Monday, November 18, 2013

New course offered: Asbestos Training for Building Managers

A new course, “Asbestos Training for Building Managers” is being offered this December. Training will be held on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.   This 1-day course will identify major sections of current regulations regarding facility operation compliance.  Among those who should attend are building and facility owners/managers, project managers, construction managers, general contractors, engineering and maintenance managers, EHS personnel and environmental consultants.  Click here to register for this course offering.

New 2014 course catalog download available

The Rutger's School of Public Health, Centers for Education and Training 2014 course catalog is available for download. Students may enroll for courses online by visiting https://ophp.sph.rutgers.edu, or by contacting the registrar at (732) 235-9450

Retail employers reminded to manage crowds, protect workers during Black Friday

In advance of Black Friday and upcoming sales events, OSHA reminds employers of the importance of taking precautions to prevent retail worker injuries this holiday season. Eager crowds can overwhelm retail management and employers, causing injuries and even deaths. This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee who was trampled as shoppers rushed through the retailer’s doors to take advantage of an after-Thanksgiving Day “Black Friday” sales event.

In letters issued this week to firefighter and fire marshals associationsretail trade organizations, and chief executive officers of large retail companies, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels explained that crowd control and proper planning are critical to preventing injuries and death.
Crowd management guidelines should include on-site, trained security personnel or police officers, barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the store's entrance, no blocked or locked exit doors, and other emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers. Read the fact sheet for additional details.

OSHA proposes new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses

On Nov. 7, OSHA issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The announcement follows the Bureau of Labor Statistics' release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012. 

"Three million injuries are three million too many," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer's obligation to transmit these records to OSHA."

The new proposal would require that establishments with more than 250 employees who are already required to keep records to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA. The agency is also proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, electronically submit their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. For more information on the proposed rule, read the press release and visit the Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rulemaking Web page.

The public will have 90 days, through Feb. 6, 2014, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. On Jan. 9, 2014, OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule in Washington, D.C. For information on how to participate, read the Federal Register notice.

New educational resources released to better protect workers from exposures to hazardous chemicals

Each year, tens of thousands of American workers are made sick or die from occupational exposures to hazardous chemicals. While many chemicals are suspected of being harmful, OSHA's exposure standards are out-of-date and inadequately protective for the small number of chemicals that are regulated in the workplace. To help keep workers safe, OSHA has launched two new Web resources.

The first resource is a step-by-step toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. The Transitioning to Safer Chemicals toolkit provides employers and workers with information, methods, tools, and guidance on using informed substitution in the workplace.

OSHA has also created another new Web resource: the Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits, or annotated PELs tables, which will enable employers to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits. Since OSHA's adoption of the majority of its PELs more than 40 years ago, new scientific data, industrial experience and developments in technology clearly indicate that in many instances these mandatory limits are not sufficiently protective of workers’ health.
"From steel mills to hospitals, from construction sites to nail salons, hazardous chemical exposure is a serious concern for countless employers and workers in many, many industries, in every part of this nation," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "With these new resources, OSHA is making sure that all business owners have access to information on safer exposure limits and safer alternatives to help protect their workers and their bottom lines." To learn more, read the press release and Dr. Michaels' new post on the DOL blog.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Study links silica exposure with significant increase in lung cancer risk

A newly published study of a large population of Chinese tin and pottery workers has found that exposure to airborne silica dust is associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. The study, printed in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, measured cumulative silica exposure in a group of more than 30,000 workers over a 44-year period. These findings, which confirm that silica is a human carcinogen, are consistent with the preliminary risk assessment in OSHA's new proposed rule to protect workers from occupational exposure to crystalline silica, and have important implications for public health. Read more about the AJOE study here.
OSHA invites and strongly encourages the public to participate in the process of developing a final silica rule through written comments and participation in public hearings. To read the notice of proposed rulemaking, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-20997. Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets, and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings is available at www.osha.gov/silica.

