A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from

October 20, 2016

October 2016 Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of safety-related news this month:

OSHA Top 10 Violations of 2016

OSHA has announced the preliminary Top 10 most-frequently-cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2016. If these look familiar, it's because all 10 were on the 2015 OSHA top 10 list, too. The preliminary Top 10 for FY 2016* are:
  1.   Fall Protection, 1926.501 (C) - 6,929
  2.   Hazard Communication, 1910.1200 - 5,677
  3.   Scaffolds, 1926.451 (C) - 3,906
  4.   Respiratory Protection, 1910.134 - 3,585
  5.   Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147 - 3,414
  6.   Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178 - 2,860
  7.   Ladders, 1926.1053 (C) - 2,639
  8.   Machine Guarding, 1910.212 - 2,451
  9.   Electrical Wiring, 1910.305 - 1,940
  10.   Electrical, General Requirements, 1910.303 - 1,704
*Preliminary figures as of Sept. 30, 2016.

OSHA Proposes Rule to Improve Standards

Load Limit __ lbs.Federal OSHA is proposing 18 changes to the agency's recordkeeping, general industry, maritime and construction standards as part of an effort to revise provisions that may be confusing, outdated or unnecessary. OSHA says the proposed changes will modernize OSHA standards, help employers better understand their responsibilities, increase compliance and reduce compliance costs. OSHA estimates the revisions would save employers $3.2 million per year. Revision areas range from lockout/tagout to PELs and load limit postings. Review the proposed changes.

Case Study Addresses Temp Worker Safety Issues

The American Staffing Association and National Safety Council have jointly published a case study addressing the safety obligations of staffing companies and host employers to temporary workers. The study provides practical information to help staffing companies and host employers better protect temporary workers from workplace injuries, and understand which party is responsible for recording injuries on the OSHA form 300 injury and illness log. Recommendations include:
  • Determine which party controls workplace activities, conditions and hazards.
  • Adopt procedures to ensure that safety obligations are fulfilled.
  • Promptly notify all parties if a temp worker is injured on the job. If required, the party with day-to-day supervision over the worker should promptly notify OSHA.
The fictional case study is based on past citations issued by OSHA in connection with temporary workers' on-the-job injuries. Learn more, or download the study (pdf).

OSHA Recommends Practices to Encourage Workplace Safety and Health Programs

OSHA just released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety and health in their workplaces. The recommendations update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces and evolving safety and health issues. They feature a new, easier-to-use format and should be especially helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. Also new is a section on multi-employer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement. Supporting tools and resources are included. Get more info here.

Upcoming Safety Webinars presented by OH&S

  • October 25 - Preparing your Organization for Electrical Compliance/NFPA 70E
  • October 26 - Marijuana - The Impact on the Workplace and Workplace Testing
  • November 3 - Arc Rated and Flash Fire Rated Protective Clothing Issues in Cold Weather, Wet Weather and Hot Weather
  • November 10 - Prepare for Cold Weather! Top Five Ways to Protect Workers' Hands from Winter Elements and Harsh Temperatures.
  • November 16 - Fall Prevention & Protection: The Greatest Challenge
  • November 17 - Taking Control of Hazard Communication
Learn more or sign up.

October 17, 2016

Grain Bin Safety Tips to Protect Workers

STOP shut off and lock out all moving equipment
It's harvest time, and that means more activity at grain bins and facilities across the country. Sadly, experienced workers have already lost their lives in grain bins incidents this year. Grain handling is a high hazard activity where workers can be exposed to numerous serious and life threatening hazards. These hazards include: fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, suffocation from engulfment and entrapment in grain bins, falls from heights and crushing injuries and amputations from grain handling equipment.

"Far too many preventable incidents continue to occur in the grain-handling industry," said Kim Stille, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "Every employee working in the grain industry must be trained on grain-handling hazards and given the tools to ensure they do not enter a bin or silo without required safety equipment. They must also take all necessary precautions - this includes using lifelines, testing the atmosphere inside a bin and turning off and locking out all powered equipment to prevent restarting before entering grain storage structures."

The control of worker's exposure to hazards in grain handling facilities are addressed in the OSHA standard for grain handling facilities (29 CFR 1910.272), as well as in other general industry standards. These standards reduce the risk to workers by requiring that employers follow established, common sense safety practices when working in grain handling facilities. 

