Wednesday, June 17, 2015

As the weather heats up, OSHA and NOAA promote Summer Safety Campaign

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are joining forces to promote a Summer Safety Campaign.
OSHA provides resources for workplace preparedness and response to severe weather emergencies that can arise during summer, including: hurricaneswildfires and floods as well as severe heat. OSHA and NOAA encourage employers to be aware of weather forecasts, train workers on severe weather plans and keep emergency supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio.
Some parts of the country have already experienced deadly and damaging flooding this season. And hurricane season begins today in the Atlantic and began in mid-May in the Pacific. Both high-hazard seasons run through November. Employers and workers need to be prepared with a detailed plan before these events occur to ensure that everyone stays safe.
And with temperatures rising, now is the best time for employers to prepare to protect workers outdoors. Workers in outdoor industries like agriculture, construction and transportation face serious hazards from working in the heat, including illness and death. One handy tool available for free to prevent these hazards is the OSHA Heat App that calculates the heat index (both temperature and humidity) at your worksite and provides recommendations for how best to protect workers based on the risk level. OSHA's heat app, recently updated for iPhone users, has been downloaded more than 193,000 times.

New fact sheet provides guidance on preventing amputation hazards from food slicers and meat grinders

OSHA has released a new fact sheet* on hazards from food slicers and meat grinders used in grocery stores, restaurants and delis. These machines can cause serious cuts and amputations when workers are using, maintaining or cleaning them. In 2013, at least 4,000 incidents involving meat slicers occurred that resulted in lost workdays. The fact sheet provides employers with the requirements on how to prevent cuts and amputations from working with food slicers and meat grinders.
OSHA developed this fact sheet based on information gathered through the agency's new reporting requirements that employers must notify OSHA of any work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye within 24 hours.

OSHA's revised Hazard Communication requirements in effect as of June 1

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers are required to provide a common approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category. Beginning in December, distributors may only ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer if the labels meet these requirements.
The June 1 deadline was established when OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard in 2012 with the global standard for chemical product labeling. The provisions for labeling offer workers better protection from chemical hazards, while also reducing trade barriers and improving productivity for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals. The updated standard also provides cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the standard, saving businesses millions of dollars each year.
The new format for Safety Data Sheets requires 16 specific sections to ensure consistency in presentation of important protection information. For more information, see OSHA'sHazard Communication webpage.