Friday, August 26, 2016
Are You Being Controlled By A Parasite?
Really!? “No!!!” you say. How do you know? I just watched a TED Talk by Ed Yong, who has a PhD in biochemistry and reports on science issues for The Atlantic. In 15 minutes, Yong discusses Zombie Roaches and other parasites that have the ability to control the minds and actions of their hosts, including all form of mammal. I’m a mammal and it left me drifting in the world of science fiction. According to Yong, one third of the world’s people are believed to have brain parasites. Are they just “there?” Or do they actually impact behavior in some way? Do they impact Presidential candidates? Perhaps we shouldn’t go there; but you should go to Yong’s talk at http://www.npr.org/2016/03/18/470535665/can-we-fall-prey-to-hidden-parasites
Falls Cause Most Deaths from Traumatic Brain Injury in Construction
The next time you see construction workers on scaffolding or a roof tens of feet above the ground, bear in mind that their occupation is one of the most dangerous in the country. From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died from work-related traumatic brain injury (TBI), usually as the result of a fall from a height, according to a recent study at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The risk of dying from a TBI varied according to sex, age, country of birth, occupation, and size of the construction company. To read the NIOSH report, click here. http://tinyurl.com/ju8xzt3
The More The Boss Makes, The Less Workers Approve
The careers web site The Glassdoor, in a statistical analysis, has found that the more money corporate CEOs make for their “great” performance, the lower the ratings they get from their workers. "No matter how you look at the data, we found a negative link between CEO pay and CEO approval ratings,” says the report. The explanation of this finding seems to be that people (workers) pay attention and that high CEO pay suggests high CEO quality, but workers know better. The study also found other factors that impact CEO approval ratings. You’ll find this very interesting piece of work from the Washington Post at http://tinyurl.com/znrb2n3
Light Pollution Has Huge Impact
Look at a photo of earth from space and you can clearly identify the major cities of the World…and many smaller ones. Step outside to watch a meteor shower and realize that the only light show you’ll see is the human-generated glow around you. Work in an environment with excessive light and you’ll find discomfort and other adverse health effects. I didn’t realize the full significance of light pollution until I watched a three-minute video produced by the Aeon Media Group titled “Lost In Light”. You’ll find it here. http://tinyurl.com/jzj5yev
Campus Carry In Austin
A 2015 Texas law has legalized the carrying of concealed firearms on college campuses. As it turns out, hundreds of students and faculty at the University of Texas in Austin, the site of the bell tower mass shooting fifty years ago on August 1st, are not happy about the move. Even though a very small percentage of students are eligible to have concealed carry permits, the effort to keep guns off campus has gained considerable strength. In researching ways to protest the law, one student checked the school rulebook that follows the state obscenity clause. At the University of Texas at Austin, “it’s a misdemeanor to openly brandish or distribute these objects that portray the human genitalia in turgid form.” Thus was born the protest method to be used this fall called “Cocks Not Glocks” featuring, you guessed it, the open display of dildos. For the full story, click here. http://tinyurl.com/znzr9ko
Avoid The Left Lane…You’ll Make Driving Safer
The speed limit is 65 and you’re driving 65, so you’re okay in the left lane on a multi-lane highway, right? No! The rule is always pass left and then return to the right lane. Most states make it illegal to park in the left lane and, get this; it’s much safer if you stay in the right lane except when passing. To learn why and watch a video that discusses this issue, click here. http://www.vox.com/2016/8/26/12648826/highway-driving-slowly-left-lane
Washing Machine Increases School Attendance
Wow! Think about it. Poor kids skip school not because they are bored or bad or on the prowl for trouble, it’s because they don’t have clean clothes to wear to school. This was the finding of a St. Louis elementary school principal. She approached Whirlpool for a washer and dryer for her school that was made available all day for children to bring in clothes from home to wash. In the first year, over 90% of the tracked students increased their attendance and also showed more motivation in class. This shows what a good investigation and creative solution will yield. See the full story at http://tinyurl.com/gwsymfp
English Village Becomes Climate Leader
There are still plenty of climate change deniers, but you won’t find them in Ashton Hayes, England. The 1,000 folks who live there have joined to cut emissions by 24% in the past ten years. No government help. No push from outsiders. Simply a realization that things had to change and a common approach to make it happen. To read the full New York Times article, click here. http://tinyurl.com/hnseefs
Pain Relief. What Works?
