A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

May 19, 2015

May Workplace Safety News & Notes

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

Free Materials for National Safety Month in June national safety month logo  

Join the National Safety Council in raising safety awareness during National Safety Month in June. The annual event seeks to reduce leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities. This year focuses on prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, ergonomics, emergency preparedness and slips, trips and falls. Sign up at to receive free posters, checklists and English or Spanish fact sheets for your workplace. Register for materials here.

 NIOSH Calls New ANSI Nail Gun Standard Insufficient

In a recent blog post, NIOSH takes exception to the new ANSI nail gun standard, saying "... the revised ANSI standard does not reflect current scientific research evidence and is therefore not sufficiently protective of workers." NIOSH participated in the consensus process used to revise the standard, and recommended changes consistent with current scientific research about nail gun safety risks, and interventions to reduce them. Those changes were not included in the ANSI standard, so NIOSH is now encouraging employers and workers to rely on NIOSH nail gun publications for the most protective recommendations concerning nail gun safety. Read more here.

Updated OSHA Heat App Helps Workers Avoid Heat Stress

The updated OSHA Heat Safety Tool is an app that calculates the heat index for and displays a risk level to outdoor workers. It also offers reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. It's available for iOS and Android in English and Spanish. Learn more here

May 18, 2015

How To Choose The Right Members for Your Safety Committee

Health and safety committee member
You know you need a safety committee, but how do you choose who should be part of it? You need representatives from throughout a company or jobsite, with members representing hourly workers to upper management. They should be respected by other workers, and not let the owner or manager’s viewpoint dominate discussions.

If that doesn't sound easy, you're in luck. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis have written an article that will help.

The first step in making a safety committee work most effectively is making sure that it has the right members. It’s good to keep the committee at a manageable size to ensure that all of the participants feel that they are really making contributions. You can generally obtain good results from committees of no more than seven members. Here are a few more areas the article can help you address:

  • Who should select committee members?
  • What personality types should you look for - positive, skeptical, or both?
  • How long will a term on the committee last?
  • What questions will employees have about the committee?
  • Who should lead the meetings - management or the workers?
Learn more:

May 11, 2015

NETS Road Safety Guide Now Available in Over 20 Languages

How Am I Driving? Call______

Any company with vehicles on the road must constantly evaluate the dangers and liabilities that accompany this part of the operation. To help fleets of any size, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), released a guide to advance company fleet safety.

Now the NETS Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety is crossing borders in its usefulness thanks to the help of the Coca-Cola Company, which translated the guide from English into 20 other languages. Many of the world’s most widely spoken languages are included, such as Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic and Russian. And the list goes on to include:
  • Burmese
  • Khmere-Cambodian
  • Portuguese
  • Swahili
  • Vietnamese
  • Plus more!

May 7, 2015

Top OSHA Fines in April Total $2.8 Million

OSHA released information on 17 significant fines (over $100,000) in April, 2015. Fines totaled nearly $2.8 million, compared to $3.1 million in March. The top 5 fines contributed almost half of the total. Common citations included fall hazards, machine guarding and electrical hazards. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions.

$490,000 for asbestos hazards at a Pennsylvania environmental services company

asbestos hazardWorkers removing thermal pipe insulation at an unoccupied residence were exposed to asbestos. OSHA cited seven willful violations, including allowing workers to remove asbestos improperly; failing to make sure their employees' respirators fit correctly; and not decontaminating employees and their clothing before leaving the work site.

OSHA requires employers to treat thermal system insulation and surfacing material found in buildings constructed before and in 1980 as asbestos, unless they can prove that the material is free of asbestos. In this inspection, the building was built in 1928, and the company made no attempt to test the removed materials. Read the citations here (pdf). 

$294,500 for willful and repeat violations after 3 roofers fall from a broken scaffold in Massachusetts

Three roofing workers were hospitalized after a two-story fall from a scaffold platform that broke beneath them. The incident occurred, inspectors said, because a spruce plank used as the platform could not support the workers' weight, was not graded for scaffold use, and the plank's invoice was clearly marked "not for scaffold use."

May 4, 2015

Deadliest States to Work Identified: N. Dakota Tops List, Again

In 2013, 4,585 workers were killed on the job in the United States and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases. This equates to a loss of 150 workers each day from hazardous working conditions, according to the 2015 AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report released last week.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, North Dakota remains the #1 state for work-related deaths. For the third year in a row, it had the highest job fatality rate in the nation - more than four times the national average - although it's rate dropped by nearly 3 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2013. New Mexico and West Virginia saw the largest increases in fatality rates in the same time period.

5 states with highest worker fatality rates:

North Dakota 14.9; Wyoming 9.5; West Virginia 8.6; Alaska 7.9; New Mexico 6.7; US average 3.3

Although still among the top five states, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska achieved lower fatality rates in 2013 than in 2012. 

New Mexico and West Virgina topped the list of states with the highest fatality rate increases vs. last year, even as the overall U.S. rate fell.

May 1, 2015

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Construction Confined Spaces

Confined Space
OSHA today issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces. Construction protections now match those in manufacturing and general industry, with some differences tailored to the construction industry.

Differences include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards - a safety option made possible by technological advances after the manufacturing and general industry standards were created. OSHA estimates the new rule will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year.