Improving nanomaterial Safety Data Sheets: CPWR launches e-tool

Original article published by Safety+Health
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Photo: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — A new e-tool from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training is intended to help manufacturers, distributors and importers of products that contain nanomaterials strengthen their Safety Data Sheets.

The free, interactive Nano Safety Data Sheet Improvement Tool poses to users a series of questions to help evaluate their existing SDSs, and then generates a report with recommendations for improvement. That report is based on the 16 sections of an SDS required by OSHA that follow specifications of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

Nanomaterials – materials that have at least one dimension (height, width or length) that’s smaller than 100 nanometers – are chemical substances whose microscopic size gives them properties they don’t possess in their larger form.

CPWR has identified more than 800 nanomaterials that are increasingly being used in construction. Those materials include sealants, coatings, paints, concrete, flooring, lubricants and roofing materials. When workers use the materials, they can be exposed to fumes, gases, vapors and dust containing nanomaterials, which can present health hazards.

Knowing which materials could be hazardous allows workers to take precautions to mitigate the risks, according to CPWR, which says SDSs for these products should clearly identify nanomaterials that are present and offer information on potential safety and health risks.

2019 study led by Laura Hodson, the retired coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, revealed that only 3% of the nanomaterial SDSs evaluated were satisfactory and 79% needed significant improvement.


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.

Profits Before People

Original article published by OSHA

Profit Over People: Alarming trend continues at Dollar General storeswhere seven Southeast inspections again find willful violations

OSHA issues $2.7M in penalties after latest inspections, more than $12.3M since 2017

ATLANTA – Less than one month after the U.S. Department of Labor cited Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC with more than $1.6 million in penalties for putting its workers’ safety at risk, federal inspectors have issued citations for similar violations at store locations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and added $2,777,640 in proposed penalties now owed by one of the nation’s largest discount retailers.

Since 2017, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC have received more than $12.3 million in initial penalties for numerous willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations. During the past five years, OSHA found unsafe conditions that expose workers to the possibility of being struck by falling boxes of merchandise or trapped or unable to exit the store safely in an emergency in more than 180 inspections at Dollar General stores nationwide.

Seven inspections by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration from April 28 through June 3, 2022 – in Clay, Dothan, Odenville and Town Creek, Alabama; Darien and West Point, Georgia; and Panama City Beach, Florida – identified 31 violations similar to those found at other Dollar General stores where litigation is pending. Violations issued as the result of the inspections have qualified Dollar General Corp. for inclusion in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Dollar General has shown a pattern of alarmingly willful disregard for federal safety standards, choosing to place profits over their employees’ safety and well-being,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Neighborhood stores exist to support the needs of their communities – the same communities in which many Dollar General employees live – and that support must include following laws designed to keep workers safe from preventable injuries or worse.”

Specifically, OSHA inspectors cited Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC for 11 willful, 16 repeat and four serious violations at the seven Southeast locations. In addition to the struck-by and blocked exit hazards, OSHA cited the company for:

  • Failing to label, mount, or make fire extinguishers accessible.
  • Storing boxes in front of electrical panels, increasing the risk of fire and electrical hazards.
  • Failing to use exit signs to facilitate safe egress in the event of an emergency.
  • Exposing workers to electrocution by not keeping unused openings in electrical cabinets closed.
  • Not providing handrails on stairs where required.

The violations found in these recent inspections mirror those OSHA has found at Dollar General locations across the nation.

In October 2022, inspections at four locations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia uncovered numerous hazards, leading OSHA to propose $1,682,302 in penalties. In August 2022, after inspections at three other Georgia locations, OSHA proposed $1,292,783 in penalties for exposing workers to fire, electrical, and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels unobstructed. In February 2022, OSHA proposed $1,048,309 in penalties after inspections at three other Mobile locations and one in Dalton, Georgia, found similar hazards.

In December 2021, an inspection in Mobile led OSHA to propose $321,827 in penalties for exposing workers to slip and trip hazards, and not keeping the main storeroom orderly to allow a safe exit in an emergency.

Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operates about 18,000 stores and 17 distribution centers in 47 states and employs more than 150,000 workers.

Dollar General has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.


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.

National Heat Awareness Day

First published by OSHA

Remembering Tim: A Life Lost to Heat Illness at Work

National Heat Awareness Day is observed annually on the last Friday of May, which falls on May 27 this year. National Heat Awareness Day is an effort by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Weather Service to alert workers, employers, and the public at large about the (preventable) health dangers related to heat, in order to reduce the overall rate of illnesses and deaths caused by it. This day was specially founded as a reminder that many outdoor workers or laborers are at risk of serious heat-induced conditions like heat exhaustion, dehydration, heatstroke, and even death. We bring you tips on how spreading awareness about these conditions and their prevention can help mitigate such unnecessary medical emergencies.

HISTORY OF NATIONAL HEAT AWARENESS DAY

National Heat Awareness Day was founded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Weather Service, an agency of the U.S. Federal Government. While there is no record of its first observance, the importance of this day and what it stands for is why we are including it.

The reality is that every year, in the U.S. alone, people suffer and die from heat-induced illnesses, which could easily have been prevented with the right protective measures and intervention. Groups that are especially vulnerable to heat are outdoor workers (like farmers and manual laborers), young children, elderly adults, people with chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women. Heatwaves have been on the rise over the past few decades, with a definite correlation to climate change and the crisis of global warming. In the U.S. itself, recent history shows the shocking death toll due to heatwaves. While various measures are being taken to adapt to rising temperatures and humidity, there is a need for awareness to be spread in order to mitigate the losses.

Therefore, this day was created in order to spread awareness to overcome the high-temperature-related issues. This day is also observed to encourage the consumption of water to avoid heat-related illness. Americans seem to still underestimate the health risks related to conditions of extreme heat or temperatures, even though it’s the deadliest weather condition in the country. With factors like pollution causing temperatures to rise earlier each year, the onslaught of the heat of summer is coming faster every year. For this reason, it is imperative that the nation at large begins to sit up and take notice of the fact that there are many groups in need of protection from an unexpected killer.

Heat safety resources from multiple federal agencies ›


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.

Virtual Stakeholder Meeting on OSHA Initiatives to Protect Workers from Heat-Related Hazards

First published by OSHA

Photo: OSHA

OSHA is hosting a virtual public stakeholder meeting on the agency’s activities to protect workers from heat-related hazards. This half-day meeting will allow stakeholders an opportunity to learn about and comment on the various efforts the agency is taking to protect workers from heat-related hazards, as well as hear about the agency’s rulemaking process and ways for the public to participate. The agency will also provide an overview of the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, compliance assistance activities, and enforcement efforts.


Opportunities for Participation

OSHA plans to use this meeting to establish an open dialogue with stakeholders. At the end of each information session, stakeholders will have an opportunity to ask questions about the presentations. Additionally, this meeting will include public comment and testimony periods during which the agency is interested in receiving feedback from stakeholders. The agency is interested in hearing public comments from individuals from various perspectives, including:

  • The public, including affected workers
  • State and local governments
  • Tribal governments
  • Labor Unions
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Academia
  • Business and industry
  • Tribal/indigenous organizations
  • Community-based organizations

Register in advance at https://projects.erg.com/conferences/osha/osha-heat.html. If you wish to present public comments during the meeting, you must indicate that while registering. To accommodate many speakers, public comments will be limited to no more than three minutes during this meeting. The duration of speaking time is subject to change, and the time allotted for each speaker will be finalized upon the close of registration.


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.

OSHA Withdraws Vaccination and Testing ETS

First published by OSHA

Man receiving vaccination

Photo: OSHA

Statement on the Status of the OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is withdrawing the vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard issued on Nov. 5, 2021, to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers with 100 or more employees from workplace exposure to coronavirus. The withdrawal is effective January 26, 2022.

Although OSHA is withdrawing the vaccination and testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule. The agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.

OSHA strongly encourages vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 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.

OSHA urges fireworks/pyrotechnics industry employers to protect workers as the Fourth of July holiday approaches

First published by OSHA

Photo property of OSHA.gov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo property of OSHA.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – As people nationwide plan to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds fireworks/pyrotechnics industry employers to protect their workers from hazards in the processes of manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for use at public events.

“This industry’s hazards are well-known, but necessary precautions can prevent injuries or worse when working with these volatile devices,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “Employers are responsible for taking preventive measures and making sure they train all workers properly in a language they understand.”

OSHA’s web page on the pyrotechnics industry addresses retail sales of fireworks and fireworks displays. The page provides information on common hazards and solutions found in both areas of the industry, and downloadable safety posters for workplaces. It also includes a training video demonstrating best industry practices for retail sales and manufacturers based on National Fire Protection Association consensus standards.


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.

Vapors from isopropyl alcohol can irritate, ignite: hazard alert

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Tumwater, WA — Vapors from isopropyl alcohol solutions and disinfecting wipes can irritate workers’ eyes, nose and throat; cause dizziness and headaches; and build up in the air and easily ignite, warns a new hazard alert from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Employers with workers who use solutions or wipes with IPA, also known as rubbing alcohol, to clean and disinfect surfaces must ensure the facility has proper ventilation.

According to the alert, two recent incidents involving exposure to potentially hazardous levels of IPA in the air occurred at separate workplaces in the state. One involved pre-saturated wipes (70% IPA), while the other involved over-the-counter rubbing alcohol (70% IPA) and pre-saturated wipes (55% IPA). In both cases, ventilation was poor and several workers were exposed to IPA levels in the air that were higher than the 15-minute short-term exposure limit.

