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Insights and updates from Safety Partners

Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Prevent Blindness has deemed March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. This non-profit organization is currently promoting awareness about the dangers of blue light exposure from computers, televisions, and device screens including smart phones and tablet screens. Recent studies suggest that long-term exposure to the blue light emitted from these screens can cause digital eye strain with eye fatigue and dry eyes that can in some cases lead to eye problems like macular degeneration from damage to the cornea.

The largest source of blue light is sunlight. However, there is concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure because of the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them, both during the workday and after.

So what can you do to protect your eyes from blue light?

  1. Screen time: Try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of screens and/or take frequent […]

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Prevent Blindness, the nation’s first eye health and vision care nonprofit organization, has deemed March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Did you know that thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries? According to the CDC, each day about 2,000 U.S. employees sustain a work-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.

How do eye injuries happen to workers? The majority of eye injuries result from small foreign objects or flying particles getting in the eye. Large objects may also strike the eye or a worker may run into an object causing blunt-force eye trauma. Many eye injuries are also caused by chemical burns from chemicals such as acids and caustics as well as workplace cleaning products.

The encouraging news is that approximately 90% of eye injuries that occur in the workplace are […]

Biennial Reports Are Due March 1, 2020!

 

If your facility is registered with the MA DEP as a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) of hazardous waste, don’t forget that 2020 is a year when biennial reports must be filed.  Biennial reports are due by March 1st of even numbered years for any facility that exceeded the LQG threshold during the preceding odd numbered year, even if your facility is no longer registered as an LQG.  Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) are also required to report every two years.

Biennial reports provide the DEP with information on the quantity and nature of the hazardous waste that was generated in the previous year and whether the waste was sent for recycling, treatment, storage, or disposal. As of 2018, biennial reports need to be filed electronically using the RCRAInfo Industry Application. The electronic submission includes the following:

  • RCRA Subtitle C Site Identification Form
  • Waste Generation and Management (GM) Form
  • Waste Received From Off-Site (WR) Form, and […]

Exploring Exposure Limits: What do those numbers mean?

If you’ve ever attended safety training, you surely have heard the terms PEL, TLV, REL and STEL.  Do these letters really have a meaning or are they just a bunch of alphabet soup?  These acronyms all represent different occupational exposure limits (OELs) that are derived by different organizations.  An OEL is representative of the highest concentration a healthy worker can be exposed to for a full work week over the duration of their working life without experiencing an adverse effect.  Although similar, they each have a different goal and meaning.

Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)

The Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL, is the most widely known exposure limit.  This is the OSHA 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) exposure limit and is the only limit directly enforceable by regulation.  OSHA limits must be approved by Congress and take into account both health benefits and industry costs.  PELs are difficult to change because of the congressional approval required.  These […]

February 5th, 2020|Categories: Insights|Tags: , , , |

January Blog Recap!

WOW!  We’re already one month into 2020!  Here are the blogs from January!


 

Have You Made New Year’s Resolutions for Your Safety Program?

January 2nd:  

The start of the new year is a time for resolutions. Often the focus is on eating healthier, exercising more, or starting a new hobby.  For those of us in EHS it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate our safety programs and plan for and set goals for the new year.  Is your EHS program as robust as you would like it to be?

 


 

The Hierarchy of Controls

January 14th:

A basic tenant of any good industrial hygiene program is the application of the hierarchy of controls.  This mantra dictates that identified hazards should be addressed in the following order:

  • removal of hazard
  • substitution of hazard
  • engineering controls
  • administrative controls
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)

 


 

Does Your Company Need to Post OSHA Form 300A?

January 22nd:

OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, […]

February 1st, 2020|Categories: Insights|

OSHA Commemorates 50 Years of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

OSHA announced on January 21st that they will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) with a year-long celebration of past achievements, current efforts, and future initiatives and goals to ensure the safety of the American workforce. Their 2020 celebration campaign is called Protecting the American Workforce.

The news release on this provided some interesting history on OSHA.  Did you know that the OSH Act was signed into law by President Nixon in December of 1970? Following the passage of the Act, OSHA was created in the spring of 1971. According to OSHA, the Act was created “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” Their statistics show that following the establishment of the OSH Act, workplace fatalities were reduced approximately 65 percent!

U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia commented that “America’s workplaces are safer and healthier thanks to the OSH Act and the […]

January 30th, 2020|Categories: Insights|

Does Your Company Need to Post OSHA Form 300A?

OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, is used to summarize the recordable injuries and illnesses for the previous year and includes the number of days work was lost or restricted, and the types of injuries and illnesses that occurred.  Information about the company, including the average number of employees and total hours worked by all employees must also be recorded.

Form 300A must be posted from February 1 through April 30 each year.  If no recordable incidents or illnesses occurred during the previous year, the form must still be completed and posted reflecting zero recordable cases. The information in Form 300A is based on information recorded in OSHA Form 300, Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses. However, certain employers are exempt from these reporting requirements.

Employers with 10 or fewer employees are not required to prepare Form 300 or Form 300A. In addition, only industries within certain North American Industrial Classification (NAICS) […]

January 22nd, 2020|Categories: Insights|

The Hierarchy of Controls

A basic tenant of any good industrial hygiene program is the application of the hierarchy of controls.  This mantra dictates that identified hazards should be addressed in the following order:

  • removal of hazard
  • substitution of hazard
  • engineering controls
  • administrative controls
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)     

Generally speaking, the first two options are not available by the time it reaches the safety team.  This means that we are usually charged with finding the appropriate control mix to ensure employees are adequately protected.  This typically takes the form of some combination of engineering, administrative and PPE controls.

Engineering controls include equipment that physically removes or isolates a hazard from the employee.  Examples of engineering controls include fume hoods, interlocks on equipment and separate control rooms.  The proper use of an appropriate engineering control will either remove or greatly reduce the possibility of hazard exposure.  As the most robust form of hazard control, engineering options are always the first […]

January 14th, 2020|Categories: Insights|

Have You Made New Year’s Resolutions for Your Safety Program?

The start of the new year is a time for resolutions. Often the focus is on eating healthier, exercising more, or starting a new hobby.  For those of us in EHS it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate our safety programs and plan for and set goals for the new year.  Is your EHS program as robust as you would like it to be?  If you think there’s room for improvement some program areas to reassess include:

 

Compliance Deadlines

The beginning of the new year is the perfect time to ensure that a regulatory tracking calendar is established for ensuring ongoing compliance throughout the year.  Considerations include when the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) meeting will be held; when the chemical inventory will be conducted and SDS reconciled; when annual refresher training sessions will take place; and when permits will need to be renewed. Don’t forget to include facilities-related items such as fume hood and biological safety cabinet […]

January 2nd, 2020|Categories: Insights|

HAZWOPER Training!

OSHA’s hazardous waste operations and emergency response regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120, stipulates requirements for emergency response operations involving releases of hazardous substances. Employees participating in emergency response are required to be HAZWOPER trained based on the duties and function they would serve in an emergency response situation.

First Responder Operations Level, FROL, trained individuals are trained to respond to hazardous material releases with the purpose of protecting nearby persons, property, or the environment from the effects of the release. FROL trained individuals respond in a defensive manner and do not try to stop the release. If an individual is expected to respond to a release of a hazardous material with the intent of stopping the release, they are required to be trained to the level of hazardous materials technician.

Individuals that are involved in determining if a spill of hazardous materials is considered controlled or uncontrolled should attend this training. If you are the person that […]

January 1st, 2020|Categories: Insights|