Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ergonomics Risk Assessment (ERA)

Proton Automotive Assembly Plant in Shah Alam, Malaysia.

Main objectives of this project are to evaluate the existing of ERGONOMICS HAZARDS and RISKS among the employees of Proton and to propose effective counter measures. The commitment and supports given by the employees throughout this project are greatly appreciated. Presentation of the findings and outcomes of the ergonomic assessment was organised on 11th April 2014.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Occupational Diseases

ILO calls for urgent global action to fight occupational diseases.

According to a new ILO report, prevention is key to tackling the growing number of work-related diseases, which claim an estimated 2 million lives per year.

GENEVA – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for an “urgent and vigorous” global campaign to tackle the growing number of work-related diseases, which claim an estimated 2 million lives per year.
“The ultimate cost of occupational disease is human life. It impoverishes workers and their families and may undermine whole communities when they lose their most productive workers,” said the ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement issued for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. “Meanwhile, the productivity of enterprises is reduced and the financial burden on the State increases as the cost of health care rises. Where social protection is weak or absent, many workers as well as their families, lack the care and support they need.”
Ryder said prevention is the key to tackling the burden of occupational diseases, and is more effective and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation. He said the ILO was calling for a “paradigm of prevention with comprehensive and coherent action targeting occupational diseases, not only injuries.” He added: "A fundamental step is to recognize the framework provided by the ILO’s international labour standards for effective preventative action and promoting their ratification and implementation."

The head of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Brent Wilton, said: “The ILO is well placed to lead a concerted and holistic effort to address OSH challenges by providing integrated web-based information that is practical and easily accessible to workplace actors, prevention and treatment centres, employers’ and workers’ organizations, enforcing authorities and labour inspectorates. We have an opportunity to ensure that countries are better equipped to avert the risk of facing the same OSH challenges by learning from shared experiences.”
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), said: “Our societies must not accept that workers can lose their health to make a living. And we must not forget that occupational diseases put a huge burden on families and the public purse – a burden that is preventable. Harnessing the knowledge of workers, backed by their unions, is crucial for preventing death and illness. Protection, including through respect for workers’ rights to trade union representation, and government legislation and enforcement following ILO standards and guidance should be expanded.”

The report, entitled The Prevention of Occupational Diseases, issued for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the ILO said that despite the fact that occupational diseases kill six times as many people, accidents attract greater attention. Of the estimated 2.34 million annual work-related deaths, the vast majority – approximately 2.02 million – are due to work-related diseases. This represents a daily average of 5,500 deaths. The ILO also estimates that 160 million cases of non-fatal work-related diseases occur annually.

Technological and social changes, along with global economic conditions, are aggravating existing health hazards and creating new risks. Well-known occupational diseases, such as pneumoconioses and asbestos-related diseases, remain widespread, while relatively new occupational diseases, such as mental and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are on the rise.
Occupational diseases carry an enormous cost – for workers and their families, as well as for economic and social development. The ILO estimates that occupational accidents and diseases result in an annual 4 per cent loss in global gross domestic product (GDP), or about US$2.8 trillion, in direct and indirect costs of injuries and diseases.

Good quality data is of key importance, providing the basis for an effective prevention strategy. Yet, globally, more than half of all countries do not provide statistics for occupational diseases. Only a few countries collect sex-disaggregated data. This makes it difficult not only to identify specific types of occupational injuries and diseases that affect men and women, but also hinders the development of effective preventive measures for all.

”Significantly reducing the incidence of occupational disease is not simple, it may not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but progress is certainly feasible. So let us, in our respective areas of responsibility, set clear OSH goals, establish a road map and most critically, act and persevere so that, together, we succeed in turning the tide on the epidemic and make good progress on this dimension of decent work,” Ryder said.

Health and safety at work: Facts and figures
  • 2.02 million people die each year from work-related diseases.
  • 321,000 people die each year from occupational accidents.
  • 160 million non-fatal work-related diseases per year.
  • 317 million non –fatal occupational accidents per year.
This means that:
  • Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease.
  • Every 15 seconds, 151 workers have a work-related accident.
Deaths and injuries take a particularly heavy toll in developing countries, where a large part of the population is engaged in hazardous activities, such as agriculture, construction, fishing and mining.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

OSHA cited cases February 2014

Trade News Release Banner Image

Region 4 News Release: 14-211-ATL (29)
Feb. 13, 2014
Contact: Lindsay Williams    Michael D'Aquino
Phone: 404-562-2078    404-562-2076
Email     d'

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Dudley Lumber Co. for serious safety violations; nearly $107,000 in proposed penalties

SALEM, Ala. – Dudley Lumber Co. Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 26 safety and health violations following an August 2013 inspection at the company's facility in Salem. OSHA initiated the inspection as part of the agency's national emphasis program on amputations and noise. The proposed penalties total $106,650.

