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December 16, 2015

December 2015 Workplace Safety News and Notes

Here's a collection of safety news and resources from around the web this month:

OSHA to Raise Penalties for Safety Violations in 2016

OSHA is expected to increase its monetary penalties for safety violations next year. The change came early this month, with a budget amendment that would allow OSHA to increase its fines in light of inflation. Previously, the agency was unable to increase due to a 1990 law. OSHA must now issue a preliminary final rule that will stipulate details about the increase before August 1, 2016. The fines are expected to be around 80 percent higher. A willful violation, for instance, may now carry a maximum penalty of around $127,000, compared to $70,000 today. View the full amendment here.

Electronic Logging Devices to be Required for Commercial Drivers

caution wide right turns
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced adoption of a Final Rule requiring commercial truck and bus drivers who currently use paper log books to maintain hours-of-service records to adopt Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) within two years. An ELD automatically records driving time, monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven and location information. It is anticipated that approximately three million drivers will be impacted. The rule also includes provisions to: prevent drivers from harassment based on ELD information; set technical and performance specs for ELDs; establish new support document requirements. Read more here.

OSHA Issues Tools to Help Prevent Workplace Violence in Healthcare 

OSHA has developed a new webpage to provide employers and workers with strategies and tools for preventing workplace violence in healthcare settings. The webpage, part of OSHA’s Worker Safety in Hospitals website, complements the updated Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers published earlier this year. The new page includes real-life examples from healthcare organizations that have incorporated successful workplace violence prevention programs, and models of how a workplace violence prevention program can complement and enhance an organization’s strategies for compliance and a culture of safety. Visit the new site.

NIOSH Launches Motor Vehicle Safety eNewsletter, Behind the Wheel at Work

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety has launched a quarterly e-newsletter to share research updates, links to motor vehicle safety resources, practical tips on workplace driving and news about upcoming events. Behind the Wheel at Work will include vehicle-related research updates and practical tools to apply research-based strategies in the workplace. The first issue features an article on the NIOSH National survey of U.S. long-haul truck drivers. Learn more.

respirator required
OSHA Expects to Complete Silica Rule in February 2016

OSHA's fall 2015 regulatory agenda projects that its final rule for occupational exposure to crystalline silica will be completed in February 2016, according to the AIHA. The rule has been in development for more than 15 years. OSHA received more than 1,700 comments on the proposed rule issued two years ago and is now reviewing material in the rulemaking record. Read more.

Review Floor Maintenance Procedures to Reduce Slip and Fall Incidents

Analyzing floor safety risks and establishing plans and procedures that address hazards will help prevent or minimize the chance of incidents and injuries, according to a recent article in OH&S magazine. For example, improper cleaning can lead to floors with low levels of traction. Reviewing floor cleaning and housekeeping procedures can help reduce premature floor wear, as well as slip and fall incidents and injuries. Learn more in the article.

pesticide storage area

OH&S Webinars in January

  - January 21 - Chemicals, Pesticides and Other Stuff - How to Comply?
  - January 27 - Care and Maintenance of PPE for Arc Flash and Flash Fire: Incidents and Issues for Practical Applications

See details and register here.

Safety Stats for Construction Trades Released

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) released a report that charts fatal and nonfatal injuries among construction trades between 2003 and 2014. It illustrates injury variations across selected construction trades, and highlights leading causes of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the most recent years. It also includes recently available data on height of fall. The report also includes data on roofers, electrical power-line installers and cement masons. View the report (pdf).

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