Updated PPE Permeation Calculator Available from NIOSH

July 22, 2019
Permeation Calculator is a computer-based tool for automating the permeation testing data analysis. It works for both closed-loop and open-loop permeation testing. The program imports the data file collected during a permeation test and calculates the permeation parameters related to ASTM F 739, ASTM D 6978, and ISO 6529 standards based on a series of algorithms, strategies, and decision making. Upon completion, the program displays all of the calculated permeation parameters, the permeation curve, and other relevant information.
ASTM has adopted the Permeation Calculator as an industry standard (ASTM F2815-10 (Reapproved 2014)) “Standard practice for chemical permeation through protective clothing materials: testing data analysis by use of a computer program.”
Permeation Calculator helps researchers and industrial hygienists avoid labor intensive hand calculations of the permeation parameters. The program also prevents inconsistency as a result of different experimenters. It ensures identical permeation parameters from a particular permeation test data file.
NIOSH NPPTL recently released version 3.0.0 of the Permeation Calculator. Version 3.0.0 is a cross-platform permeation calculator, running on both Windows and macOS computers, unlike the earlier version (2.5.0) that is only compatible with Windows computers. Version 3.0.0 has an improved graphical user interface that provides a natural and intuitive way of performing the permeation calculation. It is also capable of reading data files in the latest Excel format, while the earlier version only reads files in the 1997-2003 Excel format.
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Emergency Regulation to Protect Outdoor Workers in California from Wildfire Smoke
California’s Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has adopted an emergency regulation to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke. The regulation is expected to go into effect in early August.
The emergency regulation will be effective for one year and applies to workplaces where the current Air Quality Index (AQI) for airborne particulate matter (PM) is 151 or greater, and where employers should reasonably anticipate that employees could be exposed to wildfire smoke.
Under the new regulation, employers must take the following steps to protect workers who may be exposed to wildfire smoke:
  • Identify harmful exposure to airborne particulate matter from wildfire smoke before each shift and periodically thereafter by checking the AQI for PM 2.5 in regions where workers are located.
  • Reduce harmful exposure to wildfire smoke if feasible, for example, by relocating work to an enclosed building with filtered air or to an outdoor location where the AQI for PM 2.5 is 150 or lower.
  • If employers cannot reduce workers’ harmful exposure to wildfire smoke so that the AQI for PM 2.5 is 150 or lower, they must provide:
  • Respirators such as N95 masks to all employees for voluntary use.
  • Training on the new regulation, the health effects of wildfire smoke, and
  • The safe use and maintenance of respirators.
This emergency rulemaking process began last December, after the Standards Board received a petition to protect workers from wildfire smoke before this year’s wildfire season. The Standards Board will file the regulation tomorrow with the Office of Administrative Law, which has 10 working days to review and approve it as a new workplace safety standard enforced by Cal/OSHA. Once approved and published, the full text of the adopted emergency regulation, including all requirements, exemptions and exceptions, will appear in the new Title 8 section 5141.1 of the California Code of Regulations.
The Standards Board has also requested that Cal/OSHA conduct a follow-up comprehensive review of the regulation with an advisory committee using the regular rulemaking process in order to adopt permanent regulations. The emergency regulation will remain in effect during that process. Meeting details and documents will be posted on Cal/OSHA’s website.
The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, a seven-member body appointed by the Governor, is the standards-setting agency within the Cal/OSHA program. The Standards Board's objective is to adopt reasonable and enforceable standards at least as effective as federal standards. The Standards Board also has the responsibility to grant or deny applications for variances from adopted standards and respond to petitions for new or revised standards.
Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.
Workers Can Take Precautions to Avoid Illness During High Heat and Humidity
In response to the excessive heat Connecticut has been experiencing, along with high humidity, the Connecticut Department of Labors Occupational Safety and Health Division (CONN-OSHA) urges supervisors and workers to use the following guidelines to prevent heat- related illnesses in the workplace: Water, Rest, and Shade.
  • Water: Drink water often, at least one quart per hour.
  • Rest: Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Shade: Allow time for workers to get out of direct sunlight and rest in the shade for at least five minutes.
When working during high air temperatures, it is important to limit radiant heat sources such as strong sunlight or hot exhaust, high humidity, avoid direct physical contact with hot objects, and limit strenuous physical activities, noted CONN-OSHA Director Ken Tucker. There is a high potential that heat-related illness will occur under these conditions, which means employers and their employees need to take extra precautions to stay safe. Tucker noted that the OSHA/NIOSH Heat App Safety Tool is a useful resource for employers and employees planning outdoor work activities during times of high temperatures. The online tool features real-time heat index and occupational safety and health recommendations from OSHA and the National Institute of Occupational and Safety and Health. The Heat Safety Tool also features:
  • A visual indicator of the current heat index and associated risk levels specific to your current geographical location.
  • Precautionary recommendations specific to heat index-associated risk levels. -more- Media Contact: CT Department of Labor Communications Office 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109-1114 Phone: (860) 263-6535 Fax: (860) 263-6536  ct.gov/dol An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer
  • An interactive, hourly forecast of heat index values, risk level, and recommendations for planning outdoor work activities in advance.
  • Editable location, temperature, and humidity controls for calculation of variable conditions.
  • Signs and symptoms and first aid information for heat-related illnesses.
