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October, 2012

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Welcome to the SAF-T-GARDIAN, a monthly e-mail newsletter from Saf-T-Gard International.  We designed the SAF-T-GARDIAN to be timely and useful.  You are receiving this newsletter either as a valued Saf-T-Gard customer, company associate or supplier, or you have visited our website at www.saftgard.com.  Some of the links are time-sensitive and may move or expire as the news changes.  Some sources may also require registration.

You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety to others in your organization or encourage them to subscribe themselves.  If you have questions or suggestions for topics you would like to see included in the SAF-T-GARDIAN, please let us know by e-mail to saf-t-gardian@saftgard.com.

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PRIVACY POLICY - We do not and will not exchange lists or other information with any outside organizations.  Your information is secure and private within Saf-T-Gard International.

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OSHA Moves Internally To Update Chemical Exposure Limits
     OSHA final rules are hardly trickling out the door and other rules are held up in review stage, but there are significant activities moving forward within the agency that could have a substantial impact in many workplaces. One activity is an effort to update the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for chemical exposures covered by OSHA. It is widely accepted that OSHA’s PELs are woefully out of date. A federal court ruling stated OSHA must conduct a separate rulemaking for each chemical – making a wholesale update to the PELs impossible. But OSHA may have found a way.
     But in a question and answer session at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce), Assistant Secretary Michaels spoke about updating the PELs. “The agency is doing something different,” he said, “we’re openly saying that some of our PELs are not adequate.” OSHA’s goal, Michaels said, is to ensure that occupational exposures are below any published limit to keep workers safe. To this end, the agency plans to release annotated PELs tables which will present other exposure limits, such as NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs), American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) threshold limit values (TLVs) and CalOSHA’s chemical exposure standards. The table Michaels referenced would show the exposure limits noted above, compared to the agency’s PELs found at 29 CFR 1910.1000, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, also known as Subpart Z, or the “Z tables.” The table would be published on OSHA’s website.
     This effort is leveraged by a 1987 decision by the US District Court for the District of Columbia in International Union, UAW v. General Dynamics Land Systems, which found that “an employer’s compliance with OSHA’s standards will not discharge his statutory obligation to provide employees with safeguards against recognized hazards.” This ruling, combined with OSHA’s effort to make employers knowledgeable of other exposure limits to hazardous chemicals, could pave the way for OSHA to enforce chemical exposure limits lower than those found in OSHA regulations.

Source: International Safety Equipment Association

Updated Online Resources Available To Protect Workers From Combustible Dust
OSHA has revised its webpage on the explosion hazards of combustible dust. The page is now organized in sections with tabs to make the page more user-friendly for both experienced and non-experienced viewers. The sections are arranged in logical order, beginning with guidance information that should be especially helpful to users unfamiliar with combustible dust hazards. Enhancements to this web page include additional links to reports issued by NIOSH and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Access the web-site resources.


Take the Worker Safety & Health Challenge before November 30
     The deadline for submissions to the Department of Labor's Worker Safety and Health challenge has been extended until November 30. The challenge is to develop tools to educate young workers on safety and health hazards, what they can do to protect themselves and their rights in the workplace. Successful entries could take many different forms: interactive and informative games, social or professional networking sites, or data visualization tools that teach young people about safety and health hazards. Submissions may be designed for Internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.
     A panel of judges that includes Secretary Hilda Solis, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show "Myth Busters," will award $15,000 for the "Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award," $6,000 for the "Safety and Health Data Award" and $6,000 for the "Workers' Rights Award." There is also a "People's Choice Award" of $3,000 for the developer of the app that receives the most public votes on the website.

For more information and to watch the video.

OSHA Awards $10.7 Million in Susan Harwood Training Grants
     OSHA has awarded approximately $10.7 million through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to 72 nonprofit organizations, including community/faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, and community colleges and universities. The goals of the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program are to provide training and education for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces, and to inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Target trainees include small-business employers and underserved low-literacy workers in high-hazard industries. Since 1978, more than 1.8 million workers have been trained through this program.
     For information about the FY 2012 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipients, visit http://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/2012_grant_recipients.html  and http://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/2012_grant_targeted_recipients.html.

For the complete report.

