New final rule updates walking-working surfaces standards and establishes personal fall protection requirements
OSHA issued a final rule Nov. 17 updating its 44-year old general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standard to protect workers from slip, trip, and fall hazards. The rule also increases consistency in safety and health standards for people working in both general and construction industries. OSHA estimates the final rule will prevent more than 5,800 injuries a year. The rule takes effect Jan. 17, 2017.
"The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. The rule's most significant update is allowing employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options. For more information, read the news release.
New guide will help small businesses comply with OSHA's silica rule for construction
OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for Construction that is intended to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. The guide describes in easy-to-understand language the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in construction from the hazards associated with silica exposure. All covered must: provide respiratory protection when required; restrict silica exposure from housekeeping practices where feasible; implement a written exposure control plan; offer medical exams to workers who will need to wear a respirator for 30 or more days a year; communicate hazards and train employees; and keep records of medical examinations. Enforcement of the final rule in construction is due to begin June 23, 2017.
ARE YOU READY FOR THE UPCOMING ISO 45001
With the upcoming release of the highly anticipated ISO 45001 - Occupational Health & Safety standard later this year, now is the perfect time to see how this may help your company. Download the free ISO 45001 Briefing Notes to find out more information.
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Collecting Firewood For The Winter
While collecting firewood for the winter, be sure to inspect the woodpile for the presence of poison ivy vines. A section of a poison ivy vine may even cling to an individual piece of wood. If you see a vine with hairy looking roots in your woodpile, be sure to carefully remove it and the pieces of wood it was touching. The poison ivy toxin, urushiol, stays active in dead poison ivy plant material for about 5 years. Removing wood that has been contaminated with poison ivy can save you from a wintertime case of poison ivy.
The poison ivy toxin, urushiol, is stable at high temperatures, and the plant particles dispersed in the smoke are both allergenic and irritant. There is at least one case where a person has died from respiratory distress after inhaling the smoke of burning poison ivy. So keep poison ivy out of the fireplace – your family and neighbors will appreciate it!
Gealt L, Osterhoudt K, Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome After Smoke Inhalation From Burning Poison Ivy. JAMA 1995; 274 (4): 358 - 359