EPA’s drinking water warning, OSHA’s NEP, and forklift safety

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What’s going on in EHS this week? Find out with Safety at the Frontline!

Tune in on Mondays to get the latest safety news with Frontline’s podcast. We’re covering the top EHS news, along with some quick and useful tips, so you can stay safe and keep rocking on the frontlines.

EPA warns about compounds found in drinking water

Starting off the week with some worrying news, the EPA is warning that two nonstick and stain-resistant compounds found in drinking water pose health risks even at levels so low they cannot currently be detected.

The two compounds, known as PFOA and PFOS, have been voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers, but there are still a limited number of ongoing uses. The compounds are part of a larger cluster of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS that have been used in consumer products and industry since the 1940s. Linked to infertility, thyroid problems, and several types of cancer, these “forever chemicals” can persist in the environment for years without breaking down.

The EPA has issued nonbinding health advisories that set health risk thresholds for PFOA and PFOS to near zero, replacing 2016 guidelines that had set them at 70 parts per trillion.

OSHA’s action plan for the heat illness and injury protection NEP

On to the next news, we’ve previously talked about the National Emphasis Program OSHA launched regarding heat illness and injury protection. Let’s talk a little bit about what this means for employers.

OSHA Area Directors are going to begin prioritizing inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals, and employer-reported illnesses and initiate an onsite investigation where possible.

They’re going to instruct compliance safety and health officers, during their travels to job sites, to conduct an intervention or open an inspection when they observe employees performing strenuous work in hot conditions.

And also, expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where worksite conditions or other evidence indicates these hazards may be present.

The program is raising concerns for employers in warmer areas of the country like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana so we’re definitely curious as to how this is going to play out.

National Forklift Safety Day event

Last news of the week, June 14th was National Forklift Safety Day, and the kick-off event birthed some updates. OSHA administrator Doug Parker said that there’s a tremendous opportunity to bring design [innovations] to advance worker safety. He noted that an updated powered industrial trucks standard is still in the works, as the comment period ended May 17, and OSHA received 23 comments.

The comments are apparently in favor of OSHA’s efforts, which is understandable since the current standard dates back to 1971. Well, that’s it for this week, don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and in the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned for next week.