All pain relievers…aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen…carry risks and negative side effects. However, a study of research points to ibuprofen as the safest of the three and most effective. To read the report on the pain reliever of choice, click here. http://www.vox.com/2015/8/17/9165189/best-painkiller-tylenol-aspirin-advil
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Toyota Uncontrolled Acceleration—The Myth
Malcolm Gladwell, the English-born Canadian journalist and author of the best-selling Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, is on my desktop again with a new podcast series called “Revisionist History” in which he reports on the real story behind some well-known events in history. Episode eight—The Blame Game—is one my friends in the safety business will find fascinating. Beginning in the summer of 2009, Toyota owners by the hundreds reported their cars were suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating. Toyota recalled 10 million vehicles, paid fines in excess of $1 billion and settled endless lawsuits. After all that, Gladwell has now shown that it was not the cars, it was the drivers. The drivers became confused and pressed the accelerator to the floor yet never touched the brake. As with so many other situations, the problem was exclusively human error. You’ll find this well researched and documented story on-line at http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/08-blame-game
Improving Trauma Care
Jerry Laws, editor of OHS magazine, has a fascinating editorial in the August issue of the magazine. He reports that 20% of all U.S. trauma deaths (30,000 people in 2014) could have been saved through better care. To get that care, he says, the country should combine military and civilian trauma care systems. Military medicine has learned much from the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan that can be utilized in civilian care. And, with the demand on the military trauma system lessening, military medical personnel could keep their skills current by working in the civilian system. Jerry is simply reporting an idea that comes from a medical study group. To read the full editorial, click here. http://tinyurl.com/zou4yas
Poison Ivy Blues
At about age 55, I became susceptible to poison ivy. I can find it quicker than I can find a lost golf ball, but it still finds me once or twice a season. I’ve come to consider myself something of an expert on the identification, eradication and treatment of poison ivy exposure but I ran across a video the other day that was mind-boggling. In it, Jim Brauker, PhD (in biomedical science studying skin inflammation) demonstrates that it’s the abrasion of a damp washcloth that does the most effective job of removing the urushiol oil. To see his demonstration, click here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oyoDRHpQK0 The next time I’m exposed, I’ll test the theory myself.
Crime Reduction Takes A New Tack
When I was consulting with the Rochester Police Department in the 1990s, the New York City approach to crime (broken windows and stop and frisk) was the model. Preemptive strikes, you might call them. Logically, they made sense. But now, 25 years later, the data says otherwise. As a result of strong community pressure —and a federal judge’s ruling that “stop and frisk” was unconstitutional—the last two NYC police commissioners have been phasing out the practice. So has crime increased? Not at all! It’s gone down! To see a CityLab report from The Atlantic on the subject, click here. http://tinyurl.com/ja57snn
Gender-Separated Privy Use
Historically, toilet spaces were gender-neutral. Everyone shared the same bathroom. With the arrival of the Victorian era and industrialized workspaces, however, there came a feeling that the public spaces were for men and the women (who were viewed as weaker and prone to bouts of hysteria) needed private spaces. This view was codified in Massachusetts in 1887 and was the law in 40 states by 1920. During this period we also found racially segregated toilet facilities. Today, we’ve come to realize that sexual classification is not as easy as it once was and the old fears of predators, disease and the unclean now combine with gross misinformation to make the whole topic of bathrooms politically and socially offensive. The solution, enlightened people believe, is to return to the gender-neutral bathrooms of old. To read an interesting and helpful Vox article on the topic, click here. http://tinyurl.com/hc6vzrk
Traffic Laws DO Make Us Safer!
