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Safety News

The staff at MCCI likes to keep its customers informed of some of the safety news that may directly affect their businesses and safety programs.
 

Dean McKenzie officially has been named director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction

Dean McKenzie officially has been named director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction after serving as the agency’s acting director since January. With more than 40 years of experience in the field of construction, McKenzie has an “exceptional” understanding of the safety and health issues facing the industry, according to OSHA. "Dean has been a valuable member of the OSHA team," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "I congratulate him on his new position and I am confident he will continue with his forward thinking and innovative leadership in DOC." McKenzie began his career in the steel mills of Gary, Ind., as a journeyman millwright in the mid-1970s. He has worked in construction, particularly industrial, in Indiana, Florida, Colorado and the Caribbean. He has been a licensed general contractor, business owner, and project and operations manager. In his seven years with OSHA, he has accomplished many things, including addressing fatalities in the communication tower industry, building a strong relationship with the Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, and taking a lead role in the Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction campaign. McKenzie served as director of OSHA's Office of Construction Services from 2012-2013, then became the deputy director in 2013, and has been the acting director since January of this year.

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OSHA penalties to be adjusted for inflation after August 1

Maximum penalties for OSHA violations are set to increase for the first time since 1990 as part of overall federal penalty adjustments mandated by Congress last year. The increases were announced Thursday by the Department of Labor, which issued two interim rules covering penalty adjustments for several DOL agencies, including OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division.

OSHA's new penalty levels will take effect after Aug. 1, when the maximum penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709. Any citations issued by OSHA after Aug. 1 will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015. OSHA will provide guidance to field staff on the implementation of the new penalties by Aug. 1.

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OSHA announces new interactive training webtool on identifying workplace hazards

OSHA announces new interactive training webtool on identifying workplace hazards

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today released a new interactive training tool to help small businesses effectively identify hazards in the workplace. Employers and workers can virtually explore how to identify common workplace hazards in the manufacturing and construction industries. Users of the new training tool will learn not only hazard identification skills but also learn about hazard abatement and control. "Hazard identification is a critical part of creating an injury and illness prevention program that will keep workers safe and healthy on the job," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "This new tool not only educates employers about how to take control of their workplaces and protect workers, it also demonstrates that following well-established safety practices is also good for the bottom line." Assistant Secretary Michaels announced the new tool today at the American Society of Safety Engineers conference in Orlando, Fla.
OSHA Hazard Identification
Through the hazard identification tool, users can play from the perspective of either a business owner or an employee as they learn to identify realistic, common hazards and address them with practical and effective solutions. The tool explains the key components of the hazard identification process, which include information collection, observation of the workplace, investigation of incidents, employee participation and prioritizing hazards. OSHA developed the tool in conjunction with its Training Institute to assist small business owners in effectively identifying hazards in their workplace. The hazard identification training tool can be found on OSHA's website at www.osha.gov/hazfinder. To view the game trailer, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj_IqaWSbKo&feature=youtu.be.For additional compliance assistance resources visit www.osha.gov. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology.  Please specify which news release when placing your request.  Call 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.

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Motorists Should ‘Share the Road’ With Motorcyclists

Safe riding practices, helmet use and cooperation from all drivers will reduce fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways

WASHINGTON – To kick off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding all drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders. A motorcyclist has the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as any other motorist on the roadway. “Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect month for Motorcycle Safety Awareness,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise. We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives and make sure we all ‘Share the Road’. ” NHTSA statistics show an increase in motorcycle fatalities in recent years: in 2012, 4,927 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a continued increase from 2011 (4,630). Those deaths accounted for 15 percent of the total highway fatalities that year, despite motorcycle registrations representing only 3 percent of all vehicles in the United States in 2012. Injured motorcyclists also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012. On a per vehicle mile basis, motorcyclists are more than 26 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of cars, and five times more likely to be injured. Helmet usage is also on the decline, dropping from 66 percent of motorcyclists wearing helmets in 2011 to only 60 percent in 2012. Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. NHTSA estimates that 1,699 lives were saved in 2012 because of proper helmet usage, but another 781lives could have been saved if helmets had been worn. Nineteen states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a universal helmet law, requiring helmets for all riders. “Wearing a helmet on every ride is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe, but we all play a part. It’s up to all motorists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “All road users need to share the responsibility of keeping the roadways safe. By following road signs, obeying speed limits, and always staying focused on the road, deaths could be prevented.” Alcohol continues to be a factor in motorcycle fatalities. The percentage of motorcycle riders who were intoxicated in fatal crashes (27 percent) was greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers of passenger cars (23 percent) and light trucks (22 percent) in fatal crashes in 2012. Also 29 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle riders had BAC levels of .08 or higher. The problem is especially acute at night. Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were over 3 times (3.2) more likely to have BAC levels of .08 or higher than those killed during the day. To prevent motorcyclist's deaths and injuries, NHTSA offers the following safety tips: For motorcyclists:
  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.
  • Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
For drivers:
  • Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.
  • Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
For more information on motorcycle safety, visit nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles Stay connected with NHTSA via: Facebook.com/NHTSA | Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov

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Revisions to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Counts

Revisions to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Counts

The final count of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2012 was 4,628, up from the preliminary count of 4,383 reported in August 2013. The final 2012 total was the second-lowest annual total recorded since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992. The overall fatal work injury rate for the United States in 2012 was 3.4 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down slightly from the final rate of 3.5 reported for 2011. The final fatal work injury rate for 2012 is the lowest rate published by the program since the conversion to hours-based rates in 2006. The final 2012 numbers reflect updates to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) file made after the release of preliminary results in August 2013. Revisions and additions to the 2012 CFOI counts result from the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after the release of preliminary results. A table summarizing the results of the update process appears on the next page. Among the changes resulting from the updates: • The total number of contractors fatally injured on the job in 2012 rose to 715 fatalities after updates were included. Contract workers accounted for over 15 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012.  For more information, see the table on contractor data. • Roadway incidents were higher by 109 cases (or 10 percent) from the preliminary count, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2012 to 1,153 cases. The final 2012 total represented a 5-percent increase over the final 2011 count. • The number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic workers was higher by 40 fatalities after updates were added, bringing the total number of fatally injured Hispanic workers to 748. That total was about the same as the 2011 total (749), but the fatality rate for Hispanic workers declined to 3.7 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012, down from 4.0 in 2011. • Work-related suicides increased by 24 cases to a total of 249 after updates were added. Workplace homicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, raising the workplace homicide total in 2012 to 475 cases. • In the private transportation and warehousing sector, fatal injuries increased by 9 percent from the preliminary count, led by a net increase of 44 cases in the truck transportation sector. • A net increase of 31 fatal work injuries in the private construction sector led to a revised count of 806 for that sector. The 2012 total was an increase of 9 percent over the 2011 total and represented the first increase in fatal work injuries in private construction since 2006. • Overall, 36 States revised their counts upward as a result of the update process. CFOI has compiled an annual count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. since 1992 by using diverse data sources to identify, verify, and profile fatal work injuries.  For more information, see Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods.  The revised data can be accessed using the following tools: Create Customized Tables (Multiple Screens), Create Customized Tables (Single Screen), and the Online Profiles System. The original August 2013 press release with the preliminary results can be found here: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012.  Additional tables and charts can be found on the CFOI homepage and on the CFOI State page. Workers under the age of 16 years, volunteer workers, and members of the resident military are not included in rate calculations to maintain consistency with the Current Population Survey (CPS) employment. 2 May include volunteers and workers receiving other types of compensation. 3 Includes self-employed workers, owners of unincorporated businesses and farms, paid and unpaid family workers, members of partnerships, and may include owners of incorporated businesses. 4 Persons identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. The race categories shown exclude Hispanic and Latino workers. 5 Based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification system. 6 Includes fatal injuries to persons identified as resident armed forces regardless of individual occupation listed. 7 Based on the North American Industry Classification System, 2007. 8 Includes fatalities to workers employed by governmental organizations regardless of industry. 9 Based on the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS), version 2.01. Note: Totals for major categories may include subcategories not shown separately. N/A indicates that this type of data is not available for this data element.  CFOI fatality counts exclude illness-related deaths unless precipitated by an injury event. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with state, New York City, District of Columbia, and federal agencies, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2014. Characteristics Number Rate1  

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Essential Training for Childcare Workers

