Skin Sensitization

For more information on sensitizers, contact Gary Schwartz at (973) 597-0750.

A recent article in AIHA’s November 2019 Synergist highlighted the topic of skin sensitization. Skin sensitizers are a common hazard encountered in many industries including pharmaceuticals, chemical manufacturing, and food and beverage. Common sensitizers include formaldehyde and various fragrances. Reactions differ amongst exposed individuals due to intensity and duration of exposure, as well as chemical properties and individual sensitivities. Oftentimes, sensitizers do not elicit a reaction upon first exposure. Because of this variability and lack of data, only qualitative assessments can be performed as there is currently no method to quantify workplace exposure to skin sensitization. PHASE Associates has extensive experience in exposure assessment services including recent evaluations of sensitizers during sterilization and foam filling processes. 

National Emphasis Program

For more information on training to properly safeguard machinery or equipment, contact Gary Schwartz at (973) 597-0750.

OSHA published an update to the 2015 National Emphasis Program (NEP) on employee injuries in manufacturing industries. The NEP targets industrial and manufacturing workplaces where amputations are caused by  improperly guarded machinery and equipment. The changes to the NEP include revisions to target method and coding requirements, and new appendices for reporting amputation data from inspections. The program will run until March 10, 2020. OSHA reminds employers that under OSHA Act of 1970 employers are responsible for providing their employees a workplace free of injuries or illnesses.

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Importance of Safety Programs

For more information or questions regarding Drug Overdose in the workplace, call us at (973) 597-0750 or email gary@phaseassociate.com.

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Importance of Safety Programs

In a science blog from the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health, posted on Feb., 3, 2020, they reported that the drug overdose epidemic continues to afflict our country. Nationally, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involving opioids (such as fentanyl, heroin and hydrocodone), stimulants (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and alcohol. Nearly 70% of these deaths involved an opioid.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that drug overdoses at work are increasing. National data identified that while drug overdose deaths were less frequent compared with other causes of occupational injury deaths, there was an annual increase of 24% in drug overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016. Opioids, including heroin and prescription drugs, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl accounted for 44% of the drug overdose deaths at work between 2011 and 2016. Illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP) and cocaine accounted for 24% of these deaths.

A previously published report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health using data from state death certificates from 2011-2015 found that the rate of fatal opioid-related overdose was higher among workers employed in industries and occupations known to have high rates of work-related injuries and illnesses. This finding is consistent with previous research documenting common use of prescribed opioids for management of acute and chronic pain following work-related injury.

The latest information from NIOSH and from Massachusetts underscores the need for educational and policy interventions targeting high-rate worker populations to prevent drug overdose deaths. One intervention should be to address workplace hazards that cause injuries for which opioids are prescribed.

PHASE Associates has the experience and qualified personnel to assist you in developing a comprehensive safety and health program that will help you reduce workplace injuries and the potential for substance misuse/abuse.

EPA and HUD announce New Environmental Lead Hazard Standards

Regulation will go into effect on January 6, 2020.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a new, firmer guideline for lead in dust on floors and window sills to protect children from possible hazardous effects of lead exposure. EPA is reducing the dust-lead hazard standards from 40 micrograms of lead per square foot (µg/ft² ) to 10 µg/ft² on floors and from 250 µg/ft² to 100 µg/ft² on window sills.

Children exposed to lead-contaminated dust caused from deteriorating or disturbed lead-based paint experience irreversible and prolonged health issues, according to the EPA. Remodeling professionals who are renovating a home built prior to 1978 will need to closely adhere to the safety practices put in place by the Lead, Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) regulation.

Community Right to Know

Due March 1, 2020

New Jersey

Facilities in certain industrial classifications defined by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes are required to submit an annual Community Right to Know Survey (CRTK Survey). Many companies believe they are exempt from reporting requirements and have not submitted a CRTK Survey or an Exemption form.

New York City

Most companies, with few exceptions, have to submit a CRTK Survey. Since the NYC RTK Law has set very low reporting thresholds for many substances, even small quantities may need to be reported. Compliance is required if any hazardous substances meet or exceed the appropriate reporting threshold. Mixtures will also need to be reported depending on their contents. Other Right to Know requirements include reporting spills at the facility, designating a facility emergency coordinator and labeling hazardous material containers properly.

New York

Companies in the State of New York should comply with federal chemical inventory reporting requirements.

What are your next steps?

For more information and a free consultation, contact PHASE Associates to determine if your company is required to submit a CRTK Survey for reporting year 2019. At this time, we can conduct the following:

  • Review, update or develop a Hazard Communication program
  • Update or create labeling for hazardous material containers
  • Develop and review existing SDS
  • Provide training for your workers