April 2, 2014 | Volume 12, Number 7

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As reported in the last issue of Safety Currents Express, according to a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

According to other NHTSA data, in 2011, more than 3,300 people were killed and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Take some time to remind your employees that focusing on anything other than driving, including eating and drinking, reading a map, adjusting a radio or talking on the phone, while behind the wheel can put themselves and others in serious danger.

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Distracted Walking: Not So Innocent

Distracted walking - texting or using a phone while walking - causes more injuries per mile than distracted driving, according to a professor from the University of Buffalo. These injuries include bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping over clutter, or stepping into traffic.

Dr. Dietrich Jehle, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Buffalo, says that 10 percent of accidents affecting pedestrians, who are then treated in emergency rooms, involve cell phones. Dr. Jehle believes that the figures are actually higher, since people tend to underreport the embarrassing causes of such injuries. According to an Ohio State University study, the number of these types of injuries increased by 300 percent between 2004 and 2010.

For more information, read the press release from the University of Buffalo.

Study: Healthcare Workers Lack HazCom Training

In a new study, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that healthcare workers are not adequately trained to handle hazardous chemicals on the job.

The study, Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers, surveyed 12,000 participants online and was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. It describes current practices of healthcare workers in reducing chemical exposures, and examines barriers to using recommended personal protective equipment.

The chemicals in the study include antineoplastic agents, high level disinfectants, aerosolized medications, anesthetic gases, surgical smoke, and chemical sterilants.

For more information, read the NIOSH press release.

National Safety Stand-Down for Fall Prevention

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a National Safety Stand-Down June 2-6 that aims to educate employers and workers in construction on fall prevention. Falls account for 33 percent of deaths in the industry.

The stand-down will involve employers and workers stopping operations to discuss fall hazards, ladder safety, roof work safety, and scaffolding safety.

To help companies organize a stand-down, OSHA has created a website. The stand-down is part of OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign.

For more information, read the OSHA press release.

OSHA Issues Four Letters of Interpretation on Hazard Communication Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published four letters of interpretation that outline how businesses can comply with specific provisions of the revised Hazard Communication Standard.

Written to address requests for interpretation from the American Petroleum Institute (API), the letters pertain to the following:

  • The classification criteria for Single Target Organ Toxicity (STOT)
  • Petroleum streams
  • Combustible dust
  • Hazards not otherwise classified

The letters define terms and provisions and refer to sections of the HazCom standard for the appropriate guidance.

View the letters.

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Please note: Safety Currents Express is a complimentary bimonthly newsletter updating you on the latest trends, news and information. All issues may be forwarded in their entirety via e-mail. Materials in this issue may only be reprinted with permission.

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