Essential Training for Childcare Workers

Barbara Batista still remembers the first time she intervened as a 13-month-old choked on a goldfish cracker--a ubiquitous snack for young children--in her preschool classroom. Although the incident happened more than 20 years ago, "I could still tell you what she was wearing at the time," said Batista, director of the Child Development Lab School at Collin College in Plano, Texas. "It was really traumatic, and it sticks with you." She first coached the girl to continue coughing, but as soon as the toddler became unable to cough, Batista leapt to her aid, administering the quick abdominal thrusts that immediately dislodged the cracker and reopened the airway. "If I wasn't trained in what to do, I would have froze," Batista said. "I wouldn't have known what to do.” First aid training is an important skill for everyone, but especially for childcare providers, who are required to undergo training every two years in most states. That frequent training is important for two reasons: It helps to ensure they're trained in the most current and effective skills and research that helps us learn new ways to respond, and also it helps to shake off the dust of skills they've learned earlier. The National Association for Education for Young Children holds a higher standard for its accredited programs, such as the one Batista runs. It requires both classroom teachers and support staff to undergo such training. The ability to respond effectively in an emergency is critical because unintentional injuries, such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning, and road traffic, are the leading cause of death for U.S. children. Each year, more than 12,000 kids age 19 and younger die from accidental injuries and more than 9.2 million are treated in the ER for nonfatal injuries, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, most nonfatal injuries stem from five causes: falls, being struck by or against an object, animal bites or insect stings, overexertion, and motor vehicle accidents.
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  Training Focused on Four Key Steps So what do we mean by first aid? First aid training encompasses many important skills, ranging from the most basic steps, such as how to create a safe environment to discourage injuries from occurring in the first place, to additional life-saving skills, such as how to perform CPR. Getting formal training, from robust programs such as the American Heart Association's Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR/AED course, is important because our natural impulse to help may not be effective if we don't have the right skills. Untrained, our reaction may rely on something we've seen in the media or long-held beliefs about how to treat certain injuries. For example, treating burns with butter, an approach many of us may have heard from our grandmothers, could cause more damage. That's because the fat in butter seals the otherwise porous skin, trapping heat inside, where it can further damage the tissue. Or, if a child running with a pencil falls, causing it to impale his or her body, your inclination may be to pull it out. But it actually would be better to leave it in because removal could cause life-threatening hemorrhaging of key organs. The Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR/AED course, which is designed to meet the regulatory requirements for childcare workers in all 50 states, teaches childcare providers and others to respond to and manage illnesses and injuries in a child or infant in the first few minutes until professional help arrives. Training is available in both classroom settings and online and covers the four steps of first aid and first aid skills, such as finding the problem, stopping bleeding, bandaging, and using an epinephrine pen, as well as child CPR/AED and infant CPR. Additional training may include adult CPR/AED, child mask, infant mask, and asthma care training. More simply, the training focuses on four key steps: prevention, being safe, calling 911, and taking action:
  • Prevention is the best way to keep kids from getting hurt in the first place. Studies show more than half of fatal injuries to children are preventable. For childcare providers, that can include everything from making sure electrical outlets are properly protected to ensuring seat belts are fastened and car seats are properly installed. Prevention also includes simple but important steps such as using sunscreen when kids are outside to prevent damage from sun exposure or keeping them well hydrated to avoid becoming sick from the heat.
  • Being safe when an emergency occurs is another important step. When responding to an emergency, it's important to make sure you or others aren't also at risk of getting hurt. For example, if a child becomes accidentally severely shocked, it's important to make sure the power is shut down at the main breaker box before touching the injured child.
  • Calling 911. That may seem like a simple skill, but it requires training. Unlike a home setting where you can dial directly, some classroom settings can require that you dial 9 first before getting an outside line or go through a switchboard--steps that can waste precious time in an emergency if you haven't been trained on what to do at the childcare facility. It's also important to be able to determine quickly who is best capable of providing first aid and who should be dispatched to call for help.
  • Taking action. This is where training becomes more complex. We organize training to three core areas: CPR training, illnesses and injuries that have the potential to become serious very quickly, and illnesses and injuries that may not be as urgent but still have the potential to become serious.The Importance of CPR and Choking Training CPR is an especially important skill for childcare workers. Kids don't have the reserves that adults do, and their survival rates are about half of adults, in part because it can take longer to recognize that a child has stopped breathing. For example, if a child passes out, you may think they've fainted, when in fact they can be in cardiac arrest. Acting quickly to provide CPR can triple a person's chance of survival. CPR training has undergone some important changes in recent years thanks to scientific research that helped demonstrate how the life-saving technique could be more effective in an emergency. The biggest change is that the old approach of A-B-C--checking the Airway for obstructions, providing Breaths through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and then providing chest Compressions--has been changed to improve effectiveness. Training now puts a priority on chest compressions, changing the order to C-A-B for compressions, then checking the airway, and then providing breaths. The reason for the change is that chest compressions help to restore blood flow from the heart, and checking airway and providing breaths first costs precious seconds in a cardiac arrest. Responding to injuries and illnesses is the most common situation childcare providers face, but it's important to quickly assess which ones are minor and which carry the urgency of a life-threatening emergency. Cleaning and bandaging a scraped knee, for example, requires a different set of skills than a puncture wound. Likewise, identifying a bug bite that comes with annoying itching is one thing, but recognizing when it results in a severe allergic reaction is another.
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    Training for how to respond in a choking situation is a critical skill that falls into the category of situations that can become life threatening very quickly. Choking is a common hazard during childhood, with 34 children a day admitted to an emergency room because they've choked on food, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. While that amounts to more than 12,000 cases a year, researchers point out that the problem is much more serious than that because most kids who choke don't end up going to the hospital. Choking risks are highest for children up to age 4, with hard candy being the culprit in about 15 percent of incidents. Other types of candy and gum represented 13 percent of cases. To minimize choking risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cutting up food given to babies and young children into pieces no larger than a half inch. Recognizing when a child is having a severe allergic reaction requiring the intervention of an epinephrine pen--and knowing how to use it--is also crucial because it can cause a child's airway to close. In those cases, calling 911 for emergency medical assistance is important, but average response time is between 4 minutes and 6 minutes, which could be fatal if someone isn't breathing.   Risks Change For childcare workers, part of the challenge is that risks of injury change as kids develop their skills and become more independent, not to mention that caregivers must be vigilant about recognizing and reacting to symptoms of illness because kids don't always have the communication skills to describe what's wrong. "There's a potential for someone to get injured daily," Batista said. After 25 years in the field, she said she's seen many changes to first aid and CPR protocols for childcare workers. "I didn't know what an epinephrine pen was in the 1990s; now we are sure to have one if a kid has severe allergies," she said. Today, there's also more attention to the types of food offered due to allergies--no longer do they serve the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches many of us grew up with--as well as better awareness about choking risks and more awareness about cultural differences in a diverse nation. Risks such as sun exposure also get attention now as a child safety issue, ensuring kids get protection from dangerous ultraviolet rays, Batista said. Even if training weren't required every two years, Batista said it is a clear priority in ensuring childcare workers are comfortable providing first aid and CPR when something goes wrong. "There are many hats that we wear as teachers and administrators, but we definitely wear the first aid hat every day," she said.

