SAFETY & RISK MANAGEMENT NEWSLETTER
Volume 7, Issue 11
Heat Illness Prevention Proposal – Not as Proposed
CAL/OSHA found more objections from the public to their proposed changes to the Standards than they expected. Most objections came on the requirements for having water no more than 400-feet from workers and shade no more than 700 feet from workers. The High Heat Trigger that CAL/OSHA wanted to set at 85 degrees didn’t fly and will remain at 95 degrees.
The new proposed Standard changes will address the above issues accordingly:
- Instead of the 400/700-foot requirements: “water and shade shall be as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working”,
- “Preventive cool-down rest monitoring”: “individual employees during such periods shall be monitored and asked if they are experiencing symptoms…”
- 85-degree trigger: they will keep the 95-degree trigger, “there appears to be no compelling need to lower this particular trigger temperature, it will remain at 95-degrees…”
Heat Illness Modifications at a Glance:
Definition of “Shade”: add the following: “Shade may be provided by any natural or artificial means that does not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy conditions and that does not deter or discourage access or use”.
Provisions for water: “Shall be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working”, instead of no farther than 400-feet.
Access to shade: Shade required to be present when temperature exceeds 85°F “, instead of proposed 80°F; “Shade must accommodate all employees on meal, rest and recovery periods”, instead of 25% of employees on shift; and “Shade to be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working”, instead of 700-feet.
Employees shall be allowed and encouraged to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade and individuals shall be monitored and asked if they are experiencing heat illness symptoms. If so, they shall be encouraged to remain in the shade and not ordered back to work until symptoms have abated. Employees with symptoms during preventive rest periods shall be provided with appropriate first aid or emergency response.
Emergency response procedures to include ensuring effective communications; responding to signs and symptoms; supervisors taking immediate action upon observing symptoms; contacting emergency medical services; and acclimation requirements. (This section was moved from the written procedures section).
Written Procedures: Now named Heat Illness Prevention Plan. May be included as a part of the employer’s Injury Illness Prevention Plan.
So, if you are like some of us who already made the proposed changes to your Heat Illness Prevention Plan, you will need to go back and take out those changes that did not make the final provisions to the Standard.
PPE, NFPA Revisions Finalized
CAL/OSHA has revised the Safety Orders to take into account changes in the National Fire Protection Association Standards. The changes clean up the language in the Orders. They state that PPE must be maintained in a safe, sanitary condition. The references to NFPA Standards are for Standards that have been updated in the last three or more years.
The new Safety Orders, in the Construction Safety Orders §1514 and General Safety Orders §3380, become effective April 1, 2015. For the Revisions, see: http://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/Personal_protective_devices_and_safeguards_apprvdtxt.pdf
For sometime now, those in safety and ergonomics have been preaching the 20/20/20 rule for those that spend most of their day at a desk, workstation, worktable, etc.
What is the 20/20/20 Rule? Every 20-minutes-take 20-seconds-walk 20-feet. Simple, give yourself a mini break from sitting for long periods of time. This will help with sore backs, repetitive stress from repetitive tasks such as computer work, get your blood flowing, and force you to use your muscles. (exercise).
There are even new high-tech gadgets, such as fitbit, you can get that will remind you to do 20/20/20. These devices will even chart your daily moves so you can see how much you sit, how much you walk, etc.
Whatever it takes, memory or high-tech device, practice the 20/20/20 Rule and you will feel better.
Seven Steps Returning Injured Employees to Work
We can’t prevent all accidents, and as we know, and the workers who do get injured will be covered by workers’ comp. Insurance companies always ask their customers to have a Return to Work Program that will get employees back to work sooner, often times in modified jobs. This practice keeps the WC and Claims costs down. Business and Legal Resources provided the following steps in a recent edition of Professional Safety:
- Develop a Return to Work policy for consistency.
- Establish a central point of contact for the injured employee.
- Contact the injured employee and start an interactive communications process.
- Provide information to the treating physician about the injury and the job.
- Research and evaluate possible accommodations, and keep in mind the needs of the employee and the organization.
- Establish a timetable for returning the employee’s recovery.
- Encourage and support the employee’s recovery.
For additional information, see: http://Safety.BLR.com
We can also help you develop an Early Return To Work Program.
HEALTH & SAFETY
A Bigger Risk – Seasonal Flu
The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) has been a very busy organization with the Ebola Epidemic. They have come out with safeguards and treatment protocols. But they are saying that a bigger threat to the American Workplace is the prevalent and contagious seasonal flu. An estimated 5-20% of the US population gets the flu each year and 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications according to the CDC. What can you do to prevent the flu:
- Get the flu shot each flu season,
- Wash you hands frequently,
- Make sure your feeling ”OK” and don’t go to work when you are not…don’t spread the flu and don’t subject yourself to those that have the flu when you are not feeling well,
- Keep communal areas of the office clean.
For additional information, from the CDC, see: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm?mobile=nocontent
HOME & BUSINESS PROTECTION
Rain Damage Protection
I’m frequently writing about emergency preparedness at home and work, relative to earthquakes and fires. Now that the rainy season is here, its time to focus on preparedness for rain damage from heavy storms. I live in Southern Marin and we have flooding at high tides during heavy rains, in many areas such as Mill Valley, Corte Madera, etc. However, this is also common for parts of Sonoma County including Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and Windsor., as well as Napa County.