Research by the Auto Insurance Center looked at several aspects of driving safety and the associated laws and found a direct correlation between enforcement of laws and a traffic safety. For example, where speed limits are higher, fatalities are more common. The states with the highest fine level for failure to use seat belts have the lowest seat belt-preventable fatality rates. In fact, there are 15 kinds of laws that would make driving much safer if all states adopted them. In the meantime, try driving in the states that do have the strictest laws and enforcement. The source article for this topic is in the Washington Post at this link. http://tinyurl.com/jhlxdpk
How About A Six-Hour Work Day?
You bet! Trial runs of a six-hour workday in Sweden are proving to be very effective. First, it’s much easier to stay focused on tasks over six-hours. Productivity does not suffer, health is better, time with family is extended, and people are happier and better rested. You’ll find a full article on the topic at this link. http://www.sciencealert.com/sweden-is-shifting-to-a-6-hour-workday
Maintainers Make the World Go Round
It’s the innovators who get the glory…Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, George Eastman…but it’s the maintainers who keep society moving. At a conference this spring, participants looked at how some of history’s biggest disasters were the result of deferred infrastructure maintenance. Other topics discussed were the role of cleanliness in industry and the importance of the caregiver. Most labor is said to be involved in keeping things going. The full CityLab article on the Maintainers is at http://tinyurl.com/h84fk5o
It’s Break Time
How’s this for a lead on a story about productivity? “As a general rule, you should take more breaks than you already are. Studies show that in the morning, we can work for (at most) 90 minutes at a time before we begin to lose focus. Throughout the day, we should break for about 15 minutes for every hour we work.” No kidding! Why didn’t I know about this 45 years ago? See the full blog article by Chris Bailey here. http://alifeofproductivity.com/exactly-how-long-your-work-breaks-should-be/
Friday, July 8, 2016
OSHA Penalties Increase January 1, 2017
Civil penalties for violation of various federal regulations have not increased since 1990, so in 2015 Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act to allow federal agencies to add an inflation adjuster to penalties. Really, it’s true, Congress actually did something! One result is that OSHA maximum penalties will see an increase of 78%. Specifically, the existing $7,000 maximum penalty for Serious violations, Other-Than-Serious violations, violations of Posting Requirements and Failure to Abate will all go to $12,471. The $70,000 Willful or Repeated violation maximum now becomes $124,709.
Temporary Workers In the “Gig” Economy
Who’s responsible for the safety and health of temps? OSHA’s answer: it’s a two-way obligation, with both agencies and host employers having responsibilities. In 2014, the agency issued a memorandum to its regional administrators stating, “In general, OSHA will consider the staffing agency and host employer to be ‘joint employers’ of the worker… as joint employers, both the host employer and the staffing agency have responsibilities for protecting the safety and health of the temporary worker under the OSH Act.”
This guidance comes from the ISHN June 2016 issue cover story, written by my long-time friend and editor, Dave Johnson. This is part One of a series that addresses a critical and growing issue in business. To read the full article, including some Chip Dawson quotes, click here. http://www.ishn.com/articles/104138-safety-in-the-gig-economy?
See a hazard? You know the rules. Eliminate it if you can. If not, control it until a permanent solution can be found. That’s why I give a big kudo to the owner of a small shopping complex where a driver struck a brick-encased pillar causing deformation and a loss of numerous bricks. Let me be clear, however. The praise is for creativity and not for problem resolution. You can see what I’ve writing about in the accompanying photo.
