Volume No. 63
By: Anne Bracker, MPH, CIH
We are in the middle of one of the coldest winters in
years. Weatherization projects have made Connecticut’s homes and workplaces more
energy efficient. Weatherization work has provided Connecticut’s workforce with
“green jobs” that serve an environmental purpose. In addition to enhancing
environmental quality, green jobs should be safe. As David Michaels, Assistant
Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, noted at a Green Jobs
Conference: “It is vital that we integrate worker safety and health concerns
into green manufacturing, green construction and green energy…Most people
instinctively see green jobs as safe. But at OSHA, when we hear insulation, we
think isocyanate exposure. When we hear rooftop solar power, we see fall
hazards. When we hear wind energy, we see lockout hazards.”¹
The following summary highlights some of the hazards
associated with work in the weatherization sector. Employers in this sector
should implement health and safety programs to protect weatherization workers
from these hazards. The potential hazards associated with other “green jobs” can
be found on OSHA’s Green Jobs website.²
Weatherization: Insulation Work
Removing old insulation: Workers may need to remove
old insulating materials before they install the new insulation. If these
materials are tested and found to contain asbestos, employers must comply with
OSHA’s asbestos standard3. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer
and asbestosis. Compliance with OSHA’s asbestos standard includes several core
elements which include: exposure monitoring to determine which work tasks are
associated with asbestos exposure, exposure controls if excursions above the
permissible exposure limits are documented, medical surveillance, and health
hazard training for these workers.
In addition to asbestos and other fibrous materials,
workers may be exposed to biological contaminants such as mold when they remove
old, musty insulating materials. Precautions should be taken when removing these
materials as well.
Installing new insulation: Some insulating and
sealing products can be blown-in and spray-applied. Blown-in materials can
include fiberglass and cellulose; spray-on materials can include spray
polyurethane foam (SPF). Exposure to these and other insulating materials can be
hazardous. Fiberglass is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant and a potential
human carcinogen. Cellulose is a respiratory irritant. SPF may release
isocyanate monomer when it is applied. Respiratory and dermal exposure to SPF
can cause sensitization and may lead to asthma and other respiratory problems as
well as eye and skin irritation. Because of these potential hazards, employers
should provide insulating workers with appropriate respiratory protection,
personal protective equipment and adequate ventilation.
In addition, employers should protect insulating
workers from electrical hazards, flammable and combustible materials and
confined space risks. OSHA has identified several fatalities and incidents due
to fires associated with the use of isocyanate-containing materials. For
example, a Springfield, Massachusetts worker was killed when the spray foam
chemicals he was applying in a home attic caught fire. In Vermont, a similar
incident is believed to have happened when the vapors from spray foam chemicals
caught fire after an insulation worker applied the 2-part product in an attic.
When the worker’s unconscious body was removed from the building, efforts to
revive him were unsuccessful.4
Weatherization: Air Sealing Work
Weatherization workers may seal the building envelope
by removing leaky windows and replacing them with new ones. Removing old windows
can present a lead hazard if the windows have lead paint. The presence of lead
based paint in pre-1978 homes should be assumed unless testing confirms
otherwise. Chronic overexposure to lead may result in severe damage to workers’
blood - forming, nervous, urinary and reproductive systems.
Employers must comply with OSHA’s lead standard5
during these types of renovation projects. Compliance with OSHA’s lead standard
includes several core elements: representative exposure monitoring to determine
which work tasks are associated with lead exposure, exposure controls if air
levels are above the permissible exposure limit, medical surveillance, hygiene
facilities and health hazard training if exposures are above the action level.
Until the employer performs an exposure assessment the employer should provide
employees with interim protection.
The move towards energy efficiency has lead to changes
to traditional jobs and the creation of new kinds of occupations. Weatherizing,
insulating and sealing are important parts of energy conservation.
Weatherization activities have clear benefits. However, we need to remain
vigilant in protecting workers against the well-understood and emerging hazards
associated with this work.
Posting Time Period February 1 thru April 30
It’s time to prepare your OSHA 300A Summary form. This
form provides a snapshot of your safety record for the year and provides the
data to calculate your DART (Days Away, Restricted or Transferred) rate. This
rate provides the number of cases with days away, job transfer, or restriction
per 100 full-time employees. In 2009, the U.S. DART rate for private industry
was 1.8. To find the DART rate for a specific industry, visit
OSHA Recordkeeping Reminders:
Post the OSHA 300A Summary form where employees
may easily see it, from February 1st through April 30th. You must ensure
that the form is not altered, defaced or covered by other material.
If your establishment did not have any OSHA
recordable cases for the year, you must still post the OSHA 300A Summary.
Enter zeros for each column total under Number of Cases, Number of Days, and
Injury and Illness Types.
All sections of the form must be completed. Don’t
overlook the establishment name and address, industry description, annual
average number of employees, and total hours worked.
A company executive must sign the OSHA 300A
Summary. The company executive must be one of the following: the owner of a
sole proprietorship or partnership, an officer of a corporation, the highest
ranking company official working at the establishment, or the immediate
supervisor of the highest ranking company official working at the
You are not required to post the OSHA 300 Log of
Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
Keep OSHA records for the past 5 years and update
the OSHA 300 Log as needed.
You may download copies of the OSHA Recordkeeping
forms in PDF or Excel format from
http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKforms.html. For recordkeeping questions,
please call 860-263-6941.
