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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced recent the availability of a new software platform to track and monitor emergency response and recovery worker activities during all phases of emergency response following a natural disaster or other public health emergency.

The software, ERHMS Info Manager™, is a custom-built product developed by NIOSH for emergency responder organizations to use to implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework.

Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/erhms/erhms-info-manager.html?s_cid=3ni7d2-pr-erhmsim-09052017

Tagged in: NIOSH

NIOSH recently announced a mobile app aimed at calculating the risks involved in performing lifting tasks. The NIOSH Lifting Equation mobile application, NLE Calc, is a tool to calculate the overall risk index for single and multiple manual lifting tasks. The application provides risk estimates to help evaluate lifting tasks and reduce the incidence of low back injuries in workers.

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ergonomics/nlecalc.html

Tagged in: NIOSH

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We all know how hot it starts to get this time of year, but we don’t always appreciate how quickly heat-related stress can lead to serious health problems. Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States. To help call attention to that fact, the National Weather Service sponsors Heat Safety Awareness Day on the last Friday of May just a few weeks ahead of the official beginning of summer.

Heat safety awareness has year-round place in workplace safety plans, but it is especially important during the summer months.

Heat stress related injuries are often the result of the body’s inability to cope with prolonged exposure to extreme heat. It is of particular concern during the summer months, especially for people who work in factories, in construction, or on farms.

People at increased risk of heat stress include those 65 years of age or older, those who are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take medications that can be affected by extreme heat.
Being aware of the health and safety risks posed by exposure to heat in the workplace is a year-round concern, even in workplaces where temperatures can be regulated. In addition to burns from accidental direct contact with steam or hot surfaces, heat can also indirectly lead to other injuries by causing sweaty palms, fogged eyewear, and dizziness.

Preventing heat stress in employees is as important an aspect of safety plan design as any other. Employers need to educate workers on what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) offers a number of resources on heat safety at work, from fact sheets and infographics to blog posts and planning documents available at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/.

It’s not just seat cushions that are impacted by long periods of sitting. You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” There is evidence to suggest that the comparison is a fitting one. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), prolonged sitting is associated with a variety of negative health effects that include back and shoulder pain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and chronic diseases. What’s more, people who sit for long periods of time as part of their job can still be at risk for these conditions even if they otherwise meet recommended levels of physical activity outside of work.

New guidance from NIOSH known as Total Worker Health® (THW) offers employers solutions to the problem of prolonged sitting on the job, protecting employees from workplace injuries while helping them to improve their overall health and well-being, both on and off the clock.

According to NIOSH, a sedentary job is one that involves predominately sitting, with occasional walking, standing, and lifting no more than 10 pounds. Examples include management and professional work, office and administrative support roles, as well as cashiers, data entry, and call center employees.

Some of the ways organizations can reduce sedentary include offering the flexibility to have standing or walking meetings, providing sit-stand work stations and encouraging flexible rest breaks.

Not surprisingly, cutting down on worker sedentary time also spells benefits for employers. Some of the direct benefits, NIOSH says, include reductions in health-related expenses and in absenteeism. Some of the indirect benefits may include improved worker morale, better recruitment and retention, and even reduced injury rates.

For organizations considering incorporating TWH into their existing health and safety programs, NIOSH offers the following guidance:
-Include senior management support and worker participation in all health initiatives.
-Involve workers and their representatives in designing and implementing procedures and practices to reduce sedentary work and promote physical activity.
-Ensure that any program meant to advance workplace well-being has the commitment of organizational leadership.
-Evaluate existing resources and current policies, programs, and practices to find what works to promote physical activity and future needs.
-Allow workers more control over their activities, workloads, and schedules, and allow them to set up their workstations to take physical activity breaks after long periods of sitting.
-Educate managers and supervisors on ways to reduce job stress faced by workers.
-Ensure privacy by adhering to the regulatory requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, etc. and train staff in privacy and confidentiality.
-Link existing worker safety and health programs to current programs in use in the workplace.
-Offer organizational support to encourage physical activity such as walking or biking to work or during breaks.
-Provide health information about the risks of sedentary work to employees.

The full document, “Using Total Worker Health® Concepts to Reduce the Health Risks from Sedentary Work,” is available at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2017-131/.

Tagged in: NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA and partners including ASSE and AIHA are encouraging employers to hold special activities during June 12-18 – Safe + Sound Week. The event is a nationwide effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs in workplaces.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/

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Pneumoconiosis among coal workers, also commonly known as “black lung disease,” has resurfaced in the U.S. in “alarming” numbers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The disabling, often fatal occupational disease is caused by overexposure to respirable coal mine dust.

A report in a recent CDC MMWR bulletin describes a cluster of 60 cases of PMF identified in current and former coal miners at a single eastern Kentucky radiology practice from January 2015 through August 2016. This cluster was not found through the national surveillance program. That’s something the report’s authors say makes an argument for improved surveillance to promptly identify the early stages of the disease and halt its progression to PMF.

