Safety Fourth

July 02, 2018
On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of our nation.  Fireworks and food are mainstays of many celebrations, but both can be dangerous if not handled safely.
On the 4th many Americans will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has encouraged everyone to put safety first if they are participating in any firework activities.
"Thousands of people are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from fireworks," said Neal Martin, program coordinator of DHEC's Division of Injury, and Violence Prevention. "You cannot take safety for granted when it comes to fireworks."
Fireworks-related injuries are preventable. They range from minor and major burns to fractures and amputations. In South Carolina, the most common fireworks-related injuries are burns and open wounds to the hands, legs, head, and eyes.
"Fireworks are exciting to see this time of year, but they are dangerous when misused not only for the operator but also for bystanders and nearby structures," said Bengie Leverett, Public Fire Education Officer at the Columbia Fire Department. "Everyone is urged to use extreme precaution when using the devices."
The best way to prevent fireworks injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. However, if you still want to light up fireworks at home, keep these safety tips in mind:
  • Observe local laws. Many jurisdictions require both individuals and organizations to be licensed. If you're unsure whether it is legal to use fireworks, check with local officials.
  • Monitor local weather conditions. Dry weather can make it easier for fireworks to start a fire.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Always read and follow directions on each firework.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass, and trees.
  • Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.
  • Ensure everyone is out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time and keep a safe distance.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse them with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.
  • Give fireworks to small children.
  • Carry fireworks in your pocket.
Aside from making sure your family and friends stay safe, it's also important to protect our furry friends. Pets should be kept safely inside the house to avoid additional stress and the possibility of lost pets (who escape fencing to run from fireworks).
Dogs who are fearful of fireworks should be isolated in rooms that provide the most soundproofing from the loud noises of fireworks going off.  Make sure that your pets have proper, current, visible identification in case they escape during the fireworks. Also, never take your pets to firework shows.
OSHA encouraged the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to protect workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying, and selling fireworks. OSHA offers information on common hazards and solutions, including safety posters for workplaces.
Food Safety
Fire up the grill, whip up the potato salad, and know how to keep food safe.  Whether you're grilling out, packing a picnic, or getting a snack together to eat while you watch fireworks, there are some simple steps you can take that will reduce the chance of getting a foodborne illness.
"One food safety essential is making sure food is at the proper temperature, whether it's cooking it to the right temperature on the grill, or keeping it cold," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah. "There is something called the ‘Danger Zone,' when food sits at a temperature between 40ºF and 140ºF, which is when bacteria grow most rapidly.  Keeping food at the proper temperature, making sure there is no cross-contamination, and keeping hands and utensils clean are key to avoiding foodborne illness."
It can be difficult to keep food cold during the summer, especially while traveling. One tip to help keep your cooler below 40ºF is to pack beverages in one cooler and food in another.  Chances are the cooler with the beverages will be opened much more frequently, causing the temperature inside the cooler to fluctuate, which would be bad news for food.
Food should also be separated in the cooler: raw meat and poultry should be separate from fruits, vegetables, cheeses, salads, and even cooked foods.  This will help avoid cross contamination. The juices of raw meat can mingle with foods that are ready to eat and you could end up with a Salmonella sandwich instead of a hamburger on a bun.  And make sure the cooler is in the shade and out of the direct sun. This will help keep the temperature below 40ºF.
Whether you're cooking on the grill or in a kitchen, make sure food reaches the proper temperature.  And don't just eyeball the color of the meat. That doesn't always indicate the level of doneness.  Use a meat thermometer:
  • 145°F - whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal
  • 145°F – fish
  • 160°F - hamburgers and other ground beef
  • 165°F - all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
Make sure to use clean utensils and a clean plate when you take food off the grill.  Using the same utensils and plate that you did for the raw meat could add an unintended E.coli marinade to your food.
Chances are, if you're outside, you've touched something dirty - playground equipment, baseball, lake water, etc.  If there is not running water and soap to wash your hands where you're going, don't forget to bring the hand sanitizer. Clean your hands before preparing food and eating.
