A Message from the CEO

24. July 2014

Julius Griggs, CEO

Hello and welcome back.

There is some great summer info below so be sure you check it out.

Also, our Safety Matters Weekly Blog is starting to gain momentum and we have even had a few requests for specific topics.

To learn more, let Seymour Safety tell you all about it.

Finally, be sure to check out a new service page for OSHA Consulting.

Be safe and keep having a great summer.

Sincerely,

 Julius P Griggs

Julius P. Griggs

President and CEO

Safety Unlimited, Inc.

A Message from the CEO , , ,

Boat Safety

23. July 2014

With summer in full swing, boating can be very fun and enjoyable, sometimes catching some amazing views and sights that you wouldn’t normally see from the land, but on the other hand, it can also be very dangerous and hard work.

Each year hundreds of lives are lost... thousands are injured... and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways. Too often, pleasure outings turn tragic. You — as a boat operator, passenger, or concerned individual — can make a difference.

The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of over 80 percent of boating fatality victims. As a boat operator, you're in command of the safety of your passengers. But accidents can, and do, happen with terrifying speed on the water. There's rarely time to reach stowed life jackets. The U.S. Coast Guard strongly urges boat operators and their passengers to wear their life jacket all the time while underway.

You should carry the correct safety equipment for boating; take the right, needed safety boat equipment; and wear the right sea clothing for the day and weather. You should make a boating checklist so that you can never forget any marine safety items.

Service your equipment, making sure it's in the best possible shape for the next boating season, and that the equipment matches the type of boat and boating habits you intend using. Operator errors account for 70% of boating accidents — take a course.

Educate yourself about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning - a potentially lethal boating danger.

Be weather-wise – there will be times when you will need to either exit or enter a port in rough and challenging conditions. Learning how rough weather affects the various harbors and entrances throughout your local area is necessary to operate safely. 

Finally, remember, BE SAFE* - KNOW YOUR...

Boat

Equipment

Safety devices and PFDs

Alcohol limits

First aid and emergency procedures

Environment (area and weather)

...BEFORE YOU GO!

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Worker Safety for Young Workers

18. July 2014

We've come a long way in providing rights and job safety for workers, particularly young workers, in the United States. The Federal government's Fair Labor Standards Act restricts employment of children under 12 years old (for non-agricultural jobs), restricts hours and occupations for children between 12 and 16, and permits children between 16 and 18 to be employed for unlimited hours in non-hazardous occupations.

However, even with restrictions on the locations and hours young workers can be on the job, hazards still exist. In order to avoid injury or illness on the job site, young workers need to be aware of their existence.

OSHA's obligation to young workers in the workplace is no different than that to adults. By comparison, there are more restrictions on young workers. As part of their effort to increase youth awareness of workplace hazards and their worker rights, OSHA and the Department of Labor have developed a help page dedicated specifically to the rights of the youth worker. Among these rights is a right to a safe workplace, but youths have to be aware of the hazards posed by the workplace in order to avoid them.

Of course, hazards vary from job to job. You might encounter sharp objects or hot equipment at a fast-food restaurant or slippery floors when performing janitorial work. OSHA considered this, and provides a list of potential hazards youth workers might encounter as part of their job, depending on the workplace. Not only does OSHA provide potential hazards, they also offer methods of how to avoid them.

It is the employer's responsibility to do their utmost to provide a safe workplace and apprise workers of any existing hazards. With that in mind, if you feel hazards remain at your workplace, you can contact OSHA for answers to your questions or to request an inspection by calling 1.800.321.6742 or 1.887.889.5627. You can also submit questions online or file a confidential complaint.

Remember, a safe and healthful workplace is the right of all employees, young or old. While it is up to your employer to identify hazards and attempt to mitigate them, it is likewise important for you to be able to identify any potential hazards that may pose a threat and bring them to the attention of your employer. Doing so will not only keep you safe, but your fellow employees as well.

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Lead Awareness and Safety Tips

17. July 2014

Lead poisoning was among the first known and most widely studied illnesses related to environmental hazards.

Due to reductions of lead in products and the workplace, acute lead poisoning is rare in most countries today, but low level lead exposure is still common. 

Lead is a highly poisonous metal (inhaled or swallowed), affecting almost every organ and system in the body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. Long-term exposure in adults can result in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system.

In the past, maintenance activities such as sanding, scraping, and welding were considered fairly non-hazardous and routine. It is now known that if lead is present on or in the surfaces being disturbed, persons performing the work, as well as occupants of the areas where the work is performed, may be exposed to lead. Lead is particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders.

