OSHA confirmed in a memorandum that certain requirements of the final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in general industry, construction, and shipyards went into effect on May 11, 2018. Those requirements included the permissible exposure limits in the general industry, construction, and shipyard standards; and the exposure assessment, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, and medical removal provisions in the general industry standard.
Aside from these requirements, other ancillary provisions included in the beryllium standard for general industry will not be enforced until June 25, 2018. However, under the terms of settlement agreements with petitioners who challenged the rule, the Agency plans to issue a proposal to further extend this compliance date for the ancillary provisions to December 12, 2018.
OSHA previously proposed to remove the ancillary requirements from the beryllium standards for the construction and maritime industries. In accordance with that proposal, OSHA will enforce the permissible exposure limits, but will not enforce any other provisions for beryllium exposure in those standards unless it provides notice.
Certain compliance dates outlined in the rule remain unchanged. Enforcement of the general industry requirements for change rooms and showers will begin March 11, 2019; and requirements for engineering controls will begin March 10, 2020.
$222,152 in Penalties Proposed for Repeat Offender
OSHA has again cited Hua Da Construction in Philadelphia for exposing employees to dangerous workplace safety hazards. OSHA proposed penalties of $222,152.
In October 2017, OSHA responded to a complaint of imminent danger at a company work site. OSHA cited the employer for exposing workers to electrical shock, trip, fall, struck-by, and impalement hazards; obstructed egress routes; unsafe use of ladders and compressed gas cylinders; and lack of fall protection. The Agency cited the company for similar violations in 2016.
“Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace,” said Theresa Downs, OSHA Philadelphia Area Office Director. “This employer continued to disregard OSHA standards, and put workers at risk for injury from multiple safety hazards.”
Two Colorado Companies Cited for Workplace Safety Failures After Fatal Fire
DCP Midstream LP and Complete Energy Services, Inc. were cited by OSHA after two employees suffered fatal burns from a fire at a gas pipeline in Weld County.
Two employees of Complete Energy and one employee of DCP Midstream were clearing a blockage in a gas pipeline operated by DCP Midstream when the fire occurred. OSHA investigators determined that flammable vapors or gases from a vacuum truck leaked, igniting the pipeline. OSHA cited both companies for failing to control potential ignition sources in a work area; isolate hazardous energy sources using lockout procedures; and train employees on detecting flammable hydrocarbons in the workplace. The two companies face $79,004 in proposed penalties.
“The employer could have prevented this tragedy by taking appropriate precautions to prevent contact between flammable materials and potential ignition sources,” said OSHA Denver Area Office Director Herb Gibson.
36 Safety and Health Violations Discovered at Oldcastle Lawn and Garden Inc.
OSHA cited Oldcastle Lawn & Garden, Inc., after a workplace safety inspection found 36 violations that put employees at risk. The Shady Dale, Georgia, manufacturer of mulch and other products faces proposed penalties of $251,108.
Inspectors cited the company for safety and health violations, including amputation, struck-by, caught-in, electrical, and fall hazards; fire hazards from accumulated combustible dust; and exposure to excessive noise levels, and hazardous energy during machine servicing and maintenance. The inspection was part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
"Employers are required to assess their workplace for potential hazards," said William Fulcher, OSHA Atlanta-East Area Office Director. "Unfortunately, this employer failed to correct a wide-range of safety deficiencies and needlessly put their employees at risk of serious injury."
Safer Electronic Cigarettes
UL, a leading global safety science organization, recently announced the publication of the ANSI/CAN/UL 8139, Standard for Electrical Systems of Electronic Cigarettes, which is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). UL aims to help manufacturers address lithium battery hazards for electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, also known as ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) through evaluation, testing, and certification.
According to the Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions in the United States (2009-2016) report by the U.S. Fire Administration, there has been an increase in e-cigarette fires and explosions resulting in personal injury and/or property damage. Poor quality and misused lithium batteries are the primary causes of e-cigarette fires and explosions.