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OSHA proposes deadline extension for crane certification

Washington – OSHA is proposing to extend the compliance date for crane operator certification to Nov. 10, 2017, in response to concerns raised during a series of stakeholder meetings. OSHA’s final Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard, issued in August 2010, requires crane operator certification by Nov. 10, 2014. A requirement for employers to ensure crane operators are trained and competent to safely operate the crane would likewise be extended until Nov. 10, 2017. The agency stated in the Feb. 7 Federal Register that it will use the proposed extension to consider potential rulemaking options and focus on a “limited number of discrete issues already debated extensively by stakeholders.” Comments on the proposed rule are due March 12.

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Revised Standards Address Safety Requirements for Plastics Machinery

The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the American National Standards Institute recently announced the publication of two revised and approved national standards that contain detailed safety requirements for plastics machinery. ANSI/SPI B151.20 – 2013 Safety Requirements for Plastics Sheet Production Machinery and ANSI/SPI B151.27 – 2013 Safety Requirements for the Integration of Robots with Injection Molding Machines “represent significant and substantive changes from the previous editions,” the Plastics Industry Trade Association said.
  • B151.20 specifies the requirements for the manufacture, care and use of plastics sheet production machinery to minimize hazards to personnel. The newly revised standard includes updates to reflect changes in technology and provides additional explanatory materials, illustrations and definitions.
  • B151.27 addresses the integration, care and use of robots used with injection molding machines to minimize hazards to personnel. Complicated by the variety and sizes of machines and robots manufactured, the standard approaches the problem of integration safety from three different areas: to eliminate recognized hazards by design criteria; establish standard approaches to design; and safeguard the point of operation to protect the operator from recognized hazards.
To assist in the interpretation of the requirements, the standards assign responsibilities to the supplier, the remanufacturer, the modifier and the user. Both are considered Type C standards based on the ISO Type A-B-C standard level structure.  ISO Type A standards (basis standards) provide basic concepts, principles for design and general aspects that can be applied to machinery. ISO Type B (generic safety standards) address one or more safety aspects or one or more types of safeguards that can be used across a range of machinery. Other SPI/ANSI standards address the safety requirements for injection molding machines, extrusion machines and blow molding machines.