Hands-Only CPR Saving More Lives
The old CPR rules have changed. Gone are the detailed instructions about when you breathe for a patient and when you do chest compressions. Too complicated for many and troublesome for others who feared clamping their mouth over that of a stranger. No longer do you need to check for a pulse, clear an airway or watch for evidence of air intake. Now it’s “pump the chest until help arrives!” People can learn in 60 seconds to do basic chest compressions at 100 beats a minutes and get a 50% survival rate! To read a Washington Post article on the new approach, click here. http://tinyurl.com/h7frrj3
Ivanka Trump Scarves Recalled For Flammability Standard Violation
So sorry to have to bring you this news, but the CPSC has ordered the recall of over 20,000 Ivanka Trump-branded scarves, Beach Wave, in blue, coral and yellow; and Brushstroke Oblong, in blue, red, neutral and green. Both scarves are 76 inches long by 24 inches wide. Scarves are 100 percent rayon with a machine-rolled hem. A black label with “IVANKA TRUMP” embroidered in silver is sewn on the edge of the scarves. Reportedly, the scarves do not meet the federal flammability standards for clothing textiles, posing a burn risk. The scarves were sold at Century 21, Lord & Taylor, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Stein Mart retail stores nationwide, and online at amazon.com and loehmanns.com from October 2014 through January 2016 for between $12 and $68. How’s that for a price range?! Consumers can contact GBG Accessories Group toll-free at 888-771-9047 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or via email at IvankaTrumpRecall@globalbrandsgroup.com for more information and a full refund. No report of any involvement by daddy in this matter.
Straight Answers To Scary Symptoms
We’ve all done it. We become aware of a couple of weird symptoms and run to Google for the answer to what’s happening in our bodies. And what do we get? Probably a discussion of some strange and fatal disease that gives you days to live and puts you in an immediate panic. Or perhaps several choices on how you are about to have your life take a nosedive. Now those days are gone. Google has partnered with Harvard Medical and the Mayo Clinic to create “symptom search” where you get information about common health problems that can be related to your symptoms along with self-help treatment. If it’s serious, they’ll suggest you call your doctor. Much of the time, however, you have one of the most likely problems rather than the most serious outcomes. The Washington Post has a helpful article on the topic at http://tinyurl.com/j8yvoyf
It’s A Beautiful Day In Safetyville
Safetyville is in Los Angles aboard the L. A. Metro. As we all know, there are many potential hazards on and around subways and urban trains and too often, warning signs are simply ignored or overlooked. Not in L. A. PSA’s running now in Los Angles use stick figures to discuss basic rules and show the outcome if the rules are not followed. They are getting attention and might be worth considering when putting together a workplace rules package in your business. The Atlantic’s CityLab has done a good job of illustrating the PSA’s. See http://tinyurl.com/jbow5z6
No Fireworks Please
For some reason, people young and old seem to love fireworks. I spent 20 years in the Navy and I know about real fireworks. They are powerful and destructive and very loud (I have hearing loss to prove it). I also know the amount of care that goes into handling naval projectiles. It’s serious business and that’s why I cringe at the idea of thousands of rank amateurs treating a variety of explosives (many of them illegal) as toys and playthings during the nights around every patriotic holiday. When people play with explosives, people get hurt. See the graphic accompanying this story (courtesy of the Washington Post and the CPSC) to find out how many and when injuries occur.
Computer Vision Syndrome Growing Problem
Burning eyes. Chronic headaches. Musculoskeletal problems. Psychosocial stress. If you spend three or more hours a day looking at a computer screen and are aware of these symptoms, you may well be suffering from computer vision syndrome. And, studies show, 70 to 90% of people who use computers extensively for work or play will develop one or more of the symptoms. For more on the causes and some solutions, see the New York Times article on the topic at this link. http://tinyurl.com/zbzbsev
Manslaughter Charge Filed Against Brooklyn Construction Company Owner
Salvatore Schirripa, 66, owner of J & M Metro General Contracting Corp, and Metrotech Development Corp. was arraigned in June before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an eight-count indictment in which he and his companies are variously charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, second-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, second-degree criminal possession of a false instrument, violation of the workers’ compensation law, and willful failure to pay contributions to the unemployment insurance fund. From all appearances, it appears that Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson is taking an aggressive stand against workplace safety violations, this one being just the latest in a series of indictments. The charges stem from the death of 50-year-old Vidal Sanchez-Ramon in a fall from an unprotected work area on the sixth floor of a building under construction. To read the account of this case, and related issues in the Brooklyn DA’s press release, click here. http://tinyurl.com/gwqfyoh
Sun Protection IS An OSHA Issue
Far too many employers don’t realize it, but environmental hazards such as sunburn, poison ivy rash, insect bites, heat exhaustion and dehydration that can significantly impact outdoor workers are hazards and risks that must be addressed. In addition, they must be addressed using the most effective methods. This then brings me to the issue of sunscreen. There are many sunscreens on the market that are ineffective or nearly useless and many employees (as well as family members) may not know how to select and use the best protection. The solution is for employers to do the research and then provide both the appropriate sunscreens and training on how to ensure effective use. Fortunately, all the answers to the most common sunscreen questions are contained in a helpful article published recently on Vox. You’ll find it at this link. http://www.vox.com/2016/6/3/11831114/sunscreen-questions-faq
Does The Automobile Make Sense In Today’s Environment?
