A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

August 21, 2015

OSHA Updates Amputations National Emphasis Program

Last week, OSHA updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations. The amputation NEP was established in 2006 and targets industries with high numbers and rates of amputations. The updated NEP uses current enforcement data and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) injury data to assist with site targeting.

The NEP includes a list of industries with high numbers and rates of amputations as reported to BLS. "This directive will help ensure that employers identify and eliminate serious workplace hazards and provide safe workplaces for all workers," said OSHA.

Manufacturing Industry Has Highest Amputation Rate

August 12, 2015

OSHA Announces 14 Serious Fines for $2.9 Million in July 2015

OSHA released details on 14 significant fines in July 2015, with a proposed total value of $2.88 million. That's up slightly from July 2014, when it announced 12 significant fines for $2.6 million. Significant fines in June numbered 12 with total proposed fines of nearly $2.4 million. Common July citations included machine guarding and fall hazards. Here are some details of July activity, most of which are still pending final decisions.

$423,900 and SVEP after a trench collapse seriously injures a Texas construction worker

When a construction worker was buried in an 8-foot trench, his co-workers dug him out with their bare hands and pulled him to safety. Moments later the unprotected trench collapsed again. After investigation, OSHA inspectors cited 16 safety violations, including six egregious willful violations for failing to protect workers inside an excavation from a cave-in. 

"It is absolutely unacceptable that employers continue to endanger the lives of workers in trenches," says OSHA. In addition to the willful violations, the company was cited for nine serious violations, including failing to remove debris from the edge of the excavation, not providing a safe means to get in and out of the excavation, and not conducting atmospheric testing inside excavations after a sewer leak. View the citations.

$362,500 for fall injury after a Texas construction company denies worker safety equipment
Despite his request for a safety harness, a temporary worker was denied fall protection and later fell 12 feet through a roof. His fall resulted in his hospitalization with fractured arms and severe contusions. The employer then waited three days to report the injury. OSHA cited

August 11, 2015

August Workplace Safety News & Notes

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

New OSHA App Helps Workers Identify Hazards
OSHA's Hazard Identification Training Tool is an interactive, online, game-based training tool for small business owners, workers and others interested in learning the core concepts of hazard identification. The tool helps users better understand the process to identify hazards in their own workplace. See it here.

OSHA Proposes Lower Beryllium Limit
OSHA has proposed a new standard to dramatically lower workplace exposure to beryllium, which can cause lung diseases. The current standard, established in 1948, has an eight-hour permissible exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per

August 10, 2015

Arc Flash Safety Tips

Are Flash Hazard Appropriate PPE Required
An arc flash is a flashover of electric current that leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground. The results are often violent, including serious injury and death. By some estimates, 30,000 arc flash incidents occur annually in the U.S., resulting in as many as 400 fatalities. Here's some information and advice on arc flash safety hazards from OSHA.

Arc flash can be caused by many things including:
  • Dust
  • Dropped tools
  • Accidental contact
  • Condensation
  • Material failure
  • Corrosion
  • Faulty Installation

Three factors determine the severity of an arc flash injury:
  1. Proximity of the worker to the hazard
  2. Temperature
  3. Time for circuit to break 

What is a PEL and How Does it Work?

SDS and right to know information
OSHA established Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for chemicals and other hazards (such as noise) to identify how long workers can be exposed to the hazards without suffering harm. Sound simple enough? It's not. 

PELs are normally expressed in what are known as time-weighted averages (TWA), which describe the average exposure over a set period. In some cases, the chemical may also have short-term exposure limits (STELs) or ceiling limits. It’s entirely possible that a worker may be exposed to significantly higher levels of a chemical for a period of time during the eight hours. Those situations involve another term: the Excursion Limit.

August 7, 2015

OSHA Guidance on Enforcing Revised HazCom Standard

GHS symbols and explanations

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OSHA Postpones Confined Spaces in Construction Enforcement Until October

Confined space Entery by permit only
OSHA announced a 60-day temporary enforcement policy of its Confined Spaces in Construction standard, which became effective Aug. 3, 2015. The agency is postponing full enforcement of the new standard to Oct. 2, 2015, in response to requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard.

During the temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. Employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of the new standard or the previous standard. Employers who fail to train their employees consistent with either of these two standards will be cited.

August 3, 2015

Whitepaper Looks at ADA Guidelines and ANSI Z358.1 for Eyewash Stations

eye wash sign with graphic
Emergency safety equipment must be instantly accessible and easy to use by all employees, including those with disabilities. Ensuring that equipment complies with both the ANSI Z358.1 standard and the accessible buildings provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act is the subject of a recent whitepaper by US equipment manufacturer Haws Corporation.

Because there are no conflicts between the ADA code and the ANSI standard, compliance can be achieved by giving some careful thought to equipment, site selection and installation. The paper primarily focuses on laboratory environments where swing-down and wall-mounted eyewashes and face washes allow easy access to people using wheelchairs, for example.