September 2007


Bathroom Fall.pngEVERYONE falls down, but usually without harming more than their pride. However, national home injury statistics show that falls are a more serious public health problem than many may expect. Home Safety Council research finds that nearly 5.1 million people in America are injured by falls in and around the home on average each year.

However, the majority of U.S. adults fail to identify falls as a serious home danger. A new home safety survey conducted by the national nonprofit Home Safety Council reveals that less than 20 percent of U.S. adults identified falls as their top home safety concern.”Everyone knows how quickly and easily a fall can happen, yet most don’t realize how frequently a fall at home becomes a life-changing event — and may have permanent and serious consequences,” said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. “Our survey shows a dangerous lack of concern for falls among adults, and we believe that may keep families from putting simple falls- prevention practices in place at home.”

To help raise awareness for this important public health issue and reduce falls among people of all ages, the Home Safety Council is encouraging families to follow a few simple home safety tips to protect against falls in and around the home.

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OSHA has issued a new directive, CPL 02-02-073–Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q): Emergency Response to Hazardous Substance Releases. The directive updates policies and provides clarification to ensure uniform enforcement of the provisions in the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard that cover emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard. It revises CPL 02-02-059, issued April 24, 1998.

Enforcement procedures for compliance officers who need to conduct inspections of emergency response operations are included in the revision. It defines additional terms and expands on training requirements for emergency responders and other groups such as skilled support personnel. New guidance is provided on how HAZWOPER may apply to unique events such as terrorist attacks and addresses OSHA’s role under the National Response Plan. OSHA says the update will assist other federal, state, and local personnel who have responsibilities under incident command systems and will assist in emergency response operations.

The instruction updates policy and provides clarification on the following issues:

  • HAZWOPER’s application to a terrorist incident response involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials.
  • OSHA’s relationship with Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-5), including discussion addressing the National Response Plan (NRP), the Worker Safety and Health Support Annex, and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  • OSHA’s National Emergency Management Plan (NEMP) and Regional Emergency.
  • Management Plans (REMPs).
  • Definition of “First Receivers.”
  • OSHA’s “Best Practices for Hospital-Based First Receivers of Victims from Mass
  • Casualty Incidents Involving the Release of Hazardous Substances.”
  • Shelter-in-Place.
  • Damaged packages during shipping.
  • Skilled Support Personnel.
  • Emergency responder training levels.
  • Medical Surveillance for emergency responders.
  • Computer-based training.
  • Updates to citation guidelines.

QUINCY, MA — The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that now is the perfect time to Get Ready! for a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month and NFPA is urging the public to take time this month to prepare for a disaster before one strikes.

Get Ready! Preparing Your Community for a Disaster is a comprehensive disaster preparedness guide developed by NFPA to make the daunting task of preparing for the unknown more manageable. The kit was recently sent to 30,000 fire departments across the country as a resource for them to help their community prepare. Materials are also available for download at no charge. Most materials are also available in Spanish.

“Preparing yourself, your family, and your community for the unexpected can be a frightening endeavor, but being caught unprepared in the face of disaster can prove to be deadly,” said Judy Comoletti, assistant vice president of public education for NFPA. “The Get Ready! program is designed to help people develop their emergency plan by putting much needed informational materials at their fingertips.”

Disastrous events in recent years have served as reminders that there is no single preparedness tool more important than a plan. Get Ready!  Preparing Your Community for a Disaster provides a foundation for understanding what to do, where to go, and how to survive in a disaster. Informational sheets provide guidance on what to do before, during, and after an incident on the following topics: home fires, blackouts, hurricanes, landslides, thunderstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, national security, volcanoes, extreme heat, nuclear incidents, wildfires, floods, older adults, winter storms, hazardous materials, people with disabilities, and pets. The guide also provides a lesson plan and presentation materials, making conducting a workshop easy. A family emergency plan is available for download as well as an emergency supplies kit checklist.

Get Ready! Preparing Your Community for a Disaster was developed by NFPA for fire departments nationwide. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness.

NFPA suggests the following tips to keep in mind when preparing for a disaster. Visit www.nfpa.org/disaster for more detailed information.

How to prepare before a disaster:

  • Be informed
  • Make a plan
  • Get a kit
  • Volunteer to help others

Have an emergency plan that includes:

  • Escape and evacuation routes
  • Family communications
  • Utility shut-off and safety
  • Vital records
  • Specific needs
  • Caring for animals
  • Safety skills

Get an emergency supplies kit that at a minimum includes:

  • Bottled water: A minimum three-day supply of water. A seven-day supply is best, with a three-day supply ready to take with you. One gallon of water per person, per day is recommended.
  • Food: Avoid foods that cause thirst. Include canned foods, dry mixes, and other nonperishable food. Remember to include a hand can opener.
  • A battery-powered radio with extra batteries or a hand-crank radio
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Sanitation and hygiene items
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • A whistle
  • Extra clothing
  • Cooking utensils
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards
  • Cash
  • Items for infants
  • Specific needs items
  • A personal pack for children
  • Download an emergency supplies kit checklist

 

IN an effort to help prevent injuries, illnesses and property damage, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) offers the following safety tips for businesses to use following a disaster. Although there is no one-size-fits-all program, these tips may help. First, businesses should do a hazard evaluation and assessment performed by a safety professional. Please note the following tips suggested to be done following a catastrophe such as a hurricane:

Structural Security: Have the structural integrity of the building or facility validated by qualified professionals before anyone enters the facility.

