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December 2013

News Briefs

Oregon OSHA reminds employers to prepare for winter hazards

Icy roads and freezing temperatures can make certain jobs even more dangerous if workers aren't prepared.

"Employees who drive as part of their job should receive training on how to handle the conditions," said Gary Beck, Oregon OSHA's safety enforcement manager. "Employers should cover how to steer out of skids, increase following distance, and emphasize the need to drive slower in bad weather."

For outdoor workers, Beck said it's important to wear proper clothing to stay dry and warm and take breaks to warm up. He also encourages employers to consider putting off a job if conditions are too severe.

"If it's really bad outside and a job can be postponed, then wait and don't put crews at risk," he said.

Another danger, specifically for workers in warehousing or any enclosed space, is carbon monoxide exposure. Penny Wolf-McCormick, Oregon OSHA's Portland health enforcement manager, said many gas or propane powered heaters aren't intended for indoor use.

"Check the piece of equipment for a sticker or the manual that will say whether it can be used indoors," said Wolf-McCormick. "Some require adequate ventilation and some will say they are not to be used indoors at all."

If the heater has an open flame, employers should consider whether flammable material such as chemicals or other combustibles are nearby, she said.

Find fact sheets for working in winter weather and other hazardous conditions online: conditions.html.

Congratulations to the new VPP company

Roseburg Forest Products - Engineered Wood Product Division, Riddle

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For general information, technical answers, or information about Oregon OSHA services, please call 503-378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, 800-922-2689.