Here's a roundup of current workplace safety news and links.
OSHA Urges Retailers to Protect Workers During Major Sales Events
OSHA 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.
OSHA 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).
New Web Resource for Residential Construction Fall Protection Information
To assist employers in selecting effective fall protection methods to protect workers in residential construction, a new website provides details about equipment highlighted in OSHA's Guidance Document for Residential Construction.
The site gives a description or purpose for each fall protection device listed, as well as the stage of construction where the device could be used. It also shows pictures of the device in use, installation instructions and information about the manufacturer, vendors and cost. The site, which incorporates input from residential construction workers, safety personnel, trainers, and contractors, was developed by a researcher from Washington University School of Medicine, with support from the Center for Construction Research and Training through a NIOSH cooperative agreement. Visit the site here.
OSHA Issues a Hazard Alert on 1-Bromopropane (1-BP) Solvent
Although Federal OSHA does not currently have a specific exposure standard for 1-BP, employers are required by law to keep their workers safe from this recognized hazard. Degreasing, spray adhesive, aerosol solvent and dry cleaning operations expose workers to air concentrations of 1-BP greater than the limits set by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Review or print an OSHA Hazard Alert sheet on 1-BP at the OSHA website.
OSHA Ebola Page Offers Info for Health Care and Other Potentially Exposed Workers
New and updated guidelines from the CDC and NIOSH to protect health care workers and additional compliance assistance materials are available on OSHA's Ebola page at www.osha.gov/ebola. Materials include: infection prevention and control guidelines, procedures for putting on and removing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, and information for emergency medical responders and 911 call takers. The page also includes an OSHA fact sheet on protecting workers (not in healthcare or laboratories) involved in cleaning and decontamination of surfaces that may be contaminated with Ebola virus. Check the page frequently for the latest information.
Employer Arrested for Uncorrected Hazards and Unpaid OSHA Fines
A judge has ordered an Illinois business owner's arrest after he failed to correct serious trenching hazards and pay OSHA penalties. The action followed the owner's long history of failing to comply with OSHA standards and orders of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. In October 2013, the Court issued an enforcement order against the man. When he failed to comply, the Court held him in contempt in July 2014 and threatened possible incarceration. After months with no response, he was arrested and will be held until he complies with the court order or "clearly demonstrate[s] that he is unable to comply." Read details on the initial citations here.