Oct 26, 2016
The changes, which implement the new policy direction toward Cuba that President Obama announced in December 2014, took effect Oct. 17 and are intended to further engage and empower the Cuban people and promote political, social, and economic reform in Cuba by easing sanctions related to, among others, scientific collaboration, humanitarian activities, trade and commerce, and travel.
The recommendations feature a new, easier-to-use format and should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. They also include a section on multi-employer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement, as well as supporting tools and resources.
The OSHA recommendations feature seven core elements for a safety and health program: management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation and improvement; and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors, and staffing agencies.
OSHA's best practices are not prescriptive; they are built around a core set of business processes that can be implemented to suit a particular workplace in any industry. OSHA says it has witnessed their successful implementation in manufacturing, construction, health care, technology, retail, services, higher education, and government.
The OSHA guidelines follow key principles such as worker participation in finding solutions, and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards.
"Since OSHA's original guidelines were published more than 25 years ago, employers and employees have gained a lot of experience in how to use safety and health programs to systematically prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable."
(paint.org) On Oct. 4, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule (81 FR 68504) in an effort to remove or revise what the agency believes are outdated, duplicative, or unnecessary requirements in the regulations. One component that might be of concern for ACA members is the revision of the lockout/tagout standard. Currently, the lockout/tagout rule requires employers to have safety systems in place to prevent workers from being injured by machinery that starts operating without warning.
OSHA is seeking to remove or revise outdated, duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent requirements in its safety and health standards in response to President Obama's Executive Order 13563, ''Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review. The current review, the fourth in this ongoing effort, is called Standards Improvement Project-Phase IV (SIP–IV). The goal of the proposed rulemaking is to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing employees' safety and health. SIP–IV focuses primarily on OSHA's construction standards. OSHA is accepting comments on its proposal through Dec. 5, 2016.
Currently, 29 CFR § 1910.147 states that the lockout/tagout "standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization." OSHA is proposing to remove the phrase "unexpected" from the regulations, reasoning that it takes away from the original intention of the rule, which is that "a de-energized machine or piece or equipmentcannot be restarted unless the worker servicing it personally removes the lockout or tagout device he or she has applied" (81 FR 68506). Additionally, OSHA believes it would harmonize the general industry lockout/tagout standard with the agency's shipyard lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1915.89).
The proposal is a response to two conflicting appeals court and review board decisions from the mid-1990s. First, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) rejected the argument that the lockout/tagout rule does not apply when employees are given some sort of warning and thus the re-energization is not necessarily unexpected (Sec. of Labor v. Gen. Motors Corp., OSHRC, No. 91-2973, 4/26/95). However, the following year, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected OSHA's interpretation of "unexpected", stating that the lockout/tagout rule did not apply where a startup procedure for the machine provided some sort of warning or alert for the worker that was servicing it decision (Reich v. Gen. Motors Corp., 89 F.3d 313, 17 OSHC 1673 (6th Cir. 1996)).
With the proposed revision of the rule, OSHA hopes to clear up the confusion, and revert back to what it believes is the original understanding of the standard; that is, all equipment servicing activities in which there are energization, start up, or stored energy hazards. However, concerns have been raised as to the effectiveness of automated alerts and controls, especially as technology becomes more advanced. Many parties believe that by ignoring the GMC Delco decision, OSHA ignores the effectiveness of automated controls in making workers aware of potential re-energization.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has estimated that it will cost around 80-billion yen ($770 million) annually to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. But a new study released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says that the cost to complete a 30-year decommissioning process is likely to cost far more than the two trillion yen ($19 billion) initially estimated by TEPCO, Kyodo News reported.
The ministry said that decommissioning costs will continue to run at several hundred billion yen a year, totalling at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).
"The panel is considering ways in which TEPCO can secure funds while avoiding an increase in public burden," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference. "It is still discussing the issue."
The nuclear plant operator did not comment on the government projection, as the company is still trying to work out the total cleanup cost figures.
"It is difficult to calculate the entire cost for the decommissioning," TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki said, as quoted by Japan Today.
The two-trillion-yen figure previously estimated by TEPCO factored in expenses for removing nuclear debris based on the cleanup effort of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear incident in the US. That estimate also included the costs and equipment needed to keep the reactors at Fukushima stable, the spokesman stressed.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake struck northeastern Japan at 2:46pm local time, unleashing a deadly tsunami. At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the tsunami caused a cooling system failure resulting in a nuclear meltdown and release of radioactive materials.
Five years after the disaster, TEPCO faces massive liabilities as it decommissions the facility, compensates tens of thousands of evacuees, and pays for decontamination of the area.
The firm has cut its costs and raised prices, but its long-term sustainability remains in doubt. To cope with the financial pressure, TEPCO was forced to seek government assistance in July.
Oct 19, 2016
- Focusing on What Matters: Materiality Assessments for Public Reporting and Strategic Planning [PDF]
- Elsie Palabrica, Eli Lilly & Company
- Environmental Sustainability Means Being "Envolved" at Cummins [PDF]
- Brian Mormino, Cummins, Inc.
Sustainability Presentations (Track A)
- Selecting and Reporting Meaningful Sustainability Metrics [PDF]
- Christina Wildt, Keramida and Lorie Counsel, Cummins, Inc.
