Marijuana Workers Safety

The fact that more and more states have started legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes means that more and more people are working with marijuana on a daily basis. The problem is that the industry has grown so fast that safety measures and standards haven’t been able to keep up. Colorado, being the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, has had more time than anyone else to put something together to aid with marijuana workers right and safety. They have just published a “Marijuana occupational safety and health” section on their website and it’s fairly comprehensive.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Preventing Fatigue

Worker fatigue: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 15 million Americans work irregular schedules, including full-time evening shifts, night shifts, and rotating shifts (where workers alternate between working nights and days in a given week). These kinds of shifts have been associated with safety and health risks, and certain jobs (such as disaster response) are at higher risk. Many of the risks result from worker fatigue.

Staying focused: Being tired affects your ability to focus for extended periods of time, and can increase the chance that you will not pay attention to the task at hand (such as operating a machine or a vehicle). Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour, internal cycle that controls when you feel alert or when you feel sleepy.

A disruption in circadian rhythm can:

  • Affect your ability to perform.
  • Affect your ability to focus for extended periods of time.
  • Increase the chance that you will not pay attention to the task at hand such as operating a machine or a vehicle.
  • Lead to errors that could cause accidents or injuries.

What can be done to prevent fatigue?

  • Get regular rest: Rest and recovery are important. Get at least 10 consecutive hours per day of off-duty time so that you can have at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Shorter off-duty periods can exacerbate fatigue. It is also important to maintain a regular sleeping rhythm if possible. Fatigue is often intensified when working at night because of inadequate daytime rest.
  • Take breaks: For demanding work, take frequent rest breaks every couple of hours.
  • Moderate your workload: If you’re working a twelve hour shift, do lighter tasks if possible. Intense work, such as physical exertion or in extreme environments, should have shorter shifts.
  • Workload distribution: Schedule heavy or demanding work at times when you are more alert to decrease the risk of an accident.
  • Assess your environment: Assure adequate lighting, clean air, and comfortable temperatures are provided if possible.
  • Eat well: Eat nutritious meals at regular times to help prevent fatigue. Avoid greasy foods and alcohol before sleeping.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help regulate your sleeping cycle. Timing is important; do not exercise vigorously in the morning so that you are too tired to work. Alternatively, it’s important to relax before going to bed.
  • Try different sleeping times: If you are working a night shift, try sleeping at different times to establish what the best schedule is for you. Try keeping a notebook of when you go to bed and wake up, tracking how rested you feel. This can assist you in finding a sleeping schedule that works best for you.
  • When sleeping, protect your sleep: Block out at least 6 hours of time to sleep and assure there will be no noise or distractions. Turn off your cellphone and use ear plugs if needed. Making your bedroom as dark as possible will also help.
  • Don’t drink too much caffeine: Caffeine can be used to fight off sleepiness, but do not use it excessively. Drink caffeine early in the shift and avoid it late in the shift or before going to bed. Avoid using amphetamines or other stimulants, as well as sleeping pills, which can affect your performance the next day. Monitor any medications which may affect sleep or work abilities!


Today’s Post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald , CHSO, STS  ,  EHS Supervisor ,   DFA-Portales NM

New OSHA Publication for Tree Care Workers


OSHA has just published a new document entitled “Tree Care Worker – Know the Hazards”. The document is available as a PDF on their website at

The document is in English and in Spanish and covers hazards such as electrocution, falls and being struck by objects. It is intended for supervisors as well as workers, outlining the rights and responsibilities of each.

OSHA’s New Website Focusses on Healthcare Worker Safety

Turns out that one of the most dangerous jobs you can have is one that involves helping others who have been injured or aren’t well. Healthcare workers are twice as likely to get injured on the job as workers in the rest of the work force. Healthcare worker injury rate stands at just under 7%.

OSHA has created a new website designed specifically to help these workers and help in getting that percentage down. Check it out online at


Properly Training Young Summer Help Workers

Within the next couple of months, school will be out for the summer vacation and thousands of young people are going to go job hunting.
Most of these young people have never been exposed to the hazards and dangers of the workplace environment.
You’ve been working in the lumberyard or the warehouse for so long that certain types of behavior are second nature to you; you even forget that you are doing what you are doing for a reason. Not so for the new guy who’s never been in the workplace before.
Simple things like watching for forklifts is something that you do without even thinking about it but the young people who just got hired hasn’t been working around forklifts before and needs to learn to listen and watch for them even as they listen and watch for him or her.

So where do you start? If this type of behavior is now second nature, you probably don’t even know what it is that your new hire needs to know.

Fortunately, OSHA’s young worker’s construction safety topics page is there for you. With thirteen short videos, you can sit your new hires down to view them and know that they’ve been at least been given the basics of safety that’ll hopefully protect them as they do their job.

The following videos are available:

Construction Safety Topics

General Protection

Hearing Protection

Protective Shoes

Head Protection

Eye Protection

Landscaping Safety Topics

Eye Protection

Ear Protection

Foot Protection

Hand Protection

Leg Protection



Sun and Hydration

Is Barminco overeacting?

Fifteen mine workers who worked for Barminco in the Agnew gold mine in Australia lost their jobs earlier this week when management viewed them on Youtube doing the Harlem Shuffle, a “dance” that has gone viral over the internet in the past couple of months (just type in Harlem Shuffle to view hundreds of different companies, schools and individuals doing this “dance”).

The workers were also banned for life from any Barminco projects anywhere.

Some of the fired workers have been working for Barminco for over eight years.

The fifteen workers were, needless to say, shocked and devastated, claiming that they did nothing to endanger anyone because they kept their hard hats on, as well as the glasses and lamps required. They did admit, however that they broke the rules when they removed their long sleeves shirts.

You can read the full article on the Australian Mining website. To view the miners doing the infamous harlem shuffle video, go to youtube here.

Reaction to the firing has been mixed with some stating that there can be no room for goofy antics like these in a dangerous place like an underground mine, while others are telling Barminco to chill and get a life.

What do you think?

New and Updated OSHA Materials

OSHA publishes new and updated materials on worker safety and health.

Topics include: Workers’ Rights*, Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities following an OSHA Inspection, Construction Industry Digest*, Small Entity Compliance Guide for Respiratory Protection Standard*, Laboratory Safety Guidance*.
A series of new QuickCards and new publications to help protect construction, general industry and shipyard workers are also available on OSHA’s Publications page.

OSHA offers a wide selection of training materials and resources to help broaden worker and employer knowledge on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces.

This page references training materials developed by Susan Harwood grantees, trainer materials, videos available through the Resource Center Loan Program, OSHA developed materials, and links to training resources by other organizations. All materials are available free of charge.

See the Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines to access the complete OSHA training requirements.