NIOSH updates ergonomics guide

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has updated its 20-year-old guide to ergonomics to reflect a stronger emphasis on the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs).

Though the 1997 primer “Elements of Ergonomic Program” remains an active document/reference guide for NIOSH, a new partner webpage increases the focus on WMSDs and the necessary steps employers and workers should take to prevent them and other injuries related to ergonomics.

In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 31 percent, or 356,910 cases, of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were caused by musculoskeletal disorders. Of those WMSDs, the median time away from work was 12 days for each affected employee. When compared to the median time away from work from other work-related injuries, which is recorded as 8 days, it is clear that poor ergonomics training and WMSDs cost businesses more than other injuries.

NIOSH’s strengthened ergonomics webpage offers a six-step program designed to help employers identify, implement, evaluate, and maintain ways to better protect workers against WMSDs.

In our July video series, “Safety Hurdles in Health Care,” one of the episodes focused on strains, sprains and other WMSDs often suffered by health care workers. Given the physicality involved in their jobs, workers in hospitals, assisted living facilities and other health care workplaces often face a greater risk of WMSDs. Check out our safety video below.

Ergonomics also comes into play with office workers. Here’s a Safety Minute Update video on 5 tips for better ergonomic posture at the office! Don’t forget to get up, stretch, and walk around during the day. Don’t sit behind a desk for 8 hours straight!

For ergonomics training and all other occupational safety and health needs, contact the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

CDC Report Gives Insight into Young Silicosis Deaths

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most of the young people who died from silicosis worked in jobs where exposure to silica is common. As silicosis is often a disease that affects older people after years of exposure, the CDC wanted to learn more about the disease in younger people.

Between 1999 and 2015, 55 people aged 15 to 44 had pneumoconiosis (lung disease) “due to other dust containing silica” listed on their death certificates as either the underlying or contributing cause of death. Of those, 38 (69%) were assigned pneumoconiosis due to other dust containing silica. Thirty of the 38 people worked in the manufacturing and construction industries, which have high levels of silica exposure.

Seventeen of the 55 people (31%) had pneumoconiosis due to talc dust, which is a specific type of silica. Only 13 of the 17 deaths had occupation data available, and none of those 13 worked jobs that are associated with talc exposure. They also had drug use or overdose as a contributing cause of death, which suggests their deaths were not related to their occupations, according to the CDC.

The CDC concluded that the study shows more research is needed to discern how to best combat silica exposure in the workplace. The organization still suggests following the hierarchy of controls as the best way to face the issue.

Silica dust exposure has been a long-running occupational health concern with a new OSHA rule going into effect in June 2016. However, the effective date has been delayed and is now scheduled for Sept. 23, 2017. About 2.3 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica dust. Check out our infographic below for more important information about the dangers of respirable crystalline silica.

Is your business prepared for the new silica standard? OSHA’s enforcement date is less than two months away! Contact us today online or call 1-800-204-1729 to make sure your employees don’t get left in the dust.

 

 

Healthcare Workers at High Risk for Sprains and Strains

Today we’re finishing up our Safety Hurdles in Healthcare video series with a look at one of the most common workplace injuries: sprains and strains.

Handling and moving patients is by far the biggest cause of musculoskeletal disorders in the healthcare field. Back injuries alone cost the healthcare industry about $20 billion each year. Take a look at our new video below for some great ways to avoid these costly injuries.

Remember, you can keep up with our videos by following us on our various social media pages: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter.

If you’re ready to dive in and get the best workplace safety experts on your team, contact us today online or give us a call at 1-800-204-1729.

 

NSC releases State of Safety report

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The National Safety Council has graded each state in the U.S. in its “The State of Safety” report, and no state received an A grade. Twenty-six states — including Ohio — did not receive a passing grade.

The results are sobering for safety professionals, but the report itself takes a look at three broad areas in which states could improve safety measures to reduce the instances of preventable deaths.

“Preventable deaths in the United States are at an all-time high. There are 40.6 million serious, preventable injuries and over 146,000 fatalities each year, with more than half occurring at home,” according to the report.

The three areas NSC studied include Road Safety, Home and Community Safety, and Workplace Safety. See the table below for a full topic breakdown of each section’s evaluation points.

Topic Weighted Score Breakdown

Road Safety Issues
Alcohol Impaired Driving 16%
Child Passengers 16%
Distracted Driving 20%
Older Drivers 8%
Seat Belts 13%
Speeding 9%
Teen Drivers 12%
Vulnerable Road Users 6%
Total 100%

Home and Community Safety Issues
Drownings 14%
Firearms 20%
Home Fires 17%
Older Adults Falls 16%
Poisonings 19%
Youth Sports-Related Concussions 14%
Total 100%

Workplace Safety Issues
Prevention, Preparedness and Enforcement 50%
Workers’ Compensation 25%
Worker Health and Wellbeing 25%
Total 100%

Here at SCT we put our focus on Workplace Safety and protecting workers on the job. Though still not ideal, our home state of Ohio had Workplace Safety Issues as its highest-rated section in the State of Safety report. Ohio placed 19th out of 51 in Workplace Safety Issues. The 51 is comprised of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

The state of Illinois, home of our Chicago-area location, came in at 2nd overall and was the highest-ranked state in workplace safety.

