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December 15, 2015

The Top Workplace Safety News of 2015

Workplace safety news and notes
Here's a recap of the 10 articles that generated the most interest in our Connection newsletter and here on the safety blog during 2015. Our monthly News & Notes feature and lists of top OSHA fines also are very popular. (See the Top 10 OSHA Fines of 2015.) We do our best to keep you up-do-date on new rules, tools and tips that can help keep your workplace safe and in compliance. 

Here's our Top 10 of 2015. (Click the heading to read more.)

1. Top 5 Disabling Workplace Injuries Cause 2/3 of Workers' Comp Costs

According to BLS and other data, the top five disabling workplace injuries accounted for 65 percent of all workers' compensation costs in 2012 (the most recent year for which data was available). U.S. businesses spend nearly $750,000 weekly on these five workplace injuries.

2. "Why'd They Do That?" Photos Show Safety Fails

Advanced Safety & Health, LLC, an OH&S firm with offices in Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania, has assembled a wonderful collection of images showing some workplace safety fails that are hard to believe. Looks like "common sense" isn't so common anymore.

3. How Safe is Your State? NSC Releases Top 10 List of Accidental Death Rates

As part of National Safety Month, the National Safety Council released its annual list of states with the highest and lowest rates of injury-related deaths, which include poisonings, vehicle accidents and falls. West Virginia had the highest rate for the third time in four years. The state’s rate of 77.2 deaths per 100,000 people was largely fueled by overdoses from opioid prescription painkillers. For the second straight year, Maryland had the lowest rate at 26.9, which is far below the national rate of 40.6. See the top and bottom states.

4. How To Choose the Right Safety Committee Members

The first step in making a safety committee work most effectively is making sure that it has the right members. You need members representing hourly workers to upper management. They should be respected by other workers, and not let management’s viewpoint dominate discussions. If that doesn't sound easy, you're in luck. This article by Safety Management Group in Indianapolis can help you avoid common safety committeee pitfalls.

5. Fall Protection Tops 2015 OSHA Violations List  OSHA

For the fifth straight year, OSHA's Fall Protection Standard (1926.501) was the agency's most often cited standard, Hazard Communication was #2, followed by Scaffolding and Respiratory Protection in the preliminary list. Finalized data will be available in December.

6. Scissor Lifts: The Ongoing Safety Debate

There are approximately eight deaths per year across the U.S. involving scissor lifts, according to the 2014 New England Safety Training Alliance's Scissor Lift Training guide. Deaths typically result from falls, lift collapse or tipovers. OSHA requires fall protection PPE, but the debate over harness use continues among federal regulators and workers who must use them. Innovative new lift design might help make a difference

7. Answers to 13 Common Questions About NFPA 704

NFPA hazmat diamonds can be confusing, but in an emergency the information these signs provide to first responders could save lives. Many people responsible for posting NFPA hazmat diamonds in the workplace have questions about colors, numbers, abbreviations and more. The National Fire Protection Association has made it easier to learn NFPA 704 fundamentals with a new FAQ that answers key questions.

8. 3 Steps to Avoid Common Workplace Injuries

Taking action to promote safety in the workplace can reduce work-related accidents and injuries while boosting employee morale and improving work quality. Establishing a safety policy, regularly educating employees about workplace safety, and staying aware of hazards and risks are three keys to making safer, more efficient workplaces.

9. New Tool Analyzes Workplace Cell Phone Policies

The National Safety Council recently launched a Cell Phone Policy Assessment Tool that provides instant feedback on an employer's cell phone policy. Employers complete a short survey, and the tool generates a free report that rates how well the company's policy matches current best practices. Many employers have implemented cell phone policies to help keep workers safe on the road, but policies often leave safety gaps that can increase an employer's liability risk in the event of a crash.

10. 4 Tips to Keep Workers Safe On Remote Job Sites

Working on remote job sites can be grueling and riddled with budgetary and time constraints. That means project managers must sometimes make adjustments to stay on track for successful completion. Here are some suggestions to avoid compromising workplace safety, whether you're close to the site or not.

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