"I am concerned by this employer's lack of effort to protect workers from hazards, such as unguarded machinery, hearing damage and fire hazards," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile. "Earning a paycheck should not require exposure to risk of serious injury or death because an employer chose not to put worker safety first." 

Twenty-one (21) serious violations involve the employer failing to provide workers with locks to prevent equipment startup while they were working in and around machinery; provide seat belts on powered industrial equipment and require their usage; and no emergency eyewash and body-wash stations for workers handling corrosive materials. Additionally, the employer exposed workers to noise in excess of the established limits and to amputation and struck-by hazards from unguarded equipment. To view the current citations and the five other-than-serious violations, visit*

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA has conducted two inspections at the sawmill since 2004. These inspections were conducted in Alabama at the Salem and Lafayette facilities. In 2004, the company was cited with six serious violations and one other-than-serious violation, resulting in $7,200 in proposed penalties. Dudley Lumber has paid those penalties.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

Dudley Lumber operates saw and planer mills in Salem and Lafayette and employs approximately 130 workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries in Alabama accounted for 81 of the 4,383 fatal work injuries reported in 2012. Additional details are available at


Trade News Release Banner Image

Region 5 News Release: 14-200-CHI
Feb. 13, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976

G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers faces $86,900 in US Labor Department OSHA penalties for exposing workers to repeat safety violations.

FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. for seven workplace health and safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $86,900. OSHA initiated an inspection of the Franklin Furnace plant in July 2013 under its Site-Specific Targeting Program*, which targets facilities with higher than average illness and injury rates. 

"This company consistently failed to protect its workers and implement basic safety requirements," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health, and that is unacceptable when employee safety is on the line."

Two repeat safety violations involve failing to ensure that employees utilize appropriate personal protective equipment when working with electrical sources and implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the unintentional startup of equipment during maintenance and servicing, when employees are most at risk.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in 2009 at the company's Hamilton facility.

Five serious safety citations were issued to the company. Two of those violations involved failure to use lockout/tagout procedures. The remaining three included failing to perform hazard assessments related to personal protective equipment, failure to use appropriate protective equipment and failure to perform annual fit testing to ensure employees wore respirators. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

G&J employs more than 1,600 people at 11 locations in Ohio and Kentucky, including production facilities in Lexington and Winchester, Ky., and in Columbus and Portsmouth, Ohio. G&J has distribution centers in Hamilton, Ripley, Hillsboro, Athens, Chillicothe, and Zanesville, and in Harrodsburg, Ky. The company has contested the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Workplace Hazards - POOR Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
  1. What is "indoor air quality"?
    Indoor air quality (also called "indoor environmental quality") describes how inside air can affect a person's health, comfort, and ability to work.  It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (poor ventilation), mold from water damage, or exposure to other chemicals.  Currently, OSHA has no indoor air quality (IAQ) standards but it does provide guidelines about the most common IAQ workplace complaints.

  2. What is considered good IAQ?
    The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building.

  3. What are the most common causes of IAQ problems?
    The most common causes of IAQ problems in buildings are:
    • Not enough ventilation, lack of fresh outdoor air or contaminated air being brought into the building
    • Poor upkeep of ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems, and
    • Dampness and moisture damage due to leaks, flooding or high humidity
    • Occupant activities, such as construction or remodeling
    • Indoor and outdoor contaminated air

  4. How can I tell if there is an IAQ problem in my workplace?
    People working in buildings with poor IAQ may notice unpleasant or musty odors or may feel that the building is hot and stuffy. Some workers complain about symptoms that happen at work and go away when they leave work, like having headaches or feeling tired. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath can be symptoms of a more serious problem. Asthma and some causes of pneumonia (for example, Legionnaires’ Disease and Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis) have been linked to IAQ problems. If you have symptoms that are not going away or are getting worse, talk to your doctor about them. But not all exposures cause symptoms, so there is no substitute for good building management.

  5. Is there a test that can find an IAQ problem?
    There is no single test to find an IAQ problem. Your employer should check measurements of temperature, humidity and air flow. In addition, inspection and testing of the ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems (to make sure it is working according to specifications for building use and occupancy) should be performed. A building walk-through to check for odors and look for water damage, leaks, dirt or pest droppings may be helpful. Leaks need to be eliminated. Standing water in humidifiers, air conditioning units, on roofs and in boiler pans can become contaminated with bacteria or fungi and need to be eliminated, also. In some circumstances, specific testing for radon or for asbestos may be required as part of building occupancy. For instance, in schools asbestos needs to be checked every three years and re-inspected every 6 months (under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act- AHERA). 

  6. What should my employer be doing to prevent IAQ problems?
    Employers are required to follow the General Duty Clause of the OSHAct, which requires them to provide workers with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury.  The OSHAct also requires employers to obey occupational safety and health standards created under it. Employers should be reasonably aware of the possible sources of poor air quality, and they should have the resources necessary to recognize and control workplace hazards. It is also their responsibility to inform employees of the immediate dangers that are present.Specific state and local regulations may apply.

