Workplace Safety & Health Co. Inc. Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Recent blog posts

An Ohio company has been cited for four repeat and nine serious safety and health violations after OSHA received a complaint alleging unsafe handling of hazardous chemicals at an Avon Lake facility that manufactures fiberglass pipes and tanks. OSHA initiated an inspection of the Perry Fiberglass Products Inc. there on Feb. 5, 2014. Proposed penalties total $53,130.

The investigation found repeat violations of OSHA's hazard communication standard, which requires employers to provide an effective training program with understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. Perry Fiberglass Products failed to label containers to identify and warn of the hazardous chemicals contained inside, use self-closing valves on containers with flammable liquids and ensure a bonding system was used when dispensing flammable chemicals into secondary containers. The company failed to provide and maintain suitable eyewash stations.

The company was cited for similar violations in 2010.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=26547

A new document from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2014, is the most recent version of the hazardous drug list first published by NIOSH in 2004 as an appendix to the document, NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings. Hazardous drugs on the list include those used for cancer chemotherapy, antiviral drugs, hormones, some bioengineered drugs, and other miscellaneous drugs.

Healthcare workers who prepare or give hazardous drugs to patients, such as those used for cancer therapy, as well as support staff may face individual health risks when exposed to these drugs. The institute estimates 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs in the workplace.

Read entire article - www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2014-138/

Citing initial findings from a fatal explosion in July, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) – a federal safety agency – has issued a warning to companies with storage tanks.

CSB investigators sent water samples from an exploded tank at the Omega Protein facility in Moss Point, Miss., to a lab for testing. Those tests revealed microbial activity in the samples and off-gassing of flammable methane and hydrogen sulfide.
The explosion at the Omega facility occurred during hot work and resulted in the death of one contract worker and severe injuries to another contract worker. The water inside of the tank had been thought to be nonhazardous, but no combustible gas testing was done on the contents before the hot work started.

The CSB says has now investigated three fatal hot work incidents since 2008 involving biological or organic matter in storage tanks. The Board says companies, contract firms and maintenance personnel should know that inside a storage tank, what might seem to be non-hazardous organic material can release gases that cause the vapor space to rise above the lower flammability limit. When that occurs, a small spark or even heat from hot work can be enough to cause an explosion.

Read entire article - http://www.csb.gov/csb-chairperson-moure-eraso-warns-about-danger-of-hot-work-on-tanks-containing-biological-or-organic-material/

Tagged in: OSHA Storage tanks

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a brief detailing what investigators found after a fire and explosions damaged two barges that were docked in Mobile, Ala., on April 24, 2013, in order for the barges' tanks to be cleaned. Flammable vapors flowed from the tank hatches into the engine room of the towing vessel and ignited, the brief says, and the fire spread to the barges alongside. Three people were seriously burned, and damage total to the towing vessel and the barges was estimated at $5.7 million, according to the report.

Read entire article: https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/MAB1413.pdf

Tagged in: Flammable vapors NTSB

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a report on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's review of 20 heat-related enforcement cases from 2012 to 2013. OSHA's analysis suggests that the primary risk factor for heat fatalities is the lack of acclimatization programs.

Of the 13 enforcement cases involving worker fatalities, nine of the deaths occurred in the first three days of working on the job, while four of them occurred on the worker's first day. In all cases, heat illness prevention programs were found to be incomplete or absent and no provision was made for acclimatizing new workers to the heat.

Read entire article: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=26502

b2ap3_thumbnail_National-Preparedness-Month.jpg

How well prepared are you for an emergency or disaster? That’s one of the main questions National Preparedness Month asks of everyone, whether it’s at home or in the workplace.

September 2014 marks the eleventh annual observance of the themed month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the US Department of Homeland Security. This year’s theme is “Be Disaster Aware: Take Action to Prepare.” One goal of Homeland Security is to educate the public — including businesses – on how to prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, mass casualties, biological and chemical threats, radiation emergencies, and terrorist attacks.

