A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

May 23, 2013

"We Can't Enforce Our Way Into Safe Workplaces" says OSHA Head

A planned conversation between US and Canadian workplace safety leaders turned into a candid conversation between current and former OSHA leaders on May 21 at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition in Montreal.
EHS Today reports that the conversation between Dr. David Michaels and former OSHA Administrator John Henshaw included views on standards, budget issues, public policy and more. While discussing enforcement and budget cuts, Michaels said, "We can't enforce our way into safe workplaces... If we inspect 80,000 workplaces instead of 40,000, that means we visit every workplace in the U.S. every 50 years instead of every 100 years.”
Michaels also spoke candidly about VPP, PELs, a "weak" noise standard and a silica proposal.

May 17, 2013

How to Overcome Barriers to Near-Miss Reporting

Safety Reporting sign
You've probably read about near-miss reporting. An Indiana foundry recently recorded 1 million hours without a lost-time accident, and a construction company reported 3.1 million safe hours while building a Louisiana power plant. Both credit near-miss reporting as important factors in their safety success.

Proponents say near-miss reporting builds worker trust, encourages employee involvement, identifies and controls unknown or unrecognized risks, and enhances management credibility. It can pay big safety dividends by controlling risks before injuries or property damage occurs. But effective near-miss reporting requires a different way of thinking about safety, and your organization's current culture may actually be preventing these benefits - even if you already have a near-miss program in place.

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May Workplace Safety News and Notes

OSHA issues final rule on cranes and derricks in demolition and underground construction
The rule applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. It streamlines OSHA's standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The new rule also corrects errors made to the underground construction and demolition standards in the 2010 rulemaking. The final rule becomes effective May 23, 2013.

electrical safety signs
Electrical Safety Signs
Workplace Resources for Electrical Safety Month
Every year in the United States, workplace electrical incidents result in more than 300 deaths and 3,500 injuries. Electrical hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and fatalities, but they are disproportionately fatal and costly. For every 13 electrical injuries - a worker dies. Most of these electrically-related fatalities and injuries could be prevented. 

Awareness of workplace electrical hazards and knowledge of best practices are critical to reducing these staggering statistics. National Electrical Safety Month 2013 Resources for the Workplace provides resources to encourage electrically safe practices throughout the workplace. ESFI's website contains material developed to minimize electrically-related deaths and injuries through workplace electrical safety education. Visit the ESFI site for workplace resources.

May 8, 2013

OSHA Issued $2.5m of Fines in April

Last month OSHA issued 34 fines averaging $72,000 each, for a total of nearly $2.5 million. That's down from the March total of nearly $3.2 million. Seven April fines were 6-figure amounts. Machine Guarding and Fall Protection were common citations, and several companies received "willful" violations.

1. $589,000 for Machine Guarding:

Machine Safety Signs

  • Seven willful violations for machine guarding, including failing to guard blades of slitter machines and nip points of feed tables.
  • Three repeat violations for machine guarding and the other for lack of fire extinguishers.

2. $219,000 for Machine Guarding, LOTO:
  • Four repeats, including one for machine guarding, and three for LOTO, including lack of lockout tagout program and safety training.

May 7, 2013

New OSHA Initiative to Protect Temporary Workers

English + Spanish Construction Safety Sign
In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries - many during their first days on a job. In response, OSHA has issued a memorandum directing field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with OSHA standards.

OSHA has issued citations when employers have failed to provide adequate protections, including safety training. Inspectors have been directed to "document the name of the temporary workers' staffing agency, the agency's location, and the supervising structure under which the temporary workers are reporting (i.e., the extent to which the temporary workers are being supervised on a day-to-day basis either by the host employer or the staffing agency)."