- Better Gloves, However You Slice It
- The Lowdown On Safe Tarp Handling
- Fit Testing Ear Plugs
- Implementing 70E at Your Facility
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ONE of the biggest barriers to effective use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) as the last line of defense against noise in the workplace is that there has never been a good way to test performance. How can we trust PPE if we don't know how well it works? Laboratory rating systems do a good job of measuring the protective capability of HPDs to block noise, but study after study has shown that real people working in real noise conditions rarely achieve the levels of protection that would be expected based on the laboratory testing reflected in the noise reduction rating (NRR) label on the HPD package.
DID you know that OSHA considers a brick a hazardous material if is cut or sawed during construction? And that a highway patrol officer enforcing Department of Transportation regulations considers over-the-counter primer a flammable liquid? Hazardous materials aren't always visible to the untrained eye, yet they are present at just about every construction site in the United States.
Editor's note: Changing the way employees' hours were scheduled and providing recognition for their efforts have been successful strategies for Virginia Blood Services (www.vablood.org) of Richmond, Va., says VBS Vice President of Organizational Development Eleanor Boens. The independent, non-profit organization serves the state's two largest hospitals and many other hospitals in Virginia.
Editor's note: Don't overlook the message you send to employees by deploying automated external defibrillators. They can be a powerful symbol of a company's commitment to its workforce and its culture, as Teradyne Inc.'s Loren Eaton, vice president of human resources, and Andy Porter, manager of corporate communications, pointed out in a Feb. 9, 2006, conversation with Occupational Health & Safety's editor. Excerpts from the conversation follow.
SEND in your best-trained people to clean up aging facilities that were once part of the nuclear weapons-production complex. The two "K Basins" and their contaminated contents pose a potential threat to the nearby Columbia River. The Basins are like indoor swimming pools, each holding more than a million gallons of radioactive water. Tens of thousands of irradiated fuel assemblies that once filled the cores of nuclear reactors are stored in the Basins.
Editor's note: The U.S. chemical industry deserves praise for taking care of its own security by spending millions of dollars to harden plants' perimeters, says Jerry Blackman, Honeywell's Global Director of Industrial Security Solutions. Honeywell Security's products for industrial customers (call 602-313-4712 for information) include video recorders, cameras, perimeter control and lobby access systems, intrusion sensors, control panels, and wireless fire and burglary alarm systems.
TODAY, businesses that require workers to wear cut-resistant gloves are faced with a dilemma. Greater safety awareness together with regulatory requirements, higher worker's compensation premiums, and other factors are prompting companies to mandate higher levels of protection.
A survey conducted in March 2006 by The Marlin Company and Occupational Health & Safety showed safety meetings and effective workplace communications are making American workplaces safer than they used to be.
A few years ago, a new manager was appointed to oversee the refinery of a multinational petroleum company. In an earlier life, "Joe" had been a behavioral safety observer who recognized the benefits of having an employee-driven initiative to enhance other safety mechanisms. His reports, for the most part, were not convinced.
THE effective management of occupational health and safety (OH&S) information remains a significant logistical challenge for many businesses. Most large organizations create, collect, and store vast amounts of OH&S data to meet regulatory requirements, to reduce absence, to improve workplace productivity, and to safeguard an organization's most important asset: its workers.
THE next time you are wrestling with the issue of safety, trying to figure out what you can do to get your employees to do their jobs more carefully and more safely, give yourself a two-question test:
SOME 600 workers are electrocuted annually, and electrocution is the fourth-leading cause of workplace fatalities in the United States. If you have employees working on or near exposed energized electrical parts, electrical safe work practices are essential.
CONFINED spaces can have many characteristics with numerous types of hazards. Escape from the roof of a burning building! Rescue from a swimming pool! Entrapment in a coal mine! Engulfment in an avalanche! Oxygen deficiency in a fuel tank! These are situations that are all too real to rescue personnel who conduct emergency rescue operations.
MANY employers are unaware of significant employee rights under OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.1020 to access certain records relating to their employment. This can often be a vehicle for OSHA citations, as well as worker's compensation claims or product liability litigation. These same regulations impose significant employer obligations to retain these records for periods of time well past the end of the employment relationship and to make them available to former employees.
THE coal industry has had significant safety challenges throughout its history. In the past, coal mining was a very dangerous way to make a living. Times, however, have changed: Even though the job is still hazardous, safety standards have improved dramatically, as has the role companies now take in promoting a safe workplace for their employees.
SAFETY meetings and safety training are profitable investments, not costs, as all of us in this industry understand. You'll be pleased to know that a March 2006 survey of a sample of Occupational Health & Safety readers confirmed the value of both activities and suggested most respondents are using them wisely.