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

July 19, 2017

OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting Set to Go Live August 1

We have worked 365 days without a lost time accident
Federal OSHA says it will launch its long-delayed electronic Injury Tracking Application (ITA) on August 1. The web-based reporting form will allow employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. We'll see what happens.

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to Dec. 1, 2017, to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.

The data submission process will involve four steps:
  1. Creating an establishment
  2. Adding 300A summary data
  3. Submitting data to OSHA
  4. Reviewing the confirmation email.

The secure website will offer three options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter data into a web form. Another option will give users the ability to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. A third option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface.

Who is Impacted:
Report all injuries immediately
Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.

What is Required:

Covered establishments with 250 or more employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). Covered establishments with 20-249 employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A.

When to Submit Data:
This is a little fuzzy. Current proposed rulemaking extends the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to Dec. 1, 2017. OSHA's original deadline was July 1, but the electronic submission interface wasn't available. The original rule also required information to be submitted by July 1 in 2018, by March 2 in 2019. These timelines are currently under review.

Learn more with these resources:

Lockout / Tagout Inspections - What You Need To Know

Lockout power before removing guards
If your operation has lockout / tagout (LOTO) procedures in place, or if any LOTO is ever used, OSHA requires inspections of your procedure at least once every 12 months. But the OSHA compliance directive for control of hazardous energy is a whopping 136 pages of OSHA-speak.

Fortunately, the safety training pros at weeklysafety have penned an article that explains what kinds of inspections are necessary and outlines best practices for LOTO inspections. Here are some key points form the article.
  • LOTO inspection is are intended to ensure that the LOTO procedures in place are adequate. If they are not, corrections must be made.
  • The inspector cannot be the same person using the LOTO procedure during the inspection, so there must be at least two competent, authorized persons present during any LOTO inspection - one inspector and one worker following the LOTO procedure.
DANGER do not openLOTO inspections should determine if:
  • Steps of the current LOTO procedure are being followed
  • Employees involved know their responsibilities as they pertain to the procedure
  • Current procedure is adequate to provide necessary protection, or what changes are needed if the procedure is not adequate
Don't limit LOTO training to specific machine operators or maintenance workers. All employees must know what LOTO means and what they should do if they encounter LOTO devices or signs while on the job.

Resources:

July 18, 2017

Four Essential Tips For Staying Safe While Working Outdoors

Workplace safety is a critical issue for every industry. However, for those who work in non-traditional settings such as in the woods or outside in the varying weather conditions, workplace safety takes on a new, even more important meaning.

If you work in environmentalism, forestry, parks and recreation, or the like, read on for expert tips to ensure that you stay safe and healthy on the job.

Stay Hydrated


Staying hydrating is key for all people, regardless of which industry or part of the country in which they work. After all, when we aren’t properly hydrated, our energy levels and productivity decrease.

However, when you work in more extreme conditions, hydration becomes even more essential. Experts say that most folks should aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But if you work outdoors, particularly in hot and muggy months, you should increase your water intake to 250ml about every 20 minutes. They also say not to hold off on guzzling water until thirst hits you -- by that point your body is dehydrated. Drinking water consistently throughout the day in small amounts is best.

To help you achieve your optimal water intake, try using a hydration pack. These handy and convenient water packs help you to easily consume water while on the job and are particularly convenient if you need your hands free for working. These hydration systems have come a long way and, today, you can choose from backpack or waist pack options made of a variety of materials to house your reservoir of water and allowing for hands-free drinking.

Wear Proper Clothing


Depending on which part of the country or which season it is, you’ll want to dress accordingly, in addition to any uniform or protective pieces you are required to wear. When temperatures are high, light clothing is recommended. Conversely, when temperatures dip low, muscles may not function properly, particularly if you’re not properly clothed for the cold. Musculoskeletal injuries can increase, as well as energy exerted, may increase during these times. Accidents are also more possibly in cold, windy and rainy conditions when tools are harder to grasp.

