Sometimes it is necessary and helpful to look overseas to find examples on how health and safety issues are being properly addressed. The ETUC and IndustriAll European Trade Union have launched an information campaign on the REACH regulation. The chief objective of this campaign is centered on education; educating companies on their obligations under European legislation. While this does not affect American workers, it is still important to recognize this for what it is; union organizations working together to increase the amount of company and public knowledge that is available. While distinctly different from Global Harmonization, this could theoretically fall under the same umbrella of uniform hazard identification. To find out more about Global Harmonization or the Hazard Communication Standard, click on the appropriate links.
For more information on the ETUC and IndustriAll campaign on REACH in companies, click here.
Few things affect our chronic (long term) health like the air we breathe. But how many of us really know what is in it?
Oh sure we might know what it is supposed to be, roughly 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and 1% inert ingredients (various ingredients that don’t hurt us). But is that all that is in the air?
Employers and government agencies such as OSHA monitor air quality to ensure that industries stay within their legal limits. For OSHA, this monitoring is part of what makes up a workplace investigation. So how do we know what they find?
You can find some of this information on OSHA’s Chemical Exposure Health Data page. Simply fill in the required information and you can find what OSHA monitoring has been done at your worksite or any worksite that falls under OSHA’s jurisdiction
This is useful information to know to protect yourself from chronic injuries and disease; because what you don’t know really CAN hurt you.
In Health & Safety we all have to talk to the bean counters; bean counters are the people in charge of expenses, and yes, we all have them at our workplace. Bean counters can tell you how much profit you have made from the product you produced and how much was lost in scrap, downtime, etc.
This is can be difficult for the following reason. When we are talking about proactive safety programs, we can agree that it is easy enough to see the cost of safety training and the hardware (i.e., locks, etc.) needed for a good safety program, but it can be very difficult to get the bean counters to see the cost saved for an accident that did not happen. On the other hand, if we chose not to be proactive we can all too easily see the high cost and the consequences, both work related and personal, of these accidents.
Fortunately, there is a resource that can help and is very easy to use; it is called the “OSHA Safety Pays Program.” While OSHA designed this page to illustrate to small business owners the importance of a good safety program by indicating the direct and indirect cost of accidents, this is still a useful tool for everyone since the high cost of accidents are the same no matter the size of your work place.
So give it a try. Just follow the online directions, plug in some basic information that is requested, and get ready to be surprised. And don’t forget to surprise that bean counter as well with the facts that spending a few dollars now makes a lot of sense for now and the future!
In 2008, OSHA released three censored videos that they produced and distributed back in 1980. The videos looked at working conditions, worker safety, and the role OSHA plays in workplace safety. By 1981, the incoming head of OSHA, Thorne Auchter, recalled and destroyed most of the copies because they were viewed as too biased towards workers. A few copies were kept alive by renegade union officials who refused to return their copies. Those that held on to their copies risked losing all OSHA funding for their Safety and Health programs.
The videos offer a look to the past that can assist trainers and local safety committees in their discussion of labor safety with new and existing members.
There are 3 films in the series:
The Story of OSHA (1980)
This video tells workers how OSHA was set up to stem the tide of disease, injury, and death, and what their rights are under the law. It explains how NIOSH conducts tests, how standards are set, and how OSHA investigates complaints.
Worker to Worker (1980)
This video shows the many kinds of safety and health problems that workers encounter on the job. Workers talk about OSHA, NIOSH, and their experience in convincing others that they don't want to shut the plant down — they just want a safe work environment.
Can't Take No More (1980)
This video portrays a quick paced history of occupational health and safety in the U.S. from the Industrial Revolution to the 1970s.
So what do you know about your rights under OSHA?
How about the OSH Act?
What about you and your employers health and safety responsibilities under OSHA?
Do you want to know more?
Would it benefit you and your fellow employees?
If these are all questions you have asked yourself as a trainer or as an employee, isn’t it about time you found out the answers? What better way to find this out than to go directly to the source. Visit the OSHA Workers Webpage and get the answers for yourself. It might surprise you on what a little knowledge can do to help you make a change in your work environment!
As an OSHA trainer, I have been asked many times about 11C in the OSHA Act and the Whistleblower Act, and how they apply when reporting accidents and incentive based safety programs. I would reply that you are protected under 11C and that incentive based programs could discourage the reporting of incidences, but I must admit that my response was based more on the abstract knowledge that I had on this subject, rather than specific examples.
Well, today no TMC Trainer, including myself, needs to rely on abstract knowledge (for this particular circumstance) because OSHA has provided us with specific examples for these cases through a memorandum on Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Polices and Procedures. As OSHA Trainers, we have a responsibility to review this memorandum for our personal knowledge and to pass on the knowledge to those we train in our classes. So please review this information and use it in your training. It is a new and invaluable tool that we have at our disposal.
When teaching the Hazard Communication Standard, many instructors ask the class participants three basic questions:
1) "Have you have ever read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)? If so, please raise your hand." Almost everyone always raises his or her hand.
2) "Did you read the entire MSDS? If so keep your hand up, if not drop your hand." This is where the majority of hands drop.
3) "Was the MSDS easy to understand?" And here, without exception, is where the rest of the hands drop in the classroom.
Well, change is on the way. OSHA is revising the Hazard Communication Standard to align it with the United Nations Global Harmonization System.
To read more about the benefits of this revision, please follow this link to the OSHA web page on Hazard Communication and The Globally Harmonized System.
The world's largest producer and supplier of beryllium and workers exposed to the highly toxic mineral decided not to wait any longer for federal OSHA to draft a proposed worker safety rule on the hazard. Last week, the United Steelworkers International Union and Materion Brush (the only U.S. manufacturer) sent the complete text of a draft regulation to the head of Labor Department's Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Individuals exposed to the metal may become immunologically sensitized to it, and develop a unique disabling, chronic lung disease. Beryllium is also associated with lung cancer. The super resilient and lightweight metal is used principally in the aerospace industry and national defense, but has also found its way into consumer product applications.
To find out more, click here.
By Celeste Monforton
The Republicans' mantra about the burden of regulations seems to have cast a spell on the Obama Administration's attitude about promoting new regulatory initiatives. My observations about this were reinforced this week when I read the Administration's statement accompanying its Fall 2011 regulatory plan. The message is clear: new regulations and an election year don't mix.
The tone of this new Obama Administration regulatory statement oozes caution. Let's set aside the fact that this "Fall 2011" regulatory plan was not released at all in the autumn, but on January 20, 2012. It seems the Obama White House wants to steal ammunition from those who claim there are too many new regulations in the pipeline, and also dampen the expectations of those who expected this Administration to aggressively implement more robust public protection rules.Read more at the pumphandle.com
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OSHA is launching to help prevent workplace injuries within the healthcare industry.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report on nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2010. The incidence rate for healthcare support workers increased 6 percent to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. This increase is more than twice the rate for all private and public sector workers at 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
OSHA is responding by launching a National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities in the next few months. Through the initiative, OSHA plans to increase inspections, focusing on back injuries from resident handling or lifting patients; exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls.
Submitted by Andrew Fatato