More Beryllium Rule Changes Proposed by OSHA

Technicians examine a James Webb Space Telescope mirror, which is made out of beryllium

On June 23 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced proposed changes to the updated beryllium standard, which has already been delayed twice in recent months. OSHA is now seeking public input on the proposal.

The changes would only impact the construction and shipyard industries, leaving general industry unchanged. Additionally, OSHA announced that it would not enforce the Jan. 9, 2017, final rule while these new changes are being considered.

The permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air would stay the same, but rules requiring certain types of personal protective equipment and medical monitoring of employees would be rolled back, according to an OSHA news release.

The proposed changes are set to be published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2017. OSHA is seeking comments from the public and other interested parties during the 60-day comment period that follows the publication. Information about how to comment on the proposal can be found here.

The full list of standards that OSHA is seeking comment on include:

  • Ventilation standard in construction (1926.57)
  • Criteria for personal protective equipment standard in construction (1926.95)
  • Mechanical paint removers standard in shipyards (1915.34)
  • Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating in shipyards (1915.51)
  • Hand and body protection standard in shipyards (1915.157)
  • Confined and enclosed spaces standards in shipyards (Part 1915 Subpart B)
  • Ventilation standard in general industry for exhaust ventilation and housekeeping (1910.94(a)(4), (a)(7))1
  • Respiratory Protection standard in general industry (1910.134)1,2
  • Hazard communication standard in general industry (1910.1200)1,2

According to OSHA, beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in many industries, including aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, and telecommunications. Workers that perform abrasive blasting in construction and shipyards may also be exposed to beryllium. But beryllium is highly toxic, and workers who inhale it are at a higher risk of developing chronic beryllium disease or lung cancer. An estimated 100 people die from chronic beryllium disease each year.

Image source: NASA

Staying Safe while Working in Extreme Heat

As we approach the warm summer months here in the United States, millions of workers will have to battle the sun and heat while working outdoors.

If an employee or coworker succumbed to a heat-related illness such as heat stroke, would you know what to do? Watch our video for some helpful tips that could save a life.

To ensure your workers, both indoor and out, are prepared for all of the safety challenges that the workplace can bring, contact the experts at SCT.

Safe and Sound Week

We’re continuing our dive into Outdoor Working Hazards by discussing something that affects every single outdoor worker, no matter their occupation or location: the weather.

It’s also the first ever Safe and Sound Week, a national OSHA-led effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of proactive safety and health programs.

There’s still time to participate in this year’s Safe and Sound Week! Check out our video to learn a little more about the event, as well as tips on how to keep workers safe when severe weather strikes.

 

How to Participate

Need some help getting started? Here’s some advice:

  • Plan activities and events that include the core elements of a successful safety and health program: management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing hazards
  • Promote the events to your employees and the public
  • Get feedback and recognize your participation with a certificate from OSHA

You can also draw inspiration from others. Check out this selection of Tweets recognizing Safe and Sound Week.

 

National Forklift Safety Day

Not only does this week mark the first ever OSHA-sponsored Safe and Sound Week, but today, June 13, 2017, is also National Forklift Safety Day.

Each year, about forklift incidents result in about 61,800 non-serious injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 fatalities, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). About 42% of those accidents are people being crushed by a vehicle tipping over, and another 25% are people being crushed between vehicle and surface.

On National Forklift Safety Day, many groups including the Industrial Truck Association, are working to get the word out on the importance of proper forklift safety practices, especially the need for effective operator training. The ITA also meets with government officials on National Forklift Safety Day to discuss what lawmakers can do to help improve forklift safety nationwide.

Forklift Safety Tips

While a training course is needed to properly educate a forklift operator, here are some helpful tips to remember the next time you get behind the controls of a forklift according to OSHA:

  • Inspect the forklift for damage before each use, and if damage is found, report it to a supervisor
  • Know the load limit of your vehicle
  • Honk your horn at all cross aisles to help avoid collisions with pedestrians
  • Always look in the direction of travel. If the load blocks your view, travel in reverse
  • To avoid tipover, never turn while on a grade
  • Do not travel with the load elevated

Do you or your employees need forklift safety training? At SCT, we offer a handful of classes covering numerous powered industrial trucks, including forklifts. Contact us today by calling 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out our online form.

