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Under OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904), covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, whether they are direct employees or those working through a staffing agency. According to OSHA, the agency’s new Temporary Worker Initiative will use enforcement, outreach, and training to make sure that temporary workers are protected in the workplace.

The agency announced the initiative to raise awareness and compliance with requirements that temporary workers receive the same training and protection that existing workers receive. Part of that effort is a new educational resource that focusing on requirements for injury recording of temporary worker injuries and illnesses. The measures were prompted in part by OSHA investigations in recent months into reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, many of which occur within their first few days on the job.

The new Recordkeeping Bulletin ( explains the requirements for both the staffing agency and the host employer and addresses how to identify who is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illnesses of temporary workers on the OSHA 300 log.

Covered employers are required to record on that log any recordable injuries and illnesses of all employees on their payroll, whether those workers are classified as labor, executive, hourly, salary, part-time, seasonal, or migrant workers. Covered employers must log also any recordable injuries and illnesses that occur to employees who are not on the company payroll if these employers are supervised on a day-to-day basis.

OSHA says that the temporary worker Recordkeeping Bulletin is the first in a series of guidance documents to be released to support the initiative to raise awareness about compliance with OSHA requirements for temporary workers.

A construction worker fatality at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Ga. has resulted in five safety violations against Smiley Plaster Co. The company faces $57,000 in penalties. The 42-year-old worker fell approximately 19 feet off scaffolding to his death while applying stucco to a pre-existing building that was being renovated as a college dormitory. OSHA’s investigation into the Sept. 20, 2013 fatality found that the company failed to provide fall protection to employees who work from scaffolding at heights over 10 feet.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_logo_astm.jpgThe American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has announced that a new international standard will be used to provide a uniform international method for recording occupational injuries and illnesses. The goal to make global performance comparisons of companies in keeping workers safe, the society said. Known as ASTM E2920, Guide for Recording Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the method developed by Subcommittee E34.80 on Industrial Health, part of ASTM International Committee E34 on Occupational Health and Safety.

In effect, ASTM E2920 establishes a common denominator system that includes injuries most countries already record, albeit with variations that do not always allow for direct comparison.

By using this approach, the ASTM says, no new system will need to be developed and existing records can be used to establish historical trends by identifying those cases that qualify under the new criteria.

According to an ASTM news release, “ASTM E2920 will be especially helpful to multinational companies by leveling the playing field by its use, regardless of company or country, and enabling globally consistent safety performance evaluation.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_logo_osha.pngThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found Grand Trunk Western Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad Co. in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for suspending and/or disciplining five workers following the reporting of workplace injuries or illnesses.

The department has ordered the companies to pay back wages, along with interest, punitive and compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees. The companies will also be required to remove disciplinary information from the employees’ personnel records and must provide whistleblower rights information to workers.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_drive_and_text.jpgIs the drive to be more productive away from the workplace enough to drive people to distraction? The answer depends on whom you ask, but the National Safety Council (NSC) maintains that the number of communication devices packed into motor vehicles make the issue of distracted driving more pressing than ever.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, and the NSC’s theme this year is “Hands-free is not risk-free.” One estimate by the NSC puts the number of crashes caused by cell phone use and texting while driving at 1.6 million each year. The underlying concern, the organization says, isn’t the devices themselves, but rather the state of mental distraction to which they contribute. In support of this, the NSC references more than 30 studies that show hands-free devices are no safer than hand-held devices. Yet public perception of the safety issues presented by cell phones seems to lag behind.

Distracted driving can come in a variety of forms and from a variety of causes from eating to adjusting a radio to reaching for an object. But perhaps the distraction most closely associated with the use of technology while driving is the use of cell phones, particularly to send and receive text messages. In addition, a growing number of vehicles come equipped with dashboard ‘infotainment’ systems that allow drivers to make hands-free calls as well as send text messages, check email and post to social media accounts.

Interestingly, in a recent poll conducted by the NSC, 53 percent of respondents believe hands-free devices must be safe to use if they are built into cars and trucks. That same poll also found that 80 percent of drivers surveyed found that they believe hands-free cell phones are safer to use while driving than hand-held ones. Also, of the respondents who admitted using hands-free devices while driving, 70 percent indicated they do so for safety reasons.

The NSC recommends that company bans include all types of cell phone use while driving, including texting, hand-held conversations and hands-free conversations. The NSC has materials available at to help companies establish their own policies. At the present time, no state or municipality has passed a law banning hands-free use, but about a dozen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws banning handheld cell phone use while driving.

Comprehensive cell phone bans continue to be a tough sell, even if the idea has been gaining ground in some areas. Something that might help to sell the concept to businesses ahead of governments is the issue of liability. For example, is workers’ compensation coverage triggered when an employee is injured off-site while using a cell phone for company business? If it is, it will likely increase workers’ comp rates – and insurance companies will likely offer strong defenses against such claims. And there are still few legal decisions on such cases.

It’s all something to think about – just maybe not on the drive to or from work.


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