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2/5/2007

AEDs Save Lives

Safety


Employees involved in shift work, holding high stress jobs, or exposed to certain chemicals or electrical hazards may face a higher risk of heart disease and cardiac arrest. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are medical devices designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation to restore the heart rhythm to normal. Because the use of AEDs can save the lives of employees who experience cardiac arrest while on the job, OSHA is encouraging employers to consider making this equipment available in their workplaces. Here are some of the reasons for having AEDs in the workplace:

  • On-site AEDs save precious treatment time and can improve survival odds because they can be used before emergency medical service personnel arrive.
  • A heart rhythm in ventricular fibrillation may only be restored to normal by an electric shock.
  • AEDs are compact, lightweight, portable, and battery-operated.

The devices are safe and easy to use by those who have been properly trained. OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on AEDs features more resource information that will help employers establish an effective AED program and further prevent employee fatalities in the workplace.

Broadening the Reach for Best Practices of Handling Antineoplastic Drugs

The work of NIOSH researchers who are providing recommendations on the best practices for controlling occupational exposures involving antineoplastic drugs in health care settings appears in the December 2006 issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The journal, which is published by the American Cancer Society, describes itself as the most widely circulated cancer journal in the world. The article, “Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic Drugs in Health Care Settings,” broadens the audience reach of the 2004 NIOSH Alert on Hazardous Drugs (DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-165) to include oncologists, primary care physicians, and nurses. This is the most recent information available promoting the safe handling of antineoplastic drugs for the more than 5.5 million health care workers potentially exposed. Recent studies have shown that workers continue to be exposed despite improvements in safety policies and procedures since the 1980s. Contact Tom Connor at TConnor@cdc.gov for more information.

OSHA Fines Rock Tavern, N.Y., Contractor $77,100 for Fall Hazards



An Orange County steel erection contractor faces a total of $77,100 in proposed fines from OSHA for allegedly exposing its employees to fatal fall hazards at a Dutchess County construction site.

Gabriel Steel Erectors Inc. of Rock Tavern, N.Y., was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a supermarket construction site on Stringham Road in Lagrangeville following an OSHA inspection that began Aug. 3, 2006. OSHA found employees exposed to falls of 23 feet while welding and placing bundles of steel decking on upper levels of the building's framework, as well as to falls of 17 feet while entering or working on a boom lift. Fall protection was not used in either case.

"Falls are the number one killer in construction," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "This employer knew these employees required fall protection, yet elected not to ensure the use of this basic, common sense, and legally required safeguard."

As a result, OSHA issued two willful citations, carrying $75,000 in proposed fines, for these conditions. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

OSHA also issued three serious citations to the company, with $2,100 in proposed fines, for exposing employees to fall and struck-by hazards due to the improper placement of steel decking and to fall hazards from an overloaded boom lift. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Detailed information on structural steel erection, including an interactive e-Tool, is available on OSHA's website.

OSHA Renews Alliance with the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography



OSHA has renewed its 2004 alliance with the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) to continue working to protect sonographers' health and safety, particularly by reducing or preventing work-related musculoskeletal injuries.

"We expect that the next two years of this alliance will be as successful as the first two," said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Sonographers and other health care employees are benefiting from this relationship, and we look forward to our continued association with an organization that is so committed to ensuring that workplace safety is a priority."

"The OSHA and SDMS alliance has made a real difference in getting the 'prevention message' out to sonographers on how to reduce one's risk of incurring a work-related musculoskeletal injury," said Donald F. Haydon, CAE, chief executive officer of SDMS. "The alliance has helped promote a nationwide awareness of the importance of addressing ergonomic issues to help reduce the number and severity of injuries among the country's sonographers."

Through the alliance, OSHA and SDMS developed a sonography module for OSHA's Hospital eTool, and SDMS has added information on the alliance program and the OSHA and SDMS alliance to several SDMS ergonomic presentations. Joan Baker, founder of SDMS, worked with the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and Joint Commission Resources (JCR), another alliance program participant, to develop an article, "Preventing Occupational Injury Among Diagnostic Medical Sonographers." The article was published in the March 2006 edition of JCR's monthly newsletter, “Environment of Care.” Baker also gave a presentation, "Ergonomic Hazards in Ultrasonography," that included ergonomic hazards associated with the sonography profession, SDMS' best practices, and information on the OSHA and SDMS alliance at the May 25, 2006, OSHA Journal Club.

