Friday, May 31, 2013

Safety Violations in Hospitality Industry - Hawaii's latest

Kauai Beach Resort faces $50K in fines for safety violations - Local

Courtesy of The Garden Island, a Kauai hotel (Kauai Beach Resort) received 14 safety and health violations from the OSHA Honolulu office. Several of the violations were classified as serious, involving storage/handling/labeling of propane tanks, electrical wiring, electrical work practices by untrained maintenance personnel, and training and use of personal respiratory and electrical personal protective equipment (PPE).

The hospitality industry is one of the local emphasis programs in place for the Hawaii OSHA office, and they like to focus on the "behind the scenes" areas of the hotels and resorts. This was a routine inspection, not based on any specific complaint.

In April, the OSHA Honolulu office cited the owner of a Waikiki hotel, giving Halekulani Corp. 17 safety violations, 14 of which were classified as serious. These serious violations involved PPE use and availability, fire extinguisher maintenance and inspection, and the providing protective equipment for electrical work. According to the announcement from OSHA, the hotel owners also "failed to provide training in hazardous waste operations and emergency response standards." There were also issues with labeling, access to electrical panels, and issues with labeling on gas tanks.

A common violation in the hospitality industry is the blood borne pathogens standard - laundry and housekeeping staff may have exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), and per OSHA, "it is the employer's responsibility to determine which job classifications or specific tasks and procedures involve reasonably anticipated contact with blood or OPIM. "

Courtesy of Curtis Law Construction in Kauai, according to Hawaii OSHA representatives, the following are the top violations in Hawaii construction industry (paraphrased from webpage linked above):
  • Fall Protection (lanyards not attached, guardrails and toeboards not sufficient, ladders not secured)
  • Trenching (sloping, shoring, and trench boxes not in compliance, no competent person inspections)
  • Fork Lifts (no certificates of training, no seat belt or horn in use, load capacity not written on forklift)
  • Heavy Equipment (operators not trained properly, no backup alarms, seat belts not being used, brakes not checked, no reflective vests)
  • Cranes (operators not certified, no records or maintenance logs, no electrical safety training, rigging issues, swing radius not barricaded)
  • Electrical Safety (no grounding pins, unlabeled circuit breakers, no front panel, no open space in front of breaker/area in front of panel blocked, lack of outer insulation)
  • General (machine guarding issues, no hazard communication program, insufficient training, PPE not worn or not sufficient)
There is not a Safety/Health Topics page on federal OSHA's website for the hospitality industry, so finding compliance information may be difficult for owners of hotels and other hospitality industry companies. Other locales in the U.S. with a high tourism rate and large number of hospitality industries may notice an uptick in routine inspections at their facilities.

National Safety Month Starts Tomorrow!

June is National Safety Month! The Industrious Hygienist will be very busy in June. I'm scheduled for a four-day Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) 501 General Industry Outreach Trainer class; this will allow me to provide 10-hour and 30-hour General Industry training to my clients and my future graduate students at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott. Thanks to the Arizona Safety Education Center for holding the class. The instructor will be the *illustrious* Harold Gribow

I'm also super-excited to attend Safety 2013 in Las Vegas. I've signed up as a moderator for three sessions. This conference is through the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and I am stoked to meet the other members of the Industrial Hygiene Practice Speciality (IHPS) and the Healthcare Practice Specialty (HPS)

The National Safety Council (NSC) chose the theme "Safety Starts With Me" and has four focus areas for each week in June. 

Week 1: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
Week 2: Employee Wellness
Week 3: Emergency Preparedness
Week 4: Ergonomics

Per NSC, "Successful organizations engage everyone in safety and create a culture where people feel a personal responsibility not only for their own safety, but for that of their coworkers, family and friends. While leadership from the top is important, creating a culture where there is a sense of ownership of safety by all, makes everyone in the organization a safety leader."

On the NSC website, you can sign up for free safety materials, make a safety pledge, and if you're a member, there free weekly webinars and downloadable posters. 

The U.S. Army is joining in National Safety Month as well. They are dedicating a campaign to safety's significance in four key areas: civilian injury prevention, ground operations, aviation operations and off-duty driving.

I especially like the slogan on the poster: "Know the signs. Know what's right. Do what's right."

This encompasses very important facets of safety, including education of employees (they can't "recogize the hazard" if they don't realize it is a hazard) and the emphasis on employee engagement in safety. 

Cintas has provided the following "5 Activities to Engage Employees" for National Safety Month:

1.) Set a company goal for AED/CPR training: Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a stoppage of the heart, causes an estimated 15 percent of workplace deaths. Employees who are well-trained in both CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use will be fully prepared to respond when SCA occurs. Set a company-wide goal to get a large percentage of workers certified and recognize those individuals who participate in the program by hosting a lunch or picnic. Enlist the help of a training provider and American Heart Association (AHA)-certified instructors to highlight proper AED use and CPR technique.