Here are some grain handling safety facts and tips from OSHA and the Grain Handling Safety Coalition to help keep workers safe.

OSHA Issues $4.7 Million of Major Fines in September 2016

Keep guards in place
Federal OSHA investigators issued $4.7 million in 23 major fines in September, up from $3.7 million in August. Fall protection, machine guarding and lockout/tagout citations were common, and Dollar General stores make the list once again. Here are some details of the top citations (over $100,000) reported in September, which may still be pending final decisions:

$704,000 and SVEP for fall, amputation, electrocution and other hazards at a Georgia auto parts plant
Acting on a complaint and as part of the Regional Emphasis Program on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry, OSHA inspected HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. and cited the company and a staffing agency it employs with 24 safety violations. The staffing agency had approximately 300 temporary employees assigned at the time of the inspection. OSHA issued 12 repeat citations for failure to:
  • Develop, implement and utilize written procedures to prevent machinery from starting-up during maintenance or servicing.
  • Conduct periodic inspections of the energy control procedures at least annually.
  • Train employees performing work on hazardous energy sources.
  • Protect employees from thermal skin burns due to contact with hot metallic surfaces.
  • Ensure the repair or replacement of electrical equipment for safe operational condition.
  • Protect workers from laceration and amputation hazards due to unguarded machine parts.
Inspectors also cited eight serious violations for exposing workers to fall hazards, not providing electrical protective equipment and failing to train workers about electrical hazards related to their activities. Four serious citations were issued for exposing workers to fall hazards, not providing training on hazardous energy sources, exposing employees to amputation, laceration and electrical live parts. Citations for the two companies can be viewed here and here.

October 13, 2016

NIOSH Lists 34 New Drugs That Pose Risks to Health Workers

Biohazard Infectious materials used in this work area
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released its 2016 list of hazardous drugs in healthcare settings, updating the list to include 34 additional drugs. Health workers who prepare or give these drugs to patients, as well as support staff, may face individual health risks when exposed to the drugs.

NIOSH estimates 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs in the workplace. The new document, NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2016, is the latest 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. 

September 28, 2016

Workplace Road Safety News

How am I driving? Call ___

RoadRISK® Assessment Tool Free with DSWW Kit

The RoadRISK® proactive driver risk assessment is designed to help drivers assess their probability of being involved in an incident or collision. The tool is available as part of a free, comprehensive online toolkit employers can download for Drive Safely Work Week™ 2016 at The toolkit is designed to help employers plan for the annual workplace safe driving campaign that takes place October 3-7 and is targeted to all employees-company drivers and commuters alike. The eDriving RoadRISK assessment is highlighted as a recommended campaign activity to engage employees and to kick off the first of five themed days.

NIOSH Launches Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work

NIOSH recently worked with the CDC Foundation to launch Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work. This interactive resource can help employers prevent work-related crashes by providing them with information on the human and economic impact of workplace crashes, policy checklists, and more. Crashes remain the leading cause of injury death at work. Crash risk affects workers in all industries and occupations, whether they drive heavy or light vehicles, and whether driving is their main or incidental job. In addition to having a devastating impact on workers and their families, friends, and communities, workplace crashes are costly. In 2013 alone, on-the-job motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion. Motor vehicle crashes are complex events, so preventing them demands a multi-pronged approach. Learn more about best employer practices and policies to keep workers safe on the road in a new Q&A.

September 20, 2016

September 2016 Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's a collection of safety-related news this month:

Free Toolkit for Drive Safely Work Week October 3-7

NETS, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, is conducting its 20th Drive Safely Work Week™ (DSWW) early next month. The 2016 theme is "Drowsy, Distracted or Focused... Your Decisions Drive Your Safety." Employers can preview and download the free campaign toolkit at

Two New OSHA Bulletins Address the Responsibility of Employers to Protect Temp Workers

certified forklift operators onlyOSHA has issued two new bulletins in its series of guidance documents developed under the agency’s Temporary Worker Initiative. This initiative focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint employment of a staffing agency and a host employer. The bulletins address bloodborne pathogens and powered industrial truck training. Both documents emphasize that temporary workers are entitled to the same protections under the OSH Act as all other covered workers and that the host employer and staffing agency are responsible for determining the conditions of employment and complying with the law.

