Category Archives: Uncategorized

Personal Protective Equipment for a Diverse Workforce Fits the Times

Personal Protective Equipment for a Diverse Workforce Fits the Times When I read in March that the first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station was postponed, the reason behind the delay was all too familiar: not enough appropriately sized personal protective equipment. In other words, there were not enough spacesuits on the craft appropriate for the women astronauts. I've worked in occupational health and safety (OHS) for two decades and now serve as the global champion for OHS at BSI, the international business improvement company. Of all the regulatory and technical guidance I've given over the years, advising on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for an increasingly diverse workforce has been a constant. Despite some inroads, fulfillment of this important step for keeping staff safe and healthy remains poor. Not Just Small MenAs the female NASA astronauts and their minders back on Earth learned, simply supplying something sized for the average man does not address the needs of a more diverse workforce. Anthropometric data used for years to create measurements for both men and women around the world is old and doesn't fully reflect modern body frames. But it does show quite clearly that fitting a woman isn't the same as creating safety gear for a small man. Women's feet aren't just smaller, they are also generally narrower, so a small-sized male safety boot is unlikely to fit a woman. The same is true of safety gloves—a man's usually will have a palm area too big and fingers too long and wide. In the end, ill-fitting equipment can increase safety risks and actually cause physical, and even mental, health problems, as well as reduced compliance by the wearers. And this issue of the spacesuit is not a new one; it's been around for some time; Canadian Astronaut Roberta Bondar recently discussed issues she faced in 1992 as part of a space mission. Male-driven, By DesignHealth and safety is an industry that has traditionally been a predominantly male demographic, although this is changing. Because many of the experts who develop the standards for PPE are homogenous, there can be a lack of diversity on the committees that write the regulations. This has an unintended consequence; the standards with which PPE manufacturers have to comply often restrict the ability to make safety equipment suitable for women, people of different body types and sizes, or those of different ethnic backgrounds. Yet more women, people with mobility restrictions, aging workers, and expanding ethnic diversity in the workplace mean that organizations will have to respond to these changes. Market-driven Changes AfootHistorically, there was little to no money to be made in selling PPE for a diverse minority of the workforce with the exception being industries where women are predominant or more evenly represented, such as health care or equine work. But the big challenge still arises in sectors where women are underrepresented. In these jobs, women are either limited to a single PPE supplier or are forced to extremes such as covering the costs of suitable PPE themselves or switching jobs when faced with biological changes such as pregnancy or menopause. And poorly fitting PPE, in addition to being a potential safety risk, can be a source of bullying and harassment. Breathing New Life Into StandardsOne good example of PPE adapting to evolving workplace diversity can be found in the area of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE). Because there is a critical need for these safety products to fit the user properly, a large project was launched by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to produce a set of standards that reflect current research on face shapes by race and gender. Another common type of PPE that can be challenging for some wearers is the body armor worn by police officers; these shields come in set torso lengths and take a uniform approach to the panels for women's breasts. Interestingly, the ISO project's standard for RPE now specifies an increase in the number of test subjects, up from the norm of 10 people for most European standards to 25 to provide greater representation of human diversity. Another aspect being taken into account in the new standard is any testing of RPE must consider different breathing patterns while performing various physical tasks. At BSI, where we serve as the U.K. National Standards Body as well as international business improvement partner, we have a project to identify all standards that need to have a "personal" aspect. This includes not only gender and cultural diversity, but also religious, disability, medical, and other forms of body differences, such as amputees. Workforce participation and consultation have been found to remove obstacles, such as discrimination and embarrassment, that stand in the way of diversely designed PPE. A new global standard on health and safety management, ISO 45001, empowers the workforce to come up with effective solutions for PPE challenges. The standard requires organizations to consider human factors such as how work is performed, the needs and capability of the worker, and the culture of the organization. As a result, a "one-size-fits-all" approach under ISO 45001 becomes inconsistent with good occupational health and safety practices. In conclusion, an increasingly diverse workforce means not pressuring workers to conform to a single norm for anything, from PPE needs to risk perception to communication style, but rather establishing diversity as the norm. Organizations that want to retain the best workers and ensure worker health and safety will be drivers in the development of a wider selection of PPE. I am hopeful for a near future where a woman's ability to conduct a spacewalk won't be held back by the equipment available. Kate Field, CMIOSH, acts as expert and ambassador on OHS supporting the delivery of excellence and expertise across the 193 countries the British Standards Institution (BSI) operates in. With a health and safety career spanning two decades, she has authored regulatory and technical guidance, written articles for a range of publications, and is a successful global, keynote speaker and presenter. Posted on Jun 18, 2019 Let's block ads! (Why?)

