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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com

May 23, 2017

New Study Gives Data, Recommendations for Preventing Construction Fatalities

Ironworker access only
The Associated General Contractors of America just released a new safety study with recommendations designed to help firms further improve the safety and health of their workforce. AGC of America partnered with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech to undertake a comprehensive study of every construction fatality that took place over the three-year period from 2010-2012.

A total of 2,338 workers died from construction-related injuries between 2010 and 2012, out of an overall 14,011 fatalities across all industries. Although no significant trend was observed across the three years, the difference among census regions was significant. Southern states accounted for 1,081 (46%) of those fatalities, more than twice that of any other region. When employment was factored in, the South still led the regions with 17 fatalities per 100,000 employees per year. It was followed closely by the Midwest with 16 fatalities per 100,000 employees.

New Findings

  • Most fatalities occurred between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with a peak at noon. Previous studies found that occurrence of fatalities was most dominant between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and bottomed around noon.
  • Fatalities due to Transportation and Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased, while fatalities due to Exposure to harmful substances and Fire and explosions decreased.
  • Small construction establishments with 1-9 employees accounted for 47% of fatalities and the highest fatality rate at 26 fatalities per 100,000 workers annually. Most previous studies ignored the smallest establishments.
  • Most highway and road work zone fatalities involved vehicular operations.
  • Hispanic workers made up 24% of the workforce and accounted for 20% of highway and road work zone fatalities in 2010-2012. This conflicts with the widespread perception that Hispanics are disproportionately victims of construction fatalities.

This study is innovative in several ways:
  • The data is current and the findings reflect the most recent trends in injuries in the construction industry.
  • Unlike previous studies of BLS data, this study drilled down deeper to capture specifics and the analysis resulted in more detailed and actionable information.
  • Advanced analytic techniques were adopted that can address a high number of cases with increased accuracy.
  • Unlike previous studies, the analysis included an emphasis on work zone-related accidents.
  • Regional differences were also investigated for every factor with an attempt to provide more targeted interventions while considering geographic variances.
Authors of the study say it provides concrete and actionable recommendations for intervention.

Learn more:


May 22, 2017

Cloudy Future for Electronic Submission of OSHA Recordkeeping Data

... but not electronically, yet.
In May, 2016, OSHA issued a new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses, which included provisions for employers to submit recordkeeping data electronically. In addition to requiring the electronic submission of recordkeeping data, the final rule also includes provisions that prohibit employers from retaliating against workers for reporting a fatality, injury, or illness.

Although electronic submissions were scheduled to start July 1, 2017, for employers in certain industries with more than 250 employees, there is no active tool to submit injury data to OSHA. OSHA's recordkeeping page has this statement:

"OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available."

So what's the holdup?

Since the final rule was published, several court cases have emerged challenging the legality of the final rule - most related to the retaliation provisions. The rule prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation, which can be satisfied by posting the already-required OSHA workplace poster. It also clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

Legal challenges focus on definitions and application of the retaliation rules

A recent article published by OH&S magazine considers the future of the recordkeeping rule and outlines current legal challenges to the rule, including:

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court claiming that OSHA lacks the authority to issue the rule’s anti-retaliation provision, in addition to opposing the public posting of employers’ injury and illness logs.

The NAHB believes that public posting will expose businesses to reputational harm with no evidence that it would effectively improve workplace safety. Several public health advocacy groups filed a motion in March to intervene in the lawsuit, wishing to act as defendants alongside OSHA. Among these public health groups are Public Citizen, which argues the rule will improve data collection which will be used to identify trends and improve worker protections. The case is currently waiting to be reviewed by the courts.

In July of 2016, Associated Builders and Contractors and seven other organizations also filed a lawsuit to block the rule from going into effect. The lawsuit focused on anti-retaliation provisions that prohibit employers from using drug testing after an incident to retaliate against workers who report injuries or illnesses. The organizations claim the provision is as an overreach of authority by unlawfully limiting safety incentive programs and routine post-accident drug testing. The motion was denied by the U.S. District Court in late November, and decisions on the legality of the rule have been delayed until after the ruling’s first submission deadline on July 1, 2017.

Add a new administration and labor secretary to the mix, and the future of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule becomes increasingly cloudy. Stay tuned...

Resources:


May 16, 2017

New Crane and Construction Laws for NYC

overhead and gantry crane hand signals
New York City has six new laws related to construction safety and construction cranes. The new laws were signed last week, along with eight additional bills. Here's some info on the new construction-related laws:

Intro. 81-A requires the Department of Buildings (DOB) to notify OSHA about Construction Code violations that may endanger workers.

"If New York City is going to prevent another 33 construction worker fatalities over the next two years, we need to make sure that the Buildings Department is communicating with OSHA about violations that could jeopardize worker safety. We cannot solve the problem if the left hand is not working together with the right hand." said Council Member Rory I. Lancman.

Intro. 1433-A requires DOB to list online incidents that have occurred on a construction site.