- U.S. EPA's Freely Downloaded Solvent Substitutions Software Tool PARIS III [PDF]
- Paul Harten, U.S. EPA
- Practical Tips for Using ISO 14001:2015 as a Tool to Integrate Environmental Compliance, Risk Management, and Sustainability Objectives [PDF]
- Karen Lutz, TRC Solutions
Success Story Presentations (Track B)
- Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Program Success Stories [PDF]
- Mark Myles, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
- Industrial Water Conservation and Reuse Solutions [PDF]
- Josh Rembusch, Danco
- Economy, Energy, and the Environment (E3) Success Stories [PDF]
- Kelly Weger, Purdue University Technical Assistance Program
- Achieving Laboratory Sustainability Goals through Improved Safety Culture [PDF]
- Professor John Howarter, Purdue University
- Less Controversial Alternatives to Mattress Waterproofing and Flame Safety [PDF]
- Barry Cik, Naturepedic
Water Presentations (Track C)
- 90% of large fish in the oceans are gone.
- 97% of native forests are destroyed.
- 98% of native grasslands are destroyed.
- Each day 200 species are driven to extinction.
- Toxins are so prolific most mothers test positive for known toxic bioaccumulators in their breast milk.
- Virtually ALL virgin forests in the USA are GONE.
Every October, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.
More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.
Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machine guarding
- Electrical wiring
- Electrical, general requirements
It's no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously.
We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprit here. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can't be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse.
Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.
The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and high number of violations for powered industrial trucksafety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment.
Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known.
Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive. OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces...
Since January, grain-handling facilities in Nebraska and Kansas have had four preventable incidents that resulted in two deaths. In March, a superintendent at a grain-handling site in Prosser, Neb., suffered fatal injuries caused by an operating auger as he drew grain from a bin. In May, a maintenance worker in West Point, Neb., died from injuries suffered when a wall of corn product in a grain bin collapsed and engulfed him. Other incidents also involved workers becoming trapped in a grain bin or injured by augers, including the amputation of a worker's leg in Ellsworth, Kan.
OSHA urges industry employers and workers to implement safety and health programs to avoid similar tragedies. OSHA officials spoke at several grain and feed association meetings in Nebraska and Kansas on the most common hazards in the grain industry, which include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution. For more information, see the news release.
OSHA today released its preliminary list of the10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from about 32,000 workplace inspections. Top hazards include lack of adequate fall protection, unsafe scaffolds, hazard communications problems, and lack of machine guarding. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that, by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces. Our list is far from comprehensive, but if all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, OSHA believes the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline. For the full list and more information, see the blog.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels today released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety at their workplaces. The recommendations update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. Key principles include: leadership from the top to send a message that safety and health is critical to business operations; worker participation in finding solutions; and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards. "We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable," said Dr. Michaels, who released the document at the National Safety Council Congress in Anaheim, Calif. In his remarks, he asked business groups and safety and health professionals to help spread the word through a campaign that encourages creation of a safety and health program using OSHA's recommendations or others.
Oct 18, 2016
- The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3%
- Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.5%!
- Increases in the shelter and gasoline indexes were the main causes of the rise
- The gasoline index rose 5.8% in September
- The shelter index increased largest increase since May.
- The energy index increased 2.9%, its largest advance since April.
Oct 14, 2016
EPA's Office of Research and Development is hosting a webinar on its "toolkit" of five models and tools for planning, designing and evaluating green infrastructure.
DATE: Wednesday, October 26th
TIME: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
During the webinar you will learn from EPA researchers about these tools:
· GIWIZ, the Green Infrastructure Wizard. Presented by Dr. Marilyn Tenbrink
· VELMA, the Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessment Model. Presented by Dr. Bob McKane
· SWC, the National Stormwater Calculator. Presented by Jason Berner
· SWMM, the Storm Water Management Model. Presented by Dr. Michael Tryby
· WMOST, the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool. Presented by Dr. Naomi Detenbeck
This short video gives you a brief overview of each model, webinar homework if you will. J
(Ctrl + Click to open video)
And you can visit ORD's Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit site for more information.
Oct 6, 2016
Free Webinar Empowering remote communities with renewables using Hybrid Microgrids 19th October 2016 at 4pm UK time
Oct 5, 2016
ICANN, in a statement on Saturday, said that the transition will result in "no change or difference" in user experience.
The move raised political hackles in the United States. The leading voice against allowing the transition was Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). His argument is that ceding control of IANA gives foreign governments, including repressive regimes, power over what content is allowed on the internet through control of the creation of websites, according to The Washington Post. The story encapsulates ICANN's response, which was that the United States never had any control over content on the internet. The story links to the organization's full four-page response.
It's obviously a political season. The basic outlines of a story in which the U.S. is surrendering control of something to the international community, no matter what the nuances, was too good to pass by. Last Wednesday, attorneys general from Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada filed an emergency request to halt the move. On Friday, Judge George Hanks, Jr., who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, denied the request. The move went forward the next day.
Separately, InfoWorld reported yesterday that ICANN is beefing up internet security by transitioning to a technology called Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSec), which is a way to eliminate attacks in which crackers can hijack internet requests to, and point users toward, other, likely malicious, sites. The story says that the transition is long and carries a slight risk of problems that could temporarily affect internet performance.