A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

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.

Beryllium Hazards

Workers who become sensitive to beryllium are at risk for developing a debilitating disease of the lungs called chronic beryllium disease (CBD) if they inhale airborne beryllium after becoming sensitized. Beryllium-exposed workers may also develop other adverse health effects such as acute beryllium disease, and lung cancer.

OSHA estimates that approximately 62,000 workers are potentially exposed to beryllium in approximately 7,300 establishments in the United States. While the highest exposures occur in the workplace, family members of workers who work with beryllium also have potential exposure from contaminated work clothing and vehicles. Based on OSHA Integrated Management Information System and industry exposure data, beryllium workers in primary beryllium manufacturing and alloy production, and recycling have the highest average exposures to beryllium.

At-Risk Occupations

Occupations with potential exposure to beryllium include: 
  • Primary Beryllium Production Workers
  • Workers Processing Beryllium Metal/Alloys/Composites
  • Foundry WorkersFurnace Tenders
  • Machine Operators
  • Machinists
  • Metal Fabricators
  • Welders
  • Dental Technicians
  • Secondary smelting and refining (recycling electronic and computer parts, metals) 
  • Abrasive Blasters (slags) 
Visit the OSHA beryllium page to learn more.

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.

CCOHS Offers Guidance to Stop Workplace Violence

Most people think of violence as a physical assault. However, workplace violence is a much broader problem. It is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in his or her employment. CCOHS has assembled a site with resources that describe the problem, identify risk factors and high-risk groups, and give tips on how to prevent incidents. Learn more here.

2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) Gaining Traction

As of February 1, the 2017 NEC is in effect in 19 states, with 9 more in the adoption process. The 2017 edition addresses the advancement of privately-owned wind and solar power generation and distribution equipment, including higher voltage systems. The 2014 edition is still in effect in 20 states. Eight states are still using 2011 or 2008 versions. See which states are currently using each edition - and track progress toward adoption of the latest rules - here.

New ISO Worker Safety Standard Expected in March

The final draft of ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) was recently approved. It provides a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions all over the world. Publication is expected in March. Get details here.

Upcoming Safety Webinars Presented by OH&S

  • Feb. 28 - 6 Tips to Provide Fall Protection Training that Sticks
  • March 1 - Ladder Safety - Plan, Provide & Train to Save Lives
  • March 7 - Identifying and Managing the Hazards of Combustible Dust
  • March 22 - Upgrade Your Safety Management Program
  • On Demand - Making the Case for Contractor Management: Examining the Safety Benefits of Third-Party Management
  • Learn more or sign up.

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.

February 19, 2018

Why and How You Need to Take Care of Your Company Cars

As a business owner who has invested in a company-owned cars, maintaining the safety of these vehicles is ultimately your responsibility. And it's pretty important, too. Case in point: More than 44,000 vehicle accidents each year are attributed to issues with brakes, tires, steering and engine components, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Indeed, many of these accidents could have been prevented with proper vehicle maintenance and routine inspections. With that in mind, here are a few key considerations to help keep your vehicle fleet in top condition:

It's Good for Company Morale

Heed the advice of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson: If you want your employees to take good care of your business, then you must take care of them. The same can be said for maintaining your company vehicles. The way you manage your fleet of vehicles is another opportunity to illustrate your appreciation for your team.

Smoke free vehicle label with heart shape
After consulting your team's schedules, make sure to schedule regular maintenance to make these services convenient for everyone. You might also look into having a mobile car wash service visit your company regularly to keep your fleet looking great. And consider a no-smoking policy to keep them smelling clean. Vehicle no-smoking labels will help protect your investment and keep employees happy.

Not only will this keep your vehicles in top condition, but it will also show your team you value their comfort and safety.

Maintenance is Your Responsibility

Whether you do it yourself or rely on the professionals, vehicle maintenance is your responsibility as the company owner. Don't leave this task to your employees; instead, you can designate a fleet specialist to keep everything running in top form.

