A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

December 30, 2014

OH&S Offers Three Steps to Safely Collect Combustible Dust

Warning combustible dust area sign
Although OSHA still has no combustible dust hazard regulation, inspectors do issue fines for lack of proper housekeeping related to dust buildup, using the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP), CPL 03-00-008, for citation guidelines. The NEP lists 18 different standards ranging from ventilation to electrical to housekeeping.

An article in the December issue of OH&S magazine recommends three steps to help select equipment that is safe for collecting combustible dust in nearly any environment. Here's a summary of the steps:

Three Steps to Safe Dust Collection:

  1. Understand Your Facility and Your Responsibilities. Have dust from your workplace tested to find out if it's combustible, and confirm your NEC classification.
  2. Review OSHA and NFPA Regulations, Standards and Recommendations. The OSHA combustible dust NEP includes maintenance and housekeeping advice, and NFPA 654 Section 8 discusses housekeeping procedures and frequency. The NFPA document lists vacuuming as the preferred cleaning method, because it avoids creation of dust clouds. 

December 17, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - December 2014

Here's a roundup of current workplace safety news and links:

New NIOSH Training Helps Reduce Risks for Emergency Responders Who Work Long Hours

NIOSH’s new interim training program is for emergency workers who deploy to disaster sites caused by weather, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events like Ebola. The 30-minute online training is for workers and managers to help them better cope with the demands of these emergency operations. Emergency responders in healthcare, public safety, utilities, construction, humanitarian aid, and clean-up services can learn strategies to reduce risks that are linked to working long hours. Learn more or take the training here.

New Report Can Help Prevent Trucking Industry Injuries

Caution 3-point contactA report produced by Washington State’s Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis Through Surveillance program provides in-depth information on trucking injuries from 2006-2012. Using Washington State workers’ compensation data grouped by industry sector, the report details the most frequent injury type, source and cost. It also includes worker training tips useful for trucking firms and occupational health pros. Check out the report and other resources at

Recommendations to Reduce Silica Exposure When Maintaining Dirt Roads

Road maintenance crew overexposures to respirable crystalline silica led HHE Program investigators to recommend ways to minimize dust exposure during dust-generating activities. They recommended wetting the soil prior to work, scheduling dust-generating tasks on days when the soil is moist, and regularly maintaining air filters in the equipment.
A link to this final report is available at here

Warning BiohazardNIOSH Offers Health Hazard Evaluation Info for Employers and Employees

Two new booklets designed to inform employers or employees about the Health Hazard Evaluation process, including what a Health Hazard Evaluation is, how and who can request one, and what happens once the request is made. The Employer booklet is here, and the Employee booklet is here.

December 16, 2014

Top 10 OSHA Fines of 2014 Surpass $9.2 Million

The top 10 OSHA fines of 2014 totaled more than $9.2 million. Significant fines (over $100,000) for the same period averaged some $2.6 million/month, and totaled $30 million

Here's a list of the top 10 workplace safety fines OSHA has issued so far this year. Some are still pending final decisions

1. $2.4 million settlement with Republic Steel

The comprehensive settlement, in which the company agrees to abate all cited hazards and implement numerous safeguards to prevent future injuries, addresses more than 100 safety and health violations found by OSHA at company facilities during 2013 inspections. They include arc flash, lockout/tagout, machine guarding and fall hazards at various facilities. Republic also agreed to additional penalty amounts if it fails to comply with the agreement.

In addition, the company will hire additional safety and health staff; conduct internal safety and health inspections with union representatives; establish and implement a comprehensive safety and health management program; hire third-party auditors; and meet quarterly with OSHA staff to assure implementation of the agreement. 

December 11, 2014

Workplace Injuries Decline to 3 Million in 2013

Digital safety scoreboards
help promote workplace safety.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that non-fatal workplace injuries declined significantly in 2013, and that the DART rate declined for the first time since 2009. Slightly more than 3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported by U.S. private industry in 2013, for an incidence rate of 3.3 cases per 100 full-time workers.

