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A top OSHA official recently gave an overview of where the agency stands with creating new and updating existing regulations.
OSHA deputy administrator Jordan Barab updated attendees at a U.S. Small Business Labor Safety Roundtable. An attendee presented an overview of Barab’s presentation in The National Law Review.
Barab said these four rules pending final agency action are on top of OSHA’s to-do list:
-Confined Space in Construction
-Silica
-Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems, and
-Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (electronic recordkeeping).
Of those four, Barab said Confined Space in Construction would be released first. That standard would align closely with the confined space standard for general industry.

Read entire article - http://www.natlawreview.com/article/jordan-barab-gives-regulatory-update-small-business-association-sba-roundtable-meeti

OSHA recently announced it is accepting applications for targeted-topic training grants and capacity-building training grants through the 2015 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The annual grant program is named in honor of the late Susan Harwood, a former director in OSHA's Office of Risk Assessment. Harwood’s 17 years of service with the agency led to the development of worker protection standards for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead.

The grants fund the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs and the development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education for workers and employers to help them identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards.

The types of grants solicited vary from year to year. This year, two types of capacity-building grants are offered: capacity-building pilot and capacity-building developmental grants. Capacity-building pilot grants are aimed at assisting organizations in assessing their needs and formulating a capacity-building plan before launching a full-scale safety and health education program. Capacity-building developmental grants are intended to be used to improve and expand an organization's capacity to provide safety and health training, education and related assistance to target audiences. Capacity-building developmental grant recipients may be eligible for up to three additional 12-month follow-on grants, based on satisfactory performance.

Funding opportunity announcements can be found at http://www.grants.gov, where new applicants must register and returning applicants must confirm accuracy of their registration information before completing the application. OSHA states that the registration process generally takes three to five business days, though it may take as long as four weeks if all steps are not completed in a timely manner. OSHA recommends that organizations new to the System for Award Management allow for an additional 14 days for registration to obtain a commercial and government entity code.

With that in mind, applicants are encouraged to begin the registering with www.grants.gov as soon as possible. Applications for both targeted topic training grants (SHTG-FY-15-01) and capacity building grants (SHTG-FY-15-02) must be submitted electronically, no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 2, 2015. No extensions will be granted.
Short OSHA-developed webinars aimed at helping prospective applicants understand the application process can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/index.html.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s most recent National Roadside Survey shows declines in drunk driving but an increase in use of marijuana and prescription drugs on the nation’s roadways.

The survey found the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by nearly one-third since 2007 and by more than three-quarters since 1973.

Yet, the same study found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs, with one in four drivers testing positive for at least one drug that could affect safety.

Read entire article: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/nhtsa-releases-2-impaired-driving-studies-02-2015

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is seeking public comment from partners and the public to help evaluate the impact of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). Feedback will be accepted until the federal docket is closed on March 24, 2015.

NORA is a partnership program to identify and address the most critical issues in workplace safety and health. It began in 1996 and by 2006 had a new sector-based structure. NIOSH is reviewing the accomplishments of NORA’s second decade and is preparing for the third decade, which starts next year.

To view the notice and provide comment, visit www.regulations.gov. Enter CDC-2015-0002 in the search field and then click ‘‘Search”.

Read entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora/

Tagged in: NIOSH

Posted by on in Uncategorized
Driving to...Distractions

When we think of safety at work, it’s important to consider that for many employees on their way to, from, or for work, safety centers around staying focused on driving. Yet distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of transportation-related accidents.

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, 3,328 people in the United States were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,360 in 2011. Another 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012, a 9 percent increase from the 387,000 people injured in 2011.

Each April, the National Safety Council – a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress – promotes Distracted Driving Awareness Month and encourages motorists to drive cell phone free. The NSC maintains that one concern contributing is the amount of communication devices built into some of today’s vehicles as well as those brought along for the ride. It isn’t the devices that are the problem, the NSC says: It’s the state of mental distraction to which they can contribute.

Distracted driving can come in a variety of forms and arise from a variety of causes, from eating or drinking to adjusting a radio or media player to reaching for an object. But perhaps the distraction most closely linked with the use of technology is the use of cell phones, particularly to send and receive text messages.

A popular notion is that cell phone improves productivity at work by cutting down on the “down time” experienced on the road. Yet, a 2009 survey of NSC members showed that 99 percent of companies with policies that prohibit the use of cell phones and messaging devices while driving saw no decreases in productivity – with some experiencing an increase in productivity – after the policies took effect.

Curiously, according to another poll conducted by the NSC, 53 percent of respondents indicated they believe hands-free devices must be safe to use if they are built into cars and trucks. The poll also found that 80 percent of respondents believe hands-free cell phones are safer to use while driving than hand-held models. Also, of the respondents who indicated that they using hands-free devices while driving, 70 percent indicated they do so for safety reasons.

The NSC recommends that companies ban all types of cell phone use while driving, including texting, hand-held conversations and hands-free conversations. All-out bans concerning cell phones continue to be a thorny subject, however. Something that might help to sell the concept to the private sector ahead of government is the issue of liability. For example, when an employee is injured off-site while using a cell phone for company business, does the incident trigger workers’ compensation coverage? If so, it will likely raise workers’ compensation rates – and insurance companies will likely offer strong defenses against such claims.

It’s all something to think about – just maybe not while driving.

 

Tagged in: Distracted driving NSC

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