The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces.
Manholes, crawl spaces, tanks and other confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy. They are also difficult to exit in an emergency. People working in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions and asphyxiation.
Last year, two workers were asphyxiated while repairing leaks in a manhole, the second when he went down to save the first – which is not uncommon in cases of asphyxiation in confined spaces.
“In the construction industry, entering confined spaces is often necessary, but fatalities like these don’t have to happen,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “This new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces. In fact, we estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year.”
The rule will provide construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers have had for more than two decades, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. These include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards – a safety option made possible by technological advances after the manufacturing and general industry standards were created.
“This rule will save lives of construction workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Unlike most general industry worksites, construction sites are continually evolving, with the number and characteristics of confined spaces changing as work progresses. This rule emphasizes training, continuous worksite evaluation and communication requirements to further protect workers’ safety and health.”
Compliance assistance material and additional information is available on OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction Web page.
CCOHS put together a nice infographic on some basic information regarding personal protective equipment.
Click past the break to view the full infographic
Continue reading PPE: The Basics
The Wisconsin Oil & Gas Industry Safety Alliance has produced a fantastic presentation/handout on excavation and trenching safety, including a quiz with answers. Check out what they put together.
You may encounter trenching and excavation operations on site. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the potential hazards. By understanding the hazards; providing adequate work zone traffic control; using protective equipment such as trench boxes; having a properly trained, competent person on site to monitor the trenching operations; and instituting a written program that emphasizes planning prevention, and training; excavation-related injuries and fatalities can be prevented.
Take a look at the handout HERE
Quiz questions (10) provided HERE
Answers to the quiz provided HERE
Source: Wisconsin Oil & Gas Industry Safety Alliance
OSHA has established a system of tools (eTools and the eMatrices) that are “stand-alone,” interactive, Web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. They are highly illustrated and utilize graphical menus. Some also use expert system modules, which enable the user to answer questions, and receive reliable advice on how OSHA regulations apply to their work site. Selected eTools are available as downloadable files for off-line use. Addtionally, there are Expert Advisors (based solely on expert systems) and v-Tools which are prevention video training tools.
Sitehawk.com recently published an infographic detailing the pertinent facts relating to the implementation of GHS. While GHS has historically focused on the international community, with early adoption by the European Union and Japan, the GHS trend is moving west and will definitely be in the spotlight in the U.S. in 2012. GHS has already had and will continue to have profound effects on chemical data management initiatives, both for companies that must author and publish material safety data sheets (M)SDS for their chemical products, as well as those companies that must manage (M)SDS and related chemical data for onsite chemical inventories. Below is a summary of the highlights.
The MAK Collection for Occupational Health and Safety now is available on-line and free. It provides the German recommended exposure limits with documentation for chemicals used in Germany and many other countries. The MAK-values are daily 8-hour time-weighed average values and apply to healthy adults. Substance-specific acceptable peak concentrations, including the highest possible duration of such peaks, are defined. If the substance can be taken up through the skin, this is indicated. The MAKs have been collected and evaluated by the Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area – part of the DFG, the German Research Foundation. The MAK values are similar to the ACGIH TLVs and documentation.
You can find the publication HERE
Source: Wiley Online Library
TestAmerica is hosting a free webinar on “Improving the Quality of Industrial Hygiene Air Sampling Data Through Proper Field Practices” on September 20. The webinar will be presented by Mike McGee, CIH and will provide a basic overview on improving the quality of IH data and avoiding common pitfalls.
Variability in sampling data can result from: the skill level and attention of the person performing the sampling, equipment and sampling media, variability of air sampling flow/sampling rate, recording sampling time accurately, environmental factors, documentation, the representativeness of the samples collected, variation in contaminant concentration during sampling, and transportation of samples from the field to the laboratory.
Topics will include:
- Sources of field variability
- Why air volume is only half of the equation
- What you should know about air sampling pump calibration
- Field data collection accuracy and adjustments
- Field data documentation
- Pitfalls to avoid
Register for the webinar HERE.
The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals. The GHS provides 3 basic elements for classification and labeling:
- Define health, physical & environmental hazards
- Classify the hazards
- Communicate the hazards throughout the workforce via labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) – note: comparison of SDS and MSDS
(For a side-by-side comparison of the current hazard communication standard and the new standard, click HERE.)
While not a regulation or a standard, GHS is an attempt to standardize the method in which hazards are communicated in the workplace. It is anticipated that application of the GHS will:
- Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an internationally comprehensible system,
- Provide a recognized framework to develop regulations for those countries without existing systems,
- Facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been identified on an international basis,
- Reduce the need for testing and evaluation against multiple classification systems.
Benefits to companies include:
- A safer work environment and improved relations with employees,
- An increase in efficiency and reduced costs from compliance with hazard communication regulations,
- Application of expert systems resulting in maximizing expert resources and minimizing labor and costs,
- Facilitation of electronic transmission systems with international scope,
- Expanded use of training programs on health and safety,
- Reduced costs due to fewer accidents and illnesses,
- Improved corporate image and credibility.
Continue reading Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Introductory Overview & Webinar
AIHA recently released the free IH Calculator LITE app, a calculator that aids industrial hygienists in performing OH&S calculations quickly and efficiently on their mobile device. Topics include: Noise, Heat Stress, Ventilation, Exposure Assessment and is complimented with a range of conversions such as volume, distance, pressure, temperature, TLVs, and more. The app is currently only available on Apple products (iOS).
Multiple organizations have adopted laboratory hood safety standards to determine the effectiveness of a hood in limiting occupational exposure. One such measure of determining the effectiveness of the hood is by measuring the speed of air entering the hood (i.e. the face velocity). While face velocity is not the only test method for determining if a hood has the ability to adequately contain the contaminants (see ANSI/ASHRAE 110-1995 Method of Testing Performance of Laboratory Fume Hoods), it is the only performance standard cited by the following organizations.
- OSHA - General air flow should not be turbulent and should be relatively uniform throughout the laboratory, with no high velocity or static areas (194, 195); airflow into and within the hood should not be excessively turbulent (200); hood face velocity should be adequate (typically 60-100 lfm)
- NIOSH - The current consensus of the literature is that the average face velocity for a laboratory chemical hood should be in the range of 80–120 ft/min
- Cal OSHA - The exhaust system shall provide an average face velocity of at least 100 feet per minute with a minimum of 70 fpm at any point, except where more stringent special requirements are prescribed
- ANSI/AIHA Z9.5-2003 – Design face velocities for laboratory chemical hoods in the range of 80-100 fpm (0.41-0.51m/s) will provide adequate face velocity for a majority of chemical hoods. Hoods with excellent containment characteristics may operate adequately below 80 fpm (0.41 m/s) while others may require higher face velocities. Continue reading Adequate Face Velocity for Laboratory Hoods