A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from

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.

August 31, 2016

Construction Site Power Line Safety

138KV Overehead power lines 15 ft clearance
Power lines on construction sites pose a serious hazard to workers. A recent article in Canadian Occupational Safety says that in Ontario, 70 percent of power-line contacts in the last 10 years have occurred on construction sites.

They most commonly affect workers operating excavating equipment, but an increasing number of incidents involve dump trucks. Often dump boxes are left up and contact wires, or are raised into overhead lines.

Construction workers on ladders and scaffolds also are at risk of electrical line contact, but direct contact is not needed to create a safety hazard. Simply being close to a high energy line can attract electricity, causing an arc from the line to the object - whether it's a ladder, tool - or a person. When live lines come down, electrical current may flow into the ground creating a pool of electricity in the area. This pool will energize anything it touches, which is why workers should stay inside equipment that has come in contact with a power line.

August 23, 2016

August 2016 Workplace Safety News & Notes

Here's some safety-related news from around the web this month:

September is National Preparedness Month
Emergency Evacuation Muster Point

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month, a time to recognize the importance of preparing for the types of emergencies we could encounter where we live, work and visit. has a developed a variety of materials, including resources for business preparedness planning and a free communications toolkit you can use to spread the word to employees and your community.

OSHA Launches Noise Safety Challenge

OSHA and NIOSH are challenging inventors and entrepreneurs to help develop a technological solution to workplace noise exposure and related hearing loss. The Hear and Now - Noise Safety Challenge has goals of inspiring creative ideas and raising business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation. The competition seeks ideas related to occupational hearing protection. Suggested topics include technology that can: Enhance employer training and improve effective use of hearing protection; Alert workers when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss; Allows workers to hear important alerts or human voices while remaining protected from harmful noise. Get more information here.

Safety Tip: Noise / Hearing Protection for the Workplace

Noise area May cause hearing loss Use proper ear protection
Every year, 22 million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards. Hearing loss disability costs businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers' compensation. NIOSH reports that some 10 million US workers incur permanent hearing loss annually. The risk for hearing loss due to noise exposure is especially high among factory and heavy industry workers, transportation workers, military personnel, construction workers, miners, farmers, firefighters, police officers, musicians and even office workers in crowded areas.

If you must shout to be heard by someone standing three feet away, the noise level is probably reaching dangerously high levels - so take precautions. Hearing protection requirements are detailed in OSHA's Occupational Noise Exposure Standard - 29 CFR 1910.95. Section (i) of this standard states, “Employers shall make hearing protectors available to all employees exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels (dB) or greater at no cost to the employees.”

OSHA requires employers to:
  • Provide employees a variety of hearing protectors to choose from
  • Train employees on use and maintenance of hearing protectors
  • Ensure hearing protectors are worn by all employees who meet the requirements of the standard

August 22, 2016

Major OSHA Fines Top $1.6 Million in July 2016

Federal OSHA investigators issued $1,658,890 in 13 major fines in July. That's quite a drop from the $5.7 million announced in June. Fall protection and machine hazards were among common hazards, but the top fine involved bloodborne pathogen hazards at an Illinois ambulance operation. Here are some details of the top citations (over $100,000) reported in July, which may still be pending final decisions:

$290,100 for bloodborne pathogen risk at an Illinois ambulance service

Warning biohazard
OSHA issued five willful, 16 serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations to the ambulance service after receiving a complaint alleging violations of OSHA's bloodborne pathogen exposure and various other health and safety standards. OSHA found 14 violations including failures to:
  • Establish an exposure control plan for bloodborne pathogens
  • Make Hepatitis B vaccination series available to employees
  • Train workers about chemical and bloodborne pathogen hazards and precautions
  • Develop an emergency response plan
  • Dispose of, clean or launder contaminated personal protection equipment
  • Develop a respiratory protection program
  • Train workers about the use of hazardous chemicals in their work area
  • Provide injury and illness logs to inspectors within four hours
  • Mark, keep clear and properly light emergency exits
  • Follow electrical safe work places. Investigators found opened breaker panel boxes, extension cords used as fixed wiring, exposed light sockets.
View the current safety citations and health citations. (pdf)

$197,820 for repeat combustible dust, fire, explosion and fall hazards at a New York manufacturer

At a follow-up inspection, OSHA inspectors found the company failed to address combustible dust hazards involving the dust collection system it had agreed to correct. Inspectors also identified new and recurring hazards stemming from failure to: