A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

June 21, 2018

What are Permissible Exposure Levels?

SDS Station
Permissible Exposure Limits, or PELs, generally refer to the maximum exposure to a potentially harmful substance or physical agent (e.g., loud noise) that a person can safely contact over an eight-hour period. These levels are determined by industrial hygienists, safety organizations or - most commonly - regulators such as OSHA. Sound simple? It's not. 

The published PEL is just a starting point that safety professionals use to consider all aspects of the hazard and how it may affect workers, including identification of hazards, the work environment, mitigation options, employee training and more.

Fortunately, the safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have published an article that addresses PELs, explains how they work and gives good advice on how to manage exposures in your workplace.


May 10, 2018

All OSHA State Plan Employers Must Report Injury and Illness Data by July 1

NOTICE AVISO Report all injuries at once
Bilingual OSHA Injury Reporting Sign
Federal OSHA has taken action to fix an error regarding electronic injury reporting. Employers in OSHA state plans must now file injury and illness data through the federal agency’s portal, even if their states have not adopted the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation. This will affect employers in California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

All covered establishments must submit the information by July 1, 2018. OSHA determined that Section 18(c)(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and relevant OSHA regulations pertaining to State Plans, require all affected employers to submit injury and illness data in the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) online portal, even if the employer is covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of their own state rule.

OSHA has informed State Plans that for Calendar Year 2017 all employers covered by State Plans will be expected to comply. An employer covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of a state rule must provide Form 300A data for Calendar Year 2017. There will be no retroactive requirement for employers covered by State Plans that have not adopted a state rule to submit data for Calendar Year 2016.

The rule currently applies to establishments with 250 or more employees and those with 20 to 249 employees in specified industries with historically high injury and illness rates. A notice has been posted on the ITA website and related OSHA webpages informing stakeholders of the corrective action.


May 8, 2018

MSHA Issues Final Mine Inspection Rule Effective June 2

you are entering a safe mining site
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has published a final rule effective June 2, Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines, that provides mine operators additional flexibility in managing their safety and health programs. The revised rule requires that:

A competent person examine each working place for conditions that may adversely affect the safety or health of miners. The working place must be examined at least once each shift, before work begins or as miners begin work in that place.

In addition, mine operators must:

  • Promptly initiate appropriate corrective action when adverse conditions are found.
  • Promptly notify miners in affected areas if adverse conditions are found and not corrected before miners are potentially exposed.
  • Withdraw all persons from affected areas when alerted to any conditions that may present an imminent danger, until the danger is abated.
  • Create an examination record before the end of each shift that includes:
- The name of the person conducting the examination;
- Date of the examination;
- Location of all areas examined;
- A description of each condition found that may adversely affect the safety or health of miners that is not promptly corrected; and
- The date when the described condition is corrected.
  • Make the examination record available to MSHA and miners’ representatives, with a copy provided upon request.


Stakeholder Meetings Scheduled in May

Starting in May, MSHA will hold public meetings around the country to inform and educate the mining community on the requirements of the final rule. Scheduled locations include: Bloomington, Ill., Seattle, Birmingham, Ala., Pittsburgh, Reno, Dallas and Denver.


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.