Key findings from the 2013 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses:

  • The total recordable cases (TRC) incidence rate of injury and illness in private industry declined from 2012, as did the rate for cases involving days away from work, job transfer or restriction (DART). This was the first DART rate decline since 2009.
  • The rate of reported injuries and illnesses declined significantly among the manufacturing, retail and utilities sectors, but was statistically unchanged among all other private industry sectors compared to 2012.
  • Manufacturing continued a 16-year trend as the only private industry sector in which the rate of job transfer or restriction exceeded the rate of days away from work. These rates declined to 1.2 and 1.0 per 100 full-time workers, respectively.
  • The incidence rate of injuries among private industry workers declined to 3.1, down from 3.2 in 2012. In comparison, the illness incidence rate was unchanged. 
  • Although the rate of injuries and illnesses among state and local government workers declined to 5.2, it remains significantly higher than the private industry rate. 

December 8, 2014

New Safety Equipment is Lighter, More Comfortable Than Ever

safety glasses, safety shoes, hard hats required beyond this point
Even with modern, comfortable equipment,
PPE safety signs can improve employee compliance.
Way back when, worksite safety equipment was often heavy, uncomfortable and even interfered with the work. Small wonder that so many workers bypassed safety precautions as managers either looked the other way or were forced to take disciplinary action against employees who refused to use standard-issue equipment. Neither is an acceptable solution.

Safety Equipment Manufacturers are More Responsive Than Ever

Today, safety equipment manufacturers have listened to workers and safety pros, and are making safety equipment from new materials, in more sizes and new configurations so their products are more wearable than ever. 3M, for example, released safety goggles that include "reader" lenses for workers who have trouble seeing fine-print, such as safety instructions.

December 4, 2014

Significant OSHA Fines Total Just $875,000 in November 2014

OSHA announced just four significant fines in November with a proposed total of $875,010 (compared to 10 fines totaling $1.77 million in October). Common fines included fall and electrical hazards at a variety of locations. Most cases are still pending final decisions. Here are some details:

$342,250 and SVEP for Repeat Fall and Equipment Violations at a
Georgia Auto Parts Plant

Slippery floor - trip hazard
OSHA inspected the site after receiving a complaint alleging improper material handling and machine guarding hazards. "The high number of repeat violations of the same or similar hazards demonstrates that this employer is not concerned with protecting its permanent or temporary employees from occupational dangers," said an OSHA official.

Eight repeat violations involve exposing workers to slip and fall hazards due to soiled and slippery welding oils on floors; failing to protect workers from moving machine parts during service and maintenance; neglecting to protect employees from dangerous equipment with required guarding; and storing oxygen and acetylene cylinders improperly. The company was cited for these same violations in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

December 1, 2014

Feeling Stressed at Work? A New App Can Help

get in gear with safety 365 days accident free
Some workplace stress is normal (that's why it's called "work"), but excess stress can interfere with physical and emotional health on and off the job. It reduces productivity and can lead to accidents and impact businesses in other ways, as well. What can you do if you're feeling excess stress at work every day? Start with a new app that measures your stress and gives suggestions to reduce it.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety worked with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers to develop a free smart phone app that lets you answer a questionnaire to measure your level of stress. App users are asked to respond to 25 questions about work demands, organizational factors, relationships, workplace values, health and safety concerns, stress symptoms and offensive behaviors.

November 18, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - November 2014

Here's a roundup of current workplace safety news and links.

OSHA Urges Retailers to Protect Workers During Major Sales Events
restricted area authorized personnel onlyOSHA recently sent letters to major retailers to remind employers about the potential hazards involved with managing large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season when sales events attract a higher number of shoppers. Retailers are encouraged to use the safety guidelines, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers, provided in the OSHA fact sheet they received. Read more here.