Occasional, brief use of IPA products usually isn’t a concern, Washington L&I says, but prolonged use and exposure – especially in enclosed areas – can create risks for workers. Employers can reduce the risk by:

  • Establishing a written hazard communication program that addresses chemical exposures.
  • Measuring personal exposures to ensure they’re below regulated limits.
  • Training workers to identify hazards associated with IPA use.
  • Providing personal protective equipment such as goggles, face shields, appropriate respirators and emergency eyewash stations.
  • Posting warning signs around equipment and/or entrances where overexposures could occur.

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.

NIOSH Announces Free, Confidential Screenings in 2021 for Coal Miners

First published by NIOSH
Miners entering a mobile screening vehicle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo property of NIOSH

In September 2021, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will offer a series of free, confidential health screenings to coal miners as part of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP). The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust.

The health screenings are provided through the state-of-the-art NIOSH mobile testing units at convenient community and mine locations. This year’s screenings will be held from September 9 through September 24 in areas throughout southern West Virginia.

“Black lung disease can occur in miners who work in mines of all sizes,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Early detection of black lung disease allows underground, surface and contract miners to take the steps needed to keep it from progressing to severe lung disease.”

Screenings include a work history questionnaire, an x-ray, a respiratory assessment questionnaire, and blood pressure screening. The screenings typically take about 15 minutes and each individual miner is provided with their results. By law, each miner’s results are confidential. Individual medical information and test results are protected health information and not publicly disclosed. Spirometry, a common breathing test, will not be conducted during this year’s survey.

Participation in this program provides the coal miner:

  • An easy way of checking on their health
  • A confidential report regarding whether or not they have x-ray evidence of CWP

The NIOSH mobile health unit is considered a “healthcare setting” so COVID-19 prevention strategies will be followed.
Please watch for health screening locations, dates, and additional announcements on the CWHSP web pageCWHSP Facebook, and @NIOSHBreathe on Twitter.  Local and individual outreach will be done in all specific locations.  All coal miners – current, former, underground, surface, and those under contract – are welcome to participate.

NIOSH encourages miners and their families to go to the CWHSP web page to learn more about the program.  You may also call the toll-free number (1-888-480-4042) with questions.


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.

Study links on-the-job pollution exposure to heart abnormalities among Latinos

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Exposure to pollutants such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides and wood smoke may be linked to structural and functional heart abnormalities that could lead to cardiovascular disease among Latino workers, results of a recent study published by the American Heart Association indicate.

Researchers studied 782 adult workers with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American or South American backgrounds, gauging their exposure to pollutants at their current and longest-held job via questionnaires. Ultrasounds were taken of the participants’ hearts. Among the findings:

  • Workers exposed to vehicle exhaust, pesticides, burning wood and metals who have been at their jobs for an average of 18 years or more were more likely to “have features of abnormal heart function and structure.”
  • Exposure to burning wood or wood smoke was linked to a “decreased ability” (3.1% lower) of the heart’s left ventricle to pump blood.
  • Exposure to vehicle exhaust was linked to indicators of reduced pumping ability for the heart.
  • Workplace exposure to pesticides was associated with an abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.
  • Exposure to metals was linked to a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: increased muscle mass and abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.

“These findings support the notion that where people live and work affects cardiovascular health,” researcher Jean Claude Uwamungu, cardiology fellow in training at Montefiore Health System/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a press release from AHA. “Policies and interventions to protect the environment and safeguard workers’ health could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure, especially among low-income occupations that have higher exposure to these harmful pollutants. Health care professionals should routinely ask patients about exposure to pollutants at work to guide prevention, diagnosis and treatment of early stages of heart disease.”

The study was published online Aug. 26 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


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.

Understanding Compliance with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

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Photo: CDC/NIOSH

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the availability of respirators and fit-testing supplies. This document is intended to help employers understand and comply with OSHA’s temporary enforcement guidance for the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR § 1910.134).

Background
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a public health emergency that has dramatically increased demand for respirators, particularly N-95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), as well as fit-testing supplies ordinarily used to ensure that respirators fit workers properly and provide the expected level of protection. Shortages (either intermittent or extended) of both FFRs and fit-testing supplies have posed tremendous challenges. In order to allow essential operations to continue, many employers have had to utilize contingency and crisis strategies that are ordinarily not compliant with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard. Examples of contingency and crisis strategies include: extended use of disposable FFRs, decontamination and reuse of disposable FFRs, and the use of foreign FFRs not approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It is important for employers to understand that deviations from normal respirator use come with increased risk for workers that, in certain circumstances, may only be allowable during this public health emergency because the alternative of no respiratory protection presents a greater danger to workers. In order to ensure adequate protection for workers during the use of contingency and crisis strategies, OSHA has issued temporary enforcement guidance to its Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs). This guidance allows CSHOs to exercise enforcement discretion in cases involving workplace exposures and an employer that is unable to comply with certain provisions of the Respiratory Protection standard because of supply shortages and has thus found it necessary to implement contingency or crisis strategies for respirator use by workers. Read More»


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.