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What's New from the Occupational Health Branch

Preventing wood chipper deaths 

The hazards of working with wood chippers are well known, but workers continue to die using this machinery, including a 19-year-old on his first day at work. A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) science blog co-written by Robert Harrison, MD, a CDPH occupational health doctor, identifies practical methods for preventing fatalities.

http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2015/12/17/wood-chippers/   – blog

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/ohb-face/Pages/WoodchipAction.aspx  – CDPH FACE Program page

Work-related lead and pesticide exposures persist

Two well-documented job-related problems - elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) and pesticide-related illness and injury - are national work-related health priorities that require continued efforts to reduce exposures on the job. Both issues were highlighted in the most recent edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Data from 41 states including California show that although the prevalence of elevated  BLLs is decreasing, occupational lead exposure continues to be a widespread problem. Reports from
California and 10 additional states found that rate of pesticide illness and injury was 37 times greater for agricultural workers than for nonagricultural workers. Both reports are a part of CDC’s first Summary of Notifiable Noninfectious Conditions and Disease Outbreaks — United States.

Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Employed Adults — United States, 1994–2012

Acute Occupational Pesticide-Related Illness and Injury — United States, 2007–2010

Preventing worker drownings

Lake maintenance workers face unique risks when working over or near bodies of water. A new digital story (short video) from the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program explains the events that led to the drowning death of a worker named José. Photographs and details from the fatality investigation are supplemented with scenes re-created by lake maintenance professionals. The video highlights best practices including the importance of wearing personal flotation devices and training workers in water safety.

Preventing worker drownings – video in English

Cómo prevenir muertes de trabajadores por ahogamiento – video in Spanish

Additional drowning prevention materials – new web page

FACE program digital stories – updated web page 

New Cal/OSHA Lead Hazard Language

Updated Cal/OSHA standards (Title 8 CCR 1532.1, 5198, 5194) have changed how employers must warn their employees about lead hazards. Lead work area signs and labels for lead-contaminated clothing and equipment must now include specific language about central nervous system and reproductive health effects of lead. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) must also include new language. Employers must comply with the new labeling rules by June 2015 and the new signage rules by June 2016. The Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (OLPPP) has developed signs and warning labels to help employers comply with these new requirements. OLPPP’s 2015 Lead in the Workplace newsletter alerts employers to the new requirements and offers the new OLPPP materials for free.

Lead Warning Signs and Labels -- print, download, and get tips for using the new signs and labels 

Occupational Health Branch home page 

Last modified on: 1/11/2016 11:45 AM