It is the end of October. This is the signal for many exciting things. First, autumn is well under way; no more temperatures in the high 90’s. Second, pumpkin spice everything is available. My personal favorite though is plain old pumpkin pie. Finally, OSHA publishes their list of top ten most-cited standards for the previous fiscal year. This is always announced at the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo. The timing fits with OSHA’s fiscal year that runs from October 1 through September 30. So, without further delay….
Most-Cited OSHA Standards for Fiscal Year 2018
Fall Protection – General Requirements: Standard 1926.501 with 7,720 violations
Hazard Communications: Standard 1910.1200 with 4,552 violations
Scaffolds/Scaffolding: Standard 1926.451 with 3,336 violations
Respiratory Protection: Standard 1910.134 with 3,118 violations
Lockout/Tagout: Standard 1910.147 with 2,944 violations
Ladders: Standard 1926.1053 with 2,812 violations
Powered Industrial Trucks: Standard 1910.178 with 2,294 violations
Fall Protection: Training requirements: Standard 1926.503 with 1,982 violations
Machine Guarding: Standard 1910.212 with 1,972 violations
Personal Protective Equipment and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection: Standard 1926.102 with 1,536 violations
Here are some things I notice about this year’s list. First of all, the top five are the exact same ones and in the exact same order as last year, and all the way back to fiscal year 2014. The next four on the list are the same as well. The only difference is the order of them going back through Continue Reading…
Back in the 14th century, sailing ships were a primary means of trading goods. To protect goods on these vessels they were insured against loss or damage. The best news for the insurance companies was to receive word that the ship had returned “safe and sound”. The word “safe” was an indication of all crew members were accounted for without injury. The word “sound” told the company the ship had not suffered any serious damage. Since then we continue to use the phrase in our daily life.
The week of August 13-19 has been designated as Nationwide Safe + Sound Week for 2018. The week is presented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Safety Council, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just to name a few. The goal is to “raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs“. All business and companies are encouraged to participate because “safe workplaces are sound business“.
The Core Elements of Safe + Sound Week
The focus of the week is on three core elements. It covers management leadership, worker participation and find and fix hazards.
Management leadership is a demonstrated commitment at the highest levels of an organization to safety and health. It means that business owners, executives, managers, and supervisors make safety Continue Reading…
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a joint guidance memorandum that is intended to provide clarity on the applicability and relationship between, DOT’s labeling requirements under the HMR and OSHA’s labeling requirements for bulk shipments under the HCS 2012.
PHMSA’s hazardous materials regulations require labeling of hazardous materials in transportation, while OSHA requires labeling on containers in the workplace.
When OSHA released its Hazcom 2012 (29 CFR Part 1910.1200) revisions, Appendix C.2.3.3 stated that “If a label has a DOT transport pictogram, the corresponding HCS pictogram shall not appear.” The Hazardous Materials Regulations state “No person may offer for transportation and no carrier may transport a package bearing any marking or label which by its color, design, or shape could be confused with or conflict with a label prescribed by this part” (49 CFR Part 172.401(b)).
My husband is a rocker. He loves heavy metal music and listens to it often. There is no better channel for him than “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM radio. Having grown up with him, I know he has attended every concert available including Bon Jovi, Ratt, Metallica, Poison, and the like. One of his best memories is seeing Motorhead perform while we were living in Austria. To this day he still goes to concerts, but now the bands include Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. What is interesting is his approach to going to concerts now as compared to when he was younger. You guessed it. The biggest change is the use of ear plugs.
I’m not sure if this change is due to getting older or the fact that being in a safety role he now realizes how damaging the level of music at these concerts is to his hearing. (You can insert your own joke about men or women having “selective” hearing here.)
Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge
In a recent press release OSHA indicated that every year 22 million workers risk losing their hearing due to workplace noise hazards. The estimated worker’s compensation costs for this disability is around $242 million. This is too high! Employers warn of hearing hazards in the workplace and often require workers to wear hearing protection. In a Continue Reading…
As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.
Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.
In Muriel Rukeyser’s book, The Book of the Dead, which is considered poetry, it tells of the historical Hawk’s Nest Incident. It is the grand truth told of one of the worst industrial disasters in US history. It happened in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. This story is particularly near to my heart, because my grandparents and our extended family are from the area. When I was a young girl we used to frequent the area often to camp and visit our family. I remember hearing stories of some of my ancestors working in the tunnels and mines of West Virginia but it was only years later, as an adult, that I realized what that actually meant.
The Hawk’s Nest Incident revolves around the contraction of silicosis while constructing a power plant. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such as mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can inhibit your ability to breathe. The most common warning sign shown by sick people is shortness of breath. Silicosis is contracted through inhaling rock dust that contains silica dust. Blasting away at the rock in order to Continue Reading…
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:
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”.
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 Continue Reading…
One of the most common tests for determining hazard classification is the flash point. This humble piece of physical information is defined in various ways in various regulations, but generally is the lowest temperature at which the vapours from a flammable liquid will ignite near the surface of the liquid, or in a test vessel. This can be critical for safety, because this temperature will be the lowest possible for the liquid to cause a flash fire if released or spilled. If the material can be handled and transported at temperatures lower than the flash point, the fire risk will be much smaller.
The flash point has become the standard test for classifying flammable liquids. It’s used by the U.S. OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) and HMR (Hazardous Materials Regulations) classification systems, as well as Canada’s WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) and TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations).
Obtaining a flash point on a new product is usually easy enough. Many laboratories, particularly those that deal with petrochemicals, can perform the test for a reasonable charge. If your company has too many products to make outsourcing practicable, a flash point tester itself is comparatively low cost (as scientific apparatus goes), and a trained person can obtain data quickly and efficiently. However, both of these options do cost money. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a Continue Reading…