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Improving Safety Eyewear Fit for Better Protection and Compliance

Improving Safety Eyewear Fit for Better Protection and Compliance

America's workforce is becoming increasingly diverse in both gender and ethnicity. In 2010, women represented 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and they are expected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the share of Hispanics in the U.S. workforce will more than double from 11 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2050, as will the share of Asians, from 5 percent to 11 percent in the same period. As the trend in workforce diversification continues, attention should be paid to providing the personal protective equipment that fits individuals properly for the best protection and performance. For most types of PPE, including gloves, clothes, or boots, selecting from traditional sizing is sufficient. However, due to the significant variances in facial structure among men and women across various ethnicities, safety eyewear is one of the hardest types of PPE to fit--and few safety managers are trained in fitting it properly. The risks of providing workers with ill-fitting eyewear are significant. Gaps in coverage allow debris to enter the eyes, while slipping, fogging, and soreness contribute to worker distraction, loss of productivity, and even the removal of eyewear. Considering that approximately 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable through the use of proper protective eyewear, it is important not to underestimate the value of achieving the best possible fit for each individual worker. This article looks at new ways safety eyewear is delivering improved fit to support safety eyewear compliance and reduce the more than 700,000 recordable eye injuries that occur in our nation annually.
  One Size Does Not Necessarily Fit All While advances in both national safety standards and the manufacture of safety eyewear have had a positive impact on accident rates, much room for improvement remains. Awareness about the impact of ill-fitting eyewear is growing, and in recent years special attention has been given to addressing the fitting requirements of today’s diverse workforce. In-depth research and development have led to refined eyewear designs that take into account differences in the height, width, or location of cheekbones, nose bridges, and ears, as well as overall head size and shape. Especially in high-hazard workplaces, safety managers recognize the importance of providing gap-free eye protection. But, remember, a style that provides a snug, gap-free fit for one worker may be an ill-fitting and hazardous choice for another. If your workforce includes a mix of men and women from different ethnic backgrounds, one size or style of eyewear may not keep everyone safe. New designs in eyewear based on in-depth research of facial profiles have led to cutting-edge styles that fit up to 85 percent of workers right out of the box, with no adjustments required. For the rest of the workforce, follow the tips below to find the style and size that are right for each individual.   Finding the Proper Fit Sizable gaps between an individual’s face and eyewear, which allow debris to enter the eye area, are a leading cause of eye injuries. Many employers wait until eye injuries reach an unacceptable level before making changes to their safety eyewear policy. Progressive employers, however, recognize the value of ensuring the best-fitting eyewear for each individual from the start. Personal fit testing across the workforce is an effective way to ensure that the maximum allowable gap is not exceeded. Once fit testing has been conducted, a good place to start is by considering eyewear with adjustability features. Adjustments at the temples can help to close facial gaps and provide a customizable fit. Some ratcheting temples also can adjust the lens angle for optimal coverage and air circulation. New hybrid eyewear designs offer interchangeable temples, headbands, and sealed options for increased, gap-free performance similar to that of a goggle. Other alternatives for improved fit include styles with advanced materials or designs. For instance, eyewear with a flexible or fingered nosepiece can conform to various nasal profiles to help fit an array of nose bridge sizes. To eliminate sore spots and slipping, look for padded temples that provide ideal tension and flex, as well as cushioning delicate areas around the ears. If eyewear is to be worn in combination with other forms of PPE, a thin temple profile will cut down on bulk and sore spots underneath hard hats. Another design option to consider is a flexible brow bar atop floating lenses, which can ensure an accurate, gap-free fit without compromising peripheral optics. Despite the fact that women comprise nearly half of the labor force, they remain an underserved segment of the protective eyewear market. To meet the unique fit requirements of female workers, whose heads tend to be smaller and narrower than men's, look for styles that are available in slim or small sizes. Adjustability and flexibility features also will help women achieve a more secure, gap-free fit for all-day protection and comfort. Ventilation and Coatings Contribute to Fog-Free Vision While a secure, gap-free fit is optimal for keeping debris out, it