August 15, 2014 | Volume 12, Number 16

MSHA's Coal Mine Dust Rule Opens First Phase

The initial stage for respirable coal mine dust standard took effect on August 1, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Lowering Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors is designed to protect miners from emphysema, progressive massive fibrosis, and pneumoconiosis, collectively called "black lung."

The rule was launched in May, but will be implemented in three stages over the next two years.

The first phase of the rule includes the following provisions:

  • Underground mine operators must collect respirable dust samples when mines are operating at 80 percent of production, so that samples are more representative of actual working conditions.
  • Immediate corrective action is required when a single, full-shift sample obtained by an operator finds an excessive level of dust. Failure to take corrective action will result in a citation.
  • Periodic x-ray requirements for underground miners are extended to surface miners. The requirements are also expanded beyond x-rays to include lung function testing, occupational history and symptom assessment.

Statistics show that over 76,000 miners have died since 1968 because of the disease, incurring over $45 billion in federal compensation costs.

For more information, read the press release or read a summary of provisions for each stage of implementation.

The next two stages will be implemented in February 2016 and August 2016.

OSHA Updates Training Requirements for Compliance Personnel

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised the training program for OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs).

OSHA has added mandatory training in two phases. Phase 1 involves initial courses in which each CSHO will be required to complete a minimum of eight initial courses offered by the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) during the first three years of his/her career as a CSHO. Phase 2 would add technical courses, in which CSHOs must complete a minimum of six additional technical courses through year 8 of their career.

The new training requirements have superseded those put in place August 6, 2008.

To learn of the other changes, read the OSHA instruction.

NIOSH Report: How to Analyze Worker Posture

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued a new report to help analyze worker posture, and to help prevent and control occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Assessing worker posture is one of many job analysis tools that study the link between risk factors (such as posture, repetition, and force) and the prevalence of MSDs. These tools include quantitative and semiquantitative descriptions of posture, as well as observation.

Using the latest research, the NIOSH report, Observation-Based Posture Assessment: Review of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement, states that posture analysis works best by partitioning:

  • Trunk flexion range of motion into 4 categories of 30° increments;
  • Trunk lateral bend into 3 categories of 15° increments;
  • Shoulder flexion into 5 categories of 30°;
  • Shoulder abduction into 5 categories of 30°;
  • Elbow flexion into 4 categories of 30°.

These categories help facilitate the rapid and effective assessment of posture. Furthermore, the report offers tips on video recording guidelines and on posture analysis, which includes the use of software, visual reference and perspective cues. The NIOSH report is ideal for safety professionals, including ergonomics and risk management/loss control practitioners, who can enhance their analysis of tasks that involve pushing, pulling, carrying, and/or manual handling risk factors.

Read the overview of the NIOSH report or download a PDF of the actual report.

Handshakes Spread More Germs than Fist Bumps

A new study conducted in the United Kingdom has shown that handshaking spreads more bacteria than fist bumps or high fives. According to the data, a handshake transmitted 50 percent more bacteria than a high five, and of the three, the fist bump transferred the least.

The handshake included the largest contact area. Time of contact was also a factor in the amount of bacteria spread by each type of greeting. A fist bump 'prolonged for three seconds' increased the rate of transfer. The study was published in The American Journal of Infection Control.

For more details about the study, read a full summary of the study.

Two New Fall Protection Training Programs

Falls are a leading cause of death in many industries and can happen from any height. DuPont Sustainable Solutions has released two new training programs to help employees identify fall hazards and protect themselves against them.

Fall Protection Case History features a real-life story that reminds employees that incidents can happen to anyone if precautions aren’t taken.
Preview online. | Get streaming video.

Personal Fall Protection: Your Lifelines provides important information on Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS), hazard recognition, and the fall hazard control process.
Preview online. | Take a behind the scenes look at the filming of one of the stunts from this program. Click here.

Plus, save on these two programs during our Summer Special*.
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