Safety pays, but falls cost: Plan, provide, and train to stop fatal falls in construction

In an article in the Fall 2013 issue of Elevating Safety (PDF*), OSHA Director of Construction Jim Maddux discusses the high cost of fatal falls in construction, which are the leading cause of death in the industry. Worker injuries and deaths don’t just hurt families and communities, he explains, they also take a great toll on our economy. To prevent falls, employers need to plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment, and train everyone to use their equipment safely. To order free educational and training resources, including OSHA's new bilingual ladder safety booklet (PDF*), visit our Publications page or call the Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Heat illness prevention hits airwaves, app downloads exceed 100,000

OSHA is taking its Water-Rest-Shade message to the airwaves and using technology to help employers protect outdoor workers from heat illness. In cities like Philadelphia and Little Rock, OSHA staff are speaking on English- and Spanish-language radio and TV about heat illness and workers' rights to safe workplaces. Read more here. Meanwhile, during four hot weeks in July, 18,661 people downloaded OSHA's heat safety app — bringing the total number of downloads to 103,530 since the app's launch two years ago. For more information and resources, see OSHA's Heat Campaign Web page (and en español).

Hazard Communication: Workers must be trained by Dec. 1, 2013

OSHA's updated Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The first deadline in the implementation phase is Dec. 1, 2013, the date by which employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet. Find information and resources, including QuickCards, a training fact sheet (PDF*), a list of frequently asked questions and abrief (PDF*) on labels and pictograms on OSHA's Hazard Communications page.

Labor Rights Week highlights safety and health rights of vulnerable workers

OSHA marked Labor Rights Week (Aug. 26-30) by forging more than a dozen new agreements with consulates across the country to protect vulnerable workers from Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Columbia, Chile and the Philippines. In an online video message, Secretary Perez explained that the Department of Labor took actions such as the Alliance signings during Labor Rights Week "…to honor the commitment of all workers and to reaffirm our commitment to making their workplaces fair and safe." Learn more in a new post on the DOL blog.

US Department of Labor's OSHA announces proposed rule to protect workers exposed to crystalline silica

OSHA has announced a proposed rule aimed at curbing lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers. The agency currently enforces 40-year-old permissible exposure limits (PELs) for crystalline silica in general industry, construction and shipyards that are outdated, inconsistent between industries and do not adequately protect worker health. The proposed rule brings protections into the 21st century.

"This is a proposed rule and not a final rule," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We are inviting and strongly encouraging the public to participate in the process of developing a final rule through submitting written comments and participating in public hearings. Our process of obtaining public input will take many months, and we encourage and welcome the public to participate." 

Once the full effects of the rule are realized, OSHA estimates that the proposed rule would result in saving nearly 700 lives per year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually. For more information on the proposed rule and how to participate in the rule making process, visit OSHA's silica rulemaking page at www.osha.gov/silica and read Dr. Michaels' new post on the DOL blog.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hazard Communication/GHS training deadline approaching.

The deadline for Hazard Communication/GHS training is quickly approaching (December 1, 2013).  We are offering the last two OSHA Harwood Grant funded sessions on September 5 and October 11, 2013. Myles O’Malley will be instructing both sessions.

Register here for our "Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" course. 

US Constitution & Amendments course offered

US Constitution Day will be commemorated on September 17, 2013 with 4-hr workshop “US Constitution & Amendments” in Piscataway, New Jersey.  This workshop is an excellent opportunity for OSHA Outreach Trainers to pick up pointers on how to more effectively deliver the “Introduction to OSHA” presentation. The facilitator for this workshop will be Michael Presutti.

Click here for registration.

Outreach campaign aims to protect health care workers from hazards causing musculoskeletal disorders

OSHA has launched a campaign to raise awareness about musculoskeletal hazards facing health care workers, providing information to 2,500 employers, unions and associations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. These hazards include sprains, strains, soft tissue and back injuries among health care workers responsible for patient care. The campaign will provide information about hazard control methods, such as a zero-lift program to minimize direct patient lifting. Learn more about the campaign in the press release.