Read entire article - https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6549a1.htm?s_cid=mm6549a1_w

Tagged in: CDC NIOSH

A recent commentary published by NIOSH discusses the prevalence of the nail gun injury problem, ways to prevent it through trigger design, and failings of ANSI procedures for developing consensus standards.

According to the report, unintended nail discharge is the cause of two-thirds of workers compensation claims for nail gun injuries. From 2006 to 2011, approximately 14,000 worker and 11,000 consumer nail gun injuries per year required emergency medical treatment. Most of the injuries are puncture wounds to hands and fingers.

A sequential trigger was developed over 40 years ago in attempt to prevent such injuries by requiring the nail gun to be pressed against the surface that will receive the nail before the user can activate the trigger and release the nail. Not all nail guns ‘stick’ to this process, however.

According to NIOSH, ANSI’s inability to reach a consensus that requires all construction operations to use sequential triggers should be reformed.

Read entire article - http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2016/11/15/nail-gun2/

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NIOSH has helped a military facility develop a sampling strategy for aircraft hangars used to maintain, repair, and restore active and historic aircraft. The workers in the hangars use paint and paint removers on a variety of surfaces using low-pressure spray guns and rollers.

According to the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation report, this activity could cause polyurethanes, solvents, or metals to enter the atmosphere. Based on findings, the agency recommends the staff focus on areas of low airflow near exhaust fans in the hangars, as well as repairing and maintaining all fans connected to the ventilation system.

Read entire article - https://www.aiha.org/publications-and-resources/TheSynergist/Industry%20News/Pages/NIOSH-Evaluation-of-Aircraft-Hangars-Identifies-Sampling-Strategy.aspx

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NIOSH has updated its ladder safety app based on user feedback, according to a blog post from the agency. The app, introduced in 2013, had been downloaded more than 52,000 times by the end of 2015. According to the post, the app's appearance, content, and function have been improved, and it now includes stepladder safety and additional interactive tools.

Read entire article - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls/mobileapp.html/?s_cid=3ni7d2blog2016

Tagged in: NIOSH workplace safety

A recently published study from NIOSH examined hearing difficulty and tinnitus in various industries, based on data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. This provided detailed, self-reported information on hearing difficulty, tinnitus, and exposures to occupational noise. Some other findings are that:
-Seven percent of U.S. workers never exposed to noise on the job had hearing difficulty, 5 percent had tinnitus, and 2 percent had both conditions. Among workers who had at some point in their working careers been exposed to occupational noise, the prevalence was 23 percent, 15 percent, and 9 percent, respectively.

-Workers in agriculture, forestry, and the fishing and hunting industry had a significantly higher risk of hearing difficulty, tinnitus, and their co-occurrence. Manufacturing workers also had significantly higher risks for tinnitus and the co-occurrence of tinnitus and hearing difficulty.

-Workers in life, physical and social science occupations, and personal care and service occupations had significantly higher risks for hearing difficulty. Workers in architecture and engineering occupations also had significantly higher risks for tinnitus.

-Workers in sales and related occupations had significantly lower risks for hearing difficulty, tinnitus and their co-occurrence.

The study is the first to report prevalence estimates for tinnitus by U.S. industry sector and occupation and provide these estimates side by side with prevalence estimates of hearing difficulty, according to the agency. According to NIOSH, hazardous noise affects approximately 22 million U.S. workers.

Read entire article - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-02-01-16.html

Tagged in: NIOSH

There are 45 Skin Notation Profiles available on the NIOSH website, according to a Dec. 30 posting on the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s website. Dozens more are planned for the next few years, according to the agency. The documents are intended to create more awareness about the potential hazards that come from chemicals that contact the skin.

Read entire article - https://www.aiha.org/publications-and-resources/TheSynergist/Industry%20News/Pages/NIOSH-Skin-Notation-Profiles-Focus-Attention-on-Dermal-Exposures.aspx

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Despite relatively mild temperatures in many parts of the country early this winter, frozen precipitation and low temperatures are still a possibility for some time ahead – and are already hitting us. In a timely email post on “From the Director’s Desk”, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Director Dr. John Howard emphasized awareness of the potential for cold stress for anyone working outdoors.

"Don't assume there is no need to prepare for working safely in the cold this year, because of the moderate temperatures in much of the country so far,” Howard wrote. “According to the National Weather Service, the long-range weather forecast predicts chillier temperatures than average in January and February in the Southern Plains and the Southeast. Cold weather can bring on health emergencies for people who may be susceptible as a result of their working environment, such as those who work outdoors or in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat."

When exposed to cold temperatures, the body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body's stored energy, according to the resource-packed NIOSH page on the subject of cold stress. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. A body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and will not be able to do anything about it - (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/coldstress/).

In his post, Howard discussed the threat of cold stress this season: "What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near-freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can more rapidly leave your body, leading to cold-related injuries and illnesses." This includes hypothermia, cold water immersion, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains.

He offered the following tips for to reduce the risk of cold-related health problems at work:

For employers:
-Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in cold areas for warmer months.
-Schedule cold jobs for the warmest part of the day.
-Reduce the physical demands of workers.
-Use relief workers or assign extra workers for long, demanding jobs.
-Provide warm liquids to workers.
-Provide warm areas for use during break periods.
-Monitor workers who are at risk of cold stress.
-Provide cold stress training.

