Jan 16, 2019

House Passes 2-year Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Reauthorization Bill, Senate to take up Bill

(paint.org) On Jan. 8, a bill to reauthorize for two years the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 414-3 vote. H.R. 251.  Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Extension Act, will now be taken up by the Senate, where the legislation is on the chamber's legislative calendar as the CFATS authorization sunset date of Jan. 19, 2019 speedily approaches.

ACA supports reauthorization, recently urging Congress to act swiftly to provide for a multi-year extension. CFATS is an important program aimed at preventing chemicals from being stolen, diverted, sabotaged, or deliberately released by terrorists or other bad actors. DHS CFATS regulations were issued as a final rule in November 2007; however, DHS implements the CFATS program under a variety of short-term authorizations by Congress.

Under CFATS, chemical facilities possessing more than a threshold amount of specific explosive, toxic, or other "chemicals of interest" determined by DHS, are required to complete a "top-screen," notifying DHS that they possess such chemicals on site. Once a facility submits its top-screen, DHS can direct the facility to submit a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA). The SVA provides the basis for DHS to assign the facility to one of four tiers: Tiers 1 and 2 being the highest risk, and Tiers 3 and 4 being the lowest. Tier assignment triggers a requirement to submit a Site Security Plan (SSP) or an Alternative Security Plan (ASP) to DHS for authorization and approval.

CFATS currently covers approximately 3,400 chemical facilities, which have been assessed to present a risk of terrorist attack or exploitation.

Jan 2, 2019

OSHA Proposes Revised Beryllium Standard for General Industry

OSHA issued a proposed rule on Dec. 10 to revise the beryllium standard for general industry. The proposed changes are designed to clarify the safety standard and improve compliance. The proposed rule would amend selected paragraphs of the standard, and also replace Appendix A, Operations for Establishing Beryllium Work Areas. Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by Feb. 9, 2019. For more information, read the news release.  

751 viewsDec 20, 2018, 01:54pm 'Groundhog Day' Work Fatalities: How They Died In 2017 Tells Us How To Survive In 2019

(Forbes)The "employee experience," as we're currently branding it, covers a lot of ground. Individualization, compensation, work/life balance, company mission, leadership transparency, recognition, teamwork, accomplishment - all these are essential components of the unwritten social contract employers have with their workers.

But there's one aspect that outranks them all: safety. When life or limb are lost, nothing else in the employee experience matters. A company has no responsibility more important than the protection of people's lives.

Once each year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a report on worker safety as essential as it is troubling. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries aggregates all the on-the-job deaths in the country. The report with data from 2017 was released on Tuesday.

The latest census is remarkably consistent with the previous reports. People continue to die in numbers, proportions and circumstances much as they did the year before, and the year before that and the year before that. There are a lot of Groundhog Days in how we're getting killed on the job.

The one potential silver lining in the fatality census is that, because of the consistency year to year, the most recent report is both 2017 post-mortem and 2019 pre-mortem. If you want to know how you or your employees will die next year, and prevent those tragedies, spend some time understanding how employees died last year.


Vehicles and heights remain among the most common hazards for fatal workplace accidents.DATA SOURCE: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

The same hazards keep killing workers. What's most likely to kill someone is not a trick question. It's an open-book exam. Vehicles (on and off the road), heights (falling from them or being stuck by something falling from above), electricity and getting caught in machinery killed a high percentage of workers in 2017 just as they killed high percentages in previous years. Known hazards killing workers in predictable ways is a textbook definition of complacency. 

Deaths and the fatality rate both declined, but not encouragingly so. The number of people who died on the job dropped from 5,190 to 5,147, less than a 1% decrease, but easing a general upward trend since 2009. The rate dropped from 3.6 per 100,000 "full-time equivalent workers" to 3.5. (One person working full-time or two people working a half schedule equal one FTE.) The decline is equally slight when homicides, suicides and overdoses are subtracted, from 4,182 in 2016 to 4,142 in 2017. The decline was too modest and the repeating pattern of fatalities is too persistent. We're failing to crack the code on preventing these preventable deaths. 