February 5, 2018

Workplace Foot Injuries: Causes, Costs and Prevention

Foot injuries are among the most common workers' compensation injuries, including breaks, fractures and heel injuries. A study of over 250,000 worker's comp claims found the average final settlement for a foot injury is more than $17,000. The human foot and ankle contain 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments, so it's no wonder injuries to the foot can be especially painful - and slow to heal. Clearly, prevention of workplace foot injuries makes good sense for workers and employers. But safety shoes and foot PPE reminder signs aren't enough. This article will explain the causes, costs and prevention steps you can take to reduce foot injuries in your workplace.

Causes of Workplace Foot Injuries

There are two major categories of work-related foot injuries. The first includes foot injuries from punctures, crushing, sprains and lacerations. The second includes injuries resulting from slips, trips and falls. Slips and falls do not always result in a foot injury but lack of attention to foot safety plays an important role in their occurrence.

OSHA has identified six common work-related foot injuries and causes:

    Safety shoes required when using pallet jack sign
  • Crushed or broken feet, amputation of toes or feet - Falling objects, moving vehicles, feet trapped between objects or caught in a crack, conveyor belts
  • Punctures of the sole of the foot - Loose nails, sharp metal or glass objects
  • Cuts or severed feet or toes - Chain saws, rotary mowers, unguarded machinery
  • Burns - Molten metal splashes, chemical splashes, contact with fire, flammable or explosive atmospheres
  • Electric shocks - Static electricity, contact with sources of electricity
  • Sprained or twisted ankles, fractured or broken bones during slips, trips or falls - Slippery floors, littered walkways, incorrect footwear, poor lighting
Additional foot injury hazards exist in many outdoor jobs such as logging, hydro linework and fishing.

January 30, 2018

Workplace Safety News & Notes - January 2018

Caution Respirators must be worn in this area
OSHA Respirator Sign
Here's a collection of workplace safety news from around the web this month:

Court Rejects Appeals to Silica Rule

In 2016, OSHA published a final rule regulating workplace exposure to silica, Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (29 CFR 1910, 1915 and 1926). Industry groups petitioned for review of the rule, but the U.S. Court of Appeals recently rejected all five of their challenges, leaving the rule in effect. Read more.

CDC Study Finds High Asthma Deaths in Construction, Healthcare

A new CDC study of asthma mortality shows that up to 700 asthma deaths in 2015 might have resulted from occupational exposures - and could have been prevented. The study found significantly elevated asthma mortality ratios for men in the food, beverage and tobacco products manufacturing industry, and for females in the social assistance industry and community and social services occupations. By industry, the highest number of asthma deaths occurred among men in the construction industry and among women in the healthcare industry. Learn more.

OSHA Penalties Increased This Month

January 9, 2018

3 Ways to Stay OSHA Compliant at All Times

Safety inspector with hard hat, safety glasses and clipboard
Keeping your employees safe at work involves much more than posting a few safety signs and cleaning up spills as they happen. For most business owners, it also requires complying with the rules set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

While you want to keep your valued team as safe as possible while on the job, you might be uncertain how to stay OSHA compliant at all times. Fortunately, with a combination of vigilance and being pro-active, it is possible to make sure your company remains fully OSHA compliant. Here's how.

Research which OSHA requirements pertain to you

January 8, 2018

2018 State / Federal Labor Law Posters Now Available at

Labor Law Posters for all 50 states
Across the U.S., employers are required to display state and federal labor / employment notices in a conspicuous location to help maintain compliance with state and federal labor posting requirements. Now employers and Human Resources professionals can order U.S.-made labor law posters from the same source they trust for top-quality safety and office signs:

These 2018 employment posters combine state and federal notices into one easy-to-hang poster that displays up-to-date mandatory federal and state labor / employment notices for private industry or non-government entities. We've researched and developed posters for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and all have been reviewed by a licensed attorney. We've done the research so employers can use them with confidence.