Prevent Overdose Deaths in the Workplace

October 15, 2018
Opioid misuse and overdose deaths are a public health crisis affecting the nation, including workplaces. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces a new resource for employers and workers dealing with the opioid crisis. The new factsheet, Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers¸ is a resource for workplaces that are considering implementing a naloxone program.
Naloxone is a drug that can reverse many of the life-threatening effects of overdoses from opioids. As the opioid crisis continues, employers and workers are confronting overdose situations at the workplace. Workers, clients, customers, and visitors may be at risk of an opioid overdose in a workplace. This factsheet provides a series of steps for employers to consider when deciding if their workplace should establish a naloxone program, making the overdose reversal medication available in the event of an overdose.
According to 2017 data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, on average 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Workplaces are increasingly becoming sites where overdoses are occurring, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths at work from non-medical use of drugs and alcohol increased by at least 38% annually.
“With overdose events increasing in the workplace, having naloxone available can provide a tool that workplaces can use, along with first aid measures to support breathing, to provide aide in the event of an opioid overdose while waiting on first responders to arrive on the scene,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. “NIOSH developed this factsheet to help employers decide if having naloxone available is right for their workplace.”
The NIOSH factsheet provides an overview of opioids and naloxone. It also gives employers and workers a series of questions to consider when looking at whether a naloxone program in their workplace is appropriate, as well as information about resources needed to implement and maintain such a program.
NIOSH developed this resource as part of its broader effort to confront the opioid crisis. The NIOSH framework, which is NIOSH’s plan to fight the opioid crisis from an occupational perspective, includes providing resources for workers employers and occupational safety and health professionals to learn more about the opioid crisis including data, field investigations and research, as well as tools to help.
The NIOSH effort is part of the larger response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which outlined a 5-point strategy to combat the crisis, including improving prevention, data collection, and research.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
We are looking for new team members with hands-on safety and environmental experience. The successful candidate would have at least 4 years EHS experience at a manufacturing, consulting, or government facility in a position implementing safety and environmental regulations or at a government agency that enforces the regulations.  Job functions will include providing consulting services, audits, as well as training program development and presentation.  Excellent writing and public speaking skills are required.  Frequent air travel. Profit sharing, 401K, and other great benefits. 
We also have an opening for an EHS associate.  This position requires at least two years experience in the implementation of EHS regulations together with excellent writing and editing skills.
If you’d like to join a growing company that’s known for its quality, ethics, and expertise, send your resume to
Briggs & Stratton Recalls Portable Generator Fuel Tank Replacement Caps Due to Fire Hazard
This recall involves model B4363GS fuel tank replacement caps made by Kelch/Bemis for Briggs & Stratton portable generators that use a plastic non-vented fuel tank. The fuel tank replacement caps are black and are missing the vent within the clear lens covering the fuel gauge. The fuel caps can be identified by visually inspecting the clear lens for a vent hole towards the bottom of the gauge. The caps are about 2.5 inches in diameter and 1.25 inches in width. Two 5.5 inch metal rods extend from the bottom of the caps to support a float that moves the needle in the fuel gauge. The fuel tank replacement caps have KELCH stamped into the bottom of the cap.
If you have one of these fuel tank caps, immediately stop using the portable generator and return the recalled fuel tank replacement cap to a Briggs & Stratton dealer for a free replacement.  Briggs & Stratton can be reached at 800-227-3798 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday or online at and click support to reach the company or for dealer locations.
Nail Polishes With ‘N-Free’ Labels Are Not Necessarily Free of Toxic Compounds
Consumers are growing more knowledgeable about the potential health effects of nail polish, and manufacturers have taken action. They have started removing potentially toxic ingredients and labeling their products as being free of those substances. However, these labels aren’t always accurate, and reformulated products aren’t necessarily safer, according to a report in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Plasticizers improve flexibility and chip resistance in nail polish. In the 2000s, concerns grew about the use of the plasticizer di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), a reproductive and developmental toxicant. In response, nail polish manufacturers began switching to other plasticizers. Many labeled the new polishes as “3-Free,” meaning the products lacked the “toxic trio” of DnBP, toluene and formaldehyde. The trend spread, and labels now tout the absence of as many as 13 different chemicals, though there’s little standardization about which chemicals are excluded. But recent evidence shows that some substitute ingredients, such as the plasticizer triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), also may be harmful. This raises the concern that one toxic chemical is being replaced by others, a practice known as “regrettable substitution.” To give producers, consumers and nail salons guidance in designing and selecting safer nail polish, Anna Young and colleagues studied DnBP substitutes in polish and evaluated the types and accuracy of plasticizer labeling.
