A new NIOSH study estimates that more than one-half of noise-exposed workers did not use hearing protection “always” or “usually” when exposed to hazardous occupational noise. A Hearing protection device (HPD) non-use was only measured in workers who reported exposure to noise on the job. The study was published online October 1, 2021 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Around 22 million people in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise at work each year. Researchers found female workers, young workers (aged 18-25) and current smokers had a significantly higher prevalence of HPD non-use.
“Our findings regarding HPD non-use by gender and age group are consistent with previous studies,” said Elizabeth Masterson, PhD, research epidemiologist and study co-author. “However, no prior relationship between smoking and HPD non-use has been reported. Our study was the first to find a significant association between current smoking and HPD non-use.”
The construction industry has long been considered a relatively analog sector. Though there is certainly a great deal of machinery involved, it is still most often associated with hands-on activities. Experts in engineering, building, and architecture applying their talents to creating everything from basic housing to impressive works of art. Yet, just as with almost every area of our contemporary way of life, there are ways advanced digital technology is transforming the construction sector.
The technological tools now commonplace in construction are instrumental in making projects safer and more efficient for workers, alongside being more environmentally friendly. Some of these take relatively familiar forms — handheld mobile devices to collect, analyze and share information are a part of modern life. While others are more advanced, like strength-augmenting exoskeletons and drone-mounted monitoring tools. An exciting aspect of this is that the industry increasingly needs c
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited a masonry and stucco contractor in Fort Worth, Texas, and a roofer in Orwell, Ohio, for exposing employees to fall hazards; the agency proposed six-figure penalties for each employer.
On September 17, OSHA cited RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing workers to fall and silica hazards after having cited the company for similar violations in 2018 and 2019. The agency cited the company for 9 repeat and 6 serious violations, including failing to ensure that scaffolding was properly planked and secured, provide a ladder for safe egress, and inspect scaffolding. OSHA is seeking penalties totaling $216,265.
On September 20, the agency cited Neal Weaver, owner of Grand Valley Carpentry LLC of Orwell, with willful, serious violations of the eye protection and fall protection standards and is seeking a proposed $253,556 in penalties.
In the past, Weaver has not cooperated
Washington — NIOSH has issued a pair of fact sheets on filtering facepiece respirators, detailing how to tell if an N95 is approved by the agency as well as procedures for fit testing and testing filtration efficiency.
With an NIOSH-approved respirator, “you can be confident that it is working as expected” as long as it is properly maintained, is worn and used correctly, fits properly, and is replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.
“NIOSH only approves respirators that pass its strict quality assurance and performance requirements,” the agency says. During its tests, NIOSH uses a “near worst-case penetrating aerosol size (i.e., particles that are best able to make it through a filter).” An N95 respirator must block at least 95% of those particles, which typically measure at 0.3 microns in diameter.
The fact sheet on fit testing and filtratio
Washington — OSHA has issued temporary enforcement guidelines for fit testing of powered air-purifying respirators for workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The guidance applies when “initial and/or annual fit testing is infeasible” because of respirator shortages or shortages of fit-testing supplies, the agency states in an Oct. 2 memo. The guidelines apply only to health care personnel and other workers at high risk for exposure to the coronavirus, such as emergency responders, laboratory workers or mortuary workers.
The guidance does not apply to:
● PAPRs not approved by NIOSH
● PAPRs used by workers with low or medium exposure risk to COVID-19
● PAPRs used by workers for protecting against non-COVID-19 airborne hazards, such as chemical exposures
● Loose-fitting hooded PAPRs that don’t require fit testing
As many safety officers will know, working at heights is one of the most hazardous activities that workers can engage in. Falls are a major cause of injury and death in Canadian workplaces. Even falling from two or three metres up can have fatal consequences.
This is why it is essential for organizations who engage in these types to activities to understand the importance and intricacies of fall protection PPE and training.
And this is essential, because working at heights is so dangerous, and using the right equipment can make a different between life and death – or serious injury.
“According to regulatory provisions set forward by government agencies that are responsible for worker health and safety, fall protection is something that is a requirement to be provided by employers when they have their employees working at heights, where there is a possibility of falling to a different level,” says Michel Goulet, Professional Division Sales Manager, Petzl
To combat hazards associated with extreme heat exposure – both indoors and outdoors – OSHA will enact enhanced measures to protect workers better in hot environments and reduce the dangers of exposure to ambient heat. Heat illness is a well-known work hazard that is largely preventable, yet thousands of workers become ill each year due to workplace heat exposure. In 2019, 43 workers died from heat illness while another 2,410 suffered serious injuries and illnesses.
OSHA is implementing an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards, developing a national emphasis program (NEP) on heat inspections, and launching a rulemaking process to develop a workplace heat standard. The agency will also form a working group within its National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health to identify and share best practices. The agency notes that the initiative will prioritize heat-related interventions and inspections of work activities on days when the heat index exceeds 80 deg
As a petite and athletic woman, AMA member Nicole Yedlinsky, MD, has had a constant struggle to find proper fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). Her surgical gowns are too long, and her gloves, safety goggles and masks were too big. While it has been an ongoing issue for Dr. Yedlinsky and so many other physicians and health professionals, it has been increasingly burdensome during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Face masks are typically designed to fit European males without facial hair, impacting the fit for others outside of this profile. It has been found that N95 masks fit about 90% of men, but only 85% of women. This is concerning because improperly fitting PPE sometimes or significantly hampered work for 57% of women, who make up the majority of front-line workers in health care. To that end, the House of Delegates recently directed the AMA to encourage manufacturers to make sure PPE designed to fit everyone.
WorkSafeBC has issued a number of fines to companies flouting working at heights regulations, exposing workers to dangerous and potentially deadly falls.
Rana Siding and Gutters Ltd. was recently fined $2,851.95 by WorkSafeBC. During an inspection of a worksite in Surrey, B.C., where the firm was installing gutters at a three-storey townhouse complex under construction, WorkSafeBC noticed a worker installing gutter pipes from the top of a ladder – with no system of fall protection in place. This means that the worker was exposed to a fall risk of about 4.9 metres (or 16 feet).
Not only was fall protection lacking, Rana Siding and Gutters also failed to provide its workers with information, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety – both were repeat violations.
Hollypark Construction Corporation in Salmon Arm, B.C., was als
September means one thing: back to school. While Canadian workers don’t typically enjoy weeks off like the kids (maybe the one thing most of us miss from school), the start of Fall is usually a great time to reflect and refresh.
In a perfect world, workplaces would be accident free. Sadly the reality is that no matter how careful we are, sometimes accidents simply happen. However, this isn’t an excuse to slack off or engage in defeatism. On the contrary, organizations should constantly be on the lookout and make sure that they are doing everything they can to mitigate risks in the workplace.
According to 2018 data from the University of Regina (the latest available data), 1,027 workers died of work-related causes in 2018 – an increase of 76 from 2017. The report also states that in the same year, 264,438 lost-time injury claims were accepted by provincial and territorial compensation boards.
Improvement is not a given, and now is a great time for a fre