Safe Entry: Contact the proper government agencies to get approval to resume occupancy of the building. Do not enter a facility or building unless the proper clearances have been attained.

Cleanup Safety: Implement your cleanup and business resumption processes in a safe and healthful manner. You will accomplish nothing if your employees are injured or killed during the post-disaster phase-in period. Provide training in proper selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for your employees and yourself such as eyewear, gloves and dust masks/respirators for cleaning, and where appropriate in other operations.

Air Quality Assessment: Make sure the atmosphere in the workplace environment is tested for asbestos and other chemical/toxic agents. Air quality is an issue businesses may wish to pay careful attention to when restarting business operations.

Ventilation: Have vents checked to assure that water heaters and gas furnaces are clear and operable. Dust and debris can stop or impede airflow decreasing its quality and healthfulness. Safely start up heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which include prior inspection of lines before energizing and pressurizing of the systems. Test your systems now after inspection or have a qualified specialist do so. Blow cold air through HVAC systems first, as opposed to warm air, as it will help prevent the growth of mold in duct systems.

Interior, Exterior Exposures: For interior spaces, ensure no wall or ceiling materials are in danger of falling. If such exposures do exist, the work environment is not ready for occupancy. Check for cracked windows and outside building materials, as these could fall onto pedestrians at any time — now and in the future.

Protection Equipment: For fire and smoke alarms it is important to assure that these have been cleaned and tested before allowing occupancy of the building. If such systems are wired into other systems, ensure that they are still compatible and work in an efficient and effective manner. Thorough inspection of firefighting systems such as sprinkler and chemical equipment functions is a must do item.

Electrical Safety: Have checks made of electrical systems, computer cables and telecommunications’ equipment to ensure that they are still safe and there is no danger of exposure to electricity. Wiring inspections should be conducted from the outside in to ensure all wiring and connections are not in danger of shorting out due to water damage from rain or fire-fighting efforts.

Use Existing Federal Guidelines: Utilize existing start-up guidance materials provided by government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), http://www.fema.gov, and NIOSH, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh.

Health/Sanitation Issues: The general facility sanitation systems with the facility should be inspected and tested to guard against potential employee exposure to toxic agents. Food sanitation should also be an issue. Any unused foodstuffs should be discarded. If the workspace has a kitchen, inspect oven hoods and other ventilation devices to ensure they are not clogged and are working efficiently.

Office Furniture: Inspect the furniture to ensure it can withstand expected loads and usages. Ensure that binder bins (storage devices screwed or bolted to railing systems on walls and panels) have not become unstable due to water damage or shaking due to explosions. Inspect office equipment to ensure it is level, stable, and cannot tip over.

Lighting: Make sure there are adequate illumination levels for employees. Emergency lighting should be checked to ensure it operates and functions in the correct manner.

Emergency Planning: Ensure that there is a clear path of egress for the emergency evacuation of employees, that the fire extinguishers are still operable and that checks for damage and serviceability are made to see if any fire extinguishers’ facilities were used during the disaster. If damage is found, they should be replaced immediately.

Solid/Hazardous Waste Removal: Broken glass, debris or other materials with cutting edges should be safely gathered and disposed immediately. Ensure that such materials can be disposed of before collection to avoid creating even bigger hazards for both employees and the public. Solid waste disposal will be an issue, especially if hazardous waste is involved. Evaluate waste disposal issues prior to beginning clean-up operations to ensure it can be properly disposed of. ASSE’s free “Hazardous Materials Safety Information Guide” has key info on this and is available by contacting customerservice@asse.org.

Power Checks: If there is no access to electricity on the site, do not use fueled generators or heaters indoors. Ensure that there are no gas and sewer leaks in your facility. You will need to check with your local utilities for information regarding power, gas, water, and sewer usage.

Check Mainframes: If your facility has mainframe computer applications, see that lines and cabling for chiller systems are checked to avoid chemical leak out.

Emergency Procedures: Create a new emergency plan and distribute it to employees as soon as they return to work. In case of emergency, designate a place for employees to gather once out of the building or a phone number they should call following the emergency so that all can be accounted for. Frequently update the emergency contact list of names and phone numbers.

Machine Inspections: Inspect the condition of drain, fill, plumbing and hydraulic lines on processes and machines. It would be prudent to have plumbing lines evaluated and tested in order to detect any hazardous gases.

Surfaces: Make sure flooring surfaces are acceptable and free from possible slips, trips and falls — the second leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the United States. ANSI standard A1264 – protection of floor and wall openings is a good starting point.

 

 For more than a decade now, EPA has joined governments, communities and citizens taking part in National Pollution Prevention Week. Pollution prevention measures can protect the environment before pollution even begins, save energy and natural resources, and leave our homes, schools and workplaces cleaner and safer.