Fishing, logging, piloting and roofing remain among the most dangerous occupations, according to the 2017 BLS fatality census.DATA SOURCE: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

Each profession presents a different risk profile, but those, too, are largely predictable from one year to another.  Commercial fishing eclipsed logging in 2017 as the most dangerous profession. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 reports showed logging as the civilian occupation with the highest rate of fatal accidents. But logging deaths dropped from 135.9 per 100,000 in 2016 to 84.3 per 1000,000 in 2017. Fishing saw the fatality rate jump from 86 to 99.8 per 100,000 during the same period. It's too early to say whether either was a fluke.

Read on at: (Forbes)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/roddwagner/2018/12/20/groundhog-day-work-fatalities-how-they-died-in-2017-tells-us-how-to-survive-in-2019/

Dec 19, 2018

Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure

The Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure (Action Plan) is a blueprint for reducing lead exposure and associated harms through collaboration among federal agencies and with a range of stakeholders, including states, tribes and local communities, along with businesses, property owners and parents. The Action Plan will help federal agencies work strategically and collaboratively to reduce exposure to lead with the aim of ultimately improving children's health.

The Action Plan is the product of the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children (Task Force). The Task Force is the focal point for federal collaboration to promote and protect children's environmental health. Established in 1997 by Executive Order 13045, the Task Force comprises 17 federal departments and offices. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) co-chair the Task Force. The Senior Staff Steering Committee (Steering Committee) is its operational arm.

The Action Plan has four goals with key priorities and objectives that seek to reduce harm to children from exposure to lead. By identifying specific goals and actions, federal agencies can prioritize their efforts and monitor progress. The four goals are:
  • Goal 1: Reduce children's exposure to lead sources
  • Goal 2: Identify lead-exposed children and improve their health outcomes
  • Goal 3: Communicate more effectively with stakeholders
  • Goal 4: Support and conduct critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks
More information, including a link to the Action Plan, can be found at https://www.epa.gov/lead/federal-action-plan-reduce-childhood-lead-exposure

 

Dec 1, 2018

Podcasts: Carbon Monoxide: Odorless, Colourless, and Deadly

This month's  Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safet podcasts include Carbon Monoxide: Odorless, Colourless, and Deadly and an enore presentation of Slips, Trips, and Falls: Preventing Workplace Injuries.

Feature Podcast: Carbon Monoxide: Odorless, Colourless, and Deadly

Every year in Canada, hundreds of workers experience carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Many survive, but others are not so fortunate. During the winter months, this odourless, colourless, deadly gas creeps back into the spotlight. The heightened concern is due in part to the increased use of furnaces, space heaters and generators, as we try to escape the cold, but also because of the use of fuel burning tools indoors. Understand the hazards of carbon monoxide and how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The podcast runs 7:00 minutes.  Listen to the podcast now.

Nov 30, 2018

CDC Warns of Exotic Tick Spreading Across the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control announced Thursday that the Asian longhorned tick—a species that mysteriously traveled thousands of miles across the globe before it was discovered in the fur of a New Jersey sheep in 2017—has now spread to nine states on the eastern half of the country. As The Daily Beast previously reported, scientists aren't yet sure if the tick is capable of transmitting Lyme disease—but they do know that it transmits severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a phlebovirus that kills 15 percent of the humans it infects. The CDC notes in its press release that no infections of any kind that can be linked to the tick have yet been found in Americans. The ticks were found in New Jersey (16 ticks), Virginia (15), West Virginia (11), New York (3), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (2), Connecticut (1), and Maryland (1), and Arkansas (1), between August 2017 and September 2018.