In general, the older the home, the more likely lead paint was used on and in it. This is especially true for homes built prior to 1950, but lead-based paints were widely used up to the time they were banned for residential purposes in 1978. However, the presence of lead paint does not necessarily mean that it presents a hazard.

In adults, symptoms of lead poisoning include:

  • Headaches;
  • Memory and concentration problems;
  • Abdominal pain; and
  • High blood pressure.

In children, these are some of the more common signs and symptoms, among others:

  • Loss of appetite;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Vomiting; and
  • Weight loss.

A blood test is the only way to find out whether you or a family member already has lead poisoning. Call your doctor or local health department to arrange for a blood test. You can protect your family every day by:

  • Regularly cleaning floors, window sills, and other surfaces;
  • Washing children's hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often;
  • Making sure children eat a healthy, nutritious diet consistent with the USDA's dietary guidelines; and
  • Wiping off shoes before entering the house.  

Lead in Drinking Water

Flush your pipes before drinking, and only use cold water for consumption. The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain. Anytime the water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, "flush" your cold-water pipes by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get.

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UV Safety

15. July 2014

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found in the United States? The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes and cause skin blotches and wrinkles.

July is UV Safety Month and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is urging communities, health professionals, and families to use the month to raise awareness of strategies for preventing skin cancer.

The best strategies for prevention are simple: Limit your time in the sun and wear sunscreen. To limit your exposure to UV rays, stay in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and cover up with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses. When using sunscreen, use SPF 15 or higher and use one with both UVA and UVB protection. Sunscreen should be worn even on cloudy days since clouds do not prevent exposure to UV rays. Put your sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside, use enough to provide full coverage, and apply to your lips, ears, hands, feet, and the back your neck as well as the more obvious areas where you might burn. Reapply it every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.

In addition to these strategies for protecting your skin, protecting your eyes from UV rays is important. When buying sunglasses, look for ones that block out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation.

To learn more about skin cancer, skin cancer prevention, and resources available for UV Safety Month, check out the many useful links on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services healthfinder.gov website.

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A Message from the CEO

1. July 2014

Julius Griggs, CEO

Hello and welcome back.

I hope your summer is going well and that you are staying cool.

We have some great information this month, so enjoy.

Thank you for reading and see you next month.

Oh, by the way, our new OSHA 24 Hour HAZMAT Technician online class is getting great feedback.

Sincerely,

 Julius P Griggs

Julius P. Griggs

President and CEO

Safety Unlimited, Inc.

 

A Message from the CEO ,

Commercial Diving Safety

18. June 2014

Nearly 10,000 workers employed as commercial divers, government divers, and sea harvesters face an exceptionally high risk of death and serious physical harm on the job. An average of 6 to 13 diving-related fatalities occur each year, corresponding to a risk of between 28 and 50 deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime of 45 years.

Commercial diving hazards are addressed in specific standards by OSHA for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and the construction industry.

Professional divers consist of a diverse group of individuals and companies involved in a wide range of activities. For example, commercial diving operations include:

  • Off-shore oil rig and pipeline maintenance and repair;
  • Salvage operations;
  • Bridge and pier construction, inspection and repair;
  • Power plant intake and discharge construction, inspection, and repair;
  • Ship and barge inspection and repair;
  • Dam construction, inspection, and repair;
  • Scientific study;
  • Emergency response, investigation, and recovery operations; and
  • Seafood harvesting and underwater agriculture.

The Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE) was established in 1979 to provide lines of communication between industry, schools, and programs which offer commercial diver training. ACDE, Inc. is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The ANSI/ACDE Standard has been revised and approved by ANSI in 2009. The aim of the Standard is to:

  • Improve the quality of training, both theoretical and practical application, for entrants to commercial diving;
  • Reduce the risk of diving accidents attributable to inadequate training;
  • Establish consistent minimum training requirements to ensure continuity of training with the ACDE; and
  • Require that graduates be qualified and competent to dive and perform underwater work assignments before receiving a certificate.

HAZMAT diving is widely regarded as the most dangerous branch of the commercial diving industry, employing highly skilled and experienced staff.

Typical work involves diving into raw sewage or dangerous chemicals, such as paper pulp, liquid cement, or oil sludge. This causes special requirements:

  • The divers need to be vaccinated against diseases such as hepatitis and tetanus;
  • The dive company needs to have specialist plans in place for decontamination of the diver and equipment after a dive;
  • There needs to be a way to recover the diver if something goes wrong; and
  • The diver's weighting may need to be adjusted, if he is diving in a liquid whose density is much different from the density of water.

Firefighters who participate in dive training risk lung damage, illness, or drowning. NIOSH investigated fatalities that have occurred during these training exercises and developed recommendations to decrease these risks.

