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April 13, 2018

April 2018 Workplace Safety News & Notes

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

NIOSH Releases New Nanotechnology Workplace Design Recommendations

Workers in industries that use or make nanomaterials may inhale nanoparticles on a daily basis, posing a potential respiratory hazard. NIOSH has developed four new documents with helpful recommendations on minimizing exposures during common processes and tasks. They provide tips on the design, use and maintenance of exposure controls for nanomaterial production, post processing and use. Learn more.

New WHMIS Resources for Employers, Distributors

The WHMIS 2015 deadline is getting closer. To help with your WHMIS 2015 transition, Health Canada has developed two new fact sheets for employers and distributors. The printable fact sheets share key points to know and good practices to consider in preparing for the transition to WHMIS, including key deadlines for new labeling. See WHMIS resource sheets here.

OSHA Launches Regional Construction Safety Campaign

Regional OSHA Offices have launched a campaign to raise awareness about the four leading safety hazards in the construction industry. The “Focus Four Hazards” campaign will serve employers and employees in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. From March through June, the campaign will educate employers to recognize, evaluate and control electrical, struck-by, fall, and caught-in/between hazards. Each month, OSHA representatives will participate in “toolbox talk” discussions focused on one of the four hazards. Visit the OSHA Construction page.

New ISO Worker Safety Standard Available

ISO has developed a new standard, ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements, that provides a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world. It takes into account other International Standards in this area such as OHSA 18001 and the International Labour Organization's ILO-OSH Guidelines, various national standards and the ILO's international labour standards and conventions. Get details here.

Upcoming Safety Webinars Presented by OH&S

  • April 19- Holistic Risk Management for Better Risk Assessment
  • April 25 - Disaster Preparedness: Murphy's Law and Lessons Learned
  • May 3 - Understanding NFPA 2112 and ASTM F1506 and Why FR PPE Certification Matters
  • May 10 - The New ISEA 121 Dropped Objects Standard Explained
  • On Demand - Confined Space Rescue - Knowing You're Ready
  • Learn more or sign up.

April 11, 2018

Plan Ahead to Prevent Workplace Violence

All weapons including concealed firearms are prohibited on these premises
Weapons Prohibited Sign
Some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. It can strike anywhere, although some workers and occupations are at increased risk. In recent years, OSHA has advised companies to include steps for dealing with violence in their safety plans.

Many people assume workplace violence usually involves a worker seeking revenge for being disciplined or fired, but many cases involve something in a worker’s personal life spilling over into the workplace. Your company has nothing to do with causing the situation, but you’re right in the middle of the result. Under OSHA's General Duty Clause, employers who do not take reasonable steps to prevent or abate a recognized violence hazard in the workplace can be cited.

If your company’s emergency action plan doesn’t already address workplace violence, you should begin to develop policies and procedures on the issue. Just as employees and supervisors need to know what to do when a fire breaks out, they should know what to do in a workplace violence situation.

The workplace safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis recently posted an article that shares sensible steps to prevent workplace violence. It's well worth a read.

Learn more:

April 10, 2018

California Adopts New Injury Protection Regulation for Hotel Housekeepers

Two person lift
Bilingual Safe Lifting Sign
California has adopted a new workplace safety and health regulation to prevent and reduce work-related injuries to housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry. This is the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers. The new standard, which will be enforced by Cal/OSHA, was approved March 9 by the Office of Administrative Law and will become effective July 1, 2018.

“Hotel housekeepers have higher rates of acute and cumulative injuries compared to workers in other industries, and data shows those injuries have steadily increased,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “This regulation requires employers to identify, evaluate and correct housekeeping-related hazards with the involvement of housekeepers and their union representative.”

The new regulation requires hotel and lodging industry employers to establish, implement and maintain an effective Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP). Hotel housekeepers frequently suffer musculoskeletal injuries from lifting mattresses, pulling linens,  pushing heavy carts and slipping, tripping or falling while cleaning bathrooms. 

April 6, 2018

2018 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls May 7-11

Fall protection required
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 370 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded in 2016 (BLS data). To help reduce construction falls, employers and workers are invited to participate in the fifth annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, to be held May 7-11. 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

April 3, 2018

Free Resources for Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2018

No dialing No texting No talking while driving
Distracted Driving Sticker for Company Vehicles
The National Safety Council and the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) invite employers to participate in Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. Both groups are offering free employer resources, including posters, fact sheets, infographics, social media posts and more. Sharing this key information with your employers will help protect your workforce - and your business.

Safe driving requires drivers to frequently scan the area around them and react quickly to changing situations. Distracted driving affects their ability to perform these tasks.

In 2015, 3,477 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers and 14% of these crashes were reported to have involved cell phone use as a distraction. However, since police reports mainly depend on information provided by drivers at the scene, crashes attributed to all types of distracted driving are thought to be well underreported.

