Health and Safety Alert- Respiratory Virus Enterovirus D68/EV-D68


Hundreds of children across the United States have been hospitalized with a serious respiratory illness. Scientists say they believe the bug to blame is Enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68. Enteroviruses are common, especially in September, but this particular type is not. There have been fewer than 100 cases recorded since it was identified in the 1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This respiratory virus is unusually high number of hospitalizations reported could be “just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases,” said Mark Pallansch, a virologist and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Diseases. Ten states have contacted the CDC for assistance in investigating clusters of enterovirus: Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Four — Colorado, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa — have confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68. The CDC confirmed that samples it tested from children who had been hospitalized in Illinois and in Kansas City, Missouri, did show signs of the EV-D68 virus, meaning there is a possible regional outbreak.

Enteroviruses, which bring on symptoms like a very intense cold, aren’t unusual.”It’s important to remember that these infections are very common,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat. Schuchat is the assistant surgeon general for the U.S. Public Health Service and the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. When you have a bad summer cold, often what you have is an enterovirus. The CDC estimates there are 10 to 15 million viral infections each year in the United States. The season often hits its peak in September.

This particular type of enterovirus — EV-D68 — is uncommon but not new. It was identified in the 1960s, and there have been fewer than 100 reported cases since that time. But it’s possible that the relatively low number of reports might be because EV-D68 is hard to identify. EV-D68 was seen last year in the United States and this year in various parts of the world. Over the years, clusters have been reported in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and various countries including the Philippines, Japan and the Netherlands.

The reason health officials are concerned this year is that there have been so many hospitalizations. That’s the scary part — the unpredictability.

What are the symptoms?

Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness. Symptoms of mild illness may include:


•runny nose, sneezing, cough

•skin rash

•mouth blisters

•body and muscle aches

Some non-polio enterovirus infections can cause

•viral conjunctivitis,

•hand, foot, and mouth disease,

•viral meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain).

Less commonly, a person may develop:

•myocarditis (infection of the heart)

•pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart)

•encephalitis (infection of the brain)


People who develop myocarditis may have heart failure and require long term care. Some people who develop encephalitis or paralysis may not fully recover.

Newborns infected with non-polio enterovirus may develop sepsis (infection of the blood and other organs). But this is very rare.

The virus can start as just a cold. Signs include coughing, difficulty breathing and in some cases a rash. Sometimes they can be accompanied by fever or wheezing. Respiratory problems appear to the hallmark of EV-D68, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “Most enteroviruses cause either a little bit of a cold or a diarrheal illness — a few cause meningitis,” said Schaffner. “This one is the, if you will, odd cousin. It causes prominent respiratory symptoms. Why it does that, we’re really not sure.”

What parents should know about EV-D68

The virus has sent more than 30 children a day to a Kansas City, Missouri, hospital, where about 15% of the youngsters were placed in intensive care, officials said. In Kansas City, about 475 children were recently treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and at least 60 of them received intensive hospitalization, spokesman Jake Jacobson said. Vaccines for EV-D68 aren’t currently available, and there is no specific treatment for infections, the Missouri agency said.

“Many infections will be mild and self-limited, requiring only symptomatic treatment,” it said. “Some people with several respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy.” Some cases of the virus might contribute to death, but none of the Missouri cases resulted in death, and no data are available for overall morbidity and mortality from the virus in the United States, the agency said.

Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing and rash. Sometimes they can be accompanied by fever or wheezing. The majority of the children who have been hospitalized with the virus, at least on the samples the CDC tested, did have asthma to start with. The virus made their symptoms worse.

Risk of infection and means of transmission

Non-polio enteroviruses can be found in an infected person’s

· eyes, nose, and mouth secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum), or

· blister fluid.

You can get exposed to the virus by—

· having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person,

· touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them,

· changing diapers of an infected person, or

· drinking water that has the virus in it.

If you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands, you can get infected with the virus and become sick.

