OSHA cited Goldens' Foundry & Machine Company for exposing workers to safety and health hazards at its Columbus manufacturing plant. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $117,950. The company received 59 serious citations for alleged safety and health violations observed during the April 2005 inspection. "OSHA is committed to reducing hazards that lead to worker injuries, illnesses and deaths," said Andre Richards, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "We initiated this inspection after being notified of unsafe working conditions at the facility." OSHA cited 51 safety hazards that exposed workers to falls, amputations, electrocutions and "struck-by" accidents. The proposed penalties, which individually range from $1,050 to $3,500, totaled $102,200. Hazards included a damaged hoisting crane; lack of required guards on machinery throughout the plant; unguarded floor openings; missing guardrails on stairways; defective tools; unmarked emergency routes and exit doors; electrical hazards; and failing to use "lockout-tagout" procedures to render machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair. The company received eight citations for exposing workers to health hazards. The proposed penalties totaled $15,750 and also ranged from $1,050 to $3,500. The cited hazards included permitting workers to smoke in flammable areas; storing flammable, corrosive chemicals in defective cabinets; failing to provide adequate eye protection, including readily accessible eye wash stations for employees working with chemicals; failing to properly label chemicals; and exposing workers to silica above the permissible exposure limit.
CDC Flu Shot RecommendationsDiscuss
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the supply of vaccine for this flu season is good and it is time to broaden vaccinations beyond the high-risk groups. The CDC advised that flu shot providers who have sufficient supplies of vaccine should broaden their vaccination efforts to include other people, especially 50-to-64 year olds, who are interested in getting an influenza vaccination.
The CDC had recommended that until last week, health care providers were to focus their vaccination efforts on people who are at highest risk of serious complications from influenza. These include people 65 years old and older, health care workers who provide patient care, pregnant women, 6 to 23-month old children, and people with chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, asthma, and heart conditions).
ôIt is always a priority for us to want to reach people who are at the highest risk of complications from influenza and get them vaccinated,ö said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. ôThose efforts should continue, but we also recognize that many health care providers have enough vaccine to expand their efforts, and overall, more vaccine is becoming available weekly.ö
So far eight states are reporting very mild influenza activity. This level of activity is typical for this time of year. Influenza peeks most often in January and February so the coming weeks on into December afford excellent opportunities for vaccination.
Gerberding noted that not all health-care providers have received their influenza vaccine, but are expecting to be receiving it in the coming weeks. These localized shortages are the result of distribution anomalies that are expected to be resolved soon.
ôIn those situations, we ask people to check with their doctor first to make sure they have a supply,ö said Gerberding. ôWeÆre early into the time when people should get flu vaccinations and many doctors will be receiving vaccine shortly. Millions of more doses of vaccine are on the way, and November and December are also fine when it comes to getting your flu vaccination.ö
Local health care providers or public health officials will know about the availability of vaccine in specific communities. Getting a flu shot is important. Wellness and prevention should be the first priority for families across the country as this flu season begins. For more information on seasonal flu visit: www.hhs.gov/flu.
YouÆve heard it before, but its true: hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of colds and the flu. Here are two posters you can use to spread the word:á DonÆt Let Bacteria Get a Free Rideö and ôAll it Takes is Soap and Water.ö
Other cold and flu resources:
Key facts about the flu
Preventing the flu
Stopping germs at work
Rising Energy Costs May Trigger More Heating FiresDiscuss
The substantially increased cost to heat your home or workplace this winter might drive you to use supplemental heating sources whenever possible. Fireplaces and space heaters can make a room toasty, but the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges consumers to use caution when using these devices by thinking fire-safety first.
There were 45,500 home heating fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2002, according to NFPA. These fires caused 220 deaths, 990 injuries and $449 million in property damage. These numbers have generally declined over recent years, but with natural gas and oil prices expected to rise sharply from last year at this time, those who never used supplemental heating may elect to do so, possibly causing more fires.
