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OSHA encourages pre-rescue planning, communication, and effective coordination among employers and emergency service providers. In support of that goal, the agency recently published a fact sheet for employers on summoning rescue or emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. The Confined Spaces in Construction standard requires employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescuers for emergency situations.

The fact sheet contains information for employers on choosing off-site emergency responders by finding a service that has the required equipment, is able to respond quickly, and is capable of handling potential hazards. In addition, the emergency responders chosen must be provided with access to all permit-required confined spaces such as a project site plan, GPS coordinates, and access routes, gates, or landmarks. The document includes information such as checklist questions for emergency service providers to help with preparation.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3849.pdf

Tagged in: OSHA

A key aspect of employee safety involves training on how to limit heat exposure and how to identify signs of heat-related illness. We tend to think of heat-related illnesses as occurring most often in outdoor environments during the summer months, and with good reason. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, 4,420 workers were affected by heat-related illnesses and 61 workers died as a result of them. Even indoors, heat exposure from various sources can lead to illness, accidents and unsafe work conditions in general. Not surprisingly, like an increasing number of life situations, there’s an app for that. Make that several.

OSHA’s heat stress app (OSHA Heat Safety Tool) “allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite.” That’s according to the agency’s website. When supplied with temperature and humidity information, the app makes a quick calculation to determine the heat index – a fairly realistic measure of what the environment actually feels like. The app goes a step further by offering specific precautions to take based on the calculated heat index. Useful as it may be in assessing a present situation, its value as a planning tool is limited.

Enter the Maximum Heat Index Forecasts page from the National Weather Service. While not a smartphone app, the page is easy to access from a variety of devices and provides the heat index forecast for the next five days.
The page starts off by showing the heat forecast three to seven days from the present date. By clicking on the small map in the left-most column for a given day, the user can view a larger, color-coded map filled with that date’s predicted maximum heat index values. It’s possible also to click on other cities in a given area to view a specific forecast presented in the form of a table. All this is great when you want to look ahead several days. In the short term – say, when you want to know about maximum index forecast for today or tomorrow – the NWS forecast webpage draws a blank.

The workaround? It’s possible to view an hour-by-hour heat index forecast from the local NWS forecast page.

Navigate to www.weather.gov and input your zip code or city. On the local forecast webpage, scroll down and click on the hourly weather forecast graph in the right column. Presto. There, in the top part of the graph, is the hourly heat index.
If all this seems very useful but a bit clunky, it also serves to point the way to the development of a streamlined app that can provide NWS heat index forecast information in real time. Web developers, take note.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is urging state departments of transportation to make sure that railroad crossing warning systems interconnected to traffic lights function properly. The agency also urged states to add event recorders to traffic lights connected to railroad crossing systems so information obtained during inspections can be used to improve safety. Across the United States, there are nearly 5,000 railroad crossings interconnected with traffic lights. A state-by-state list of crossings connected to traffic lights is available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L17343.

Read entire article - http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L17344#p1_z10_gD_lPR

The federal government’s final count of fatal occupational injuries for 2014 is in, and it shows that overall, numbers were up from the previous year, the first such increase since 2010.

According to the revisions to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the overall fatal work injury rate in 2014 was 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from the 3.3 per 100,000 in 2013.

That makes 4,821 the final number of fatal work injuries in 2014, up from the preliminary count of 4,679 released in September 2015 and the highest since 2008. From 2009 until 2014, the total number of worker deaths had been below 4,700 every year.

Other changes in the updates included the number of fatal injuries in the private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries, which rose to 183, the highest they had been since 2007. Fatal work injuries in oil and gas extraction industries increased to 144 in 2014, which reached a new high in that category.

Some of the other changes included in the updates:
-Fatalities from falls, slips, and trips rose by 25 cases, increasing the final total to 818 cases.
-Fatal work injuries as a result of roadway incidents were higher by 82 cases (8 percent) from the preliminary total, increasing the final number of deaths in 2014 to 1,157 cases – a 5 percent increase from the final count in 2013.
-There were 1,691 fatal work injuries in 2014 among workers age 55 – an increase of 70 from the preliminary count. The 2014 figure represents the largest number ever recorded for this category of workers and is 8 percent larger than the next highest total.

The revisions and additions to the 2014 CFOI counts are the result of the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after preliminary results were released.

Although the number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers rose to 804 after the revisions, the final total for 2014 was lower than that of the prior year (817). The number of non-Hispanic Black or African-American workers who were fatally injured on the job in 2014 went up 4 percent from the preliminary count (457) to a revised count of 475. The total for non-Hispanic white workers rose by 5 percent after the updates to 3,332.

According to the BLS, this will be the last year for the separate release of preliminary data, which usually occurred in August or September. Beginning with the 2015 reference year, final data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) will be released in December – four months earlier than in previous years. The final (and only) release of 2015 CFOI data is scheduled for December 16, 2016. A similar schedule will be followed in subsequent years, the agency said.

Tagged in: worker fatality

OSHA recently issued a memorandum regarding revised interim enforcement procedures for reporting requirements under 29 CFR 1904.39, reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA.

The memorandum provides updated internal guidance and procedures for the Area Offices to enforce the reporting requirements. Among other items, the memo updates the procedures for the intake of reports from employers, data collection and sorting as well as entry of data in the OSHA Information System (OIS).

The revised enforcement procedures replace the December 2014 interim procedures.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/dep/Enforcement_Procedures_for_1904.39-3-4-2016.pdf

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