Author Archives: OH&S News

ATSDR Publishes Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls

ATSDR Publishes Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls People can be exposed to PFAs in the air; in indoor dust, food, and water; and in some home products. The main sources of exposure to PFAs, such as PFOA and PFOS, are usually from eating food and drinking water that has these chemicals. Jun 22, 2018 The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has published a draft toxicological profile for perfluoroalkyls (PFAs), which are a group of man-made chemicals that are used to protect products such as carpet and fabric, as a coating for paper and cardboard packaging, and in some fire-fighting foams. Such profiles characterize the toxicology and adverse health effects information for toxic substances; they are peer-reviewed. ATSDR has also posted a two-page information sheet, the ToxFAQs™, that is helpful. Chemicals that are PFAs include: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) perfluordecanoic acid (PFDeA) The two PFAs made in the largest amounts in the United States were PFOA and PFOS, but most companies have stopped making those two chemicals, according to the agency. PFAs can be found in air, soil, and water. They break down very slowly in air within days or weeks, but then fall to the ground where they can enter water or soil. PFAs don't break down in water or soil and may be carried over great distances by wind or rain. The ToxFAQs says research suggests certain PFAs may raise cholesterol levels, decrease how well the body responds to vaccines, decrease fertility in women, lower infant birth weight (although the decrease is small and may not affect the infant's health). People can be exposed to PFAs in the air; in indoor dust, food, and water; and in some home products. The main sources of exposure to PFAs, such as PFOA and PFOS, are usually from eating food and drinking water that has these chemicals. Let's block ads! (Why?)

California Utility Takes $2.5B Charge for Wildfires

California Utility Takes $2.5B Charge for Wildfires "Years of drought, extreme heat, and 129 million dead trees have created a 'new normal' for our state that requires comprehensive new solutions," PG&E Corporation CEO and President Geisha Williams said. Jun 22, 2018 San Francisco-based PG&E Corporation and its subsidiary, the utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company, announced June 21 that they will record an estimated pre-tax charge of $2.5 billion for the quarter ending June 30, 2018, that is associated with wildfires in California. The company filed a Form 8-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on June 21, and company officials discussed the expected charge on an investor conference later in the day. The company's announcement said that, "in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, PG&E Corporation and the utility evaluate the range of reasonably estimated losses and record a charge based on the lower end of the range unless an amount within the range is a better estimate than any other amount. The companies are currently unable to reasonably estimate the upper end of the range because there are a number of unknown facts and legal considerations that may impact the amount of any potential liability." The charge is expected to be recorded in connection with the Northern California wildfires referred to as the La Porte, McCourtney, Lobo, Honey, Redwood, Sulphur, Cherokee, Blue, Pocket and Sonoma/Napa merged fires. PG&E said the charge does not include any amounts for potential penalties or fines that may be imposed by governmental entities and does not include any amounts in connection with any other Northern California wildfires, including the Atlas, 37, Tubbs, Cascade, Maacama, Pressley and Point fires, "because at this time PG&E Corporation and the utility have not concluded that a loss arising from those fires is probable. However, in the future it is possible that facts could emerge that lead PG&E Corporation and the utility to believe that a loss is probable, resulting in the accrual of a liability at that time, the amount of which could be significant." Let's block ads! (Why?)

White House Proposes Merger of DOL and Education Department

White House Proposes Merger of DOL and Education Department The proposed Department of Education and the Workforce "would allow the Federal Government to address the educational and skill needs of American students and workers in a coordinated way," the OMB reform plan says. Jun 22, 2018 The White House has proposed merging the federal Department of Labor with the Department of Education into a single Cabinet agency, according to a reform plan developed by the Office of Management and Budget. Several media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, reported the proposal on June 21. The proposed new Department of Education and the Workforce "would allow the Federal Government to address the educational and skill needs of American students and workers in a coordinated way, eliminating duplication of effort between the two agencies and maximizing the effectiveness of skill-building efforts," the OMB reform plan says. DEW would have four main sub-agencies after the merger is completed, according to the plan: K-12, which would support state and local educational agencies to improve achievement of preschool, elementary, and secondary school students American Workforce and Higher Education Administration, which would include both adult and youth workforce development components, as well as a disability employment component Enforcement, which would include OSHA, MSHA, DOL's current Wage and Hour Division, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Research/Evaluation/Administration, which would include centralized offices focused on policy development, research, and evaluation; IT; procurement; financial management; and budgeting Let's block ads! (Why?)