White House releases executive order on improving chemical facility safety and security

August 1, 2013, the President signed an Executive Order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals to workers and communities. Incidents such as the devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in April are tragic reminders that the handling and storage of chemicals present serious risks that must be addressed. The Executive Order directs Federal agencies to work with stakeholders to improve chemical safety and security through agency programs, private sector initiatives, Federal guidance, standards, and regulations. Read the executive order.

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Nail Gun Safety Web page and ePub help prevent construction injuries

Nail guns cause tens of thousands of serious injuries each year, hospitalizing more construction workers than any other tool-related injury. OSHA’s new Nail Gun Safety Web page offers resources to help reduce these numbers. The page includes links to regulations, training and compliance assistance materials, including the joint OSHA/NIOSH Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors. The guide, also available as an e-publication in English and Spanish, can be downloaded to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, as well as on desktop and laptop computers.

OSHA and 4,000 workers at scores of N.Y. and N.J. construction sites stand down to prevent falls

OSHA joined worker, union, industry and community partners in New York and New Jersey to sponsor safety stand-downs June 24-July 3 to raise awareness about the hazards of falls -- the leading cause of jobsite deaths in the construction industry. More than 120 stand-downs were held across the region, involving more than 4,000 workers.
To learn more about OSHA's Fall Prevention campaign, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls, and for more information on how to plan a stand-down, contact the OSHA office nearest you.

New workers most at risk for heat-related illness: Employers should allow time for acclimation

OSHA is investigating two recent heat fatalities involving workers who were new to the job. In a recent call with meteorologists, Assistant Secretary Michaels emphasized that OSHA has found that, generally, the workers who are most at risk for heat-related illnesses are those who are new to outdoor jobs – especially temporary workers.
Seasonal workers can be considered new even if they have been working every season for several years. Gradually increasing the workload and giving workers time to acclimate allows them to build tolerance to the heat. This is critically important for workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat, who have been away from working in the heat for a week or more, or at the beginning of a heat wave. Once a worker is acclimated to heat, the risk is lower. Employers should take steps to protect workers and help them acclimate.
OSHA's Heat Safety Tool smartphone app can help users monitor dangerous heat levels throughout the summer. The app is available for iPhone and Android and has already been downloaded almost 85,000. Download the app and find additional resources on OSHA's Heat page.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

OSHA's new Injury and Illness Prevention Programs fact sheet can help employers find and fix workplace hazards

new OSHA Fact Sheet (PDF*) describes some common program elements of Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and how to implement them. These systematic programs allow employers on an ongoing basis to find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt or become ill. These proactive processes can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses and can alleviate the associated financial burdens on U.S. workplaces. The fact sheet explains the major elements of an effective program, which include management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification, assessment, prevention and control; education and training and program evaluation and improvement. See OSHA's https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth/index.html for more information.

Friday, June 14, 2013

OSHA unveils new ladder safety educational resource available for mobile devices

OSHA's newest educational resource on safe ladder use is now accessible for mobile devices. The bilingual English-Spanish booklet, "Falling off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely," is the agency's first e-publication and can be downloaded and read on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices as well as on desktop and laptop computers. Developed in partnership with the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Council and Ministry of Manpower, the booklet provides clear, easy-to-follow information about ladder hazards and safety precautions, featuring simple illustrations and plain language writing.

OSHA launches initiative to protect temporary workers

OSHA has announced an initiative to further protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.

A memorandum sent to the agency’s regional administrators directs field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Inspectors will denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations and assess whether temporary workers received required training in a language and vocabulary they could understand.

In addition, OSHA has begun working with the American Staffing Association and employers that use staffing agencies, to promote best practices ensuring that temporary workers are protected from job hazards.

In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries – many during their first days on a job.

Last week, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries about workers killed on the job in 2011. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 542 – or 12 percent – of the 4,693 fatal work injuries reported. Hispanic/Latino contractors accounted for 28 percent of fatal work injuries among contractors, well above their 16 percent share of the overall fatal work injury total for the year. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/contractor2011.pdf.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mold Training for Homeowners and Volunteers courses offered for April/May

Mold Training for Homeowners and Volunteers

This course provides mold awareness and general safety procedures for homeowners and volunteers when dealing with post hurricane/flood clean-up issues. 

