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

January 18, 2017

Don't Miss Feb. 1 Deadline for Posting Your OSHA 300A Summary

we have proudly worked 365 days without an OSHA recordable injury
While much of the U.S. is focused on January 20, don't forget that February 1 is the deadline for posting the OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. This information helps employers, workers and OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand industry hazards and implement worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards  - and prevent future workplace injuries and illnesses.

Maintaining and Posting Records

The records must be maintained at the worksite for at least five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. Also, if requested, copies of the records must be provided to current and former employees, or their representatives.

All establishments covered by Part 1904 must complete the OSHA 300A Summary page, even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year. Post the 300A summary page from February 1 to April 30.

Electronic Submission of Records

Starting in 2017, many employers will be required to electronically submit the summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA. (Editors note: Don't hold your breath. The site is "scheduled to go live in February 2017"  but we've heard that before...)

Severe Injury Reporting

Employers must report any worker fatality within 8 hours and any amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours.
 
Resources:

January 9, 2017

OSHA Issues New Beryllium Rule that Drastically Cuts PELs

PPE Respirator
OSHA has issued a final rule dramatically limiting exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. The new rule contains standards for general industry, construction, and shipyards.
 
The rule cuts the eight-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) from the current 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter to 0.2 micrograms. Above 0.2, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration. The new rule also requires additional protections including personal protective equipment, medical exams, medical surveillance and training. The new standards take effect in March, with most compliance required by March 2018.
 
Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in aerospace, electronics, energy, telecommunication, medical care and defense. OSHA says the metal is highly toxic when released as airborne dust, fumes or mist that can be inhaled by workers. OSHA estimates the rule will save 94 lives from beryllium-related diseases and prevent 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease each year, once the effects of the rule are fully realized. The rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $560.9 million annually.
 
"Outdated exposure limits do not adequately protect workers from beryllium exposure," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. "OSHA's new standard is based on a strong foundation of science and consensus on the need for action, including peer-reviewed scientific evidence, a model standard developed by industry and labor, current consensus standards, and extensive public outreach. The new limits will reduce exposures and protect the lives and lungs of thousands of beryllium-exposed workers."
 
About 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium in their workplaces, including some 11,500 construction and shipyard workers who may conduct abrasive blasting operations using slags that contain trace amounts of beryllium. The majority of workers affected by this rule are exposed in general industry operations such as beryllium metal and ceramic production, non-ferrous foundries and fabrication of beryllium alloy products. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to beryllium for years, using engineering and work practice controls along with personal protective clothing and equipment.
 

Key Provisions

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over 8-hours.
  • Establishes a new short-term exposure limit for beryllium of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air, over a 15-minute sampling period.
  • Requires employers to: use engineering and work practice controls (such as ventilation or enclosure) to limit worker exposure to beryllium; provide respirators when controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high-exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan; and train workers on beryllium hazards.
  • Requires employers to make available medical exams to monitor exposed workers and provides medical removal protection benefits to workers identified with a beryllium-related disease.
 

Compliance Schedule

All three standards contained in the final rule take effect on March 10, 2017, after which all three sectors have one year (March 12, 2018) to comply with most of the requirements. All sectors have two years (March 11, 2019) from the effective date to provide any required change rooms and showers and three years (March 10, 2020) from the effective date to implement engineering controls.
 

Issued After Years of Study and Public Input

The final rule replaces a 40-year-old PEL that did not adequately protect worker health. OSHA formally asked for public input on a possible beryllium rule in 2002, and OSHA visited worksites, performed risk assessments and calculated potential impacts on small businesses. In 2012, the effort received a boost when a major beryllium manufacturer and a labor union representing many beryllium workers jointly submitted a model for a new rule. OSHA issued a proposed rule in 2015.
 
Resources:

January 3, 2017

2017 State / Federal Labor Law Posters Now Available at ComplianceSigns.com

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: ComplianceSigns.com.

These 2017 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.

Our easy-to-read labor law posters are offered in two color options. All are printed on bright white, 8 mil coated paper with a clear protective laminate on the front to resist stains, scratches and fading. They are currently priced at $30 or less, and ship quickly from our plant in Illinois.

Federal Posting Requirements

Generally, federal workplace posters must be displayed or posted in conspicuous places where they are easily visible to all employees. The FMLA, EEO, and EPPA posters are also required to be placed where they can be seen by applicants for employment. Failure to post required federal notices may result civil money penalties, contract actions or legal sanctions, depending on the notice. With a few exceptions (FMLA, MSPA and Executive Order 13496), regulations do not require posting of notices in Spanish or other languages.