Once you've had your fill, it's time to chill.  Make sure all leftovers are refrigerated or put on ice within two hours after cooking, or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F.  Don't let that potato salad bake in the sun and become a source of sickness.
More food safety tips or information about foodborne illnesses and symptoms can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Hazardous Waste Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations.  Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.  Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts.  If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD10 tablet.
Aluminum Ladders Recalled Due to Fall Hazard
Werner Co. has recalled several models of its Multi-Purpose Telescoping Aluminum Ladders. The ladders can break while in use, posing a fall hazard to the user. If you have any of the recalled models, you should immediately stop using the recalled ladders and return the ladder to the place of purchase to receive a full refund.
This recall involves five models of aluminum telescoping ladders that can be used in five different positions (twin step ladder, stairway step ladder, extension ladder, wall ladder and as two scaffold bases). The date code is stamped on the inside of the outer leg of the ladder, beneath the bottom step. The model number is printed on a label located on the side of the ladder rail. The recalled ladders have a load capacity of 375 lbs.
Werner has received one report of a ladder breaking while in use, resulting in one injury to the left side and elbow of the consumer.  The ladders were sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores nationwide from April 2018 through May 2018 for between $180 and $275. 
For additional information, call 888-523-3370 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at or visit
Employers Were Required to Submit 2017 Injury and Illness Data by July 1
Electronic submissions are required of establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.
For more information, and a link to the Injury Tracking Application, see the Injury Tracking Application Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records to OSHA.
CSB Investigations of Incidents during Startups and Shutdowns
U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) recently released a Safety Digest that highlights three incidents that occurred during a startup or shutdown, and provides lessons learned.
The Ultimate Smell Test: Device Sends Rotten Food Warning to Smartphones
When it comes to the smell test, the nose isn’t always the best judge of food quality. Now in a study appearing in ACS’ journal Nano Letters, scientists report that they have developed a wireless tagging device that can send signals to smartphones warning consumers and food distributors when meat and other perishables have spoiled. They say this new sensor could improve the detection of rotten food, so it is tossed before consumers eat it.
Every year, 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from foodborne illnesses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, about 125,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Traditionally, many consumers just smell a food to detect spoilage, but this technique is only as reliable as the sniffer’s nose. At the other end of the spectrum, food inspectors often use bulky, expensive equipment to detect harmful microbes. Scientists are investigating other approaches, including near field communication (NFC) labeling, that are both portable and dependable. NFC devices wirelessly transmit information over short distances — usually less than 4 inches. They are similar to the radio frequency identification products retailers use to track inventory and shipments. Building on this idea, Lijia Pan, Yi Shi, Guihua Yu and colleagues sought to incorporate a sensitive switch into NFC labeling tags to detect food spoilage using a smartphone.
The scientists created a nanostructured, conductive, polymer-based gas sensor that can detect substances called biogenic amines (BAs), which give decomposing meat its bad odor. They embedded these sensors into NFCs placed next to meats. After the meats had been stored for 24 hours at 86ºFF, the researchers found that the sensors successfully detected significant amounts of BAs. The sensors then switched on the NFCs so they could transmit this information to a nearby smartphone.
National Academies of Science Recommendations to Reverse Upswing in Black Lung Disease
Black lung disease cases in coal miners have been increasing since 2000 for uncertain reasons. A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that even though mine operators today are complying with regulatory requirements for monitoring conditions that affect miner health, these approaches may not guarantee that exposures will be controlled adequately or that future disease rates will decline.  A fundamental shift is needed in the way mine operators approach exposure control to continue progress toward eliminating coal mine dust-related lung diseases.  The report recommends a number of actions for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) that range from improving current monitoring technologies to building research activities that address the gaps in knowledge.