The scientists examined 40 different nail polishes and found that manufacturers have generally removed DnBP and are reducing the amount of TPHP they use. Yet some producers are using similar toxic substitutes, such as bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, sometimes without disclosing the compounds. The researchers also found that polishes with labels that promote fewer ingredients don’t necessarily have a reduced toxicity. “With little standardization or validation of the claims, it’s challenging for consumers and nail salon workers to know what these labels really mean for health,” Young says. “It’s not as simple as what substances aren’t in nail polish; we have to address harmful chemicals still present or added as substitutes.”
Insight Pipe Contracting Fined over $300,000 After Fatal Electrocution
OSHA has cited Insight Pipe Contracting LLC for workplace safety and health violations following an employee electrocution at a worksite in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Harmony-based contractor faces $331,101 in proposed penalties.
OSHA initiated a safety investigation after an employee suffered a fatal electrocution. Two employees who attempted to assist him were hospitalized after receiving electrical shock. The employees were making a trenchless sewer repair when the incident occurred. OSHA conducted a subsequent health investigation upon referral from the OSHA safety compliance officer who investigated the fatality. OSHA cited the company for failing to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry; train employees on confined space hazards; conduct atmospheric testing before permitting entry into a sewer line; use a retrieval line; and complete proper permits. The Agency placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry," said OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office Director Christopher Robinson. "Complying with OSHA safety and health standards is not optional. Employers are required to take necessary precautions to prevent tragedies such as this."
Pet Food Manufacturer Fined for Failure to Correct Prior Workplace Safety, Health Hazards
OSHA has cited Hamiltime Herb Co. LLC after inspectors found employees exposed to safety and health hazards in a follow-up investigation at its Howell, New Jersey, facility in May 2018. OSHA proposed penalties totaling $152,829.
OSHA cited the pet food manufacturer for failing to develop a lockout/tagout program to prevent unexpected machine startup, and a respiratory protection program for employees required to wear tight-fitting respirators; exposing employees to unguarded machinery; and failing to adequately train and certify employees to operate a forklift. The recent inspection was a follow-up to two investigations in June and August 2017 when an employee had four fingers amputated when a batch mixer activated while being cleaned.
Lumber Company Fined for Exposing Employees to Health Hazards
OSHA has cited DuBell Lumber Company, of Medford, NJ for exposing employees to combustible dust and other hazards. The company faces $106,432 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspectors responded to a complaint of workplace safety and health hazards, and determined that DuBell Lumber failed to properly control combustible dust resulting from wood processing; train employees on how to control the release of hazardous energy; and use lockout/tagout procedures, and machine guards to protect employees from amputations.
$3.85 Million Civil Penalty, Compliance Program for Failure to Report Defective Trash Cans
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Costco Wholesale, Corp. (Costco), of Issaquah, Wash., has agreed to pay a $3.85 million civil penalty.
The settlement resolves CPSC staff’s charges that Costco knowingly failed to report to CPSC, as required by law, that the EKO Sensible Eco Living Trash Cans (EKO Trash Cans) contained a defect or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury.
CPSC staff charged that the black plastic protective collar in the opening on the back of the EKO Trash Can receptacle can become dislodged and expose a sharp edge, posing a laceration hazard to consumers. Costco received 92 complaints about the EKO Trash Cans, including 60 complaints from consumers who received injuries, some serious, but did not notify the CPSC immediately of the defect or risk.  
On July 17, 2015, CPSC announced a recall with the manufacturer of 367,000 EKO Trash Cans.  Costco sold the EKO Trash Cans nationwide between December 2013 and May 2015, for about $50.
In addition to paying the $3.85 million civil penalty, Costco has agreed to maintain a compliance program designed to achieve compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act and a system of internal controls and procedures to ensure that Costco discloses information to the Commission in accordance with applicable law.
Costco’s settlement of this matter does not constitute an admission of CPSC staff’s charges. The penalty agreement has been accepted provisionally by the Commission by a 4 to 0 vote.
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