January 2, 2013 / Volume 11, Number 1
NTSB Urges Attention to Drugged Driving
Mold and More: The Dangers of Damp Buildings
Get Safety Going
OSHA Lead Standard "Inadequate"
Podemos Ayudar!
NTSB Urges Attention to Drugged Driving
Chairman's blog brings light to the issue

Debbie Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), reiterated the need for greater attention to the still unrecognized problem of drugged driving.

Ten thousand people were killed in 2012 in "substance-impaired driving crashes" in the U.S. These types of crashes account for over 30 percent of total traffic fatalities each year.

But despite the alarming nature of the problem, Hersman believes there is no "intense public concern" and "little media scrutiny" surrounding the issue.

A lack of awareness also plays a role; in a survey 87 percent of teen passengers would speak up against drunk driving, only 72 percent would do so for a driver high on marijuana.

The role of illegal, over-the-counter and prescription drugs in traffic crashes is under-reported as well, and there are no standards or testing criteria for such substances.

To help remedy the situation, the NTSB published safety recommendations that would establish a "common standard of practice for drug toxicology testing and increased collection, documentation and reporting of test results."

For more information, read Chairman Hersman's blog. See the NTSB's safety recommendations.
Mold and More: The Dangers of Damp Buildings
NIOSH issues alert

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warned against moisture and dampness problems inside buildings, which could lead to the proliferation of harmful mold, fungi and bacteria.

Damp indoor environments in buildings have been associated with coughing, wheezing, exacerbation of asthma, and nasal and throat ailments. Headaches, irritation of eyes, and fatigue, have also been reported among building occupants.

Other studies suggest risk of bronchitis and allergic rhinitis, as well as higher vulnerability to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic fungal sinusitis, and chronic rhinosinusitis.

Dampness and moisture problems often occur through leaks, flooding, high indoor humidity, runoff water, and poor gutter systems.

The NIOSH alert includes safety tips for building owners and employers, who are advised to:
  • Conduct regular inspections of building areas, including roofs, ceilings, basements, walls, crawl spaces, etc.
  • Schedule inspections and corrections of HVAC systems
  • Clean and repair, or replace moisture-damaged parts or areas.
  • Set up an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) team.
Building occupants are encouraged to:
  • Tell building owners/employers of signs of leaks, dampness, floods, and musty or moldy odors.
  • Be familiar with IEQ programs.
Read the NIOSH alert for more information.
Get Safety Going
About the Safety Contact.

One of the most important aspects of a strong safety culture is good communication. This means that people need to talk about safety in a positive, non-threatening way. Making regular "contacts" about safety promotes a safe workplace and makes talking about safety comfortable – a regular part of work.

To establish good safety discussions, you need to talk with people when they are working safely and unsafely. Regular contacts about safe work promote communication and help you learn about the safety aspects of your job. You need to learn how to make both safe and unsafe contacts to be an effective safety communicator.

Making a Contact with Someone Who Is Working Safely

Safety discussions need to take place when people are working safely so safety becomes an everyday part of work. Your goals here are to engage the person in conversation and reinforce the safe work he or she is doing. Here's how to talk to someone who's working safely.

Step 1: Start with a positive comment

"Hi, Jack. I see you're wearing those new safety glasses we just got."

Step 2: Engage the employee in discussion about the job

"I'm curious about this job. Can you tell me about it – the hazards, the way you do it, and so on? I'm trying to learn more about what it takes to work safely here."

Step 3: End with thanks

"I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me."

You need to encourage safe work because people need reinforcement to keep on working safely. "What's the point in doing this job safely?" a person might ask. "No one notices anyway." In a strong safety culture people give each other positive feedback about safety to make sure the safety culture stays strong.

Taken from STOP For Each Other, Unit 4 | Copyright © 2013 DuPont

Would you like to learn more? Join us for a FREE one-hour overview webinar.

Or attend a STOP™ one-day workshop in your area.

Call 877-714-2324 to learn how to get safety going in your organization.

Join us for a FREE one-hour overview webinar!

Attend a one-day STOP™ workshop in your area
OSHA Lead Standard "Inadequate"
Workers at risk according to NRC

The National Research Council (NRC) issued a report stating that the lead standard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers "inadequate" protection for workers at Department of Defense firing ranges, among other worksites.

According to a press release, the report shows that the blood lead levels OSHA considers safe "have been shown to cause" problems to the kidneys, heart, nervous system, and human reproduction.

Under OSHA's lead standard, employees should not be exposed to lead concentrations in the air higher than 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air. However, more recent research has established that between 10 and 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air can cause health risks.

For more information, read the NRC press release. Or register and download the prepublication copy of the report.

Podemos Ayudar!
OSHA Updates Spanish Website

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revamped the Spanish version of its website.

Titled Podemos Ayudar (We Can Help), the redesigned site features updated safety and health information, and aims to educate workers and employers alike on their legal rights and responsibilities.

The main page stresses such rights, saying that as a worker, you have a right to:
  • A safe and hygienic workplace
  • The necessary tools and equipment to do your job safely
  • Training in a language that you understand.
The site also informs employees what they can and should do if they have "concerns" about workplace safety. Moreover, it offers free and downloadable materials in Spanish.

Visit the site.

Volume 11, Number 1
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