Coal mine dust-related lung diseases are a complex problem that continues to affect coal miners in the U.S.  Though black lung disease rates declined in the latter decades of the 20th century following the regulatory requirements in 1969, an unexpected increase in the cases has been observed in various geographic areas in central Appalachia since 2000.  Historically, the primary focus of monitoring and sampling of respirable coal mine dust – comprising airborne particles in underground mines that can be inhaled by miners and deposited in the distal airways and gas-exchange region of the lung – has been based on federal regulation compliance, which has reduced but not eliminated such diseases. In 2014, MSHA issued a rule that lowered allowable exposure limits for respirable coal mine dust and required the use of different monitoring technology and sampling protocols for mine workers’ dust exposure.
Subsequently, the Academies were asked by Congress to assess monitoring and sampling approaches to inform the decision-making of underground coal mine operators regarding the control of respirable coal mine dust and mine workers' exposure to it, as mandated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.
“There is an urgent need for monitoring and sampling strategies that enable continued, actual progress to be made toward the elimination of diseases associated with coal mine dust exposure,” said Thure Cerling, Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics and Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Utah and chair of the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report.
Receiving reliable information on coal mine dust is crucial for predicting, reducing, and preventing disease risks, the report finds.  A focus on reducing exposures during miners' entire working life is important because black lung disease and silicosis occur over a long period of time and the level of disease risk is related to the total amount of dust exposure.
While no treatment is successful in reversing the lung diseases caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust, better miner participation in the voluntary medical surveillance system for early disease detection is significant in protecting the miner’s health, says the report.  The report notes that lack of participation from workers in medical surveillance impacts the efficacy for assessment efforts to reduce exposure.  NIOSH and MSHA should identify factors that act as disincentives for participation in the voluntary medical surveillance and address them, the report continues.  Data from the medical surveillance programs should be linked directly with exposure monitoring programs and integrate health-related data on active and retired miners. Comprehensive occupational histories containing details such as specific mine employment, duration of work at the coal face, and use of respiratory protection should be included.
MSHA’s 2014 dust rule requires the use of a continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM), an important, technological advancement that checks the mass concentration of dust in near real time, the report says. Previous monitoring devices required several days for the monitoring data to be available to the mine operator and the workforce, creating a delay in decisions on necessary changes to better control dust generation or dust exposure at a location.  However, only a fraction of miners are required to use CPDM and an individual worker may not be representative of the dust exposure to others not wearing the device. The report recommends conducting studies to evaluate the exposures of all mine workers to ensure that the approach reliably results in mitigating high exposures for all miners.
The report also highlights the importance of training miners to use these monitors properly as well as educating them about risks of coal mine dust diseases, hazards of silica and rock dust, and the miners’ right to file a complaint without fear of retaliation, among other factors.  At the same time, the committee also recommended improving the monitors by reducing their weight and cost.
Crystalline silica is a highly relevant constituent in respirable coal mine dust with regard to lung disease in miners.  Given the health hazards posed by silica, the report calls for NIOSH to develop a real-time crystalline silica monitor.  As an interim measure, NIOSH should continue its efforts to develop monitors that provide exposure readings by the end of a miner’s shift.
To inform exposure control efforts, the committee said NIOSH and other organizations such as the National Mining Association should conduct a comprehensive investigation to identify key challenges mine operators face in implementing a beyond-compliance approach to monitoring.
The committee also identified important information gaps regarding monitoring and sampling protocols for controlling miners’ exposure to coal mine dust. The report notes that research and development efforts are needed for better understanding of relationships between miners’ exposures and disease, including studying effects of changes in mining methods, improving monitoring approaches, and increasing participation in medical surveillance programs.  A comprehensive assessment of respirable coal mine dust particle characteristics will help target future studies about exposure because the health hazards can vary.
NIOSH, MSHA, and other organizations should set priorities and develop a strategy for addressing the recommendations outlined in the report.  Federal, academic, and coal mine industry researchers should seek opportunities for conducting collaborative research and development activities, the report says.

The committee was asked not to recommend changes to the requirements of MSHA’s final rule for lowering miners' exposure to respirable coal mine dust, as the development of those requirements involves considerations beyond the scientific and technical focus of this study.
