Safety Regulations for High Hazard Industries

October 09, 2017

A new National Academies of Science report examines key factors relevant to government safety regulators when choosing among regulatory design types, particularly for preventing low-frequency, high consequence events. In such contexts, safety regulations are often scrutinized after an incident, but their effectiveness can be inherently difficult to assess when their main purpose is to reduce catastrophic failures that are rare to begin with. Nevertheless, regulators of high-hazard industries must have reasoned basis for making their regulatory design choices.

Asked to compare the advantages and disadvantages of so-called “prescriptive” and “performance-based” regulatory designs, the study committee explains how these labels are often used in an inconsistent and misleading manner that can obfuscate regulatory choices and hinder the ability of regulators to justify their choices. The report focuses instead on whether a regulation requires the use of a means or the attainment of some ends—and whether it targets individual components of a larger problem (micro-level) or directs attention to that larger problem itself (macro-level). On the basis of these salient features of any regulation, four main types of regulatory design are identified, and the rationale for and challenges associated with each are examined under different high-hazard applications.

Informed by academic research and by insights from case studies of the regulatory regimes of four countries governing two high-hazard industries, the report concludes that too much emphasis is placed on simplistic lists of generic advantages and disadvantages of regulatory design types. The report explains how a safety regulator will want to choose a regulatory design, or combination of designs, suited to the nature of the problem, characteristics of the regulated industry, and the regulator’s own capacity to promote and enforce compliance. This explanation, along with the regulatory design concepts offered in this report, is intended to help regulators of high-hazard industries make better informed and articulated regulatory design choices.

Accompanying the report, a two-page summary provides a condensed version of the findings from this report.

Mobile, Alabama, RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Mobile, AL, on October 24–26 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Atlanta RCRA/DOT Update, IATA, and SARA Training

Register for RCRA and DOT Annual Update and Refresher in Atlanta, GA, on October 31 and get the refresher training you need in one day. Learn how to ship dangerous goods by air at IATA: How to Ship Dangerous Goods by Air on November 1, and ensure you understand your reporting obligations at the SARA Title III (EPCRA) Workshop on November 2. To register for these courses, click here or call 800-537-2372.

San Diego Hazardous Waste and DOT Training

Register for California Hazardous Waste Management and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in San Diego, CA, on October 31–November 2 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

New Video on How to Protect Oil & Gas Workers

A collaboration of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the California Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Branch has released a video designed to reduce oil and gas worker injuries and fatalities from exposure to toxic gases during tank gauging. The video explains how David, an oil truck hauler, died when he was exposed to hydrocarbon gases and vapors when he opened an oil tank thief hatch ... and what can be done to prevent this from happening again. A short preview and the full-length video are available online.

Just Over Half of Adults with Work-Related Asthma Report Having Received a Pneumococcal Vaccine

Adults with asthma are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease, yet according to a new CDC study published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, just 54% of adults with work-related asthma—asthma triggered by an exposure at work—have been vaccinated against the infection. CDC recommends all adults 19 through 64 years old with asthma get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers found that adults with work-related asthma were more likely to have reported receiving a pneumococcal vaccine than adults with non-work-related asthma — 54% compared with 35%, respectively. Among adults with work-related asthma, pneumococcal vaccine coverage was lowest among Hispanics (36%), those without health insurance (39%), and adults ages 18 to 44 years (42%).

“People with work-related asthma are particularly vulnerable to pneumococcal pneumonia,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Vaccination is the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, and CDC recommends that all adults with asthma, whether work-related or not, get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.”

The study analyzed data from the 2012-2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based telephone survey, which includes an optional follow-up survey that collects detailed information on asthma. Nearly 10,000 adults ages 18–64 years with asthma from 29 states who have ever held a job, representing an estimated 12 million people, were included in the analysis. Of the adults with asthma in the study, researchers estimated 15% had work-related asthma.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia Common, Often Deadly

CDC estimates that about 900,000 Americans get pneumococcal pneumonia each year and about 5% to 7% die from it. Adults with asthma who get pneumococcal pneumonia are at risk for additional complications including asthma exacerbation and invasive pneumococcal disease. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination for all adults 19 through 64 years old with asthma.

“Our study found that the vaccination coverage for pneumococcal disease among adults who have ever worked and have asthma falls short of achieving the coverage public health experts recommend,” said Katelynn Dodd, M.P.H., lead author and an epidemiologist in the Respiratory Health Division, NIOSH. “To increase the number of adults with asthma who are vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, we recommend that healthcare providers verify if their patients who have asthma have received a pneumococcal vaccine and offer the vaccine to those not vaccinated.”

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can cause many types of illnesses including ear infections, meningitis, and pneumonia. Vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself from getting pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal vaccines help protect against some of the more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

For more information on pneumococcal disease including risk factors, symptoms, prevention, and more information about vaccines, visit the CDC website. To learn more about work-related asthma, including its triggers and causes and how to prevent it, visit the NIOSH website.

Nanotechnology Day

Today, October 9, the U.S. nanotechnology community will come together to celebrate the second National Nanotechnology Day. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale with the goal of developing new and improved advancements in medicine, consumer products, energy, materials, manufacturing, and other fields. The annual event is an opportunity to inform the public about nanotechnology, share scientific accomplishments that benefit industry and society, and promote its future possibilities and benefits. See a list of planned events and activities.

Indiana Companies and Individuals Recognized for Top Workplace Safety and Health Titles

The Indiana Department of Labor together with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers is now accepting applications for the 2018 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards and Everyday Safety Hero Award. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. (EST) Friday, January 19, 2018.

The annual Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards honor Indiana employers and employees who proactively work together to advance the health, safety and prosperity of Hoosiers in the workplace. Hoosier workplaces of all types and sizes, including businesses, municipalities, unions, schools, service organizations and nonprofits, are eligible for nomination. Awards are presented to organizations demonstrating exceptional workplace safety and health programs, as well as processes or techniques relative to each organization’s size.

The annual Governor’s Workplace Safety Award is a cooperative effort between the Indiana Department of Labor, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

First presented at the 2017 conference, the Everyday Safety Hero Award gives employers an opportunity to nominate and recognize a safety champion for his or her involvement in protecting workers through leadership, innovation, teamwork promotion or hazard identification and correction.

Suspension Systems Plant Recertified in State’s Workplace Safety and Health Program

Hendrickson International Truck Suspension Systems, Indiana Operations Plant 1 in Kendallville achieved recertification for the STAR title in the Indiana Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

“Our agency is excited to recognize those who go above and beyond to protect Hoosier workers, and so we are happy to recertify this Hendrickson International plant for this achievement,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick J. Ruble. “We know they’ll keep up the great work.”

The Kendallville facility assembles front and rear suspension parts for medium to heavy duty trucks, buses and recreational vehicles. Approximately 140 employees make up the staff at the plant.

For the Kendallville facility, the Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) for 2014-2016 is 10.9% below the national industry average. Additionally, the facility’s Days Away, Restricted or Job Transfer (DART) case incidence rate is 24.1% below the industry average for the same time period.

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