Can You Dig It? The Basics of Trenching Safety

Can You Dig It? The Basics of Trenching Safety Excavations and trenches have become so commonplace on work sites that some employers and employees have developed a sense of complacency with some of the most basic requirements of excavation safety. To counter this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated a National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation on Oct. 1, 2018, to increase OSHA's education and enforcement efforts regarding trenching and excavation operations. Under this NEP, OSHA compliance officers can inspect trenching operations whenever they observe an open trench or excavation, regardless of whether there is a violation. OSHA's excavation standard[1] contains the requirements for excavation and trenching operations. The standard applies to all open excavations, including trenches. An excavation is any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the Earth's surface formed by earth removal, and a trench is a narrow excavation made below the surface of the ground. Trenching and excavation work continues to be hazardous. With an increased risk of deaths and serious injuries resulting from trenching and excavation incidents, a review of OSHA's trenching and excavation requirements can be useful. OSHA Believes There is a Potential for Collapse in Virtually All ExcavationsWhile cave-ins pose the greatest risk in any trenching or excavation operation, there are other hazards associated with these projects, including falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and hazards from mobile equipment, and are the focus of OSHA's excavation standard. Under the standard, there are several tasks that must be performed by a competent person, such as classifying soil, inspecting protective systems, designing structural ramps, monitoring water removal equipment, and conducting site inspections. OSHA's standards define a competent person as an individual designated by the employer who can identify existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to workers and who is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. OSHA Has Requirements to Prevent Cave-insOSHA's excavation standard contains several requirements regarding sloping and benching the sides of an excavation, supporting the sides of the excavation, or placing a shield between the side of the excavation and the work area to prevent cave-ins. Sloping the sides of the excavation to an angle not steeper than one-and-a-half by one means for every foot of depth, the trench must slope back one-and-a-half feet. Designing a protective system requires consideration of many factors, including soil classification, depth of cut, water content of soil, weather and climate, and other operations in the area; it typically involves using a trench box or shield approved by a registered professional engineer. The standard also requires support systems for structures adjacent to an excavation, such as buildings, walls, sidewalks, and pavements, so they remain stable. Any protective systems used must be maintained free from damage and safety defects. However, the excavation standard does not require a protective system when an excavation is made entirely in stable rock or when an excavation is less than 5 feet deep and a competent person has examined the ground and found no indication of potential cave-in. Protect Workers from Loose Material Rolling Into an ExcavationThe excavation standard also requires protecting employees working within an excavation or trench. Employers must prevent employees from working on the slopes of the excavations above workers within the excavation. Employers also must prohibit employees in the trench from working under suspended loads and must keep materials and equipment at least 2 feet from the edge of the excavation. Prevent Water from Accumulating in an ExcavationWater can undermine the sides of an excavation and contribute to or cause a trench collapse. OSHA's excavation standard requires the use of a pump to remove water or control water accumulations. In addition, a competent person must monitor any water removal equipment. Drainage from the excavation must be maintained, and employers can use diversion ditches or dikes to prevent surface water from entering the excavation. A competent person should inspect excavations after heavy rains. Test Hazardous Atmospheres Inside ExcavationsAtmospheric testing is required in excavations deeper than 4 feet where oxygen deficiencies or hazardous atmospheres are present or could reasonably be expected. The excavation standards require employers to prevent employee exposure by using proper ventilation and respiratory protection. If there are hazardous atmospheres present in an excavation, emergency rescue equipment, breathing apparatus, and a safety harness and line must be used. In some instances, there could be a confined space or permit-required confined spaces in an excavation. Follow Access and Egress StandardsOSHA's excavation standard requires ladders, steps, ramps, or other safe means of egress for workers working in a trench deeper than 4 feet, and they must be located 25 feet or less from workers in the excavation. Any access or egress must be designed by a competent person. Conduct Site InspectionsThe excavation standard requires competent persons to examine excavations, adjacent areas, and protective systems. These examinations should be conducted daily and prior to starting work and as work is performed, if conditions change. ConclusionOSHA's excavation and trenching standard can be found on its website, as can a number of memorandums and notices regarding excavation and trenching safety. Christopher Peterson is an attorney with the labor and employment law firm Fisher Phillips. [1] 29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart P Posted on Jun 18, 2019 Let's block ads! (Why?)

FDA Cites Poor Manufacturing Processes in Supplements Seizure

FDA Cites Poor Manufacturing Processes in Supplements Seizure "This seizure underscores the agency's commitment to taking aggressive action when manufacturers distribute adulterated dietary supplements that have the potential to put consumers at risk," said Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA's associate commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. Jun 18, 2019 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced that at its request, U.S. marshals seized more than 300,000 containers of dietary supplements, including tablets, capsules, and teas, from Life Rising Corporation. The seized goods, which were held by Life Rising or manufactured in the company's facility in Willowbrook, Ill., consisted of more than 500 products bearing brand names Life Rising, Holicare, or HopeStream and are valued at approximately $3.5 million. The U.S. district court for the Northern District of Illinois determined there was probable cause that the company prepared, packed, and/or held dietary supplements under conditions that do not conform to the dietary supplement current good manufacturing practice requirements, FDA reported. "This seizure underscores the agency's commitment to taking aggressive action when manufacturers distribute adulterated dietary supplements that have the potential to put consumers at risk," said Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA's associate commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. "The FDA has a variety of enforcement tools at its disposal, and when products don't comply with FDA regulations, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action." The agency reported that its inspection at Life Rising found that the company failed to establish product specifications for the identity, purity, strength, and composition of each finished batch of dietary supplement and for limits on certain types of contamination, to ensure the quality of the supplement. The company also lacked written procedures for pest control and for maintaining, cleaning, and sanitizing equipment and/or surfaces that came in contact with the dietary supplements, among other violations, FDA reported. Based on these CGMP violations, FDA issued an Administrative Detention Order to prevent the products from reaching consumers until they could be seized. In May 2019, FDA also issued a safety alert for three Life Rising products (Life Rising Holder-W Holder Warmer capsules, Life Rising NECK-ND Neck Clear capsules, and HoliCare Metabolism Cleansing tablets) because those products may be contaminated with lead. These products were recalled by the company on May 2, a day before the safety alert was issued. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Η άχρηστη πληροφορία της ημέρας

Η αίτηση πρόσληψης του αστροναύτη Νιλ Άρμστρονγκ έφτασε μια βδομάδα μετά τη λήξη προθεσμίας υποβολής της αίτησης. Ένας φίλος του όμως κατόρθωσε και έβαλε την αίτηση μέσα στις υπόλοιπες δίχως να μαθευτεί! ΚΑΝΤΕ LIKE ΣΤΟ NEWSBEAST.GR Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Power of Continuous Learning: How to Build Safe Habits That Last