Based on frequency of use, space heaters pose a higher risk of fire and fire death than central heating. Fireplaces and chimneys were involved in 43 percent of all home heating fires and 11 percent of the associated deaths. Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in 25 percent of the home heating fires, but 74 percent of the associated deaths. Central heating was involved in 19 percent of home heating fires and 10 percent of the associated deaths.
Most fireplace and chimney fires were caused by creosote build-up. The leading cause of space heater fires was combustibles too close to the heaters. Central heating fires were primarily caused by mechanical failures or malfunctions. Heating equipment can be used safely á
If you follow these recommendations from NFPA:
- áááááááá When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory, and be sure to have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician, according to manufacturerÆs instructions or applicable codes. Or make sure a qualified technician checks to see that the unit has been properly installed.
- áááááááá Keep or maintain a 36-inch clearance between space heaters and anything that can burn.
- áááááááá Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other solid-fueled heating equipment inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned as often as inspections suggest. Use only wood that is properly seasoned to reduce creosote build-up.
- áááááááá Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container.
- áááááááá Have any gas-fueled heating device installed with proper attention to ventilation. If unvented gas space heaters are used in bedrooms or bathrooms, make sure they are small and well-mounted. NFPA codes prohibit use of liquefied petroleum gas heaters with self-contained fuel supplies.
- áááááááá Test smoke alarms monthly; install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
Protecting Employees in Cold WeatherDiscuss
As the temperatures drop, be sure you are doing all you can to protect your employees who work outdoors. Review the factors that contribute to cold-related health and safety issues, and be prepared to address them with your employees.
The major risk factors for cold-related stressors:
- áááááááá Wearing inadequate or wet clothing increases the effects of cold on the body.
- áááááááá Taking certain drugs or medications such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and medication that inhibits the body's response to the cold or impairs judgment.
- áááááááá Having a cold or certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart, vascular, and thyroid problems, may make a person more susceptible to the winter elements.
- áááááááá Being a male increases a person's risk to cold-related stresses. Sad, but true, men experience far greater death rates due to cold exposure than women, perhaps due to inherent risk-taking activities, body-fat composition or other physiological differences.
- áááááááá Becoming exhausted or immobilized, especially due to injury or entrapment, may speed up the effects of cold weather.
- áááááááá Aging -- the elderly are more vulnerable to the effects of harsh winter weather.
You can find more information by downloading OSHAÆs Cold Weather Fact Sheet.
Omaha Steaks International Achieves OSHA RecognitionDiscuss
Omaha Steaks International Inc. has earned membership in OSHAÆs prestigious "Merit" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).á "Omaha Steaks International has exhibited excellence in safety and health management," said Kansas City OSHA Regional Administrator Charles E. Adkins, CIH. "Their outstanding efforts have included management commitment to safety and health and employee involvement in safety and health programs." The facility employs 297 workers who process high quality meat products from boxed beef. Companies that have been accepted into VPP represent more than 200 industries. OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs recognize and promote effective workplace safety and health management. Companies in VPP achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry. Nationwide, approximately 1,300 work sites participate in the program. Information kits about the VPP application and approval process are available from the OSHA VPP Manager at the Kansas City Regional Office at (816) 426 5861.
Power Plant Earns Prestigious OSHA "Star"Discuss
Calpine Dighton Power in North Dighton, Mass., has earned membership in OSHA VPP Star program. "This award spotlights Calpine Dighton's outstanding job of safety and health management at this site," said Al J. Morrissey, OSHA's New England assistant regional administrator for cooperative programs, who presented a VPP flag and plaque to the company in a recent ceremony. The electric power generation plant, which employs 15 workers, joins an elite corps of about 1,300 workplaces nationwide that have earned VPP recognition. The "Star" designation came after an OSHA team's thorough on-site review of the plant's application and safety and health program, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite. "Our review of this facility's safety and health management programs found them to be consistent with the high quality of VPP programs," Morrissey said. "The safety and health culture at this site is remarkable. No safety and health issue is too minor to be addressed and examined." He noted that plant management is open to all suggestions for safety and health improvement resulting in a working environment where safety awareness is at the maximum level. Employees are so safety and health conscious that they regularly develop unique and innovative engineering controls to address safety and health concerns.