For workers:
-Wear appropriate clothing.
-Wear several layers of loose clothing. Layering provides better insulation.
-Tight clothing reduces blood circulation. Warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities.
-Choose clothing that won't restrict movement, which could lead to a hazardous situation.
-Make sure to protect the ears, face, hands, and feet in extremely cold weather.
-Boots should be waterproof and insulated.
-Wear a hat; it will keep your whole body warmer.
-Move into warm locations during work breaks. Limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days.
-Carry cold-weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, and blankets; a change of clothes; and a thermos of hot liquid.
-Include a thermometer and chemical hot packs in your first aid kit.
-Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.
-Monitor your physical condition and that of your co-workers.

Tagged in: cold injuries NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently extended the transition period for the respirator certification standard by means of a new final rule. The standards initially established in the 2012 final rule were originally designed to take effect over a three-year transition period, during which manufacturers were allowed to continue to manufacture, label, and sell respirators certified to the prior standards. The new rule allows NIOSH to extend the concluding date until one year after the agency approves a Closed-Circuit Escape Respirator (CCER) model.

Read entire article - https://www.aiha.org/publications-and-resources/TheSynergist/Industry%20News/Pages/NIOSH-Extends-Transition-Period-for-Respirator-Certification-Standard.aspx

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NIOSH has published a new recommendation that says attaching a regular shop vacuum to a dust-collecting circular saw can provide a low-cost solution in order to reduce exposure to hazardous dust produced when construction workers cut fiber-cement siding.

According to a press release, the research that led to this finding was conducted in two phases. In one, researchers looked at three dust-collecting circular saws connected to an external vacuum in a laboratory setting. Further studies were conducted at construction sites where workers were cutting fiber-cement siding. Results of the field studies showed that a regular shop vacuum controlled the amount of silica-containing dust in the air to well below the NIOSH-recommended exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica.

Read entire article - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-06-18-15.html

Tagged in: CDC NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is seeking public comment from partners and the public to help evaluate the impact of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). Feedback will be accepted until the federal docket is closed on March 24, 2015.

NORA is a partnership program to identify and address the most critical issues in workplace safety and health. It began in 1996 and by 2006 had a new sector-based structure. NIOSH is reviewing the accomplishments of NORA’s second decade and is preparing for the third decade, which starts next year.

To view the notice and provide comment, visit www.regulations.gov. Enter CDC-2015-0002 in the search field and then click ‘‘Search”.

Read entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora/

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Most workers in the United States are not likely to be exposed to the Ebola, or to come in contact with someone who has contracted Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF). Even so, employers in a broad range of industries are understandably concerned about protecting their employees from the virus.

Healthcare workers obviously are more likely to be at risk of coming in contact with virus than those of other fields. However, those who work in medical laboratory testing or death care are also at risk. So too are those who work in the travel industry, from airline service personnel to border and custom workers to emergency responders. In fact, anyone who works with equipment arriving into the United States from countries with outbreaks of EHF stands an elevated risk of being exposed to the virus.

OSHA has said that precautionary measures for preventing exposure to the Ebola virus depend on the nature of the work, potential for Ebola-virus contamination of the work environment, and what is known about other potential exposure hazards. In some instances, infection control strategies may have to be modified to include additional personal protective equipment (PPE), administrative controls, and/or safe work practices. OSHA has also developed interim guidance to help prevent worker exposure to Ebola virus and individuals with EHF.

According to OSHA, several existing standards apply in keeping employees who may come in contact with the Ebola virus safe.

Because it is a contact-transmissible disease, Ebola virus exposure is covered by OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (1910.1030). And because workers could be exposed to bioaerosols containing Ebola virus, employers must also follow OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (1910.134). OSHA has said that employers should follow recognized and generally accepted good infection control practices, and must meet applicable requirements in the Personal Protective Equipment standard (29 CFR 1910.132, general requirements), as well.

The following are OSHA’s requirements and recommendations for protecting workers whose work activities are conducted in an environment that is known or reasonably suspected to be contaminated with Ebola virus (such as due to contamination with blood or other potentially infectious material). (These general guidelines are not intended to cover workers who have direct contact with individuals with EHF, however).

•Use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and good hand hygiene protocols to avoid exposure to infected blood and body fluids, contaminated objects, or other contaminated environmental surfaces.
•Wear gloves, wash hands with soap and water after removing gloves, and discard used gloves in properly labeled waste containers.
•Workers who may be splashed, sprayed, or spattered with blood or body fluids from environmental surfaces where Ebola virus contamination is possible must wear face and eye protection, such as a full-face shield or surgical masks with goggles. Aprons or other fluid-resistant protective clothing must also be worn in these situations to prevent the worker's clothes from being soiled with infectious material.

Both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide additional guidance and recommendations for preventing worker exposure to Ebola, for both healthcare workers and others at increased risk of exposure.

Tagged in: CDC ebola NIOSH

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