National Safety Council Launches "Journey to Safety Excellence" Campaign 
The National Safety Council recently launched the Journey to Safety Excellence campaign - a workplace advocacy initiative focusing on continuous improvement to help employers make workplaces safer across the country. The campaign is designed to help save workers’ lives and help businesses save money. The Journey to Safety Excellence is a roadmap to help employers build a workplace that keeps people safe. It comes with free, practical tools collected from 100 years of NSC experience. Visit the NSC page here.

hazard communication symbolsOSHA HAZCOM Compliance Guide for Small Business
OSHA has issued a new guide intended to help small employers comply with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), acute illnesses and injuries due to chemical exposures in the workplace have decreased 42% since the Hazard Communication Standard was implemented. The OSHA guide provides useful information, including steps toward an effective Hazcom plan; a sample written program; a Quick Guide to Hazcom training, and more. Download the guide here (pdf).

November 17, 2014

Protect Workers from Frostbite

first aid kit inside
Snow and frigid temperatures have spread across the U.S., and many outdoor workers are not yet accustomed to the cold. Now is a good time to remind employees of the risk, symptoms and appropriate first aid response for cold stress. 

Extremely cold or wet weather is a dangerous situation that can cause occupational illness and injuries such as hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains. Here are some frostbite tips from NIOSH:

What is Frostbite?
  • An injury to the body that is caused by freezing, which most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.
  • Symptoms

Advice: Working Safely with Industrial Vacuums

Would your employeees know
this pipe label indicates
flammable fluids?

Everyone becomes familiar with vacuum cleaners at an early age. But because they regularly use vacuums at home, workers may not understand that vacuum systems in healthcare and industrial settings present some very real hazards. In these settings, when something goes wrong, the results can include shattering and flying glass, chemical splatters and even combustion.

Because there are varied types of industrial vacuums, supervisors need to ensure that employees fully understand the systems they use and any potential hazards associated with them. That includes understanding pipe marking standards for any workers who may be repairing vacuum lines. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have prepared an article that discusses industrial vacuum safety, including filtration, dealing with liquids, debris collection, cold traps and more. Read more on this important topic here, or browse a variety of housekeeping safety signs here.

November 14, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Exceed $1.7 Million in Oct. 2014

OSHA issued 10 significant fines in October with a proposed total of $1.77 million. The top three fines were issued for fall hazards, blocked exits and whistleblower violations. Other common violations included machine guarding, chemicals and falls. Most cases are still pending final decisions. Here are some details:

$355,300 for Willful Fall and Other Hazards at a Florida Roofing Company
fall protection requiredOSHA initiated inspections beginning in March 2014 as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction, and cited the employer for 12 violations, including failure to use available fall protection equipment, because they didn't have tie-down brackets.

Three willful violations, carrying $210,000 in penalties for failure to provide fall protection systems. Four repeat violations, with $108,900 in penalties, were cited for allowing workers to use powered nail guns without eye and face protection and for failing to extend ladders 3 feet above the landing surface for roof access. Three serious violations included using extension ladders improperly at two locations and failure to require employees to face the ladder when descending from the roof, and another violation for not clearing debris from the area around the bottom of the ladder.

November 11, 2014

New NFPA Program Helps Prepare Responders for Electric Truck, Bus and Commercial Vehicle Hazards

Electric Vehicle Charging StationNon-gasoline based fueling is becoming more prevalent on our roadways, and shows no signs of slowing down. Whether electric, hybrid or fuel-cell based, the new technologies bring with them new challenges for first responders arriving on the scene of transportation emergencies. Last month, this compelled the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to expand its training offered in the arena of electric vehicle (EV) safety.

Online training in the EV program now includes material on trucks, buses and commercial vehicles with electric technology to supplement offerings that cover EV passenger vehicles. The new multi-media courses cover a wide range of topics. Much of the focus is geared toward enabling responders to:

  • Assess situations involving any large vehicle on the road equipped with electric technology
  • Execute the most effective rescues possible in these emergencies
  • Neutralize additional potential endangerment and damage electric vehicles could cause via power down procedures
  • Deal with vehicle and battery fires as well as charging station incidents

November 7, 2014

BLS Delays 2013 Safety Data Release After Finding Errors in Previous Reports

Lost-Time Accident Sign
helps promote plant safety.
After finding errors in 2011 and 2012 safety data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has delayed the release of 2013 data. The 2013 reports on Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work have been delayed from their planned October 30 and November 14, 2014 release dates.

The BLS recently identified data errors in its reports on national 2011 and 2012 private-sector nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Press releases featured incorrect data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses:

  • Industry counts and frequency rates
  • Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.

November 1, 2014

How OSHA inspects cranes and derricks on construction worksites

WARNING before operating crane it is compulsory to extend the outriggers

This article has moved to our new blog.

Please use this link to read it:

October 22, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - October 2014

Here's a collection of recent workplace safety news and notes from around the web:

OSHA launches national dialogue on hazardous chemical exposures
OSHA is launching a national dialogue with stakeholders to manage worker exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The first stage of this dialogue is a request for information on the management of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace and strategies for updating permissible exposure limits (PELs). Ninety-five percent of OSHA’s current PELs, which cover fewer than 500 chemicals, have not been updated since their adoption in 1971 and they cover a small fraction of the chemicals currently used in the U.S. Some new approaches for which OSHA is seeking public comment include: Streamlined approaches for risk assessment and feasibility analyses; and alternative approaches for managing chemical exposures. Read more here.

New Safety Climate Workbook Available

The Center for Construction Research and Training has released a 10-page workbook, “Strengthening Jobsite Safety Climate: Eight Worksheets to Help You Use and Improve Leading Indicators.” The workbook is designed to help construction managers, safety professionals and hourly craft workers learn leading indicators of safety climate, as well as ideas for strengthening them. The book contains eight worksheets with brief self-assessments and a list of ideas that owners, safety directors and supervisory staff can implement to evaluate and improve their safety climate. Learn more here.

The rudest drivers are in... Idaho?

In a survey seeking to rank the states with the rudest drivers, Idaho earned the dubious honor of being #1. Respondents to the survey by said Idaho drivers present a wide variety of rudeness, "Those who are moving so slowly that they’re judged to be rude, and the aggressive drivers who speed around them and flip them off."

October 21, 2014

What's Your Site Safety Assessment Strategy?

safety starts here
Regular site assessments and field surveys are a critical element of any safety plan. Why? Because first-hand observations let managers determine if the safety aspects of a project will meet the objectives set out in the safety plan. They also offer an opportunity to identify potential areas of concern - before inspectors arrive or problems arise.  

How detailed an assessment should be depends on the nature of the site and the work that is currently underway. A thorough assessment should also anticipate upcoming work and identify hazards that may arise as the scope of the project changes.

Safety Tip: Prevent Common Forklift Accidents

do not ride on forklift

This article has moved to our new blog.

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October 20, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Exceed $3.5 Million in Sept. 2014

$3.57 million in fines
Create Custom OSHA Signs
OSHA issued 17 significant fines in September (more than twice as many as August!) with a proposed total of $3.57 million. The top three fines were issued for confined space, chemical and fall protection violations. Other common violations included machine guarding, cranes and scaffolding. Most cases are still pending final decisions. Here are some details:

$497,000 and SVEP for willful confined space violations and more at an Illinois metal recycling plant

The company was cited for seven willful and one serious safety violations following the death of a worker whose arm was caught in a conveyor belt. At least three other workers were also exposed to dangerous, unguarded machines during cleaning operations. The workers entered a shredder discharge pit through a 2.5- by 3.5-foot opening to shovel metal scrap onto a takeaway conveyor system. This conveyor was not guarded and the shredder was not locked out prior to the workers entering the pit.