Wheelabrator Westchester Achieves Prestigious OSHA "Star" RecognitionDiscuss
Wheelabrator Westchester L.P.'s Peekskill waste to energy facility has earned membership in OSHAÆs "Star" VPP program. "This award spotlights Wheelabrator's outstanding job of safety and health management at this site," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator, who presented a VPP flag and plaque to the company in a recent ceremony. The Peekskill facility, which burns household trash and generates electricity from the steam produced, employs about 64 workers. It now joins an elite corps of about 1,300 workplaces nationwide that have earned VPP recognition. "Our review of this facility's safety and health management programs found them to be consistent with the high quality of VPP programs," said Clark. "In addition, Wheelabrator Westchester has excelled in industrial hygiene, preventive maintenance, safety signage and training." The Peekskill facility uses comprehensive industrial hygiene surveys and biological monitoring to identify and reduce employees' exposures to lead and cadmium and an automated system for scheduling preventive maintenance and tracking safety work orders. It has the ability to immediately create custom-made safety signage and has developed a proactive relationship with the local fire department that includes confined space and fire extinguisher trainingá.
OSHA, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association Renew AllianceDiscuss
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jonathan L. Snare signed a two-year renewal of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) Alliance to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and advance overall workplace safety awareness. The renewal for the NLBMDA Alliance will continue to focus on increasing overall safety awareness in the lumber and building materials industry, with a particular emphasis on recordkeeping issues and prevention of forklift accidents and lifting strains. Originally signed on July 28, 2003, the NLBMDA Alliance identifies emerging safety and health issues and potential methods for responding to those issues. "Our Alliance with NLBMDA will help to continually raise awareness about OSHA requirements by providing information and training resources for industry employers and workers," Snare said. "It has also helped to identify the need for important compliance assistance information specific to the industry." Added NLBMDA President Shawn Conrad: "NLBMDA is excited to renew our Alliance with OSHA. The Alliance continues to be a beneficial relationship for our industry. The accomplishments of the first two years brought many new safety resources to lumber and building material dealers and the Association looks forward to working on many more." OSHA and NLBMDA will continue to work together to increase access for industry employees to safety and health information and outreach programs, including lifting strains. Both organizations will also continue to develop and disseminate injury and hazard information at conferences and events, and through print and electronic media, including using OSHA's and NLBMDA's Web sites. NLBMDA provided information and expertise to OSHA in the development of the Lumber and Building Material Dealer Industry Safety and Health Topics page that describes common industry hazards and possible solutions to those hazards. NLBMDA represents about 6,000 primarily independent lumber and building material companies, in addition to 32 manufacturers and service providers to the building material industry. A majority of the Association's members focus on the building sector and work with home building and professional contractors.á á
OSHA Renews Alliance with American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc.Discuss
OSHA and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN) have renewed their Alliance for another two years to continue targeting workplace violence, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and promoting the availability and use of automated external defibrillators (AED) in the workplace. "Our Alliance with AAOHN has been very effective in working with frontline occupational safety and health professionals to improve safety and health in the workplace," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jonathan L. Snare. "We look forward to furthering our joint efforts and achieving real improvements in workplace safety and health for occupational and environmental health nurses." "AAOHN is pleased to renew our Alliance agreement with OSHA," said AAOHN President Susan A. Randolph. "We are committed to working together with OSHA to promote safe and healthful work environments and prevent worker injury and illness." Under the Alliance, OSHA and AAOHN will continue to use their joint expertise to help small and large businesses promote employee wellness and the use of AEDs, and prevent workplace illnesses and injuries, particularly in the areas of MSDs and workplace violence. OSHA and AAOHN will work together on outreach and communication, including the dissemination of health and safety information and guidance directly to businesses, and the development of electronic assistance tools for OSHA's web page. In addition, AAOHN chapters will act as resources for OSHA's training institute and education centers to assist in the promotion and presentation of health and safety courses. During the initial two years of the OSHA and AAOHN Alliance, the organizations worked together to develop PowerPoint presentations on workplace violence and emergency preparedness. In addition, AAOHN representatives serve on the editorial board of a number of OSHA Safety and Health Topics pages, including bloodborne pathogens and workplace violence.
