Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work

From the International Labour Organization Website:


Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work

This report for the 2014 celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work reviews the current situation regarding the use of chemicals and their impact in workplaces and the environment, including various national, regional, and international efforts to address them. The report also presents the elements for establishing national and enterprise level programmes that contribute to ensure the sound management of chemicals at work.

Type: Report
Date issued: 05 February 2014
Reference: 978-92-2-128315-7(print)[ISBN]
Chemicals are essential to modern life, and will continue to be produced and used in workplaces. The ILO acknowledges that for an appropriate balance between the benefits of chemical use, and the preventive and control measures of potential adverse impacts on workers, workplaces, communities and the environment the sound management of chemicals is necessary and can be achieved with concerted efforts by governments, employers, and workers and their organizations.

Revisions to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Back in April 2013 we posted the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries on this blog. Those statistics were, of course, preliminary statistics. Today, the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its’ revision.

You can access the document on the BLS website.

Among the changes resulting from the updates:

  • The total number of contractors fatally injured on the job in 2012 rose to 715 fatalities after updates were included. Contract workers accounted for over 15 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012. For more information, see the table on contractor data.
  • Roadway incidents were higher by 109 cases (or 10 percent) from the preliminary count, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2012 to 1,153 cases. The final 2012 total represented a 5-percent increase over the final 2011 count.
  • The number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic workers was higher by 40 fatalities after updates were added, bringing the total number of fatally injured Hispanic workers to 748. That total was about the same as the 2011 total (749), but the fatality rate for Hispanic workers declined to 3.7 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012, down from 4.0 in 2011.
  • Work-related suicides increased by 24 cases to a total of 249 after updates were added. Workplace homicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, raising the workplace homicide total in 2012 to 475 cases.
  • In the private transportation and warehousing sector, fatal injuries increased by 9 percent from the preliminary count, led by a net increase of 44 cases in the truck transportation sector.
  • A net increase of 31 fatal work injuries in the private construction sector led to a revised count of 806 for that sector. The 2012 total was an increase of 9 percent over the 2011 total and represented the first increase in fatal work injuries in private construction since 2006.
  • Overall, 36 States revised their counts upward as a result of the update process.


More Children Walking to School

A ray of hope in the midst of all the reports out there about the increase of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a myriad of other health problems plaguing Americans and their children. A new report published this week found a 14.05% increase from 2007 to 2012, in children walking to school rather than riding the bus or being driven.

There was a difference between the morning walk to school and the afternoon walk home as seen in the chart below:


This increase may seem somewhat insignificant but it’s a great start. Having just seen a video yesterday that said that the next generation is, for the first time in several centuries, expected to have a lifespan that is going to be 5 years shorter than ours because of the rise of nutrition based health problems (obesity, lack of exercise, diabetes, etc…) any move to get children (and adults, for that matter), moving and exercising is a great move.

Download the 2-page summary or the whole 43-page paper from


OROSHA Pesticide and PPE Guide

Spring is here! It’s time to get out and plant those flowers and vegetables!

It’s also time to spray pesticides if you aren’t going organic which means that you need to think about how to protect yourself.

Fortunately, Oregon OSHA has put together a fairly comprehensive document to help you select the right Personal Protective Equipment, including apparel, respiratory protection, gloves, etc…

Click on the image above in order to download the 4 page document from the OROSHA website.

Fall Protection isn’t just a leading edge issue

When we talk about fall protection we tend to automatically think in terms of leading edge. Workers working at heights have to be protected from getting too close to the edge of the roof or platform they are working on and/or protected from falling if they do.

Not all falls, however, have to do with leading edges. Often times the fall hazard isn’t simply the edge of the building. There are skylights, roof access, ventilation shafts and other openings that we need to be aware of as well.

New construction is especially vulnerable to these types of hazards. Holes are cut in the flooring for ducting and ventilation shafts; even small holes (for plumbing or electrical) too small for a body to fit through can be hazardous if they are large enough for a leg to fit into.

These holes and openings need to be properly protected against so that workers don’t fall through them.

There are several options:

1. Seal them completely so that they don’t pose a hazard. Skylights that have plexiglass unbreakable domes, for example don’t pose a hazard. If they can be left open, however, then you need to protect against them.

2. Barrier systems like the DBI / Sala Portable Guardrail System are easily installed, require no screws or bolting into the roof itself yet they make sure that workers won’t accidentally step through them.

3. Horizontal systems that won’t allow workers to accidentally get to that opening.

Whatever your solution, when employees are working at heights that require fall protection make sure you pay attention not only to the perimeter of the area but look at the interior of that perimeter to identify any and all fall issues you might otherwise miss.


FDA approves drug for allergies

According to a news release dated April 17th, the FDA has approves Ragwitek for treatment of pollen allergies to ragweed. According to the press release:

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Ragwitek, the first allergen extract administered under the tongue (sublingually) to treat short ragweed pollen induced allergic rhinitis (hay fever), with or without conjunctivitis (eye inflammation), in adults 18 years through 65 years of age.

Ragwitek contains an extract from short ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen. It is a tablet that is taken once daily by placing it sublingually, where it rapidly dissolves. Treatment with Ragwitek is started 12 weeks before the start of ragweed pollen season and continued throughout the season. The first dose is taken in a health care professional’s office where the patient is to be observed for at least 30 minutes for potential adverse reactions. After the first dose, patients can take Ragwitek at home.
“The approval of Ragwitek offers millions of adults living with ragweed pollen allergies in the United States an alternative to allergy shots to help manage their disease,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. 
Individuals with allergic rhinitis with or without conjunctivitis may experience a runny nose, repetitive sneezing, nasal itching, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Short ragweed pollen is one of the most common seasonal allergens and is prevalent during the late summer and early fall months in most of the United States. Short ragweed pollen induced allergies are generally managed by avoiding the allergen, medications to relieve symptoms, or with allergy shots. 
The safety and effectiveness of Ragwitek was evaluated in studies conducted in the United States and internationally. Safety was assessed in approximately 1,700 adults. The most commonly reported adverse reactions by patients treated with Ragwitek were itching in the mouth and ears and throat irritation. Of the 1,700 adults, about 760 were evaluated to determine effectiveness. Some patients received Ragwitek; others received an inactive substitute (placebo). The patients reported their symptoms and additional medications needed to get through the allergy season. During treatment for one ragweed pollen season, patients who received Ragwitek experienced approximately a 26 percent reduction in symptoms and the need for medications compared to those who received a placebo. 
The Prescribing Information includes a boxed warning to inform that severe allergic reactions, some of which can be life-threatening, can occur. Ragwitek also has a Medication Guide for distribution to the patient.

Ragwitek is manufactured for Merck, Sharp & Dohme Corp., (a subsidiary of Merck and Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J.) by Catalent Pharma Solutions Limited, United Kingdom.”

Teen Dating Violence

There is nothing like your daughter’s first prom to get a father started down a long road of worrying about her as she starts dating. As much as we’ll like to believe that the young man who’s going to be taking her out has been properly raised and will treat our daughter with the respect she deserves and keep her safe, the simple fact is that we just can’t be sure.

Because of this it’s important not only to educate yourself but also to sit down with your daughter and teach her what to watch out for and when to leave.

Fortunately the CDC website has put together material that you can read, share and download.

Simply go to

Especially useful is the PDF that you can download entitled “Understanding Teen Dating Violence

Have the talk with your son or daughter now. It might make all the difference later.