OSHA Signs New Alliance with Pipeline Contractors

Employees in the pipeline construction industry will benefit from a safer workplace as a result of a new alliance signed last week between OSHA and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA).

"This agreement will provide members of the APCA, including small businesses, with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect employees' health and safety," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "The alliance will particularly focus on reducing and preventing exposure to hazards from bulldozer, excavator, pipelayer, and other heavy equipment operation, as well as trenching, excavation, and hydrostatic testing hazards."

"As the only trade association in the United States dedicated solely to serving the merit-shop pipeline and station construction industry, APCA is pleased to enter into this alliance with OSHA," said Mark O'Roke, Sunland Construction President and member of APCA Board of Directors. "We are also excited that our outreach and communication goals will extend our efforts beyond strictly our trade association and member companies."

Under the alliance, OSHA and APCA will work together to increase industry employees access to safety and health information and outreach programs. Both organizations will develop and disseminate injury and hazard information at conferences and events, and through print and electronic media, including using OSHA's and APCA's websites.

Finally, alliance participants will speak, exhibit, and appear at various conferences hosted by each organization; convene or participate in forums, roundtable discussions, or stakeholder meetings to help forge innovative solutions in the workplace; or provide input on safety and health issues.

Founded in 1971, APCA serves as the national association of merit shop pipeline contractors. The organization promotes the mutual interests and addresses industry concerns of its members and associates. APCA services range from security issues to providing key industry information and assistance, such as continuing education on labor and employment; laws and regulations governing the pipeline industry; and safety, environmental, quality, drug, and alcohol issues.

OSHA Cites Employer Following Fatal Steam Explosion



OSHA has completed its investigation of an Aug. 3, 2006, steam explosion that killed one employee and seriously injured another. The accident occurred in Building 14 of the Huron Real Estate Associates campus located at 1701 North St., Endicott, N.Y., while two maintenance employees were working on a high-pressure steam line.

OSHA's investigation found that a leaking valve allowed water to collect in a section of piping that had been closed off from the steam system. When steam was reintroduced into that section of the piping, it combined with the water to create a "water hammer" that traveled along the piping to where the two employees were working and exploded.

"When steam and water mix, the increased pressure can shoot through the system, rupturing it with great force, as happened in this case," said Chris R. Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "Proper procedures that could have prevented this accident were not developed, followed, or provided to the employees."

The company specifically failed to develop and train employees on procedures to effectively lock out the high-pressure steam system, including making certain the steam valve was fully closed to prevent leakage, checking for water in the steam line, and draining any water buildup before restoring steam to the pipeline.

OSHA issued three serious citations to Huron Real Estate Associates for these conditions. A fourth serious citation, unrelated to the accident, was issued for two valve handles that protruded into an exit path. A total of $8,750 in fines has been proposed for the four citations. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA Signs New Alliance with Roadway Safety and Health Partners


More than one million employees who compose the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners will benefit from a safer workplace as a result of a new alliance signed last week between OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners.

The Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners is composed of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

"This agreement will provide alliance program participants and other governmental and non-governmental organizations with information, guidance, and access to training resources," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "These resources will help the alliance protect employees from general health and safety hazards and reduce and prevent exposures to roadway work zone safety and health hazards. Some of these employees are in high-risk occupations and some may have limited English proficiency."

OSHA, NIOSH, and the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners will work together to develop and disseminate case studies demonstrating how an effective safety and health program adds value to a business. They also will participate in forums, roundtable discussions, and stakeholder meetings on work zone safety and health issues to forge innovative solutions to workplace hazards.

ARTBA has more than 5,000 members with knowledge and experience in building road, rail, airport, public transit, port, and waterway facilities. The IUOE was founded in 1896 and has 400,000 members in 170 unions throughout the United States and Canada. The more than 700,000 LIUNA members are employed in various construction fields and work on a wide variety of projects, from skyscrapers to tunnels, and remove hazardous materials from buildings, such as asbestos and lead. NAPA has more than 1,100 member companies and represents the interests of the Hot Mix Asphalt producer and pavement contractors on a national level. The AGC was established in 1918 and has more than 33,000 members, which include general and specialty contractors, as well as suppliers and service providers in 100 chapters throughout the nation.

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