Ensuring you’re wearing the proper gear can be the difference between safety and injury.

Repel Bugs


When you work outdoors, there’s always a risk of coming in to contact, or being bitten, by bugs - or worse, ticks. Using bug repellent that contains permethrin works to protect against ticks. This repellent, however, should not be put directly on the skin, but rather, on clothing.

On the other hand, repellents with DEET can be applied to the skin to protect it, but won’t protect against ticks. Reading the label of the repellent to properly apply, as well as keeping it on hand for reapplication, is your best bet.

If you find a tick on your body or feel a bit, use tweezers to remove it slowly. If possible, keeping the tick in a sealed vial with the date of the interaction can help if you seek medical attention.

Prepare for the Unexpected


It’s also essential to keep yourself as prepared as possible for any situation when working in an outdoor environment. As such, proper first aid courses and wilderness first aid courses should be taken. Also, maps and compasses should always be carried and learning how to handle wild animals and natural disasters should also be a priority. A personal and professional safety plan is both your and your employer’s responsibility and should be taken seriously.

More Resources:

July 11, 2017

OSHA Changes Construction Crane Enforcement Policy

Safety First Hard hat required while crane in operation
OSHA has announced a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from the requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers will now meet the requirement if they are in compliance with OSHA's rules for overhead hoists and general training standards. General industry requirements for monorail hoists remain intact.

The agency says the policy change was made in response to comments from stakeholders and in recognition that a monorail hoist – which is attached to a fixed monorail mounted on equipment such as trucks, trailers, or scaffolding systems – is significantly different from other cranes and derricks in construction. OSHA intends to consider rulemaking options to address this issue. A June 30 memorandum announced a temporary enforcement policy pending the resolution of that rulemaking process.

For the purposes of the enforcement policy, a monorail hoist means a hoisting mechanism attached to a completely fixed monorail (I-beam) mounted on equipment such as work vehicles, trailers, or scaffolding systems. The monorail hoists can be extended and contracted in only a fixed horizontal direction to hoist materials and can hoist materials only as high as the monorail. The monorail hoist does not have a rotating superstructure and cannot swing on a hinge or boom out significantly beyond the wheelbase of a vehicle or the ease of its supporting structure.

Materials commonly lifted and placed by monorail hoists during construction include precast concrete components (septic tanks, storm drain and sewer conduits, vaults), storage tanks, mechanical components, electrical transformers or materials on spools.

Learn More:

July 6, 2017

OSHA Proposes Update to New Beryllium Rule

On June 23, OSHA announced a new proposed rule on beryllium exposure that would modify the agency’s January 2017 final rule for the construction and shipyard sectors. Further, OSHA said it will not enforce the Jan. 9, 2017, construction and shipyard standards without further notice while determining whether to amend the Jan. 9 rule.

In a news release, OSHA said the new proposal would maintain the requirements for exposure limits (permissible exposure limit of 0.2 µg/m3 and short-term exposure limit of 2.0 µg/m3), but revises the application of provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment. OSHA said it "has evidence that exposure in these industries is limited to a few operations and has information suggesting that requiring the ancillary provisions broadly may not improve worker protection and be redundant with overlapping protections in other standards."

So now OSHA is seeking comment on, among other things, whether existing standards covering abrasive blasting in construction and shipyards, and welding in shipyards provide adequate protection for workers engaged in these operations.

The United Steelworkers (USW) oppose the proposal to cancel protections for shipyard and construction workers exposed to beryllium. According to the USW, under the new proposal released by OSHA, “employers would no longer have to measure beryllium levels in the workplace or provide medical testing to workers at risk of fatal lung disease. In addition, workers would not have the right to wear protective clothing or to shower at the end of the work shift, making it possible for beryllium to be taken home and exposed to spouses and children.”

A recent article in EHS Today covers the proposed roll-backs, with comments from a variety of stakeholders.