“No!” says a recent article in The Atlantic’s CityLab. Why? They are terribly inefficient in their use of fuel. They take an average of ten years off the lives of the 53,000 people who die as a result of being exposed to their pollutants each year. From an investment standpoint, cars are a hugely underutilized asset. Perhaps most importantly, their use results in over 30,000 highway deaths annually. Compare that with the average of deaths in airplane crashes since 9/11—36 per year! There’s more to the argument against cars. You can read it by clicking here. http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/04/the-absurd-primacy-of-the-automobile-in-american-life/477882/
No kidding, science has found that trees sleep at night. The reason is not all that clear, but there is also evidence that all organisms follow a 24-hour circadian rhythm. How all this applies to occupational safety is also uncertain; but it does suggest to me that when we try to force changes to our circadian rhythms we are bucking nature. Read the Vox article here. http://www.vox.com/2016/5/19/11700690/trees-sleep
All About Statistics
Where do we find workplace injury, illness and death statistics? The simple answer is that the folks at the CDC are hard at work generating the information. But, if you’d like to learn much more about statistics gathering and organization, a recent blog by a CDC epidemiologist has some good information and many links to data. You’ll find it by clicking here. http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2016/04/25/workplace-burden-data/
Monday, May 16, 2016
Call Me Picky
I really enjoy reading my daily update from CityLab, a service of The Atlantic. Their short reports cover interesting research and observations published nowhere else, including several of interest to safety professionals that you’ll find referenced on this page. The report that starts this issue of the Digest deals with invasive pests and the huge impact they are having on U. S. trees. It’s information we all need to know. You’ll find the report here http://tinyurl.com/zty7wue Now, what makes me picky? Look at the opening photo in the article. See the guy with the chain saw? Gloves, chaps, vest—and a hard hat with hearing protection sitting six inches above his head covering a hood. The hood cancels most of the hearing protection and the hard hat might as well be a halo. And eye protection? No way! Pick—pick—pick!
In A Disaster, Do What You Know!
An excellent article from the Natural Hazards Center points to lessons we can learn from the film “The Martian” and the September 11 disaster in Manhattan. Often the advice for dealing with a disaster is to see the big picture. Good advice for those leading the operation, but for most of us, you need to do what you know. Quoting one line in the article—“We sometimes forget the value of improvisation done with expertise, vigilance, and the desire to achieve a shared vision.” Managing the disaster takes lots of people with many ideas using their own skills and bending the rules to make the right things happen. You’ll find the article at http://tinyurl.com/harqnk8
Tornado! Seek Shelter!
Tornados have been relentlessly attacking much of the central and eastern United States this Spring with a fury that seems to be increasing with global warming. My personal preference is to live in Upstate New York where tornados are rare and weak. Next would be a storm cellar, but the National Weather Service (NWS) says that any shelter is better odds than being in the open or a vehicle. To prove their point, NWS staffers in Norman, OK, responding to a tornado north of Sulphur, OK, found a young boy who sheltered in the bathroom in the middle of his house and got in the tub. You’ll find the resulting photo in the CityLab article located here. http://tinyurl.com/jql4xwt
OSHA Issues New Rule Rule On Injury and Illness Reporting
Rules on workplace Injury and Illness Reporting have been changing regularly since the original rule was issued in 1971. Low hazard exemptions were added in 1982. A major rule change was issued in 2001 and the reporting of serious injuries and deaths was amended in 2013. Additional data surveys have been required through the OSHA Data Initiative and regular OSHA or BLS surveys. However, OSHA generally obtains industry-specific data from employers outside the occasional surveys when an establishment is being inspected. This new rule will change that.
