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Hazardous chemicals: Cleaning chemicals sicken 20 workers; How to avoid deadly mixtures
January 2016
When Taylor Farms workers in Tracy arrived for the morning shift on October 15, 2015, they immediately noticed a strong chlorine smell. Twenty workers, including two pregnant women, became sick enough that they evacuated the building and called 911. According to the Tracy Fire Department, the plant's sanitation crew had accidentally mixed two cleaning chemicals, acetic acid and chlorine, releasing toxic chlorine gas. . . . more »
Hazardous chemicals: How do you take your coffee? Cream? Sugar? Lung disease?
September 2015
It's not news that diacetyl, a chemical used to create butter flavor in prepared foods, can cause deadly lung disease--bronchiolitis obliterans (or "popcorn lung," because it was first identified in workers at a microwave popcorn factory). . . . more »
Hazard identification: New industries, younger victims keep silica concerns high
September 2015
Both Cal/OSHA and federal OSHA have been taking aim at the hazards of crystalline silica for some time. OSHA created a Special Emphasis Program to address crystalline silica exposures in 1996 and updated it as a National Emphasis Program in 2008. . . . more »
Hazard identification: Federal OSHA publishes guidance for nail salon workers
August 2015
In 1975, after the fall of Saigon in South Vietnam, the U.S. government evacuated more than 125,000 South Vietnamese citizens to refugee camps in the United States. At a camp near Sacramento, actress Tippi Hedren (most famous for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds") met 20 Vietnamese women whose plight moved her. . . . more »
Indoor air quality: School study leads to recommendations for healthier cleaning
July 2015
Do you know what it feels like to not be able to breathe? If so, you may be one of the 6.8 million U.S. adults who suffer from asthma, a potentially deadly lung disease in which the airways narrow, making breathing difficult. . . . more »
Hazardous chemicals: Ammonia spill sends 24 workers to the hospital; Are your workers at risk?
May 2015
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on February 5, 2015, ammonia started leaking from a refrigeration unit at Sierra Cascade Nursery in the small Merced County town of Ballico. Hundreds of workers spilled out of the building, escaping the pungent vapor. . . . more »
Hazard identification: Is substitution the answer to chemical exposures? NIOSH says 'maybe not'
May 2015
For decades, the dry cleaning solvent of choice for America's 36,000 dry cleaning shops was perchloroethylene (PERC). But a steadily growing understanding of PERC's environmental and occupational hazards and the resulting increased regulation have led dry cleaners to look for alternative chemicals. . . . more »
Hazard identification: Let's talk about the weather; The impact of climate change on safety
December 2014
Are you worried about the weather? With the state in its third consecutive year of below-normal rainfall, struggling through the worst drought in its recorded history, many people are dealing with water-related issues. Nearly 60 percent of the state is now in "exceptional drought," the most severe on the U.S. Drought Monitor's five-point scale, and 95 percent is in "severe drought." . . . more »
Enforcement: Cal/OSHA implements isocyanate National Emphasis Program
May 2014
In June 2013, federal OSHA announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect workers from isocyanate exposure. As with all of federal OSHA's new NEPs, state OSHA programs like Cal/OSHA are required to adopt this enforcement program; Cal/OSHA issued its enforcement memorandum on January 28, 2014. . . . more »
Hazardous chemicals: Why you need to worry about oxidizers
April 2014
Three things are necessary to maintain a fire--a fuel source (flammable materials, including flammable or combustible chemicals), an ignition source (open flames, sparks, and sources of heat), and oxygen. . . . more »
Trainer's handbook: Until the dust clears, teach workers to protect themselves against silica
March 2014
Each year, more than 300 American workers die from silicosis, and thousands of new cases are diagnosed. Silicosis is the name given to incurable lung damage that occurs when workers inhale dusts that contain crystalline silica. . . . more »
Hazardous chemicals: Employers face high liability and tighter regulations for lead exposure
February 2014
The dangers of lead have been back in the headlines lately. The gist for employers that use lead? Substantial potential liability and more restrictive regulations appear to be the order of the day. . . . more »
Nanomaterials: New guidance from NIOSH details engineering controls for nano-scale hazards
February 2014
We know that things that are too small to see can be extremely dangerous--bacteria and viruses, vapors and gases, and radioactive particles are all tiny, invisible hazards. . . . more »
Trainer's handbook: Bring home the bacon--but leave the hazards at work
February 2014
Do you bring your work home with you? Check work e-mail on your smartphone, finish projects after your kids are in bed, maybe even recruit your family to collate documents and perform other small tasks related to your job? . . . more »
Hazardous chemicals: Federal OSHA creates new chemical safety resources for employers
January 2014
Federal OSHA estimates that American workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures. . . . more »
Hazard identification: NTP study links common fire retardant to aggressive cancer; Computer workers are at highest risk
December 2013
In November 2011, two iPhone users on opposite sides of the world were surprised when their phones caught fire. One iPhone was on an airplane in Australia; the other was on a bedside table in Brazil. . . . more »
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