“UL strives to help manufacturers develop and bring safer products to market and empowering consumer trust,” said Ghislain Devouge, vice president and general manager for UL’s Consumer Technology division, “UL 8139 is a collaborative effort with government agencies and standards bodies to further enhance consumer safety.”
UL 8139 covers the electrical system including batteries, chargers, as well as protection circuits and controls for battery safety, electric shock and fire hazards.
UL 8139 does not apply to the e-cigarette consumables, such as e-liquids, other aerosol substances, wicks, and other particulate matter, and also does not consider the physiological and psychological effects of any consumables used as part of the product. UL does not test e-cigarettes with removable batteries.
Tips to Prevent Tick- And Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
As the weather warms up, ticks and mosquitoes are back. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding people about simple precautions they can take to avoid bites.
"Ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease, spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis, while mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus," said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. "These diseases can cause anywhere from mild to severe illness, and even death in some cases. To protect yourself from both, use insect repellent that contains DEET and follow some simple precautions."
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, disease cases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S. during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016. Reported cases from mosquito and tick bites in Illinois have increased by more than half (58%) from 2005 to 2016.
Many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms. The most common symptoms can include fever, chills, aches and pains, and rash. Within two weeks following a tick bite, if you experience a rash that looks like a bull's-eye or a rash anywhere on your body, or an unexplained illness accompanied by fever, contact your doctor. Early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. Tell your health care provider the geographic area in which you were bitten or traveled to help identify the disease based on ticks in that region.
A fairly new virus called Bourbon virus has been associated with tick bites and has been found in a limited number of cases in the Midwest and southern U.S. People diagnosed with Bourbon virus disease have symptoms including fever, fatigue, rash, headache, other body aches, nausea, and vomiting. They also had low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding. Some people who were infected later died.
Ticks are commonly found on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks crawl―they cannot fly or jump. The tick will wait in the grass or shrub for a person or animal to walk by and then quickly climb aboard. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner.
Simple tips to avoid ticks bites include:
- Wear light-colored, protective clothing—long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes, and a head covering. Treat clothing with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Apply insect repellent that contains 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
- Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.
- Check yourself, children, other family members, and pets for ticks every two to three hours.
- Remove any tick promptly by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pulling it straight out. Wash your hands and the tick bite site with soap and water.
The most common mosquito-borne illness is West Nile virus. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Culex pipiens, or "house" mosquito. Mild cases of West Nile virus infections may cause a slight fever or headache. More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death. Symptoms usually occur from 3 to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.
There are some simple precautions you can take to Fight the Bite. Precautions include practicing the three "R's" - reduce, repel and report.
- REDUCE – make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
- REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
- REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.
Smart Toys Offer Battery-Free Alternative
Rubber duckies could soon be at the forefront of an electronic revolution. In ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, scientists report they have used specialized nanogenerators that gather energy from mechanical vibrations to transform squeaky bathtub companions and other conventional children’s toys into ‘smart’ electronics. They say the finding could have broad commercial applications, leading to the development of battery-free, self-powered toys, medical sensors and other devices. Watch a video of prototype toys here.
By age 4, virtually every child has had contact with an electronic toy or mobile device, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Keeping these devices blinking and beeping is tedious, often requiring frequent charging or battery changes. Researchers have explored alternative ways to produce and store energy for these devices without using batteries. One promising approach involves the use of triboelectric nanogenerators, or TENGs. TENGs gather electrical charges from friction, similar to the static that builds up on a balloon when it is rubbed against someone’s head. TENGs amplify and convert this biomechanical energy into a usable form. However, ramping up these devices for commercial applications has been challenging, possibly because of low energy storage and conversion efficiencies. To address some of these issues, Sang-Jae Kim and colleagues at Jeju National University in South Korea sought to more effectively harness the energy from TENGs and use it to transform traditional toys into commercially viable, self-powered smart toys.