Safe Roof Snow Removal
By: Thomas Reitano, Construction Consultation Safety Coordinator
Record snow accumulations in New England have resulted
in many structural failures of roofs on buildings in both the public and private
sector. Dozens of workers have been seen on rooftops clearing snow with shovels,
snow rakes, and snow blowers. Fears of possible structural collapse have now
motivated property managers and others to prioritize the removal of snow as soon
as they can get workers up on the roof. According to a recent quote by Governor
Malloy, “People need to be vigilant about clearing their roofs and they need to
be smart about it.”
Being “smart” about removal of ice and snow from a
roof must emphasize eliminating or controlling hazards related to this work.
Manual removal of snow/ice from a roof is more than hazardous to workers; it can
also severely damage the roof. Removal of snow and ice without workers on the
roof must be a primary consideration. Heating attics or crawl spaces can promote
the melting of ice and snow without exposing employees to fall hazards. OSHA
Standards require employers to provide effective fall protection and related
training for workers at heights of four feet or more from the ground; less than
four feet if there is dangerous equipment that could increase the severity of
injuries in the event of a fall.
CONN-OSHA Safety Consultants can help employers create
and implement a Roof Snow Removal Plan. Such a plan may be a very appropriate
addition to an effective Safety and Health Program which should be reviewed and
updated periodically with input and support of all employees.
Working on a roof with ice, snow, and wind will
greatly contribute to the probability of a fall onto the roof. Falling off of
the edge of the roof to the ground below or through a snow covered skylight to
the floor below can result in fatal injuries. Use of a Personal Fall Arrest
System (PFAS) is the least desirable choice to protect employees and used only
after implementation of Engineering Controls (use of interior heat/application
of de-icing materials without climbing onto the roof) is proven infeasible by
The hazard of roof collapse can best be addressed by
consulting with a competent Structural Engineer to inspect and certify load
capabilities of the roof in question. Before workers access a roof to evaluate
and/or remove snow or other debris, a qualified person should evaluate and
determine that the load bearing on the roof will not put workers in danger of
being part of a possible collapse. Emergency Action Plans for occupied buildings
must be updated and in place for all workplaces.
One life lost is too many.
The following table is not inclusive of all possible
related hazards/corrective actions but can serve as a guide for some of the most
severe hazards related to Roof Snow Removal:
In November 2008, a 52-year-old barge
worker died from carbon monoxide poisoning. He was assigned to a barge to
off-load dredged materials upon arrival at a dumpsite. The barge had a
two-compartment scow house. One compartment housed a mobile gas powered
generator that provided power to a radio and a small electric heater. The second
compartment was used for sleeping and work space.
Four hours after the trip began, the
crew attempted to contact the barge worker via radio and then by horn. The
captain sent a crew member to check on the barge worker, who was discovered
unresponsive in the second compartment. Despite attempts to revive the barge
worker, he died at the hospital. Investigation revealed that the scow house
compartments were not adequately ventilated.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless
gas that can kill a person in minutes. Whenever a fuel, such as gas, oil,
kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned, CO is produced. When appliances are not
maintained or used properly, dangerous levels of CO can result. Generators,
concrete cutting saws, compressors, power trowels, floor buffers and space
heaters are all possible sources of CO.
Recognize warning symptoms of
headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, or tightness across the
chest. If you experience symptoms of CO poisoning, get to fresh air right away
and seek immediate medical attention.
To prevent CO Exposure
Make sure generators have 3-4 feet
of clear space on all sides and above to ensure adequate ventilation. Do not
use them in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl
spaces, and basements.
Choose appliances that vent their
fumes to the outside, have them properly installed, and maintain them
according to manufacturers’ instructions.
Have your fuel-burning appliances
inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating
season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good
condition, and not blocked.
Don’t idle vehicles in a garage --
even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up very
Consider using tools powered by
electricity or compressed air, if available.
OSHA Recordkeeping March 7, 2011, from 9:00
a.m. to noon At this workshop, you will learn how to fill out the OSHA 300 Log
of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses accurately and correctly
Construction Site Safety March 9, 2011, from
9:00 a.m. to noon Construction managers, first line supervisors, and
construction employees will be provided with an overview of four areas of
concern on the construction site. Program contents include: fall protection,
scaffolding and ladders, electrical hazards, and trenching safety.
The Control of Hazardous Energy March 22, 2011,
from 10:00 a.m. to noon This two-hour course will help to satisfy the
requirements for training as detailed in the OSHA regulation for those who are
working in areas where Lockout programs are in place, or whose job requires them
to actually do the Lockout and isolate the energy sources.
Material Handling & Ergonomics April 26, 2011,
from 10:00 a.m. to noon Confronted with making ergonomic improvements to an
existing manufacturing process or office environment but have run out of ideas?
A number of manufacturing case studies will be reviewed that have improved
worker safety and health with minimum cost. This session will help attendees
develop a process for recognizing and quantifying risks, creating cost-effective
solutions, and documenting the effectiveness of the results.
Breakfast Roundtable This discussion group
meets the third Tuesday of every month from 8:15 am to 9:45 am. Pre-registration
is required. To be placed on the e-mail distribution list, contact John Able at
Classes are free and held at 200 Folly Brook
Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT in Conference Room A/B. To register, contact John
Able at firstname.lastname@example.org or Catherine Zinsser at email@example.com.
Pre-registration is required. A Photo I.D. is required to allow entry into a
public building. For more training information, visit the CONN-OSHA web site
Fatality & Casualty
Connecticut Department of Labor - OSHA
38 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
To receive the Quarterly electronically,
In the subject line type “subscribe” and provide your e-mail address.
You may also reach us by phone at (860) 263-6900 or visit our website at
March 01, 2017