1. OSHA heat, disease, violence rulemaking grinds slowly ahead

    Heat illness, infectious disease and workplace violence are still on OSHA’s radar for its Spring 2022 Regulatory Agenda, with rulemaking efforts continuing, albeit slowly.

    Violations involving these three hazards have typically been enforced via the General Duty Clause – with enforcement efforts already in place for 2022 on heat illness and COVID-19 – and the agency has announced its intentions of creating specific standards for each of them over the past several years.

    Likewise, the inclusion of electronic submissions for Form 300 injury and illness data on this year’s agenda should come as no surprise since OSHA has been eager to restore the Obama-era rule that had been mostly withdrawn by the Trump administration.

    With all of that in mind, here are the highlights from OSHA’s Spring 2022 Regulatory Agenda:

    Heat illness

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  2. Hearing Loss Prevention: What You Should Consider

    Make sure all employees are aware of the hazards of noise-induced hearing loss, so they can take steps to protect against them.

    Loud noises in the workplace can lead to permanent hearing loss among workers. Banging, drilling and other mechanical processes can produce loud noises that can damage a person’s eardrum. The types of sounds, noise intensity and duration of exposure can all contribute to hearing loss.

    Symptoms may take years to develop, but even brief exposure to loud noises can have a major effect on a person’s life, limiting their ability to hear the world around them. Once noise-related hearing loss occurs, it is irreversible, so it’s crucial to protect your hearing when on the job and off, including when attending concerts and using loud tools or equipment at home.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set clear rules regarding noise pollution in the workplace. If these sounds pass a certain threshold, managers should imple

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  3. Creating a Safer, More Efficient Workplace Through Visuals

    When at work, nearly every employee is compelled to do good and make a positive contribution to their team and organization. But sometimes their knowledge, or lack thereof, can hinder their ability to do just that.
    When there’s a lack of knowledge or an information deficit, it can lead to wasted time:

    • Searching for the information or tools needed to complete the job

    • Asking questions to gather the needed information

    • Waiting for answers

    But, there are human factors that can also get in the way of resolving an information gap.

    While it would make logical sense for an employee to ask more questions when they require additional information, that doesn’t always happen. The human ego can, at times, lead these same great employees to avoid asking more questions because they think they should know the answer or they fear being perceived as incompetent.

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  4. Historically High Heat: How Extreme Temperatures Influence Safety Programs

    Have you ever been in an environment that was so hot that you felt like basic functioning would take tremendous effort? Extreme heat can envelop you, enclosing you in an uncomfortable case that impacts your ability to move, to breathe and even to see if you are in it long enough.

    This is a scenario that millions of workers must face when they go to work in the hot summer months and the heat isn’t cooling down. In fact, research shows that the temperatures in the United States will only continue to go up over the next decade after reaching a historic high in 2021.

    It’s Heating Up

    According to the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, 2021 had the warmest meteorological summer (June-August) on record with an average temperature of 74.01 degrees Fahrenheit. This record had been previously set for 85 years by the year 1936 when the average temperature of the summer was 74.00 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The 1930s
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  5. VOC Detection Technology for University of Nottingham School of Chemistry

    For the chemists and students who are working hard to make scientific discoveries and improvements for the future, it’s vital that their labs and work areas are safe and free from potentially harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). ION Science is pleased to have supplied its leading handheld VOC gas detector, the Tiger, to help monitor air quality at the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry GSK Centre for Sustainable Chemistry.

    Preventing exposure and ensuring VOC levels do not reach dangerous concentrations in these areas is essential for the safety of those working, and to ensure minimal interference with projects and experiments. There are also other factors to consider, such as shared communal spaces in buildings (like corridors or common rooms) potentially being impacted by high levels of VOCs. Depending on the volume and type of VOC, this could range from mildly annoying to more serious health affects long-term.

    In a university, where buildings m
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  6. Listen Up: Employers Must Provide the Same Level of Hearing Protection to All Workers Under Amended PPE Regulations

    Employers in Great Britain need to ensure that they are ready to provide the same level of hearing protection to workers who carry out casual work as employees who have a contract of employment when updated personal protective equipment (PPE) regulations come into force on April 6th 2022.

    The amendment to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations extends employers’ and employees’ duties to all workers, regardless of employment type. The news follows the recent revision to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations, which places an emphasis on the priority of control of exposure and risk at the source.

    Understanding Legal Requirements

    The Control of Noise at Work Regulations follow European Union Directives to ensure that workers’ hearing is protected from excessive noise. The level at which employers must
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  7. A Degree of Safety

    Various fire incidents recently occurred underground, and each fire had the potential to result in a major incident. No lives were lost during any of these fires, but some necessitated the activation of emergency and escape procedures.

    During investigation it was found that none of these fire detection monitors registered conditions that would trigger fire alarms in the control rooms at the mines. All incidents of conveyor belt related fires were detected by the early observations of employees working in relative proximity, or passing by the locations where the fires originated.

    As a result, a decision was made to investigate opportunities for improvement in the effectiveness of the fire detection systems currently deployed in the underground mining facilities of some collieries. A case study involving some underground collieries was done to determine the effectiveness of their fire detection systems and identify the aspects that could be improved.

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  8. A Fitting Solution - HSME

    While educational programmes focusing on the risks of workplace respiratory hazards have increased in recent years (British Occupational Hygiene Society’s (BOHS) ‘Breathe Freely’ campaign and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) ‘No Time to Lose’ initiative), there is still much more that can be done.

    This is emphasised by statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who estimate each year that there are some 12,000 deaths in Great Britain from lung diseases linked to exposure to hazardous substances at work. In addition, a further 18,000 new cases of lung or breathing problems caused (or made worse by) airborne hazards in work environments will be reported over the same time period.

    When considering these numbers, one must account for the fact that symptoms of occupational lung diseases can take several decades to present themselves, but even so, they show no signs of decreasing. The HSE says that the rate of self-reported, work-relate
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  9. Heat and Flame Protective Clothing

    Managing the risks involved in the working environment is always necessary in order to protect workers and to maintain compliance with health and safety legislation. In terms of thermal protection, a wide range of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) clothing exists typically produced from inherently heat and flame resistant materials.

    Three intended safety standards available to manufacturers producing PPE garments protecting workers against heat and flame hazards cover the following:

    • EN ISO 11612:2015 – Protective Clothing against Heat and Flame

    • EN ISO 11611:2015 – Protective Clothing for use in welding or allied processes

    • EN ISO 14116:2015 – Protective Clothing against Flame, Limited Flame Spread materials, material assemblies and clothing

    Note that these dual “EN ISO” standards also hold a “presumption of conformity” within the European Union provided the manufacturer also adheres to the requirements of the European PPE Re

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  10. CO2 – an Underrated, Silent Killer

    Carbon dioxide is one of the most frequently overlooked of all toxic gases. Even to refer to CO2 as a toxic gas, is a surprise to many safety professionals. Let’s take a closer look.

    In the past, the majority of atmospheric monitoring programs have treated CO2 as only a “simple asphyxiant”. An asphyxiant is a substance that can cause unconsciousness or death by suffocation (asphyxiation). Asphyxiants, which have no other health effects, are referred to as “simple” asphyxiants.

    As carbon dioxide was not considered to be a toxic hazard, rather than directly measuring the CO2 concentration in a confined space or workplace environment, it was seen as adequate to simply measure the oxygen concentration. But is this assessment really valid?

    The effects of CO2

    To answer this question, it helps to look at the physical effects of different CO2 concentrations as listed by some Health Authorities. The levels of CO2 in
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