at “commercial grade” concentrations and higher. The letter defined “commercial grade” as “a typical maximum concentration of the chemical that is commercially available and shipped.” OSHA also noted that an employer could determine the maximum commercial concentration by referring to any published catalog of chemicals for commercial sales. OSHA PSM compliance directives issued during this period contain similar statements describing the agency’s policy.

However, in all of these “updates” and letters things still remained unclear to many manufacturers. With all of this ambiguity and a criminal case that was later dismissed, OSHA did a critical review of the “commercial grade policy”.

Here OSHA looked to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on releases of hazardous chemicals and how these releases impact the public and environment. OSHA decided to use the one percent concentration cut-off that the EPA uses. According to the memo released in March, “the one percent concentration cut-off established in the EPA rule is …the concentration of an Appendix A chemical that must be present in a mixture before the threshold quantity of the chemical must be determined.” This is different from the “commercial grade” and pure grade policies that do not have a clear level for when a chemical or mixture is covered.” This new one percent policy was published on June 5, 2015. For the full memo, click here. It should be noted that this new policy could and has expanded the number of facilities covered by PSM. Are you one of them now that should be called a one percenter?

Take heart though, on Wednesday, March 23rd, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a temporary delay in enforcement for the new one percent concentration policy to determine if a chemical should be subject to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. Enforcement of this new policy now will not be in effect until September 30, 2016. For the exact language of the delay, click here.

National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) and the American Chemistry Council are currently in litigation with OSHA on this new policy and are working to have this rescinded.

Stay tuned to see if your status as a one percent stays. As always, ICC Compliance Center is working to keep you informed on all changes to regulations.

Prop 65
Extra! Extra! Read All About It: California Proposition 65 List Updated!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Disney’s Broadway musical “Newsies”. The show is about the 1899 strike of New York City’s Newsboys. For those that aren’t familiar with Newsboys, these are the young men who would stand on the street corners in big cities selling the daily newspaper to the people walking past. In the event of a big news story, publishers would print an “Extra” edition. On these occasions the Newsboys could be heard shouting, “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” to let people know something big had happened and that they had the news on hand.

Consider this blog my “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” story in regards to California’s update to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 or as it is more commonly known Prop 65. The list was updated on April 22, 2016. You can download the full list here. The biggest change for the list is the addition of Styrene (CAS No. 100-42-5). It is now listed as a substance “known to cause cancer”.

Styrene was included on the “Notice of Intent to List” published in February of 2015. Open comments were taken and the final decision was published and went into effect on April 22, 2016. The 2015 proposal was made under the authoritative bodies listing mechanism. Under this mechanism, a chemical must be listed under the Proposition 65 regulations when two conditions are met:

  • An authoritative body formally identifies the chemical as causing cancer (Section 25306(d)3).
  • The evidence considered by the authoritative body meets the scientific sufficiency criteria contained in the regulations (Section 25306(e)).

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the agency responsible for Prop 65 implementation. When an authoritative body makes a determination regarding a substance, this office then considers whether or not to list the substance based on the criteria in the regulations. In this case, the authoritative body was the National Toxicology Program (NTP). OEHHA’s official statement says, “Styrene meets the criteria for listing as known to the State to cause cancer under Proposition 65, based on findings of the NTP (2011).” For more information on OEHHA’s decision you can read the response to public comments here and the final decision here.

Styrene was on a prior “Notice of Intent to List” back in 2009 and 2013 but was withdrawn in both cases.

Granted a blog isn’t a newspaper, but consider this your notice that something big and newsworthy happened.

Related Article: Has Right to Know Gone Too Far? Prop 65 In Day to Day Life »

OSHA Labeling
Are Safety Signs Really Necessary?

Traffic in many metropolitan areas can be nasty. Ask anyone who lives in a large city and chances are they will tell you traffic in their area is horrible and busy. This is the case in St. Louis and was most noticeable last weekend as I attempted to run errands. As I sat in stopped traffic I began to notice the number of signs around me. Some of them blinked or flashed while others were attached to the cement barriers in the median due to road construction. There were even more signs on the trucks in the actual construction area. Once I reached the shops, I noticed all of the signs in the parking lot and again inside the stores. Of course at this point the 1994 song “The Sign” by the band Ace of Base popped into my head. For a quick reminder of how the song goes, listen here. In this song the lyrics are pretty straightforward:

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign//
Life is demanding without understanding//
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign//
No one’s gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong

Is it true that the signs we see throughout the day open our eyes to what is around us? Take a look around your workplace right now and count how many safety signs you see. Think about how many you may have passed on your commute to work today. Are all of these signs necessary to your understanding of the possible hazards you may encounter? Do they serve a purpose? Are many of these faded, handwritten reminders that are no longer appropriate? Are there some that could stand to be updated or improved? Can things be streamlined, organized and clearer? My answer to all of these is yes!