CDC full article:



The biology and ecology of H. longicornis as an exotic species in the United States should be characterized in terms of its vector competence (ability to transmit a pathogen) and vectorial capacity (feeding habits, host preference, climatic sensitivity, population density, and other factors that can affect the risk for pathogen transmission to humans) for tickborne pathogens known to be present in the United States (5). Surveillance for H. longicornis should include adequate sampling of companion animals, commercial animals, wildlife, and the environment. Where H. longicornis is detected, there should be testing for a range of indigenous and exotic viral, bacterial, and protozoan tickborne pathogens potentially transmitted by H. longicornis. Given the similarity between SFTSV and Heartland virus, a tickborne phlebovirus (https://www.cdc.gov/heartland-virus/index.html)

Nov 29, 2018

Make sure your home is fire safe for the holidays — safety tips from ReadyWisconsin

ReadyWisconsin — As families decorate their homes for the holiday season, 
keep fire safety in mind.

"Decorations can help to brighten up the holidays for many people, but it's important to make sure they are installed correctly so they don't become a hazard to your safety or your home," urged Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula.

With both live and artificial Christmas trees, it's important to take extra safety precautions when placing them inside your home. It only takes a few seconds for a tree to ignite into a large blaze. Never place a live tree close to a heat source, such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be sure to water your live Christmas tree every day.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical problems cause one out of every four Christmas tree fires. Make sure you inspect holiday lights each year and replace string lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Follow manufacturer's instructions for limits on the number of light strands that can be connected. Remember some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

When it comes to holiday lights, it's not uncommon to find a shortage of outlets to plug everything in. While it may be tempting, avoid overloading electrical outlets. Do not link more than three light strands unless the di­rections indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the light strands while those decorations are in use. If they are warm to the touch, unplug and remove them. Be sure to turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when going to bed or leaving the house. Unplug extension cords when they are not in use.

Most home fires caused by candles occur on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and News Year's Day. Never leave a burning candle unattended, and make sure they are kept at least 12 inches away from things that can burn. Instead of light­ing real candles, consider using battery-operated flameless candles - that way you won't need to worry about forgetting to blow them out, or the candle being accidently knocked over by pets or children.

To help alert you to fire danger, make sure you have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home. Test them monthly. Keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries. Know when and how to call for help and remember to practice your home escape plan.

For additional holiday safety tips, visit http://readywisconsin.wi.gov

Nov 28, 2018

Adult Smoking Hits a New Low in Wisconsin

Work still needed to reduce tobacco use among some groups
New data show that statewide efforts to reduce smoking rates are paying off, with the state's smoking rate falling to 16% in 2017 after several years at 17%, according to the Department of Health Services' Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey (BRFSS). One of the biggest reductions is among those aged 35-44, down to 19% in 2017 from 24% in 2016. There are also signs that smoking rates may be starting to fall for some groups that have higher rates, including African Americans and people who are on Medicaid.

"The hard work by community organizations, health educators, families and young people to provide information about the dangers of smoking, and programs available to help people quit, is making a difference, said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. "We are grateful to all Wisconsin citizens who are helping to reduce tobacco use statewide."

View the entire news release.

Nov 26, 2018

New Map Shows Why Some People Flee Their Native Countries

A new map by the University of Cincinnati illustrates one motivating force behind migrant caravans leaving Guatemala and Honduras to reach the United States.

UC geography professor Tomasz Stepinski created the new world map showing dramatic changes in land use over the last quarter century. Stepinski, a professor in UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, turned high-resolution satellite images from the European Space Agency into one of the most detailed looks so far at how people are reshaping the planet.

"Right now there are caravans of people walking to the United States. Many of them are coming from Guatemala," Stepinski said.

News agencies such as The Guardian have called some of the Central American migrants "climate-change refugees" since many are fleeing successive years of crop failure. But Stepinski said climate change tells only part of the story. His map shows how Guatemala has seen widespread deforestation.

"And they've lost the forest because people use wood for fuel," Stepinski said. "It's one part of the refugee crisis."

The project was published in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation.

Stepinski's work in UC's Space Informatics Lab demonstrates the value that UC places on research as part of its strategic direction, Next Lives Here.

A portion of UC geography professor Tomasz Stepinski's new world map shows changing landscapes in North and South America. White indicates little or no change. Darker shades indicate the highest rate of change in each category.