The National Safety Council estimated that 27% of all traffic crashes in 2013 involved the use of hand-held or hands-free cell phones.

7 Steps to Fight Distraction

March 13, 2018

OSHA Will Enforce Beryllium Standard May 11

OSHA has announced that it will start enforcement of the final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in general, construction, and shipyard industries on May 11, 2018. The start of enforcement had previously been set for March 12, 2018.

In January 2017, OSHA issued new comprehensive health standards addressing exposure to beryllium in all industries. In response to feedback from stakeholders, the agency is considering technical updates to the January 2017 general industry standard, which will clarify and simplify compliance with requirements. OSHA will also begin enforcing on May 11, 2018, the new lower 8-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short-term (15-minute) exposure limit (STEL) for construction and shipyard industries.  In the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new PEL or STEL, OSHA will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer assistance to assure understanding and compliance.

March 12, 2018

Safe Conveyor Operation Strategies

Exposed conveyors and moving parts can cause severe injury sign
Conveyors commonly are used in manufacturing, grain-handling, logistics operations, and many other workplaces where items are repeatedly transferred from point A to point B. These labor-saving devices provide a variety of benefits to workers and employers - but they present very real hazards, as well. With moving belts, gears, chains and motors, conveyor systems present many opportunities for pinching, shearing - and especially amputation.

The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have prepared an article that outlines strategies for safe conveyor operation, including safeguards for common conveyor types, including: belts, screws, chains and rollovers. They also share general safety practices such as regular inspections and the importance of restricting loose clothing, jewelry and long hair in conveyor areas. Check the full conveyor article here, or browse conveyor safety signs here.

March 9, 2018

March is National Ladder Safety Month

climb ladders carefully use both hands
Falls from ladders are preventable, yet they account for 300 deaths and some 20,000 injuries each year. The American Ladder Institute (ALI) has announced March as  National Ladder Safety Month, designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities.

ALI believes ladder accidents are preventable, but without better safety planning and training and continuous innovation in product design, we will continue to see far too many fatalities. 

National Ladder Safety Month goals include:
  • Increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI
  • Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly “Top 10 Citations List”
  • Decrease ladder-related injuries and fatalities
  • Increase the number of competent ladder inspector training sessions
  • Increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged or obsolete ladders

February 28, 2018

Workplace Safety News & Notes - February 2018

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

List of Active OSHA Emphasis Programs

OSHA currently has nine active National and Special Emphasis Programs under enforcement. They include: Compustible dust, Hazardous machinery, Hexavalent chromium, Lead, Process safety management, Trenching & excavation and others. See the full index and get details on each program here.

Updated ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management - Guidelines Now Available

The revised ISO 31000:2018 standard includes changes to nearly every section. It provides a common approach to managing risk and is not industry- or sector-specific. It can be used throughout the life of an organization and applied to any activity, including all levels of decision-making. Learn more.

OSHA Now Accepting 2017 Form 300A Data Submissions

Employers can now to electronically report their Calendar Year 2017 Form 300A data to OSHA. All covered establishments must submit the information by July 1, 2018. OSHA provides a secure website with three options for data submission: Manually entering data into a web form; Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time; or users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). Learn more.

February 20, 2018

Top OSHA Fines Reach $1.77 Million in First 6 Weeks of 2018

OSHA has released information on nine significant fines (over $100,000) so far this year, with five fines at or over $200,000. Common violations include fall, confined space and machine guard violations. Here are details on the top fines to date. Many are still pending final decisions.

$281,583 after fatal wall collapse at a New Jersey construction company
A New Jersey construction management and development company faces $281,583 in fines for exposing employees to crushing hazards after a concrete block retaining wall collapsed at a Poughkeepsie worksite. The retaining wall was not designed or approved by a registered engineer, and its collapse led to an employee death and injuries to another employee. The company was also cited for failing to train employees to keep a safe distance from the wall and soil pile, and failing to provide proper fall protection. See details here.

$256,088 for fall and confined space violations at a Georgia manufacturer
DANGER confined space permit required sign
Following inspection of a facility in Dalton, OSHA issued willful citations for failing to install a fall protection system, and develop and implement a written permit-required confined-space program. The company was also cited for several other violations, including failing to develop safety procedures when performing equipment maintenance and servicing; failing to train and evaluate forklift operators; failing to ensure employees have proper personal protective equipment; and failing to install machine guards on equipment. See details.

$212,396 for crush hazards at Massachusetts foundation company
A foundation company was cited for failing to protect employees against crushing hazards while they installed permanent foundation supports beneath a public library. This resulted in an employee death when a 2,600-pound rock dislodged from the building’s foundation and struck the worker. The contractor was also cited for failing to instruct employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions while working beneath the foundation. OSHA cited the company for similar hazards in 2015 when an employee was pinned by a granite block that came loose. The company faces $212,396 in proposed penalties. See details.