Respiratory protection

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

NIOSH publishes toolbox talk

NIOSH respiratory protection

Photo: NIOSH

Washington — Knowing how to select, use and maintain NIOSH-approved respirators can help promote proper respiratory protection practices and protect construction workers from unsafe airborne contaminants, according to a new toolbox talk published by the agency.

NIOSH encourages employers to examine all avenues to reduce worker exposure to potentially dangerous dusts and fumes.

Among the first steps should be to try to eliminate or replace the hazard, implement engineering controls (e.g., local exhaust ventilation), or implement administrative controls (e.g., rotating workers between hazardous tasks). When these controls aren’t feasible or are insufficient in reducing harmful exposures, respiratory protection must be properly selected and users must be fit tested. Workers also must be trained and follow both employer and manufacturer instructions for proper use, inspection, maintenance and storage of respiratory protection devices. This includes proper donning and doffing of devices.

The agency reminds employers that they’re responsible for providing NIOSH-approved respirators as necessary to protect worker health, as required by OSHA in its standards on respiratory protection.

Among the types of devices that can be used to protect workers are filtering facepiece respirators; elastomeric half-mask respirators; and half-mask, full-facepiece and hood/helmet powered air-purifying respirators. For any employer providing respirators, the process must include direction from an OSHA-required written respiratory protection program.

NIOSH’s respiratory protection webpage features answers to nearly 20 frequently asked questions.

In addition, NIOSH sets recommended exposure limits for airborne contaminants and OSHA mandates legal enforceable permissible exposure limits, with which employers are required to comply.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Protect against the cold: Tips for employers and workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

A thorough workplace safety and health plan should include steps to protect workers from cold-related hazards. This is particularly important for workers in the services, transportation, construction and agriculture industries.

“Exposure to cold can be an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation,” says NIOSH, which offers recommendations for both employers and workers.

Employers should:

  • Train supervisors and workers to prevent, recognize and treat cold-related illnesses and injuries. This training should be presented in a language all workers understand.
  • Reduce the amount of time workers spend in a cold environment. Rotate workers in and out on long, demanding jobs.
  • Provide access to warm areas, and encourage workers to take breaks in those areas. Also, set up a place for workers to change out of wet clothes.
  • Initiate a buddy system for workers to help monitor them in cold conditions.
  • Keep a first aid kit stocked, and make sure to include a medical and environmental thermometer as well as chemical heat packs.
  • Provide appropriate cold-weather gear such as hats, gloves and boots for work in cold environments. Don’t forget wind-protective clothing based on air velocities.
  • Give prompt medical attention to workers who show signs of cold-related illness or injury.

Workers can help by:

  • Taking regular breaks to warm up.
  • Monitoring your physical condition and that of co-workers.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Snacking on high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Avoiding touching cold metal or wet surfaces with bare skin.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Half of Noise-Exposed Workers Do Not Use Hearing Protection

First published by NIOSH

Photo property of NIOSH

Study Finds Over Half of Noise-Exposed Workers Do Not Use Hearing Protection When Exposed to Noise on the Job

Non-use varied by industry and occupation, and was highest among women, young workers, and current smokers

A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that over half of noise-exposed workers didn’t use hearing protection “always” or “usually” when exposed to hazardous occupational noise. Hearing protection device (HPD) non-use was only measured in workers who reported exposure to noise on the job. The study was published online October 1, 2021 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Researchers reviewed nearly 40,000 worker responses to the 2007 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey. They found that of the more than 5,400 workers who experience hazardous noise exposure at work, 53% didn’t “always” or “usually” wear hearing protection.

Industries with the highest prevalence of hearing protection device nonuse were accommodation and food services (90%), health care and social assistance (83%), and education services (82%). Prevalence also was notably high in multiple industries in which occupational noise is a longstanding hazard, including agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (74%) and construction (52%).

“The prevalence of HPD nonuse remains high,” Elizabeth Masterson, study co-author and NIOSH epidemiologist, said in the release. “Increasing worker awareness and providing training about the importance of proper and consistent used of HPDs can protect workers from the effects of hazardous noise. In addition, we need to overcome barriers to HPD use by ensuring that workers have HPDs that are comfortable and do not overprotect from noise so they can hear speech and other important workplace signals.”

The study was published online Oct. 1 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Don’t get struck

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Although most states enforce some type of “move over” law, which requires drivers to move over one lane or reduce speed when passing law enforcement on the side of the road, struck-by incidents are still happening.

More than 200 law enforcement officers were struck and killed between 2005 and 2019, according to NIOSH.

Officers can help lower their risk of being struck when responding to a road situation. Follow these tips from NIOSH:
Maintain situational awareness. “Keep your head on a swivel,” don’t turn your back to moving traffic and don’t walk in the gap between vehicles. Also, “always have an escape plan.”
Wear protective clothing. When exiting a patrol vehicle, put on an ANSI-approved high-visibility safety vest. This helps drivers see you.
Follow standard operating procedures. Your agency should have SOPs on temporary traffic control zones.
Understand the incident command structure. “Work collaboratively with other responders.”


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Ladders and overhead power lines

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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From 1992 to 2005, at least 154 workers were killed after a metal ladder they were using came in contact with an overhead power line, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited in a recent NIOSH review.

