This newsletter has repeatedly referenced the likelihood of increased OSHA penalties for workplace violations. Well, on June 30th, OSHA formally announced the amount of the new maximum penalties.
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Thousands become sick every year and many die due to heat-related illnesses. With temperatures rising, prepare your employees for working outdoors in excessive heat.
They must know the signs of heat-related illness—
- Heat Stroke is the most serious and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include: confusion, fainting, seizures, and hot, dry skin. CALL 911 at any sign of heat stroke.
- Heat Exhaustion symptoms include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating. Heat fatigue, and heat rash are less serious, but are still signs of over exposure.
They also must know how to handle heat-related illness. If you can,
- move the person to a shaded area,
- loosen his/her clothing
- give him/her water (a little at a time)
- cool him/her down with ice packs or cool water.
But the best way to beat the heat is through preventative measures that will help avoid these issues. Tell your employees to follow theseprocedures:
- Hydrate every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
- Rest in the shade to cool down.
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
- Know the symptoms and what to do in an emergency.
- Keep an eye on fellow workers.
- Acclimate – be sure to get used to the heat and build up tolerance. Many people who die from heat were either new or returning from a break. If a worker has not worked in hot weather for a week or more, their body needs time to adjust.
Silica, often referred to as quartz, is found in many materials common on construction sites, including soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite, and landscaping materials. The dust created by cutting, grinding, drilling or otherwise disturbing these materials can contain crystalline silica particles which create a potential health hazard. Continue reading “How to Work Safely with Silica”
UPDATE: Thank you to Peter Shackford from Hettrick Cyr and Associates for his seminar on the Silica Awareness. We will post the recording to the members only section!
OSHA released an updated regulation for employee exposure to respirable silica. The new rule sets the permissible exposure limit (PEL) at 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an eight-hour shift. Contractors Risk Management, Inc. identified six additional requirements: Sets action level at 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air, option to assess exposure through air monitoring or implementing personal protective equipment (PPE) controls, develop an exposure control plan, train employees on silica control measures, medical monitoring for exposed employees, and an emphasis on engineering controls prior to the use of respirators. Employers covered by the construction standard have until June 23, 2017 to comply with most requirements.