Commercial diving safety meets several of the criteria for designation as an OSHA priority. Although this industry employs only a small number of workers, the risks of fatal injury are extremely high and there are known protective measures which could save lives.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics

16. June 2014

For over 100 years, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has compiled information about employment and labor, such as employment and unemployment figures, productivity, pay and benefits, and, more pertinent to our needs, details on workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities (IIF). The efforts on the part of the BLS have allowed employers and legislators to pinpoint areas where safety issues need to be addressed.

The BLS was originally established in June of 1884 as the Bureau of Labor and was eventually transferred to the Department of Labor (DOL) in 1913, where it currently resides alongside other familiar safety agencies, including OSHA and MSHA.

The BLS constantly compiles and categorizes all work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. They not only keep a general tally, they also subdivide injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by occupation and type of safety issue.

In addition to providing data on IIFs, the BLS has developed a number of tools to help employers calculate the potential costs of IIFs versus the cost of hazard correction--it's always to the benefit of employers to correct hazards than deal with the lawsuits, insurance, and large volume of other hidden costs of workplace IIFs.

One of the many benefits of the BLSs' efforts is the ability to track progress in terms of dealing with IIFs. By checking IIF trends with relation to the occupations that suffer them, it's easy to see where regulations and efforts to improve safety are having an effect, as well as areas of concern that need to be addressed. For example, the Focus Four Hazards in Construction (Fall, Electrocution, Caught-in or -between, and Struck-by hazards) have been identified as the most common cause of IIF on construction sites. As a result employers are able to make a concerted effort to train workers in hazard awareness and safety methods to avoid situations that could result in an IIF. On the whole, this type of injury is trending down (total injuries have risen as the construction industry has recovered, but the ratio continues to fall).

The century-long efforts of the BLS to document material of interest to workers have helped immeasurably in the effort to improve worker safety, among other things. In another 100 years, perhaps IIFs will be a thing of the past. In the meantime the BLS will continue to help us identify where we can get better.

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June is National Safety Month

16. June 2014

Established in 1996 by the National Safety Council (NSC), National Safety Month occurs every year in June.

National Safety Month is intended to increase awareness of the leading safety and health risks, and ultimately decrease the number of unintentional injuries and deaths. Each year the NSC decides on a specific safety topic for each of the weeks in the month. Each week has the same safety theme every year, though the specific topics vary. The safety themes are home, workplace, community, and traffic. This year there are 5 weeks in June, allowing the creation of a Bonus Week.

The topics for the National Safety Month in 2014 are:

Week 1: Prevention of prescription drug abuse

Week 2: Stop slips, trips, and falls

Week 3: Be aware of your surroundings

Week 4: Put an end to distracted driving

Bonus week 5: Summer safety

You can sign up to receive National Safety Month materials from the NSC. These materials include one-sheets and other informative safety materials that address the topics for this year's National Safety Month.

For the full curriculum of events the NSC has planned for 2014, see their Safety Calendar, complete with links to all the events scheduled for this year.

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Motor Vehicle Safety on the Job

16. June 2014

Did you know that motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 36 percent of occupational fatalities are associated in some way with motor vehicles.

Over the eight year period ending in 2010, 1,275 workers died each year from crashes on public highways, 311 in crashes that occurred off the highway or on industrial premises, and 338 pedestrians died annually as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle driven by someone on the job.

Motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of work-related fatalities among young people (ages 16-24) in the United States.

In addition to the human costs, motor vehicle crashes have economic costs. The cost to employers of on and off the job motor vehicles crashes has been estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be nearly 60 billion dollars annually, a fatality on the job costing employers over $500,000 and a non-fatal injury accident nearly $75,000.

Risk of work-related crashes cuts across all industries and occupations. Though workers who drive on the job may be professional drivers whose primary job it is to transport freight or passengers, many other workers spend a significant part of their workday driving a vehicle owned or leased by their employer or their own vehicle on work-related business. Companies and drivers that operate large trucks and buses are covered by comprehensive safety regulations, but there are no Federal occupation safety regulations that cover the workers who use smaller, employer-provided vehicles or personal vehicles.

So, for all workers who drive on the job, employer safety policies are a critical factor in the reduction of crash risks. Employer policies may be limited to supporting and reinforcing state traffic laws. However, many employers choose to manage risk more proactively through programs and policies to promote safe driving behaviors, ensure that work-related driving takes place under the safest possible conditions, and ensure that worker vehicles are safe and properly maintained. For employers who choose to manage driving risk more proactively, The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) has published its Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety that provides a great starting point for companies large and small for implementing a road safety program.

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