Beginning January 1, 2017, establishments with 250 or more employees that are required to keep records under Part 1904 must submit all OSHA forms 300, 300A and 301 to OSHA electronically. For those with between 20 and 250 employees and that are part of an industry listed in Appendix A to subpart E, the same forms must be submitted. Employee names and identifiers should NOT be submitted.
For a copy of the rule (all 273 pages), the regulatory text, fact sheets, FAQs and more, go to the OSHA Final Rule web page at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/index.html. You’ll find the text of the rule toward the end.
Urban Green Space Fights Crime
A new body of evidence suggests that adding greenery in vacant or gray settings reduces criminal activity nearby. Essentially, the research shows, if you take care of trees, shrubs and lawns, people will care for the rest of the environment. To read the full CityLab article, click here. http://tinyurl.com/z8fkmjn
Air Pollution—An Environmental Disaster
I’ve spent much of my life dealing with a variety of disasters; but they all pale when stacked against the potential for disastrous outcomes from the growing problem of air pollution. Some recent research suggests that air pollution is (or will become) one of the top global risk factors linked to many diseases. Right now, the estimate is that 5.5 million people die annually world wide as a direct result of air pollution induced disease. To see a summary article on the topic from my friends at Firestorm, click here. http://tinyurl.com/zrs6r9g
Old Standards Buck Current Technology
Building too cold in the Summer? Blame old engineering standards and design codes that prevent the use of new technology. Streets too wide and over-built? Probably due to a 60-year-old understanding of the automobile and how it’s used. Water flowing from lawn sprinklers during a downpour? Look at the old electro/mechanical controllers. Not only are many practices wasteful, but they are often harmful to health and comfort and very expensive to operate. For an excellent discussion of how old defaults and standards are creating dysfunction by design in a Vox article, click here. http://www.vox.com/2016/3/13/11207752/air-conditioning-green-engineering
Include Historic Sites In Your Disaster Plans
Not responsible for an historic site? It doesn’t matter. Historic sites are often critical to the health of the local economy and to the identity of the community. According to the American Planning Association, many states and local governments fail to plan for the impact of disasters on historic site and take steps to protect, mitigate and restore in the event of a disaster. What makes the topic more critical is rising sea levels, increasing weather extremes and predictions of massive earthquakes in the west. If you are responsible for an historic site, it’s time to get to work. If not, at least raise the question with governmental emergency planners to see if plans are in place. For an excellent article on this topic, see the CityLab piece at this link. http://tinyurl.com/hslp3xv
Measure What Matters
I’ve long known that most organizations judge their safety success (or failure) on incidence rates. I cringe when I read about, or hear from, an executive who is apoplectic that his rate suddenly took a jump or throws a coffee and cake party when the rate drops a point. You’d think that business leaders would know how to measure success and failure, but many don’t. I could write on about this topic, but instead I’m going to refer you to an excellent article published late last year by ULWorkplace.com. You’ll find it here. http://tinyurl.com/hjeq5vj
Lawn Mowing Can Be High Hazard
Most of us do it. Mow lawns, that is, or we hire someone to do it. It’s such a common occurrence during growing season that many folks don’t give it a second thought—fire up the machine and get it done. But some times things go horribly wrong. Such was the case in the Spring of 2013 in North Carolina when a lawn care worker was struck in the head by a fragment from a pet tie-out stake that had been clipped by the commercial mower 25 feet away. He died from his injuries. Careless? Not really. The crew was experienced. Protective equipment was being worn. The lawn was walked by the crew before work began to check for debris. They just didn’t see the stake. This incident generated a NIOSH FACE report (#2013-04) that is detailed and contains multiple safety actions that both lawn pros and homeowners will find helpful. Click here for the report. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/pdfs/full201304.pdf
Monday, April 4, 2016
We Know How To Stop Gun Violence! Really!