In 2007 National Pollution Prevention Week is September 17-23, and this year’s theme urges us to “Take the Next Step” toward sustainability. How? Well, if you are recycling – great, keep it up. You can also take a few steps that will prevent pollution before it occurs like switching to “ENERGY STAR” light bulbs or joining a car pool. Learn more ideas on how you and your family can prevent pollution and “take the next step” with helpful tips on a variety of topics. If every person made just one change, the impact would be tremendous.

Tips to help you get started with pollution prevention right now!
At Home    

Use less water, less energy, reduce your trash 

At Work    

Commute smarter, green your building, reduce, reuse, recycle

In the Garden    

Spend less energy, resources, money on landscaping

 On the Road

Improve your mileage, use less gas

Why is it so important to reduce the sources of pollution?
Reducing pollution before it ever gets to the environment is one of the most important ways to protect the environment. By reducing our energy and creating less waste, for example, we reduce the need for expensive environmental controls, treatment, disposal – and even cleanup. Pollution prevention has grown from a good idea many years ago to one of the principal ways our country protects the environment. As a result, our land, air and water are cleaner and safer. In the past decade, reductions from pollution prevention have been remarkable, for example, cutting billion pounds of hazardous materials, saving trillions of BTUs of energy, and conserving billions of gallons of water.

Use this Web site to learn more about how pollution prevention is helping to reduce pollution, conserve resources and protect our health and environment. For more information, see EPA’s Pollution Prevention Web site.

Pollution Prevention in Action at EPA
At EPA we too are reducing pollution at our office “home” by reducing our environmental impacts and preventing pollution. Our actions range from seeking sources of alternative energy to recycling and purchasing environmentally friendlier products. EPA is the first federal agency to purchase green power equal to 100 percent of its estimated annual electricity use nationwide. Read more about how EPA is going green.

Unsafe Scaffold.pngScaffolding accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths at American workplaces. In fact, scaffolding is the single most frequently OSHA-cited construction safety standard. No employee should use or assemble a scaffold without a complete understanding of how to do so safely. OSHA recommends that employees:

  • Before using a scaffold, test its durability using at least four times the amount of weight it is intended to support.
  • Equip all open sides of a scaffold with protective guardrails.
  • Keep scaffolds at least 10 feet away from electric power lines.
  • Inspect the rigging on suspension scaffolds frequently-OSHA requirements call for an inspection at least once per work shift.
    OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page for Scaffolding is a resource that employers and employees can use to understand the OSHA regulations applicable to scaffolding. In addition, OSHA’s Construction eTool has a page devoted to improper scaffold construction to help employees prevent scaffolding hazards at their workplaces. Other OSHA resources offering ways that employers can keep their employees safe on the job include the Supported Scaffold Safety Tips (English/Spanish) and Supported Scaffold Inspection Tips (English/Spanish) QuickCards(tm).
  • Construction Site

    A recent article talks about who OSHA is citing on a construction site with regards to a recent ruling, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Secretary of Labor v. Summit Contractors, Inc.

    OSHA enforcement is alive and well especially on construction sites. For one thing, construction sites are very visible. Many an inspection has been initiated by an OSHA compliance officer driving by who believes he or she sees a dangerous condition in plain sight. Also, construction accidents draw a lot of attention

    If you are involved in the shipment of hazardous materials, you should attend one of the DOT’s PHMSA Transportation worshops. Below is a schedule of the workshops and locations.

    2007 Hazmat Transportation Workshop Brochure (fillable pdf 644KB)

    Hazmat Transportation Workshop Schedule (See brochure for pre-registration)

    Date Location Details Seating Limitation October 24, 2006 Rapid City, SD Best Western Ramkota 2111 North LaCrosse St.
    Rapid City, SD 57701
    Reservations: 605-343-8550
    200 December 5, 2006 Jackson, MS MS TelCom Center
    105 E. Pascagoula Street
    Jackson, MS 39201
    300
    December 7, 2006 Mobile, AL Mobile Convention Center
    One South Water Street
    Mobile, AL 36602
    300
    January 30, 2007 Tulsa, OK Tulsa Technology Center
    Riverside Campus
    801 E 91 ST.
    Tulsa, OK 74132
    230
    February 1, 2007 Little Rock, AR Statehouse Convention Center
    #1 Statehouse Plaza
    Little Rock, AR 72116
    200
    March 1, 2007 Wisconsin Dells, WI Chula Vista Resort
    2501 N. River Road
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
    Reservations: 800-388-4782
    200
    September 11, 2007 Rio Grande Valley area Knapp Medical Center
    1401 E. Eighth Street
    Weslaco, TX 78596
    300
    December 11, 2007 Beaumont, TX
    December 13, 2007 Baton Rouge, LA
    February 5, 2008 San Juan, PR
    February 7, 2008 Ponce, PR
    April 1, 2008 Hampton/Newport News, VA
    April 3, 2008 Wilmington/Newark, DE
    May 7, 2008 Nashville, TN
    May 9, 2008 Louisville, KY
    August 26, 2008 Fargo, ND
    August 28, 2008 Minneapolis, MN