  7. Is there any specific information that I should keep track of to identify IAQ problems at work?
    The following information may be helpful to your doctor or your employer to figure out if there is an IAQ problem at your workplace:
    • Do you have symptoms that just occur at work and go away when you get home?  What are these symptoms?
    • Are these symptoms related to a certain time of day, a certain season or certain location at work?
    • Did the symptoms start when something new happened at work, such as renovation or construction projects?
    • Are there other people at work with similar complaints?
    • Did you already see a doctor for your symptoms, and if so, did the doctor diagnose an illness related to IAQ?
  8. If I think there is an IAQ problem at work or I think my office or building where I work is making me sick, what can I do?
    If you are concerned about air quality at work, ask your employer to check the ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems and to make sure there is no water damage. If you think that you have symptoms that may be related to IAQ at your work, talk to your doctor about them to see if they could be caused by indoor air pollution.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ergonomics Risk Assessment (ERA)

Ergonomics Risk Assessment Project at PROTON Automobile Assembly Plant, 
Shah Alam, Malaysia.
11th & 12th FEBRUARY 2014.

These two days were the hottest days indeed. I was performing the ERGONOMICS Risk Assessment process at PROTON - The National Automobile assembly plant in Shah Alam, Malaysia. Very valuable experience. Evaluating MSDs, Risk Factors, Psychosocial Hazards as well as assessing the sources of bodily pains. 

One thing is evident, more effective ways to generate awareness and understanding of MSDs, correct body postures and measures to minimise body discomforts are required.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

High Impact HSE/OSH/Office Safety Courses

The 2-day Office Safety and Ergonomics Course. Organised by FMM Penang Chapter on 27-28 January 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Computer Vision Syndrome

Factors that Contribute to Computer Related Vision Syndrome (CVS). 

by Jim Kokkinakis

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) refers to ophthalmic and visual symptoms that commonly occur among computer users. With more and more people exposed to prolonged use of computers in school, at work and even at home, it is not surprising that computer vision syndrome is a fairly common eye condition.
Its symptoms include the following:
•    Blurred vision
•    Burning feeling in the eyes
•    Photophobia
•    Need for eye glasses
•    Stinging eyes.

What we need to understand that eyes have not evolved to do computer work. Nor has the human body been designed to sit in a chair all day.  Luckily no one dies or goes blind from this, but if not managed properly computer work can make your life miserable.

Here are some important statistics that can help you better understand computer vision syndrome:
•    At least 100 million people in the United States use computers in their jobs every day. On the other hand, at least 95% of schools and 62% of classrooms in the country have computers.
•    It will be similar in Australia proportionally. We are probably talking about 7 million people use computers every day.
•    Around 25% to as much as 93% of computer users exhibit ocular symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome.
•    Around 22% of computer users suffer musculoskeletal problems that include carpal tunnel syndrome as well as pain in the back, shoulders and neck.
•    Research shows that 1 out 6 patients who require eye examinations are suffering from computer-related eye conditions.
•    The cost of eye care examinations and special glasses for computer use is estimated to be a $2 billion industry.

Contributing Factors
While prolonged computer use is the main culprit that causes computer vision syndrome, there are other factors that can exacerbate the symptoms you are experiencing. Here are some of them:

Personal Factors
•    Your symptoms such as having blurred vision may be caused by uncorrected refractive errors like astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.
•    When you have a pre-existing dry eye condition, your ophthalmic symptoms of computer vision syndrome may worsen when you use a computer.
•    If you are middle aged or older, you may be suffering from presbyopia. This condition decreases your near and intermediate visual acuities that you need when using a computer.

Environmental Factors
•    You may be looking at your computer monitor at an erroneous angle of gaze. You have to adjust the set-up of your desk or your workstation to ensure that you are not straining your eyes and neck, among others, when you use your computer.
•    The settings in your computer may be too bright for you. You have to adjust these so as not to cause discomfort to your eyes.
•    You may have poor lighting in your workstation or your computer may be positioned in such a way that it is exposed to too much glare.

Things to Look Out For
When you exhibit symptoms of computer vision syndrome, you should have your eyes checked to prevent the condition from worsening. Your doctor will most likely inquire about the following things:
•  Prescription of your current and past eye glasses
• Symptoms that you are experiencing such as dryness, stinging, tearing, blurred vision, photophobia, burning sensation and red eyes.
•  Eye medications, including lubricants, you used in the past
•  Existing medical conditions that worsen dry eye symptoms. These can include thyroid disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, xerostomia, menopause and carpal tunnels syndrome.
• Environmental conditions when you use the computer like seating position, desk set-up, type of monitor used, wrist position, window proximity, desktop color and sources of light from the ceiling and desk.
• Use of medications like anti-histamines, diuretics, anti-cholinergics and anti-depressants.