Learn more:

June 30, 2017

In Canada, WHMIS Compliance Initiative Starts in July

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recently shared an update on WHMIS 2015. Canada has aligned its Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), resulting in new standardized classification criteria; label requirements; and safety data sheet (SDS) requirements.

The Canadian federal government updated WHMIS rules in 2015. WHMIS 2015 includes new definitions, new harmonized criteria for hazard classification, and new rules for supplier labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). Suppliers and employers importing hazardous products for use at their workplace and/or selling (including distributing) hazardous products are required to keep “specific purchasing and/or sales information” for six years after the end of the year to which they relate. Those who manufacture and sell hazardous products must keep “specific sales information”.

To increase WHMIS 2015 awareness, Health Canada is planning a WHMIS 2015 compliance and enforcement initiative for the 2017-2018 fiscal year (April - March). 

June 26, 2017

4 Key Equipment Upgrades to Make Construction Sites Safer

Construction Area
Construction sites can be exciting, fast-paced places to work, but without the proper equipment, these sites can also be dangerous. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, just over 4,800 workers were killed on the job in 2015, averaging out to about 13 deaths a day.

Fortunately, construction site owners can help prevent workplace injuries and deaths by making sure their equipment is as safe as possible. With this in mind, the following equipment upgrades can help make the job site safer for everyone who works there:


Heavy Equipment


Forklift Daily Inspection
As LovetoKnow.com notes, job site supervisors should check heavy construction equipment on a daily basis to make sure it's in good working order. If equipment isn't operating properly, it should be taken out of service until repaired or replaced. Backover accidents are not uncommon on noisy construction sites, so heavy equipment owners should consider upgrading to a loud reverse alarm system, ensuring workers and visitors are alerted when a backhoe, bulldozer or other equipment is moving backward.


Company Vehicles


June 21, 2017

ASSE Releases OSHA Reform Blueprint

work safely your family depends on you
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has created an “OSHA Reform Blueprint” that details priorities and vision for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in these times of political change. The eight-page proposal calls for reforms to emphasize risk management, focus on productive policies and fill legislative and regulatory gaps that limit OSHA’s ability to better protect workers.

"The current regulatory approach toward safety and health in the workplace needs improvement. ASSE has developed a blueprint of data-driven and experienced-tested recommendations, vetted by safety professionals across many industries and occupational perspectives," the blueprint reads.

"To begin we recommend a much-needed shift in approach from solely managing compliance to also reducing risk, bringing American OSH practices in line with global trends. We then

June 9, 2017

What to Include in Your Annual Safety Inspection Checklist

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased its maximum fines for employer safety violations last year for the first time in 25 years. The cap for serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirement as well as "failure-to-abate" violations rose from $7,000 to $12,471 per violation. The cap for willful or repeated violations rose from $70,000 per violation to $124,709 per violation. A fine like this or an injury lawsuit is the last thing your small business needs, making it vital to keep your workplace safety standards maintained. Here’s a review of some key areas you should be sure to include in your annual safety inspection checklist.

Health Emergency Preparation


Make sure your staff and facilities are prepared for health emergencies:
  • Employees have instructions for responding to health emergencies
  • Instructions and emergency contact numbers are clearly posted
  • Eye washes and emergency showers are inspected regularly
  • First aid supplies are up-to-date and clearly identified with first aid signs or labels
  • Employees have received “right to know” training on hazardous materials and how to find and use Material Safety Data Sheets

June 1, 2017

NIOSH: Office Workers Most Likely to Rate Health as Poor

Are office workers less healthy than production workers? Results of a new NIOSH study may surprise you.

Occupation, lack of paid sick leave, and multiple psycho-social factors are related to workers’ own perceived low health status, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The study, published this month online ahead of print in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that workers employed in business operations jobs, such as marketing or human resource professionals, were more likely to rate their health as fair or poor. The study also found workers