April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

From the National Safety Council website…

“Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. New technology allows us to make phone calls, dictate texts or emails and update social media while driving – all actions that are proven to increase crash risk. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic. NSC wants empower you to put safety first and Take Back Your Drive.

NSC makes it easy to spread the message about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Share these free posters, tip sheets, infographics and webinars on social media, your web page or via email. Please help us get the word out.”

Take the Focused Driver Challenge and pledge to drive cell free. You can pledge to your children or other loved ones that you will be an attentive driver. Share your pledge on social media if you’d like.

 



OSHA Announces Final Rule for Silica Dust

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Almost two and a half million people are exposed to silica dust during the course of their daily work. Silica dust is found in concrete and stone. Any job that creates concrete or stone dust (drilling, sawing, crushing, etc…) releases that dust which can than be inhale. Most often engineering can control that dust, mostly through the use of water. Silica dust, however, is so harmful that controlling the dust simply isn’t enough. OSHA recently made some changes to the silica dust standard.

The new standard:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to control silica dust through engineering controls (water to keep the dust from getting in the air and using ventilation to remove what little dust remain).
  • Requires employers to provide respiratory protection when the PEL is going to be over 50 micrograms and well as to keep employees from areas where the exposure might be higher than the PEL
  • It also requires employers to provide proper training and medical testing for employees who might have had high exposures.

It also allows a new timeline for employers to comply with this new standard, especially the fracking industry which faces a daunting task in order to comply.



Working Safely with Scissor Lifts

OSHA has released a new safety hazard alert related to working safely with scissor lifts:

Scissor lifts provide a safe and reliable platform for workers to perform job tasks when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When not used properly, scissor lifts can present a serious hazard to workers. Employers are responsible for keeping workers safe. This Hazard Alert highlights specific hazards present in workplaces where scissor lifts are used and controls employers must implement to prevent injuries or fatalities.”
The 4-page manual covers all potential hazards associated with working in a scissor lift.



Therapy Instead of Opiates

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On Friday March 15th 2016, the CDC issued guidelines concerning the prescribing of opiates for chronic pain for cases other than “active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.” They put together this guideline in order to address the epidemic of opiate addictions and overdoses evident in America today. Fact is that more people die each year from opiate overdoses than from guns or car accidents; most of those deaths, the CDC believes, could have been prevented with stricter guidelines on how and when to prescribe the drugs.

The bottom line is that the CDC recommends alternate therapy (exercise, Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). If opiates are, in fact, deemed necessary, healthcare professionals should prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time. Patients who are given opiates should also be closely monitored to make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Questions remain, however, as to whether these new guidelines won’t, at least in the short-run, increase crime (as addicts break into homes and pharmacies to get the opiates that they are addicted to and can no longer get) and deaths (as addicts who can no longer get opiates start using heroin instead).

There is no doubt that tighter controls are needed. There is also no doubt that, in the long run, these new guidelines will help reduce overdose deaths, especially in people who’ve gotten addicted unintentionally. What, however, is missing in these guidelines is a plan to help those presently addicted to opiates.

You can read the complete CDC Guideline here.


Eye Injuries in the Workplace

One of the most common injuries in the workplace is also one that can very easily be reduced. We’re talking about eye injuries.

Did you know that there are over 20,000 recorded eye injuries each year? And that’s not counting all the injuries that go unreported. It is estimated that eye injuries alone account for almost $300 million each year in medical costs, workman’s comp and lost time.

The simple fact is  that safety eyewear can reduce these injuries by up to 90%. That’s substantial!

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A quick assessment of you workplace will let you know if safety glasses or goggles are needed. Are there particles in the air (sawdust, for example)? Is there any debris? Are there chemicals present that might constitute a splash hazard? Is there grinding, welding, sawing, hammering, etc… happening?

There are so many options and styles available today that there really isn’t a good reason not to protect your eyes while working.