From the NIOSH Science Blog - Brain Injury in the NFL

     It’s that time of year again—football season. While pro, college and pee wee football players and fans across the country prepare for the annual rituals of the game, questions of safety linger on the sidelines. A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) finds that National Football League (NFL) players may be at a higher risk of death associated with Alzheimer’s and other impairments of the brain and nervous system than the general U.S. population. These results are consistent with recent studies by other research institutions that suggest an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease among professional football players.

For the full report.


     What are the requirements to give workers a choice of hearing protection devices?

     OSHA regulations, 29 CFR 1910.95(i)(3), states: "Employees shall be given the opportunity to select their hearing protectors from a variety of suitable hearing protectors provided by the employer." In this instance, OSHA did not intend to specify the number of types or variety of hearing protectors from which employees may make their selection. Instead OSHA included this performance language recognizing that there be several reasons why employees should be allowed to select from a variety of hearing protectors.
     Plant conditions such as dust, temperature, and humidity can cause one type of protector to be more suitable than another. For example, ear plugs can be more comfortable in a hot, humid environment, than ear muffs. Also, individual ear canals come in all shapes and sizes. For people with unusually shaped ear canals, fitting may be difficult, and commonly-used insert protectors may be very uncomfortable.
     In general, employers are advised to give workers a choice between at least one type of ear plug and one type of muff since individuals may be more comfortable in one type of protection than in the other. However, the number of different hearing protectors required to constitute an adequate variety is simply the number needed to supply each employee that requires a hearing protector a suitable one. The term "suitable hearing protectors" as used in the provision means protectors that are comfortable to wear and that offer sufficient attenuation to prevent hearing loss.

OSHA Publication Download


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News You Can Use

New Initiative Helps Employers Address Chronic Disease Among Workers
     The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) announced a yearlong awareness-building campaign intended to help employers identify and respond to chronic diseases that commonly impact worker health and productivity. The campaign, which is aimed at conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, launches this week to commemorate Labor Day. ACOEM will provide tools and resources to help employers determine the true costs and impact of specific chronic diseases among their employees — beginning with its newly expanded Blueprint for Health, a free on-line calculator that helps estimate the overall total health-related expenses. The expanded Blueprint for Health was introduced September 1, and ACOEM will also periodically provide basic facts and strategies for employers on specific diseases during the upcoming year at its web site and in its publication, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), while providing links to a wide variety of other resources. In addition, the first of the Blueprint’s chronic-disease informational packages — on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — will be available later this year.

For the full report.

Source: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids
     Anytime a child has an accident, it's tragic. The last thing that you want to happen is for your child to be hurt on a holiday, it would forever live in the minds of the child and the family. There are many ways to keep your child safe at Halloween, when they are more prone to accidents and injuries. The excitement of children and adults at this time of year sometimes makes them forget to be careful. Simple common sense can do a lot to stop any tragedies from happening.

  • Help your child pick out or make a costume that will be safe.
  • Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on.
  • Kids always want to help with the pumpkin carving. Small children shouldn't be allowed to use a sharp knife to cut the top or the face. There are many kits available that come with tiny saws that work better then knives and are safer, although you can be cut by them as well. It's best to let the kids clean out the pumpkin and draw a face on it, which you can carve for them.
  • Treating your kids to a spooky Halloween dinner will make them less likely to eat the candy they collect before you have a chance to check it for them.
  • Teaching your kids basic everyday safety such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, watching both ways before crossing streets and crossing when the lights tell you to, will help make them safer when they are out Trick or Treating.

     Make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for your kids and they'll carry on the tradition that you taught them to their own families some day!

Source: www.halloween-safety.com

Perceived Job Insecurity and Health: The Michigan Recession and Recovery Study
     A recently published University of Michigan research study examined the association between perceived job insecurity in the next 12 months and current health with a sample representing working-aged employed adults in southeast Michigan in late 2009/early 2010.  Insecure workers were more likely to report fair or poor self-rated health, symptoms suggesting major or minor depression, and anxiety attacks, even after correction for confounding factors. This study provides evidence that perceived job insecurity may be linked to health even among those who avoided unemployment in the late-2000s recession. Individuals who lost their jobs in the Great Recession may be the “tip of the iceberg” of a larger group of workers who think that their job may be terminated soon but have not lost it yet. Perceived job insecurity is not a socially visible event like unemployment, and those worried about job loss have limited possibilities for action because of uncertainty about whether job loss will occur. Labor market programs like unemployment insurance were not designed for the insecure worker.