The researchers designed and incorporated TENGs—made with aluminum electrodes and an eco-friendly silicone-like film between them—into rubber ducks and clapping toys. Squeezing or shaking the toys alternatively separated and brought the electrodes into contact with film, creating an electrical charge. Once activated, the TENGs harvested enough biomechanical energy to illuminate several LED lights attached to each toy. The TENGs were durable, suggesting they could operate for substantial periods. The researchers conclude their unique approach can transform traditional toys into battery-free interactive ones, and raises the prospect of successfully using TENGs commercially in other smart gadgets including medical devices and wearable electronics.
St. Louis’ Ballpark Village Projects Partners to Promote Safe Working Conditions
OSHA and the PARIC Corporation have formed a partnership to promote employee safety and health during construction of the 550,000-square foot Ballpark Village Projects. The project includes residential, office, retail, restaurant, and entertainment space near the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium.
Building and Construction Trades Council, Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity, Eastern Missouri Laborers’ District Council, and The Cordish Companies are also supporting the partnership.
Under the agreement, the partners will focus on fall, struck-by, caught-in or between, and electrocution hazards, and will educate employers and employees on best practices, and ways to improve safety and health programs for subcontractors.
Through its Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA works with employers, employees, professional and trade associations, labor organizations, and other interested stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies, and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.
Public Health Innovations Founder Honored for Food Safety Leadership
NSF International, a global public health and safety organization, announced Dr. Hal King, Founder and CEO of Public Health Innovations, LLC, as this year’s recipient of the Food Safety Leadership Award at the 2018 Food Safety Summit.
Each year, the Food Safety Summit Educational Advisory Board (EAB) evaluates the nominations on the basis of innovation, impact, and overall contribution. The EAB is a highly motivated volunteer group made up of industry leaders representing all key areas that are important to food safety professionals including manufacturing, foodservice, regulatory, academia, retail and distribution.
The 2018 Food Safety Leadership Award for Innovation and Achievement recognized Dr. Hal King for his contributions to food safety and the protection of public health. Throughout his 25+ year career, he has investigated foodborne illnesses and other diseases, performed funded research on causation of diseases, worked to prevent adulteration of foods, and designed and implemented preventative controls for food safety hazards in the food industry.
Dr. King created the EmergiProtect app, which is a proprietary hand hygiene model to help retail and other foodservice ensure emergency food safety management. He also authored the books Food Safety Management: Implementing a Food Safety Program in a Food Retail Business and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls Improving Food Safety in Human Food Manufacturing for Food Business.
“Dr. King is known as a collaborative, passionate and thoughtful industry leader, who is always willing to help solve critical food safety issues,” said Kevan P. Lawlor, President and Chief Executive Officer of NSF International. “It’s his kind nature, expertise and involvement in innovative solutions like the Emerge-Protect app that make him an outstanding choice for this year’s Food Safety Leadership Award. We are honored to present this award to such a deserving candidate as Dr. King.”
Dr. King served as the former Director of Food and Product Safety at Chick-fil-A, Inc., where he led and implemented Chick-fil-A’s food safety management program. An active member of the community, he was the past chairman of the National Restaurant Association Quality Assurance Executive Study Group, a board member on the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the FDA and CDC Industry Partnerships, and the past president of the Georgia Association for Food Protection.
NSF International’s Food Safety Leadership Award recognizes individuals and organizations for real and lasting improvements in food safety. Created in 2004, the awards encourage the development of educational programs, processes and technologies to advance food safety.
Pennsylvania Brick Manufacturer Recognized for Excellence in Workplace Safety
Recently, OSHA certified Glen-Gery Brick’s Mid-Atlantic Plant as a Star worksite in the Agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), the highest level of recognition for workplace safety and health excellence.
Over the past three years, the Shoemakersville brick manufacturer recorded an injury and illness rate 21% below the industry’s national average.
“Glen-Gery Brick has demonstrated a commitment to protecting its employees by maintaining a comprehensive and effective workplace safety and health program,” said Michael Rivera, Acting OSHA Regional Administrator.
VPP recognizes employers who have implemented effective safety and health management systems, and that maintain injury and illness rates below national averages. VPP represents management, labor, and OSHA working together to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment, and worker involvement.
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