Read the complete report here.

View State-by-State results here.

How did your state rank in the NSC’s State of Safety report? Do any findings surprise you?

For all your occupational safety and health needs, contact the experts at SCT at 800-204-1729 or via our website contact form.

Bloodborne Pathogens a Constant Healthcare Hazard

Nearly 6 million workers in healthcare and related fields are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, which can cause a host of serious diseases including hepatitis and HIV.

In our third video focusing on Safety Hurdles in Healthcare, find out what OSHA requires to properly protect your employees from exposure to this potentially deadly occupational hazard.

Missed an earlier video in the series? We’ve got them all right here. And while you’re at our YouTube Channel, be sure to check out the rest of our safety videos covering topics including ladder safety and outdoor working hazards.

For all of your occupational health and safety needs, contact the experts at SCT. Want to learn more about our team? Click here! 

Ask the Experts: Silica

We have another Ask the Experts segment, this time featuring SCT Regional Director Tom Bielema.

During his time working for OSHA, Mr. Bielema helped develop the new silica standard. The new rule went into effect in June 2016, but the enforcement date in construction of Sept. 23, 2017, is quickly approaching. Mr. Bielema’s most recent position with OSHA was as Area Director for the Peoria, IL, office.

Watch our conversation with Mr. Bielema to find out more details about who is impacted by the new rule, what you need to do to become OSHA compliant, and how to best protect your employees.

Did you catch our first Ask the Experts video featuring SCT Vice President of Engineering Services and former OSHA Regional Director Nick Walters? Click here to watch Mr. Walters detail the new Walking-Working Surfaces Standard.

If you want to talk to Mr. Walters, Mr. Bielema, or any of our other OSHA Experts, contact us today at 1-800-204-1729 or use our online contact page.

Safety Hurdles in the Health Care Industry

Health care workers face some of the most hazardous work environments in the country, with nearly 600,000 reported work related injuries and illnesses in 2015, the most of any private industry sector.

Throughout July, we will be tackling some of the biggest hazards facing the industry. Watch our first video of the series below.

If you need more in-depth workplace safety training or on-site workplace audits, contact SCT today. Learn more about our team of experts who boast decades of experience in the safety industry, including multiple former OSHA Area Directors.

Ask the Expert: Walking-Working Surfaces

Earlier this year, an update to the OSHA General Industry standard for Walking-Working Surfaces went into effect.

In short, the rule sought to align the General Industry standard with the Construction standards. OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.

So what exactly does the new standard mean for you and your business? Watch SCT Vice President of Engineering Services Nick Walters discuss the biggest changes. As the former OSHA Regional Administrator of Region V, which oversees six states, Mr. Walters draws on his decades of OSHA experience to provide unrivaled insight into the administration’s updated regulations. There are only 10 Regional Administrators in the country.

Keep an eye out for more videos from our team of OSHA experts who boast decades of experience working for and alongside OSHA. We’ll be covering a number of other occupational safety and health topics including silica, lead, scaffolding, lockout/tagout, and machine guarding. To learn more about our team, click here.

If you or your company needs training on the new OSHA Walking-Working Surface standard or wants one of our experts to visit your worksite for a complete analysis to identify any potential safety hazards, call us today at 1-800-204-1729.

Firework safety on the Fourth of July!

While we want all Americans to have a fun and celebratory Independence Day, as a safety company we feel a sense of obligation to talk about firework safety.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that fireworks ignite an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16, 900 outside and other fires, according to its website. An estimated 11,900 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2015, of which 51% of those were injuries to extremities and 41% were to the head.

Many of the victims involved in firework accidents are often children and teens using consumer fireworks. The NFPA has created a safety video to raise awareness about the hazards associated with using consumer fireworks.

Check out more fire-related safety videos on NFPA’s YouTube channel.

For fireworks retailers and display operators, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some recommendations for firework safety on its website:

OSHA Tips For Fireworks Retailers:

  • Keep exits clear and accessible
  • Know all exit routes
  • Maintain view of fireworks
  • Know alarm procedures
  • Know fire extinguisher location and operation
  • Remove and dispose of damaged fireworks
  • Remove loose pyrotechnic powder promptly
  • Use only non-sparking tools; do not use vacuum cleaners
  • Do not allow smoking within 50 feet of sales area
  • Keep facilities secure

OSHA Tips For Display Operators:

  • Make sure personnel are trained and competent
  • Obtain required licenses, permits and inspections
  • Maintain display site security and communications
  • Wear protective gear and proper clothing
  • Prohibit accidental ignition sources
  • Properly install mortar boxes, racks and drums
  • Keep fireworks cartons closed
  • Keep fireworks dry and in good condition
  • Always handle fireworks carefully
  • Stay away from loaded mortars

From the safety family at SCT, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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