Now, every injury and every death on a construction site must be counted, regardless of whether a construction worker or member of the public. "By counting every injury and death, we’ll be able to see who is getting hurt, where and why so that we as a city can make construction safer,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “While Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Buildings (DOB) count injuries and deaths in different ways, the city will count everyone requiring reporting within 72 hours about contractors, the incident, nature of work, hours on the job, injuries, who was hurt, collective bargaining rights of those injured, details on the site and more, with fines of up to $25,000 and daily fines of as much as $1,000 for those who fail to report."

Intros 1446 and 1448 require safety plans and a safety monitoring program at construction sites, and strengthen licensing requirements for crane operators.

1446-A requires Class-B hoisting machine operators to get a license rating to use certain cranes.

1448-A requires contractors to retain construction superintendents for all major projects at buildings over three stories.

“The law requiring construction superintendents for all major projects at buildings over three stories will expand safety supervision to an additional 2,300 higher-risk sites citywide. This measure, along with the crane-safety bills signed today, will enshrine in law safety enhancements that DOB has been implementing through regulation,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

Intro. 1421-A requires certain cranes to have GPS or other locating devices or for DOB to be notified when these cranes are moved on or off a work site.

Intro. 1435-A requires certain cranes to be equipped with data-logging equipment to record operations & work conditions.


Resources:


May 11, 2017

Railroad Safety Training Deadlines Extended One Year

Railroad Crossing
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted an extra year for U.S. railroads to comply with training requirements in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which established minimum training standards for all safety-related railroad employees.

The FRA says model training program developers alerted the agency that "they will not be able to timely produce model programs that an estimated 1,459 railroads and contractors are expected to use to comply with the rule's program submission requirements."

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 243, Training, Qualifications, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees, requires each railroad or contractor that employs one or more safety-related railroad employees to develop and submit a training program to FRA for approval and to designate the minimum training qualifications for each occupational category of employee. The rule also requires most employers to conduct periodic oversight of their employees and develop annual written reviews of their training programs to close performance gaps.

  • Training organizations and learning institutions (TO/LI) that have provided training to safety-related employees prior to 1/1/2018 may continue without FRA approval until 1/1/2019.
  • TO/LI need approval no later than 01/01/2019 to continue (extensions may be granted with sufficient facts)

The regulation permits organizations, businesses, or associations to develop training programs that could be used by multiple employers. FRA encourages a modular approach to model program development to allow for easy customization by employers:

  • Model programs submitted to FRA prior to May 1, 2018 are considered approved and may be implemented 180 days after date of submission, unless the FRA notifies the organization that developed and submitted the program that it (the program), contains deficiencies.
  • An employer that uses a model program approved by FRA only needs to submit the unique identifier and any additional information that is specific to that employer or deviated from the model program
FRA has developed a Stakeholder Training Matrix to help those covered by the training requirement understand what type of items will require on the job training, and it has provided a link to submit training programs for approval.

Upcoming Implementation Dates, as of April 28, 2017:

Additional Resources:

May 5, 2017

National Safety Stand-Down: Free Webinar and Live Facebook Chat on Roofing and Construction Safety

A worker in your crew just fell from a height and is suspended from a fall-arrest system! What do you do now?

As part of the National Safety Stand-Down, the National Roofing Contractors Association will host a free webinar on May 8 to discuss hazards present after a worker has fallen from a roof and his or her personal fall-arrest system has deployed or activated. The webinar will include information regarding risks to a worker who is suspended from a body harness and the steps the worker may be able to take to reduce or eliminate those risks. It also will show examples of equipment available for use in assisted-rescue and self-rescue situations, along with techniques a worker may use - whether suspended on a rope grab and lifeline or self-retracting lifeline - to increase the chances of survival. 

NRCA will also host a live Facebook chat on May 10 to discuss trending roofing and construction safety topics. 

NIOSH, OSHA and the Center for Construction Research and Training will hold the fourth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction from May 8-12. The week-long event encourages employers to pause during their workday for safety discussions, demonstrations and training in hazard recognition and fall prevention.

Learn more:

May 2, 2017

New Resources for Employee Safe Driving Campaign with Focus on Speed

Speeding has been a factor in nearly 1/3rd of U.S. crash deaths every year since 2005. Research shows that a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road traffic crashes, so small changes can create big results!

That's why the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) now offers its Drive Safely Work Week™ (DSWW) road safety awareness campaign more frequently, beginning with a new campaign focused on speed. The emphasis is on short, direct, actionable messages highlighting specific behaviors employees can change that will reduce their risk of a vehicle crash.

Speed campaign free employer materials include:

  • Launch Letter
  • Fact Sheet
  • Safety Presentation
  • Pledge Cards
  • A Variety of Posters
  • Social Media & Email Graphics
Materials are not dated, so employers can schedule a DSWW campaign whenever it works best for them. Here's an example of the information your employees could find helpful:

5 TIPS TO AVOID SPEEDING:

  1. Plan your route. Advance planning saves far more time than speeding, and you'll be less likely to feel the need to speed.
  2. Keep an eye on the odometer. When you do the recommended mirror-sweep every 5-6 seconds, look at the odometer so you can avoid accidental speeding.
  3. Use cruise control selectively. Set cruise control to a legal, safe speed, taking into account current driving conditions. Using cruise control is NOT recommended for driving on city streets, in heavy traffic, on hilly or curvy roads, or on slippery, wet, snowy, or icy roads.
  4. The music you listen to could influence your speed. Consider a driving playlist or tune in to music designed to reduce stress and help you slow down.
  5. Consider fuel efficiency. Speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower fuel economy by 15% to 30% in highway driving and 10% to 40% in urban driving.
It's not difficult to plan a DSWW campaign for your own workplace. Download the speed campaign from NETS website, and share this important message with your employees.

