Have an idea for a new PPE safety standard?

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Photo: International Safety Equipment Association

Arlington, VA — The International Safety Equipment Association has launched an online portal to solicit ideas for workplace consensus standards.

“Through the new Safety Standards Idea Portal, ISEA will identify and review new concepts, emerging trends, and gaps in the occupational safety and health industry,” a press release states.

“Innovation is essential to ensure we’re meeting our commitment to keeping workers safe through the use of PPE and safety equipment,” ISEA President and CEO Cam Mackey said in the release. “By gathering ideas for new standards, we can identify unmet needs in the market, ultimately helping to transform safety practices in the workplace.

“This new standards proposal process aims to streamline and modernize standards development, promote inclusivity, and drive continuous improvement in safety protocols.”

Submissions won’t include identifiable information – personal or organizational. ISEA volunteer leaders and workplace safety and health experts will evaluate proposals on a rolling basis.

ISEA has scheduled a webinar for noon Eastern on Feb. 28 to detail the submission process, guidelines and form.


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.

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Welders tell researchers why they don’t always wear PPE

"Hazards of welding"
Image: rusak/iStockphoto

Tempe, AZ — A recent study indicates that many welding workers believe some of their tasks don’t warrant the use of personal protective equipment.

Commissioned by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, researchers from Arizona State University surveyed 124 members of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America. They also interviewed 23 workers from nonunion firms in the Southwest United States that have fewer than 10 employees.

The result: Nearly 64% of the workers who were surveyed said they’ve heard co-workers say a welding task was too simple or quick to make shields or ventilation equipment necessary. An equal percentage cited “personal preference,” while 63% find PPE uncomfortable and 60% said it’s inconvenient or “too much trouble.”

At the same time, 10 of the 23 workers who were interviewed said their employers don’t provide any safety measures or equipment, while 13 said their employers offered only general PPE such as gloves or eye and ear protection. Hazards associated with welding include burns and exposure to fumes and nanomaterials.

Those workers agreed that their experiences likely differed from the survey group’s “because contractors belonging to professional associations employ union workers who have documented safety requirements.”


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.

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

OSHA announces proposed rule to clarify personal protective equipment standard, ensure safety of construction industry workers

Photo: OSHA

Action seeks to align construction, general industry, maritime standards

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to clarify the personal protective equipment standard for the construction industry.

The current standard does not state clearly that PPE must fit each affected employee properly, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s general industry and maritime standards do. The proposed change would clarify that PPE must fit each employee properly to protect them from occupational hazards.

The failure of standard-sized PPE to protect physically smaller construction workers properly, as well as problems with access to properly fitting PPE, have long been safety and health concerns in the construction industry, especially for some women. The proposed rule clarifies the existing requirement, and OSHA does not expect the change will increase employers’ costs or compliance burdens. The proposed revision would align the language in OSHA’s PPE standard for construction with standards for general industry and maritime.

“If personal protective equipment does not fit properly, an employee may be unprotected or dangerously exposed to hazards and face tragic consequences,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We look forward to hearing from stakeholders on this important issue as we work together to ensure that construction workers of all genders and sizes are fitted properly with safety gear.”

Submit comments and hearing requests online using the Federal eRulemaking Portal and reference Docket No. OSHA-2019-0003. Read the Federal Register notice for details. Comments and hearing requests must be submitted by Sept. 18, 2023.

PPE must fit properly to provide adequate protection to employees. Improperly fitting PPE may fail to provide any protection to an employee, present additional hazards, or discourage employees from using such equipment in the workplace.


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.

Original article published by OSHA

NIOSH seeks information on PPE for ‘underserved’ workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

information on PPE for underserved workers

Washington — NIOSH is seeking input on personal protective equipment use, availability, accessibility, acceptability and knowledge for “underserved” workers, according to a notice published in the June 24 Federal Register.

“Underserved PPE user populations may include, but are not limited to, workers who are of an atypical size; who are members of a gender, racial, ethnic or linguistic minority group; who conduct nontraditional worker activities; or who are members of sub-disciplines that are not the primary focus of the current PPE activities within a larger field,” the notice states.

Information should be shared with NIOSH via a letter or email, and should include individual, company or institution name, location, and website (if available). The letters also should include contact information and “the primary motivation(s) for why you (or your organization) are responding,” along with relevant background information and knowledge of “any other organizations working in applicable issues.”

In addition, NIOSH asks that respondents describe experiences related to PPE use, availability, accessibility, acceptability and knowledge issues for underserved PPE user populations.

Other potential questions respondents can answer:

  • What data/information/resources did you find the most relevant/valuable?
  • How long have you or your organization been working with the PPE use, availability, accessibility, acceptability and knowledge issues for underserved populations?
  • Did your or your organization’s involvement change over time and, if so, how and why?
  • What achievements have you or your organizations realized through your work (e.g., publications, guidance, new/revised policies or procedures)?
  • What are your future plans on PPE use, availability, accessibility and knowledge for underserved populations?
  • Describe PPE gaps/barriers for underserved populations?
  • What research, service or policy gaps need to be addressed?

Letters of information are due by Aug. 23.


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.

Walking-Working Surfaces

First published by OSHA

US Department of Labor announces OSHA rule proposal to clarify handrail, stair rail
system requirements in general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standard

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing updates in the handrail and stair rail system requirements for its general industry, Walking-Working Surfaces standard.

