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CONN-OSHA Quarterly
February, 2012

Volume No. 67
February 2012

  • 146 Fatal Work Injuries in New England in 2010
  • Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has a new Director - Kenneth Tucker
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Hazard Alert: Bathtub Refinishers Have Died While Stripping Tubs
  • Hazard Corner …
  • Training Update ...

146 Fatal Work Injuries in New England in 2010

A preliminary total of 4,547 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2010, about the same as the final count of 4,551 fatal work injuries in 2009, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of fatal work injuries for U.S. workers in 2010 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, the same as the final rate for 2009. Over the last 3 years, increases in the published counts based on information received after the release of preliminary data have averaged 174 fatalities per year or about 3 percent of the revised totals. Final 2010 CFOI data will be released in Spring 2012.

Economic factors continue to play a role in the fatal work injury counts. Total hours worked were up slightly in 2010 in contrast to the declines recorded in both 2008 and 2009, but some historically high-risk industries continued to experience declines or slow growth in total hours worked.

New England; A total of 146 fatal work injuries were reported in New England in 2010. Regional Commissioner Denis M. McSweeney noted that, while the 2010 count is preliminary, it was the 4th-lowest count since the series began in 1992. One year ago, the series low of 139 on-the-job fatalities was recorded. Overall, fatal occupational injuries in New England accounted for about 3 percent of the nation’s 4,547 work-related fatalities.

Fatal Occupational Injuries - 2000-2010

Among the six New England states, on-the-job fatalities were highest in Massachusetts (51) and Connecticut (49), the two states with the largest workforces. Together, Massachusetts and Connecticut accounted for nearly 70 percent of the fatal occupational injuries occurring in New England. Maine (19 fatalities) and Vermont (13) represented 13 and 9 percent of the New England fatality count, respectively. Rhode Island ended the year with nine work-related fatalities and New Hampshire, five.

In 2010, four New England states recorded increases in their on-the-job fatality counts, while two reported decreases. Connecticut recorded the largest increase with 15 fatalities. The on-the-job fatality count fell by 13 in Massachusetts.

Connecticut; In Connecticut, the fatality count of 49 was the highest total in the state since 2004. In 2010, the most frequent fatal workplace events were assaults and violent acts (17), transportation incidents (11), and fires and explosions (8). Workplace fatalities were most common in the trade, transportation, and utilities (15) and construction (12) industries. Among occupational groups, transportation and material moving (14) and construction and extraction (10) occupations accounted for nearly half of the state’s fatality count.

More than half (25) of all worker deaths were individuals 35-54 years old. Black, non-Hispanics, Asians, and Hispanics or Latinos combined for 11 workplace fatalities in Connecticut, the largest total for these groups in any New England State.

Maine; Maine had 19 on-the-job deaths in 2010. Nearly two-thirds (12) of the fatalities were the result of transportation incidents of which nine were highway accidents. Both the natural resources and mining and trade, transportation, and utilities industries accounted for four fatalities each in Maine. Among occupational groups, the transportation and material moving group accounted for eight fatalities and farming, fishing, and forestry had four fatalities. Nearly all of the fatally injured workers in Maine were white, non-Hispanics (18). Among the age groups, almost half (9) of the state’s fatalities were from workers 55 and over.

Massachusetts; In Massachusetts, the fatality count of 51 in 2010 was the lowest total in the Commonwealth since 2002. The most frequent fatal event was falls (15), followed by transportation incidents (14) and assaults and violent acts (12). These three events accounted for 80 percent of Massachusetts’s workplace deaths.

The greatest number of fatal workplace incidents occurred in the construction industry (13); government followed with 10 fatalities. Construction and extraction occupations had the highest number of on-the-job fatalities (14), followed by transportation and material moving occupations (8). Eighty percent of the fatally injured workers in the Commonwealth were white, non-Hispanics while 14 percent were Hispanic or Latino, the highest reported share for that group in any New England state. By age group, 45-54-year-olds had 13 fatalities and 55-64-year-olds had 12 fatalities, accounting for 25 and 24 percent of the state’s total, respectively.

New Hampshire; In 2010, New Hampshire had five workplace fatalities, one less than a year earlier and the lowest number since the series’ inception in 1992. All of the fatally injured in the state were males.

Rhode Island; Rhode Island recorded nine workplace deaths in 2010, an increase of two from the previous year. Assaults and violent acts led to four workplace fatalities in the state. All recorded fatalities were males.

Vermont; In 2010, Vermont had 13 workplace fatalities, one more than the previous year. Transportation incidents accounted for seven on-the-job fatalities in the state. Four fatalities in Vermont occurred in natural resources and mining. All of the fatally injured workers in Vermont were white, non-Hispanic males and eight of them were age 55 or older.

Background of the program; The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics (OSHS) program, compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. The CFOI program uses diverse state, federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries. This assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible. For the 2010 data, over 18,000 unique source documents nationally were reviewed as part of the data collection process.

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Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has a new Director - Kenneth Tucker

 

Kenneth Tucker has been named Director of the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA). An Air Force veteran, Tucker, has been with the Connecticut Department of Labor since 1986, had been serving as the Division’s acting director for the past three years.

 

Tucker considers himself lucky to be working in a job that he loves. It is this love for his job that fuels the enthusiasm and energy necessary for him to promote CONN-OSHA’s mission and build upon its past accomplishments. As the Director of CONN-OSHA, he is responsible for overseeing the enforcement of occupational health and safety regulations as they pertain to public sector workers.

 

In addition to overseeing enforcement, Tucker will also oversee CONN-OSHA’s on-site consultation program for the public and private sectors, CONN-OSHA’s training and education programs; CONN-OSHA’s Statistics Unit, and the Occupational Health Clinics program.

 

In his spare time, Tucker serves as District Governor for Lions International, is past-president of the Montville Mohegan Pequot Lions Club, and is a past union steward with the Administrative and Residual Employees Union. He resides in Norwich with his wife, Nancy. They have five children and six grandchildren.

 

The staff of CONN-OSHA congratulate Ken on his well deserved accomplishment.

 

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas which interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. CO is non-irritating and can overcome persons without warning. Many people die from CO poisoning, usually while using gasoline powered tools, equipment and generators in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.

 

Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Severe carbon monoxide poisoning causes: neurological damage, illness, coma, death. Symptoms of CO exposure: Headaches, dizziness, drowsiness nausea, vomiting, tightness across the chest.

 

Some Sources of Exposure:

  • Portable generators/generators in buildings.

  • Concrete cutting saws, compressors.

  • Power trowels, floor buffers, space heaters.

  • Welding, gasoline powered pumps.

Preventing CO Exposure:

  • Never use a generator indoors or in enclosed or partially en closed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces, and basements. Opening windows and doors in an enclosed space may prevent CO buildup.

  • Make sure the generator has 3-4 feet of clear space on all sides and above it to ensure adequate ventilation.

  • Do not use a generator outdoors if placed near doors, windows or vents which could allow CO to enter and build up in occupied spaces.

  • When using space heaters and stoves ensure that they are in good working order to reduce CO buildup, and never use in enclosed spaces or indoors.

  • Consider using tools powered by electricity or compressed air, if available.

If you experience symptoms of CO poisoning get to fresh air right away and seek immediate medical attention.

 

OSHA Quick Card #3282-2005 http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/carbon_monoxide.pdf
 

 

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Hazard Alert: Bathtub Refinishers Have Died While Stripping Tubs

 

Since 2000 at least 13 tub refinishing workers have died nationwide due to overexposure to methylene chloride based strippers. The majority of these tub refinishers were working alone in small bathrooms with limited ventilation and inadequate respiratory protection.

Methylene chloride is a hazardous chemical that is regulated by OSHA. Short term exposure to high levels of methylene chloride can cause dizziness and headaches. The liver metabolizes methylene chloride to carbon monoxide. Elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the blood can cause heart attacks, irregular heart rhythms and sudden death. Employees with chronic exposure to methylene chloride are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

The most effective way to prevent work-related fatalities is to use non methylene chloride based strippers. Because alternative strippers and other tub reglazing chemicals can be hazardous, employers should always review the products’ material safety data sheets (MSDS) and provide employees with hazard communication training.

OSHA’s methylene chloride standard requires employers to control occupational exposure to methylene chloride through the use of exposure monitoring, engineering controls, work practices, respiratory protection and medical surveillance. If employers decide to continue using strippers that contain methylene chloride the following safe work practices should be followed:

Evaluation: Evaluate exposures by collecting short term and full shift air samples. Current investigations suggest that bathtub refinishing with methylene chloride based strippers will most likely result in air levels that exceed OSHA’s permissible exposure limits.

Ventilation: Use make up air and effective local exhaust ventilation. Attach duct work to the intake side of a portable exhaust fan/blower. Because methylene chloride is heavier than air, place the duct work as close as possible to the bottom of the tub, and place the exhaust fan in the bathroom window. Ceiling fans alone are not sufficient.