Pregnant women who are infected with non-polio enterovirus shortly before delivery can pass the virus to their babies.

What can be done to prevent it?

Like other enteroviruses, the respiratory illness appears to spread through close contact with infected people. That makes children more susceptible.There’s not a great deal you can do, health officials say, beyond taking commonsense steps to reduce the risk.

· Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds — particularly after going to the bathroom and changing diapers.

· Clean and disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched by different people, such as toys and doorknobs.

· Avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. And stay home if you feel unwell.

There’s no vaccine for EV-D68.



Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security for Plateau

9/5 = N95 Day

Tomorrow, 9/5 has been designated by NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) as N95 day.

The purpose of N95 day is to raise awareness concerning respiratory protection and to increase “workers’ knowledge of on-the-job respiratory safety and protection”.

2300N95Moldex 2300 N95 Filtering Facepiece


NIOSH estimates that some 20 million people who need to be protected from airborne particles, aren’t.

From the CDC website:

N95 awareness day activities include: a live webinar with NIOSH professionals discussing respirator preparedness in the healthcare setting, an online blog, Pinterest-ready infographics, tweets throughout the day (#N95Day), as well as a twitter chat with NIOSH N95 respirator experts. The twitter chat (#N95Chat) will touch upon various industries as the panel of experts discusses best practices for using this type of respiratory protection while taking questions from participants.

You can read more about N95 day on the CDC website.

Need a Respiratory Program? Use OROSHA’s!

If you’re a small business and you need a respiratory program, you could different pieces from here and from there and create your own… or you could just use the one just published on the Oregon OSHA (Orosha).

This 44-page document walks you and your employees through every aspect of the OSHA respiratory program, especially geared for small businesses.

It explains why and when you need a respirator, how to select the right respirator, how to select the right cartridge, how to fit test, how to clean and store your respirator and everything else you and your employees need to know.

Well illustrated, clear and easy to understand, this respiratory program takes all the guesswork (and leg work) out of any small business respiratory program.

Have a look for yourself and download it at

Safety Consideration for Welders

Having recently redesigned our e-commerce website, we tried to make sure that our menu got you where you needed to be. Easier said then done!

A perfect example presented itself in the issue of welding. Now our site has a “welding” section but welding also could appear under “Respiratory Protection“, it could appear under “Gloves“, it could appear under “Eye Protection”, etc…


This got me thinking about what exactly as the health and safety issues that welders need to be aware of. I came up with the following list, if there are others that I’m missing please add them in the comments below:

  1. Respiratory Protection – As already mentioned welding entails fumes and particulates that shouldn’t end up in our lungs.  Make sure you understand what harmful fumes, vapors or particulates you need to protect against in order to have the proper filters or respiratory setup.
  2. Heat – Welding can generate temperatures that reach 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you have the proper welding gloves and apparel. You also need to be aware of slag and hot debris that can fly off and end up burning  (any welder who’s had hot slag down their back understands what I’m talking about). Heat can also start fires so make sure that the area around where you’re welding is clear of trash or debris that might ignite.
  3. Eye Protection – Most types of welding require special eye protection. Make sure you understand what shade of lens you need before you start welding. Burned retinas can be the price if you make a mistake.
  4. Hearing Protection – Aside from the noise involved with the welding itself, many welders work in high noise environments. It might not be the most comfortable thing in the world to have to wear hearing protection under that welding helmet but it’s a whole lot better than tinnitus or hearing loss later.
  5. Electrical Issues – Most forms of welding operate on the principle of creating an electrical short that melts metal to form a bond. Make sure you understand the process and understand grounding and what to avoid touching.
  6. Ergonomic Issues –  A lot of welding work is done in tight places or in positions that can wear on the welder.  Knee pads, back supports as well as other ergonomic equipment might be needed.

What am I missing?

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.

EPA Proposes Changes to Protect Farm Workers from Pesticides

In a memo released last month, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) set forth a list of proposed changes designed to increase safety for farmers and agricultural workers dealing with pesticides.