 Graphic/Tomasz Stepinski/UC


The map illustrates how 22 percent of the Earth's habitable surface has been altered in measurable ways, primarily from forest to agriculture, between 1992 and 2015.

"It's very informative. There is nothing else like it," Stepinski said. "There are maps of forest loss but no maps showing everything."

The map tells a new story everywhere you look, from wetlands losses in the American Southeast to the devastation of the Aral Sea to deforestation in the tropics and temperate rainforests.

"Of course, it raises alarm bells. But they're not new ones," Stepinski said.

Read full at:

Effects of suspected radiation exposure seen in Fukushima wild monkeys: researchers

Findings of abnormalities in these monkeys have been continuously reported in British scientific journals. Researchers assume that the monkeys ingested items like tree bark contaminated with radioactive cesium emanating from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Tohoku University's Department of Pathology professor emeritus Manabu Fukumoto and his research team performed hematological analysis of adult monkeys captured after the nuclear disaster. They inspected blood cell counts in the bone marrow of 18 monkeys caught in locations within 40 kilometers from the plant, including the city of Minamisoma and the town of Namie. Fukumoto's team then compared the data to that of monkeys from other areas. The results revealed various substances destined to mature into blood, like cells that develop into platelets, had decreased in Fukushima monkeys.

Furthermore, the team observed some blood components had greatly decreased in monkeys with higher internal radiation exposure per day. They estimated the radiation dose from the concentration of radioactive cesium in the monkeys' muscles. Fukumoto explained, "We need to conduct long-term research to see if it (the abnormalities) has an effect on the monkeys' health."


Read on at:

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181125/p2a/00m/0na/003000c

Nov 20, 2018

Severe working conditions in Bolivian mines, Including Children

The severe working conditions, especially for children who labor underground. The mines extract gold, silver, tin and zinc.

These working conditions, especially for children, must be changed.

....about 250,000 to document the daily lives of miners. They're part of a centuries-old enterprise to extract silver, tin, zinc and gold from the mountains. He was struck by the harsh and sometimes dangerous conditions the miners work in — and by the number of children he saw working in the mines. Some were teenagers. One youngster said he was 11 years old...

Nov 19, 2018

EPA Watchdog Questions Safety of Sewage Used as Fertilizer

(Bloomberg) -- The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't know if the treated sewage sludge that farmers use as fertilizer is safe, according to a report from its internal watchdog.

The treated sewage known as biosolids is chock full of nutrients, which is what makes it so good at enriching soil. But it also can be chock full of pollutants, from heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic to pharmaceutical compounds, flame retardants and disease-carrying organisms.

And the EPA doesn't know enough about hundreds of pollutants found in the material, the agency's inspector general said in a report Thursday.

The EPA's controls over using biosolids as fertilizer are "incomplete" or have "weaknesses" and "may not have fully protected human health and the environment," said Jill Trynosky, a project manager with the inspector general's office. "The EPA is unable to state whether, and at what level, the pollutants found in biosolids pose a risk to human health or the environment," Trynosky said in an agency podcast describing the investigation.

The biosolids at issue are a byproduct of wastewater treatment -- essentially the residue that is left over after wastewater is cleaned at facilities nationwide. That sewage sludge can be sent to incinerators or landfills -- or it can go through additional treatment to remove pollutants and to make it less attractive to vermin, effectively transforming it into biosolids that can be applied to farmland as fertilizer.

Nearly half of the biosolids generated in the U.S. ultimately are applied to the land, according to the EPA.

The agency oversees the practice, with requirements to test for nine specific heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury, research additional pollutants that may need regulation and pare pathogens from the material.

Although the EPA has consistently monitored biosolids for those nine regulated substances, the agency lacks the data or tools needed to determine the safety of hundreds of other pollutants found in the material, the inspector general found. And while the EPA is reviewing additional pollutants, the agency hasn't always completed those assessments in a timely manner, the watchdog said.

According to the probe, the risks of at least 352 pollutants found in biosolids haven't been fully assessed by the EPA. And at least 61 of them have already been deemed hazardous by another federal agency or program.

