Category Archives: Uncategorized

A New Standard for Beryllium

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

collage of metallic items made out of beryllium

Beryllium is a remarkable metal: lighter than aluminum but strong as steel. It’s found in a wide range of products, from cell phones to satellites, is an important material for the defense industry, and it is an essential component of nuclear weapons.

But exposure to beryllium can be deadly. The danger arises when beryllium-containing materials are processed in a way that releases the metal into the air that is breathed by workers.

On Aug. 6, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a long-awaited measure aimed at protecting workers from harmful exposure to beryllium by proposing to dramatically lower the amount of beryllium allowed in the air that workers breathe.

The current allowable amount was set originally by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948, and adopted by OSHA in 1971, before the risks of long-term exposure were well understood. But we have known for decades that the allowable exposure levels for beryllium are inadequate.

The proposed rule − which would apply to about 35,000 workers − is significant for many reasons, but two are especially noteworthy.

First, this rule will save lives and reduce suffering.

We estimate that each year it will prevent almost 100 deaths and 50 illnesses. This includes cases of the debilitating, incurable condition known as chronic beryllium disease, as well as lung cancer.

Second, we are able to make this announcement because of a historic collaborative effort between industry and labor.

Together, the…

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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.cdc.gov

Training and Education

CDC Course Numbers: WB2408 and WB2409

Course Description

The purpose of this online training program is to educate nurses and their managers about the health and safety risks associated with shift work, long work hours, and related workplace fatigue issues and relay strategies in the workplace and in the nurse’s personal life to reduce these risks. Part 1 (CDC Course No. WB2408) is designed to increase knowledge about the wide range of risks linked to these work schedules and related fatigue issues and promote understanding about why these risks occur. This knowledge provides background information for Part 2 of the training program. Part 2 (CDC Course No. WB2409) is designed to increase knowledge about personal behaviors and workplace systems to reduce these risks. Content for this training program is derived from scientific literature on shift work, long work hours, sleep, and circadian rhythms.

Suggested Citation:

NIOSH, Caruso CC, Geiger-Brown J, Takahashi M, Trinkoff A, Nakata A. [2015]. NIOSH training for nurses on shift work and long work hours. (DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2015-115). Cincinnati, OH: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. [www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2015-115/]

Technical Requirements

Computer hardware (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile devices); internet connection. To run this course, your web browser must support and enable…

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Federal Regulators Link Workers’ Comp Failures To Income Inequality

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.npr.org

A few hours after ProPublica and NPR issued the first in a series of reports about workers’ compensation “reforms” sweeping the country, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration coincidentally released a paper linking workplace injuries to income inequality.

The OSHA paper and ProPublica/NPR stories come to similar conclusions about how some injured workers have been affected by a decade of changes in workers’ compensation laws, including cutbacks in benefits and more difficulty in getting benefits.

But OSHA goes on to say that many injured workers and their families find themselves in “a trap which leaves them less able to save for the future or to make the investments in skills and education that provide the opportunity for advancement.”

Among the paper’s other major points:

  • On average, injured workers earn $31,000 or 15 percent less in the 10 years following a workplace injury
  • Employers pay only 21 percent of the costs of workplace injuries through workers’ compensation. Families end up bearing 50 percent of the costs and taxpayers pay 16 percent when workers resort to food stamps or Social Security Disability.
  • With employers not bearing the full costs, which OSHA characterizes as a subsidy, the incentive to provide a safe workplace is undermined.
  • Fewer than 40 percent of eligible injured workers apply for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • In California, 1/3 of workers with reported amputations at work did not receive workers’ compensation benefits. In…

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Join the conversation: What does it mean to grow old in America

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

Editor’s Note: This has been cross-posted from the AOL blog. You can view the original here.

AOLTwitterChat_v3

America is aging — as a country. As of last year about one in seven Americans was older than 65, and by 2030 it will be closer to one in five Americans. Aging impacts all of us, regardless of how young or old.

From health care to finances, our aging nation creates new challenges and issues for all Americans — baby boomers and millennials alike.

This Monday, July 13, the White House is highlighting the issues involved with growing old in America today.

As a special part of that event, AOL is teaming up with the White House to help shed light on this important topic. As part of our comprehensive coverage throughout the day, Labor Secretary Tom Perez will be answering questions live on Monday on AOL.com — and you can be part of the discussion.

Here are the top issues we’ll be discussing:

  • Impact to the work force
  • Health at all ages
  • Retirement security, today and in the future
  • Housing and financial security

Submit questions and join the conversation on how aging is transforming the work force and impacting the economy with @AOL and @LaborSec with the hashtag #WhiteHouseOnAOL on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine — or even in the comments below.

Click here to tweet or submit your questions on Twitter using #WhiteHouseOnAOL, then tune in to @AOL on Monday, July 13th at 12:30 p.m. ET to be a part of the live Twitter chat with @LaborSec.

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The workers’ compensation system is broken — and it’s driving people into poverty

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.washingtonpost.com

There’s a good news/bad news situation for occupational injuries in the United States: Fewer people are getting hurt on the job. But those who do are getting less help.