Course topics include:
Awareness of mold
Safe work practices
Personal protective equipment
Respiratory protection
Best practices for remediation.

Please visit https://ophp.umdnj.edu/moldtraining for course dates, locations, and registration.

OSHA to host Workers' Memorial Day events around the country


In a series of Workers' Memorial Day events on and around April 28, 2013, OSHA's national and regional offices will honor the sacrifices made by those who have been lost, disabled, injured or made sick by their jobs. Workers' Memorial Day is also an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to protecting the health and safety of every worker.
To find a Workers' Memorial Day event in your area, contact your regional OSHA office or visit OSHA's events calendar.

Falling off ladders can kill: New fall prevention resource available


OSHA has published a new bilingual English-Spanish booklet on safe ladder use, "Falling Off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely". Developed in partnership with the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Council and Ministry of Manpower, the booklet provides clear, easy-to-follow information about ladder hazards and using ladders safely, featuring simple illustrations and plain language writing.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and OSHA is working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda to get the word out about how to "Plan, Provide, Train" to prevent fatal falls. To learn more, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls.
On April 10, OSHA, NIOSH and CPWR co-hosted a free webinar on preventing fatal falls in construction, welcoming an audience of more than 700 participants. An archived version is available for view.

New OSHA publications available: Toluene Fact Sheet, maritime safety publications, spirometry guidance document for health professionals, hexavalent chromium and welding fumes


OSHA has published a new InfoSheet on Toluene Safety in the Workplace. Toluene, also known as "methylbenzene", "phenylmethane" or "toluol," is a clear, colorless liquid used in paints, thinners, lacquers, metal cleaners, fingernail polish, glues and other products. The sweet-smelling chemical is highly flammable and may catch fire if exposed to heat or flames. For more information about how to prevent hazardous exposure to Toluene, including how and when to wear personal protective equipment, see the InfoSheet available in html or PDF*.

Several new Fact Sheets and QuickCards are also available to help employers protect workers performing shipyard and longshoring activities. These resources are available online on OSHA's Maritime Industry publications page.

OSHA has developed a spirometry guidance document for occupational health professionals. Spirometry measures lung function, and is commonly used to evaluate workers’ respiratory health and their ability to perform certain tasks or use personal protective equipment. For more information, see Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals.

Three new fact sheets on hexavalent chromium exposure describe operations in which workers may be exposed to hexavalent chromium, summarize the known health effects, and provide recommendations for control measures to reduce worker exposures. The fact sheets are available in three industries: Aerospace/Air TransportBridge Painting, and Electroplating.

OSHA has also released a new fact sheet on welding fume that describes the types of welding, hazardous components of welding fume, health effects associated with exposure to welding fume and steps employers and workers can take to reduce exposure to welding fume.

OSHA issues new resource to protect emergency workers responding to combustible dust fires

 OSHA recently published Firefighting Precautions at Facilities with Combustible Dust, a new informative booklet that outlines safe procedures for emergency responders who may face fires and explosions caused by combustible dust.
"This booklet will keep both emergency response and facility workers safe by giving them a framework to prepare for potential emergencies involving combustible dust," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Stakeholders that have reviewed the booklet, including fire chiefs and union health and safety representatives, describe it as 'an excellent resource for explaining the hazards associated with combustible dust and outlining the best practices for pre-incident operational preparation by emergency responders.'" For more information, read the news release.


Monday, March 18, 2013

More dates added for the "The Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" course

More dates have been added for the free "Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" course.

Workers must be in compliance by Dec. 1, 2013

March 22, 2013
April 12, 2013
May 10, 2013
May 30, 2013
June 14, 2013

The use of chemical products to enhance and improve life is a worldwide practice.  Along with their benefits, chemicals have potential adverse effects to the environment and populations.  The goal of GHS is to identify the intrinsic hazards found in chemical substances and mixtures and to convey hazard information to the workers who may come in contact with them. Topics Covered:
        · Employee general safety and rights under the OSH Act
        · Employer responsibilities under the OSHA Act
        · Nature of Chemical Hazards and Worker Protection
        · Global Harmonization System (GHS) and Hazard Communication
        · Signal words, pictograms, SDS, and labeling elements
        · Conducting A Job Hazard Analysis
        · Applying GHS to targeted industries
        · Training requirements

Register here for our "Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" course. 