Much of the focus for National Preparedness Month centers around being ready to deal with emergencies and disasters at home, but the observance also raises the issue of being prepared for emergencies on the job. Safety at work is a year round priority, so it’s important to periodically review your company’s safety plans and policies. Most businesses have (and all should have) plans in place to deal with weather emergencies and hazardous materials, but what about human-caused events such as accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) lists the five steps in developing a preparedness program at work as:

•Program Management
◦Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
◦Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program

•Planning
◦Gather information about hazards and assess risks
◦Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
◦Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks

•Implementation
Write a preparedness plan addressing:
◦Resource management
◦Emergency response
◦Crisis communications
◦Business continuity
◦Information technology
◦Employee assistance
◦Incident management
◦Training

•Testing and Exercises
◦Test and evaluate your plan
◦Define different types of exercises
◦Learn how to conduct exercises
◦Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan

•Program Improvement
◦Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
◦Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
◦Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements

How do your current plans measure up?

A new executive order from President Obama will mean closer scrutiny of companies that want to obtain federal contracts. Under the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order, bidders on projects valued at more than $500,000 in goods, services, or a combination of both would be required to report violations of the OSH Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and others that they were cited for during the three years prior to the start of a bidding process.

It doesn’t seem to mean, however, that OSHA violators will necessarily be barred from being awarded federal contracts. The EO will be implemented on new contracts in stages during 2016 and does not affect contracts already in place. Companies with violations will still be eligible to receive contracts, but their violations will be weighed as part of the decision-making process.

The order looks to identify contractors with "track records of compliance," which means preference will be given to contractors who have not had administrative merits determinations, arbitral awards or decisions, or civil judgments issued by the Department of Labor in the past three years for several labor laws, including the OSH Act of 1970.

The order doesn’t seem to have been created in a vacuum. According to a report released in 2013 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, 18 federal contractors "were recipients of one of the largest 100 penalties issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor between 2007 and 2012." That same report also mentioned that eight federal contractors were found to be responsible for the deaths of 42 U.S. workers in 2012 and that taxpayers provided $3.4 billion in contracts to those companies.

But according to a fact issued by the White House, the executive order isn’t just about singling out companies: It’s also a way to identify where remediation might be in order. The order requires federal procurement officers to provide contractors with an opportunity to disclose any steps taken to correct any violations or improve compliance with labor laws, including any agreements entered into with an enforcement agency.
“Companies with labor law violations will be offered the opportunity to receive early guidance on whether those violations are potentially problematic and remedy any problems,” according to the fact sheet.
When awarding contracts, procurement officers will consider the information when deciding if a contractor is "a responsible source that has a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics."

The fact sheet also says that, “Contracting officers will take into account only the most egregious violations.” Those violations must “rise to the level of a lack of integrity or business ethics.”

So, while it appears one-time, level citations from OSHA aren’t likely to bar a company from obtaining a federal contract, it’s important to remember that if agency finds similar violations again for the same company, subsequent violations could be categorized as repeat. The best policy seems to be to have a safety program in place that will not lead to an OSHA inspection due to employee injuries.

Posted by on in Uncategorized

When we think of heat-related illnesses at work, we tend to think of them occurring during the summer months. But even when work environments are indoors, heat exposure from various sources can lead to illness, accidents, and unsafe work conditions year round. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, there were 4,420 workers who were affected by heat-related illnesses – indoors or out – and 61 workers who died from them.

The body’s inability to adequately cool itself is a common cause of heat-related illnesses outdoors during the hot summer months, but this can occur indoors, as well. External sources of heat injury on the job can include direct contact with steam or a hot surface, and the body’s natural reactions to heat exposure can also lead to an increased risk of accidents from sweaty palms, fogged eyewear, and lightheadedness.

To help keep employees safe when the going gets hot, training should include ways to limit heat exposure and how to identify signs of heat-related illness. Worksite procedures should emphasize the importance of acclimatization and how it is developed, particularly for workers who are new to working in the heat or those who are returning to the job after a week or more away.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Thermometer.jpgThe best way to prevent heat-related illness is to make the work environment cooler, where possible, such as by using engineering controls (air conditioning, cooling fans, insulating hot surfaces, eliminating steam leaks, etc.) to reduce exposure.

OSHA recommends the following practices for managing work in a hot environment, whether indoors or outdoors:

  • Employers should have an emergency plan in place that specifies what to do if a worker has signs of heat-related illness, and ensures that medical services are available if needed.
  • Employers should take steps that help workers become acclimatized (gradually build up exposure to heat), especially workers who are new to working in the heat or have been away from work for a week or more. Gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks during the first week of work.
  • Workers must have adequate potable (safe for drinking) water close to the work area, and should drink small amounts frequently.
  • Rather than being exposed to heat for extended periods of time, workers should, wherever possible, be permitted to distribute the workload evenly over the day and incorporate work/rest cycles.
  • If possible, physical demands should be reduced during hot weather, or heavier work scheduled for cooler times of the day.
  • Rotating job functions among workers can help minimize overexertion and heat exposure.
  • Workers should watch out for each other for symptoms of heat-related illness and administer appropriate first aid to anyone who is developing a heat developing a heat-related illness.
  • In some situations, employers may need to conduct physiological monitoring of workers. (The NIOSH/OSHA/USCG/EPA Occupational Safety and Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site Activities, Chapter 8 (1985) (available as a pdf at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/complinks/OSHG-HazWaste/all-in-one.pdf) contains guidance on performing physiological monitoring of workers at hot worksites.)

To help determine the heat index for a given worksite, a figure that can be used to calculate workers’ level of risk for heat-related illnesses, OSHA has developed a free mobile device application (available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html) in both English and Spanish. Based on the heat index figure, the” Heat Safety Tool” displays level of risk to outdoor workers and allows the user to access reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that point to protect workers from heat-related illness.

Posted by on in Uncategorized

“Are Americans worrying too much about the wrong things?”

That’s the title of a press release from the National Safety Council (NSC), which marked June as National Safety Month. The aim is to draw attention to the fact that unintentional–or accidental– injuries are the fifth most common cause of death in the United States.

Within the category of unintentional injuries, the NSC notes that the top three causes of unintentional injury in the U.S. are:

  1. Poisoning (with a majority of cases attributed to prescription drug abuse);
  2. Motor vehicle crashes (with 26 percent of all crashes estimated to involve cell phone use while driving), and;
  3. Falls.

The NSC points out that by taking some simple steps, both on and off the job, it’s possible to reduce the number of deaths by accidental injury. Some examples include properly storing medication, not talking on the cell phone – hands-on or hands-free while driving, and using slip-resistant mats on floors.

As for the top four leading causes of death in the U.S., according to data compiled by the CDC/NHS, National Vital Statistics System, they are:

  1. Diseases of the heart (28.5 percent of total)
  2. Malignant tumors (22.8 percent of total)
  3. Cerebrovascular diseases (6.7 percent of total)
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases (5.1 percent of total)

Placing behind unintentional injuries, which account for 4.4 percent of the total causes of death, is diabetes mellitus, at 3.0 percent of the total. Interestingly, murders are more far more likely than to make the news than unintentional injuries, despite the fact that homicides shared the number 15 ranking with Parkinson’s disease (0.7 percent of the total) among the most common causes of death in the United States.

b2ap3_thumbnail_survey-says.jpgHave you ever wondered what your employees think about your organization’s severe emergency preparedness?

According to recent national survey, only about half of employees polled believe that their workplaces are prepared for a severe emergency. And almost two-thirds of respondents said recent natural disasters have not caused their employers to reassess company safety plans.

The workplace safety survey, conducted online by Staples, Inc. in May in honor of National Safety Month, posed a series of questions about general office safety to more than 400 office workers and 400 decision makers at organizations of all sizes across the United States. The results showed that in the past six months, nearly half of businesses have closed due to severe weather, costing the economy nearly $50 billion in lost productivity.

Slips, Trips and Falls: One in five respondents reported slipping, tripping or falling at work as their biggest concern.

Natural disasters and storms: Less than half of employees say their employers have the plans or equipment in place for snow and ice storms, or catastrophic events such as tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes.

Fire: Fire is one of the most common safety incidents, but most employees feel their companies are well prepared. Three-fourths say their employers have a plan and equipment in place for a fire emergency.

Other findings pointed to disparities between employees at small businesses (defined as those as with 50 or less employees) compared with those at larger companies. In general, small business employees feel more at risk to emergencies and disasters than did employees at larger companies.

The survey finds workers in small businesses were less aware or less sure about who is in charge of emergency planning than employees at larger companies. Employees from smaller companies reported having less emergency equipment or plans in place, are less likely to do safety reviews or drills, and were less prepared for severe emergencies than their counterparts at bigger organizations.

If there is any question whether confined spaces can be hazardous places, consider the following news item.

In Xinxiang, China, a young woman accidentally dropped her new cell phone into a cesspit when she used the open-pit toilet.
Her husband jumped into the pit to find the phone – worth about the equivalent of $320 in the United States ¬– and lost consciousness.
His mother jumped in to save him, and she, too, lost consciousness.
The woman who dropped the phone then entered the pit, and fainted.
Next, the husband’s father went into the pit and became stuck. Two neighbors who responded to calls for help also jumped into the pit ¬– and fainted.
The husband and his mother died in the hospital. The man’s wife, her father-in-law and a neighbor were also injured in the incident.
According to a newspaper article, eyewitnesses said the victims were all no more than knee-deep in the pit’s contents and for no longer than five minutes (1). 

While there are numerous potential lessons here (including that no piece of equipment is worth risking ones’ life to retrieve from a hazardous confined space), the overarching theme is that confined spaces are often inherently dangerous, and in short, if you’re not properly trained, stay out of them.
Even OSHA has commented on the incident. After examining its records on accident investigations for fatal confined space incidents, the agency concluded that when there were multiple deaths, the majority of the victims in each event died trying to rescue the original entrant from a confined space (2).

This is consistent the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) finding that would-be “rescuers” accounted for more than 60 percent of the fatalities in confined spaces.

Some examples of confined spaces in workplace environments are storage tanks, sewers, manholes, tunnels, ship voids, pipelines, silos, wells, pits and trenches. Such spaces require a permit for entry. In fact, in the United States, any pit or trench with a depth equal to or greater than 4 feet is classified as a permit-required confined space.

When determining if an area constitutes a confined space by OSHA definitions, it is always best to err on the side of caution. The experience of Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. consultants can be employed to identify confined spaces and assess whether they should be listed as “permit-required.” In some cases, permit-required confined spaces can be reclassified to non-permit spaces if all hazards can be completely eliminated.


Sources
1. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1521835/two-die-cesspit-after-woman-accidentally-drops-her-phone-while-going
2. (https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=PREAMBLES&p_id=839 )

b2ap3_thumbnail_logo_nhtsa.jpgThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018. According to a press release from the administration, the new rule will significantly reduce the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents.

The rule will require all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, to come equipped with rear visibility technology that expands the field of view to enable the driver of a motor vehicle to detect areas behind the vehicle to reduce death and injury resulting from backover incidents.

Read entire article - http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2014/NHTSA+Announces+Final+Rule+Requiring+Rear+Visibility+Technology

b2ap3_thumbnail_logo_ilo.jpgThe International Labour Organization has announced its annual Safety and Health in the Use Of Chemicals at Work in conjunction with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28. The report reviews the present situation on the use of chemicals and their impact in workplaces and the environment, including various national, regional, and international efforts to address them.

The report also presents the elements for establishing national and enterprise level programs that contribute to ensure the sound management of chemicals at work. The report also calls on governments, employers, workers and their organizations to collaborate in the development and implementation of national policies and strategies aimed at the sound management of chemicals at work.

Read entire article here.

b2ap3_thumbnail_air_quality.jpgAir quality in the workplace should an ongoing concern, and that includes the quality of the air where the workplace is outdoors.

Back in April, Air Quality Awareness Week ran from April 28 – May 2. Each day of that work week, Monday through Friday, comes with its own theme. They started the week off on Monday as “Do Your Part: Reduce Your Contribution to Air Pollution”, capped off by Friday’s “Traveler’s Health”. In and among these themes are a number of tips from the Environmental Protection Agency that apply to the public outside and inside a work environment.

One measure of air quality, the Air Quality Index (AQI), can be used to help plan outdoor activities regardless of the occasion.

Finding the day’s AQI report is becoming increasingly easy. It’s available on the Web (http://www.airnow.gov), on many local television weather forecasts, and via free e-mail tools and apps (http://www.enviroflash.info and http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html). After finding the forecast for a local area, checking the health recommendations can show how to reduce the amount of pollution breathed in.

At Workplace Safety & Health Co., our primary concern is to help our customers reduce injuries and illnesses while promoting their profitability through sound health and safety management practices – and that includes helping to identify and manage risks posed by air quality. Whether your employees’ work environment is predominately outdoors or indoors, our consultants can solve your business’s air quality exposures through monitoring, mapping, surveys and evaluations that include qualitative air contaminant hazard assessments, air monitoring, and quantitative air contaminant exposure assessment. So give us a call, and breathe easier.

Posted by on in Uncategorized

b2ap3_thumbnail_temperature-hot.jpgWith the wide temperature swings we experienced here in the Midwest this past spring, sometimes it can be hard to believe that the summer and the temperature-related health and safety concerns it brings is just around the corner.

To draw attention to this fact, some states observe a Heat Safety Awareness or Heat Awareness Day each year in late spring. For its part, OSHA is once again conducting a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and educate employers and workers on the hazards of working in the heat, along with steps to take in preventing heat-related illnesses and death.

The campaign’s simple slogan “Water. Rest. Shade.” has already reached more than 7 million people in the past three years, according to OSHA. In its materials–fact sheets, posters, quick cards, training guides, and wallet cards–the agency makes it clear that workers at risk include anyone who is exposed to hot and humid conditions, especially anyone performing heavy work tasks and/or using bulky personal protective equipment.

Being able to “take the heat” can take time, and some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not yet built up a tolerance to hot conditions. For those reasons, OSHA recommends allowing more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away from the job for a week or more in order to acclimatize to conditions.

According to OSHA, occupations most affected by heat-related illness are: construction, trade/transportation/utility, agriculture and building/grounds maintenance and cleaning. Other workers who may be affected by exposure to environmental heat include those involved in transportation/baggage handling, water transportation; landscaping services; greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture production; and support activities for oil and gas operations.

OSHA makes it clear also that employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat. That can also include furnishing workers with water, rest and shade, as well as education about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention. Worksite training and plans should also address the steps to take both to prevent heat illness and what to do in an emergency. Prompt and proper action can truly save lives.

OSHA’s main safety points for people who work in hot environments are:

•Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.

•Rest in the shade to cool down.

•Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.

•Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.

•Keep an eye on fellow workers.

OSHA maintains a dedicated webpage, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html, that includes a heat safety tool app, a training guide and lesson plan, and other resources all aimed at keeping worker health and safety risks low when the mercury starts to climb.

Non-profit organizations face many of the same regulations as for-profit concerns, including those that pertain to employee safety in the workplace. Holding non-profit status or having a small number of employees does not exempt a business from OSHA compliance; unless a facility is municipal- , state-, or federally-owned, it is subject to OSHA regulations so long as it has employees.

That means that many non-profits, too, need to understand their responsibilities to employees, identify and attempt to prevent hazards, and provide training to employees on their rights with respect to safety on the job. Fortunately, in mid-May OSHA announced the availability of the 2014 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The initiative provides $7 million under to support the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs as well as materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or who are temporary.

The grants are available to nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, and colleges and universities and can be used to fund training and education for workers and employers to identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. OSHA has said two types of safety and health training grants will be awarded: Targeted Topic Training and Capacity Building, with funding split evenly for each grant fund.

According to OSHA, Targeted Topic Training grants support the development of quality training materials and programs for addressing workplace hazards and prevention strategies. The Targeted Topic Training grants require applicants to address occupational safety and health topics designated by OSHA. Targeted Topic Training grants may be eligible for one additional follow-on grant, based on satisfactory performance. The deadline to submit Targeted Topic Training grants (SHTG-FY-14-01) is Monday, June 30, 2014.

Capacity Building grants focus on developing and expanding the capacity of an organization to provide safety and health training, education, and related assistance to target audiences. Grant recipients are expected to increase occupational safety and health competence and improve organizational capacity to assist workers and employers on an ongoing basis by ensuring that services continue beyond federal financial support. Capacity Building Developmental grant recipients may be eligible for additional 12-month follow-on grants, based on satisfactory performance. The cutoff for Capacity Building grants (SHTG-FY-14-02) is Thursday, June 26, 2014.

All applications must be submitted electronically and are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on each grant’s due date – no extensions of the deadline will be granted.

The solicitation for both grant applications is available at http://www.grants.gov, where new applicants need to register and returning applicants must ensure their registration is accurate and current.

More information on the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, including access to a proposal webinar to assist prospective applicants in understanding the application process, is available on OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/index.html.

Posted by on in Uncategorized

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 (https://www.osha.gov/temp_workers/OSHA_TWI_Bulletin.pdf) 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.

Read entire article

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.”

Read entire article

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.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=25710

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 http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/DDAM.aspx?utm_medium=print&utm_source=vanurl&utm_campaign=handsfree 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.

certifications

Go to top