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Short Read: Hazardous Waste

Posted 2:26 PM by

Hazardous Waste

By: Safety Resources, Inc.

According to federal and Indiana statutes the term "hazardous waste" means a solid waste, or combination of solid waste that, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may:

  • cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or
  • pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed.

Hazardous wastes come in many forms. They can be liquid, solids, semisolid, or contained gases. They can be manufacturing process byproducts, sludges or spent materials or simply discarded products. Whatever their form, proper management is essential to protect human health and the environment. In 1976 congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Subtitle C of this act directed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to develop comprehensive, cradle to grave management standards for hazardous waste.

Under the broad statutory definition, the universe of potential hazardous waste is extremely large and diverse. As a result, Congress directed the U.S. EPA to develop regulations to specifically define the universe of hazardous waste for regulatory purposes under RCRA. The U.S. EPA developed four defining characteristics of hazardous waste and four lists of specific hazardous wastes. If a waste meets the definition of solid waste, and has not been excluded by rule from the definition of hazardous waste, it is considered a hazardous waste if:

  • It is included on one of the four lists of hazardous waste found in the regulations (i.e., listed waste), or;
  • It exhibits one of the four defined hazardous waste characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity (i.e., characteristic waste).

These lists and definitions are found in the federal regulations at 40 CFR Part 261. These definitions and lists are also adopted by reference in Indiana's hazardous waste rules at 329 IAC 3.1-6.

 

This is a condensed article; Read the full article here.

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Short Read: Communicable Diseases

Posted 2:33 PM by

Communicable Diseases

With the cold and flu season approaching, this is the perfect time to learn more about the things that can make you sick. So, what is it exactly that makes us sick? A communicable disease such as a cold is a disease that spreads from person to person. Communicable diseases are diseases that you can "catch" from someone or something else. Some people may use the words contagious or infectious when talking about communicable diseases. They can also be transmitted through shared liquids, food, bodily fluids, contaminated objects, through the air, and to a lesser degree, passed on from insects. 

When a person becomes sick with a communicable disease, it means a germ has invaded their body. Germs fear soap and water. Washing your hands well and often is the best way to beat these tiny warriors. Since the most common way to contract a communicable disease is through person to person contact, the best way to prevent spreading your germs to someone else is to manage your symptoms so you do not pass the infection on to others.  If you have symptoms that include fever, chills and achiness, you should stay home. In this case you are most likely contagious and are unlikely to work effectively anyhow. 

Some examples of communicable diseases are (but not limited to):

  • Head Lice
  • Chicken Pox
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  • Mononucleosis (Mono)
  • Measles
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Mumps
  • Ringworm
  • Scabies
  • Shingles
  • Tuberculosis (TB)

If you are diagnosed with any communicable disease, the best thing to do is to isolate yourself from others and stay home- especially if your doctor advises this.  Another way to prevent disease in the workplace is to use “universal precautions.” This goes under the thinking that you would treat everyone else like they have an infection and always use your gloves, change them often, and wash your hands when changing job areas or tasks. Remember always to wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating, using the restroom, or when coughing or sneezing. Following these guidelines will ensure a happy, healthy workplace.

 

Reference:
Communicable Diseases - Hillendale Elementary School. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://hes.ucfsd.org/gclaypo/commdise/commdise.html
 

 

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Short Read: Halloween Safety

Posted 6:21 PM by

Halloween Safety Tips according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx

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Short Read: The Training Dilemma

Posted 2:26 PM by

The Training Dilemma

By: Chris Hall, CHST

Ask anyone in the construction industry: What is the most challenging aspect of maintaining a successful health and safety program?  Most likely the answer received is employee training.

Adequate employee training not only reduces workplace accidents, but it also promotes an effective health and safety program, increases workplace morale, lowers insurance costs, and demonstrates a good faith effort on behalf of an employer. If an employer takes the time and resources to educate employees about jobsite hazards with the intent of preventing dangerous conditions, employees are more likely to feel a greater sense of ownership in the work they are conducting.

In many cases, where serious or fatal accidents have occurred, OSHA has found that inadequate training was one of the root causes.  When investigating any accident, this is typically one of the first questions asked.  Even in cases where training documentation is provided, the nature of the accident and lack of individual employee knowledge may indicate the training was insufficient and retraining should be required. 

For every construction company, there are many barriers to having an effective safety training program.  Scheduling conflicts with a dynamic workforce, adult education and language barriers, finding qualified and knowledgeable trainers, and completing training (or retraining) when required, are all substantial hurdles that must be overcome to provide employees with the necessary information needed to perform their jobs.

  • Scheduling conflicts with a dynamic workforce
  • Adult education and language barriers
  • Finding knowledgeable and qualified trainers
  • Completing training with frequency guidelines

So, as we ask ourselves, what is the most challenging aspect of maintaining an effective health and safety training program?  We are able to answer that employee training can be difficult, but there are ways to bridge the gaps.  Addressing logistical problems, language and education barriers, trainer qualifications, and frequency issues are all challenges that every employer must find their own unique solutions for.  Even though training employees may be time consuming and could require additional resources, it is always money well spent. 

This is a condensed article; read the full article here.

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