OSHA has published a new slide presentation on the value of injury and illness prevention programs — a proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt. Not only are these programs effective at reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, but also many employers report that they have transformed their workplace culture and led to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater worker satisfaction.
Many workplaces have already chosen to adopt injury and illness prevention programs as part of OSHA's cooperative programs, and 34 states and many nations around the world already require or encourage employers to implement such programs. The key elements common to all of these programs are: management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. To learn more and to view the downloadable presentation, visit OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Programs webpage.

OSHA, NIOSH present webinar on preventing deadly falls in construction


On April 10, at 11 a.m. EST, OSHA's Director of Construction Jim Maddux, and NIOSH's Director of Construction Safety and Health, Dr. Christine Branche, will co-moderate a webinar to discuss ways of stopping the leading killer of construction workers — falls from heights. To register for the free webinar and to learn more about efforts by OSHA, NIOSH, and CPWR to protect construction workers from fatal falls, visit the registration page.

Find resources to support the OSHA-NIOSH-CPWR Fall Prevention campaign in your community at www.osha.gov/stopfalls (y en Español), including http://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.searchResults?pSearch=0078wallet cardsfact sheets and posters. To order these or any of OSHA's outreach materials, call OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA's Publications page.

OSHA's General Industry and Construction Digests spell out summary of OSHA standards (available free)

OSHA's General Industry Digest and Construction Industry Digest summarize safety and health standards to help employers, supervisors, workers, health and safety committee members, and safety and health personnel learn about OSHA standards in the workplace. The two digests contain summaries of OSHA standards that are frequently cited or cover particular hazardous situations in general industry and construction. The General Industry Digestincludes updated information on revisions to General Industry standards since the digest was last published in 2001. A Spanish-language version of the Construction Industry Digest (PDF*) is also available.

Help for Construction Employers: New fact sheets help employers minimize exposure to silica when using construction equipment

OSHA has published seven new educational resources to help employers control exposure to respirable crystalline silica at construction sites. The new fact sheets provide information for employers and for workers who operate handheld grinders, angle grinders, jackhammers, rotary hammers, stationary masonry saws, handheld masonry saws or vehicle-mounted drilling rigs.

Respirable silica dust is a common hazard at many construction sites. Workers who breathe high concentrations of silica day after day are at risk of developing silicosis, a progressive and potentially disabling lung disease. Exposure to silica dust also can increase the risk of lung cancer and has been linked to other diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney and autoimmune diseases. For more information on the hazards of silica exposure in the construction industry, visit OSHA'sCrystalline Silica Safety and Health Topics Page and read OSHA's educational publication on Controlling Silica Exposures in Construction (PDF*).

New OSHA Web page warns of hydrogen sulfide exposure

OSHA's new Hydrogen Sulfide Web page warns employers and workers of the dangerous health effects from breathing hydrogen sulfide and provides methods for controlling exposure to this toxic gas. 

Hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, is a colorless and highly flammable gas produced in industries such as mining, oil and gas refining, and paper and pulp processing. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate H2S caused 60 worker deaths between 2001 and 2010. The effects on workers' health depend on how much of the gas workers breathe but symptoms can range from headaches, nausea and fatigue to respiratory tract irritation, unconsciousness and death. The Web page explains how training and the use of exhaust/ventilation systems and personal protective equipment can protect workers from harmful H2S exposure.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"The Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" courses offered


Free "Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" courses offered.

The use of chemical products to enhance and improve life is a worldwide practice.  Along with their benefits,
chemicals have potential adverse effects to the
environment and populations.  The goal of GHS is to identify the intrinsic hazards found in chemical 
substances and mixtures and to convey hazard
information to the workers who may come in contact with them.