Trenching Stand Down Under Way

Trenching Stand Down Under Way OSHA has partnered with the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) and the North American Excavation and Shoring Association (NAXSA) to promote a Trench Safety Stand Down during June 18-23. Jun 21, 2018 OSHA has partnered with the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) and the North American Excavation and Shoring Association (NAXSA) to promote a Trench Safety Stand Down during June 18-23. The week is dedicated to trench safety. An online post on June 19 from OSHA's acting leader, Loren Sweatt, deputy assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, announced it. "Few people think about where their electricity or water comes from when they switch on a light or wash their dishes. However, Americans are on the job in trenches every day installing and repairing utility lines to ensure those conveniences are always available. It is critical for these workers to know how to stay safe while they perform their job," it said. The three partners are encouraging companies that use trenches to conduct Trench Safety Stand Down activities during the week. Those could include a discussion or demonstration at a work site to illustrate the proper technique to safely dig and use a trench. The post listed five key trench safety tips to protect workers: Ensure there's a safe way to enter and exit. Trenches must have cave-in protection. Keep materials away from the edge of the trench. Look for standing water and atmospheric hazards. Never enter a trench unless it has been properly inspected. It also said, "To report an unsafe trench, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)." Let's block ads! (Why?)

Werner Co. Recalls Telescoping Aluminum Ladders

Werner Co. Recalls Telescoping Aluminum Ladders The June 20 recall involves five models of aluminum telescoping ladders that can be used in five different positions. They range in size from 13 feet to 26 feet when extended. Jun 21, 2018 Werner Co. has recalled about 78,000 multi-purpose telescoping aluminum ladders because they can break while in use, posing a fall hazard to the user, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The June 20 recall involves five models of aluminum telescoping ladders that can be used in five different positions (twin step ladder, stairway step ladder, extension ladder, wall ladder, and as two scaffold bases). They range in size from 13 feet to 26 feet when extended and have a date code stamped on the inside of the outer leg of the ladder, beneath the bottom step. The model number is printed on a label located on the side of the ladder rail. The recalled ladders have a load capacity of 375 pounds. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ladders and return the ladder to the store of purchase to receive a full refund. They were sold at Home Depot and Lowe's stores nationwide from April 2018 through May 2018 for between $180 and $275. CPSC's announcement of the recall said Werner has received one report of a ladder breaking while in use, resulting in one injury to the left side and elbow of the customer. Consumers can contact Werner toll-free at 888-523-3370 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email [email protected], or visit www.wernerco.com and click on "News, Events & Recalls" located at the top of the page, for more information. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Follow CDC's Tips to Avoid Lightning Injury

Follow CDC's Tips to Avoid Lightning Injury During 2017, Florida, Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas had the most lightning deaths. CDC notes that Florida is considered the "lightning capital" of the country, with more than 2,000 lightning injuries in the past 50 years. Jun 21, 2018 Summer brings thunderstorms, and with them, the chance of lightning strikes. CDC has posted tips to help people avoid being hurt by them. Starting with the premise that someone is playing tennis outside when he and his partner hear thunder, the agency asks, "What do you do? Keep playing until the thunder and lightning get closer? Go sit on the metal bench under the trees to see what happens? Or get in your car and drive home? Correct answer: If no substantial, non-concrete shelter is nearby, get in your car and wait out the storm. "Why? Because being outside when lightning is present is not something to take lightly—ever." The odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, but some factors can put people at greater risk: Lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities. Also, regional and seasonal differences can also affect someone's risk of being injured by lightning. During 2017, Florida, Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas had the most lightning deaths. CDC notes that Florida is considered the "lightning capital" of the country, with more than 2,000 lightning injuries in the past 50 years. "The consequences of lightning strikes are serious. Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. During 2004–2013, lightning caused an average of 33 deaths per year in the United States," it reports. To protect yourself, follow these precautions: Safety precautions outdoors: If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity. Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter. The main lightning safety guide is the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. If no shelter is available, crouch low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly more than 100 feet away. Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Although you should move into a non-concrete structure if possible, being indoors does not automatically protect you from lightning. In fact, about one-third of lightning strike injuries occur indoors. Safety precautions indoors: Avoid water during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through plumbing. Avoid electronic equipment of all types. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems. Avoid corded phones. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm. Avoid concrete floors and walls. Let's block ads! (Why?)

AMA Delegates Adopt Several Gun Safety Measures

AMA Delegates Adopt Several Gun Safety Measures "People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners, and at public gatherings, and it's important that lawmakers, policy leaders, and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis," said AMA Immediate Past President David O. Barbe, M.D., MHA. Jun 19, 2018 The American Medical Association House of Delegates adopted measures at the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting last week supporting gun violence restraining orders, tougher background checks, and better data collection, among other measures. The organization has been urging Congress and the administration to provide dedicated resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advance research on gun violence. "People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners, and at public gatherings, and it's important that lawmakers, policy leaders, and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis," said AMA Immediate Past President David O. Barbe, M.D., MHA. "In emergency rooms across the country, the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience. Every day, physicians are treating suicide victims, victims of domestic partner violence, and men and women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn't have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act." During the annual meeting, delegates adopted policy for the AMA to support: Establishing laws allowing family members, intimate partners, household members, and law enforcement personnel to petition a court for the removal of a firearm when there is a high or imminent risk for violence Prohibiting people who are under domestic violence restraining orders, convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, or stalking from possessing or purchasing firearms Expanding domestic violence restraining orders to include dating partners Requiring states to have protocols or processes in place for requiring the removal of firearms by prohibited people Requiring domestic violence restraining orders and gun violence restraining orders to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Efforts to ensure the public is aware of the existence of laws that allow for the removal of firearms from high-risk individuals The delegates also modified existing policy to recognize the role of firearms in suicides; encourage the development of curricula and training for physicians with a focus on suicide risk assessment and prevention and lethal means safety counseling; and encourage physicians, as a part of their suicide prevention strategy, to discuss lethal means safety and work with families to reduce access to lethal means of suicide. Newly adopted policy also means the AMA will advocate for schools to remain gun-free zones except for school-sanctioned activities and professional law enforcement officials and will oppose requirements or incentives for teachers to carry weapons. Let's block ads! (Why?)