Outdoor occupations most susceptible to high heat include farming, construction, landscaping, emergency response operations and hazardous waste site activities. Indoor work operations especially prone to the risk of heat-related illness include bakeries, commercial kitchens, laundries, chemical plants, material handling and distribution warehouses, and electrical utilities particularly boiler rooms. Using the Water/Rest/Shade guidelines will reduce heat exposure and the risk of heat-related illness, Tucker added. Employers should review their engineering controls, such as air conditioning and ventilation, as well as high heat protocols that employ work/rest cycles, drinking water often, and ensuring employees build up levels of tolerance when working in the heat.
Employers are also advised to have an effective heat illness prevention plan in place that includes emergency response procedures, providing plenty of drinking water, and training. Training should include heat illness prevention, recognition of signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and how to get immediate medical help if symptoms persist.
Amputation Leads to $81,000 Penalty
OSHA cited Jimmie Crowder Excavating and Land Clearing Inc. for exposing employees to amputation and other safety hazards at the company’s facility in Tallahassee, Florida. The demolition and excavating company faces $81,833 in penalties.
An employee suffered an amputation after their arm was caught in a conveyor belt that started unexpectedly as an employee removed material. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to establish a lockout/tagout process, provide machine guarding, train employees on procedures to control the release of hazardous energy, and exposed employees to slip, trip, fall, and electrical hazards. OSHA conducted the inspection as part of its National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
“Proper safety procedures, including the effective lockout of all sources of energy, could have prevented this injury,” said OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez, in Jacksonville, Florida. “Employers are required to train workers and ensure that they understand how to disable machinery before performing service or maintenance.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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.
Graphic Packaging Cited After Employee Suffers Severe Steam Burns
OSHA cited Graphic Packaging International LLC – an Atlanta, Georgia-based paper product manufacturer – was cited for exposing employees to hot steam, and failing to ensure the use of proper hazardous energy control methods. The company faces $211,400 in proposed fines.
OSHA launched an investigation of the Queen City, Texas, facility after hot steam burned an employee trying to repair a leak on a steam-line header. OSHA determined the header had been leaking for several months and found the company violated federal safety standards for personal protective equipment (PPE), lockout/tagout, and process safety management (PSM).
“Unexpected energy such as steam has the potential to cause severe injuries when proper procedures are absent,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh, in Dallas, Texas. “Using safe energy control procedures could have prevented this injury.”
OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on protective equipmentcontrolling hazardous energy, and safely managing hazardous chemicals on its website.
Missouri Contractor Fined Over $200K for Exposing Employees to Trench Engulfment Hazards
OSHA cited R.V. Wagner Inc. – based in Affton, Missouri – for exposing employees to trench engulfment hazards as they installed concrete storm water pipes on Stable Road in St. Louis, Missouri. OSHA proposed penalties of $212,158 for violations of its trench safety standards.
OSHA cited two willful violations for failing to use a trench box or other trench protection techniques in an excavation greater than five feet in depth and to provide a safe means to exit the excavation.
“Employers must ensure that employees enter trenches only after adequate protections are in place to address cave-in hazards,” said OSHA St. Louis Area Director Bill McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri. “A trench collapse can happen in just seconds, potentially burying employees under thousands of pounds of soil and causing severe injury.”
OSHA also cited R.V. Wagner for three serious violations for allowing soil and other excavated material within 2 feet of an open trench, failing to ensure daily inspections of worksites by a competent person, and exposing employees to struck-by hazards by allowing employees to work near and under lifted loads without hard hats.
OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards. The agency’s trenching and excavation webpage provides information on trenching hazards and solutions. Additional information is available in OSHA’s construction hazards prevention videos on trenching and soil classification.
High Injury Rate on 300M Leads to $187,533 Penalty
OSHA cited HE&M Inc., a Pryor, Oklahoma-based metalworking band saw manufacturer, for exposing employees to fall, machine guarding, struck-by, and electrical hazards. HE&M faces penalties totaling $187,533.
OSHA initiated a safety inspection of the facility after the company submitted OSHA 300A injury and illness information that showed a higher-than-average injury rate. The inspection identified 19 serious violations and one other-than-serious violation.
“Employers are legally obligated to address hazards immediately, as well as identify and correct injury hazards in their facility,” said OSHA Area Director Steven Kirby, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
You Have Been Warned
Beginning on October 1, 2019, the following warning will be required to be provided to automobile renters in California, “WARNING - Operating a motor vehicle can expose you to chemicals including engine exhaust, carbon monoxide, phthalates, and lead, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. To minimize exposure, avoid breathing exhaust, do not idle the engine except as necessary, and assure adequate ventilation inside the car. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/passenger-vehicle.”
The warning could be:
  • Printed in the rental agreement or on the rental ticket jacket.
  • Provided on a hang tag which is hung from the rear-view mirror in the rental vehicle.
  • On a sign, in no smaller than 22-point type size, that is posted at the counter or similar area of the rental facility where rental transactions occur, where it will be likely to be seen, read, and understood by the renter during the process of renting the vehicle.
  • In an electronic rental contract, or
  • In a confirmation email that is sent to the renter’s email address.
Are you confident that the products that you sell or distribute products in California are properly labeled?  If you need assistance in determining if your products must be labeled, and how to label them, contact Environmental Resource Center.
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