That’s according to a couple of important new reports out Wednesday on how the system for cleaning up workplace accidents is broken — both because of the changing circumstances of the people who are getting injured, and the disintegration of programs that are supposed to pay for them.

The first comes from the Department of Labor, which aims to tie the 3 million workplace injuries reported per year — the number is actually much higher, because many workers fear raising the issue with their employers — into the ongoing national conversation about inequality. In an overview of research on the topic, the agency finds that low-wage workers (especially Latinos) have disproportionately high injury rates, and that injuries can slice 15 percent off a person’s earnings over 10 years after the accident.

“Income inequality is a very active conversation led by the White House,” David Michaels, director of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said in an interview. “Injuries are knocking many families out of the middle class, and block many low-wage workers from getting out of poverty. So we think it’s an important component of this conversation.”

There are two main components to the financial implications of a workplace injury. The first is the legal…

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Construction Fall Safety Stand-Down – Pt 2

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from experttalk.creativesafetysupply.com

Fall prevention requires employer planning and employee training. Listen to Matt McNicholas of OSHA discuss the annual Construction Fall Safety Stand-Down May 4-15, 2015.

Construction_Fall_Safety_Stand-Down-Pt_2-Creative_Safety_Supply-220x220

Matt says employers need to do three things to keep employees safe from falls:

1. Plan ahead to get work done safely.
2. Provide the correct equipment.
3. Train the exposed workers how to safely use equipment.

Matt is a Safety And Health Specialist with OSHA in Chicago. In this podcast, he tells stories of surprise jobsite inspections during his 12 years as an inspector.

Hear Matt also tell about warning lines, designated areas, anchorage points and control zones.

This is the second Safety Experts Talk featuring fall prevention experts.

TRANSCRIPT

(:00)
Brandon Nys: Welcome to Safety Experts Talk. Take a look at our website at CreativeSafetySupply.com/podcast for related links in the transcript of this podcast.

Construction_Fall_Safety_Stand-Down-Pt_2-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x236

OSHA

(intro music)

Matt McNicholas: I’ve seen leaps and bounds, quite frankly, in terms of fall protection used over the course of my career here. But the bottom line is that, it’s still a leading cause of fatalities in construction, and it’s always in the top 10 issued violations of OSHA citations.

(:33)
Dan Clark: Falls from height kill more people in construction than any other type of accident—almost 300 fatalities annually—prompting the Construction Fall Safety…

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Kettle Falls, WA Cedar Mill Fined More Than $150,000 for Safety Violations

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Law Firm.

Kettle Falls cedar mill fined more than $150,000 for safety violations in connection with worker injury

The Columbia Cedar mill in Kettle Falls has been fined $151,800 for safety violations after a worker was seriously hurt while trying to clear bark from a hopper.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited the employer for one willful violation and 28 serious violations of workplace safety regulations.

The willful violation involved multiple instances of employees working in close proximity to exposed and unguarded chain sprockets on chain conveyors, a hazard that can cause permanent disabling injuries. The one willful violation carries a penalty of $52,000.

L&I initiated the inspection after learning that in June 2014 an employee had suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized after becoming entangled in a rotating shaft meant to move bark in the back of a hopper. The investigation found the equipment had no guarding installed to protect employees.

Along with the willful citation, the employer was cited for several serious violations related to machine/equipment guarding, and for not ensuring “lock-out/tag-out” procedures were used to prevent machinery from starting up or moving during service or maintenance by workers.

There were several additional serious violations involving fall/overhead hazards, hand-held tools, personal protective equipment and forklift training.

The employer was also cited for failing to report the hospitalization of an injured worker. By law, all employers are required to report to L&I within eight hours any time a worker is hospitalized or dies due to work-related causes.

A willful violation can be issued when L&I has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition.

The employer has 15 working days to appeal the citation, and has notified L&I that it plans on doing so. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

 

Insult to Injury: Is Income Inequality Tied to Worker Safety?

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

guadalupe

Guadalupe González doesn’t know if she’s going to be able to make it much longer.

The East Boston resident used to hold a full time position as a cleaner for Sodexo. Much of her time working was spent on the campus of Lasell College, located in the wealthy Boston suburb of Newton, where she was paid $10.80 an hour for her labor. Weighed down by her buckets and supplies, she would rush, at Sodexo’s insistence, from building to building across the campus often on uneven terrain.

When Guadalupe fell it was devastating; she knew instantly what her mangled ankle meant. She was going to have to take a break from her physically demanding job, a break she just couldn’t afford. Three surgeries later, Guadalupe is no closer to returning to work than the day she was injured. She is in nearly constant pain and requires a cane to walk. Worse yet, Guadalupe now receives a mere 60 percent of her former earnings, making it almost impossible to buy food, pay bills and make rent. Sadly, Guadalupe is not alone. She is one of at least three million workers seriously injured every year in the United States. She is one of many workers who will lose more than 15 percent in wages over ten years because of their injury while bearing nearly 50 percent of its cost. For workers like Guadalupe, the American dream quickly becomes a nightmare. These injuries and illnesses contribute to the pressing issue of income inequality: they force working families out of the middle…

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