Willful violations include failing to implement training, procedures and practices for safe entry into the shredder pit and failing to inform employees of the dangers present in pit. The company also failed to prepare entry permits prior to allowing cleaning activities inside of the pit. Other willful violations include failing to utilize lockout-tagout and failing to conduct periodic inspections of equipment-specific lock out/tag out procedures. The company was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

$341,550 for chromium and other violations at an Oklahoma plating plant

respirator required in this areaWorkers were exposed to cancer-causing health hazards by inhaling, absorbing and ingesting hexavalent chromium. Nine repeat violations were cited primarily for chromium violations, including failure to: provide safe PPE for workers exposed to chromium; mark areas where chromium was sprayed; prevent ingestion of food and drinks and absorption of cigarettes in chromium-regulated areas; and properly train workers exposed to chromium, caustics and corrosives. 

October 15, 2014

NTSB Recommends Action to Curb Increase in Railroad Deaths

This vehicle stops at all railroad crossings
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a special investigation report on the recent increase in deaths of railroad and rail transit roadway workers and made recommendations to reduce the number of fatalities. The report provides details of 14 fatal accidents in 2013. Over the year, 15 roadway workers died.

Of fatalities in 2013, 11 resulted from 11 accidents on freight railroads and four were on commuter or transit railways. The average number of railroad worker fatalities has fluctuated but has remained about 6.4 per year from 1990 to 2013. The report states that comprehensive job briefings could help prevent accidents and that national inspection protocols for work activities are necessary to ensure the safety of roadway workers.

October 9, 2014

Common Safety Signs for Hazardous Sites

Guest post by Stephen Whitmore.

On any work site where heavy machinery or potentially hazardous equipment, chemicals or other dangers are present, it’s vital to have the correct safety signs and notices to help keep everyone safe - and to reduce your liability. has the internationally recognized signs for about any scenario you can imagine. 

For example, a growing industry right now is fracking. The number of fracking sites in the United States has exploded in recent years as we aim to hone our use of natural gas to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. While it’s an exciting and relatively new area, fracking sites pose new risks and hazards for workers and site visitors. This makes it that much more important to have the proper signs, notices and warnings to keep everyone safe. Of course, many of these signs are important in other scenarios, but here are a few that can make a huge difference in worker safety at potentially hazardous sites: 

With many sites, there are industrial uses for water and with fracking in particular water plays an important part. However, as we all know, not all water is created equal and drinking contaminated water can have fatal results. This means it’s vitally important to mark all water pipes and outlets according to their safety. It’s both for visitors and workers but also people who may be working directly with or around the pipes. A burst pipe of contaminated water could be a hazardous situation and needs to be treated with the utmost caution. 

September 29, 2014

OSHA Extends Compliance Date for Crane Operator Certification Requirements

Danger Electrocution Hazard keep all parts of this crane away from power lines
OSHA just issued a final rule extending by three years the deadline for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule to Nov. 10, 2017. The rule also extends by three years the employer's responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. The OSHA final rule becomes effective Nov. 9, 2014.

The cranes and derricks rule published in August 2010 required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by November 10, 2014.

September 25, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - September 2014

OSHA Evaluates State Plans for Fiscal Year 2012-2013
OSHA has released reports on 27 approved State Plans. The annual Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation (FAME) reports examine the achievements and issues faced by each state plan, which has to be "at least as effective" as federal OSHA's.  Check out your state's report.

No Surprise! Falls Top Annual OSHA Citation List Once Again

Fall hazard
OSHA's FY 2014 Top Ten list of the most-violated standards was announced during the 2014 National Safety Council Congress & Expo. Once again, Fall Protection tops the list, and the rest are much the same as last year. "This data is a poignant reminder that there is still much room for improvement in making our workplaces safer, and that it is going to take all of us to make a difference," said NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman.