can lead to fogging. Fogging commonly occurs when an individual's body generates heat from exertion, when transitioning between extreme temperatures, or simply from working in humid environments. When a worker's vision is blurred by fog, he or she is vulnerable to injury. Furthermore, to combat fogging, a worker may temporarily remove eyewear to wipe it dry or, worse yet, choose to leave it off to avoid obscured vision. In hot and humid conditions, look for safety eyewear with built-in ventilation to combat condensation. Some styles incorporate air vents as an integral part of the frame; this can help to promote air flow and reduce fogging while still maintaining a secure fit. Advanced anti-fog coatings are also effective at promoting clear vision even in extreme environments, while anti-fog wipes are a good option for on-the-spot fog removal. Remember, the less often workers are distracted by their PPE, the more productive they can be.   Less is Not More Skimping on the cost of safety eyewear may appear to save money up front. When it comes to eye safety, however, paying a little extra for high-quality preventive measures can save a company from substantial, unplanned, and usually preventable costs. Statistics from injury and illness reports filed with OSHA show that companies that establish safety and health management systems can expect reductions in injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent and see a return of $4 to $6 for every dollar invested. That small investment can go a long way toward supporting a healthy eye protection program.
Also worth considering is the hypothetical example from the International Safety Equipment Association that illustrates how an eye injury that cost a company nearly $1 million could have been prevented with a $5 pair of safety spectacles or a $10 pair of goggles. Once an employer considers the cost of properly protecting workers’ eyes versus paying for a workplace eye injury, the decision to purchase high-performing safety eyewear becomes an easy one to make.   The Importance of Style Style should not be overlooked as a leading factor in safety eyewear compliance. Studies show that workers who are not comfortable with the style of their eyewear are more likely to remove it, even in the presence of hazards. Furthermore, when workers are allowed to select their own safety eyewear without the proper guidance, they are likely to make their selection based on style over safety or fit, which can lead to serious performance problems. Given the leading role style plays, look for modern, lightweight options, such as sports-inspired wraparound frames, floating lenses, or sophisticated metal frames. Many safety eyewear styles--including Rx frames--are fashioned after popular recreational sunglass designs, and some manufacturers offer licensed styles to promote adoption. The goal is to find safety eyewear that workers are willing to wear even when a safety manager isn't looking. By first offering safety eyewear that is best suited to workers' safety needs, followed closely by style, employers can support a stronger culture of acceptance and compliance. In America's increasingly diverse workforce, it is more important than ever to outfit individuals with properly fitting safety eyewear. Employers should beware of the one-size-fits-all approach that has plagued the workforce for decades and instead should consider the advanced materials, customizable features, and modern styles that deliver the fit and protection every individual deserves. By making informed eyewear selections, employers not only improve employee comfort, productivity and safety, but they also significantly reduce the risk of costly eye injuries. That's a winning strategy that works for everyone.

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Flood Maps Guidance from FEMA

Roy Wright, FEMA's deputy associate administrator for mitigation, explains how and why new flood maps are created in an infographic featured in a new blog post from the agency. He writes that helping homeowners and communities be prepared for disasters is "one of our top priorities at FEMA. When you know your risk, you can prepare for the worst, take steps to mitigate against hazards, and protect yourself, your family and your property." And floods are the most expensive disaster in the United States every year, he writes: "Flood maps play a vital role in helping us prepare for flooding by informing communities about the local flood risk. Flood maps help communities to incorporate flood risk into their planning. They're also the basis for flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program, which FEMA administers at the direction of Congress. By law, you may be required to get flood insurance if you live in the highest risk areas. But flooding can happen anywhere -- about 20 percent of all the flood claims come from areas with lower risk. And you don't have to live close to water to be at risk." Updating a flood map can take 3-5 years or more. FEMA's Risk MAP program develops them "using the best available science [and] analyzed by some of the leading engineering firms in the field. The mapping standards are published, vetted, have been peer reviewed, and are updated continuously to ensure they are aligned with current best practices," he writes.

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