On November 7, OSHA issued a news release regarding a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The rule was developed after a progression of informational meetings held in 2010 regarding the plausibility of electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. The proposed rule would amend current recordkeeping regulations adding requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information under existing standards, Part 1904.
OSHA Proposes to Lower PEL for Crystalline Silica. The proposal was first put forth on August 23rd and is intended to decrease work related lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. OSHA wants to lower its Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) from 100 micro grams of respirable silica per cubic meter of air to 50 micro grams.
OSHA recently gave $10.1 million through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program whose ultimate goal is to reduce work place injuries and fatalities. This money will be distributed to 70 nonprofit organizations, community programs, faith based programs, worker unions, employer associations, labor and management associations, colleges and universities from all across the country.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently revealed that for the first time since 2006, the number of construction fatalities increased by 5 percent from 2011 to 2012.
In June, 2013, NIOSH issued a report from a 2012 investigation of health concerns by employees at a medical examiner's office. The report discussed NIOSH’s approach and findings as part of their Health Hazard Evaluation Program and commented on what might be the cause of typical employee health concerns in the healthcare and medical industry—focusing on both occupational hazards and indoor air quality issues from building conditions.
Safety and health challenges in the construction industry often deter women from entering and staying in the field. While there are over 800,000 women working in the construction trades, this is still less than 10 percent of all American construction workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), issued an Ammonium Nitrate Hazard Advisory on August 30, 2013.
In the quest to find new and improved ways to release crude oil and natural gas from shale, various controversial methods have been developed and employed. One method, hydraulic fracturing, which is informally referred to as “fracking,” is a process that typically involves injecting water and chemicals under high pressure into a bedrock formation to create fissures from which natural gas and oil can be extracted. Hydraulic fracking is the most common method and has been the subject of recent controversy due to potential health, safety and environmental issues. The majority of fluid used in hydraulic fracking is millions of gallons of water, with less than one percent comprised of other chemicals.
The New York Times reporter Anthony DePalma did an excellent job in stressing the importance of a ensuring the proper use and proper fit of respiratory protection in his article of 9/9/2013, Improving Respirator Masks to Put Fresh Air in Reach. He discussed the need for improving the design of these masks, particularly so that they fit more universally, therefore making them even more effective or “user friendly”, and ultimately more protective for those who need to wear this equipment while working in hazardous environments.
The headline made it to the front page of the New York Times on August 24, 2013 on the bottom right corner a headline read “New OSHA Rule on Silica” … The complete article was on the front page of the Business section of the New York edition. This is BIG NEWS. As an industrial hygienist working in the New York City metro area for 30 years, I don’t ever recall a proposed rule of an occupational exposure limit hitting the front page of the business section of the NY Times.
© 2013 Emilcott