Among the proposed changes…

  • Annual mandatory trainings (rather than once every 5 years) to inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law , including restrictions on entering pesticide – treated fields and surrounding areas, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment.
  • Expanded trainings will include instructions to reduce take – home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.
  • Expanded mandatory posting of no – entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides . The signs prohibit entry into pesticide – treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
  • First – time ever minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides , with an exemption for family farms.
  • New no – entry 25 – 100 foot buffer areas surrounding pesticide – treated fields will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes.
  • Mandatory record – keeping to improve states’ ability to follow – up on pesticide violations and enforce compliance. Records of application – specific pesticide information as well as farmworker training and early – entry notification must be kept for two years.

Additional Proposed Changes

  • Personal Protection Equipment (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health administration standards for ensuring respirators are effective , including fit test, medical evaluation and training.
  • Requirement to make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets.
  • Additional changes make the rule more practical and easier to comply with for farmers.
  • Continues the exemptions for family farms.

Download or view the entire document at

Determining which type of respiratory protection is right

We get calls, almost on a daily basis, from customers wanting us to tell them what type of respirator they need. The call usually goes something like this:

National Safety Sales Rep (usually by the 2nd ring, never more than 3 rings, as that’s our promise): “Hello, National Safety, how may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I need help figuring out which respirator I need to wear”

National Safety Sales Rep: “Certainly. What are you trying to protect against?”

Customer names a chemical

National Safety Sales Rep: “Okay, what’s your concentration?”

Customer: “My what?”

National Safety Sales Rep: “Your concentration… how much of the chemical are you being exposed to?”

Customer: “I don’t know… not a whole lot!”

National Safety Sales Rep: “Okay, let’s come back to that question in a bit. How long are you exposed to it?”

Customer: “That depends, sometimes just a bit or time and sometimes a lot longer”

You get the idea. The point is that they often want a simple, quick answer to a complex and complicated question with a myriad for variables. Which type of respiratory protection you need depends on concentration, length of exposure, environmental issues and any number of other potential issues.

So rather than expecting your distributor to answer questions that they really can’t answer properly without all the information they’ll need, head instead to OSHA’s respiratory eTool online.

Answer a few basic questions (of course, you’ll need to have the answers… even OSHA isn’t going to recommend without the proper data), and it will let you know which type of respirator you need for your particular application.

Give it a shot, even if you are already pretty sure you’re using the right level of protection, can’t hurt to confirm and if you’re wrong it’s important to find that out!


Powerpoints for Safety Training is a file sharing website for powerpoint presentations. I have, over the years, uploaded several powerpoints to this website and they are available to you free of charge.

Simply download them and use them as you need.

After seeing a report that almost 100,000 people had viewed these presentations and over 1,000 had downloaded them, I realized that I had probably never mentioned them here on this blog so, to make up for that, here the links for you to have a look and download if you feel that they might be of use to you.

Pop Quiz: How many CFM do you need for Asbestos Abatement?

Asbestos is bad stuff! If you’re dealing with it in any way you need proper protection, especially respiratory protection and recent inspections by the Department of Labor and Industries (L & I) have found a problem in many of the supplied air set-up being used.

If you are using suppied air respirators for asbestos remediation rather than pressure demand, you need to make sure that you are supplying your workers with 6 cubic feet per minute (CFM) rather than the 4 CFM used most commonly in supplied air systems.

In order to make sure you are providing the correct CFM, you need to install a rotameter to your air system and make sure that all “replacement hoses and other respirator parts are made by the same manufacturer and verify they are part of the manufacturers NIOSH-approved configuration.”

For more information, download the “Special Air-Flow Requirements for Asbestos” document provided by L & I Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and available for download on our website at
(Click on the “Respiratory Requirements for Asbestos Abatement” link in the “Items of Interest” box on the right hand side of the screen)