Emergency and Fire Prevention Plans for Nursing HomesDiscuss
The following was adapted from an article in the Connecticut Department of LaborÆs newsletter by occupational hygienist, Usha Maru.
Today, emergency plans are on nursing home administratorsÆ minds. More and more frequently, government and businesses are involved in emergency situations and are being caught unprepared. Administrators are asking the question, ôHow shall we prepare for emergencies to minimize human pain and loss and property damage?ö In this article we are going to focus on the requirements for nursing homes to prepare effective emergency action and fireáprevention plans.á
Nursing homes today provide skilled care to patients who may or may not be able to evacuate themselves. Therefore, the nursing home has the responsibility of providing for the safety of the patients and for theáemployees. As we all know, in the last decade major nursing home fires have occurred in Hartford, Connecticut and Nashville, Tennessee. Neither nursing home had automatic sprinkler systems and a total of 31 residents died. á
Prior to these events, nursing homes had an option to follow the 1967 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code. Now allánursing homes have to adopt the 2000 edition of the NFPA Life Safety Code, an updated version of the fire code. á
According to the State of Connecticut Public Act No. 05-187áôNot later than July 31, 2006, each chronic and convalescent nursing home or rest home with nursing supervision licensed pursuant to Chapter 368v shall have a complete automatic fire extinguishing system.öá In addition, the act requires all nursing homes to submit a plan for employee fire safety training and education to the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Public Safety (DPS)and to the Department of Labor (DOL) by July 1, 2005. This plan shall at a minimum comply with standards promulgated by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) including but not limited to standards listed in 29 CFR 1910.38, 1910.39, and 1910.157, as adopted pursuant to chapter 571 of the general statutes, or 29 USC Section 651. á
According to the DPH, the State of Connecticut has a total of 249 nursing homes. Out of these, 198 have complete sprinkler protection, 39 have partial sprinkler protection and 12 have no sprinkler protection. These 12 nursing homes are now working with the state and are in the phase of installing sprinkler systems.á
OSHA requires that all employers develop and implement an emergency action and fire prevention plan. Most nursing homes have plans but deficiencies are common and some examples of the most common deficiencies discovered during CONN-OSHA consultations are listed below.
- áááááááá Training drills become routine and employees are not aware of the details.
- áááááááá The plans are not updated for the changes in staff, structure, and/or in specific details of the plan.
- áááááááá Employees of 2nd and 3rd shifts are not trained.
- áááááááá Temporary employees are not trained.
- áááááááá Employees are responsible for too many things such as: evacuating the patients with their needed equipment (like oxygen), evacuating themselves, informing local ááfire and/or ambulance services and other nursing homes, etc.
- áááááááá The drills are not comprehensive, therefore administration and employees are not aware of the fact that the plan, the way it is developed, is not feasible to implement.
- áááááááá Equipment is not checked thoroughly.
- áááááááá The plan does not include details for otheráemergencies such as natural disasters, medical emergencies, violence, etc.
- áááááááá Most of the time a generic non-site specific plan is acquired. For an emergency action and fire prevention plan to be effective it is crucial that the plan be site specific.
In addition to these considerations, some structural considerations are also important to minimize the spread and damage due to fire. Air handling systems are required to shut down automatically when the fire alarm is triggered to prevent the spread of smoke. Vertical openings or penetrations between floors are required to be protected. In one fire incidence, plumbing penetrated the ceiling of a group shower room and this unprotected vertical opening allowed smoke to migrate to upper floors in the building.á
The emergency action and fire prevention plan should be site-specific. Training should be conducted utilizing the developed plan for all employees. During the training if any deficiencies in the plan surface or ideas to improve the plan come up, these issues should be evaluated and the plan should be updated accordingly. Follow up training should be performed on a regular basis.
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