For many years in the 1980s and 1990s I worked closely with law enforcement in Rochester and learned a lot about crime and violence and how to prevent it—if the community would support it. What we knew then was anecdotal, now there’s proof. A major new report from Harvard University researchers Thomas Abt and Christopher Winship reviewed the evidence, putting together the big take from 43 reviews of the research that covered more than 1,400 individual studies, while following up with on-the-ground fieldwork across the US and Latin America. The result of their efforts is now contained in an excellent piece on Vox that’s must reading if you want evidence to support your discussion on the topic of gun violence. You’ll find it at http://tinyurl.com/h7bxjpu Before you leave the Vox site, be sure to watch the video that accompanies the report. It’s an excellent summary of the gun issue. Photo courtesy of Scott Olsen/Getty Images News
Bike Share Is Safer Than Regular Biking
I admit I’m an avid bicycle rider and have been all my life. That’s why I’m encouraged by new technology for biking, bike sharing programs and the growing realization that bicycles are an excellent alternative form of transportation. At the same time, I often find myself shaking my head at the poor bike safety practices I see by the hundreds on my regular rides on the New York State Barge Canal System. This is why a study just posted to the on-line news source Vox caught my attention. Here’s the lead paragraph to the story: Not a single person has died using bike share in the United States. This despite the fact that bike sharing has seen explosive growth since 2007, with systems in at least 94 cities and more than 35 million trips taken. Wow! Reading the full article tells why this is so and offers several tips to increase the safety of your ride even if you’re not a bike share participant. Click here to get the article (and links to the full report) http://www.vox.com/2016/4/3/11349856/bike-share-safety Photo courtesy of Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Chemical Hazard Communication and OSHA Recordkeeping Scheduled for Rochester
My popular and effective half-day classes on Chemical Hazard Communication with the Globally Harmonized System (CHC/GHS) and OSHA Recordkeeping (OR) are coming up soon. CHC/GHS runs on Wednesday, April 20th from 8:30 to Noon and OR runs on Wednesday, May 4th from 8:30 to Noon. Both classes are offered as part of the Rochester Chamber/Logical Operations partnership and will be delivered at New Horizons at Logical Operations, 3535 Winton Place, Rochester. To register, click here http://www.newhorizonsatlo.com/greater-rochester-chamber-of-commerce and then click on the course title. If you have questions about the classes, or any other safety training, click on the “call us” button on the registration page and the staff will help you or put you in touch with me.
Panasonic Recalls Lithium-ion Laptop Battery Packs
Contamination of battery cell contents by foreign material during manufacturing may now pose a fire hazard in as many as 497 Panasonic laptop batteries. Laptop computers containing the units were sold by Panasonic dealers from December 2011 through August 2013. For model and lot numbers and additional information, consumers should contact Panasonic toll-free at 855-772-8324 anytime or visit www.panasonic.com and click on “Product Recall.”
Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are—A TED Talk by Amy Cuddy
I’ve visited hundreds of workplaces and spent professional time with thousands of safety specialists during my 47 years in the occupational safety business. As with any profession, there are some impressive leaders, a whole lot of competent practitioners and a few who struggle to be relevant. From those near the bottom of the ladder, I often hear how they “don’t get no respect” and struggle to be heard by any of the company decision makers. Often, they simply look defeated and deflated. Now that I’ve seen Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, I’d love a redo with the struggling safety people and point them to Amy’s message. It’s very basic—you’ve got to look like a winner to be one. She’s been giving the talk for several years and you may have seen it. But, if you haven’t, click here and think about how her tips might change how you do your job. http://tinyurl.com/jrfhgp6
Read Any Good Business Books Lately?
