Monday, July 18, 2016

QuickCards offer guidance on protecting outdoor workers from Zika virus

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, like the one pictured, can become infected when they bite infected persons and can then spread the Zika virus to other persons they subsequently bite. Aedes aegypti mosquito. Credit: CDC / James Gathany
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, like the one pictured, can become infected when they bite infected persons and can then spread the Zika virus to other persons they subsequently bite.
Outdoor workers may be at the greatest risk of exposure to Zika virus in areas where mosquitoes—the main route of transmission—are spreading the disease. OSHA's new QuickCards, available inEnglish and Spanish, provide information for workers about how to protect themselves from mosquito bites when working outside. The QuickCards offer tips on wearing clothing to cover skin, and using insect repellent on exposed skin. The new guidance also links to the most up-to-date information on Zika from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as potential health outcomes and reproductive effects.

Pamphlet offers safety guidance on the deadly combination of tree care work and electricity

Electricity and Tree Care Work: A Deadly Combination
Contact with electricity is one of the leading causes of death for tree care workers. A new OSHA pamphlet intended for small business owners and front-line supervisors offers measures to ensure that workers know and are prepared for the risks of tree-trimming operations near sources of electricity. These include training workers about potential hazards, making sure workers maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from overhead power lines, and providing proper gloves and shoes for hazards present where tree work is being performed. The pamphlet is also available in Spanish.

OSHA staff help ensure safety and health of workers, public performing flood cleanup in West Virginia

OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer Dan Hughes (second from left) speaking with workers in the process of rerouting a water line near Clendenin,
OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer Dan Hughes (second from left) speaking with workers in the process of rerouting a water line near Clendenin, W.V.
OSHA has deployed staff to flood-impacted West Virginia counties to ensure that employers, workers and others engaged in cleanup efforts avoidpotential hazards and take steps to protect themselves. OSHA compliance assistance officers initially focused their efforts in the three hardest hit counties of Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas, which President Obama declared federal disaster areas. OSHA staff have performed more than 45 interventions in hazardous situations, affecting nearly 1,000 workers. OSHA has also provided more than 500 workers with information and educational materials on topics such as heat stress, mold, personal protective equipment, fall hazards and powered industrial truck operations. Whether cleanup operations are being performed at a residential home or a business, homeowners and employers should request the assistance of a safety and health professional. For more information, see the news release.

New online fact sheets address hazards related to agriculture and combustible dust

Combustible Dust: Contain. Capture. Clean.
OSHA's new Emergency Preparedness for Farmworkers fact sheet focuses on the importance of creating and training workers in an emergency action plan to help lessen the impact of agricultural emergencies and disasters, whether natural or man-made. A fact sheet on Protecting Workers from Combustible Dust Explosion Hazards explains how to capture, contain and clean combustible dusts generated in a variety of workplaces before they become dispersed in clouds that present the risk of flash fires or explosions. Both fact sheets can be downloaded from OSHA's Publications webpage.

OSHA to host stakeholder meeting to discuss protecting tree care workers from injury or death

Tree Care Work: Know the Hazards
Tree trimming and removal operations expose workers to a variety of potentially fatal hazards including: falling from trees and aerial equipment; being hit by falling trees, flying objects and vehicular traffic; being cut by chain saws and chippers; and contacting energized power lines. To better protect tree care workers from injury or death, OSHA previously issued a hazard bulletin and trifold wallet card with valuable information for employers and workers.
Building on those efforts, OSHA will host an informal stakeholder meeting July 13 in Washington, D.C., to collect information on hazards in the tree care industry. Those interested in participating or observing canregister online. The agency will use the information gathered during this meeting to determine the need for a proposed rule. See the Federal Register notice for more details.

OSHA promotes safety in fireworks industry in light of July 4 festivities

fireworks display
With Independence Day celebrations approaching, OSHA is encouraging the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to protect workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.
Fireworks can be deadly: In February, OSHA cited Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation Inc.after a 21-year-old worker was killed during an outdoor pyrotechnics display. And last year, two workers were killed in an explosion at fireworks manufacturer Ultratec Special Effects Inc. in Alabama. The company was cited for 14 violations.
OSHA offers information on common hazards and solutions, including downloadable safety posters for workplaces. Also available is a training video that demonstrates best industry practices for retail sales and manufacturers based on National Fire Protection Association consensus standards.