For the full report.

Source: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Home Safety Checklist from UL
     Underwriters' Laboratories has developed significant resources focused on safety at home, including this home safety checklist.  Here are the top 5 items:

  1. Sound the Alarm: Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. If already installed, test them! Tip: Replace the batteries every daylight-saving time change.
  2. Avoid Overload: Check for overloaded extension cords – usage should not exceed the recommended wattage.
  3. Don’t Get Tippy: If young children are in the home, bookshelves and other furniture should be firmly secured with wall brackets to prevent tipping.
  4. Paint Safe: Check walls for loose paint. If re-painting, do so in a well-ventilated area and consider VOC-free paint.
  5. Childproof, Childproof, Childproof

Follow the link below for the rest of the list and more!

Access the UL Safety At Home resources.

Source: Underwriters' Laboratories

Addressing Safety Challenges for Disabled Workers
     Employees in today’s workplace face many challenges. Work forces have been cut, and in many cases, workdays have been extended. Older workers are unable to retire, while younger workers are unable to find work. New technology is introduced into the workplace, requiring all to relearn how to perform their jobs. This is difficult for the average worker, but it is extremely difficult if an employee is further hindered by disabilities. Disabilities of all types affect employees and can pose various mental or physical challenges. In many situations, a disability may impact the amount of time it takes for an employee to complete a task or get from one part of a facility to another. Some disabilities may be known while others remain unknown to an employer. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employees with disabilities can continue to work without fear of losing their jobs1.

For the full report.

Source: EHS Today Magazine

Designing a Simpler Chemical Database
     The BlueGreen Alliance has released the new ChemHAT (Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox) website. This free database of more than 10,000 chemicals was developed based a simple idea: When people know the facts about the chemicals they use every day, they can take protective action. A simple idea, but, when we brought together a group of IUE-CWA rank and file members, we found that getting that chemical hazard information isn’t easy. When IUE-CWA members looked at the existing databases out there, they found that either the websites were complex to navigate or they were written in terms used by scientist when talking to other scientists.

For more information and to access ChemHAT.

     The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes. It is important to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. This year’s theme,“Have 2 Ways Out!”, focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

For more information.

Source: NFPA - National Fire Protection Association

Guidelines for CPR

Industrial Strength

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Now available - Industrial Strength Ambi-Gard nitrile disposable gloves for superior hand protection, including chemical splash, without sacrificing comfort. 

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  • reversible to fit either hand 
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  • no natural rubber latex  

Ideal for auto service, law enforcement and public safety, janitorial and maintenance work, and anywhere that superior, disposable hand protection is needed.

To order for immediate shipment.

International News

From Canada - Making the Cut - Safely

Do's and don'ts when cutting with a chain saw

     Each year many people are injured while using chain saws. The hands, knees, feet and head are most vulnerable to being cut by the chain saw chain. However if you use a chain saw often, there are also other health risks such as hearing loss from the noise of the chain saw; damage to the hands from vibration; poisoning from chain saw exhaust gases if used in enclosed spaces; and the risk of fire from fuel spillage. Learn the do's and don'ts of cutting with a chain saw, and prevent injuries.

For the full report.

Did You Know?

Saf-T-Gard Supplies Lockout/Tagout Products

     Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. The OSHA LOTO standard establishes the employer's responsibility to protect workers from hazardous energy. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures.  Saf-T-Gard has the expertise and the products to help ensure compliance.

For more product information.


As I see it ...

It is October, 2012.  In the United States, election season is in full swing, dominating the news and commentary for the next few weeks.  Conservative vs. liberal.  Active vs. passive.  Top down vs. bottom up.  This is not a forum for personal political views because it is clearly evident that both presidential candidates, and I suspect all candidates for public office, have the best interests of the country, the citizens, and the constituents in mind.  The paths may be different but the goals are probably close to the same.  What is the connection to industrial safety?  Without too much of a stretch of logic, it could be presumed that the combination of the facts and the process will determine the outcome.  When developing or reviewing your company's safety program, debate is good.  The proper mix of conservative actions with new, more liberal ideas can yield positive results based on improving on the past without being stuck in the past.  Top down and bottom up are both important.  A good evaluation of and industrial safety program requires a top down commitment from senior management, and a bottom up involvement of the actual users of safety products in order to get a fair assessment of the facts and a buy-in to the process.  When evaluating new products compared to existing products (the candidates), some under consideration will drop out during the first round of consideration (the primaries).  And when it is time for the final debates to choose the path for the future, a well-trained moderator is essential.  That's where we come in.  While we are proud to distribute the products of some of the world's finest PPE manufacturers, being a well-trained moderator means that our first priority is the electorate - the end using customer.  For Saf-T-Gard, that's where the facts and the process start and end - putting the customer's needs first.  And once those needs - the election issues - are clearly understood and evaluated, we can help move the process forward towards decision/election day drawing on the global resources of our supplier partners.  We are Saf-T-Gard,  - passionate about industrial safety for 4 generations.