Nov 5, 2018

Changing World of Work at Forum 2019

The world of work is experiencing rapid, constant change, bringing with it new and emerging health and safety challenges. Join us for two days of inspiration, innovations and discussion featuring an exciting roster of world-class speakers at CCOHS' Forum on The Changing World of Work on March 5-6, 2019, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 

Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from and engage with leaders, influencers and change makers - representing government, labour, and workplaces - from across Canada. There is no other health and safety event like this in the country.

 

The Speaker Line-Up Includes:

- Keynote: Futurist Nikolas Badminton on artificial intelligence and how the world of work will change

- Darby Allen, Fort McMurray's Fire Chief (Ret.), on leadership

- Nora Spinks, CEO, the Vanier Institute of the Family, on the availability and effectiveness of workplace supports for Canadian caregivers

- Dr. Lionel Laroche on navigating workplace diversity

- Brenda Henry, Manager, EHS Services, Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology, on the ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard

- Steve Tizzard on building a mentally healthy, peer to peer support program on the Hibernia Platform

- Wolfgang Zimmermann, Executive Director, National Institute of Disability Management and Research, on accommodating and inclusive workplaces

- Todd Irick, Occupational Hygienist, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, on nanotechnology and health

                                                       

Register by November 30 to save $100. Discounts are also available for CCOHS Members and full-time students.

 

To learn more and register, visit: https://www.ccohs.ca/forum/


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SOURCE:  HS-Canada Digest #5490 - 11/03/18

Nov 2, 2018

Podcasts: Scent Sensitivities in the Workplace by CCOHS

Feature Podcast: Scent Sensitivities in the Workplace

Help your co-workers to breathe easy by maintaining a fragrance-free workplace. This podcast discusses the issues of scents sensitivities in the workplace and provides information on how fragrances can impact the health of your co-workers.

The podcast runs 4:13 minutes.  Listen to the podcast now.


Encore Podcast: Recognizing Radon

Radon is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas released when uranium, found naturally in rocks and soil, decays. It is also classified as a known carcinogen and a leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In Canada, radon can be found in new and older homes, public buildings and underground worksites. In this podcast, Dr. Cheryl Peters, Postdoctoral Fellow at Carleton University and Occupational Exposures Lead Scientist at CAREX Canada discusses radon, where it's found, the impact it can have on our health and how we can limit our exposure to it.

The podcast runs for 8:22 minutes.  Listen to the podcast now.

As you turn back the clocks check your carbon monoxide detectors.

ReadyWisconsin— As you turn back the clocks around your home this weekend, take advantage of the time change to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"Those devices can be essential to alerting you to a fire or carbon monoxide leak in your home, so it's important to regularly check them and make sure they are working properly," said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. "The time change on Nov. 4 provides an excellent opportunity and a reminder to make sure that's being done."

Smoke detectors are often the first alert you will get that there is a fire in your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home fire deaths occurred when smoke detectors were either not present or were not working properly. Detectors should be tested monthly and the device itself should be replaced every 10 years.

In addition to smoke detectors, make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. Approximately 500 people are treated at hospital emergency rooms across the state annually for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Health officials say many of these cases could be prevented by having working carbon monoxide detectors.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. If you suspect you or someone may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, go outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.

To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
  • All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores. Daylight saving time is a good time each year to replace the batteries in your detector and push the test button to be sure it's working properly. Replace your detector every five years.
  • Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
  • Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or in an unventilated garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, RVs and boats with enclosed cabins.
  • Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
  • Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside.

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/air/co.html

Oct 31, 2018

Free Webinar - The Top NFPA 70E 2018 Changes Worth Discussing

November 08, 2018
2:00pm EST

Electrical equipment and electrical safety devices are constantly being changed and improved, hence why your electrical safety program must address those changes. The NFPA 70E Committee addresses these changes and updates the standard every three years as part of keeping up with current technology and safety concerns. This is a standard not only used by facility managers and safety officers, but also by OSHA inspectors, continually educating them on existing trends in electrical safety. In this webinar, we will go over the top 2018 NFPA 70E updates worth discussing.