Work Practices, Respiratory Protection and Protective Equipment: Leave the room after applying strippers and keep the ventilation systems running.

  • Use tool handle extenders to minimize leaning into the tub.

  • Use full-face supplied air respirators (a fresh air system). Dust masks and cartridge respirators do not provide protection from methylene chloride vapors.

  • Wear butyl or polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) gloves. Latex or nitrile gloves are not protective.

Connecticut OSHA can help employers implement these evaluation and control strategies. Call 860-263-6900 to request a free consultation.

OSHA Quick Takes (November 1, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 21) http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/quicktakes/qt11012011.html#5

Michigan Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) Hazard Alert http://www.oem.msu.edu/userfiles/BathtubRefinishingHA14.pdf

Fatality & Casualty Reporting:

  • State & Town: CONN-OSHA (860) 263-6946 (local) or 1-866-241-4060 (toll-free)

  • Private Employers: Report to Federal OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)

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4 Hazard Corner … PROPANE, by James R. Fusaro

When I was asked to write an article about propane safety, I discovered that I knew about as much regarding propane as I do quantum physics. I then decided to limit my article to what most people need to know about propane. So after doing a little research I came up with some fun (or maybe not-so-fun) facts that I thought readers of this publication might be interested in. Here goes my attempt at writing my (hopefully) Pulitzer Prize piece on this very interesting and potentially explosive topic.

Propane should not be feared if handled and used properly, but should always be respected as it has the potential to become a fatal fireball. My job as an Occupational Safety Officer is not to tell you about how life with propane is rosy all the time, but for me to inform you about what can happen when shortcuts are taken by people. Propane (also called Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, LP Gas, or liquid propane gas) is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel, a refrigerant and an aerosol propellant.

Many of us have at least 20 pounds of propane in our back yards posing as a magical source of fire for our barbeque grills. These 20 pounds of propane equal approximately 4.7 gallons of liquid and weighs about ½ the weight of an equivalent amount of water. With an expansion rate of 270 to 1, one gallon of propane will produce 270 gallons of propane in the air. Multiply that by 4.7 and you’ve now got about 1,270 gallons of potentially explosive gas in your back yard.

If you smell the odor of propane (which is really an odorless gas with a foul-smelling additive, usually mercaptan, to make it detectible for us), whether indoors or out, immediately leave the premises and call your propane dealer or fire department and inform them what type of gas you use. This will let them know what they’ll be looking for and how to look for it, as propane is heavier than air, but natural gas is lighter than air. Whomever the emergency responders in your area happen to be, they should be testing/metering while wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association and OSHA standards to provide them with the necessary protection while monitoring for the presence of gas and location of the leak. Remember, they are working in a potentially IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) atmosphere and should treat it as known IDLH.

A few more things that are good to know:

  • A gallon of liquid propane contains 91,560 BTU’s (a BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the amount of energy needed to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit).

  • Propane tanks and cylinders are made of heavy duty steel which are tested at the factory and re-inspected according to DOT regulations and industry standards.

  • Whenever a propane tank is changed, it should be inspected for leaks by spraying the connection with soapy water. If you see bubbles, shut it down and re-connect, then check it again.

  • Let licensed professionals service your propane appliances and tanks as Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be produced by incomplete combustion or improperly vented appliances.

  • Make sure you have working CO detectors in your house if you use propane for indoor appliances.

  • All in all, propane is a safe and environmentally friendly fuel, meeting standards set forth by the Federal Clean Air Act Amendments.

In closing, if you’d like an interesting application for your smart phone or PC, try http://wiser.nlm.nih.gov for emergency responder information for almost all known hazardous materials, it’s free!

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CONN-OSHA Training Update

Powered Industrial Trucks March 6, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to noon This workshop includes the basic requirements of the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178 Powered Industrial Truck Standard which affects both General Industry and Construction material handling operations.

OSHA Recordkeeping March 8, 2012, from 8:30 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.

Trenching & Excavation May 22, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to noon This workshop will provide an overview of 29 CFR 1926.650-652 excavations, including the role of the competent person. The session is designed to assist participants in identifying hazards associated with excavations and related activities

Construction Site Safety June 12, 2012 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.

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 able.john@dol.gov

Classes are free and held at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT in Conference Room A/B. To register, contact John Able at able.john@dol.gov or Catherine Zinsser at zinsser.catherine@dol.gov. 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 www.ctdol.state.ct.us/osha/osha.htm.

CONN-OSHA-Quarterly Index

Last Updated: February 26, 2014


200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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