“As part of the site safety program and orientation,” NIOSH says, “make supervisors and workers aware of power line distances from work areas, including ladder length and ladder staging areas. Use site diagrams to communicate this information and ground-level signs or taped markers to remind workers of overhead power line locations.”

To help prevent injuries and fatalities, NIOSH recommends workers:

  • Look up. You need to know the location of overhead power lines before starting any job. “Always assume all overhead lines are energized and dangerous,” the agency says.
  • Don’t use metal ladders when working around or near overhead power lines.
  • Carry a ladder horizontally and in a lowered position when moving it. If a ladder is too long for one person to carry, ask for help.
  • Follow the 1:4 rule: “For every 4 feet between the ground and the upper point where a ladder is resting, set the feet of the ladder out 1 foot horizontally. For example, if the ladder is resting on the edge of a roof 16 feet above the ground, the bottom of the ladder should be 4 feet out from that edge.”
  • Don’t touch or go near a person or ladder that has come in contact with an overhead power line.

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

N95 respirator approval, fit testing and efficiency: New fact sheets from NIOSH

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

N 95 masks

Washington — NIOSH has issued a pair of fact sheets on filtering facepiece respirators, detailing how to tell if an N95 is approved by the agency as well as procedures for fit testing and testing filtration efficiency.

With an NIOSH-approved respirator, “you can be confident that it is working as expected” as long as it is properly maintained, is worn and used correctly, fits properly, and is replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.

“NIOSH only approves respirators that pass its strict quality assurance and performance requirements,” the agency says. During its tests, NIOSH uses a “near worst-case penetrating aerosol size (i.e., particles that are best able to make it through a filter).” An N95 respirator must block at least 95% of those particles, which typically measure at 0.3 microns in diameter.

The fact sheet on fit testing and filtration efficiency testing covers the types of fit tests: qualitative and quantitative. It also includes a short checklist to ensure an N95 is protecting the user.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Respiratory Protection Week is September 7–10!

First published by NIOSH

Respiratory Protection Week, September 7-10, 2021

Photo: NIOSH

The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory website has a new look that is part of this year’s Respiratory Protection Week observance. The update includes a revamping of the Respirator Trusted Source, which now has the most recent and relevant respiratory protection information and answers to frequently asked questions. During the week NIOSH will also present two webinars: The September 7 webinar will be an overview of how technologies may be applied to respiratory protection and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), the new role of PPE in nontraditional settings, and how to close PPE gaps for underserved populations. Then, on September 9, NIOSH will join presenters from OSHA and the FDA in a webinar to clarify information about the U.S. Respiratory Protection authorities.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Machinist dies after being pulled into manual lathe

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Case report: 21KY002
Issued by: Kentucky State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: Feb. 17, 2021

A 52-year-old machinist at a manufacturing company was preparing to spot drill the center of a 103-inch piece of round steel in a manual lathe. Because of the length of the steel, 24 inches of the material was protruding out of the back of the unguarded lathe, held in place with an aftermarket clamping device that rotates as the lathe rotates. Security footage showed that while the lathe was in operation and the steel rod was spinning, the machinist attempted to grab a glove from the top of the lathe. The sleeve of his shirt became entangled on the clamping device, pulling him into the lathe between the motor and rotating piece of steel. As the lathe continued to turn, the machinist’s body rotated around the piece of steel and struck the motor about 12 times. An employee in the changing room heard the event, ran out to investigate, shut down the machine and called emergency medical services. First responders transported the partially conscious machinist to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Cause of death was listed as traumatic blunt force injuries.

To help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Fabricate or purchase guarding and affix it to machines to protect operators from rotating components.
  • Mark “No entry areas” clearly and provide applicable training.
  • Prohibit machine operators from wearing loose-fitting clothing while operating lathes.
  • Consider implementing a job hazard analysis procedure.
  • Regularly provide hazard awareness training to employees.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Respiratory Protection Week set for Sept. 7-10

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
respiratory_protection_week.jpeg
Photo: NIOSH

 NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory has marked Sept. 7-10 as its annual Respiratory Protection Week, an event intended to promote proper respiratory protection practices through the sharing of related research findings and educational tools.

In 2019, NIOSH expanded N95 Day, which had been observed since 2012, into Respiratory Protection Week.

As organizations continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, NIOSH says it has remained focused on developing information products to address frequently asked questions related to respiratory protection and personal protective equipment.

“This extraordinary time emphasizes the importance of respiratory protection and PPE,” NPPTL Director Maryann D’Alessandro said in a press release. “We are excited to spread awareness on this topic, spotlight our valuable resources and provide insight into our vision regarding the future of PPE.”

NIOSH is set to host separate one-hour webinars:

For more information, follow updates from @NIOSH_NPPTL on Twitter.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Safe + Sound Week: August 9–15

First published by NIOSH

Once again, NIOSH, OSHA, and their partners are sponsoring Safe + Sound Week. Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event to celebrate the successes of businesses that have implemented safety and health programs in the workplace. Every August, these businesses are invited to celebrate their safety successes and efforts to be #SafeAndSoundAtWork. Registration opens July 7!

Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe.

Why Participate?
Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one, or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.

Who Participates?
All organizations looking for an opportunity to recognize their commitment to safety are welcome to participate. Last year, more than 3,400 businesses helped to raise awareness about workers’ health and safety!

Check out our event archive for information on previous years’ engagement.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business