This reminds me of a story a friend told that brings a smile to my face, but also emphasizes the need for clear and concise signs. Michael was shopping with his wife in a local department store. As she was trying on some clothes he went to the restroom. Now it is a store he wasn’t very familiar with and they were doing some construction in the restroom area. Seeing no signs on the doors to the restrooms, he crossed his fingers and entered one of them. As he was in the stall, 2 ladies entered the same restroom. He overheard them saying, “I certainly hope this is the ladies room…it certain isn’t clear on the door”. At this point, to be gentlemanly and not startle the ladies, Michael said, “Same problem I had Ma’am.” Of course this brought on a rather hasty exit on the part of the ladies but it proves my point. He did say he had to explain to his wife throughout the rest of their shopping trip why he kept looking at all of the ladies’ shoes. This is just one example as to why we need signs in our life.

Let ICC Compliance Center help with all of your sign needs. We have the capability of creating and printing hundreds of different signs and using multiple languages. All of our signs are weather resistant and can be made into multiple sizes. We even have the option for some of our signs to be custom-made. Listed here are just a few we have in stock.

  1. Facility Identification: These are the signs Michael needed. They include designations for women’s and men’s areas, handicap access and phone locations
  2. Admittance and Exit Signs: We have a selection of no entry, do not enter, no trespassing, exit including fire and emergency exit and this way out or in
  3. Emergency Response / First Aid Signs: Here is a selection of signs that pertain to emergency showers or eye wash stations; emergency stop, assembly point and first aid stations
  4. Fire and Flammable Signs: Under this category there are signs for fire alarms, fire doors, fire extinguishers and fire hoses
  5. Personal Protection Signs: For this set we are talking about the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is needed for certain areas. For example, we have signs for when gloves, respirators, safety harnesses, ear protection and face shields are required
  6. Facility Signs: In this set of signs you can find ones regarding handicap access, phone locations and general cleanup

There are further categories for NFPA, smoking, pipelines, radiation and high voltage. Be proactive and lead someone to the light where they belong.

OSHA Update
OSHA Comment Deadline Extended for Weight of Evidence Determinations

Back in the 1970’s Toyota Motor Corporation ran an advertising campaign around the slogan “You asked for it, you got it – Toyota!” The idea was Toyota was listening to what consumers wanted and created cars to meet those requests. You can see from this print advertisement how they worked that slogan.

As Hazard Communicators working under OSHA’s HazCom 2012, we often ask for more information or guidance to help us do our jobs. After all, we are tasked with writing compliant Safety Data Sheets (SDS), shipped container labels and workplace labels under these regulations which are pretty dramatic shifts from what used to be. The data required for the writing of these items can be difficult to find, massive in scope and hard to understand.

So what does that have to do with Toyota’s slogan? Well, OSHA is taking a page from Toyota’s book. In fact they recently published a “Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination” document. OSHA wants this guidance to show how to apply the Weight of Evidence (WoE) approach when dealing with complex scientific studies and in considering all available information when classifying a chemical. It will not be an additional standard or regulation nor will it hold any new legal obligations. It is meant to complement the recently posted, 832-page “Hazard Classification Guidance for Manufacturers, Importers and Employers”.

What is interesting is the guidance document is actually a DRAFT document and open for public comment. Originally the comment period was only going to be open from February 16 until March 31 of this year. Apparently the response was overwhelming. As of March 9th, the comment period has now been extended until May 2. That is an additional month!

Per the website, OSHA is particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

  1. OSHA’s primary goal in the draft WoE guidance is to provide classifiers with an overview on how to approach a weight of evidence evaluation using the criteria that was adopted under the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). Has OSHA achieved this goal?
  2. OSHA intended to write this draft guidance in language that is appropriate for, and easily understood by, personnel who would be primarily responsible for the classification process. Has OSHA achieved this objective?
  3. OSHA has also provided guidance on how to use other authoritative bodies that use a weight of evidence or systematic approach. Is this type of guidance helpful? Are there other authoritative bodies that OSHA should reference that provide weight of evidence evaluations that would be relevant to worker exposures?
  4. To simplify the guidance, OSHA has primarily focused on chronic hazards: Carcinogens, germ cell mutagens and reproductive toxicants since these are more complex endpoints and generally need a higher degree of expert judgement to interpret studies.  Did OSHA adequately identify the key considerations for a WoE evaluation of these toxicants? Was the OSHA discussion of the WoE approach appropriate for this guidance document?
  5. OSHA has provided a section on classification based on a single positive study. Was this section useful?
  6. OSHA has provided a series of examples to demonstrate the principles discussed in the Weight of Evidence guidance document.  Are these examples helpful? How can they be improved?