2.) Fit employees for PPE: Since PPE is only fully effective when it fits correctly, and employees are more likely to wear it when it fits, National Safety Month events are a great opportunity to size employees for gloves, eyewear, hearing protection and protective apparel. PPE that fits properly will not inhibit movement or comfort, but will be tight enough to protect employees during daily activities. Set up fitting stations with several sizes and have a representative on duty who can maintain a log of employees’ sizes to make future ordering easier.

3.) Host a safety contest: To keep employees focused and enthusiastic about safety, use contests and trivia to test employee knowledge about correct safety practices. For example, use an “identify what’s wrong with this picture” contest and have employees submit answers for prizes. To maintain engagement over time, launch a recognition program that rewards certain departments or individuals who have shown an exemplary dedication to workplace safety.

4.) Test fire extinguisher skills: Pick a vendor that can be on-site during safety events to train employees on proper fire extinguisher technique using a fire simulator. Then, test employees’ knowledge with oral quizzes and online training courses. In addition, make sure employees know where all extinguishers and exits are located throughout the facility so they can be fully prepared if a fire occurs.

5.) Teach emergency response: A common misconception is that employees know how to properly respond in the event of an emergency. Use safety awareness events to teach employees proper response including evacuation protocol, first-aid techniques and how to call for help during an emergency. Assign stand-out employees to emergency response teams that can correctly handle chemical spills, fires, natural disasters and SCA. 

What's your plan for National Safety Month? 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spiders, Prickly Pears, and Tetanus!

Since moving to Prescott, Arizona, I have noticed a decrease in scorpions in and around my home, but an increase in spiders. Walking the mighty dog-beast this morning, I chanced upon a flowering prickly pear (lovely) that was draped in spider webs.

These webs are all over our neighborhood and mighty spouse has conquered at least four spiders since we moved in.

The webs appear to be from funnel weaving spiders, and apparently funnel weaving spiders get nice and busy in the Spring, specifically, in May.

So it is nice to know that the spiders in my neighborhood are following the natural order of things.

In the vein of safety, I offer you the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tips from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) re: venomous spiders.

Venomous spiders in the U.S. include: black widow, brown recluse, and hobo spiders. Spiders easily get inside buildings and present a risk to indoor workers as well as outdoor workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), insects and arachnids were responsible for approximately 48% of nonfatal occupational or workplace injuries involving animals from 1992-1997.

Spiders are not (usually) aggressive; most spider bites happen because a spider is trapped or accidentally contacted. NIOSH states that "It is important for employers to educate their workers about their risk of exposure to venomous spiders, how they can prevent and protect themselves from spider bites, and what they should do if they are bitten." 

NIOSH recommends that employers should protect their workers from spider bites by training them on:
  • Their risk of exposure to spiders
  • How to identify spiders (photos on website)
  • How to prevent exposure to spiders
  • What they should do if they are bitten by a spider
Since safety is all about preventing the injury before it occurs, NIOSH also provides a list of preventative steps for workers:
  • Inspect or shake out any clothing, shoes, towels, or equipment before use.
  • Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, hat, gloves, and boots when handling stacked or undisturbed piles of materials.
  • Minimize the empty spaces between stacked materials.
  • Remove and reduce debris and rubble from around the outdoor work areas.
  • Trim or eliminate tall grasses from around outdoor work areas.
  • Store apparel and outdoor equipment in tightly closed plastic bags.
  • Keep your tetanus boosters up-to-date (every 10 years). Spider bites can become infected with tetanus spores.
The Mayo Clinic has helpful first aid recommendations for spider bites:
  • Clean the bite with mild soap and water.
  • Apply cold packs to the bite, to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • If the bite is on an extremity such as an arm or leg, keep it elevated.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
  • Observe the bite for signs of infection.
A note re: the tetanus booster - the spider itself is not likely to be carrying the bacteria Clostridium tetani, it's the fact the the bite is a puncture wound and dirt carrying the bacteria gets in the wound, which therefore can become infected.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just when you thought acronyms were boring...

Special thanks to the vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green) for teaching me something new today. Spouse and I have been watching vlogbrothers for a few months now and stumbled on the embedded video this morning. It's a great introduction to nerdfighteria. 

Apparently there's a difference between acronyms and initialisms

An initialism is a group of letters strung together, where each letter stands for a word (i.e. CIH = Certified Industrial Hygienist, NRR = Noise Reduction Rating, ASSE = American Society of Safety Engineers, DFTBA = Don't Forget to be Awesome).

