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In early May, OSHA published a long-awaited final rule on construction confined spaces. The agency has been working on the rule for more than two decades and ultimately decided, based on stakeholders' comments, to make it more like OSHA's general industry confined spaces standard than originally planned. Some provisions do address construction-specific hazards, including requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and continuously monitor air contaminant and engulfment hazards. That’s something the agency says is possible because of technology developed in the years since the general industry standard took effect.


The rule will take effect on Aug. 3. OSHA has established a new website (https://www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/index.html) that includes compliance resources.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=25127

Tagged in: OSHA

The National Safety Council called on employers this Workers' Memorial Day, observed April 28, to better understand and identify the risks associated with occupational illnesses.

The organization has issued a new policy position (http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/Occupational-Illness-125.pdf) with recommendations for employers to better address illnesses. Some of those include considering the latest available scientific research, consensus standards, employer best practices and other reliable sources of information for determining the most effective control strategies and determining how to improve reporting and tracking of occupational illnesses to support better understanding, prioritization, progress measurement and research.

The NSC has stated workplace-related illnesses are estimated to result in 53,000 deaths and 427,000 nonfatal illnesses each year, compared to workplace-related injuries, which are estimated to result in almost 4,000 deaths and 4.8 million injured requiring medical attention each year.

Read entire article - http://www.nsc.org/learn/about/Pages/NSC-urges-employers-to-address-workplace-illnesses.aspx?var=homepage1

The federal government recently released its revised, final number of workplace fatalities in the U.S. for 2013. The overall count is down from the previous year, though not by much.

The final count of workplace fatalities in 2013 – the most recent year for which data were available – was 4584, a decrease of 44 (or 0.95%) from 4628 in 2012. The preliminary count for 2013 was 4405. Thirty four states and Washington, DC, revised their counts upward since that time.

The final numbers reflect updates to the 2013 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) file made following the release of preliminary results in September 2014. Revisions and additions to the 2013 CFOI numbers come from both the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after the release of preliminary results.

After a trend toward a decreasing number of fatalities from 2006 to 2009, specifically 5840, 5657, 5214 and 4551, the number increased to nearly 4700 in 2010 and has shown slight decreases since then.

Workplace deaths by cause of event in 2013 were:
• transportation incidents: 41%
• violence and other injuries by persons or animals: 17%
• contact with objects and equipment: 16%
• slips, trips and falls: 16%
• exposure to harmful substances or environments: 7%, and
• fire and explosions: 3%.

Two types of events that rose in 2013 from 2012 were slips, trips and falls and fires and explosions. In fact, after the updates to the 2013 preliminary numbers, fatal work injuries as a result of slips, trips, and falls increased by 25 cases, raising the total to 724.

The overall fatality rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2013 was 3.3, down from a range of 3.4 to 3.6 from 2009 to 2012. However, the number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers rose to 817 after updates, a 9 percent increase compared to the total in 2012 of 748. The fatal injury rate for Hispanic or Latino workers also rose to 3.9 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2013 from 3.7 in 2012. The number of non-Hispanic Blacks or African-Americans fatally injured at work in 2013 rose 6 percent from the preliminary count of 414 to the revised count of 439. The total for non-Hispanic white workers rose by 4 percent following the updates.

In the construction sector, there were 32 more fatalities in 2013 compared to 2012, a 3% increase and the largest number since 2009.

The total number of fatal injuries for contractors on the job in 2013 rose from 734 to 749 after updates. They accounted for 16 percent of all fatal work injuries that year.

Roadway deaths were higher by 108 cases (11 percent) from the preliminary count for 2013, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2013 to 1,099 cases. However, the final 2013 total showed a 5 percent decrease from the final 2012 count.

OSHA is requesting information from the public about worker safety hazards in communication tower construction and maintenance activities. The agency says the information will assist it in determining what measures to take to prevent worker injuries and fatalities.

Increasingly, antennas are being installed on structures other than communication towers, such as on water towers, on electrical and telephone poles, and on the roofs of buildings. These alternative structures are often used in more densely populated areas where the construction of large communication towers is impractical or impossible, for example, due to zoning restrictions.

Workers often climb from 100 to 2,000 feet In order to erect or maintain communication towers. Communication tower workers face the risk of falls from such heights, structural collapses, electrical hazards, and hazards associated with inclement weather.

In the request for information, OSHA is seeking data about the causes of the employee injuries and fatalities that are occurring among employees working on communication towers. That includes collecting information from wireless carriers, tower workers, engineering and construction management firms, tower owners, and tower construction and maintenance companies about the causes of employee injuries and fatalities and for information about the best practices used by employers in the industry to address these hazards. The agency is also seeking comments on safe work practices for communication tower activities, training and certification practices for communication tower workers, and potential approaches OSHA might take to address the hazards associated with work on communication towers.

The deadline for submitting comments is June 15, 2015. Interested parties may submit comments and additional materials electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be mailed or faxed. See the Federal Register notice for details.

Read entire article: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=OSHA-2014-0018-0001

Tagged in: OSHA

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The month of June marks the official beginning of summer, and it might come as no surprise that it is also National Safety Month. The summer months are traditionally when people spend the most time outdoors, so June is an appropriate time to consider the special health and safety concerns that accompany the season.

National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in the home and communities. This year, the month’s special focus areas are prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, ergonomics, emergency preparedness and slips, trips and falls.

At Workplace Safety & Health Company, we are committed to helping to make workplaces safer the whole year round. Our specialized consulting services are based upon the specific needs of each client, and we stand ready to assist with industrial hygiene, confined space hazard, and qualitative exposure assessments, job safety analyses, confined space evaluations, indoor air monitoring, vapor intrusion monitoring, lockout/tagout surveys or industrial noise monitoring and mapping. Our goal is to help our customers prevent injuries and illnesses while promoting profitability by means of sound health and safety management practices.

Some of the training courses available from Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. include:
• Complying with OSHA 30-hour/ 10-hour courses
• Lockout/Tagout
• HAZMAT / HAZWOPER
• Confined Space Entry and Rescue
• First Aid /CPR (to include AED and Bloodborne Pathogens)
• Asbestos Operations and Maintenance
• Incident Command
• Fall Protection

Whatever your workplace safety concern, contact us – we’re here to help.

Tagged in: OSHA workplace safety

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