The Power of Continuous Learning: How to Build Safe Habits That Last Continuous learning is the key to driving sustained injury prevention and building a strong and engaged culture. And even in the summer months, when many people go on vacation or take time to slow down and relax, it's important to keep learning new skills, and keep existing skills sharp. Commonly cited research by NASA states that it takes 30 days to create a new habit and just as long to lose one. Top-performing athletes train this way all the time. The greatest hitters in the big leagues regularly take batting practice to perfect their swing so that when the lights are on, they can go out on the field and make it look effortless. They have to use their bodies correctly all the time, every time, if they're going to win. The good news for those who are not professional athletes, such as truck drivers and other frontline workers, is that continuous learning doesn't have to be a massive time commitment. Here is a proven strategy for achieving significant safety training results with minimal impact on a company’s operations. MicrolearningMicrolearning—or learning in short, consistent "chunks"—establishes everyday habits without taking an individual off the floor or away from the task at hand. Utilizing microlearning methods in safety training minimizes inefficiency that often occurs when training employees, while still delivering high-quality training in the form of short, consistent learning touchpoints. Over time, the combination of microlearning and consistent practice opportunities ensures that when it's time for an individual to perform a job function—such as lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying—he or she can do it properly and without getting injured. Participatory LearningWhen it comes to retaining learned information, you can't simply watch a video or listen to a lecture in a classroom. It's been proven that more active, participatory learning, whether it's through group practice or teaching others, is the most effective way to retain information. Participatory learning methods in which learners are engaged and actively participating achieve an average learning retention rate of 75-90 percent, according to the National Training Laboratories. Comparatively, learning through passive methods such as audio-visual or live demonstration results in an average learning retention rate of only 20-30 percent. This means that when training members of your organization to avoid injuries, group discussion, group practice, and teaching one another are the best ways to ensure that your team members are maximizing their learning and avoiding injury. Developing a Common LexiconEmbedding safety training into the everyday lives of individuals is an effective way to sustain injury prevention and makes teams more safety aware overall. By participating in a shared learning program, employees start to communicate more effectively with one another and feel a sense of empowerment and belonging. Developing this strong affinity and safety culture not only improves productivity by keeping workers safe on the job, but also enables them to live stronger, pain-free lives outside of the workplace. When individuals work in distributed, labor-intensive industries, such as trucking, developing a common lexicon and strong safety culture becomes especially important for their well-being. Having this shared lexicon of safety terms allows truck drivers working at the same company to speak the same language and share their tips about best practices for staying injury free. By applying these concepts as part of an integrated program for Hub Group Trucking, we were able to build a strong safety culture that resulted in a significant reduction in lost-time injuries and increased driver retention. Even during the summer months, it's important to remember that learning never stops. Consistent learning is the key to meaningful, lasting change, and the lessons that workers learn and retain will translate into fewer injuries and a better quality of life. John Leo Post is the co-founder and chief product officer for Worklete, a technology platform that reduces musculoskeletal injuries by 55 percent on average. A renowned movement expert, he has coached with some of the top minds in athletic training, human movement, and behavioral psychology, including gold medalists, CrossFit champions, and professional athletes. He is driven by the mission to make quality movement accessible to all and empower humans to live pain-free lives. Posted on Jun 17, 2019 Let's block ads! (Why?)

How National COSH Picks the Dirty Dozen: “We Listen to Workers”