Want to learn more?

Here is how to get started.

Richard Rivkin, President and CEO



  1. THICK OR THIN - EITHER WAY YOU WIN- Chemical resistant gloves are available in a wide range of thicknesses.  Thinner gloves offer more tactile sensitivity.  Thicker gloves offer more durability and protection against chemical permeation and degradation.
  2. COATING GLOATING - EYEWEAR  - Protective eyewear is available with fog-free coatings as well as anti-scratch coatings.
  3. COATING GLOATING - GLOVES - Industrial gloves are available with protective coatings of latex rubber, neoprene and nitrile synthetic rubbers, PVC and PVA and PU plastics - each with different properties for protection against chemicals, abrasion, cuts and punctures, and tactile sensitivity.
  4. OSHA HEARS YOU - YOU HEAR OSHA - Your workers are entitled to a choice of hearing protection to achieve desired levels of protection with comfort.  Many different types of earplugs and earmuffs are available to help you comply with this important requirement.
  5. DIVERSE WORKFORCE - DIVERSE PRODUCTS - Smart business and regulatory compliance demand that PPE properly fit the worker to be effective.  Respirators and protective eyewear are available to fit Asian and Hispanic workers with unique facial characteristics.

Want more information on any of this month's Saf-T-Tips?  E-mail us for a prompt reply.

Warning - Your Electrical Gloves May Not Be Safe Now!

All rubber insulating products must be subjected to periodic electrical tests as required by OSHA 29CFR1910.137(b)(2).  The Voltgard Test Lab is uniquely qualified to perform this service.

  • All testing is in full compliance with applicable ASTM specifications and OSHA regulations.
  • All rubber insulating gloves and sleeves are cleaned, then visually inspected inside and out.  Other rubber insulating products are cleaned, then inspected on all outer surfaces.
  • Quick turn-around.
  • Replacement service.

For more information and a testing service order form.


Question and Answer

Question - Is it permissible to use a metal ramp to unload parts from a semi-trailer when needed?

Answer -  Yes, the OSHA standards do not have specific requirements for accessing a portable storage trailer on a job site. A ramp could be a suitable means of access. However, where the height of the trailer floor exceeds 6 feet, guard rails or other fall protection will be required. 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(6): requires that "Each employee on ramps, runways, and other walkways shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8m) or more to the lower level by guardrail systems."

If you have an industrial safety question you'd like answered, email saf-t-gardian@saftgard.com

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Saf-T-Gard Spotlight  Saf-T-Gard Spotlight

Loren Rivkin is Executive Vice President of Saf-T-Gard International and joined Saf-T-Gard full time in 1999.

  • What Loren likes about Saf-T-Gard: "I enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to work in my family’s business as the 4th generation. Working with my father, and on many days my 94-year-old grandfather, is truly a special experience."
  • What makes Loren's day: "I like the unique applications/work environments that require some outside-the-box ideas. I like customers that see value in partnering with safety specialists at Saf-T-Gard and realizing safety products are not simply a commodity that they can buy anywhere (even if they can, seemingly, buy them “anywhere” these days). And I like the look on my grandfather’s face when he sees an order in the sales register (yes, he still reads it!) for a customer that has been buying from Saf-T-Gard for decades."
  • Loren's outside interests are: "Watching Wisconsin Badgers football, Chicago Bulls basketball, and spending time with my family."
  • Anything else: "It may be cheesy, but the products that Saf-T-Gard sells help make sure that people go home to see their families at the end of their work day, safely and in one piece. There is something about that idea that makes me proud."


PRIVACY POLICY - We do not and will not exchange lists or other information with any outside organizations.  Your data is secure and private within Saf-T-Gard International.
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