A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

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.