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News + Events

The Galson Blog

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Edward Stuber CIH

11/22/2011

IOM Compliance Sampling

“Better late then never.” This is true with OSHA’s recent reply to SKC’s rebuttal letter to an OSHA interpretation concerning the use of the IOM sampler for the collection of dust for compliance purposes.

Here is the background – On January 30, 2007 OSHA issued a Letter of Interpretation entitled, “Use of the IOM sampler for dust inhalation and compliance with the PNOR requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1000”. In this interpretation, OSHA stated that “Side –by-side samples collected using the IOM sampler and 37 mm filters will usually show lower results with the IOM sampler”. SKC provided published peer-reviewed scientific literature stating there was no bias. The article can be found in Ann. Occup. Hyg. Vol 30 1986 pp 89-102.Members of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHC) can access the journal article. Here is the link to the BOHC site -

http://www.bohs.org/aboutus/annals-of-oppupational-hygiene/

SKC sent the rebuttal letter in 2007, soon after OSHA’s published interpretation. On November 8, 2011, almost 5 years later, OSHA responded – hence the better late than never saying. In this letter, OSHA agrees with the published literature and states that the IOM sampler may be used as an equivalent method when measuring an employee’s exposure to particulates not otherwise regulated (PNOR). OSHA goes on to say that the January30, 2004 letter of interpretation has been withdrawn.

Galson Laboratories is now offering IOM samplers as part of its FreePumpLoan™ Program. It includes everything you need to collect dust inhalation samples for OSHA compliance – all you pay for is the analysis and the shipping costs.

With OSHA allowing the use of IOM samples for PNOR compliance exposures, the Heath and Safety Professional as another tool in their toolbox to assist them in protecting workers. I think we can all agree - this is a good thing and better late then never is welcomed.


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Edward Stuber CIH

11/08/2011

OSHA Statistics

With 2011 winding down, I thought it would be a good time to review some key statistics put out by OSHA. Did you know that OSHA is a small agency; with their state partners, there are approximately 2,200 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites around the nation – which translates to about one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers. One inspector for every 59,900 workers? Really? And you thought you were over worked. These 2,200 inspectors are located in 10 regional offices and 90 local area offices. OSHA‘s budget for FY 2010 was $558,620,000. To you and me, that may sound like a lot, but when you compare it to, say EPA’s budget of $10,500,000,000, not so much.

Worker Injuries, illnesses and fatalities
4,547 workers were killed on the job in 2010 (3.5 per 100,000 full–time equivalent workers) – more than 87 a week or more than 12 deaths every day. 12 deaths a day is 12 a day too many. Out of the 4,547 annual deaths, 1/5th were in construction.

You probably have seen this list before – it doesn’t change much from year to year, but the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards violated are:

1. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
2. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
3. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
4. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
5. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
6. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
7. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
8. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
9. Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
10. Machines, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212)

OSHA at 40 – the good news

In four decades, OSHA has made a dramatic difference in workplace safety. Since 1970, workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled. Worker deaths in America are down - from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 12 a day in 2010. Worker injuries and illnesses are down - from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to fewer than 4 per 100 in 2010.

What’s install for OSHA over the next 40 years? Only time will tell, but I for one hope to see the day when OSHA can announce a workplace fatality-free year.

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Edward Stuber CIH

10/10/2011

OSHA Looking to Redefine Feasible

OSHA is proposing to revise its interpretation of the term “feasible” regarding administrative and engineering controls to mean technically feasible rather than more cost-effective. PPE will be allowed as a solution only as a last resort.

The proposal will redefine OSHA’s interpretation of the term “feasible administrative or engineering controls” as it is used in applicable sections of OSHA’s general industry, construction, and occupational noise standards. Under all of these standards, employers must use administrative or engineering controls rather than PPE to reduce the exposures that are above acceptable levels, OSHA will clarify that “feasible” will have the meaning of “capable of being done”

OSHA is currently soliciting comments on this proposed change unil December 20, 2011. More information can be found at www.osha.org.

I hope that all Health and Safety professionals will agree that this is a good thing – the wellbeing of workers should not be dependent on how cost effective a control is and we all should agree that PPE should always be a last resort.

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Edward Stuber CIH

09/29/2011

Formaldehyde Risks and Your Hair

On September 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with certain hair smoothing and straightening products. The revised alert was prompted by:

The results of agency investigations

A warning letter issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Factually incorrect information recently sent to salons by a company that manufactures hair products

OSHA's updated alert can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/formaldehyde/hazard_alert.html.

During recent investigations, OSHA's air tests showed formaldehyde at hazardous levels in salons using certain hair straightening products, resulting in citations for multiple violations. Workers were exposed to formaldehyde in these salons at levels above the threshold limit values (TLV).The FDA sent it’s letter to the importer and distributer of one of these products stating that their product is adulterated and misbranded. Although the solution contains methylene glycol, which can release formaldehyde during the normal conditions of use, the product is labeled "formaldehyde free" or "no formaldehyde" and does not list formaldehyde on the material safety data sheet.

"Misleading or inadequate information on hazardous product labels is unacceptable," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Salon owners and workers have the right to know the risks associated with the chemicals with which they work and how to protect themselves."

Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose; cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs; and is a cancer hazard. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

So before you make your next appointment at the salon, you may want to evaluate the health risks of putting chemicals on your head and your potential risk of formaldehye exposure.

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