An acronym is an initialism that you pronounce as a word (i.e LASER = Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, HEPA = High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance). 

So in honor of learning something new, I wondered if the word "acronyms" could be an actual acronym. So here's my attempt:

Yammering (Yucky?)

Enjoy, post your favorite acronym in the comments!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why should you register to be an organ donor?

I have my reasons for registering as an organ donor, which I will share with you shortly, but I thought I would cross-post the "5 Reasons You Should Become An Organ Donor" from the University Hospital and Medical Center blog from 2011. 

From the UHMC blog post (linked above): 

"Here are five top reasons why you should register to become an organ donor on National Donor Day:
1. You can save a life. One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and statistics show that many people live long and healthy lives after receiving a transplant.
2. The demand is high. Over 100,000 people are waiting for an organ at any given time.
3. It’s free for you. There is no cost associated with becoming an organ donor. Your family will not be charged for the medical procedures involved.
4. Minority need is high. Certain blood types are more prevalent in ethnic minority populations such as African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and Hispanics. Matching blood type is necessary for organ transplants, so the need for minority organ donors is high.
5. Everyone is eligible. There are over 80 million Americans currently signed up to be organ donors, and age is not a factor. Parents can authorize organ donation for children under the age of 18 and organs have even been donated from donors in their 70s and 80s."
So why am I an organ donor? Meet my sister
She's the thankful recipient of two heart transplants and is almost 17 years old. 
She's been featured in a short documentary (see details on her blog, "Teenage Heart Transplant") that won an award in a local film festival. You can view the festival cut on YouTube. I haven't figured out how to embed videos yet, once I figure it out, I will update my post. 
View the documentary, "Shelby Cooper: Three of Hearts" at She's awesome.
If you end up reading her blog (I love it and subscribe, but I'm family, ergo biased), or view the documentary, you'll notice she mentions the ukulele...I am 95% sure I am responsible for the gift card that led to that purchase. 
Sign up to be an organ donor! You have no idea how many lives you'll potentially impact. 

How I am celebrating Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day!

Howdy, loyal readers! Today is Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day. I'll tell you how I am celebrating, but first I want to let you know what this day is all about.


The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) started this recognition day in 2006. It is held in the middle of North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, which is this week, May 5 to 11, 2013.

Here's a NAOSH marketing poster for the week-long celebration of safety and health in workplaces and homes.

Image courtesy of NAOSH promotional materials website.
 They have the slogan "Safety and Health: A Commitment for Life" and the website has events (mostly in Canada, since it is "North American" and includes Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.), resources, partners, and promotional materials for communities or companies.

My favorite promotional item is the Safety Checklist, which is written for Canadian regulations but can be easily modified for U.S. regulations. The checklist has the theme "How Safe Are You!" I like that they used the exclamation point (!) rather than making it a question (?) - it feels more like a challenge.

Checklist courtesy of the NAOSH promotional materials website.





Safety Checklists

Some of the checklist questions (since the photo is teensy) include:

1.) Does your workplace have a written, up-to-date and posted health and safety policy and a program to implement the policy?

2.) Does everyone in your workplace know their current obligations under the [Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970], as well as the relevant regulations and amendments?

3.) Does everyone know the worker representative or committee members whose role it is to address health and safety issues?

4.) Does your workplace have a system to conduct planned health and safety inspections that includes training, responsibilities, and checklists?

[skipping ahead]

7.) Is the [Hazard Communication Program] current and reviewed annually and when materials or processes change?

I'll stop on this question for two reasons: a) because you can look this checklist up yourself and see how your workplace is doing, and b) because the Hazard Communication Program regulations (HazCom for short) in the U.S. changed recently.

I've planned a series of posts on what changes will be needed in workplaces for HazCom regulatory compliance.

My Celebration

My plans for celebrating the day are pretty simple. I am going to keep doing my job as an occupational safety and health professional. Since I sit at a desk for much of the day, I am going to stave off some musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and do about an hour of yoga in the afternoon. Since I drive around a lot for projects, I am going to make an appointment to get my car serviced, and prevent a potential motor vehicle incident (MVI).

Mostly I plan to promote the Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day and NAOSH week to any unsuspecting blog reader or LinkedIn member I can get to listen.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Industrial hygiene and safety blogs I follow.

I love to read blogs as much as I love to write them (and draw mangas!). Here's two of my favorite industrial hygiene and safety blogs. They post frequently and have useful information. 

Industrial Hygiene: Industrial Hygiene in Construction

Safety: OSHA Training Blog

If you know of any other ones to add to my reading list, post a comment. FYI I have enabled the "approval" of comments before they are posted. Some of them became "spammy" and I had to delete them.