Occupational skin disorders: How to protect workers

Much of the focus of mitigating harmful effects of chemicals on workers is on inhalation, but according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) more than 13 million U.S. workers are exposed to occupational skin disorders from skin exposure to chemicals.

That number, 13 million, makes occupational skin disorders the second most common type of occupational illness, according to NIOSH. Of those disorders, about 90 to 95 percent are classified as contact dermatitis, with the hand being the most commonly affected area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates annual costs for contact dermatitis exceeds $1 billion.

Occupational Skin Disorders identified by the CDC:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis (skin damage and inflammation resulting from contact with hazardous agent)
  • Allergic contact dermatitis (immunological reaction involving skin inflammation with repeated exposure; worker becomes sensitized to an allergen in the hazardous agent)
  • Skin cancers
  • Skin infections
  • Skin injuries, and
  • Other miscellaneous skin diseases.

There are multiple potential causes for Occupational Skin Disorders, including chemical agents, mechanical trauma, physical agents, and biological agents. Chemical agents are the main cause of such disorders, and are divided into two types: primary irritants and sensitizers. As the names would suggest, primary irritants “act directly on the skin through chemical reactions,” and sensitizers “may not cause immediate skin reactions, but repeated exposure can result in allergic reactions,” according to the CDC.

Though all workers have the possibility for exposure to any of these potential causes, the CDC highlights the following industries: food service, cosmetology, health care, construction, agriculture, painting, mechanics, and printing/lithography.

How to Protect Against Occupational Skin Disorders

The first part in solving a problem is identifying all present hazards and exposures through a thorough gap analysis of all facilities. SCT’s safety experts consistently recommend this tool to clients as a way to recognize strengths and weaknesses and provide a way forward to ensure compliance with all regulations and safety for all workers.

Post-analysis, SCT uses the hierarchy of controls, which orders the processes that best protects workers from most effective to least effective. Solutions to most workplace hazards, including addressing Occupational Skin Disorders, involves the use of one or more controls in the hierarchy pyramid.

To schedule a gap analysis with one of SCT’s safety experts, including leading former OSHA officials, contact us via our website or by phone, 1-800-204-1729.

New Videos Cover Outdoor Working Hazards

As the weather warms up and summer approaches, millions of workers will head outside. While working outdoors has its benefits, a number of working hazards also come along with it.

In the first video of our series, learn the different types of outdoor working hazards including physical hazards, biological hazards, and vector-borne diseases.

Need workplace safety training? Does your worksite need a gap analysis?

Whether indoors or outside, the experts at SCT can ensure that your company and employees have the knowledge they need to be OSHA compliant.

Also be sure to visit SCT Supply, where we offer thousands of high quality safety products at great prices. Check out a few our outdoor working safety products below.

 

Hearing Loss & How to Reduce Your Risk

Hearing loss isn’t just reserved for Grandma and Grandpa anymore! One in five adults who said they had no on the job exposure to noise showed indicators of hearing loss, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, the February 2017 CDC Vital Signs, indicated that much of the hearing damage could be linked to “loud sounds encountered during everyday activities at home and in the community.”

“40 million Americans show some hearing damage from loud noise, with nearly 21 million reporting no exposure to loud noise at work,” said CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat in a CDC press release. “This can be distressing for people affected and their loved ones. We hope this report will help raise awareness of this problem and help clinicians reduce their patients’ risk for early hearing loss.”

According to the press release, the hearing loss report showed:

  • About 53 percent of adults with noise-induced hearing damage reported no job exposure to loud sounds. This damage—shown by a distinctive drop in the ability to hear high-pitched sounds—appeared as early as age 20.
  • Almost one in four adults ages 20 to 69 who reported good to excellent hearing already have some hearing loss.
  • Almost 1 in 5 adults who reported no job exposure to noise showed hearing damage indicative of noise exposure.
  • The presence of hearing loss increased with age, from about 1 in 5 (19%) among young adults ages 20-29 to more than 1 in 4 (27%) among adults ages 50-59.
  • Hearing loss is more common among men and people over the age of 40 years.

If your workplace exposes you to loud noises, there are some precautions you can take to prevent hearing damage:

  • Avoid noisy places whenever possible.
  • Use earplugs, protective ear muffs, or noise-canceling headphones when they are around loud noises.
  • Keep the volume down when watching television, listening to music, and using earbuds or headphones.
  • Ask their doctor for a hearing checkup.

SCT offers hearing testing services through our Occupational Health Division. We can perform hearing exams at our Middleburg Heights, Ohio, office, or we can come to you with our mobile medical van. To schedule your company’s hearing exams today, contact us through our website or by phone at 1-800-204-1729.

Focus on Fall Protection: The Training You Need

This week, we finish up this month’s Focus on Fall Protection video series. If you’ve missed any of the previous installments, check out the playlist on our YouTube channel.

You can have the best fall protection equipment money can buy, but it won’t do any good if the workers using that equipment are not trained on how to properly use it.

In this week’s video, SCT’s Director of Construction Services Dennis Hobart gives a quick tour of our 32-foot Mobile Training Simulator that can come to your worksite to offer state of the art confined space and fall protection training.

 

Focus on Fall Protection: How to Properly Fit a Harness

We’re back with another installment in our “Focus on Fall Protection” video series, and this time we’re focusing on how to properly fit a harness.

A harness is an essential component of a well functioning personal fall arrest system (PFAS). Watch the video below to find out how a harness should fit on the body and what type of harness is best suited to your industry.

Properly Fit a Harness

At SCT, we take fall protection training seriously. Falls from heights consistently appear on OSHA’s Top 10 citations list year (2017) after year (2016). As with much of our training, our experts like to take a hands-on approach when it comes to learning how to properly fit a harness.

At our Middleburg Heights, Ohio, location we have a permanent fall protection/confined space training structure that students use during our classes. We also have a 32-foot mobile simulator that we use to bring fall protection and confined space training directly to clients. Our mobile unit includes all the gear and training apparatuses to ensure students leave our classes with practical, useful knowledge on how to properly abate a fall hazard.

For all your fall protection training needs, contact the experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

Health Alert: Recognizing Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome

Have you heard of Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome? It’s a rare condition, but those in the construction trades have or will probably run across it in their careers at some point. In April, we focused on safety in the construction industry and what steps workers can take to protect themselves on the job. Check out our Construction Connection video playlist on YouTube and subscribe to SCT’s YouTube Channel for more safety videos.

The Montreal-based Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (Robert-Sauvé Research Institute for Occupational Health and Safety) recently released an informational pamphlet about Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome, a disease that is caused by repetitive trauma to the hand.

What is Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome (HHS)?

HHS is an injury to the ulnar artery that reduces blood supply to the fingers, especially impacting the third, fourth, and fifth digits (the middle, ring, and pinky fingers). Considered a traumatic injury, HHS can occur when workers “repetitively use the heel of their hand as a hammer to pound and flatten or to press or twist objects,” according to the IRRST publication.

The ulnar artery delivers oxygenated blood to the hand. Symptoms of HHS include:

  • white or blue, stiff and painful fingers
  • hypersensitivity to cold
  • decrease in muscle strength in the hand
  • impression of a palpable mass in the palm
  • pins and needles feeling or numbness in the fingers

High Risk Individuals/Careers

IRRST indicated that the following professionals/industries are at the highest risk for developing HHS:

  • factory workers
  • machinists
  • metal workers
  • construction workers, miners
  • mechanics
  • forestry workers
  • gardeners
  • landscapers
  • farmers
  • students training in any of the above fields

Common tools used by/in the high risk individuals/careers include “electrical or pneumatic vibrating tools, brush cutters/trimmers, milling machines, grinding machines, jackhammers and saws, hammers, wrenches, pliers, scissors, and presses of every kind.” Continual use and/or overuse of these tools can also cause a potential for HHS.

Prevention is Key!

Though there is no cure for HHS, the IRRST pamphlet recommends the following tips to help prevent the syndrome:

  1. use work methods that avert acute or repetitive trauma
  2. switch tasks regularly/interval work, or rest your hands during the work day
  3. use properly maintained tools meant for the task at hand
  4. don’t use the palm of your hand as a hammer to strike a tool or object
  5. don’t use excessive force when gripping tools like wrenches, scissors, etc.