The study was sponsored by NIOSH. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine.
New Kansas Law Protects Good Samaritans from Liability
On average, 37 children and over three dozen animals die in a hot car each year in the United States. Hot car-related injuries and deaths are 100% predictable and 100% preventable.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) of Kansas, and Safe Kids Kansas (sponsored in part by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment) joined together on Monday, June 25, to discuss the new law that went into Sunday, July 1. It passed during the 2018 Legislative session. The Hot Cars Law gives good Samaritans in Kansas the legal right (under certain conditions) to break a window to help a vulnerable person or animal trapped inside a hot car.
On a 90-degree day, the interior of a parked car can soar to over 115 degrees within 15 minutes. Cracking a window has been proven to not help. Experts say, the most dangerous mistake a parent or animal owner can make is to assume leaving a child or animal alone in a parked car is a safe option, even for just a few minutes. Already this year, there have been 18 confirmed child deaths in hot cars. A child’s body can overheat three to five times faster than an adult’s, and since animals cannot sweat the way we do, they are unable to regulate their internal body temperature as effectively. An animal or child can sustain brain damage, organ damage or failure and death from a vehicular heatstroke within minutes of being trapped.
The new law will empower the Kansas community to act fast and safely to help rescue a vulnerable person or animal trapped in a hot car. Before you can exercise your right to intervene, the following must be checked:
  • Is the car locked?
  • Is the person or animal suffering in imminent danger?
  • Have you notified local law enforcement?
  • Are you using reasonable force to break entry?
  • Can you remain with the person or animal until law enforcement arrives?
  • Is the animal in question domestic? This law does not apply to livestock animals.
Kansas joins 21 other states who protect good Samaritans from legal retribution for assisting people or animals in imminent danger when trapped in a hot car.
MSHA Wants Data on Technologies to Improve Safety Conditions for America’s Miners
The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced in the June 26 Federal Register that it is seeking data on technologies that can improve safety conditions for America's miners. MSHA's Request for Information (RFI) focuses on reducing accidents involving mobile equipment at surface mines, and belt conveyors at surface and underground mines.
"The Trump Administration is committed to the health and safety of America's miners. Through the deployment of modern technologies, such as proximity detection, we can help ensure that miners return home safely at the end of their shifts," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health David G. Zatezalo. "MSHA is also interested in learning more about how seat belts can be more widely used in mining operations to prevent injuries."
Mobile equipment at surface operations includes bulldozers, front-end loaders and trucks, while belt conveyors are used to transport materials in surface and underground mines. The RFI is part of a larger initiative that MSHA is undertaking to reduce accidents involving powered haulage – which includes haul trucks, front-end loaders and other large vehicles – as well as belt conveyors.
As part of this effort, MSHA plans to hold stakeholder meetings and will provide technical assistance, and develop best practices and training materials to raise awareness of hazards related to mobile equipment and belt conveyors. The Agency also may consider engineering controls that increase the use of seatbelts, enhance equipment operators' ability to see all areas near the machine, warn equipment operators of potential collision hazards, prevent an equipment operator from driving over the edge of a highwall or dump point, and help prevent hazards related to working near moving belt conveyors.
Roofing Company Faces Penalties After Exposing Employees to Numerous Fall and Other Safety Hazards
OSHA cited Crown Roofing LLC, based in Sarasota, Florida, for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Jupiter worksite. The company faces $149,662 in proposed fines.
OSHA investigated Crown Roofing LLC as part of the Agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction. OSHA cited the company for one repeat violation – which carries a maximum penalty of $129,336 – for failing to utilize a guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest systems while working at heights greater than 6 feet. OSHA also issued additional citations for failing to have a competent person regularly inspect jobsites, materials, and equipment, and failing to maintain written certification records verifying fall protection training was provided.
“This employer is risking the safety of workers by failing to comply with fall protection requirements,” said Condell Eastmond, OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Office Director. “Fall hazards are well known, but they can be eliminated when workers are trained and protective equipment is properly used.”
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