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ASSP's Industrial Hygiene Practice Specialty has developed a resource guide for contractors that pulls together frequently asked questions about complying with OSHA’s silica standard. The guide addresses issues such as air sampling, the use and sources of objective data, medical surveillance, respirator use and exposure control plans. It also contains links to a wide range of resources that provide detailed information, including OSHA documents, voluntary national consensus standards and tools created by key stakeholder organizations.
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In November, NIOSH will host a free webinar in its Total Worker Health webinar series that will focus on new research on work and the opioid crisis in the U.S. The webinar will feature three speakers who will discuss the risks of opioid use, misuse, and overdose in worker populations. Presenters will also cover topics such as potential work-related antecedents and risk factors for opioid misuse; data on opioid overdose by industry and occupation; and primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention methods and interventions. Attendees will also learn about NIOSH’s newly developed framework for confronting the opioid crisis, which includes four key areas: identifying workplace conditions, determining risk factors, protecting workers and first responders, and developing methods for detection and decontamination.
Scheduled speakers include Chris Cain, CIH, director of safety and health for North America’s Building Trades Unions; Letitia Davis, ScD, EdM, a senior scientist in the Occupational Health Surveillance Program in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and Sara Luckhaupt, MD, MPH, a supervisory medical epidemiologist in the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies at NIOSH and a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
The webinar will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET. Learn more on the event information page.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Compliance Initiatives, or OCI, was recently announced as a new agency effort to strengthen DOL’s compliance assistance outreach. OCI will be coordinated by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, which advises the secretary of labor and other department leadership on policy development, program evaluation, regulations, program implementation, compliance strategies, research, and legislation intended to improve the lives of workers, retirees, and their families. According to DOL’s press release, OCI will provide employers and workers with access to up-to-date information about their obligations and rights under federal labor laws and regulations. OCI will also help enforcement agencies develop new strategies to use data for “more impactful” compliance and enforcement strategies.
Two new websites were launched along with OCI to provide resources for workers and employers who have compliance questions. Worker.gov covers information about common workplace concerns and federal worker protections, and Employer.gov provides information about employers’ responsibilities under federal laws and regulations. Along with information about workplace safety and health, the websites also cover topics such as nondiscrimination, federal contractor requirements, retirement security, and other worker rights.
OSHA has revised its safety and health topic page on legionellosis to include the latest information on preventing, identifying, and controlling Legionella bacteria hazards in workplaces. The page includes updated information from the OSHA Technical Manual chapter on Legionnaires’ disease and the agency’s Legionella eTool. OSHA’s revised page is intended as a resource for employers, healthcare providers, and health and safety professionals who collaborate during work site investigations of legionellosis. Users can find information related to hazard recognition, standards, control and prevention, and outbreak response. Medical information on the signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and medical management of legionellosis is also available.
Legionellosis comprises two distinct diseases caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Individuals are typically infected by breathing in droplets of water that originate in building water systems contaminated with L. pneumophila. Approximately 10 percent of cases of Legionnaires’ disease are fatal. According to OSHA, approximately 6,000 cases of legionellosis are reported in the U.S. each year. See OSHA’s revised legionellosis page for more information.
Related: The article “The New Age of Legionella” in the June/July 2015 issue of The Synergist discusses the AIHA guidance document Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems.