1. CDC updates employer COVID-19 resources

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provided updated resources on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for employers. These include a fact sheet on case investigation and contact tracing, critical infrastructure sector response planning, and information for school administrators and school nurses.

    The CDC offered a cleaning, disinfection, and hand hygiene toolkit for school administrators, as well as disease information for school nurses. It also explained that successful cleaning and disinfection in schools requires administrators to develop and implement a plan, as well as maintain and revise it. The toolkit includes handouts and posters for cleaning and disinfecting school classrooms and other campus facilities. The EPA maintains current lists of disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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  2. Revised Standard Improves Safety of Construction and Demolition Workers

    PARK RIDGE, IL — Construction and demolition sites are among the most hazardous work environments, especially when multiple contractors and employers introduce operational complexities to a job site. A newly revised standard from the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) helps employers keep construction workers safe by describing best practices they can implement to take safety programs to the next level.

    ANSI/ASSP A10.33-2020, Safety and Health Program Requirements for Multi-Employer Projects, identifies key elements an organization should use to create and manage a safety program in a shared construction project. The standard assists project owners, construction supervisors, contractors and equipment manufacturers. ASSP published the new standard as secretariat for the ANSI/ASSP A10 committee focused on safety requirements for construction and demolition operations.

    “Risks on construction and demolition sit

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  3. False alarms account for 42% of FRS incidents in 2020

    Fire and rescue incident statistics for England, have been released by the Home Office for the year ending June 2020, containing statistics about incidents attended by the services (FRS).

    In the year ending June 2020 FRSs attended 231,510 fire false alarms, a 1% increase with the previous year (229,961), and a 7% increase compared with five years ago (215,857), though a 19% decrease compared with 10 years ago (285,368).

    Key results

    ● FRSs attended 549,913 incidents in the year ending June 2020. This was a 4% decrease compared with the previous year (573,776). Of these incidents, there were 156,128 fires. This was a 15% decrease compared with the previous year (182,661) with falls in all types of fires but particularly driven by a 20% fall in secondary fires now that the hot, dry 2018 summer is in the comparator year;
    ● There were 231
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  4. 4 OSHA Issues to Follow in Early 2021

    It would be fascinating to travel into the future and see what history will say about 2020 . As the year closes out, we all have experienced life-altering events that will be forever etched in our memories. Time will determine the impact of these events, but certainly “new normals” have and will be formed. Virtually every facet of our lives has changed – socially, financially and professionally.

    The same is true of occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals. Throughout our careers, we have used our education and skills to help workers return safely to their families at the end of their workday. During COVID-19, many of us are using technology to perform those tasks from afar. We have had to learn new skills and alter our behaviors. We have all been challenged in new ways.

    OSHA has been similarly impacted by the pandemic. Agency personnel have coped with COVID-19 while also working to help employers address hazards arising in essential industries. Like ASSP,

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  5. New legal risk for employers: Public OSHA records

    Even the most safety-conscious companies sometimes have workers that get injured or sick on the job.

    Like many non-exempt businesses with 11 or more employees, you’re keeping an Occupational Safety and Health Act-required record of serious work-related injuries (requiring more than first aid) and illnesses via OSHA’s Form 300 — the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

    You have seven calendar days to record an injury or illness after receiving word that a recordable incident occurred.

    In general, it’s the employer’s call whether an injury or illness is work-related. But if the work environment significantly aggravates an employee’s pre-existing illness or injury, it counts as work-related and should be logged.

    For several reasons — including tracking any emergent hazards and developing standards — OSHA monitors occupational injury and illness dat

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  6. Note the differences in confined spaces to follow the right standard

    Working in a confined space can be hazardous but working in a permit-required confined space (permit space) is often downright dangerous. That’s why it’s important that employers ask the question: Is the work done in the permit space considered a maintenance or construction activity? The answer to that question will determine if OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.146 general industry standard or the 1926 Subpart AA standard must be followed.

    There are several OSHA Letters of Interpretation (LOI) that will help an employer answer the maintenance or construction question.

    11/18/2003 - Clarification of maintenance vs. construction activities

    This letter of interpretation states that “Construction work is not limited to new construction but can include the repair of existing facilities or the replacement of structures and their components. For example, the replacement of one utility pole with a new, identical pole would be maintenance; however, if it w
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  7. Improving Safety with the Kata Method

    Kata is a methodology that empowers team members to solve problems themselves.

    In EHS, the state and federal regulations must be met. The question is what tools/methodology are you using to create a culture that is effective and efficient? A safety culture can provide great value—injury prevention, minimized risk and fatalities, a culture of care and team engagement, not to mention a reduction in costs and fines. The key is to focus on the process or system which may not be fully understood due to the varying situations of the specific process, machine, or task.

    One team-based methodology that I have had positive results with while solving problems is Mike Rother’s Improvement Kata. The Improvement and Coaching Kata has been proven to be an amazingly effective systematic and scientific methodology. The four steps, according to Rother, are:

    1. Understand the

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  8. Avoiding repeat mistakes: Whistleblowers, ethics, risk management and due diligence

    Through the combined efforts of subject matter experts, investigative journalism and, sometimes law enforcement, issues such as bad ethics, criminal acts, lessons-learned and worst-case scenarios have been consistently reported over the years. Many are reported after the incident with investigations completed while others have been fortunately reported proactively so the issue in question could be resolved before an injury, exposure or even death.

    Some of these situations are more well-known than others such as the Bhopal disaster, the pesticide leak that exposed over 500,000 to methyl isocyanide (Banjeree, 2013) and NASA’s Challenger and Columbia spaceflight disasters; when viewed in conjunction with other disasters such as Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island, the basis for the proactive hazard identification, communication, leading indicators and continual improvement forming high reliability theory and operations was born (Boin & Schulman, 2008). With this, for high reliability o

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  9. Current situation for teachers is “grim” and “utterly unreasonable” reveals report

    The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) recently released results from a survey conducted in October on mental health among teachers amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Teacher Mental Health Check-In survey, which received almost 14,000 responses, found “unbearable” levels of stress anxiety, and a struggle to cope with the demands of teaching during the pandemic. The results show that almost 70 per cent of respondents are concerned with their own mental health and well-being.

    During a virtual press conference, Shelley Morse, president of the CTF said that “no matter how tired we may be of it, it is far from being tired of us…COVID-19 continues to take a toll and leaves no one behind.”

    Morse said that the demands placed on teachers are “utterly unreasonable” and that the people we entrust to teach and take care of our children have been left to their own de

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  10. Secure tools at hand

    My first recollection of the harm a dropped object can cause was in my youth when touring the Empire State Building in New York City. I remember over-hearing, “If you drop a penny or pen from the Empire State Building and it lands on someone, it could kill them.” You may have heard this anecdote too.

    For some reason, that stuck with me — how something so small, like a penny or ballpoint pen, could turn into a dangerous weapon when dropped from a height.

    The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall, so it was easy to believe what I overheard. I have since learned that because a penny’s lightweight, flat round shape, and the fact that it experiences a lot of air resistance would most likely not kill someone if tossed from the Empire State Building.

    However, according to Louis Bloomfield, physicist at the University of Virginia, “falling ballpoint pens are the real danger. If someone nonchalantly tossed one of those off the top of the Empire State Building,

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