Consider this a call to arms all you Hazard Communicators out there. Do your diligence – read the draft and comment.

You can start by going to https://www.osha.gov/weightofevidence/index.html. Here you’ll find the necessary information reviewers need, the document itself and how to submit your comments. Do your part so we can say we asked for it and got it.

OSHA Labeling
Fainting is an OSHA Recordable?

Fainting, or syncope in medical terms, is when someone loses consciousness for a short period of time usually caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. In movies and television though, we are lead to believe that fainting can occur for a variety of non-medical reasons mainly emotional ones. One example is where a female character meets a monster for the first time and is so overcome with fear that she faints. For effect, she usually faints into the arms of the monster. Soap Operas are notorious for the next example. There are many scenes where the lead character is presented with horrible news and as a result faints due to the extreme emotion the news triggers. Another one used quite often by the entertainment industry is when a character faints at the sight of blood. Take a look here at Dr. Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory” passing out from cutting his thumb.

What is interesting about that clip is Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler would have to list this as a recordable case on the OSHA Log of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses. In November of 2015 OSHA posted in a Letter of Interpretation that fainting at the sight of blood is a recordable event. The scenario as outlined in the letter involves a worker scratching his finger on a clamp. As a co-worker began to apply a bandage to the scratch the injured worker saw the small amount of blood on his skin. At this point he became light-headed and fainted. Once conscious again the injured employee revealed it was the sight of the blood on his skin that caused him to faint.

Section 1904.5(a) in OSHA tells us that the employer:

“must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception in § 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies.”

For this case, the fainting was a result of a work-related event or exposure – the blood on the skin. The exception 1904.5(b)(2) does not apply because the fainting did not result from a personal health condition such as epilepsy, narcolepsy or other conditions that could cause that result.

What makes this event recordable is Section 1904.7(b)(1)(v) which states “a work-related injury or illness must be recorded if it results in loss of consciousness.” Since the injured employee did lose consciousness, this section applies and therefore the incident must be recorded.

This blog is but a brief summary of the case. A read through the actual letter of interpretation is recommended. For a link to the actual letter, click here.

Overall, Hollywood has taken liberties with the portrayal of fainting but there is no denying that a loss of consciousness is serious and now reportable.

OSHA Carcinogen
OSHA Celebrates World Cancer Day?

We all have reminders on our calendars for such things as holidays, birthdays, and appointments. As I looked forward to February for some planning purposes, the date of February 4th popped up as World Cancer Day. Is this a day to celebrate cancer? Does that even make sense when most of us upon hearing that word have some pretty strong negative reactions and emotions? This sent me on a path of fact checking. The purpose of World Cancer Day as established by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. So, this day is similar to Earth Day or World AIDS Day then.

Since I work in the Regulatory World, I thought this would be an opportune time to talk about cancer in the realm of Hazard Communication. For many cancer is part of the acronym CMR which stands for materials that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. In OSHA HazCom 2012, Appendix A Subsection 6 covers the definition, classification criteria, and cut-off values for carcinogens. Are those pieces of information really enough to classify all of your products? Granted the regulation points out in A.6.2.5.2 some factors to consider, but those exact particular factors can be hard to find in many full length cancer studies.

To make things a bit easier, OSHA has allowed for people to rely on the lists of classifications from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to help make decisions. There is also Appendix F to supply more guidance on carcinogenicity. Many of us have defaulted to the following table and its qualifying notes when classifying our products:

Approximate Equivalences Among Carcinogen Classification Schemes

IARCGHSNTP RoC

Group 1 Category 1A Known
Group 2A Category 1B Reasonably Anticipated (See Note 1)
Group 2B Category 2

If, as classifiers, we do determine our product is carcinogenic, here are a few reminders.

  1. If you have a chemical in your product at a concentration that is listed on IARC and/or NTP, then those classifications must be noted on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  2. If OSHA determines a chemical to be a carcinogen then that classification must also be on the SDS.
  3. For Category 2 Carcinogens present between 0.1% and 1% then all of the labeling requirements are needed on the SDS, but the Label warning is optional. If the Category 2 ingredient is present at greater than or equal to 1% then the requirements for the SDS and Label must be fulfilled.

Don’t let the reminder on my calendar or World Cancer Day pass you by without taking a look at any of your products that may contain carcinogens. Be sure they are classified correctly with appropriate language on the SDS and Label. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here to help you with all of your regulatory needs. For more information on our supplies and services visit our website:  http://www.thecompliancecenter.com.