IN September 2001, the AZF Chemical plant in Toulouse, France, was destroyed by a massive explosion, killing 30 people in the country's worst-ever industrial accident. It was determined the accident was caused by negligent storage of incompatible materials.
DID you know foot and toe injuries typically take longer to heal than many other common workplace injuries? In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who suffer a foot or toe injury miss an average of seven days of work.
THE American Industrial Hygiene Association's president, Roy Buchan, sent a letter Aug. 22 urging OSHA's acting chief to accelerate work on a hearing conservation rule for construction workers. Buchan's letter noted AIHA had taken an active role in OSHA's consideration of this rule since May 2000.
THE last time Jencast Inc. experienced a lost-time accident, Ken Starr's "Report" was a work in progress, Viagra was on the verge of getting FDA approval, and fears of the so-called Y2K bug were starting to gain national attention. The Spice Girls were still on the charts.
ERGONOMIC furniture is not a new concept, but among many office workers--from secretaries to CEOs--it remains unknown or misunderstood. According to a recent survey conducted by our company, only about one in four American office workers is at least somewhat familiar with the usage and benefits of ergonomic furnishings in the workplace.
ON the heels of yet another federal investigation attributing chemical-related deaths and injuries to defective hazard communications systems in the workplace, few would question that a public health crisis is afoot. More than 30 million American workers are exposed each day to hazardous chemicals at the workplace, with upwards of a half-million chemicals being stored and used in today's hospitals, manufacturing plants, and industrial facilities.
THE seeds for creating safer workplaces were sown in the early 1900s. In 1912, the Bureau of Labor Statistics fielded its first full-scale survey of safety and health conditions in the American workplace, with its study of industrial accidents in the iron and steel industry. Today, the focus on workplace safety is tightly woven through the fabric of nearly every American industry.
STUDIES confirm that most workplace injuries are preventable. The level of prevention achieved, however, will depend upon the manufacturer's commitment to safety and also employees' willingness to become involved in injury prevention.
IT is a tough, competitive world out there. Every day, the news reminds us that capital is footloose and labor is fungible: For the price of group health benefits for a single American worker, a firm can hire a Ph.D. engineer offshore. And many do.
FIRE, smoke, explosion, medical trauma, and injury present obvious threats to health and safety. But when chemical or biological toxins are floating invisibly as "aerosols" in the air we breathe, the presence and nature of the hazard are much harder to determine and the consequences potentially far reaching.
THIS paper considers the different safety risks present in modern foodservice, the impact of these risks on stakeholders of foodservice, and suggests an evaluation protocol called SARA, safety analysis risk assessment. Personal safety is one of the most basic concerns of the human species.
DURING the past decade, the methamphetamine (meth) situation in the United States has changed dramatically. What was known primarily as a West Coast problem has quickly spread throughout the country, posing a serious occupational hazard for probation and parole officers, cleanup workers, and others.
SINCE the dawn of man, fire and light have beaten away the dark. A lit torch meant the difference between living and falling prey. Ever since Edison invented the light bulb, flashlights, like all technology, have progressed from a simple momentary torch to a sophisticated lighting instrument that is integral to safe plant operations.
"GETTT iiittt done," one of our maintenance fellows good-naturedly growls at me as a "good morning" comment almost every day as he makes his job list for the day and walks a multi-story construction project in the pre-shift quiet. It seems to be the unspoken slogan for most maintenance men, from entry level to advanced engineers.
Editor's note: Today's clean agents quench fires quickly without damaging sensitive contents of the structure, and they cause no environmental damage, says Joe Ziemba, marketing manager for engineered systems with Marinette, Wis.-based ANSUL Inc., which is part of Tyco Fire & Security. He discussed clean agents' role in fire suppression and the best applications for new, cleaner agents in this June 10, 2005, conversation with Occupational Health & Safety's editor.
THE other night, I was watching the blockbuster movie "Titanic." Seeing that iceberg break up the world's most un-sinkable ship, it occurred to me that it's life's dangers that you can't see that will get you in trouble.
Editor's note: Motivating the younger generation of workers is a new, more challenging ballgame, employers everywhere are learning. Fortunately, recognition and incentive programs can help them win it, says Adrienne Forrest (firstname.lastname@example.org), national director of special markets for Bulova Corp. (www.bulova.com) of Woodside, N.Y. She explained why in a June 27, 2005, conversation with Occupational Health & Safety's editor. Excerpts from the interview follow:
IN today's environment, a company simply cannot afford the financial or lost productivity costs associated with work-related injuries. Skill necessary to perform most tasks requires significant training, and time lost to injuries not only costs a company in medical expenses, but also in lost productivity and morale.
THE United States Postal Service has dramatically reduced job-related injuries and illnesses by bringing management, unions, and employees together to identify potential hazards and health risks and develop programs to eliminate them.
SLIPS and falls are a leading cause of unintentional injury in the United States. National Safety Council statistics noted in 2003 that 14,200 deaths from the previous year were caused by falls from one level to another or falls on the same level--the leading non-vehicular cause of death in public places.
IT'S hard to judge from day to day how much you should invest in training. Even through you know training improves productivity, morale, and retention of key employees, the question of cost still remains.
BY now it is well understood by industrial workers that unprotected exposure to loud noises can lead to permanent hearing loss. In fact, it could be said that most people living in the modern age have at least some sense of the potentially harmful effects of loud noise on hearing.
HOW much is employee health and safety worth to one of the world's largest industrial companies? Enough to divert the time and energies of some 180,000 people from their production and other responsibilities and support tasks to re-focus their attention on the company's unwavering commitment to health and safety at work.