Steep Rise in Insect-Borne Illnesses Puts Workers at Risk
Illnesses on the Rise
Almost everyone has been bitten by a mosquito, tick, or flea. These can be vectors for spreading pathogens (germs). A person who gets bitten by a vector and gets sick has a vector-borne disease, like dengue, Zika, Lyme, or plague. Between 2004 and 2016, more than 640,000 cases of these diseases were reported, and 9 new germs spread by bites from infected mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced in the US.
State and local health departments and vector control organizations are the nation’s main defense against this increasing threat; however, 84% of local vector control organizations lack at least 1 of 5 core vector control competencies. Better control of mosquitoes and ticks is needed to protect people from these costly and deadly diseases.
Increasing Threat but Limited Capacity to respond
More cases in the US (2004-2016)
Local health departments and vector control organizations must be able to:
The Federal Government is
Anyone who is bitten by an infected tick is at risk of contracting a tick-borne disease. People who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially from April to September, have a greater risk of becoming infected. Most tick-borne diseases (Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and spotted fever group rickettsiosis) are caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics. It’s important to check for symptoms if you’ve been bitten by a tick and talk to a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and medication, if needed. Early signs of tick-borne diseases can include skin rash, tiredness, fever/chills, headache, stiff neck, muscle aches, joint pain and/or dizziness. See tips below to prevent tick bites and tick-borne disease.
Visit http://www.nj.go/health/cd/topics/vectorborne.shtml for more information on vector- borne (mosquito, tick) diseases.
The International Safety Equipment Association has launched an initiative highlighting the importance of preventing hearing loss in the workplace – where, according to NIOSH, 22 million people are exposed to hazardous noise each year.
NIOSH’s recommended exposure limit for noise is a time-weighted average of 85 decibels over an 8-hour period. Permissible exposure time is cut in half for every 3 dB above 85 dBA.
Workers in industries such as grounds keeping routinely experience noise levels hovering around 85 dB.
The “Listen Today to Hear Tomorrow” campaign is designed to raise awareness of noise-induced occupational hearing loss. Through the campaign’s website, www.safetyequipment.org/hearing-protection, workers can request free earplugs and download mobile apps that calculate noise levels.
Permanent hearing loss is irreversible; however, it is usually preventable with proper hearing protection.
For more information, contact Statewide’s Edge at 732-446-5958.
The New Jersey Attorney General has issued a new directive requiring all law enforcement agencies in the state to conduct random drug testing. The guidelines now make all officers subject to drug testing, whether they are employed by state, county, or municipal departments. At a minimum, random drug testing shall be conducted at least once for the remainder of 2018 and at least twice every year thereafter. At least 10% of the total number of sworn officers in an agency shall be drug tested each time testing is conducted.
Each agency must notify officers of the implementation of the random drug testing policy. This includes notification that upon an initial positive result, the officer shall be suspended from all duties. Upon final disciplinary action, the officer shall be terminated from employment as a law enforcement officer, reported to the Central Drug Registry maintained by the State Police, and permanently barred from future law enforcement employment in New Jersey.
The new guidelines also contain reporting requirements. Each department will be required to notify the County prosecutor within 10 days of (1) a positive drug test by an officer, (2) a refusal by an officer to take a drug test, or (3) administration of a reasonable suspicion drug test to an officer. Upon completion of any disciplinary action, each agency shall report the discipline to the County Prosecutor. By December 31 each year, each law enforcement agency shall provide written notice to the County prosecutor of the dates of testing conducted during the prior year, the total number of sworn officers employed by the agency, the total number of sworn officers tested, and the total number of sworn officers who tested positive.
By January 31 of each year, each County prosecutor will have to send the Attorney General a report including a statement indicating those agencies under the County Prosecutor’s supervision that are in compliance with this Directive and those that are not. Neither summary shall reveal any subject officer’s identity.
Law enforcement agencies are required to establish or amend a random drug testing policy to meet these requirements by rule, regulation or procedure. Random drug testing cannot be implemented until the rule, regulation, or procedure has been in effect for a minimum of 60 days.
The Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Drug Testing Policy can be found at:
Be aware of what to do if you find yourself in an active shooting event, how to recognize signs of potential violence around you, and what to expect after an active shooting takes place. Remember during an active shooting to RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.
After winter snows and spring thunderstorms, summer driving can seem simple. However, the upcoming season presents special hazards that you and your drivers need to take note of.
Ensure all your employees are up to date on defensive driving training. Make sure that transportation safety is a part of your health and safety management system for all employees -- not just those who drive on the job.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers Summer Driving Tips you can print and display to keep all your employees safe this season.
The number of electric, hybrid, fuel cell, and gaseous fuel vehicles on our nation's roadways currently exceeds 15 million and is growing. Damaged batteries, silent operation, high strength steel and fires involving these types of vehicles pose the highest degree of potential danger to both response teams and vehicle occupants -- including toxic fumes, high voltage, and delayed fire hazards.
It is essential that Fire and EMS responders are trained and prepared to address potential hazards and know how to handle Electric, Hybrid, Fuel Cell, and Gaseous Fuel Trucks, Buses, Commercial Fleet and Passenger Vehicle challenges safely and effectively. This training is becoming an essential piece of a responder's day to day activities, as the number of alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) continues to grow.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers U.S. emergency responders free access to online training, videos, animations, simulations, data review questions, scenario rooms, 3D interactive environments, quick reference materials, and research data.
The nation's fire and life safety leader, the NFPA's Emergency Field Guide (2015 edition) is a source for the latest facts on safe response to alternative fueled trucks, buses, commercial fleet and passenger vehicle incidents involving damaged high voltage batteries, battery fires, extrication challenges, submersion, and charging stations. This guide covers the vital aspects of electric, hybrid, fuel cell, and gaseous fuel hazard awareness and procedures -- including information from related NFPA codes and OEMs.
The guide also features gaseous fuel vehicle safety information including bio-diesel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and Propane (LPG direct from the auto manufacturers.
Procedures and full-color graphics are specific to each vehicle. Content includes:
*NFPA is offering the PDF of the Guide free of charge to the US Fire Service. It can be found at https://www.nfpa.org/training-and-events/by-topic/alternative-fuel-vehicle-safety-training.
For links to guides for specific vehicles, check this page out:
Below is a bulletin, also developed by the NFPA that highlights the hazards and provides guidance to emergency responders working with hybrid/electric and fuel cell vehicles that have been submerged in water.
Make sure you have the latest on AFV safety response!
OSHA Enforcement Launch for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard in General Industry
29 CFR § 1910.1053
OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for general industry requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and take other steps to protect workers.
Workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases. OSHA's standard requires employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
Most provisions of the Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for general industry, 29 CFR § 1910.1053, become enforceable on June 23, 2018. The standard establishes a new 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3, and associated ancillary requirements.
The standard requires employers to:
• Assess employee exposures to silica if it may be at or above an action level of 25 µg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an 8-hour day;
• Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
• Limit workers' access to areas where they could be exposed above the PEL;
• Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL;
• Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL;
• Use housekeeping methods that do not create airborne dust, if feasible;
• Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers;
• Offer medical exams - including chest X-rays and lung function tests - every three years for workers exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days per year;
• Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure; and
• Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data, and medical exams.
General industry and maritime employers must comply with all requirements of the standard by June 23, 2018, except for the following:
Medical surveillance must be offered to employees who will be exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year starting on June 23, 2020. (Medical surveillance must be offered to employees who will be exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days a year starting on June 23, 2018.)
Employers can protect workers from silica exposures by using dust controls such as:
* Wet methods that apply water at the point where silica dust is made;
* Local exhaust ventilation or equipment that removes silica dust at or near the point where it is made;
* Enclosures that isolate the work process or the worker.
If upon inspection, it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply, compliance officers may conduct air monitoring in accordance with Agency procedures, and consider citations for non-compliance with any applicable sections of the new standard.
If you have any questions regarding compliance with the new standard, contact the Statewide Insurance Fund's loss control department at 732-446-5958.