What You Will Gain from Our Webinar:
  • Understanding of what changes were made to NFPA 70E
  • How changes will affect my company
  • How do I implement these changes?
  • When do these changes take effect?
Speaker

David Weszely
Safety and Training Manager
Lewellyn
About David Weszely
David is the Safety and Training Manager at Lewellyn Technology and has been with the company for 6 years. He provides vision, leadership, safety training, and technical expertise in areas of workplace safety including electrical safety program development. He also advises management on loss control and risk reduction strategies. 

Register Now

Oct 30, 2018

WWF report reveals a 60% decline in wildlife populations since 1970

A new WWF report has painted a grim picture of the impact human activity is having ... 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released its latest Living Planet Report, an assessment of the health of our planet, and paints a rather grim picture of the damage caused by humanity's growing footprint on Earth.

.. Continue Reading WWF report reveals a 60% decline in wildlife populations since 1970

Oct 29, 2018

Fact sheet outlines questions for employers to consider before making naloxone available at work

WASHINGTON – 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 at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2019-101/default.html¸ 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 at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/opioids/framework.html, 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.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/.

CSB Releases "Call to Action" on Combustible Dust Hazards

Washington, D.C., October 24, 2018 -  the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, as part of its investigation into the May 2017 Didion Mill explosion, issued "Call to Action: Combustible Dust" to gather comments on the management and control of combustible dust from companies, regulators, inspectors, safety training providers, researchers, unions, and the workers affected by dust-related hazards.

"Our dust investigations have identified the understanding of dust hazards and the ability to determine a safe dust level in the work place as common challenges," said CSB Interim Executive Kristen Kulinowski. "While there is a shared understanding of the hazards of dust, our investigations have found that efforts to manage those hazards have often failed to prevent a catastrophic explosion. To uncover why that is, we are initiating this Call to Action to gather insights and feedback from those most directly involved with combustible dust hazards."

This initiative asks for information from all individuals and entities involved in the safe conduct of work within inherently dust-producing environments at risk for dust explosions. The agency seeks input on a variety of complex issues, including: recognizing and measuring "unsafe" levels of dust in the workplace, managing responsibilities and expectations that sometimes are at odds with each other (e.g., performing mechanical integrity preventative maintenance while simultaneously striving to minimize dust releases in the work environment), and the methods for communicating the low-frequency but high-consequence hazards of combustible dust in actionable terms for those working and overseeing these environments. A full list of questions can be found HERE.

Comments can be emailed to combustibledust(at)csb.gov now until November 26, 2018. The CSB will use the information provided to explore new opportunities for safety improvements.

Dust incidents continue to impact a wide swath of industries. In 2006, the CSB identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005. One hundred and nineteen workers were fatally injured, 718 more were hurt, and industrial facilities were extensively damaged. The incidents occurred in 44 states, in many different industries, and involved a variety of different materials.

Since the publication of the study in 2006, the CSB has confirmed an additional 105 combustible dust incidents and conducted in-depth investigations of five, including most recently the Didion Milling dust explosion in Cambria, Wisconsin, that fatally injured five workers and demolished the milling facility.

The CSB has issued four recommendations to OSHA calling for the issuance of a comprehensive general industry standard for combustible dust, and combustible dust safety is on the agency's Drivers of Critical Chemical Safety Change list. To date, there is no general industry standard.

CSB Investigator Cheryl MacKenzie said, "Our investigation of the Didion incident continues and we are analyzing evidence to understand the specifics leading up to the tragic event. However, this investigation reinforces what we are seeing across many industries—that there needs to be a more inclusive approach to creating and maintaining a safe work environment amid processes that inherently produce dust."

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment. The agency's board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical incidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. For more information, contact public(at)csb.gov.

Oct 23, 2018

EPA Webcast: Building Resilience in Partnership with Vulnerable Communities

A Watershed Academy Webcast
The ability of a community to respond, recover, and bounce back from increased risk to local waters from extreme weather and natural disasters is not equally distributed. Environmental justice recognizes that some communities experience higher exposure to local water pollution and degraded local waterways on top of other social factors that increase vulnerability. 