Posting requirements vary by statute. Since not all employers are covered by each statute, some employers may not be required to post a specific notice. For example, some small businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and would not be subject to the Act's posting requirements. You may wish to consult with legal counsel regarding posting requirements for your business.

State Employment Notices

Most states also have employment notice posting regulations. ComplianceSigns.com has researched the specific notices required for each state. Some states, including New York and Texas, require different posters depending on the employer's worker's compensation coverage or some other status. We have created separate posters to meet these unique requirements, as well. Some local governments may dictate additional notices. Check local laws.

Labor Law Resources for Employers

Employers will find a wide variety of resources on the new ComplianceSigns.com Labor Law Posters page, in addition to an easy-to-use, drop-down state poster selector. The page offers links to federal labor laws and regulations as well as state compliance resources, including:
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
  • Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA)
  • State Labor Offices - List of all states and their labor office contact information.
  • State Occupational Safety and Health Plans - Links to states with Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) plans. Includes a state plan directory of contact information.
  • Selected State Labor Laws - A comparison of federal and state laws regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a list of links to tables comparing various state laws relative to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including minimum wage and overtime rules, and links to state labor associations.

Resources:


December 28, 2016

Top Safety Tip of 2016: 5 Extension Cord Rules for a Safer Worksite

Electrical-related injuries are the second-leading cause of death in construction, so electrical safety should be a hot topic for anyone working at construction sites. These simple rules can make a difference with very little effort. 

This tip generated the most views and shares of any tip we shared this year.

Read more here.


December 22, 2016

State & Federal Labor Law Posters Available Soon

Very soon you'll be able to buy labor law posters from the same source you trust for top-quality safety and office signs: ComplianceSigns.com. Our colorful, easy-to-read labor law posters will display all mandatory federal and state labor / employment notices for private industry or non-government entities.

All our posters have been reviewed by a licensed attorney. We've done the research so you can buy with confidence. We'll send our customers a notice after the holidays when they're available, but you can contact us if you'd like to be notified immediately.

Some statutes and regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) require that notices be provided to employees and/or posted in the workplace. Posting requirements vary by statute; that is, not all employers are covered by each of the Department's statutes and thus may not be required to post a specific notice. For example, some small businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and would not be subject to the Act's posting requirements.

Generally, federal workplace posters must be displayed or posted in conspicuous places where they are easily visible to all employees — the intended audience. The FMLA, EEO, and EPPA posters are also required to be placed where they can be seen by applicants for employment. Failure to post required federal notices may result civil money penalties, contract actions or legal sanctions, depending on the notice. State posting rules and penalties vary. 

December 21, 2016

December 2016 Workplace Safety News & Notes

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

BLS: Fatal Work Injuries Increased Slightly in 2015
A total of 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. during 2015, a slight increase from the 4,821 reported in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Key findings include:
  • The overall rate of fatal work injury for workers in 2015, at 3.38 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, was lower than the 2014 rate of 3.43.
  • Hispanic or Latino workers incurred 903 fatal injuries in 2015—the most since 937 fatalities in 2007.
  • Workers age 65 years and older incurred 650 fatal injuries, down from 684 in 2014.
  • Roadway incident fatalities were up 9 percent from 2014 totals, accounting for over one-fourth of fatal occupational injuries in 2015.
  • Read more.
DOL Announces Final Rule to Help Diversify Workforce and Apprentice Programs
The Department of Labor has issued a final rule that updates equal opportunity requirements, hoping to broaden career opportunities in apprenticeships for under-represented groups. The rule extends protections against discrimination to include age, disability, genetic information and sexual orientation. It also simplifies the process of ensuring compliance. Read more.

Mobile App Helps Identify Air Quality Issues
Workplace air quality can be impacted by a number of factors, and the interrelationships between these factors can be quite complex. AirAssess is a new mobile app from the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) designed to uncover health and safety issues related to indoor air quality in the workplace. The comprehensive survey app consists of three scientifically recognized questionnaires on air quality, job strain and asthma symptoms. Learn more.

Is Web-Based Safety Training Right for You?
There’s no question that digital media provides a new delivery channel for training – one that offers significant advantages – but it also comes with limitations that must be considered. In a recent article, the safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis discuss those advantages and limitations, and explain how web-based training can address the needs of many organizations. Read the article.

Upcoming Safety Webinars Presented by OH&S
  • Jan. 18 - Changes to OSHA’s Recordkeeping and Reporting Rule in 2017
  • Jan. 26 - Standards Updates Affecting Flame, Arc, and High-Visibility Clothing for 2017
  • On Demand - Prepare for Cold Weather! Top Five Ways to Protect Workers’ Hands from Winter Elements
  • On Demand - OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction standard 1926.1201-1213 and how it compares with ANSI Z117.1 revised 2016
Learn more or sign up.