Resources:


May 1, 2017

2017 ComplianceSigns.com Customer Survey Has Launched

We've just launched our 2017 Customer Survey. Help us help you - and you could help yourself to a $50 gift card.


Everyone at ComplianceSigns, Inc. - from the website team to the shipping department - strives to make shopping with us a great experience. And we can do that best with input from our loyal customers. We’re excited about this opportunity to learn how we can enhance our products and site to best serve your needs.

If you receive our Connection workplace safety newsletter, you've already received a survey invitation via email. We hope you'll use it to tell us about new products you want or need, which website capabilities are most important to you, and about your biggest challenges involving safety signs and labels.

Please take our 10-question Customer Survey before May 31. You could win one of five $50 gift cards in a random drawing.

Thank you,
The entire ComplianceSigns team


 

April 27, 2017

NSC: Construction Workers Say Productivity Trumps Safety on Worksites

Employee perceptions of workplace safety April 2017
A National Safety Council survey found 58% of US construction workers feel that safety takes a back seat to productivity and completing job tasks. What's more, 51% say management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe, and 47% say employees are afraid to report safety issues. By comparison, 36% of employees in 144 other industries surveyed feel their employers prioritize productivity over safety.

The Employee Perceptions of Workplace Safety findings were released just ahead of Workers' Memorial Day on April 28 and the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 8-12.

A total of 4,836 people died in workplace incidents in 2015, and 937 of those killed were construction workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falls are the second leading cause of death in the workplace, and more than half of fall-related deaths each year occur in the construction industry, according to Injury Facts 2017.

"Sadly the results of our survey indicate that many workers still worry about whether they will make it home safely tonight, said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. "We call on all employers to renew their commitment to keep everyone safe, on every job, each and every day."  

Gauging perceptions toward safety at work may help provide further insight into workplace deaths. Other key findings from workers across all industries include:

  • 32% feel management ignores worker safety performance when determining promotions
  • 62% say everyone is involved in solving job safety issues
  • 63% of employees feel they work in areas or at stations that are set up ergonomically correct
  • 48% of employees believe safety meetings are held less often than they should be
  • 47% believe performance standards are higher for job tasks than for safety; this percentage is higher among construction industry workers, where 67% feel this way
  • 33% of employees working in transportation and warehousing do not agree that management has a written policy that expresses their attitude about employee safety
The survey is based on the Council's Employee Perception Surveys.

Resources:



April 18, 2017

April Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of safety news from around the web:

Keep out from under crane loadsRevised Design Standard for Below-the-hook Lifting Devices

The ASME BTH-1 standard for the design of below-the-hook lifting devices has been revised. The new edition, released as ASME BTH-1-2017 - Design of Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices, updates and supersedes the 2014 version of the standard, continuing to serve as a guide for designers, manufacturers, purchasers, and users of below-the-hook lifting devices. Read more here.


OSHA Delays Enforcement of Construction Silica Standard

OSHA has announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry. The agency has determined that additional guidance for employers is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017. OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard's other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training. Read the OSHA news release.


New OHSN Modules Track Sharps Injuries and Blood and Body Fluid Exposures

Sharps Disposal Only
NIOSH has announced the release of two new modules that track sharps incidents and blood and body fluid exposures for healthcare workers using the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN). This network collects existing injury data to help identify jobs that are at the highest risk for injury within their facility. The new modules help employers and employees track and analyze most of the common, high risk, preventable injury and exposure events among healthcare workers. Learn more.


Employer Resources for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

No dialling talking texting while driving
Every April the National Safety Council promotes Distracted Driving Awareness Month to raise awareness of the many dangers of distracted driving. The NSC offers a variety of materials to support distracted driving education, including these resources for employers: A company cell phone policy kit, a case study of a major US company that banned cell phone use, and a new distracted driving online course. Learn more here.


Upcoming Free Safety Webinars Presented by OH&S

April 27 - Eye Injury Prevention: Let's Take a Closer Look
May 10 - FR PPE Standards - Compliance vs Certification
May 11 - Safety Initiatives in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry
May 24 - Beat the Heat: An Intro to Heat Stress
Learn more or sign up here.

April 13, 2017

2017 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls May 8-12

Fall protection required
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015 (BLS data). To help reduce construction falls, employers and workers are invited to participate in the fourth annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, to be held May 8-12. The week-long outreach event encourages employers and workers to pause during the work day to talk about fall hazards and prevention.

What is a Safety Stand-Down?


A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. It's an opportunity for employers to have a conversation with employees about hazards, protective methods, and