OSHA published a final rule on walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment in November 2016 that updated requirements for slip, trip and fall hazards. The agency has received numerous questions asking when handrails are required, and about the height requirements for handrails on stairs and stair rail systems.

This proposed rule does not reopen for discussion any of the regulatory decisions made in the 2016 rulemaking. It focuses solely on clarifying some of the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems finalized in 2016, and on providing flexibility in the transition to OSHA’s newer requirements.

Follow the online instructions at the Federal eRulemaking portal to submit comments. Submit comments by July 19. For more information, read the Federal Register notice.


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.

NIOSH approves first elastomeric half-mask respirator without an exhalation valve

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — NIOSH has approved – for both personal protection and source control – the first elastomeric half-mask respirator without an exhalation valve.

In a Nov. 16 agency news brief, NIOSH acknowledges concerns that filtering facepiece respirators and EHMRs with exhalation valves “may allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the environment,” compromising the equipment’s effectiveness to protect others if the wearer has COVID-19.

NIOSH notes that exhalation in EHMRs without exhalation valves is possible because the equipment’s particulate filters meet agency requirements, “thereby allowing it to also serve as a means of source control since it will maintain the high level of filtration upon exhalation.”

NIOSH published in the Sept. 14 Federal Register a Request for Information on the deployment and use of EHMRs in health care settings and emergency medical services organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial comment period was slated to end Oct. 14, but the agency extended it to Dec. 14.

Noting EHMRs’ low cost, ease of use, and ability to be cleaned and decontaminated, NIOSH anticipates the widespread use of the respirators will ease the demand for single-use N95 respirators in health care settings that are experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases.


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 your skin

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Do you work with wet cement, paints or plaster? Maybe adhesives? These are just some of the materials that can irritate your skin because they can contain harsh substances such as hexavalent chromium, calcium hydroxide, toluene, xylene, epoxy resins and lime. This can result in burns, dermatitis and other skin disorders, and even cancer.

Symptoms of skin disorders include:

  • Red and/or swollen hands or fingers
  • Cracked or itchy skin
  • Crusting or thickening of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Flaky or scaly skin
  • Burns

Here’s how you can protect your skin:
Prevent exposure. Try to keep your arms and clothes dry. Wear protective clothing, including gloves, coveralls and boots. If you work outdoors, always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Clean your hands and skin before applying the sunscreen.
Wear gloves. Make sure you’re using the right glove for the materials you’re handling. The gloves should fit and keep your hands clean and dry.
Keep your skin clean. Wash your hands with soap and clean water if you come in contact with a hazardous substance. Use a pH neutral soap if you work with wet cement or other caustics.


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 your skin

skin-protection.jpg

Do you work with wet cement, paints or plaster? Maybe adhesives? These are just some of the materials that can irritate your skin because they can contain harsh substances such as hexavalent chromium, calcium hydroxide, toluene, xylene, epoxy resins and lime. This can result in burns, dermatitis and other skin disorders, and even cancer.

Symptoms of skin disorders include:

  • Red and/or swollen hands or fingers
  • Cracked or itchy skin
  • Crusting or thickening of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Flaky or scaly skin
  • Burns

Here’s how you can protect your skin:
Prevent exposure. Try to keep your arms and clothes dry. Wear protective clothing, including gloves, coveralls and boots. If you work outdoors, always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Clean your hands and skin before applying the sunscreen.
Wear gloves. Make sure you’re using the right glove for the materials you’re handling. The gloves should fit and keep your hands clean and dry.
Keep your skin clean. Wash your hands with soap and clean water if you come in contact with a hazardous substance. Use a pH neutral soap if you work with wet cement or other caustics.

‘Extremely hazardous’: Alert warns against using ethylene oxide to sterilize masks, respirators

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Photo: nanthm/iStockphoto

Tumwater, WA — Ethylene oxide should not be used to sterilize filtering facepiece respirators for reuse because “this extremely hazardous toxic chemical poses a severe risk to human health,” the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries warns in a new alert.

Citing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington L&I cautions health care employers and other who sterilize respirators for reuse that ethylene oxide is a carcinogen that “has been linked to neurologic dysfunction and may cause other harmful effects” to the eyes, lungs, brain and nervous system. Further, prolonged exposure could lead to increased risk of reproductive issues and some cancers.

Washington L&I notes that ethylene oxide sterilization systems have not been approved by federal OSHA for personal protective equipment, and evidence suggests using one could result in off-gassing of ethylene oxide in the wearer’s breathing zone.

Although hospitals and clinics are required to use their ethylene oxide sterilizer systems for their intended and manufacturer-approved purposes, they “must NOT be used to sterilize masks, respirators, PPE or items worn by humans,” the alert states.

A shortage of N95 and other filtering facepiece respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic has led some health care facilities to sterilize PPE so it can be reused. In April, the National Institutes of Health recommended three effective methods for sanitizing N95 respirators for limited reuse: vaporized hydrogen peroxide, 70° C dry heat and ultraviolet light.

PPE users should refer to the CDC guidance on optimizing N95 respirator supplies and the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorizations regarding PPE for COVID-19, the alert adds.