December 16, 2016

Top 10 Workplace Safety Articles of 2016

365 days with zero accidents
These 10 articles from 2016 generated the most interest in our Connection newsletter and here on our workplace safety blog this year. We do our best to keep you up-to-date on new rules, tools and tips that can help keep your workplace safe and in compliance. All these items are worth a second look.

The 3 Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.

Certain jobs simply have more risk and danger associated with them then others. Here are the three most dangerous jobs in the United States, according to data gathered in 2014 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more.

5 Top Workplace Tool Safety Tips

Power tools and workshop equipment send nearly 400,000 Americans to the emergency room every year, cause nearly 200 deaths and cost $15.4 billion in medical costs annually. Here are five top workplace tool safety tips recommended by OSHA to help reduce injuries. Read more.

Staying Safe in Extreme Workplaces and Conditions

Many workers perform their daily job activities in dangerous environments and situations, including fire fighting, deep sea fishing and logging. This post discusses some new technologies that can help keep workers safe in extreme conditions. Read more.

December 15, 2016

Major OSHA Fines Total $2.3 Million in November 2016

In November, Federal OSHA investigators released information on 12 enforcement activities with proposed fines of $100,000 or more. These major fines totaled nearly $2.3 million. Fall protection and machine guards were common citations again this month. Here's some details on the top five fines. Many are still pending final decisions.

 

$526,633 and SVEP following a fatal engulfment at a Nebraska grain bin

Warning suffocation hazard
Working to clear crusted corn from the sides of a grain bin, an employee became engulfed after the wall of corn collapsed and buried him. Rescued by emergency crews, he died of his injuries two days later. OSHA investigators found multiple violations of grain handling standards at Prinz Grain & Feed's facility in West Point. The agency has placed Prinz in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after finding the company failed to:
  • Issue confined space permits for entry into grain bins and pits
  • Test atmospheric conditions in grain bins and pits before allowing workers to enter
  • Provide training to employees on confined space entry
  • Implement procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or unintentional operation, a process known as lockout/tagout
  • Provide rescue equipment suited for bin, silo or tanks being entered
  • Train workers in grain handling hazards
  • Issue "hot work" permits
  • Examine powered industrial vehicles prior to use
  • Provide protective equipment for the eyes and face
  • Provide training to employees on the hazard communication standard
View current safety and health citations.   Review grain bin safety tips.

$307,824 for repeat fall hazard violations by an Ohio roofer

OSHA initiated an inspection after receiving a complaint alleging that A&W Roofing employees were working without fall protection. The inspection was also part of the agency's local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in the construction industry.
Inspectors issued willful violations for failure to:
  • Provide fall protection to employees working 35 to 40 feet above the ground on a steep sloped roof
  • Ensure workers on the ground wore hardhats to prevent head injuries from falling objects while employees installed shingles above them
  • Ensure ladders were properly extended to prevent falls
  • Serious violations were issued for not having an effective safety and health program and not providing fall protection training. The company has received similar violations five times in the past two years.
See the citations. (pdf)

December 8, 2016

OSHA issues recommended practices to promote workplace safety and health programs in construction

Safety and health programs in construction
OSHA just issued Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction to help industry employers develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe. The recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff.

The recommended practices reflect current conditions in the construction industry, including:
  • New construction techniques, materials, and equipment
  • Greater diversity in the construction workforce
  • An aging workforce
  • Increased temporary and contract employment

"The recommendations outlined in this document will help contractors prevent injuries and illnesses on their construction sites and make their companies more profitable," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels.

Contractors can create a safety and health program using a number of simple steps that include: 
  • Training workers how to identify and control hazards
  • Inspecting jobsites with workers to identify problems with equipment and materials
  • Developing responses to possible emergency scenarios in advance

December 1, 2016

Winter Weather Brings Mine Safety Hazards - and Inspections

Mine safety signs and labels
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued its annual Winter Alert message, reminding mine operators and miners to pay special attention to seasonal changes that may affect both surface and underground work environments. A number of major U.S. mine disasters have occurred during the winter months, according to MSHA's posted data.

Inspection and Information Campaign Underway


The agency has initiated a campaign – which runs through March 2017 – to emphasize increased vigilance and adherence to safety principles during the colder months. 

Federal inspectors issued 130 citations and one safeguard during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and five metal and nonmetal mines in October 2016.

This year’s campaign theme, “Make Safety A Hole In One,” focuses on the prevention of coal mine explosions, stressing mine examinations, proper ventilation and rock dusting. It also addresses hazards specific to surface facilities and preparation plants.