Monday, April 29, 2013

Safety in the News! HB 2485 and GAO 13-320.

There's been an increased focus on occupational health and safety in the news lately. I've included links to some interesting articles below.

The first article is from the Tucson Sentinel - it reviews the results of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report (GAO 13-320, "WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH: OSHA Can Better Respond to State-Run Programs Facing Challenges").  The GAO report argues that "States (like Arizona) have difficulty filling vacant inspector positions, obtaining training for inspectors, and retaining qualified inspectors. Recruiting inspectors is difficult due to the shortage of qualified candidates, relatively low state salaries, and hiring freezes." The GAO report goes on to state that Arizona has some of the least-experienced safety inspectors in the nation; 55% of current safety inspectors have less than 5 years' experience, according to the data gathered for the GAO report. The article quotes Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) acting director of consultation services, Jessie Atencio, as questioning the accuracy of the data gathered for Arizona.

The second article is from the Verde Independent - it discusses new legislation recently passed by the House allowing businesses a level of secrecy for internal health and safety program reviews/audits. This legislation (HB 2485) states that audits consist of the following:

"12-2322.  Audit report; contents
A.  Except for an item described in section 12-2326, an audit report shall include each document and communication that is created for an audit to evaluate compliance with a health or safety law or an industry standard of excellence with respect to safety, reliability or training.
B.  An audit report may include the following:
1.  A report prepared by an auditor, consultant, monitor or other Similar person, which may include:
(a)  A description of the scope of the audit.
(b)  The information gained in the audit and findings, conclusions and recommendations.
(c)  Exhibits and appendices.
2.  Memoranda and documents that analyze all or a portion of the materials described by subsection c, paragraph 1 of this section or that discuss implementation issues.
3.  An implementation plan or tracking system to correct past Noncompliance, improve current compliance or prevent future noncompliance.
4.  An evaluation, assessment or accreditation of an organization's facilities, operations or training programs relative to that industry's standards of excellence in safety, reliability or training.
C.  The types of exhibits and appendices that may be contained in an Audit report include supporting information that is collected or developed for the primary purpose of and gathered in the course of a health or safety audit, including:
1.  Interviews with current or former employees.
2.  Field notes and records of observations.
3.  Findings, opinions, suggestions, conclusions, guidance, notes, Drafts and memoranda.
4.  Legal analyses.
5.  Drawings.
6.  Photographs.
7.  Laboratory analyses and other analytical data.
8.  Computer generated or electronically recorded information.
9.  Maps, charts, graphs and surveys.
10.  Other communications associated with a health or safety audit."

The Sierra Club opposes this bill. The Arizona House Democrats also oppose this bill, with representatives stating that it "threatens the health and safety of all Arizonans."

The Industrious Hygienist will be researching and tracking HB 2485, and will keep you updated. It's been sent to Governor Brewer for approval or veto.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


So, for those of you not in the environmental health and safety field, I feel I should do a quick follow-up post for the manga I just posted. In section #2 of my latest manga, "The Industrious Hygienist: Keeper of the Safety Box," I use the word "spoggles."

Spoggles is, I admit, a strange word.
This term made one of my report reviewers giggle while reviewing a report, and she commented that it couldn't be a real word since it was so strange. Sorry, W.H., it's sort of a real word. (TRUTH: I thought my clients were making fun of me when they first asked if I had spoggles in my safety gear bag.)  

Spoggles is an industry term for safety eyewear designed to prevent airborne dust and debris from getting in our eyeballs. Airborne dust and debris is a leading cause of eye injuries in today's workplaces.

Spoggles = Safety + Goggles, with a random "p" thrown in there since "sgoggles" or "sagoggles" or "safoggles" sound even weirder. Or maybe it means something else. (?)

Hornet DX "Spoggles"
An example, the Hornet DX. No, I don't own stock or anything in the company, I just think they look comfy and about as cool as you can look in safety glasses/goggles.

The glasses/goggles are supposed to seal up against your face (via the foam inserts at the interior edges of the lenses), and keep dust out of your eyes. Some fun potential issues with spoggles, and reasons why people sometimes choose not to wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) when doing work in a dusty environment:
  • the glasses fog up
  • the glasses can get scratched so it is hard to see
  • the foam can get "smushed" (technical term) and be less effective
  • when you take off your glasses, the dust that was at the top and sides/edges of the glasses (and in your eyebrows) can fall right into your eye anyway
  • some people think they look nerdy (also a technical term)
  • the earpieces can irritate the heck out of the back of your ears
But looking nerdy and having to take care of your PPE and using good personal hygiene while at work are a small price to pay compared to losing your eyesight or getting a nasty infection in your eye from contaminated dust.

Keep a supply of spoggles on hand. With some lanyards. And some no-fog.

I thought about posting some horrible pictures of eye injuries, but I think I'll keep this post more light-hearted.

So, to sum up: spoggles are real. Spoggles are good. Spoggles may save your eyesight. Wear them if you have them.

The Industrious Hygienist Manga: Keeper of the Safety Box

Hi all! There have been lots of changes in the Industrious Hygienist's life lately (hence the sad lack of posting and mangas). Before I entertain you with tales of moving out of town, selling a house, finding a rental in the new town that would take my giant dog-beast, and convincing my employer that I can telecommute effectively, I bring you a long-awaited manga.

Special thanks to the people featured in this manga (you know who you are). I love coming to your facility, working my tail off, and hanging out with y'all. I numbered the way you are supposed to read this one - I haven't done a manga in a while and my formatting is wonky and not entirely logical. 

The Industrious Hygienist: Keeper of the Safety Box
Once I find my *new* and *shiny* software in my unlabeled :( moving boxes and convince my brother-in-law to part ways with the Bamboo tablet I allowed him to borrow, I plan to venture into the realm of digital art.

As always, thanks to the artists/creator of Fullmetal Alchemist for creating such wonderful, drawable characters. Eventually I will be able to draw some original characters, but until then, I will borrow/edit/copy/attribute/love your characters.