Join us for this webinar that will look at the environmental justice factors contributing to vulnerability and examples of how EPA and its partner programs have effectively worked to help build resilience with vulnerable communities. We will also explore how the Urban Water Partnership model can build more resilient networks.

You must register in advance to attend this webcast. Register at the Watershed Academy Webcast website at 

When?
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Two-Hour Audio Web Broadcast
EST: 1pm – 2:30pm
CST: 12pm – 1:30pm
MST: 11am – 12:30pm
PST: 10am – 11:30am

Speakers:
  • Brenda Torres, Executive Director of the San Juan Bay National Estuary Program
  • Roberta Swann, Director of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
  • Melissa Deas, Climate Program Analyst, Urban Sustainability Administration; DC Department of Energy and Environment

Webcast participants are eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance.

Participants are encouraged to download them prior to the webcast.  
The Webcast presentations are posted in advance at


The Watershed Academy:
The Watershed Academy is a focal point in EPA's Office of Water for providing training and information on implementing watershed approaches. The Academy self-paced training modules and webcast seminars provide current information from national experts across a broad range of watershed topics. For more information, please visit www.epa.gov/watershedacademy.

Oct 19, 2018

Farewell to the GREAT Gary Greenberg...he will be missed.

I am sad to announce that Gary Greenberg, has passed away. 
Gary has been a part of Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics since the early 90's.

I can not speak highly enough of Mr. Greenberg as a person.
He gave his all to help others...what more could this world ask.

Gary Greenberg, MD.  was a ferocious advocate for healthcare for all, and especially for the underserved, Gary exemplified all that is good in this world. 

He cared deeply for each and every one of his patients, students, colleagues and staff. He is already sorely missed and we will remember him forever.

Please share a story about Gary in the Tribute section for family, friends and colleagues to read at:

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Gary's favorite healthcare access project - Urban Ministries of Wake County https://urbanmin.org/donate/ 

Thank you.
-Christopher Haase

Canada is "High"....giving employers impossible enforcement task with impaired workforce

On Tuesday morning, WorkSafeBC sent out a news release reminding employers that they must not allow anyone who is impaired to do work that could endanger a co-worker or anyone else.

Great advice. But how does an employer do that when there is no good test for impairment and
 "Health Canada says that in the normal course a person can expect to experience the effects of cannabis after 24 hours after the use of cannabis."



EPA " found dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside than outside

EPA's Office of Research and Development's "Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study" found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.


Sources of VOCs

Household products, including:

  • paints, paint strippers and other solvents
  • wood preservatives
  • aerosol sprays
  • cleansers and disinfectants
  • moth repellents and air fresheners
  • stored fuels and automotive products
  • hobby supplies
  • dry-cleaned clothing
  • pesticide

Other products, including:

  • building materials and furnishings
  • office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
  • graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.


Health effects may include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:

  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose and throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea
  • emesis
  • epistaxis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness

The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect.

As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics include:

  • Eye and respiratory tract irritation
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • visual disorders and memory impairment

At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes.

Oct 5, 2018

U.S. military is exploring the possibility of deploying insects to make plants more resilient by altering their genes.

Phys.Org: A research arm of the U.S. military is exploring the possibility of deploying insects to make plants more resilient by altering their genes. Some experts say the work may be seen as a potential biological weapon. In an opinion paper published Thursday in the journal Science, the authors say the U.S. needs to provide greater justification for the peace-time purpose of its Insect Allies project to avoid being perceived as hostile to other countries. Other experts expressed ethical and security concerns with the research, which seeks to transmit protective traits to crops already growing in the field. That would mark a departure from the current widely used procedure of genetically modifying seeds for crops such as corn and soy, before they grow into plants. The military research agency says its goal is to protect the nation's food supply from threats like drought, crop disease and bioterrorism by using insects to infect plants with viruses that protect against such dangers. The State Department said the project is for peaceful purposes and does not violate the Biological Weapons Convention. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its scientists are part of the research, which is being conducted in contained labs. The technology could work in different ways. In the first phase, aphids -- tiny bugs that feed by sucking sap from plants -- infected plants with a virus that temporarily brought about a trait. But researchers are also trying to see if viruses can alter the plant's genes themselves to be resistant to dangers throughout the plant's life.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Oct 1, 2018

Consumer Reports’ testing shows concerning levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead in many popular baby and toddler foods

ConsumerReports:

A recent study in the journal Lancet Public Health suggests that low
levels of lead from food and other sources contribute to about 400,000
deaths each year, more than half of them from cardiovascular disease.
Getting too much methylmercury can cause nerve damage, muscle
weakness, lack of coordination, and impaired vision and hearing. And
over time, cadmium exposure can lead to kidney, bone, and lung
diseases.
(http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(18)30025-2/fulltext)

"And annual sales of baby food now top $53 billion and are projected
to reach more than $76 billion by 2021, according to Zion Market
Research.

Our tests had some troubling findings:
• Every product had measurable levels of at least one of these heavy
metals: cadmium, inorganic arsenic, or lead.

• About two-thirds (68 percent) had worrisome levels of at least one
heavy metal."

...Exposure to even small amounts of these heavy metals at an early
age may increase the risk of several health problems, especially lower
IQ and behavior problems, and have been linked to autism and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"The effects of early exposure to heavy metals can have long-lasting
impacts that may be impossible to reverse," says Victor Villarreal,
Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of educational
psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio who has
researched the effects of heavy metals on childhood development.

Exposure to inorganic arsenic may also affect IQ, according to a
recent Columbia University study of third- through fifth-graders in
Maine. Students who had been exposed to arsenic in drinking water had
IQ levels 5 to 6 points lower, on average, than students who had not
been exposed.

Long-Term Risks
The risks from heavy metals grow over time, in part because they
accumulate in the kidneys and other internal organs.

"These toxins can remain in your body for years," says Tunde Akinleye,
a chemist in Consumer Reports' Food Safety Division who led our
testing. Regularly consuming even small amounts over a long period of
time may raise the risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer; cognitive
and reproductive problems; and type 2 diabetes, among other
conditions.

And research has shown that even in adults, frequent, consistent
exposure to low levels of heavy metals can contribute to other serious
health problems.





Read full at:
https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/

New Tool Measures Effectiveness of Workplace Safety and Health Programs

NIOSH: As more organizations offer increasingly comprehensive programs for workplace safety and health, researchers and organizations alike look for the best examples and tools to measure their effectiveness. With so many programs available, how do organizations know which one is best?

Through a NIOSH-funded study at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, scientists designed a new tool to help, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The Workplace Integrated Safety and Health (WISH) Assessment measures policies, programs, and practices that promote worker safety, health, and well-being.

The WISH Assessment is an expansion of a previous measurement tool, developed by the same researchers in this study. The scientists created this latest assessment tool based on an extensive review of published literature on workplace wellness programs, repeated cognitive testing, and semi-structured interviews. They tested and revised the WISH Assessment to ensure that its elements were clearly understood and effectively measured the intended concepts.

The researchers finalized the tool after identifying six factors for protecting and promoting worker safety, health, and well-being: 1) leadership commitment; 2) participation; 3) policies, programs, and practices that foster supportive working conditions; 4) comprehensive and collaborative strategies; 5) adherence to federal and state regulations and ethical norms; and 6) regular evaluations that guide safety, health, and well-being activities.

Next steps include additional testing on the WISH Assessment to validate the tool across multiple samples, and designing and testing a scoring system that organizations can use. Harvard researchers plan to use the WISH Assessment in a future study focused on the association between Total Worker Health® approaches and quality-of-care outcomes in 500 nursing homes. Ultimately, the WISH Assessment could help direct priorities among organizations, guiding research in workplace policies, programs, and practices to improve worker well-being.

More information is available: