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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

OSHA announced recently that it has extended the comment period on its Request for Information on Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits to Oct. 9, 2015 from its original deadline of .April 8, 2015. The RFI, issued Oct. 10, 2014, seeks stakeholders' input about more effective and efficient approaches to address workplace conditions where workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals. OSHA said the decision to extend the period was the result of many requests from stakeholders so they can research and formulate responses to questions included in the RFI.

In the RFI, OSHA says that it "is reviewing its overall approach to managing chemical exposures in the workplace and seeks stakeholder input about more effective and efficient approaches that addresses challenges found with the current regulatory approach. This review involves considering issues related to updating permissible exposure limits (PELs), as well as examining other strategies that could be implemented to address workplace conditions where workers are exposed to chemicals." The agency said the request is concerned primarily with chemicals that cause adverse health effects from long-term occupational exposure and is unrelated to activities being conducted under Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, which was issued by the president in response to the ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas. Comments may be submitted by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for Docket No. OSHA-2012-0023-0001.

Read entire article - https://www.osha.gov/newsrelease/trade-20150317A.html

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What started as a single day’s observance in 2005 to highlight the health risks of exposure to asbestos and to prevent asbestos-related disease has grown into National Asbestos Awareness Week – which is the first week of April each year. In its resolution declaring the observance in 2015, the United States Senate has urged the surgeon general to warn and educate people about the public health issue of asbestos exposure. And with good reason: Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause several types of lung disease, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and cancer – conditions that may not develop until years after someone is exposed. According to The Mesothelioma Center, an estimated 2500 to 3000 people in the United States die each year from some form of cancer caused by asbestos.

While the naturally occurring mineral fiber has long been valued for its durability and flame resistance, it wasn't until the industrial revolution that these properties received widespread application. At about the same time, asbestos became associated with a number of respiratory problems. Today, it is well-documented as a cause of a number of respiratory ailments and as a carcinogen.

Exposure to asbestos is a concern for those who work construction and demolition, but it is also poses a year-round health risk for those who work or live in buildings that contain the material. Although the use of asbestos is now banned in some products by regulations such as the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Consumer Product Safety Act, many older commercial and residential buildings still harbor asbestos-containing materials. And because asbestos fibers of certain sizes and types are not easily exhaled, even short-term exposure to greater than naturally occurring levels of the material may lead to health problems.

Building and facility owners are required by law to assess asbestos hazards before beginning any renovation, maintenance or demolition work. A written report must be furnished to contractors and any others who work around any project that involves asbestos. This requirement applies to both newly installed and existing materials.

Product information on labels and safety data sheets often include information on asbestos content when it constitutes more than one percent of a material. However, the absence of asbestos information on a label does not always mean that asbestos is not present. So when handling products that may contain asbestos, it should be assumed that it is present unless the manufacturer or a testing laboratory has certified the material to be asbestos free. When in doubt, a thorough building survey with bulk material sampling and analysis by accredited personnel is the only way to prove that a presumed asbestos containing material (PACM) does not contain asbestos.

An accurate asbestos inventory is the foundation for managing a successful operations and maintenance (O&M) program. Site-specific asbestos abatement policies, periodic inspections and exposure monitoring are robust ways for building owners to control asbestos exposure risks to building occupants, contractors and visitors. Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. has the expertise and the experience to partner with you to control the risk of asbestos exposure. Contact us for more information.

Tagged in: asbestos

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