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If your health care provider believes a prescription opioid such as hydrocodone, oxycodone or codeine is the most effective way to manage your pain, it is important to understand that these medication are highly addictive. In 2015, overdose deaths from prescription opioids killed more than 20,000 people in the U.S. alone.

As you should with any new medication, if your health care provider wants to prescribe an opioid, it is important to ask questions before you get it filled.


Questions You Should Ask:

  1. Why do I need this medication? Ask if there are non-opioid options you could take instead.

  2. What if I have a history of addiction? Make sure your health care provider knows you have had issues with drugs or alcohol and if you have a history of smoking. This could change your treatment plan.

  3. How long should I take this medication? Ask for the lowest effective dose in the smallest quantity so you don't have leftover medication.

  4. How can I reduce the risk of side effects? Take your medication as prescribed and make sure you are aware of potential side effects such as excessive sleepiness or craving more of the medication. Alert your health care provider immediately if you experience them.

  5. What if I am taking other medications? You can reduce your risk for dangerous interactions by making sure your health care provider is aware of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you take.

Write your questions down ahead of time and write down necessary information during your visit. If you think of something else after your appointment is over, don't be afraid to call back. Most medical offices have staff on hand who can help if your health care provider is not available and you need answers right away. Your pharmacist can also be a valuable resource.

Don't assume your health care provider will automatically tell you everything you should know about an opioid medication on any other treatment. Not asking questions can have serious consequences on your health and your life.

Use of Opioid Medication

  1. Where should I keep my opioid medication? If you have children at home, including teenagers, store it where it cannot be seen or reached.

  2. What if I have unused opioid medication? Don't keep it. Leftover opioids can be found and used by others. Ask your pharmacist how best to dispose of leftover medication - the answer may depend on the specific medication. Further information on safe drug disposal is available from the Food and Drug Administration at

  3. Should I have naloxone in my house? Naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available over-the-counter in many state and in all over Canada. Your health care provider can also prescribe naloxone if you want it in your home and live in a place where a prescription is required.

Information taken from material originally written by Janet Lubman Rathner of the Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America.

Am I in Danger?

  • Unguarded protruding steel reinforcing bars are hazardous. Even if you just stumble onto an unguarded rebar you can impale yourself, resulting in serious internal injuries or death.

How do I Avoid Hazards?

  • Guard all protruding ends of steel rebar with rebar caps or wooden troughs, or

  • Bend rebar so exposed ends are no longer upright

When employees are working at any height above exposed rebar, fall protection/prevention is the first line of defense against impalement. BUT YOU MUST STILL HAVE THE REBAR GUARDED

Rebar Caps

  • The OSHA Standard requires that rebar "be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement."  NOT ALL GUARDS PROVIDE THAT LEVEL POF PROTECTION. In some circumstances, the force of a fall can cause rebar to push cleat through a plastic cap and still impale a worker, or the worker can be impaled by the rebar and the cap together.

Accident Details

  • While standing on a rebar column he is in the process of plumbing, a worker in a full body harness attempts to hook his positioning lanyards onto a location over his head.
  • The positioning device's hook slips, and the worker falls approximately 8 feet to the footings below, where he is impales through the groin on a protruding rebar.
  • Though the rebar is capped, the force of the worker's fall pushes the cap clear to the ground, and bends the rebar nearly 45 degrees.
  • This is an example of the rebar caps use at this site. Because it was not steel reinforces, it was insufficient to provide protection on a fall from elevation.
  • An employee passing by the accident site gives perspective to the height involved. The victim was only standing approximately at the top of the image, yet the force of his fall bent the rebar like a coat hanger. Luckily, he was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital and survived his injuries.



  • An MSDS is broken into several sections

General Company Information Section

  • Manufacturer's Name

  • Emergency Telephone Number

  • Address (Number, Street, City, State, and Zip Code)

  • Date Prepared

Hazard Ingredients Section

  • Chemical and Common Name(s)

  • OSHA PEL - Regulation

  • ACGIH - TLV - Recommendation

Physical Characteristics Section

  • Specific Gravity (H20=1)

    • > 1 Sinks in water

    • < 1 Floats on water

  • Vapor Density (AIR=1)

    • > 1 Sinks in Air

    • < 1 Floats on Air

  • Evaporation Rate (Butyl Acetate = 1)

    • > 1 Fast Evaporation

    • < 1 Slow Evaporation

  • Appearance and Odor

Safe Handling and Use Section

  • Steps to be Taken in Case Material is Released or Spilled

  • Disposal Method

  • Precautions to be Taken in Handling and Storing 

Fire and Explosion Hazard Section

  • Flash Point

    • Below 100 Degrees

    • At or Above 100 Degrees

  • Flammable Limits LEL or UEL

  • Extinguishing Media

  • Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazards

Reactivity Data Section

  • Stability

  • Incompatibility

Health Hazard Data Section

  • Route(s) of Entry:

    • Inhalation/Skin/Ingestion

  • Health Hazards

    • Acute (Short Term)

    • Chronic (Long Term)

  • Carcinogenicity

    • National Toxicology Program

    • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

  • Signs and Symptoms of Exposure

  • Medical Conditions Generally Aggravated by Exposure

  • Emergency and First Aid Procedures

  • Methods to Protect Employees


Hazard Com 2.jpg (453.2KB)

The Hazard Communication Standard States:

  • Every company which produces and uses hazardous materials must provide their employees with information and training on the proper handling and use of these materials.

  • You, as an employee, have a Right to Know about the hazardous materials used in your work area and the potential effects of these materials upon your health and safety.


Key Elements of the Osha Hazard Communication Standard

  • Materials Inventory - A list of the hazardous materials present in your work area.

  • Material Safety Data Sheets - A detailed description of each hazardous material listed in the Materials Inventory.

  • Labeling - Containers of hazardous materials must have labels which identify the material and warn of its potential hazard to employees.

  • Training - All employees must be trained to identify and work safely with hazardous materials.

  • Written Program - A written program must be developed which ties all of the above together.

Controlling Physical and Health Hazards

  • Product Substitution

    • Because many chemicals do similar jobs, it is important to select chemicals that do a good job, while being less toxic.

  • Engineering Controls

    • Well-designed work areas minimize exposure to materials which are hazardous. Examples of engineering controls would include exhaust systems and wetting systems to control dust.

  • Safe Work Practices

    • Safe work practices will insure that chemicals are used correctly and safely.

  • Personal Protective Equipment

    • Masks, eye protection, gloves, aprons, and other protective equipment and clothing are designed to protect you while you work. USE THEM!

  • Training and Communication

    • Knowing how to work safely with chemicals that pose a hazard is an important activity. You have a right to know, but you also have a responsibility to use the knowledge and skills to work safely.

  • Environmental Monitoring

    • Industrial hygiene personnel regularly sample the air and collect other samples to insure that hazardous chemicals do not exceed established acceptable exposure limits.

  • Personal Monitoring

    • Monitor yourself and others. Be on the lookout for any physical symptoms which would indicate that you or your coworkers have been overexposed to any hazardous chemical. Symptoms, such as skin rashes, dizziness, eye or throat irritations or strong odors, should be reported to your supervisor.