The Top Ten Citations Issued in FY 2014 are:

  1. Fall protection (1926.501), 6,143 violations
  2. HazCom (1910.1200), 5,161 violations
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451), 4,029 violations
  4. Respiratory protection (1910.134), 3,223 violations
  5. Lockout/tagout (1910.147), 2,704 violations
  6. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178), 2,662 violations
  7. Electrical - Wiring methods (1910.305), 2,490 violations
  8. Ladders (1926.1053), 2,448 violations
  9. Machine guarding (1910.212), 2,200 violations
  10. Electrical - General requirements (1910.303), 2,056 violations

Seven Strategies To Set the Tone for Safety

Entering Construction Zone
Safety orientation sessions can be a total bore - or an excellent way to set the tone for a project and help workers understand the importance of safety and the role they play in achieving a safe workplace. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis believe that a well-organized orientation based on seven proven strategies is the most effective way to deliver messages to workers who are new to a site.

Strategy #3 is to encourage worker input: 

Begin orientations by finding out who is in the audience and then tailoring your questions to their area of concern. For example, if you’re talking to a group of electricians and the subject of fall protection is part of the discussion, ask them for examples of times when they would have felt safer if proper fall protection had been used. Specific issues that involve their work practices will hold their interest better than vague rules. Conducting a give-and-take also validates their own expertise, showing them that you regard them as professionals.

Read more of the seven strategies that set the tone for safety here, or browse construction safety signs and labels here.

September 24, 2014

Safety Tip - Selecting The Right Eye Protection

Eye Protection Required
About 300,000 Americans visit the emergency room each year due to workplace eye injuries, ranging from simple eye strain to severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, vision loss and blindness. Nearly three out of five workers are injured because they are not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident, but many said they didn't know that they were supposed to wear eye protection

There are five primary types of hazards that can lead to eye injuries. Use this list from OSHA to help identify the correct eye and face protection for various hazards:

Impact Hazards:
Flying objects such as large chips, fragments, particles, sand and dirt commonly result from chipping, grinding, machining, masonry work, wood working, sawing, drilling, chiseling, powered fastening, riveting, and sanding. OSHA Recommends:

  • Spectacles - Primary protectors to shield the eyes from a variety of impact hazards.
  • Goggles    - Primary protectors to shield the eyes against flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles.
  • Face Shields - Secondary protectors to protect the entire face against exposure to impact hazards.

Heat Hazards:
Anything emitting extreme heat, such as furnace operations, pouring, casting, hot dipping and welding. OSHA Recommends:

  • Spectacles - Primary protectors to shield the eyes from a variety of heat hazards.
  • Goggles - Primary protectors to shield the eyes from a variety of heat hazards.
  • Face Shields - Secondary protectors to protect the entire face from a variety of heat hazards.

Chemical Hazards:
Splash, fumes, vapors and irritating mists commonly occur in acid and chemical handling, degreasing, plating and working with blood. OSHA Recommends:

  • Goggles - Primary protectors to shield the eyes against liquid or chemical splash, irritating mists, vapors, and fumes.
  • Face Shields - Secondary protectors intended to protect the entire face against exposure to chemical hazards.

Dust Hazards:
Harmful dust commonly created by woodworking, buffing and dusty conditions. OSHA Recommends:

  • Goggles - Primary protectors to protect the eyes against a variety of airborne particles and harmful dust.

Optical Radiation Hazards:
Radiant energy, glare, and intense light from welding, torch-cutting, brazing, soldering and laser work.

  • First consider the intensity of the light or heat. Then, select lenses and/or filters that provide protection while allowing the task to be completed. When selecting filter lenses, begin a shade too dark to see the welding zone. Then try lighter shades until one allows a sufficient view of the welding zone without going below the minimum protective shade. Learn more on OSHA requirements here.
No matter what kind of eye hazards you identify, prepare for eye injuries and first aid needs by having an eye wash or sterile solution on hand.

Learn more:

Top OSHA Fines Exceed $2.2 Milion in August 2014

Machine Locked Out Do Not OpenOSHA issued just eight significant fines in August (down from 12 in July) with a proposed total of $2.27 million. The top three fines were issued for whistleblower violations. Other common violations included: lockout / tagout and fall hazards. Most cases are still pending final decisions. Here are some details:

$1 Million for Firing Whistleblowers at a Michigan Asphalt Company
A foreman was terminated after repeatedly raising concerns that job assignments repeatedly failed to allow for the 10-hour rest period mandated by the Department of Transportation. At least twice, the foreman and the crew were expected to work more than 27 hours straight. OSHA has ordered the foreman to be reinstated and to receive back wages of $147,457; $50,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.

OSHA and NIOSH Release Best Practice Guidelines For Temporary Worker Safety

Temporary WorkerThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have released a joint “best practices” document for protecting temporary workers on the job site. Written for both staffing agencies and host employers, the document stresses that both groups need to work together to be in compliance with the OSH Act. 

Following is a list some of those practices, with key information for each one. The document stresses that the info is for guidance, and that legal research should be conducted in order to identify what is legally required by all parties.

Evaluate the Host Employer’s Work site
Before an employer hires a staffing agency, both should work together to review all work sites in which the temporary worker might be sent. Task assignments and job hazards should also be identified by the host employer to eliminate any safety hazards, and the staffing agency should provide a document to the host employer that specifies each temporary worker’s training and competencies.

September 12, 2014

BLS Releases Fatal Injury Data: Transportation Accounts for 40 Percent of Fatalities

Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a total of 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2013, lower than the revised count of 4,628 fatal work injuries in 2012. This is according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the BLS. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2013 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, compared to a final rate of 3.4 per 100,000 in 2012. Final 2013 data will be released in 2015, and numbers could be higher.

Key preliminary findings include:

  • Fatal work injuries in private industry in 2013 were 6 percent below the 2012 figure. The preliminary 2013 count of 3,929 represents the lowest annual total since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992.
  • Contract workers accounted for 17 percent of all fatal cases in 2013.
  • Fatal work injuries involving workers under age 16 were substantially lower, falling from 19 in 2012 to 5 in 2013 — the lowest total ever reported by the census. Fatal work injuries in most other age groups also were lower in 2013, though fatal work injuries among workers 25 to 34 years of age were higher.
  • Overall, violence accounted for 1 out of every 6 fatal work injuries in 2013.
Types of Incidents: (Preliminary data graph from BLS report)
Total 4,405. Transportation 40 percent

  • Fatal transportation incidents were 10 percent lower in 2013, but still accounted for about 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2013.
  • Fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 699 workers. Falls to a lower level accounted for 574 (82 percent) of those fatalities.
  • A preliminary total of 717 fatal work injuries occurred as a result of contact with objects and equipment. This total includes 245 workers struck by falling objects or equipment. Another 105 workers were fatally injured after being caught in running equipment or machinery.
Learn more with these links:

September 11, 2014

OSHA Issues New Reporting Rules for Severe Injuries

NOTICE report all injuries immediately
Today OSHA announced a final rule requiring employers to meet specific time frames when notifying OSHA of work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye. Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. 

Previous OSHA regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule.

The new rule also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements. It will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

September 9, 2014

Include These 10 Elements in Your Emergency Preparedness Plan

You've heard that September is National Preparedness Month, but if you're wondering how to make a "Preparedness Plan," a new report from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and RLE Technologies offers some help. High Stakes Business: People, Property and Services, identifies 10 key areas your plan should address, and also provides step-by-step guidance.

The 10 areas to consider:
  1. Define Roles. Determine who is responsible for formation and execution of the plan (typically a facility management team).
  2. Define Mission-critical Functions. Prioritize which functions to protect and which to address first in an emergency.
  3. Define Risks. Assess vulnerabilities, especially to mission-critical functions, and determine their likelihood.
  4. Calculate Costs. Estimate the cost of down-time as well as the cost of preparation and planning.
  5. Monitor Activity. Catch disasters before they occur.
  6. Communicate. Your post-emergency communications plan must be  thorough and adaptable.
  7. Test. You should be confident in your plan and its implementation.
  8. Practice. Conduct drills and exercises to ensure your plan is adequate and familiar to all.
  9. Adapt and Adjust Your Plan. Make adjustments based on regular testing, practice and your changing situations and priorities. Don't just file your plan away.
  10. Crowd source. Develop a network of strategic partners and professionals for good advice when disaster strikes.

