ULPS saftENG_acq_300x82



"Partners in Safety"for their support!

federal process logo

since 2012


since 2007


Since 2010

sachs logo

since 2006

In this week’s Newsletter


  • Getting Closer to Understanding the Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness
  • Local Exhaust Ventilation for the Control of Welding Fumes in the Construction Industry
  • Los Angeles Fire Department joins Cal/OSHA’s confined space awareness campaign
  • Oregon OSHA - Proposed Changes To Confined Spaces in General Industry and Construction

Side Bar Items:

  • SAFTENG Blog & SAFTENG LinkedIn Forum
  • Safety and Health Tip –  HAZMAT Team members MUST have an EXIT PHYSICAL
  • Civilian Fire Fatalities
  • Safety Recalls
  • EHS Events

UPDATED Members area with 235 photos (198 MB) on 4/1/12 

Getting Closer to Understanding the Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness

A recently published landmark paper by J. Paul Leigh (Milbank Quarterly 2011 89 (6):728-772) makes a significant contribution to understanding the economic burden of occupational illness and injury.  The paper entitled “Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States” shows that the annual direct and indirect costs are at least $250 billion. This amount exceeds the individual cost of cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  As Leigh notes, the cost of injury, illness, and death from these other diseases are generally easier to assess because they require a small number of primary data sources, typically 1 to 4.  In contrast, estimates of the burden of occupational injury and illness are more difficult to accomplish because they rely on far more primary and secondary sources of data on more than 18 diseases and a substantial number of injury types.  In fact, Leigh used more than 40 data sets in conducting this rigorous analysis.  While the Leigh study is the most comprehensive analysis of the burden of occupational illness and injury in the U.S. ever conducted, the estimates, due to methodologic issues inherent in the data, still do not capture the full economic burden.  As Leigh indicated, the cost estimates did not include:

  • employer costs for labor turnover, retraining and hiring
  • dementia,  depression, diseases of the nervous system, osteoarthritis
  • the impact on productivity of “presenteeism”
  • the costs of pain and suffering

Although these exclusions were justifiable for methodological reasons, the study finding of a $250 billion economic burden is an underestimate of the true burden of occupational illness and injury.  Additionally, the Leigh study does not include the costs resulting from the interaction of occupational and personal risk factors (see previous blog: A Comprehensive Approach to Workforce Health) that lead to many diseases of public health importance.  The paper by Leigh is a scholarly advance and the most rigorous to date, but due to the lack of complete data on the prevalence, incidence, and costs of all occupational illnesses and injuries, further methodological work is needed to capture, among other factors, the true attributable fraction.   Identifying these exclusions and limitations of this study highlights the point that there is still much work to do in characterizing the true economic burden of occupational injury and illness.   This paper is a major step in illustrating the economic burden of occupational injury and illness and how this affects the economic health of the nation and the productivity of the workforce.  Leigh observes that  the cost of job-related injuries and illnesses are greater than generally assumed. However, the national investment in addressing occupational illness and injuries is far less than for many other diseases with lower economic burden even though occupational illnesses and injuries are eminently preventable.  As mentioned in the description of the NIOSH Economics Program the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) states: “The Congress finds that personal injuries and illnesses arising out of work situations impose a substantial burden upon, and are a hindrance to, interstate commerce in terms of lost production, wage loss, medical expenses, and disability compensation payments.” [Section (2)(a)]  The paper by Leigh quantified the extent of that burden, which in part motivated the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and shows that this burden is still significant today. We welcome your comments and observations on the burden and the appropriate response to these observations.

Dr. Schulte is the Director of the NIOSH Education and Information Division.

Dr. Biddle is a Senior Research Economist in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research.

Mr. Hearl is the NIOSH Economics Program Manager and the Chief of Staff in the NIOSH Office of the Director.  

Local Exhaust Ventilation for the Control of Welding Fumes in the Construction Industry

Arc welding is a common unit operation in the construction industry, where frequent changes in location and welding position make it more difficult to control fume exposures than in industries where fixed locations are the norm. Welders may be exposed to a variety of toxic airborne contaminants including manganese (Mn) and hexavalent chromium (CrVI). Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is a well-known engineering control for welding fumes but has not been adopted widely in the construction industry. This literature review presents data on the performance of a variety of LEV systems for welding fume control from the construction (five references), shipyard (five references), and other industries. The studies indicate that LEV can reduce fume exposures to total particulate, Mn, and CrVI to levels below currently relevant standards. Field studies suggest that 40–50% or more reduction in exposure is possible with portable or fixed LEV systems relative to natural ventilation but that correct positioning of the hood and adequate exhaust flow rates are essential. Successful implementation of extraction guns for gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and flux core arc welding has been demonstrated, indicating that a successful balance between extraction airflow and shielding gas requirements is possible. Work practices are an important part of achieving successful control of fume exposures; in particular, positioning the hood close to the arc, checking exhaust flow rates, and avoiding the plume. Further research is needed on hood size effects for controlling welding fume with portable LEV systems and identifying and overcoming barriers to LEV use in construction.  Click Here for more.


