October 2006

  • A Knife for Every Worker
  • Depression's Impact on Safety
  • Innovative Field Practices in Hearing Conservation
  • Which Respirator to Use?

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Cover Story

A Safety Knife for Every Worker

By Linda J. Sherrard

WE see emergency rescue personnel use a seat belt cutter to remove an injured child hanging from his infant car seat in an upside down, wrecked vehicle in flames. Museum staffers easily remove hundreds of layers of plastic wrapping from historic antiques arriving for an exhibit with a hook knife, or bakers open bags of powdered chocolate effortlessly with food-safe bag cutters, creating little dust while the mixers churn.


That Personal Touch

By Andy Vander Woude

EMPLOYEES of MEGTEC, a leading manufacturer of air flotation dryers and oxidation pollution control equipment, often have to work in dangerous situations. Some of these require lockout/tagout controls, with employees placing locks on electrical, gas, or air supplies to make sure nothing happens while they're working.

Exposure Determination and Respirator Selection under the OSHA Hexavalent Chromium Standards

By Paul Puncochar, CIH

The following summarizes key provisions of the Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI) standards potentially affecting the selection and use of respiratory protection for CrVI exposures in the workplace. Where applicable, guidelines assisting employers to comply with OSHA requirements are offered. This summary was prepared by the 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division and does not represent an official, legal, or complete interpretation of the regulation.

Managing the Safety of Portable Electrical Appliances

By Rod Taylor

ELECTRICITY powers the wheels of industry and commerce, but the dangers and the hazards associated with the use of damaged electrical equipment and the use of faulty electrical tools and appliances in the workplace can be costly in both human and corporate terms.

Making the Numbers Add Up

By Eric Hudson

AIR quality test instruments must deliver accurate and verifiable performance, both to ensure precise and reliable air quality diagnosis and to provide credible answers if results or procedures are challenged. The air quality professional's reputation depends on the quality and performance of the test tools in use, as well as on the user's understanding of instrument specifications, technologies, applications, and maintenance.

Depression's Impact on Safety

By Irving G. Jacob

THIS writer is of the opinion that terminal cancer is the only disease worse than depression. This article will not give (nor intends to give) the exact reason why I feel that way. However, upon reading the following, I hope the reader will discover the reason for him/herself.

Countdown Begins for Small Utilities

By Bill Rieth

THE National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) is the standard normally used by electrical utilities when implementing safety procedures for the worker. NESC is also the standard OSHA cites when enforcing utility electrical safety. This standard provides an outline for safeguarding a worker while performing the various tasks that are associated with utility workers.

Dehumidification in Hot and Humid Climates

By D. Jeff Burton, PE, CIH

ACCEPTABLE IAQ in commercial buildings can often be achieved by maintaining air temperatures, relative humidities (RH), air movement, and background odors at levels that a large percentage of occupants (typically 80-90 percent) find satisfactory.

Air Monitor Calibration, Bump Testing, and Sensor Challenge

By James R. MacNeal

THERE is no better way to ruin a perfectly good day than to make a mistake in the use of your air monitoring instrumentation. Industrial hygienists; military, industrial and public-sector hazmat teams; fire departments; and safety personnel from all sectors routinely make decisions regarding life safety based, in no small part, on data obtained from air monitoring instrumentation.

Stop the Pain Drain

By Julie Donnelly, BS, LMT

PAIN is putting a strain on your bottom line. Employees who are suffering from repetitive motion injuries are not able to work at their ultimate performance level, causing decreased productivity and often incurring medical problems that can lead to disability claims.

Preventing and Responding to Mold Contamination

By Steve Silicato, REM, CIE

WITH the proliferation of lawsuits stemming from mold contamination, securing adequate insurance coverage for these types of claims can be a real challenge. As a result, the insurance manager is not always able to determine all of the risk management controls necessary to procure insurance coverage for this issue.

Sometimes a Shoe is Just a Shoe? Not in the Workplace

By Benjamin W. Mangan

SIGMUND Freud, the father of psychoanalysis and one of the most authoritative thinkers of all time, is often quoted as having said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." By that he meant, sometimes a person just wants to smoke a good cigar, so people shouldn't try to read any special significance into it. It's not something a person should overthink.

Harmonization Across the Globe: Is it Possible?

By Glenn D. Trout

HARMONIZATION. It's not a word we often hear in discussions of global policy or international relations these days. But when faced with the safety of millions of people worldwide, the idea of having a system in place that defines a single, effective way of communicating hazard classification on a global level is invaluable.

Industrial Music

By Barry R. Weissman

WHAT do singers Mick Fleetwood, Barbra Streisand, Engelbert Humperdinck, Phil Collins, and Bob Dylan have in common with ex-president Bill Clinton and actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy? And what do they all have in common with television personalities David Letterman and Peter Jennings? All of them lost some of their hearing.

Troubleshooting 101

By Ken Reed

THE process of determining the cause of an equipment malfunction often can seem as daunting as a major crime scene investigation. It often appears to require expert knowledge about how the equipment was operated, how it was installed, the original design specs, changes in the environment, how it was actually being used, etc. Luckily, with just the right combination of repair expertise, root cause analysis, and corrective action implementation, the process does not necessarily have to be harder to get more productive and lasting results.

Staying a Step Ahead

By Wayne Maynard, George Brogmus

SLIPS and falls are complex events. If you focus on just one part of the problem, such as a cracked tile or slippery floor, the risk will still exist. Instead, attack the whole problem with a systems approach that analyzes your organization and pinpoints areas needing attention.

Innovative Field Practices in Hearing Conservation

By Brad Witt

"WE'VE got twenty-five years of audiometric data that shows what we're doing in our Hearing Conservation Program doesn't really work." I couldn't believe my ears. The safety manager at this large company administered a totally compliant OSHA-standard Hearing Conservation Program. Everything had been in place for more than two decades: noise monitoring, audiometric testing, hearing protectors, annual training, and recordkeeping.


Harnessing the Technology

By Ronnie Rittenberry

HARNESSES, lifelines, and other fall protection components are only as good as the life they have in them. One U.S. company is trying to add to that truism by showing safety directors that such equipment may only be as good as the RFID tags it has in it--tags that, when read by a handheld PDA, tell them something about the gear's life, including when it was last inspected, its assignment history, and other information.

Safety and Responders Share the Stage

By Jerry Laws

Editor's note: Safety and hazmat professionals can be and should be major contributors to overall emergency preparedness, says Steve Laughlin, CHMM, of CJ&K Training Services in Lindenhurst, Ill. Laughlin, who coordinates Emergency Response Scenarios at annual conferences of the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers, Inc., believes such events alert the response community to safety professionals' skills and knowledge.

Understanding Your Personal Competitive Environment, Part 2

By Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

NO one is an island. Consequently, we must learn to develop simple systems that will allow us to expand our ability to connect with others. This is true both within and outside our organization(s). If done appropriately, it provides us the best opportunity to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. The more we work with others, the greater our ability to demonstrate flexibility in our relationships--an essential component in getting along with others, gaining cooperation, and having our input become more potent in the myriad situations we face.

It's the Culture, Stupid

By Jerry Laws