September 4, 2014

OSHA, NIOSH Issue Recommended Practices for Temporary Workers

Temporary Worker labelBecause temporary workers are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released a Recommended Practices publication intended to help staffing agencies and host employers better protect temporary workers from job hazards.

The new Recommended Practices publication highlights the joint responsibility of the staffing agency and host employer to ensure temporary workers are provided a safe work environment. 

Recommendations for protecting temporary workers include:
  • Train agency staff to recognize safety and health hazards
  • Evaluate the host employer's worksite
  • Assign safety responsibilities and define the scope of work
  • Track injuries and illness
  • Maintain contact with workers
Read more details on these recommendations in this updated post.

September 2, 2014

Sept. 9 Webinar Offers PPE Tips for Welders

welder with helmet
Welders face some of the harshest working conditions that any industry has to offer: radiation, intense light, welding fumes and grinding chips that pose threats to the eye, face, head and respiratory system. That's why PPE is critical for welders. 
A new welding safety webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. EDT will provide an overview of PPE required for welding, with a particular focus on respiratory protection and highlight some of the new product technologies that are available for this line of work. topics will include:
  • Hazards and appropriate PPE for welding applications
  • Regulatory drivers that are changing the landscape of PPE within welding applications
  • Latest product technologies being offered in welding

Welding: It doesn't have to be a grind is sponsored by ISHN and PPE manufacturer Bullard.

August 26, 2014

Workplace Safety News and Notes - August 2014

Here's a collection of recent safety news and resources, with links to more information:

OSHA SVEP Grows 23 Percent From Last Year
As of July 1, there were 423 sites in the OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), compared to 343 last year, according to an article by Jackson Lewis PC in the National Law Review. Five additional sites successfully contested the violations that put them on the list. The SVEP "concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations,” says OSHA. Construction and manufacturing firms and small employers make up a majority of the SVEP list. Read the article here. 

Download the Top 10 Presentations from the 2014 NFPA Conference & Expo
Sign-in to NFPA's web site for free access to the most popular educational session papers from the 2014 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas:

  • NFPA 99-2015, Health Care Facilities Code, Changes
  • Concealed Spaces Requirements in NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
  • Photovoltaic System Fire Hazards
  • NFPA 101-2015, Life Safety Code, Changes
  • NFPA 1730 and the Identification, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Fire Prevention Program
  • Fire Alarm Requirements of the Model Codes and How They Work With NFPA 72
  • NFPA 99-2012, Health Care Facilities Code: Emergency Management and Security
  • Sprinkler Technology: Storage Protection
  • Sprinkler Protection of Storage Occupancies--Varied Design Approaches
  • NFPA 652: A Proposed New Standard on Combustible Dust Safe Practices
The downloads are available at the NFPA conference blog.

Language Barriers and Safety Barriers

There's no question that immigrants helped build America, from the trans-continental railway to the skyscrapers of both coasts. Many spoke no English, but they learned just enough to do their job. In today's safety-conscious workplaces, language barriers create serious challenges for safety professionals. A big part of managing safety involves communicating rules and hazards to workers, but how effective can that be when there’s a language barrier - or multiple languages - on the same worksite?

The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis offer some good advice in a recent blog post that outlines simple steps you can take to improve understanding for everyone on your worksite. And remember this: Immigrants aren't your only concern. Illiteracy rates are higher in the U.S. than many people realize, so some English-speaking workers may not be able to read safety materials. Read the full article here or browse international bilingual safety signs here.