Los Angeles Fire Department joins Cal/OSHA’s confined space awareness campaign

Cal/OSHA has teamed up with the Los Angeles Fire Department to educate employers and employees on the dangers of working in confined spaces. The news conference included examples of potential hazards and a confined space rescue demonstration by the Los Angeles Fire Department.  Cal/OSHA launched a statewide confined space awareness campaign in February with the goal of helping employers and workers understand the hazards of confined spaces. The campaign was sparked by seven confined space deaths and numerous injuries in 2011—including several in the greater Los Angeles region – all of which were preventable. Cal/OSHA is taking a comprehensive approach to prevent these deaths and injuries in California through widespread public education and media alerts, enforcement and consultation, and ongoing partnerships to help increase awareness and compliance.  “Confined spaces” are enclosed spaces that can be entered by workers, but have limited openings for entry or exit, and are not designed for continuous worker occupancy. Common examples include tanks, silos, pipelines, sewers, storage bins, drain tunnels and vaults. Confined spaces can be found in many industries and also in non-industrial workplaces. For example, the 2011 California deaths occurred in a wide range of industries—a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical facility, a winery, a paint manufacturing plant, and a recycling center.  One of these incidents occurred last January at Baxter Biosciences, a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Los Angeles. A 33-year old technician entered a blood plasma tank to measure its contents when he collapsed in the oxygen deficient atmosphere. Two of his colleagues entered the tank in order to attempt a rescue and collapsed as well. All three workers were extricated from the tank by the Los Angeles Fire Department. The first worker died, the second remains unconscious, and the third was injured but recovered.  Last October, a similar scenario occurred at the Community Recycling & Recovery facility in Lamont, when a 16-year-old worker cleaning a drainage tunnel was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas. Another worker—his brother, aged 22—rushed in to save him and was also overcome. Both workers died. Last week, Cal/OSHA levied fines totaling $166,890 for multiple violations of confined space regulations against the employer. Cal/OSHA’s criminal investigation in this case is still ongoing.  Cal/OSHA has posted extensive information about confined space hazards on its website These materials include a webinar for employers and employees on hazards and safe work practices. Cal/OSHA will be providing other training and outreach programs throughout the year to educate employers and employees in hopes of preventing workplacedeaths and injuries. For more help on working safely in confined spaces, contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service toll-free at 1-800-963-9424. This service is free and confidential. More information is available online  Employees with work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.


Oregon OSHA - Proposed Changes To Confined Spaces in General Industry and Construction

Oregon OSHA proposes to adopt new rule, OAR 437-002-0146 Confined Spaces, which replaces 1910.146 Permit-Required Confined Spaces, in Division 2/J General Environmental Controls. This expands the scope of the new rule to include the construction industry. During the 2011 proposal, several issues were discovered that needed to be resolved. We

reconvened our stakeholder groups to resolve those issues and address any other areas for clarification. The identified issues include: revising and including several definitions, language for closing permits, ensuring employee access to written materials, ensuring all actions required by the permit are followed, and clarifying when alternate entry cannot be used. Other areas amended for clarification include:

Permit Space Program

  • Changed the requirement to catalog all confined spaces to catalog all permit spaces.


Added language on what to do if entrants need to evacuate a permit space.


There was language requiring patient decontamination. The group consensus was to move this language to the appendix on rescue. In its place, language was added requiring MSDSs and providing them to the medical providers.


  • For non-entry rescue – modified the language to include a rescue person, as the rescue “team” may only consist of the attendant retrieving the entrant from the space.
  • For entry rescue – language change from ensuring the rescue team can proficiently perform rescues to ensuring rescue teams can efficiently perform rescues.
  • Added language requiring that, if a third-party rescue service is used, that the agreement is in writing.

Alternate Entry

  • Changed the language in the exception for alternate entry.
  • Added language to specify which parts of the rule don’t apply when one uses alternate entry.
  • Added a condition on when the space must be evacuated during alternate entry (new hazard or conditions change).


Moved the awareness training piece to the bottom of the training section to avoid confusion and clarified that it is only for employees who work around permit spaces.


Modified the record retention section to refer back to the rule that requires a review of the permit program.

The requirements of this standard are similar to the requirements of the existing general industry standard, but are written to clarify employer obligations and eliminate confusing requirements.  This rulemaking will amend Oregon-initiated rules OAR 437-002-0182, 437-002-0256, and 437-002-0312 to update the rule reference to the new Oregon rule 437-002-0146 Confined Spaces.  Also amended to reflect the new Confined Spaces rules are 1910.120 Appendix E, and 1910.269 that currently refer the reader to 1910.146. We will also repeal 1926.21(b)(6) in Division 3/C, and place a note referring the reader to Division 2/J, 437-002-0146 Confined Spaces.