By Jessica Martinez and Marcy Goldstein-Gelb Ina recent post about National COSH’s“Dirty Dozen” report on unsafe employers, editor Dave Blanchard says it’s a “head scratcher” that a company like Facebook made the list. Was the tech giant, he wonders, “chosen for its ‘name recognition’ more so than for its actual unsafe working conditions?” Our method for selecting the Dirty Dozen is consistent with our approach to advocating for safer workplaces. We listen to workers and confirm what they have to say with trustworthy sources of information. We named Facebook, as well as its contracting partners Accenture, Cognizant, ProUnlimited and Tech Solutions, because of multiple,crediblereports abouthazards faced by workers who spend hours each day moderating offensive content, including beheadings, child pornography and other disturbing images. “I don’t think it’s possible to do the job,” said one former moderator “and not come out of it with some acute stress disorder or PTSD.” Mental health illnesses are real and widespread and cannot be effectively addressed by OSH professionals if they are minimized or stigmatized. It’s true, as EHS Today points out, that such illnesses—and many other workplace injuries—may not “meet the threshold of OSHA violations.” That doesn’t mean they are not serious safety issues deserving attention and remediation. OSHA standards, inspections and enforcement are a useful tool for workers and employers who seek to make workplaces as safe as possible. But action by OSHA or state safety agencies is not the only tool available. For various reasons—including lack of resources, the use of third-party contracting, the slow process of creating new safety standards, and under-reporting due to a justifiable fear of employer retaliation—most severe, preventable workplace hazards may never come to the attention of government regulators. Highlighting on-the-job dangers that might otherwise be ignored is one of the reasons we publish the Dirty Dozen report in the first place. Mr. Blanchard is also curious about why XPO Logistics is on this year’s list, since the company “has also been named to various ‘best employers’ and ‘best places to work’ lists.” We’re not familiar with the criteria used for these rankings. We do know, as documented by aNew York Times investigation, that six workers at an XPO facility in Memphis, TN, suffered miscarriages after hours of heavy lifting on the job with little or no accommodations for their pregnancies. Four workers also told the Times that after a co-worker collapsed and died at the warehouse from a cardiac arrest, “[m]anagers told workers to keep moving boxes as her body lay on the floor.” In our view, the loss of six pregnancies and callous behavior after the loss of a worker’s life signal a dangerous workplace, regardless of any other recognition XPO might have received. Prior to the closing of the warehouse, XPO workers had been addressing safety problems by attempting to organize a union. Mr. Blanchard suspects that’s the real reason XPO is on the Dirty Dozen and suggests that the real title of our report should be “Big-Name Organizations that Have Resisted Union-Organizing Efforts and Have Some Workplace Safety Issues.” Aside from being a bit long, that title just doesn’t fit. There is no organizing activity we are aware of at eight of the twelve companies on this year’s Dirty Dozen. (They’re not all big names, either.) The headline of EHS Today’s post asks: “Do Unions Make Workplaces Safer?” but the question is never answered in the body of the piece. We do answer it in our report, citing a study by Prof. Alison Morantz of Stanford University who finds that in the mining industry, “unionization predicts a substantial and significant decline in traumatic injuries and fatalities.” We also cite a paper by research scientist Roland Zullo from the University of Michigan, who finds “higher levels of unionization equate with lower fatality rates” in the construction industry. Whatever your perspective on unionization, we hope all can agree that workplace safety is about much more than statistics or awards or lists. It’s about women and men and their families. In 2017, we namedFuyao Glass in Dayton, Ohio, as a Dirty Dozen company. The firm was nominated by workers who were in the process of a union organizing drive—the precise scenario which invites skepticism from EHS Today. Fuyao was cited by OSHA in 2017 for repeat and serious safety violations, failing to provide workers with safety equipment and exposing them to risks of laceration and amputation. In 2018,a forklift operator named Ricky Paterson was crushed to death by a ton of glass at the same Fuyao facility. If the company had remedied the safety issues first raised by workers, then investigated by OSHA, and finally highlighted in our report, Mr. Paterson might be alive today. We stand by our Dirty Dozen report, and we stand by our methods. Direct worker testimony about actual working conditions is the most important source of reliable information for the professional safety and health community. Taking these concerns seriously will save lives. Jessica Martinez and Marcy Goldstein-Gelb are co-executive directors of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), an organization dedicated to promoting safe and healthy working conditions for all working people through organizing and advocacy. Let's block ads! (Why?)

The 12 Most Dangerous Companies of 2019

A look at the "Dirty Dozen" companies who do a better job at PR than at protecting their workers and their communities. Time again to look at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s (National COSH) annual list of the 12 companies—a so-called “Dirty Dozen”—they deem to be the absolute worst when it comes to putting their employees in harm's way, due to unsafe practices. First, the disclaimer: National COSH is an advocacy group whose aims include establishing and strengthening unions. And many of the companies on this list have resisted efforts by organized labor to unionize their workforces (see "Do Unions Make the Workplace Safer?"). Even so, these companies made the list for activities that are truly egregious, though there doesn’t seem to be a consistent set of metrics used to weigh the infractions of, say, a small construction company where a fatality occurred versus a social media platform that requires its workers to look at grisly videos throughout the day. EHS Today invited National COSH to explain exactly how the Dirty Dozen are chosen, which you can read in their commentary: How National COSH Picks the Dirty Dozen: "We Listen to Workers.” The good news, according to National COSH data, is that workplace fatalities in the U.S. are on the decline. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there were 5,147 deaths from workplace trauma in 2017, a drop of 0.8% from 2016, so not exactly a huge improvement. The bad news is that the overall trend shows that workplace deaths are up by 11% since 2012. “We can make our workplace safer, if we listen to workers and take action to reduce hazards on the job,” says Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH. “There is no reason to tolerate irresponsible behavior by employers who fail to provide a safe workplace—and force workers and families to pay the price.” The following slides examine why these 12 companies appear on the 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list. And if you'd like to see the previous year's list, click on the following link: The 12 Most Dangeours Companies of 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

June 2019 Safety Product Innovations

View the latest products from EHS Today's June 2019 issue. EHS Today's print edition highlights the latest personal protective equipment, software and safety products ranging from footwear to training. Our June 2019 issue features innovations from Alfa Laval, AutomationDirect, Ergodyne, Honeywell, Pure Safety Group and SICK USA. To view product descriptions and photos, use the arrows to move back and forth through the slideshow. Let's block ads! (Why?)