FAA Commercial Drone Rules Now In Effect

The first operational rules for routine non-hobbyist use of drones have been implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration. The new rules – formally known as Part 107 – are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. Users can operate their unmanned aircraft in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace without air traffic control permission. Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace need air traffic approval. The agency is offering a process to waive some of the rule’s restrictions. Read a summary of the new rules. (pdf).

September 19, 2016

Major OSHA Fines Top $3.7 Million in August 2016

Federal OSHA investigators issued $3.7 million in 18 major fines in August. Chemical exposures, machine guarding and fall protection were among common hazards. The top fine involved lead exposure hazards at a Wisconsin shipyard. Here are some details of the top citations (over $100,000) reported in August, which may still be pending final decisions:

$1.39 million and SVEP for lead exposure up to 20x the limit at a Wisconsin shipyard

Lead renovation work area
OSHA inspectors found Fraser Shipyards Inc. overexposed workers to lead during the retrofitting of a ship's engine room, where 14 workers had lead levels up to 20 times the exposure limit, as well as other heavy metals. OSHA cited 14 willful egregious health violations for each instance of overexposing a worker to lead, and also cited five additional willful violations for failing to conduct monitoring to assess employee exposure to lead, failing to implement a lead compliance program or a respiratory protection program for lead and for failing to provide training on lead and asbestos hazards.

Inspectors also issued 10 serious violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program for failing to address safety and health hazards. OSHA opened the health inspection after receiving multiple complaints of unsafe working conditions. The agency determined company management knew of the presence of lead and asbestos throughout the vessel. OSHA found workers were exposed to iron oxide, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and lead hazards while performing torch-cutting and welding procedures because the company failed to provide adequate respiratory and personal protective equipment to limit their exposure to these harmful substances. Fraser also failed to conduct required medical evaluations and exposure monitoring for employees, in addition to other violations.
OSHA previously cited the company for asbestos hazards in 2000 and for multiple lead violations in 1993. View current citations here.

$320,000 for willful violations following a fatal fall at an Illinois shipping facility

September 16, 2016

Plan for Communication in Emergencies

report to evacuation area ___
Your business probably has an emergency response plan. (If not, you should prepare one now!) You may even practice emergency evacuations and have designated assembly areas complete with muster point signs. But when a disaster is real, employees will have many uncertainties. Sure, everyone is out of the building, but what happens next?

This is the topic of an informative article published in the September Occupational Safety & Health magazine. This post will recap highlights of the article, with some additional information and resource links to help you develop your own emergency plans.

Beyond immediate evacuation plans, employers need a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to guide what happens in the days and weeks after an emergency. This is not the same as emergency action plans required by OSHA, EPA and other governing agencies. A thorough BCP covers everything from replacing buildings and relocating call centers or production lines to cybersecurity, temporary shelters and restocking office supplies.

OSHA & Health Canada Plan Workplace Chemical Label System

GHS pictogram chart
OSHA and Health Canada have jointly developed a 2016-2017 Workplace Chemicals Work Plan. The purpose of the work plan is to ensure that current and future requirements for classifying and communicating the hazards of workplace chemicals will be acceptable in the United States and Canada without reducing worker safety.

The work plan involves activities that support:
  • Developing materials to assist stakeholders with implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) and understanding the interpretation of technical issues and requirements in Canada and the U.S.
  • Coordinating opinions on issues that arise from international discussions on the GHS
  • Maintaining alignment between the U.S. and Canadian requirements for implementing the GHS when revisions are made

September 7, 2016

3 Ways to Take Employee Defensive Driving to the Next Level and Beyond

Am I a safe driver? if not, please call__
As an employer, how do you keep your employees and fleet of vehicles safe on the road? Shockingly, someone dies in a vehicle crash every 12 minutes, and every 10 seconds someone is injured in a car-related accident. And, every 5 seconds, there is a crash involving a driver, passenger or pedestrian on our roads.

It's no secret defensive driving and safe driving go hand in hand when it comes to employee safety. Additionally, employers generally bear the costs of injuries and more. In fact, employers pay out $60 billion annually in loss of productivity, medical expenses, legal fees and property damage. However, employers can take action. From defensive driving to critical maintenance, these are the safety tips you should be following.