SAFTENG LinkedIn Forum 

Click Here to Join the Safety Engineering Network (SAFTENG) Forum on LinkedIn forum.  It's FREE! We now have 1,756 members.

NOTE:  If you and I are not "Linked" send me an invitation and I will accept.  I accept ALL invitations from safety professionals.  Also, if you use LinkedIn PLEASE consider joining the Safety Engineering Network LinkedIn Forum.

Discussions @ Safety Engineering Network LinkedIn Group and my homepage blog:

  • HAZMAT Team members MUST have an EXIT PHYSICAL
  • Contractors Conducting RMP Inspections Despite Court Rulings, Inspector General Says
  • 28 Incidents & 5 Updates (4/1/12)
  • Employee rescued from silo, taken to hospital
  • Video of the Week #13 - Donald Duck stars in "How to have an Accident"
  • Photo of the Week #13 (Humor)
  • Using the common practice of “Draining Oil Pots” on refrigeration systems to examine the differences between “controlled” and “uncontrolled” releases of ammonia
  • The finer points of OSHA’s and EPA’s Management of Change requirements
  • OSHA proposes more than $118,000 in fines at a meat processing plant
  • OSHA cites Magnablend for serious violations following chemical fire at Waxahachie, Texas, facility
  • Work-Related Burns in Michigan: First Annual Report (January 2009 – December 2009)
  • Annual Review and Scheduled Modification to OSHA's Administrative Penalty Policy
  • Disconnect for Electrical-Discharge Lighting Existing Fluorescent Luminaire
  • Are accidents the evil poison we make them out to be?
  • San Pablo man dies after factory grinder shatters

Safety and Health Tip

HAZMAT Team members MUST have an EXIT PHYSICAL Click Here for my blog post.

Civilian Fire Fatalities

On April 1, 2012, 9 residential fire fatalities were reported by news media throughout the United States.


Safety Recalls

Toy Truck Gifts with Purchase Recalled by Happy Shirts Due to Fire Hazard


Baby Dolls Recalled by Lakeshore Learning Materials Due to Choking Hazard


Arena Lamp Recalled by Great American Opportunities Due to Electrical Shock Hazard


Lacrosse Helmets Recalled by Easton Sports Due to Facial Injury Hazard


Adjustable Mattress Bases Recalled by Leggett & Platt Due to Fire Hazard


Safety 1st Cabinet Locks Recalled Due to Lock Failure; Children Can Gain Unintended Access to Dangerous Items


Ceiling Fans Recalled by Westinghouse Lighting Due to Shock and Fire Hazards


Bon Hiver Recalls Freebase Snowboard Bindings Due To Fall Hazard 


Kawasaki USA Recalls Utility Vehicles due to Fire Hazard 


Hydrostatic Lawn Tractors Recalled by Hydro-Gear Due to Crash Hazard 


Guidecraft Recalls Children's Play Theaters Due to Tip-over Hazard


Umbro Boys' Jackets with Drawstrings Recalled; Waist Drawstrings Pose Entrapment Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Ross Stores 


Lenovo Recalls ThinkCentre Desktop Computers Due to Fire Hazard


Locker Brand Recalls Rx Lockers Due to Failure Leading to Allowing Unauthorized Access to Medicine Containers


Vehicles Recalls 


Tires Recalls


Child Safety Seat Recalls

EHS Events

New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association (NJEPA) Conference 
Atlantic City, NJ

April 30 - May 4, 2012


Governor’s Safety and Health Conference

May 8-11, 2012

Louisville, Kentucky


7th International Conference on Safety of Industrial Automated Systems (SIAS)


October 11-12, 2012

If you have a conference or an outing for your safety organization, let me now and I can help spread the message.  And yes, posting is FREE!

View 's profile on LinkedIn

  LinkedIn Group Button


 seminar logo white

I am doing my 1-Day

Process Safety Course

at ASSE's 2016 Seminar Fest

February 16, 2016


msc logo

I am presenting at the

2016 MI Safety Conference

"OSHA's Permit-Required Confined

Space Rescue  Requirements"

April 19-20, 2016
DeVos Place
Grand Rapids, MI


OBWCtwitter Logo 400x400

I am presenting at the

2016 OH BWC Conference

"OSHA's Permit-Required Confined

Space Rescue  Requirements"

March 9-11, 2016


I am presenting at the

2016 ASSE National Conference

Line Break and Process Opening

Best Practices

Session 720 on 6/29/16

7:45 - 9:00 a.m.



an unpaid endorsement


an unpaid endorsement


kemkey logo

an unpaid endorsement