Topics Covered:
        · Employee general safety and rights under
                the OSH Act
        · Employer responsibilities under the OSHA Act
        · Nature of Chemical Hazards and Worker Protection
        · Global Harmonization System (GHS)
               and Hazard Communication
        · Signal words, pictograms, SDS, and 
               labeling elements
        · Conducting A Job Hazard Analysis
        · Applying GHS to targeted industries
        · Training requirements

Register here for our "Nature of Chemical Hazards and Implications of GHS Applied to Industry" course. 

Hazard Communication: Workers must be trained by Dec. 1, 2013


OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The revised standard is improving the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals.

The first deadline in the implementation phase is Dec. 1, 2013. By this date, employers must train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheet format. OSHA has prepared a number of materials that explain the new changes to the requirements of the HCS, including a list of frequently asked questions, QuickCards, fact sheets, a webinar that provides an overview of the rule and a downloadable PowerPoint presentation. These materials are available on OSHA’s Hazard Communications page.

Seasonal Flu: Webpage provides information on preventing spread of seasonal flu in the workplace


With an increasing number of severe flu cases this season across the United States, OSHA is urging employers to take precautions to protect workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that at least 47 states are reporting widespread geographic influenza ― 10 times higher in some cities than this time last year.

OSHA's Seasonal Flu webpage offers information about how to reduce the spread of the flu in workplaces. It provides information on the basic precautions, such as frequent hand washings and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, that should be used by employers and workers in all workplaces.

OSHA also provides additional precautions that should be used by employers and workers in healthcare settings, such as strictly following infection control practices and using gloves, gowns, and other protective equipment to reduce exposures, and encouraging sick workers to stay home.

Webpage offers help for employers and workers regarding winter storm hazards


OSHA's Winter Storms webpage provides information on protecting workers from hazards they may face during winter storm response and recovery operations. The webpage provides guidance on how employers and workers involved in cleanup and recovery operations can recognize snow storm-related hazards and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe while working in these conditions. The page includes guidance for workers clearing heavy snow in front of workplaces and from rooftops, workers encountering downed power lines or traveling on icy roads, and utility workers restoring power after winter storms.
The Winter Storms webpage includes links to guidance from OSHA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, the National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Safety Council and other agencies and organizations.

Diesel Hazard Alert issued by OSHA, MSHA

OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are warning workers and their employers about hazardous exposure to diesel engine exhaust. Diesel engine exhaust, which contains a mixture of gases and small particles including diesel particulate matter, can create a health hazard when not properly controlled. The agencies have issued a hazard alert about workers' exposure to these materials. Diesel engines provide power to a variety of vehicles, heavy equipment and other machinery used in industries such as mining, transportation, construction, agriculture and maritime operations. The health effects of short-term exposure can be headache, dizziness, and irritation of the eye, nose and throat severe enough to distract or disable workers, while long-term exposure can increase the risk of cancer. The hazard alert offers information for employers and workers on engineering controls to mitigate exposure, as well as the OSHA and MSHA enforcement standards for a variety of industries. For more information, see the Hazard Alert.

Protecting recovery workers in the aftermath of Sandy


OSHA continues to monitor safety conditions for workers involved in the cleanup of Hurricane Sandy. Since the hurricane hit the East Coast two months ago, OSHA has conducted more than 4,400 briefings and other outreach activities, reaching nearly 61,000 workers and employers performing recovery work in Sandy-impacted areas.
OSHA staff is monitoring cleanup sites daily in New York and New Jersey to ensure that workers are protected from exposure to dangerous levels of environmental hazards such as carbon monoxide, asbestos and silica. The data and analysis are posted on OSHA’s Sandy sampling website. For more information, see the news release.
At a Dec. 17 forum in Wall Township, N.J., OSHA joined other agencies and organizations to discuss worker safety and ways to assist residents, business owners, unions, volunteers and advocacy groups. Robert Kulick, OSHA’s New York regional administrator, reminded attendees that employers are responsible for assessing their workplaces for hazards, training their workers, and providing their workers with all necessary controls ― such as personal protective equipment.

Guidance, fact sheets and other information are on OSHA's Hurricane Sandy webpage.