If not—or if you’re looking for more good reads—the US Department of Labor is ready to help. In the March 9th issue of “BusinessUSA”, the agency published an impressive list of business books in both digital and printed format. The offerings are drawn from the best in government-published business books, the Forbes list of the best books of 2015, the Motley Fools 12 all time favorites, Bill Gates favorite and a bunch more. Looks like enough to keep you reading for years. To see them all, click here. http://tinyurl.com/zn3zjws
OSHA Updates Eye and Face Protection Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published a final rule that updates requirements for personal protective equipment for workers in general industry, shipyards, longshoring, marine terminals and construction. The final rule reflects current national consensus standards, and ensures that workers can use up-to-date eye and face protection. The rule updates references in OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection Standards to recognize the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, while deleting the outdated 1986 edition of that same national consensus standard. OSHA is also retaining the 2003 and 1989 (R-1998) versions of the ANSI standard already referenced in its standard. In addition, the final rule updates the construction standard by deleting the 1968 version of the ANSI standard that was referenced and now includes the same three ANSI standards referenced above to ensure consistency among the agency's standards. OSHA’s final rule becomes effective on April 25, 2016.
This new rule will allow employers to continue to follow the existing ANSI standards referenced or allow employers to follow the latest version of the same ANSI/ISEA standard. Employers are not required to update or replace protection devices solely as a result of this rule and may continue to follow their current and usual practices for their eye and face protection. Therefore, this rule has no compliance or economic burdens associated with it.
Disaster Recovery? Maybe Not!
I’ve been a volunteer firefighter, spent 12 years as a corporate emergency coordinator and crisis manager, and chaired the Monroe County (NY) LEPC. Disaster management is something I know well. That’s why this bullet from the Department of Labor caught my eye the other day. “Roughly 40 to 60 percent of businesses never recover from a crippling disaster, according to the SBA. Having a disaster plan in place is the key to keeping your business going after disaster strikes.” How true. This led me to a BusinessUSA web page that deals with preparing for an emergency. You’ll find it at http://tinyurl.com/zob6ofr Finally, if the article prompts you to action, get in touch with me. I have a full-day course designed to help your emergency team develop the skills needed to prevent, control and survive a business disaster.
Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program
2015 was the first year of reporting under the OSHA Severe Injury Reporting Program that required employers to notify OSHA of any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of an eye within 24 hours. Fatality reporting under this program has been in place for many years. Now, the Agency has issued a report on the 2015 experience that shows 10,388 incidents involving severe work-related injuries including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. The report breaks down the cases and discusses the value of the revised reporting system. It also suggests that the actual number of such cases is likely twice the number received. To see the full report, click here. https://www.osha.gov/injuryreport/2015.pdf
Woman Loses Arm After Nine Days On the Job
Any occupational injury is both tragic and avoidable, but for a new worker at the Parker Hannifin plant in Kennett, MO, it was particularly devastating. The 52-year-old woman had just started at the plant as a machine operator when a lack of machine guarding allowed her right arm to be pulled in and removed. I have no idea how much safety training she received, but if she’s typical of the new workers I’ve observed and spoken with over the years, she got less than an hour. In fact, 50% of new workers get no safety training based on a survey of over 400 workers I conducted several years ago. Clearly, training does not answer for a lack of machine guarding, but it might have given her the knowledge she needed to call “stop” and “foul” when she first looked at the machine. To read the OSHA report on the incident, click here. http://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20160328-0
Online Training From The SBA—Focused and Free
You can sign up for weekly e-mails from the U. S. Department of Labor that might just change your life. I’ve found an amazing amount of material in the weekly links that are available free of charge (your tax dollars at work), accessible from your home or business computer and certain to help you improve your approach to business. Under training materials from the SBA, you’ll find on-line training from the government and major universities as well as educational videos. In this weeks listing, I find course titles such as Business Technology Simplified, Crime Prevention: A Guide for Small Business, Customer Service, Cybersecurity, Disaster Recovery and much more. Courses are short (typically 30 minutes) and completion of a series can lead to an SBA certificate. You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter from this page. Access this information at http://business.usa.gov/training-materials/online%20training/