NYC Department of Buildings Seeks 2019 Energy Code Advisory Committee Members

NYC Department of Buildings Seeks 2019 Energy Code Advisory Committee Members Applications from those seeking to be considered for 2019 Energy Code Advisory Committee membership must submit a completed application no later than June 21. Residential applications are especially needed, according to the department's posted announcement. Jun 19, 2018 New York City's Department of Buildings is seeking applicants from the construction, real estate, labor, architectural, and engineering communities, and other interested stakeholders, to serve on the 2019 Energy Code Advisory Committee. Applications from those seeking to be considered for committee membership must submit a completed application no later than June 21. Residential applications are especially needed, according to the department's posted announcement. The members will help develop and review amendments to the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) as part of the mandated three-year code revision cycle. Completed applications can be submitted by email to [email protected] or mailed to: New York City Department of Buildings, Energy Code Unit, Attn: Committee Selection, 280 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10007. Submission details can be found in Part F of the application. A background check will be performed by the NYC Department of Investigation for all applicants. Committee work assignments and appointments will be determined by the department and will be based on subject matter expertise. Once selected, committee members must comply with guidelines described in the 2018 Energy Code Revision Handbook. The committee's members must be experts in the subject matters regulated by the NYCECC, which is comprised of New York City local laws and the current Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State. According to the application, it is anticipated that the advisory committees will meet once a month for approximately three to four months. Let's block ads! (Why?)

SAMHSA Updates Toolkit to Help Prevent Opioid Deaths

SAMHSA Updates Toolkit to Help Prevent Opioid Deaths The toolkit recommends that naloxone be made available to first responders and others who might respond to a possible overdose. Jun 19, 2018 The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced June 11 that it has published an update to its Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit, which is designed to help health care providers, families, and other members of the community prevent opioid overdose deaths. The toolkit addresses several factors that can lead to an opioid overdose death, from intentional misuse to accidental over-medication, and recommends that health care providers follow guidelines from CDC when considering prescribing opioids. The toolkit also discusses when and how to use naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. In certain cases, health care providers may need to consider prescribing naloxone along with an opioid prescription, and the toolkit recommends that naloxone be made available to first responders and others who might respond to a possible overdose. The toolkit presents five strategies: Encourage health care providers, people at high risk for overdose, family members, and others to learn how to prevent and manage opioid overdoses. Ensure access to treatment for people who are misusing opioids or who have a substance use disorder. Ensure ready access to naloxone. Encourage people to call 911 in the event of a possible overdose. Encourage health care providers to use prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent over-prescribing of opioids. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Nominations Being Accepted for 2018 Governor's Lifesaving Awards in Washington State

Nominations Being Accepted for 2018 Governor's Lifesaving Awards in Washington State To be eligible, the life-saving incidents must have occurred during work hours and must have taken place between June 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018. The deadline for nominations is June 30. Jun 19, 2018 In Washington state, the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board presents awards to workplace heroes at its annual conference. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Governor's Lifesaving Awards. Nomination forms are available at www.gishab.org. "Many people spend nearly as much time at work as they do at home, so when a life-threatening emergency happens, it's often other workers who must provide critical, immediate aid. That quick action can be the difference between life or death," the state's Department of Labor & Industries noted in the announcement. "There are several workplace lifesavers in Washington every year; this is a chance to help them get the recognition they deserve for their heroic actions. Last year, Angela Salgado, an Olive Garden server, received the award for saving two customers from choking. John Gabelein, an elementary school teacher, was honored for administering CPR to a mother who collapsed while dropping off her child." To be eligible, the life-saving incidents must have occurred during work hours and must have taken place between June 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018. The deadline for nominations is June 30. All workers covered by the state workers' compensation system or by a self-insured employer are eligible. The nominee must have performed "hands-on" aid. For law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and other similar professions, the life-saving action must be above and beyond the call of duty. A humanitarian award is available for people who, despite their best efforts, were unable to save the victim's life. Award recipients will be featured guests at the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference on Sept. 26-27 at the Spokane Convention Center. The Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the department sponsor the event. Let's block ads! (Why?)