Some points to consider:
- The most important things you can do, at work or home, is to check the condition of the roof and the condition of the roof drains and gutters before a heavy storm is predicted. Make sure the gutters and drains are clear, that roof openings are weather protected, etc. Not such a bad idea to check the roof during breaks in storms to see if it is ok. Heavy standing water that could not drain has brought down many roofs, causing water damage to equipment and contents.
- If you know you are in a flood zone, or there is not good drainage around you house or business, the use of sand bags to keep out the water is a good preventative measure. Most cities, towns, and counties let you come and pick up sand bags and you can usually fill them right there in their corporation or public works yards.
- Next Spring and before winter starts – clear drains and gutters. A blocked gutter could cause water to back up and go under the shingles, destroying parts of the roof before the tell-tale signs trickle down through the ceiling.
- If you have a sump pump, it is also recommended that you get a battery back-up... And during the year check it at least once a month.
- The most difficult step to check off the list is to make sure the landscape allows water to run away from the home. If not, the problem will just come back.
Avoid the 12 Dangers of Christmas see: http://esfi.org/index.cfm/cdid/13447/pid/10272
Six Household Hazards
I read many safety-related publications on a weekly or monthly schedule. In addition, to keep up to date on issues related to the aging workforce, I also read the monthly AARP Magazine. I search all these sources for materials for my continuing education and for content for this newsletter. I found the following and thought I’d pass it along:
- Lint in your dyer: Leaving lint in your dryer’s lint trap – or worse, inside the guts of your dryer – can lead to a fire. Protect yourself: Clean the lint trap after every use, and make sure that the fluffy stuff hasn’t accumulated anywhere else in you machine.
- Aluminum wire: Homes built with aluminum are 55 times more likely that those with copper wire to go up in smoke, and the odds of a fire increase every year. Protect yourself: If your home was built before 1972, have an electrician inspect your wiring.
- Paper towels: This common item caused a surprising number of kitchen fires last year. Use recycled towels? Minute metal flecks can ignite if you put them in the microwave. Protect yourself: Keep the recycled towels far from ovens and toasters, and don’t use them in the microwave.
- Humidifiers: These are great for dry skin and cracked lips, but dirty reservoirs and filter breed mold and bacteria, putting you at risk from contaminated mist or steam. Protect yourself: Change the water daily and clean the tank often, drying it thoroughly when not in use.
- Fireplaces and chimneys: Creosote-caked chimneys can cause explosive fires or let carbon monoxide seep into your home. Protect yourself: Hire a chimney sweep and make sure you have a screen in front of your logs to keep embers inside the fireplace, where they belong.
- Fleas: Even if your cockatoo is clean, your house still can get fleas. The little buggers piggyback on rodents, spreading cat scratch disease, hantavirus and even typhus. Protect yourself: If you see rodent droppings, call an exterminator or put out traps. No rodents, no problem.
TEEN PEDESTRAIN SAFETY
In this months Professional Safety, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that they conducted a survey of 13-18 year olds and 40% of them said they had been hit or nearly hit by a car, bike or motorcycle while walking. The report “Teens on the Move” says that in 2012, 874 teen pedestrians were killed and another 10,000 were injured. The survey and statistics found that most accidents happened between 7pm and 7am. If you have teens out walking at those hours, give them the following Pedestrian Safety Tips:
Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners. Use traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections. If there are no sidewalks, face traffic as far away from the vehicles as possible.
Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and watch out for cars that are turning.
Look up and pay extra attention when using headphones, cell phones or electronic devices. Make a rule to put the devices down when crossing the street. For headphones, put them down or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
For additional information on this subject, see: http://www.safekids.org/research-report/teens-move-october-2014
Power Strip Safety
In August there we two Manhattan fires that prompted the National Electrical Safety Foundation International to release an advisory regarding the dangers of overtaxed circuits and improper power cord use. Since it’s the season to use more extension cords and power strips for Christmas Lights and Decorations both at home and work, I thought it is important to bring you their tips:
- Do not overload a circuit. Know the circuit’s capacity and the power requirements of all items plugged into the power strip and into all the other power strips on the circuit, as well as any light fixtures on the circuit.
- Heavy reliance on power strips is an indication of an inadequate number of outlets. Have additional outlets installed if needed.
- A surge protector only protects the items plugged into the suppressor, not back along the circuit into which it is connected.
· Plug multiple-plug outlets directly into mounted electrical receptacles, do not chain them together.
· Ensure that all power strips and extension cords are certified by a national recognized testing laboratory and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. (Underwriters Labs (UL) is the most well know testing labs – look for the UL logo on products).
Power Cord Safety
- Use extension cords on a temporary basis, only; unplug and safely store them after every use.
- Do not place power cords and extension cords in high-traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture, and never nail or staple them to a wall or baseboard.
- Never remove the ground pin (the third-prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet.
- Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of all appliances or tools being used.
- Keep all electrical items and extension cords in good condition. If an item is damaged, repair or dispose of it.
When I’m making a safety inspection of constructions sites, business, and even at home for electrical safety, I first check the cords, including both ends. I look for damaged cords and plugs. If I find damaged cords, plugs, or electrical tape/duct tape covering damaged cords or plugs, I recommend that they be removed. When removed that should be cut-up into short sections and trashed. You don’t want someone else taking the damaged cord to use somewhere else.
For additional electrical safety information, see: http://esfi.org/