Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sitting by the pool

Sitting by the pool in a balmy 75 degree morning.  Not a bad change from Chicago weather. 

When I was on the plane yesterday, I saw a couple with paper respirators on.  I did not ask, but were they protecting themselves or the rest of us?  With flu season upon us once again, what seemed like weird a couple of years ago is not so weird.  How bad is the air quality in a plane traveling at 34,000 ft for two hours?  What is on the plane that halfway protects me from getting some bug, if anything?   When googling the topic of airplane air quality, I was supprised at what I found.  Airplane manufacturers with technical information on cabin air quality, how much extra fuel it takes to supply the passenger cabin with "fresh" air, etc.  Pretty interesting how much information you can find if you look, or google.  Sifting through the information for what is accurate is sometimes challenging.  . 

Monday, October 5, 2009

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard

More than 30 million workers are potentially exposed to one or more chemical hazards in the workplace. There are an estimated 650,000 existing hazardous chemical products, and hundreds of new ones are being introduced annually. This poses a serious problem for exposed workers and their employers. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is designed to ensure that employers and employees know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves. Employers with employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must prepare and implement a written Hazard Communication Program and comply with other requirements of the standard.

All employers in addition to those in manufacturing and importing are responsible for informing and training workers about the hazards in their workplaces, retaining warning labels, and making available Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) with hazardous chemicals.

All workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals must have a written plan which describes how the standard will be implemented in that facility. The written program must reflect what employees are doing in a particular workplace. For example, the written plan must list the chemicals present at the site, indicate who is responsible for the various aspects of the program in that facility and where written materials will be made available to employees. The written program must describe how the requirements for labels and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets, and employee information and training are going to be met in the facility.

The HCS covers both physical hazards (such as flammability or the potential for explosions), and health hazards (including both acute and chronic effects). By making information available to employers and employees about these hazards, and recommended precautions for safe use, proper implementation of the HCS will result in a reduction of illnesses and injuries caused by chemicals. Employers will have the information they need to design an appropriate protective program. Employees will be better able to participate in these programs effectively when they understand the hazards involved, and to take steps to protect themselves. Together, these employer and employee actions will prevent the occurrence of adverse effects caused by the use of chemicals in the workplace.

Information adapted from OSHA Fact Sheet No. OSHA 93-26

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It got me thinking....

I am sitting on my couch, thinking of how I got this cold and wondering how long it will last.  Tis' the season for colds and flus and other such ailments.  It got me thinking....  

While at a clients, I visited the men's room to wash my hands and noticed a large jug of hand sanitizer setting on the counter.  With all the talk about disease transmission, sanitizers are popping up all over the place.  I noticed at Home Depot the other night that they have sanitizing wipes at their exit, (maybe it should be at the entrance where the carts are!).  There are other public places that also have sanitizers available.  This is great for helping to control the spread of easily transmittable bugs.  It go me thinking....

Several of my clients are idustrial manufacturers.  Even in those environments, everyone seems to be concerned about disease transmition.  But what boggles me is that not alot of people are concerned about the chemicals that may be spreading by walking around with contaminated PPE or shoes.  This is an area where proper hygiene practices are crucial, especially if the chemicals have highly toxic properties.  Selecting the proper PPE and properly donning and doffing that equipment (basically putting on and taking off), is very important steps in protecting ourselves against the hazards of the chemicals they are working with. 

When was the last time you washed your hands to make sure there were no chemicals?

I guess that most people are not concerned about chemical  exposure

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